Exclusive Interview: Renato ‘Babalu’ Sobral
One of the most unfortunate aspects of Tito Ortiz’s bizarre negotiation cock-up with Affliction is that it’s jeopardizing his grudge match with Renato “Babalu” Sobral, the Brazilian UFC vet who would love, love, love to kick the crap out of him. After Sobral’s impressive unanimous decision over Mike Whitehead last month at “Affliction: Banned,” a meeting between Babalu and the Huntington Beach Bad Boy seemed inevitable. Right now, the only thing that’s certain is that Sobral will be fighting Bobby Southworth on September 20th for Strikeforce’s light-heavyweight championship, and he’s currently training hard to be worthy of the belt. Our own Luiz De Souza chatted with Sobral recently about Ortiz, Strikeforce, and the real story behind his unique nickname.
CAGEPOTATO.COM: First of all, how likely is it that we’ll see you face Tito Ortiz in Affliction?
RENATO SOBRAL: I don’t know when that fight will happen. It’s not up to me — if it was, I would have beaten his ass yesterday.
You’ve said that facing Tito would be your “dream fight.” Why is that, exactly?
First of all because he said that I am a “C-class fighter,” then he went on to say that I am a third-world country fighter. It would be a pleasure for me to kick his ass.
What do you think of him as a person?
Well…he is a good fighter. But it would be my pleasure to send him to hell.
If you two fought, how do you think the fight would end?
Whatever way in which the ending is me sending him to hell.
The salaries for some of the fighters at the first Afflicton show were incredibly high — do you feel like you were underpaid compared to guys like Ben Rothwell, Matt Lindland, or some of the other headliners?
I don’t really comment on money. Some make more money; others who are just starting make less. I have nothing to complain about.
MMA Quick Quote: Takanori Gomi dissatisfied with Sengoku performance
My performance wasn’t good enough as the main event. I felt the pressure since the other lightweight fighters did a great job [in the grand prix]. It was the last fight in my twenties and I was very motivated to KO him. I didn’t have chance to KO him despite giving him pressure and I changed my game plan and focused on the win rather than the KO. In my next fight, I want to show that I can do better.
-Lightweight sensation Takanori Gomi (29-3) discusses his less-than-dazzling performance at Sengoku 4 on August 24 against former DEEP champion Seung Hwan Bang (5-2). Gomi is expected to face the winner of the Sengoku lightweight grand prix later this year to determine the first-ever Sengoku lightweight champion.
Quinton Jackson Charged With Two Felonies
The Orange County District Attorney’s office has formally charged former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson for a July 15 hit-and-run melee that landed the popular fighter in jail.
In a press release issued on Monday, Jackson is accused of sideswiping two cars and subsequently fleeing Costa Mesa police officers as they attempted to stop him. In the short chase, Jackson allegedly damaged another car and nearly hit several pedestrians at a bus stop. His left front tire shredded, he eventually surrendered to police officers in nearby Newport Beach.
The 30-year-old Jackson has been charged with one felony count of evading while driving recklessly, one felony count of evading a peace officer and driving against traffic, three misdemeanor counts of hit and run with property damage, and one misdemeanor count of reckless driving.
His arraignment is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 28. Deputy District Attorney Keith Bogardus will request a $25,000 bail for the fighter.
Notably absent were charges related to Holli Griggs, a passenger in one of the cars that Jackson sideswiped. Griggs was 16 weeks pregnant with a boy when she miscarried two weeks after the incident. Orange County DA spokeswoman Farrah Emami told MMAWeekly.com that a subsequent investigation of the miscarriage did not implicate Jackson.
“We reviewed all the medical records and spoke with the victim’s physician, and the evidence showed that the loss of the fetus was not related to or a result of the crash caused by the defendant,” Emami said.
Gan "The Giant" McGee will launch his long-awaited MMA comeback
Gan "The Giant" McGee will launch his long-awaited MMA comeback on September 13, headlining Xtreme Fighting Championships (XFC)'s "Salute to Our Armed Forces 5" at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Florida against veteran Johnathan Ivey. Live web-streaming of the fight card will be available at www.mmaxfc.com. McGee revealed the ten fighters he's most looking forward to facing in the cage.
Kevin Randleman talks top p4p fighters and his take on Shogun vs Coleman 2
The ‘Monster’ Kevin Randleman recently took some time to talk with PDG about his recovery, Mark Coleman, the best pound for Pound fighters in the world and when his next fight for Sengoku – World Victory Road will take place.
PDG: How is the shoulder and the rehab coming along?
