MMAPlayground Interview Series - Vol. 10 (Chris "Kamikaze" Cariaso)
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.
Chris "Kamikaze" Cariaso is a 5-year mixed martial arts veteran and can currently be found competing in the Bantamweight division of the UFC. His current record stands at 11-3-0 with 4 stoppage victories and 7 wins by decision.
Cariaso is currently scheduled to face Vaughan Lee at UFC 138 in Birmingham, England. Read the interview below to find out why he thought he won his most recent fight against "Mayday" McDonald, what to expect at UFC 138 and more!
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MMAPG: Thank you for the interview, Chris. How’s training going for you?
CARIASO: Training is going great. I have expanded my team. I have been working with strength and conditioning specialist John Pena at Power and Physique. I have spent the last month training in Montreal with Firas Zahabi, the Tristar Team and John Chaimberg.
MMAPG: You’re currently scheduled to fight Vaughan Lee at UFC 138 on November 5th, in Birmingham, England. Can you tell us a little bit about him? He’s a relative unknown in the US. Have you been able to find much to research?
CARIASO: I don’t know much about him. There is not much video on him; just a few videos on YouTube. He looks strong and has some submission skills.
UFC 137's B.J. Penn would like another title shot, but he's not banking on it
The title picture is a fickle beast, and B.J. Penn isn't about to get wrapped up in it.
The former lightweight and welterweight champion said that after his near-miss with a second chance at 170-pound champ Georges St-Pierre's belt, he's taking a wait-and-see attitude about his career.
"I'm trying to fight my best, and like all fighters say, the fight's against yourself," Penn said today. "So I'm just going to try to push myself to my personal best."
Penn (16-7-2 MMA, 12-6-2 UFC), who meets Nick Diaz (25-7 MMA, 6-4 UFC) in the headliner of UFC 137 on Oct. 29 at Las Vegas' Mandalay Bay Events Center, admits he fights himself a lot. Once a dominant force in the lightweight division, his stock took a considerable slide with back-to-back losses to current champ Frankie Edgar, and later, a draw at UFC 127 with Jon Fitch that was supposed to crown the next welterweight contender.
"For me, it's always been a love-hate relationship with MMA, and maybe with the UFC at times," Penn said. "I'd love to stick around as long as Randy (Couture) has stuck around, if I could do something like that. But it's one day, I want to fight 100 more fights, and the next day, I'm like I don't want to do this any more. I think a lot of fighters feel that way, but maybe I'm just more vocal about it."
Shoulder surgery reignites UFC fighter Rich Franklin's passion for MMA
At 37 years old, stuck in the purgatory of being a between-weight-classes fighter, and now on the mend from a recent shoulder surgery, Rich Franklin could easily wonder if being a UFC fighter has lost its luster.
A former no-hassles champ and the UFC's longtime consummate professional, he's found adversity around every corner in recent years.
But if you think Franklin is losing his interest in the fight game, think again. In fact, he said it's quite the opposite.
"Now that I'm injured and can't do things, it's fired me up," he today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "When you're stopped from doing something, that's when you're most hungry for it."
Franklin hasn't fought since a February loss to Forrest Griffin. Like so many of his fights since a move up from middleweight – where two losses to MMA kingpin Anderson Silva forced his departure – he found himself the much smaller fighter on event night.
Dustin Jacoby went from pro debut to UFC 137 pay-per-view slot in 11 months
When the squad at Fiore MMA heard Georges St-Pierre was injured and out of UFC 137, a buzz lit up the room.
Not because the UFC welterweight champ had been injured, of course, but because it meant that one lucky pair of fighters from the preliminary card would get a big promotion.
Maybe that pair would include team middleweight, Dustin Jacoby, who until the start of this month had been a sharp up-and-comer waiting for his big-show shot.
Jacoby, whose professional career started just 11 months ago, was already thrilled to have gotten a short-notice fight opposite Brad Tavares on the Facebook-streamed preliminary card of the Oct. 29 pay-per-view event. When a friend texted him late Tuesday that he'd gotten the main-card spot (and he confirmed the good news on MMAjunkie.com's mobile-phone app), life got a bit more interesting.
"It's been pretty hectic," Jacoby today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "To have an opportunity like this, it stepped everything up to a whole other level."
Jacoby (6-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) vs. Tavares (7-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) is now the first fight of the pay-per-view card. UFC 137 takes place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. Jacoby earlier this month stepped in for an injured Tim Credeur (12-4 MMA, 3-2 UFC)
Blagoi Ivanov out, Neil Grove back in heavyweight tourney at Bellator 56
Bellator's heavyweight-tournament shuffle continues.
