MMAPlayground Interview Series - Vol. 7 (Brian Foster)
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.
Brian Foster is a mixed martial artist who is also a five time UFC veteran. He has recently recovered from some terrible setbacks in his health, and has successfully resumed his career with a victory against Jack Mason at Cage Warriors 44. Brian was granted two tune-up fights by the UFC in preparation for his return. He will be taking on Laverne Clark at CCCW 7 on Saturday October 15. He took time out of his training schedule to answer some questions.
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MMAPG: Brian, thanks for taking some time to answer a few questions. First off, congratulations on your win last weekend against Jack Mason. You’re coming off some brutal setbacks. How are you feeling, and how good did it feel to get back into the cage?
FOSTER: It felt great! It's a good feeling to get a win after overcoming some injuries. I mean it sucks it wasn't for the UFC but a win’s a win not matter the organization.
MMAPG: The UFC has granted you the opportunity, given your long lay-off, to compete in a couple “tune-up” fights. That’s not something you see a whole lot in the UFC. How did the idea come about?
FOSTER: I think it had a lot to do with my coach as well as the UFC. They wanted to make sure I was totally healthy and capable of competing at a high level without being such a liability to the UFC.
Exhausted Dana White: 'I will [expletive] die' making sure UFC gets to next level
All told, the UFC has booked 27 events this year.
In 2012, it's aiming to put on 34 shows, a 22 percent increase. In 2005, the year in which the promotion broke onto basic cable, 10 events filled the calendar.
Meanwhile, the UFC offices have spread into a new building. In about a month, the promotion arrives on network TV.
"This year was a big year for us," UFC president Dana White said. "But the next year is going to be the real big year for mixed martial arts. Next year is going to be the real big year for MMA. Next year is the one that's going to change everything and take it to the next level."
UFC on FOX 1 takes place Nov. 12 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., and features a heavyweight title fight between reigning champ Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos.
UFC 136 medical suspensions go to five fighters, Maynard gets longest with 60 days
The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation issued medical suspensions of more than 10 days to just five UFC 136 fighters, and defeated main-event fighter Gray Maynard got the longest one with 60 days.
The list of medical suspensions lasting longer than the standard 10 days included:
- Frankie Edgar: Suspended until Nov. 23
- Gray Maynard: Suspended until Dec. 8
- Leonard Garcia: Suspended until Nov. 23
- Eric Schafer: Suspended until Nov. 8
- Mike Massenzio: Suspended until Nov. 23
Thiago Santos replaces injured Mike Hayes in tourney semifinals at Bellator 56
As officials feared, a broken orbital bone has forced Mike Hayes (16-4-1 MMA, 2-1 BFC) out of Bellator's current season-five heavyweight tournament.
In his place steps replacement Thiago Santos (9-1 MMA, 1-0 BFC), who now meets Blagoi Ivanov (5-0 MMA, 2-0 BFC) in a semifinal matchup later this month at Bellator 56, officials today announced.
Bellator 56 takes place Oct. 29 at Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kan.
The night's main card, including tourney fights of Santos vs. Ivanov and Eric Prindle (8-1 MMA, 2-0 BFC) vs. Ron Sparks (8-0 MMA, 3-0 BFC), airs on MTV2 (and in high-definition on EPIX). The prelims stream on Spike.com.
After UFC 136 loss, Kenny Florian undecided on fighting future, taking 'some time' off
After a UFC 136 loss and an unsuccessful third bid at a UFC title, Kenny Florian isn't sure what's next.
In a statement released today, the 35-year-old said he's taking some time away from the sport, though he's not sure if that could lead to a retirement.
Florian, who suffered a unanimous-decision loss to featherweight champ Jose Aldo at this past weekend's pay-per-view event in Houston, said that decision will come at a later time.
"First, I'd like to thank Jose Aldo for giving me the opportunity to compete for the featherweight title last Saturday," Florian stated. "I gave the fight my all, but Jose won that night. I would also like to thank the UFC, Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta for their continued support.
"I am passionate about mixed martial arts, and I love being involved in this sport. It is incredible to see how much MMA has grown and that, today, there are millions of people who enjoy the UFC as much as I do.
"Second, everyone is asking what is next for me. The only response I can give right now is that I'm going to take some time. I want to rest, spend some time with my family and friends, and then evaluate all of my options. I'll speak with Dana, and my manager, Glenn Robinson, and we will figure out my next move. When I make that decision, my fans will be the first to know. One way or another, you haven’t seen the last of Ken-Flo!"
