MMAPlayground Interview Series - Vol. 3 (Nam Phan)
As with any successful professional, mixed martial artists eat, sleep and breathe their craft. They put everything on the line when they wake up, hit the gym and pour their blood, sweat and tears into the sport we all love. When they enter that cage, for the fan, it's all about the entertainment, but these athletes go through the daily rigors with more in mind. For some fighters, it's a paycheck. For others, it's the glitz and glamour, but for some it's a lifestyle fueled by a deep passion and connection to the sport of mixed martial arts.
In our newest site feature, MMAPlayground would like to introduce you to some of these men and women of MMA that you may not know much about.
Our mission? To introduce. To educate. To spread the word.
Nam Phan is an Asian American fighter, who has also competed as a professional boxer. He is most known for his time spent in the Ultimate Fighter household during the twelfth installment of the series. He failed to reach the final, but impressed enough to earn a shot in the Octagon, facing Leonard Garcia and losing what is widely regarded as one of the biggest robberies in recent mixed martial arts history. With a recent loss to former featherweight champ, Mike Brown, Phan was given what he wanted. On October 8, in Houston, Texas, Nam will get a chance to step into the cage and exact his revenge on Garcia.
Phan caught up with us while in his gym, gearing up for some kickboxing.
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MMAPG: Thank you for taking the time to do this interview, Nam. You have a fight scheduled right around the corner against a familiar opponent in Leonard Garcia. The look on your face when the decision was announced the first time around pretty much expressed what pretty much everyone was thinking…you got robbed. Do you plan on switching up your game plan this time around? I know you don’t want to go in to much detail, but did you go back to the drawing board in preparation for a rematch with Garcia or did you just fine tune your previous strategy?
NAM PHAN: I always try to show some support! The only thing is I gotta try to finish this fight. I feel like if I don’t finish this guy in 15 minutes, just count is as a loss.
MMAPG: How do you feel about the judging in the Garcia fight, and how the judges seem to award his aggressiveness so much?
NAM PHAN: It kind of pisses me off. You gotta be aggressive, it’s cool, but you gotta score points. It’s frustrating.
Chael Sonnen Comments On Anderson Silva's Injuries
Everyone's favorite zany middleweight Chael Sonnen recently weighed on a topic that has made the round a bit since UFC 134 - the fact that Anderson Silva said he went into his fight with Yushin Okami with an injury and took anti-inflammatories for the injury. Silva also said he was injured entering his fight with Sonnen at UFC 117, so Chael wasn't about to pass up an opportunity to say something about it. This dandy of a quote was said to Paul Lazenby:
"I don't think that treatment for Anderson's problems is prohibited by the UFC, even right before a match. Some medications are limited, as you know, but Anderson is in a state of medical legitimacy because I don't think that Midol is prohibited, nor are chocolate or Gerard Butler movies. I have never personally had to deal with his sort of condition, but I feel for him and I really want to see what his top fighting form actually is, since we apparently haven't seen it yet. I can't remember the last time that he didn't say he was hurt for a match, and it's starting to alienate the fight fans. So he should take care of himself when he's suffering, or else the public will be stuck with the same unengaging fights and lackluster victories until he either dies or finally hits menopause."
Steven Seagal Reportedly Banned From Jon Jones' Locker Room Before UFC 135
Steven Seagal just won't go away. It was pretty humorous when Seagal, with 100% seriousness, took credit for teaching Black House members Anderson Silva and Lyoto Machida the front kicks that saw them defeat Vitor Belfort and Randy Couture respectively. I guess he thought he would take some of his wisdom over to another superstar, UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, before UFC 135. But Fighters Only reports that Seagal got shot down:
"He was wondering if he could come and talk to me backstage before the fight, just give me some words of encouragement. I didn't think that would be a good idea," Jones revealed.
"My training staff works very hard on me. I'm their prodigy. I wouldn't want to disrespect them by welcoming someone else's master into our room, into our house, into our family."
Spike TV to counter-program UFC on FOX 1 with Velasquez and Dos Santos fights
Further solidifying the rift between the UFC and its longtime cable partner, Spike TV today announced counter-programming for the UFC's debut on network TV.
On Nov. 12, Spike TV will air a "UFC Unleashed" marathon – dubbed "Dos Santos vs. Velasquez: Unleashed for the Heavyweight Title" – featuring past fights with UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos.
Not surprisingly, the marathon begins just as Velasquez and Dos Santos fight at UFC on FOX 1, the UFC's first show on network TV.
The event kicks off a monumental seven-year deal between the UFC and FOX. As part of the deal, which includes four annual events on FOX, other UFC programming such as "The Ultimate Fighter" and UFC Fight Night events will move from Spike TV to FOX-owned FX and FUEL TV.
MMAjunkie.com announces live stream of Saturday's Cage Warriors 44 event
MMAjunkie.com is proud to announce a live stream of this weekend's Cage Warriors 44 event.