Kevin: The shoulder is doing really good and I'm starting to add weight, I am walking around at about 220 lbs now. I have a couple more weeks of rehab and therapy and then I should be back in the gym full time getting ready for my next fight. Some people have asked me if I wanted to drop down to 185 lbs but Anderson Silva is no chump and the guys that I have wanted to fight for the last five years are at 205 lbs.
PDG: What kind of training are you doing right now?
Kevin: I am taking it slow and working a lot on my strength and conditioning. It just takes time and you can't rush these things but I will be ready for my fight in November. I am training about four to five hours a day and I am also doing some teaching seminars for kids and youth groups.
PDG: So barring any setbacks, you will be fighting on the Sengoku – WVR VI card?
Kevin: Yes, that sounds right and I should find out who my opponent is going to be about a month before the fight.
PDG: During your downtime, have you been watching any fights?
Kevin: Yes, I watched UFC 87 and I would have to say that I was very impressed with Brock Lesnar's performance considering it was only his third professional fight. Any heavyweight that he fights in the UFC is going to have their hands full. He controlled the whole fight and made it look easy, just like any accomplished wrestler should be able to do.
PDG: What did you think of the Georges St. Pierre vs. Jon Fitch fight?
Kevin: Fitch is tough as hell but you saw why GSP is the champion. Fitch fought a very good fight but what it comes down to is that he was overmatched. GSP has so many weapons that he makes it look too easy sometimes.
PDG: I talked with your old buddy Mark Coleman a couple of weeks ago and he said if the UFC wants him to fight ‘Shogun’ Rua again, he'll be ready. How do you think that rematch would go?
Kevin: Same as the first fight but probably worse for Shogun. No question in my mind that Coleman would punish him. What else did he have to say?
PDG: He was talking about how Tim Sylvia made so much money for his fight against Fedor:
"Why did Tim make so much money and just open his legs and get submitted?”
Kevin: Tim Sylvia is not that ******* good. People can take that comment for what they want and get mad at me, I don't care. When you agree to a fight, you better go in there and give it everything you've got. He may have a better record than mine but when I go in the ring I am going full ******* bore until either I get knocked out or I knock my opponent out! That's how I roll!
PDG: Okay then, who are the top five best pound for pound fighter's out there?
Kevin: I would say Anderson Silva, followed by BJ Penn then Georges St. Peirre. Number four would be Fedor and Urijah Faber is fifth. Also, in my opinion Wanderlei Silva is close to being in that top five.
PDG: Are there any upcoming fights the year to be looked in to watch while you finish up your shoulder rehab?
Kevin: Any fight that comes down the line I will probably keep an eye on.
PDG: What about the Chuck Liddell vs Rashad Evans fight next month?
Kevin: Chuck Liddell all the way. He is still the same fighter he used to be and Evans has not fought a former champion two fights removed from being the titleholder. I'll say Liddell by decision but I am expecting a knockout.
PDG: Cool are you going to be traveling and doing any seminars in the upcoming months?
Kevin: I have a few scheduled for this fall on the East Coast and I should have all the details available in the coming weeks. I know for sure that one is going to be in upstate New York. I am also going to have some appearances coming up that I am doing with the Army, seminars and some public speaking. I am looking to fill my schedule up as much as possible so that I am constantly staying busy.
PDG: How is your gym in Columbus, Ohio coming?
Kevin: Great, we are just putting all the final details together and we should have a proposed opening day very soon. Right now it's looking like it will be sometime between December and February.
PDG: Did you pick up Madden NFL 2009?
Kevin: Yes but I haven't had much time to play it yet. My son is out here in Vegas getting ready to start school at UNLV, so we have been pretty busy with that stuff. Since he is a transfer student, he has to sit out this year but he'll be playing on the football team next fall. So be on the lookout for Calvin Randleman! He is a 6’1”, 205 lb cornerback that runs a 4.35 40 – yard dash.
PDG: Thanks again Kevin, is there anything else you wanted to add?
Kevin: Not much but thanks to the fans and hopefully they’ll tune in this fall when the ‘Monster’ hits the ring again!
Upper Deck has an MMA trading card set on the way in October
Upper Deck has a mixed martial arts, MMA, trading card set on the way in October. The Art of Fighting would be the first standalone MMA trading card product, including 100 basic cards in the basic set and two autographed cards per 24-pack box.
While there's no doubting MMA's growing popularity, its mainstreaming reminds me a bit of the professional poker wave from a few years ago. Upper Deck had planned to produce a professional poker set, but those plans were scrapped. (Same for a professional fishing set around that time.)