The latest change comes as a result of an injury to semifinalist Blagoi Ivanov (5-0 MMA, 2-0 BFC). Taking his place in the final four is opening-round loser Neil Grove (11-4-1 MMA, 3-2 BFC), who now gets a second life and meets Thiago Santos (9-1 MMA, 1-0 BFC) in a semifinal matchup at Bellator 56.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) today confirmed the change with a source close to the fighter.
Bellator 56 takes place Oct. 29 at Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kan. The main card airs on MTV2 (and in high-definition on EPIX), and the prelims stream on Spike.com.
Amir Sadollah accepts full blame for recent loss, eyes January UFC return
Ups and downs are inherent to life, which means you're not immune if you're an MMA fighter and your name happens to be Amir Sadollah.
Since May 2010, "The Ultimate Fighter 7" winner has an even 2-2 record.
Mixed results aren't ideal in a cutthroat business. You never know what could happen following a loss. Sadollah is safe at the moment – but definitely shouldn't get too comfortable.
After all, fellow "TUF" winners such as Joe Stevenson, Kendall Grove, Efrain Escudero and Travis Lutter all currently find themselves outside the promotion looking in.
While Sadollah's situation isn't too dire, the inconsistency is still worth his upright and full attention. To address it, he looks to fight again in the near future to get back in the win column.
Coach: Werdum fighting in December, hopefully for UFC
Guilherme Cruz: Is Wanderlei training with you guys for Cung Le?
Raphael Cordeiro: He’s here, he’s practically living here. He’s done a marathon here, he’s pouring his heart out on the trainings. We’re having good results on the trainings with Werdum, Babalu, Munoz, Dida, quality guys. And he’s doing great. We’re much confident because of the work we’ve been doing here.
GC: Before Wand vs. Cung Le, Mark Munoz, another fighter from your team, fights Chris Leben. How is he doing on the trainings?
RC: He’s on fire. Mark is super dedicated, he’s a good guy, special, who’s making some room for himself in the organization. He’s one of the guys who trains the most, he’s our ‘geek’ (laughs). Sometimes he overtrains… But sometimes it’s good to make a mistake by trying to hard than not trying hard enough, right?
GC: And what about Werdum’s return? There were rumors about him signing with UFC…
RC: He’s back to the trainings, he’s making everybody laugh. He’ll probably fight in December… He’s talking to the UFC, and maybe they come up with something for December
Efrain Escudero vs. Cesar Avila added to Saturday's Bellator 55 event
A notable name has been added to Saturday's Bellator 55 event.
"The Ultimate Fighter 8" winner and recent regional-show regular Efrain Escudero (17-3 MMA, 0-0 BFC) meets fellow lightweight Ceasar Avila (6-1 MMA, 0-0 BFC) on the event's preliminary card.
The official Bellator 55 card includes:
MAIN CARD (MTV2)
Marcos Galvao vs. Alexis Vila (bantamweight tourney semifinal)
Eduardo Dantas vs. Ed West (bantamweight tourney semifinal)
Champ Christian M'Pumbu vs. Travis Wiuff (non-title light-heavyweight fight)
Ricardo Tirloni vs. Steve Gable
PRELIMINARY CARD (Spike.com)
Cesar Avila vs. Efrain Escudero
Carlos Flores vs. Richard Hale
Edgar Garcia vs. Jacob Ortiz
Erin Beach vs. Roscoe Jackson
Nick Piedmont vs. Jade Porter
Dano Moore vs. Steve Steinbeiss
Friday's XFC 14 fight card finalized, HDNet lineup undergoes two changes
With Friday's XFC 14 event quickly approaching, the promotion has announced a few late changes to the lineup.
Welterweight Nicolae Cury (5-2) replaces Charles Blanchard and now faces Elijah Harshbarger (6-3), and featherweight John Mahlow (12-12) steps in for Lawson McClure to face Bruce Connors (8-3).
Both fights air Friday on HDNet as part of the seven-bout main card of "XFC 14: Resurrection."
Featuring a headliner of former WEC champion Jamie Varner (17-5-1) vs. fellow lightweight Nate Jolly (10-3), XFC 14 takes place Oct. 21 at UCF Arena in Orlando, Fla., on the campus of the University of Central Florida.
With the official changes, the latest XFC 14 lineup now includes:
MAIN CARD (HDNet)
Nate Jolly vs. Jamie Varner
Scott Barrett vs. Carmelo Marrero
Marianna Kheyfets vs. Molly Helsel
Josh Clark vs. Reggie Pena
Nicolae Cury vs. Elijah Harshbargar
Mike Bernhard vs. Mikey Gomez
Bruce Connors vs. John Mahlow
Dustin Jacoby vs. Brad Tavares promoted to UFC 137 main card
Georges St-Pierre's misfortune is a gain for Dustin Jacoby Brad Tavares.