Silva's camp: Sonnen crossed a line, not in position to determine champ's return date
Chael Sonnen is funny, sure. But he's crossed the line, manager Ed Soares today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
"First the guy gets in trouble for fraud, then he tests positive for steroids, and now he wants to kick in someone's door and slap their wife in the ass? This guy should be in jail; he shouldn't be fighting," the Anderson Silva rep said.
Sonnen called out the middleweight champ in a post-fight interview following his victory over Brian Stann at this past weekend's UFC 136 event. But the fighter's comments a week prior set things off, Soares said.
During his pre-fight media duties for the pay-per-view event, Sonnen gave a racy provocation to MMA broadcaster Mauro Renallo.
"You tell Anderson Silva I'm coming over and I'm kicking down his backdoor and patting his little lady on the ass, and I'm telling her to make me a steak, medium-rare, just how I like it," the trash-talking champ said.
Cameras showed Silva smiling and feigning concern during Sonnen's brief post-fight speech. Afterward, though, UFC president Dana White said the champ's true feelings were hidden.
"Those guys really don't like each other," White said. "I don't know if Chael really hates Anderson, but Anderson – I don't know if any of you saw his face when [Chael] won, but he wasn't doing the whole joking around thing. He was pissed. He's really upset bout the smack-his-wife-on-the-butt thing."
Soares said Silva doesn't hate Sonnen, but "he definitely doesn't respect him for the things that he's saying. Hyping up the fight is one thing, but I think you cross the line when you start talking about people's family."
In addition to tourney semifinals, Bellator 55 adds M'Pumbu-Wiuff non-title fight
In addition to the semifinal round of Bellator's season-five bantamweight tournament, this month's Bellator 55 event also will feature a non-title fight between light-heavyweight champion Christian M'Pumbu (18-3-1 MMA, 3-0 BFC) and veteran Travis Wiuff (65-14 MMA, 0-0 BFC).
Bellator officials today announced additions to the card.
Bellator 55 takes Oct. 22 at Cocopah Resort and Casino in Yuma, Ariz. The main card airs on MTV2 (and in high-definition on EPIX), and Spike.com streams the preliminary card.
The previously announced bantamweight-tourney bouts include Alexis Vila (10-0 MMA, 1-0 BFC) vs. Marcos Galvao (10-4-1 MMA, 1-1 BFC) and Eduardo Dantas (10-2 MMA, 1-0 BFC) vs. Ed West (17-5 MMA, 3-1 BFC).
M'Pumbu won the Bellator title with clean sweep of TKO victories over Chris Davis, Chris Carpenter and Richard Hale in the eight-man season-four tourney. He's now 8-1-1 over his past 10 fights, which included a run with the M-1 organization.
Women's MMA Report: Honchak submits Modafferi, Young stops Carreiro
Missouri native Barb "Little Warrior" Honchak (5-1) picked up the biggest win of her pro career in the main event of "BlackEye Promotions 5: Breast Cancer Beatdown" in Fletcher, N.C. Honchak submitted former Strikeforce title challenger Roxanne "The Happy Warrior" Modafferi (15-9) with a rear-naked choke at the 1:46 mark of round three.
Modafferi looked to close the distance early and often in the 125-pound bout, but Honchak's strength advantage was evident as she countered a takedown and took Modafferi's back in round one. Modafferi managed to turn into Honchak's guard, but Honchak swept into mount and threatened with an armbar before the bell.
In round two, Modafferi tried to pull guard with a guillotine choke, but Honchak remained on her feet. She reversed a takedown and threw punches and hammerfists from Modafferi's guard for much of the round. With Modafferi needing a finish in round three, she tried again to take down Honchak. Honchak wound up on top in mount and then took Modafferi's back and secured the choke for the tap-out victory.
Dana White Says if NSAC Licenses Floyd Mayweather, They Should License Chael Sonnen
It's possible that the biggest fight the UFC can put on right now (that doesn't involve weight class jumping) doesn't involve Brock Lesnar or Georges St. Pierre. It just might be the rematch between Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen. After Sonnen demolished Brian Stann at UFC 136 he got on the mic to announce that Anderson Silva "absolutely sucks" and challenged the long time middleweight champ to a WWE style stipulation match on Super Bowl weekend.
Of course, Chael's status in Nevada may present a little bit of a snag when it comes to making that fight. The Super Bowl weekend card is always held in Vegas to capitalize on the high rollers that flock to the city and they're not likely to change that any time soon.