I'm sure the MMA set will do well -- Donruss' Ring Kings insert cards have been pretty popular from the Americana set -- but I think I might rather have the poker/fishing boxes.
I'll decide for sure, though, when I rip into a box in October.
EliteXC Likely To Make Carano Vs. Cyborg Fight
Next year. The company announced that it plans to have the female dream matchup of Gina Carano vs. Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos on EXC's first PPV early next year, and not on CBS. Said another way, the company needs these two to meet when EliteXC, not CBS, can reap the greatest reward.
Shamrock Gets Next Shot at ‘Slice’
Ken Shamrock (Pictures) will be the fourth man to face Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson (Pictures) when the two icons clash at EliteXC’s third installment of “Saturday Night Fights” Oct. 4 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Fla. The headlining bout will anchor a live broadcast on CBS.
Sherdog.com confirmed the bout’s signing with multiple parties aware of the fight, while a press release is expected to circulate later today with the news.
The 44-year-old Shamrock (26-13-2) beat out fellow candidates Sean Gannon and Brett Rogers (Pictures), who called out Slice in May, for the coveted slot.
Shamrock, a 15-year veteran of the game who made his storied Octagon debut at UFC 1 in November 1993, has dropped his last five bouts in a row since 2005, including a lackluster showing against brawler Robert Berry (Pictures) at Cage Rage 25 last March.
However, “The World’s Most Dangerous Man” exudes substantial selling power for a match now only five and a half weeks away. A strong personality in and out of the cage, Shamrock’s 15 appearances in the UFC earned him international recognition alongside his original nemesis Royce Gracie (Pictures).
Slice (3-0) earned a third-round victory against Brit James Thompson (Pictures) in his last foray for EliteXC in May. The bout was much criticized for its questionable officiating, placing Ferguson’s skill set in doubt after Thompson held the advantage for sizable stretches of the 11-minute contest. Ferguson holds previous wins over David "Tank" Abbott (Pictures) and Bo Cantrell (Pictures).
Affliction Lightens Up October Card
Although Affliction has been best known for its Heavyweights so far, the promotion has decided to go a little lighter with one fight on its October 11 card, making an Albert Rios vs. Antonio Duarte fight. The Featherweight fight reflects Affliction's plans to expand into lighter weight classes.
KJ Noons may not be a coward, but he’s doing an awfully good impression of one.
The latest temper tantrum -- a pastime nearly as popular as the sport itself -- to hit media sites has been between Noons’ employer, EliteXC parent company ProElite, and Noons’ manager, Mark Dion, who insists proposed opponent Nick Diaz isn’t a credible contender for an Oct. 4 defense of Noons’ EliteXC lightweight title on CBS.
(The very same title he won against Diaz, a fact that incites a paradox of Dion’s claim: If Diaz isn’t a worthy opponent, what worth does Noons’ belt possess? Doc Brown warned us about this kind of thing.)
This stalemate was preceded earlier by Noons’ apathetic response to pestering about his seemingly inevitable rematch with Diaz. To paraphrase: I’ve beaten him once, so why do it again? I’m in no rush.
But you should be, Mr. Noons. You should be.
If there’s one thing MMA can finally offer after 15 years of its stubborn existence, it’s hindsight: If you don’t do the money match now, it’s going to slip right through your Ouano-laced fingers.
Back in 2003, the UFC thought it could “build” to a marquee match between Ken Shamrock and David "Tank" Abbott. Unfortunately, both went virtually winless in the Octagon, and the polished veneer of that fight chipped off like paint with no primer.
But it’s more than just the loss of a potentially incendiary fight. Barely in diapers in his MMA career, Noons was being offered the Holy Grail of anyone coveting mass exposure: a slot on primetime network television. A fight on CBS, regardless of the result, would give Noons an instant level of recognition that could be parlayed into any number of opportunities: endorsements, sponsorships, acting, seminars, etc.
Put another way, product advertisers spend hundreds of thousands of dollars securing pithy ad time on networks in an effort to marinate viewer brains in their product. Dion’s product is Noons, and instead of paying out the nose for the exposure, ProElite would be paying him -- and so would sponsors eager to get their logos captured by CBS’ high-definition cameras.
I’m not a business major, but that doesn’t sound too bad.
Anderson Silva wants Super Fights
Since making his debut in the Octagon, UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva has never hand picked an opponent. He has never turned down a fight. He even moved up a weight class to be a part of a main event for a special live televised event. And after facing Patrick Cote at UFC 90 in Chicago, Silva is looking for the biggest fights possible.