The middleweights, who had been relegated to the Facebook-streamed preliminary card for next week's UFC 137 event, have been promoted the pay-per-view main card, UFC officials today confirmed with MMAjunkie.com.
A PPV slot opened when an injured St-Pierre was forced out of UFC 137's championship headliner with Carlos Condit.
Cesar Gracie on B.J. Penn vs. Nick Diaz - 'Let's Make it Five Rounds'
It looks like Nick Diaz wants to go five rounds with B.J. Penn in the new main event of UFC 137, despite Dana White stating it would only be a three-rounder on twitter earlier today. Of course, they are now in the marquee spot because Georges St. Pierre was forced out of his headlining bout with Carlos Condit due to a knee injury. As usual, Nick's manager Cesar Gracie is leading the campaign for a five-rounder, speaking to MMA Fighting about the idea:
"If they can't fight five rounds against each other, how are they going to fight five rounds against GSP?," Gracie said to MMAFighting.com on Tuesday.
UFC champ St-Pierre out of UFC 137 with injury, Diaz vs. Penn named new headliner
An injury has forced UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre (22-2 MMA, 16-2 UFC) out of next weekend's UFC 137 event and a title fight with Carlos Condit (27-5 MMA, 4-1 UFC).
UFC president Dana White today tweeted the news.
A co-main event between B.J. Penn (16-7-2 MMA, 12-6-2 UFC) and Nick Diaz (25-7 MMA, 6-4 UFC) has been promoted to the main event. It'll be contested at three rounds.
Sonnen hints loser-leaves-town offer off table, but promises to push for Silva rematch
Chael Sonnen made a limited-time offer to Anderson Silva. The loser-leaves-town fight he presented the middleweight champ is apparently off the table.
"That offer was good when I made it, but it's like any offer: They've got to expire," Sonnen said today during an appearance on "The Jim Rome Show."
But as with many proclamations given by Sonnen, it's a good bet that just the opposite is true, or the entire offer was never true.
Rich Franklin: 'Sometimes The UFC Doesn't Really Have My Back'
Former UFC middleweight champion, Rich Franklin, has always been portrayed as the UFC's ultimate company man. Whether it's moving between weight classes to make way for younger, more talented fighters, fighting at catch-weights in bouts with no divisional relevance, or taking part in countless media opportunities, press tours, and promotional activities, "Ace" has always gone above and beyond to do whatever Dana White, Lorenzo Fertitta, or Joe Silva ask of him. This is partly because Franklin is one of the UFC's most well-spoken and highly educated fighters, and also because he has a large fan-base and appeal as the all-American good-guy fighter who's rarely in a boring fight.
St. Pierre Out of UFC 137
An injury has forced UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre (22-2 MMA, 16-2 UFC)out of next weekend's UFC 137 event and a title fight with Carlos Condit (27-5 MMA, 4-1 UFC).
Tito Ortiz Names Himself 'The People's Champ'
Tito Ortiz may be 1-5-1 in his last seven bouts, but his shocking win over Ryan Bader at UFC 132 was enough to keep Tito in the UFC and just relevant enough. Tito is now set to face Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC 140 and, somewhat shockingly, is only a slight underdog (+130 to +145). It opened even closer with Ortiz only a +110 underdog.
Maybe this was based on Tito's one win in five years, or maybe it's his new status as "The People's Champion." Via ESPN:
Jon Robinson: I was at your fight against Ryan Bader and the look on your face after you won was one of such pure joy, I can't remember seeing you that happy before. What did that moment mean to you?
Tito Ortiz: It meant that everything had paid off. My whole legacy, my whole career depended on that fight. I trained really hard and had some great guys around me training with me. It was almost like winning my world title. A lot of people didn't believe in me. A lot of people couldn't believe that I was still here. I had neck surgery, lower back surgery and a lot of athletes don't compete after that. I showed that I'm able to compete against the best guys in the world, and I think that will help show people that if they believe in themselves, if they believe in their dream, they can accomplish anything. That's why I changed my name to The People's Champ. I want everyone to know that I'm here for the fans. I want them to know that they can bounce back from anything.
Danny Castillo vs. Shamar Bailey Set for UFC 139 in San Jose
It appears that the fight card for UFC 139 in San Jose, California is now full with the addition of a lightweight match-up between Danny Castillo and Shamar Bailey. The UFC announced the bout via Twitter today:
Anyone wondering who @ShamarBailey and Danny Castillo @lastcall155 have agreed to fight next? Mmm how bout each other, UFC 139 #beastmode