The show takes place Saturday at HMV Forum in London. The co-headliners feature Ivan Musardo (17-6-1) vs. Joseph Duffy (10-0) for the vacant lightweight title, as well as recent UFC fighter Brian Foster (15-5) vs. Jack Mason (17-8).
The live stream begins at 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT (9 p.m. BT local time).
The full Cage Warriors 44 main card includes:
Joseph Duffy (10-0) vs. Ivan Musardo (17-6-1) - for vacant lightweight title
Brian Foster (15-5) vs. Jack Mason (17-8)
Ashleigh Grimshaw (10-7-1) vs. Graham Turner (17-6)
Kevin Donnelly (6-3) vs. Brad Wheeler (6-5)
Niko Gjoka (5-6) vs. Neil Seery (8-8)
Steve O'Keeffe (4-1) vs. Dean Reilly (5-2)
David Howell (2-1) vs. Kieran Malone (2-4)
ADCC 2011: Rousimar Palhares Continues Bizarre Behavior at Grappling Tournament
It seems like there is nothing Rousimar Palhares can do that doesn't involve some sort of controversy. Notorious for his willingness to bend the rules when in the cage for MMA and his bizarre mental lapses, the accomplished grappler isn't exactly an angel on the grappling mat either.
At the 2011 ADCC Palhares got off to a less than ideal start by missing weight but was given a second chance at which point he hit the mark. Then, in his second round match with David Avellan, Palhares' signature weirdness popped up again.
Once able to take the money and run, UFC 135's Mark Hunt instead wanted a fight
When the UFC purchased and ultimately disbanded its rival, PRIDE Fighting Championships, veteran heavyweight Mark Hunt was offered a pretty sweet deal.
Quite simply, the UFC was willing to pay him to go away and surrender his contracted fights.
But the PRIDE veteran didn't want to do that, and following a hard-fought decision victory over Ben Rothwell at Saturday's UFC 135 event, UFC president heaped praise on him.
In fact, it was White who convinced Hunt to attend the post-fight press conference for UFC 135, which took place Saturday at Denver's Pepsi Center. Hunt (7-7 MMA, 2-1 UFC) fought Rothwell (31-8 MMA, 1-2 UFC) on the night's pay-per-view main card.
"I actually asked Mark to come to this press conference," White said. "Many of you probably don't know, or some of you do know, when we bought PRIDE, he came as part of the PRIDE deal. It was back and forth, and basically I was like, 'You know what? We'll just pay you off what we owed you in the PRIDE deal.' Mark Hunt said, 'No, I want to come, and I want to fight.'"
What's next for UFC 135 winner Koscheck? Middleweight, UFC 139 are possibilities
Josh Koscheck is back. In more ways than one.
Just ask the man himself, who returned from a nine-month layoff to impressively defeat UFC Hall of Famer Matt Hughes in Saturday's UFC 135 co-headliner.
Koscheck, who spent much of the past year recovering from a broken orbital bone, is now focused on the future. And he's not counting out a possible move to middleweight or even a spot on November's UFC 139 card in San Jose, Calif.
Koscheck (16-5 MMA, 14-5 UFC), fighting for the first time since his December title loss to champ Georges St-Pierre, defeated Hughes (44-9 MMA, 18-7 UFC) via first-round TKO. He took the bout, which aired on pay-per-view from Denver's Pepsi Center, on 19 days' notice for injured Diego Sanchez. But prior to that, he considered a move to middleweight.
It's a move he's still considering.
"I would still like to have some fights at 185, but I don't know what the future holds for me right now," said the American Kickboxing Academy fighter. "I'm just going to go home and see about possibly getting back into the gym and working on areas I need to improve on. You never know. I might be fighting in November in San Jose."
Humble in UFC 135 defeat, 'Rampage' Jackson hopes for 'Shogun' Rua in Japan
For former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton "Rampage" Jackson (32-9 MMA, 7-3 UFC), there are no excuses.
He admits that he was as ready as ever for a UFC 135 contest with UFC champ Jon Jones (14-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC), but "Bones" simply proved the better man with a fourth-round submission victory.
So now, it's time to move on. Well, at least past Jones. For his next move, Jackson would like to meet an old friend in a familiar setting.
"[Jackson] and I just talked about [fighting 'Shogun' Rua in Japan] when he was back there getting stitched up," UFC president Dana White said at Saturday's post-event press conference. "[Rua] is fighting Dan Henderson in San Jose, so we'll see what happens there.
"What Rampage said to me was, 'I want to fight in that Japan fight.' I said, 'Cool.' I'm never going to argue with you when you tell me you want to fight."
Jackson and Rua (20-5 MMA, 4-3 UFC), of course, have a history together. The two first squared off in April 2005 in a middleweight grand prix bout under the PRIDE banner. The contest, which was held in Osaka, Japan, ended with Rua earning a devastating TKO via soccer kicks.
Following scintillating return to 155 pounds, Nate Diaz done with welterweight – for now
UFC lightweight contender Nate Diaz's 170-pound experiment is over, at least for now.