But should Chael's prior suspension for elevated testosterone levels stand in the way of him getting a new license to compete in the state?
Dana White doesn't think so, and he's bringing a boxing superstar's name into the mix. Via MMA Weekly (ht: MMA Mania):
Chael Sonnen has paid his dues (and) has done his thing, has done whatever. Floyd Mayweather fights in Nevada. This guy's been arrested. He's got 50 lawyers defending him right now and all that crazy stuff and he's fighting in Nevada. Don't even get me going on that one. There's no reason why they shouldn't license Chael. It shouldn't even cross my mind. The thought of whether Chael could get licensed in Nevada or California or anywhere else should be the least of my worries. The guy did everything that he was told to do. When guys like Floyd are getting licensed in Nevada, why should I have to worry about Chael?
Maia: Sonnen obviously training BJJ
Guilherme Cruz: I’ve heard you and Sonnen were on the same locker room (at UFC 136). How was it like?
Demian Maia: Yeah, we did... I met him many times before and it wasn’t any different, he was respectful. I have no troubles with him. I know it’s all a marketing plan, he’s trying to sell his fights. Each one of us was warming-up, with our minds on our bouts.
GC: And he applied a submission. What are your thoughts about his Jiu-Jitsu skills?
DM: He’s training Jiu-Jitsu, it’s obvious. He went for his back, tried to fit a punch not only to hit him, but to grab him, and got him.
GC: There was a joke about you training together and he said he would like that...
DM: It was a joke, it ain’t serious (laughs). We fight on the same division, we could fight each other, so there’s no reason why. He’s a really tough guy, a guy to be defeated on this weight division. He likes talking a lot, but he’s tough. Anyone in this division would have a tough fight against him.
GC: The next on the line can be Anderson... How do you see this rematch?
DM: I guess Anderson would be harder to submit on the ground than Stann, because Anderson trains with experts, but Chael doesn’t depend on the submission, he can work on the ground and pound. He’ll be training his takedown defenses so he doesn’t get in trouble like it happened to him before.
Returning Jeff Curran says UFC 137 is his final shot at big-show success
This is it for Jeff Curran (33-13-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC).
After 13 years in MMA, he's made a decision: If he can't get it done against Scott Jorgensen (12-4 MMA, 1-0 UFC), he's hanging up his big-show hopes.
Of course, he's aligned everything in his life to where he has the best chance of succeeding.
But after so many years of sitting on the sidelines and missed opportunities, he's not going to drag things out if his hand isn't raised after the fight, which takes place on the preliminary card of UFC 137.
UFC 137 goes down Oct. 29 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. The first part of the preliminary card, which streams live on Facebook, kicks off live broadcasts on Spike TV and pay-per-view.
This is Curran's second stint as a UFC fighter after a lone loss six years ago. But really, he considers it much longer than that.
"I took a fight with Matt Serra (at UFC 46) on nine days' notice, meaning by the eighth day (I) was doing medicals, and by the seventh day, I was packing my stuff for Vegas," he told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). "I never really had a chance to be a UFC guy because shortly after that they got rid of the weight class.
'UFC 140: Jones vs. Machida' main card set
The five-fight main card for December's UFC 140 event is now set.
As officials announced this past week, the Toronto shows features a light-heavyweight title fight between champion Jon Jones (14-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC) and ex-titleholder Lyoto Machida (17-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC).
Four other bouts are part of the pay-per-view lineup.
UFC 140 takes place Dec. 10 at Air Canada Centre in Toron
The latest UFC 140 card now includes:
MAIN CARD (Pay-per-view)
Champ Jon Jones vs. Lyoto Machida (for light-heavyweight title)
Frank Mir vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira vs. Tito Ortiz
Brian Ebersole vs. Rory MacDonald
Mark Hominick vs. Chan Sung Jung
Igor Pokrajac vs. Krzysztof Soszynski
Dennis Hallman vs. John Makdessi
Rich Attonito vs. Claude Patrick
Mark Bocek vs. Nik Lentz
John Cholish vs. Mitch Clarke
Despite massive upset, UFC 136's Joe Lauzon doesn't consider it his greatest hit
Sure, it was an especially sweet victory. He upset a fighter who was on his way to a title shot and turned the lopsided fights odds on their head.
It's surely a performance for his greatest-hits collection.
But for UFC 136 winner Joe Lauzon, his main-card upset of Melvin Guillard isn't his signature career performance.
