Exclusive Interview: Bodog Matchmaker Eric Nichol
Describe what you do, in a nutshell.
Not only do I focus on matchmaking, but I also look at fighter relations. I look at scouting, single fight, multi-fight contracts, purse negotiations. I look at sponsorship proposals. My day, I come in, I’ll fire up my computer and I’ll just scan through the list of guys getting a hold of my e-mail and they want to be fighters. ‘What do I have to do?’ I’ve kind of taken the approach that I’m going to reply to every single one of these guys. If they reply back, fantastic. If they actually fill out the bio stuff that I need, if they have some amateur fights, I want to see video of it. I want to see what their style is, how finely tuned their skills are. I want to see what they look like in a ring, on a canvas. I’d say out of about a hundred people that actually reply back to me, I’ll get five or six that will actually complete the bio form that I need from them. Once it gets to there, I’d say maybe two out of a hundred will actually make it to the cut, where I can say, “Okay, great, you’re an up-and-comer, I can match you against another up-and-comer and let’s see if you guys can make the cut.” It’s a swift process.
Tape is critical. Typically what I’ll do (everyday), I’ll catch up on my e-mail, I’ll go through the forums, all the message boards, all the sites, just to see what’s going on to stay up on all the news as I possibly can. If there’s nothing super important, typically I’ll have meetings — planning for different events, who we want to work with. The people we want to work with — the different organizations — is a key factor. It’s a small niche industry and I want to surround myself with the most positive people.
WEC Champ Doug "Rhino" Marshall -- An MMAjunkie.com Interview
MMAjunkie.com: I've heard you have one of the most unique stories about getting into the sport. How did you get started in MMA?
Doug Marshall: Well, I was always a fan of the UFC, and as a young man, I got into my fair share of fights. My dad and I were at a WEC show, and we had both had a few beers. This guy (Anthony Arria) enters the cage, and I point at him and tell my dad that I could kick his ass. My dad told me to shut up and have another beer or do something about it. I started training the following Monday at a small gym. What a lot of people don't know is the first thing I started working on was my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
MMAjunkie.com: And three short months later, you had a 32-second submission victory in your debut.
Doug Marshall: Once I had my first fight, I fell in love with the competition, and I was driven to put on a great show for the crowds.
Cung Le Undettered by Frank Shamrock's Head Games
Today's media conference call for a March 29 Strikeforce/EliteXC event, which features a headline bout between Strikeforce world middleweight champ Frank Shamrock (24-8-1) and undefeated challenger Cung Le (5-0), featured a lot of talk about strategy.
How much of it anyone really believes is a whole 'nother matter.
After all, when Shamrock (a famed submission fighter) said he plans to stand and trade with Le (a decorated San Shou kickboxer), few believed him -- Le chief among them.
"I have that much confidence (in my striking)," he said. "I don't think he's prepared for striking in an MMA fight."
Of Shamrock's 24 career victories, you can count on one hand that number that have ended via strikes.
That's why Le was naturally a little skeptical of his opponent's proposed game plan.
"I think it's a big smokescreen," Le said, with a hint of bemusement in his voice. "He's a very intelligent fighter... He'll try to get in my mind and get it in my head that he'll strike.
"But I'm also an intelligent fighter... I don't really believe him."
Regardless of his game plan, Shamrock predicts a quick finish.
"If Cung le runs from me, I think it'll last a while because it'll take some time to run him down," Shamrock said. "I don't think it'll go long, though... I want it over quick.
"My wife is pregnant, and I want to get home in case it pops out."
Clean and Sober, Evan Tanner Poised for Summer Return
One-time UFC middleweight champion Evan Tanner (32-7 MMA, 11-5 UFC), just a few weeks removed from a disappointing UFC 82 loss to Yushin Okami, has agreed to a summer return, and he's already accepted an opponent.
Tanner posted the news on his official website, evantanner.net, stating that he and UFC matchmaker Joe Silva had just spoken about the fight. However, he didn't reveal an opponent or a return date for the summer event.
Tanner stated that it's "good to have a fight scheduled" again because "the last two weeks have been really rough." Tanner suffered a second-round knockout via knee at UFC 82, which soured his long-awaited return from a two-year layoff.
Soon after the loss, Tanner wrote an inspiring blog entry about overcoming his alcohol addiction, saying he was both thankful and relieved that the defeat didn't cause him to relapse. The addiction, which prompted the break from MMA, had previously caused him to become malnourished, and his teeth even began to loosen.
Dream Pre-fight Press Conference (video)
Dream held a press conference Friday in Tokyo, where the promotion introduced the lineup for its debut effort and encouraged the athletes to address the press.