It's not that his two recent losses in the division have discouraged him from giving it another shot. It's not even that he was influenced by an incredible UFC 135 win over Japanese legend Takanori Gomi.
No, the truth is Diaz (14-7 MMA, 9-5 UFC) feels like he has a duty to stay at lightweight for now. A quick survey of the division's landscape, and Diaz realized he belongs among the sport's best 155-pounders.
"A lot of the guys I beat are top contenders at 155," Diaz told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "Melvin Guillard is about to get a title shot and (Clay) Guida, I thought I beat up Guida pretty good.
"I can't stay at 170 when all the guys I'm whooping are at the top of the division."
UFC champ Jon Jones: Rashad Evans is not even close to having my number
After witnessing the pre-fight tension between UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones (14-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC) and his UFC 135 opponent Quinton "Rampage" Jackson (32-9 MMA, 7-3 UFC), the pair's almost-playful banter at Saturday night's post-event press conference seemed a tad bizarre.
However, after Jones submitted Jackson in the evening's main event, both fighters said the tension that once existed between them has been resolved.
In contrast, the champ does not feel the same about his next opponent: former training partner Rashad Evans.
"I don't want to talk about Rashad tonight," Jones flatly said.
UFC boss thinks Matt Hughes will likely hang 'em up – even if he won't say 'retire'
No official decision has been made, but UFC president Dana White believes Matt Hughes (45-9 MMA, 18-7 UFC) has fought for the final time.
Following a UFC 135 loss to Josh Koscheck, Hughes declined to share his future plans.
However, at Saturday night's post-event press conference (which Hughes declined to attend when given the option, according to the UFC boss), White said he thinks the UFC Hall of Famer is likely done competing in the octagon.
"I think he's going to retire," White said of Hughes. "I just don't think Hughes wants to say the word 'retire.'"
UFC 135 bonuses: Koscheck, Diaz, Jones and Jackson earn $75K fighter awards
Josh Koscheck, Nate Diaz, Jon Jones and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson each earned $75,000 fight-night bonuses for their performances at Saturday's UFC 135 event.
Koscheck earned the night's "Knockout of the Night" award, Diaz picked up the "Submission of the Night" bonus, and Jones and Jackson took home "Fight of the Night" honors.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) learned of the bonus winners and award amounts at UFC 135's post-fight press conference.
UFC 135 took place at Denver's Pepsi Center. The night's main card aired on pay-per-view, and Facebook and Spike TV carried portions of the preliminary card.
All four bonus winners competed on the PPV main card...
UFC 135 Weigh In Results
Main card (Pay-Per-View):
Jon Jones (204.5) vs. Quinton "Rampage" Jackson (204)
Matt Hughes (170) vs. Josh Koscheck (170.5)
Rob Broughton (261) vs. Travis Browne (255)
Nate Diaz (156) vs. Takanori Gomi (155)
Mark Hunt (261) vs. Ben Rothwell (263)
Preliminary card (Spike TV):
Aaron Riley (155) vs. Anthony Ferguson (155)
Tim Boetsch (186) vs. Nick Ring (185)
Preliminary card (Facebook):
Ricardo Romero (205) vs. James Te Huna (205)
Cole Escovedo (135) vs. Takeya Mizugaki (135)
Junior Assuncao (145) vs. Eddie Yagin (145)
Nick Pace says he's fighting Miguel Torres at UFC 139 in November
UFC bantamweight Nick Pace (6-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC) today announced he's fighting ex-WEC champ Miguel Torres (38-4 MMA, 1-1 UFC) at UFC 139 in November.
The fighter revealed the booking via Twitter, though UFC officials have made no formal announcement.
UFC 139 takes place Nov. 19 at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. The night's main card, including a Dan Henderson vs. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, airs on pay-per-view.
Pace vs. Torres would likely be part of the preliminary card.
Rampage names the spy; executive VP of MusclePharm resigns
During Friday morning’s edition of ESPN’s SportsCenter, Rampage finally exposed the name of the mole and revealed the alleged perpetrator is now standing in the unemployment line:
The dialog begins when Rampage responds to why he felt there was a spy in his camp:
Rampage: Because it’s true. I’ve had a couple of feelings and a guy tweeted me on Twitter and made my suspicions grow further. A couple of things happened, so I faked a injury. It got right back to Jon Jones’ manager and we just found out who the spy was. And he’s terminated. He’s no longer working right now. So we found out exactly who the spy was and it’s true.
Jones: So who’s the spy, Rampage?
Rampage: You know who the spy was.
Strikeforce Challengers 20 main card set for Nov. 18 in Las Vegas
Five fights are now official for November's Strikeforce Challengers 20 event.
The show takes place Nov. 18 at The Pearl at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas.
A previously reported light-heavyweight bout between Antwain Britt (11-5 MMA, 1-2 SF) and Lumumba Sayers (4-2 MMA, 0-1 SF) headlines the night's main card, which airs on Showtime at 11 p.m. ET/PT.