Being considered among the best pound for pound fighters on the planet always puts Silva’s name in the hat when fans and journalists alike start matchmaking the dream fights, pitting the Brazilian against everyone from Georges St. Pierre to Chuck Liddell.
His manager, Ed Soares, spoke to MMAWeekly Radio recently and feels that Anderson Silva will be a part of many of the biggest fights fans will ever see.
“I think he wants to fight those big mega fights because that’s the kind of fight we want to be involved with right now,” he said about Silva’s future fights. “I think it’s a combination of seeing what the potential opponent is and also seeing what the UFC wants to do. At the end of the day, this is a business, and they need to sell fights. They need to sell a lot of pay-per-views, and they need to sell tickets. So, we want to be involved with those types of fights.”
One name in particular that has been rumored for months is former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell, who is arguably the most well known fighter in the sport today. While Silva’s focus is solely on Patrick Cote, a fight with Liddell is one he would accept.
“We’re not looking past Patrick Cote, but I think we’ll take one step at a time and see what happens. But yeah, if a Chuck Liddell fight came up, we’d take it,” stated Soares. “Whoever the UFC wants to put in front of us, he wants to fight the best, and whoever that may be at the time, that’s who he wants to fight.”
The timing for a year-end super fight involving Silva may work out as well. As Soares explained, he was originally going to fight Yushin Okami at UFC 88 in Atlanta, but an injury forced the Japanese fighter off the card.
This latest match-up with Cote will take place towards the end of October, but barring any injuries, the “Spider” won’t close the door for the possibility of another fight in 2008.
“If the right fight was to come up for the New Year’s fight, maybe we would take it,” said Soares. “Right now it’s really hard to say, we’re pretty much just focused with Anderson on the Oct. 25 fight.”
Radach to Fight ‘Ninja’ at EliteXC-CBS Event
Benji Radach will fight Murilo “Ninja” Rua on the Oct. 4 EliteXC card, Radach has told Sherdog.com.
The bout bolsters a lineup packed with star power. Kimbo Slice and Gina Carano, in addition to Jake Shields’ title defense against Paul Daley, will headline the event, which will air live on CBS from the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Fla.
Matt Lindland vs. Trevor Prangley Set for Affliction 2
"sources close to the bout" have confirmed to MMAJunkie that the wrestler/fighter/aspiring politician from Oregon will now face South Africa's Trevor Prangley at Affliction's "Day of Reckoning" show. Belfort had previously mentioned that he would fight Lindland for "a title" - presumably the WAMMA middleweight belt - but the sources don't mention if a championship will be up for grabs. The 36-year old UFC and bodogFight veteran Prangley last competed in Strikeforce's "Four Men Enter, One Man Survives" one-night tournament in November of 2007, where he won an opening round decision against Falaniko Vitale but was later upset by Jorge Santiago.
Sources: EliteXC considering Lawler versus Villasenor for Nov. 8
Despite EliteXC middleweight champion Robbie Lawler (16-4) stating he might take the remainder of the year off after a July victory over Scott Smith, MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) has learned that Lawler may return as soon as November.
Sources close to the bout today revealed to that a rematch between Lawler and Joey Villasenor (26-6) is "pretty much a done deal" for EliteXC's Nov. 8 card. The event is scheduled for broadcast on premium-cable network Showtime.
EliteXC Vice-President Jared Shaw's recent comments to MMAjunkie.com would seem to confirm the possible match-up.
"Joe [Villasenor] will definitely be appearing sometime in the fall," Shaw said. "And he's definitely in line for a world title shot."
Although Villasenor recently lost the opportunity to fight in front of his hometown after the cancellation of EliteXC's Sept. 20 show in New Mexico, the Albuquerque-native may now have an opportunity for both a title and revenge.
Lawler and Villasenor have faced each other once before. In Oct. 2006 Lawler stunned Villasenor with a flying knee en route to a 22-second TKO victory. Villasenor recently told MMAjunkie.com he would love a second opportunity with Lawler.
"[Lawler] caught me with his first right, he dazed me, and the rest is history," Villasenor said. "Ever since that night I think about it and him all the time. ... I would really like the opportunity to compete against him again."
Lawler has won five-straight bouts and is currently WAMMA's fifth-ranked middleweight. The fight would be Lawler's third title defense in less than six months.
Lawler's potential early return to action could signal EliteXC's commitment to building momentum within the financially-burdened ProElite brand. Recent SEC filings have shown huge financial losses for the company.
With heavyweight champion Antonio Silva out following a drug-test failure and lightweight champion KJ Noons unwillingness to fight Nick Diaz, the company was in need of another title fight to market after their Oct. 4 CBS broadcast.