Interviewing ‘Mixfight M-1’ president Vadim Finkelstein and vice-president Sergei Matvienko
Their impression of Yarennoka!, revealing future plans, potential Fedor's opponents and more
1. Whose idea was it originally to organize the Yarennoka! event?
Vadim: We had the idea a long time ago. Fedor is Pride champion who has fought in Japan forever. In 2007 Pride was purchased by one American company following which Pride died.
In October I got call from ex-Pride staff representative who told me there was an opportunity of organizing an event in Japan. Shortly thereafter we came to agreement that we’d hold an event called ‘M-1 Yarennoka!’ which would embody farewell to Pride.
Sergei: Yarennoka in Japanese means “Let’s do this” or “Can we do it?”. Actually we had this question in mind while arranging things. As far as I’m concerned we succeeded.
2. What problems did you come across while organizing this event?
Vadim: We had a bunch of problems as it was the first time we made an event of this caliber. Lack of time for instance. Also they gave us a smaller arena than we expected because there was not enough time to conduct a full-scale campaign advertising the upcoming event. So we decided to not take the risk. The arena could seat only 22’000 spectators but there were about 27’000 in attendance, the arena was pretty much overcrowded. It was simply impossible to dismantle the arena in one day.
Sergei: For the next event we’ll get the building which would seat 40’000 people. We are confident there still will be lack of free seats. It was the case the last time as a lot of potential viewers couldn’t get a ticket.
Please, anything but a Choi/Fedor rematch... WTH are they thinking,
Jeff Joslin Returns at UFC 84 in Montreal
Jeff Joslin (5-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC), the promising Canadian fighter who’s battled injuries since debuting with the UFC in December 2006, plans to return to the organization for a UFC 84 event in Montreal.
Our friends at MMA on Tap (a site that breaks many Canadian stories) posted the report earlier today, and MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) has since confirmed the UFC’s desire to get the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt on the April 19 fight card.
Joslin’s opponent is not yet known.
UFC 83 in London; Houston Alexander Accepts Fight with James Irvin
The UFC will likely return to England for an March 8 event in London, and one potential slugfest is already in the works.
A source close to Houston Alexander (8-2 MMA, 2-1 UFC) today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that the UFC light heavyweight has accepted a fight with James Irvin (13-4 MMA, 3-3 UFC) and is simply awaiting word on whether Irvin’s camp will green-light the bout.
Karo Parisyan vs. Thiago Alves in the Works for UFC 84
The rumored fight card for UFC’s first-ever event in Canada is looking better and better.
Sources close to both fighters today told MMAjunkie.com that the fight has been discussed and that bout agreements are expected to be signed. The welterweight bout would complement UFC 84’s main event between UFC welterweight champ Matt Serra and interim champ Georges St. Pierre.
UFC 80 conference call
BJ Penn on Sean Sherk: "It’s about heart and soul. It ain’t about running in the bathroom and taking drugs.”
Check out what BJ, Joe Stevenson and Dana White had to say on today's conference call. At the top of the story, you can click to a link and listen to the entire call. It's broken into two parts. The first part is about 20 minutes and the second part is about 10 minutes.
Dana White Talks UFC Expansion
UFC held it's pre-UFC 80 press conference today, and while UFC was promoting the upcoming Joe Stevenson-BJ Penn LIghtweight Title fight, UFC President Dana White mostly talked about UFC's plans for expansion.
Sean Sherk Possibly Returns in April; Two Title Fights at UFC 84?
UFC Sean Sherk, a former UFC lightweight champion who was stripped of the title after his his suspension from a failed UFC 73 drug test was upheld by the California State Athletic Commission, says he will next fight in April — possibly at an April 19 UFC 84 event in Montreal.
In an interview with sportsnet.ca, Sherk said UFC officials recently told him he’d fight in April and that he hopes it’ll be at the Montreal event.
Sherk hasn’t fought since July 7, when he posted a unanimous-decision over Hermes Franca in his first title defense. However, the 34-year-old tested positive for elevated testosterone levels and the anabolic steroid Nandrolone, more commonly known as Decadurabolin, during the Sacramento, Calif. event. Sherk appealed, but after a series of delays, the commission ultimately cut his one-year suspension to six months but upheld the $2,500 fine. (He’s eligible to fight again on Jan. 3.)