Gesias Calvancante (Pictures), Shinya Aoki (Pictures), Mirko Filipovic (Pictures) and the rest of the fighters on the card made their last public comments on the eve of battle.
Kurt Angle Admittedly NOT Ready for MMA
Although professional wrestling superstar Kurt Angle will compete against UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture in a submission grappling match later this year, don't expect Angle to immediately follow in fellow professional wrestler Brock Lesnar's footsteps -- at least not yet.
"I've always wanted to do (MMA), from after the Olympics, and I just never got the shot," Angle said. "I've been keeping myself in really, really good shape, but not in the fighting shape you have to be in to go into MMA."
Instead, Angle will first try his hand at submission wrestling, which is essentially MMA without striking. The match will be Angle's first in Rico Chiapparelli's Professional Submission League, while Couture has competed in the organization before, battling Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza to a draw. The date of the event has not yet been determined, but Angle believes it will take place in late summer or early fall.
"A lot of people are pretty much counting me out, which I don't blame them," Angle admitted. "But you can't count out an Olympic gold medalist."
Michael Bisping doesn’t deserve fight with Anderson Silva … yet
“It’s flattering to hear some of the fans on Mixed Martial Arts forums think I might be able to beat Anderson Silva…it’s nice to hear comments like that. But right now, if I’m being brutally honest, I don’t think I deserve to be spoken about in those terms. As I’ve said before, I’ve got to establish myself at middleweight. I’m coming off a reasonably successful career at light heavyweight so I suppose that brings some momentum with it but I think middleweight suits me better. I’m performing so much better in the gym. I’m faster, I’m stronger and I feel great. Everyone around me has commented on it – I thought I might have lost a bit of strength moving down but that isn’t the case. My boxing coach tells me I’m hitting a lot harder and my combinations are a lot faster and I’m eager to see what I can do at this weight. I think I can go a long way, but let’s see.”.
Note that this is the same publication that recently attributed comments to “The Count” that “insisted” he could defeat UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva. These latest remarks appear to make much more sense … especially since Bisping is untested at 185 pounds. He makes his middleweight debut against Charles McCarthy at UFC 83: “Serra vs. St. Pierre 2? at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, on April 19.
Bocek on UFC 83: “There’s no way I’m gonna lose in Canada”
On April 19th, the 26-year old Bocek will go for win number two in the UFC when he takes on The Ultimate Fighter
season six winner, Mac Danzig.
“I see it as a really good fight,” said Bocek, “and on paper I think it’s a good style matchup for me. I don’t think he’s fought anyone like me before. This fight’s gonna give me a lot of exposure, and more importantly, get me where I need to be – higher up in the rankings.”
“I’ve been competing since I was 12,” he said. “That’s what I do, that’s all I know. It (fighting in front of a huge hometown crowd) gets your blood flowing but it doesn’t really bother me. I’m used to competing a lot, and there’s no way I’m gonna lose in Canada.”
EliteXC Couldn’t Afford Fedor, Shaw Also has some heated Words for Dana
…at least that’s what was implied in WrestlingonTap’s new quickie interview with EliteXC boss Gary Shaw. When Shaw was asked about Emelianenko’s impending free agency, he said:
We would love to have Fedor with our organization. But Fedor and his people need to be realistic about what they are asking for. He hasn’t had a top fight in awhile. He needs to get back to fighting top competition. In the United States out of sight is out of mind.
we have to agree with the underlying message that Fedor Emelianenko’s name only carries weight with hardcore MMA fans, so maybe his management team should actually develop him into a star before they get all prima-donna-y.
Shaw also had some bitter words for his UFC rival, Dana White:
“First of all Dana should be ashamed of using that type of language. There is no reason for it. Dana thinks that he invented the sport of mma. He is very lucky that he had rich friends in the Fertittas to fund the sport…and even more lucky that SpikeTV bailed him out of a $35 million deficit. It’s no wonder that fighters like Tito Ortiz and others are fed up with him. Dana doesn’t care about the fighters and treating them well…
As far as Dana saying that I was never a fan of mixed martial arts, ask him to produce articles or tape on me saying the things he said I said. It can’t happen. I was watching MMA with my son back when Dana was selling used cars…”
Oooooh! That’s the best “I was doing x when you were still doing y” line since Hillary Clinton hit Barack Obama with “I was fighting against those ideas when you were practicing law and representing your contributor, Rezko, in his slum-landlord business in inner-city Chicago.” Who could forget that zinger!