At Saturday's UFC 136 event, Lauzon (21-6 MMA, 8-3 UFC) needed just 47 seconds to stagger and submit Guillard (29-9-2 MMA, 10-5 UFC) at Houston's Toyota Center. In the pay-per-view main-card bout, 4-to-1 underdog Lauzon picked up his seventh fight-night bonus with a first-round submission victory over Guillard.
The loss snapped Guillard's five-fight win streak and dashed his title hopes.
Lauzon told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) he was a bit irked to learn Guillard was at Houston's UFC Fan Expo earlier in the day.
"I was back in the hotel room taking it easy and relaxing because I knew I had to tend to business tonight," he said after the show. "I definitely think he was overlooking the whole entire thing. He was looking past me. But I like being in that position. I hope everyone overlooks me like that."
Guillard has had some major gaffes (both in and out of the cage) during his six-year UFC career. But after hooking up with Team Jackson-Winkeljohn and returning to the UFC after a short hiatus in 2008, he put together an impressive 8-1 run. A victory over Lauzon – an opponent many fans disregarded as unworthy of the fight – likely would have given Guillard a long-awaited title shot.
Lauzon, though, crushed those dreams. And it also made White question Guillard's mental focus.
"He came dancing in there like he won, like he just won the fight, instead of being serious," White said of Guillard's pre-fight posturing. "It's one of the things I always say about this – and I'm not taking anything away from Lauzon. Lauzon fought awesome. It would be one thing if we said, 'It went to the ground and Lauzon submitted him.' But he rocked him twice and then submitted him.
UFC boss says Dallas stadium show still possible, Silva-Sonnen II to headline?
After hosting a another successful show in the Lone Star State, the UFC could return to Texas with an even bigger event.
It fact, the state could host the UFC's next major stadium show.
And following his impressive victory over Brian Stann at Saturday's UFC 136 event at Houston's Toyota Center, Chael Sonnen could get his long-awaited rematch in the show's headliner.
White said he currently has no plans for a next stadium show; the first, of course, took back in April when a UFC and North American record 55,724 attendees packed Toronto's Rogers Centre. But should a second one be put together, Dallas' 110,000-seat Cowboys Stadium could be the venue.
"We've been talking to (Cowboys owner) Jerry Jones for a while about doing a fight there," White said. "It's just got to be the right fight. We're definitely going there. It's just a matter of when."
So how does he know when the timing is right? After all, White, who made a triumphant return to Brazil back in August, greatly underestimated the demand in the country and saw 14,000 seats sell out in just 74 minutes. Next year, UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta said the Convention Center of Manaus (one of many "sambadromes" located throughout Brazil) – an outdoor venue that can hold up to 100,000 fans – could be the next host site.
"It's a gut (thing)," White said. "We kind of go with our gut, and we've been right. We knew Toronto was going to be big, so we went for the big stadium there. We [expletive] Brazil up last time we went there. We didn't nail that one, but we won't make that mistake twice."
As for Dallas, White said it's only a matter of time.
Florian undecided on fighting future, but UFC promises he'll remain with promotion
To the casual MMA fan, Kenny Florian's name might not immediately seem like it belongs next to those of Chuck Liddell and Matt Hughes.
It might not even seem right nestled next to Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar.
And sure, the 35-year-old "KenFlo" will likely never find himself in the UFC Hall of Fame, but according to UFC president Dana White, Florian (14-6 MMA, 12-5 UFC) is among a handful of legendary competitors who will always have a home in the world's biggest mixed-martial-arts promotion.
"I've got nothing but respect for him, and Kenny Florian will be with us no matter what," White said following Saturday night's UFC 136 post-event press conference.
It's a nice vote of confidence from Florian's longtime boss, but the eight-year pro hardly seemed consoled by the gesture. Instead, a visibly pained fighter sat quietly in his chair and politely answered – albeit in just about as few words as possible – the handful of questions that came in about his featherweight title loss to 25-year-old champion Jose Aldo.
"Not right now," Florian answered when asked if he had planned his next move. "I haven't really thought past this fight, so we'll see what happens."
But if Florian hadn't thought about his next move prior to Saturday night, it seemed as if perhaps he was considering it at that exact moment. Four weightclasses during his UFC run, three shots at the belt, zero championship wins.
"Obviously, I'm disappointed," Florian said. "I fought very hard. I trained extremely hard. I wasn't successful. That's it."
And with that, the questions to Florian stopped. It really was that simple. Like the two previous times Florian had climbed the ladder of his division, he failed to reach the top rung. The challenger claimed the opening round of the evening's co-feature by clinching and grinding and shooting and striking, but he dropped the next four as his pace slowed and his variety of attacks diminished, and Aldo was awarded a unanimous-decision win.