Wow if true this card is shaping up to be a real barn-burner.
MMA Talk-2008 Predictions
Happy New Year!!!
It may be a little late but this is the first MMA Talk of 2008. I ended last year with a Year in Review. I would like to start this year looking ahead. I expect it to be another great year for MMA with exciting fights and great fighters.
Report: Mauricio “Shogun” Rua Returns to UFC on April 19
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (16-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC), a former PRIDE standout who underwent knee surgery after a submission loss to Forrest Griffin in September, will return to the UFC at an April 19 event in Montreal, Canada.
The news comes from GracieMag.com, which recently interviewed the fighter about the launch of his new fight team. Rua recently severed ties with Chute Boxe, his longtime home.
There’s no word on Rua’s opponent for the April 19 event, which is expected to take place at Montreal’s Bell Centre. The event — the first ever to take place in Canada — will likely feature a title-unification bout between UFC welterweight champion Matt Serra and interim champ (and French Canadian) Georges St. Pierre.
Kelly Ready for All-Brit Battle
After discovering MMA three years ago, Paul Kelly tore himself away from a life of crime and street fighting to pursue a career in the cage. By the sounds of it, the tough Merseyside scrapper abandoned his old ways in the nick of time.
"It's 2008," Kelly said. "No one fights anymore, so it's no good on the streets. Where I live, you get shot in the head."
Franklin's Father Dies Of Heart Attack
UFC fighter Rich Franklin's father died last night of a heart attack. No other information is available at this time but it could cause another delay to his scheduled fight against Travis Lutter, now scheduled for UFC 83 in April.
UFC 82: Jon Fitch vs. Akihiro Gono booked; Fitch inks contract extension (Exclusive)
Top welterweight contender Jon Fitch (15-2) has signed the bout agreement to fight Akihiro Gono (27-12-7) at UFC 82: “Pride of a Champion” on March 1 at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, MMAmania.com (www.mmamania.com) just learned
In addition, the American Kickboxing Academy standout has re-signed with the organization for another three bouts. He is undefeated (7-0) in the Octagon since his debut in 2005. Fitch has also not lost a professional fight since 2002 — more than five years
Kendall Grove: "My first six fights, I fought high."
Grove seemed to be on the fast track to stardom in the UFC. After winning TUF 3, Grove managed to reel off two consecutive victories in convincing fashion before being stopped by Patrick Cote in the first round of their battle at UFC 74. Since that fight, Grove has rededicated himself to the sport and is looking forward to righting the ship against Jorge Rivera at UFC 80 on January 19. Grove sat down with our friends over at CagePotato.com to discus a variety of topics.
Couture Going All In Saturday Night
UFC Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture will go All In at the poker tables Saturday as host of the Operation All In Charity Poker Tournament at The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Couture and several notable celebrities and poker pros as well as players making up a field of 150 will compete for a guaranteed $50,000, with additional proceeds benefitting the Xtreme Couture GI Foundation.
St. Pierre and Faber Join Sherdog P4P Rankings
The first Sherdog pound-for-pound rankings in 2008 deliver a significant shakeup outside the top three.
Jumping onto the list is Georges St. Pierre (Pictures), who goes from unranked into the top five. Also joining the list for the first time is featherweight Urijah Faber (Pictures), who defended his WEC belt in December against Jeff Curran (Pictures).
Lightweights Gilbert Melendez (Pictures), loser of a tight decision on New Year's Eve, and Sean Sherk (Pictures), inactive while fighting and serving a suspension for steroids, were dropped from the list.
Guillard taking temporary leave from UFC
UFC lightweight Melvin Guillard (20-7-2 MMA, 3-3 UFC), who was submitted by arch enemy Rich Clementi last month at a UFC 79 event in Las Vegas, will be leaving the UFC to gain some experience in smaller fighter promotions before returning to the octagon.
Guillard confirmed the plans — in his trademark way (with foul language, death threats, and a denial that he’s ever really been defeated) — during a recent interview with the baltimoresun.com.
Liddell wants Jardine
wants a rematch with Jardine.
The guy giving the interview is a major nuthugger though.