It's unclear if Florian will fight again. And if he does, it's uncertain at what weight. But if the former cast member of "The Ultimate Fighter 1" is indeed done with his competition days, White said that doesn't mean his association with the UFC will necessarily need to come to an end.
UFC 136 winner Chael Sonnen offers Anderson Silva rematch, calls Vitor Belfort a fool
Consider Chael Sonnen's silence broken.
After a pre-UFC 136 buildup largely void of any of Sonnen's famed trashtalking and epic rants, the top middleweight contender wasted little time in further alienating any Brazilian fans he may have had by proclaiming himself the UFC's true middleweight champion and offering Anderson Silva a second crack at the title.
Oh yeah, and he called Vitor Belfort a fool and ordered "The Phenom" to carry his luggage to the airport.
"I am the middleweight champion," Sonnen proclaimed at Saturday night's post-UFC 136 press conference. "I defended my championship tonight for the first time, and I am willing to give Anderson a shot at the true belt, the linear belt, the people's belt for the best damn middleweight there's ever been."
UFC 136 bonuses: Edgar, Lauzon, Phan and Garcia earn $75,000 awards
Frankie Edgar, Joe Lauzon, Nam Phan and Leonard Garcia each earned $75,000 fight-night bonuses for their performances at Saturday's UFC 136 event.
Edgar earned the night's "Knockout of the Night" award, Lauzon picked up the "Submission of the Night" bonus, and Phan and Garcia took home "Fight of the Night" honors.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) learned of the bonus winners and award amounts at UFC 136's post-fight press conference.
UFC 136 took place at Houston's Toyota Center. The night's main card aired on pay-per-view, and Facebook and Spike TV carried portions of the preliminary card.
UFC 136 Results: Dana White Says Frankie Edgar Is Top 2 Pound-for-Pound, Wants Him to Face Jose Aldo
Dana White spoke to the press following Frankie Edgar's monumental comeback KO victory over Gray Maynard. He complimented the lightweight champion for his performance, and says that he thinks Edgar is the No. 2 pound-for-pound fighter in the sport:
"If you really look at what pound-for-pound means, you cannot deny that Frankie Edgar is Number 2. The guy weighs 145 pounds and he's beating guys at 155 pounds. He beat a guy who had him out of it. A guy who many believed had his number. He knocked him out tonight... He's an amazing human being. He's an incredible athlete, and he's got a heart the size of this room."
He also has this to say:
"Honestly, I'd like to see him move to 145 and fight Aldo"
"Did you see the size difference between those two tonight? I've been telling him for a long time he should fight at 145. I'm not his dad or trainer. That's his decision. He's a grown man and knows what he's doing."
"All these other guys that he fights are so much bigger than him. I think that fighting out of your weight class isn't healthy. I don't think it's healthy long-term. I don't think that guys that fight a weight class above them and take damage can have the longevity that other fighters can have. I think when you fight with guys that are your own size, you don't take the punishment that you take when you fight bigger guys. The weight classes are there for a reason."
Strikeforce champ Melendez wants next crack at UFC 136's main-event winner
Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez (19-2 MMA, 8-1 SF) attended this weekend's UFC Fan Expo Houston 2011 representing his longtime employer, but he hopes to leave the city with a different tag: UFC title challenger.
Melendez today said he plans on pressing UFC president Dana White for the next crack at the winner of UFC 136's lightweight championship bout.
"I'm a vet in this sport," Melendez told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "I've been here for a long, long time, and I'm ready to prove I'm No. 1.
"I'm ready to start taking over and holding down the weightclass, promoting the sport and representing MMA. I've been ready for that awhile."
Melendez's resume makes a strong case. Currently riding a five-fight win streak with impressive wins over Tatsuya Kawajiri, Shinya Aoki, Josh Thomson, Mitsuhiro Ishida and Rodrogo Damm, "El Nino" is generally considered one of the very few lightweights not currently in the UFC capable of competing at the top of the promotion's 155-pound division.
For years, Melendez was tied down to his longtime employers at Strikeforce, and the UFC's position against cross-promoting prevented him from facing top UFC contenders. But with those two companies now operating under the same umbrella, Melendez is ready to prove he's capable of beating either current UFC champ Frankie Edgar or his opponent at Saturday night's UFC 136 event at Houston's Toyota Center, Gray Maynard.