Thiago Alves Brings in a Ringer
Knowing that Parisyan will likely include his bone-jarring judo background to keep him on track for a title shot, Thiago Alves has enlisted special help to prepare for their fight in the form of four-time national judo champion and former Olympian Rhadi Ferguson, who now resides in Coconut Creek, Florida, and assists American Top Team athletes. Recently Ferguson podcasted regarding the work he's been doing with Alves and had the following comments:
"From studying Karo Parisyan, he has a system that he does which is absolutely phenomenal. I had to break that thing down like a fraction. It's been almost a month and a half now that I've been training with Thiago and we've gone through the ins and the outs of the series... [Thiago's] movement patterns are getting better and he's beginning to "float" real good now, moving like a judo player."
Rashad's in my way - Liddell
Now it is the undefeated Evans who stands between The Iceman and a potential rematch with Rampage, and Liddell warned his opponent that he is on dangerous ground.
“I’m one punch away from knocking somebody out at all times,” he told Setanta Sports News. “I’m planning on giving him his first loss, and I’m looking forward to it.
“He likes to stand and strike, and he tries to be fast on his feet and he has fast hands, and he has a good shot.
“He has good takedowns but I have good takedown defence so it should be a good fight. He’s gonna try to win the fight with speed but I’m going to win it with power.
“We haven’t put together a game plan yet, but my game plan hasn’t changed for years. It isn’t too hard to figure out what I’m going to do, I’m going to stand there and strike.
“I’ll try to stop him taking me down and then when we’re stood up I’ll knock him down. I’m looking for a first-round knock-out.
“It’d make things easier for me if Rampage beats Forrest Griffin; I can get my title shot and revenge on Rampage at the same time.
“The only reason I’m fighting Rashad is because Rampage already had his fight scheduled. I wanna knock Rashad out my way and get my shot at Rampage.
“I had a bad year but I’m on my comeback, I’m feeling good, I want my title so I can finish my career at the top.
“Rashad better be ready because he’s in my way and I’m coming after him.”
Interview: Fedor on UFC, Dana White, Sambo, BJ Penn, Barnett, Rickson & More
In the interview with MMAYOU.com Fedor discusses UFC, Dana White, combat sambo, BJ Penn, Josh Barnett, Rickson Gracie and number of other topics.
- CAMP REPORT: TEAM SITYDOTONG
I'd bet my modest bankroll that this is where they have the Boston TUF tryouts that are supposed to take place. It is right in Somerville on the edge of Beantown and this camp has been getting tons of press.
Josh “The Punk” Thomson about his recovery from shoulder surgery, Frank Shamrock vs. Cung Le
PDG: Your good buddy Frank Shamrock is fighting Cung Le in about three weeks. How do you think this fight will go?
Josh: "Frank is a mystery to a lot of people, no one thought he was going to come out and stand with Baroni but that is exactly what he did. I think that threw Baroni's game off a little bit."
"He thinks his boxing is good and so he will try to use that to get into Cung’s face. I'm sure Frank thinks his boxing is that of a pro-level fighter but I can assure you that it is not. Frank is a legend in his own mind and so he will try to impose that on Cung in this fight."
"I also think deep down in his mind he remembers sparring with Cung years ago and so I'm sure he also remembers how many times he was dropped in those sparring sessions. If he goes into the clinch with Cung, that will be a mistake and he will get thrown to the ground. The bottom line is that the fight always starts on the feet and Cung is better than Frank in the standup game. I have to favor Frank for this fight as far as experience is concerned but I AM GOING TO HAVE TO TAKE CUNG TO WIN THIS FIGHT."
LOYALTY TO B.J. PENN HAS JOE LAUZON PREPARED
To prepare for the fight, Lauzon has been working with his Ultimate Fighter coach, current UFC lightweight champion B.J. Penn, with whom Lauzon continues to adjust his fight game.
“Working with B.J. has been amazing. Every day I get to go out and work out with the lightweight champ of the UFC,” he said with exuberance. “I have learned everything from small training habits to ideas on fighting and technique.”
A win for Lauzon would definitely help his continual climb up the lightweight ladder, but he intends on keeping his focus on the fight.
Rich Franklin: ‘Another fight with Anderson wouldn’t be that interesting for fans’
Perhaps the fourth-best fighter at 185 pounds in the world, Rich Franklin, admits that a third fight with UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva is not that attractive. That’s because “The Spider” is kryptonite when it comes to “Ace” — two fights, two lopsided losses and two broken noses. Franklin recently inked a six-fight deal, meaning he has a lot ahead of him. If he and Silva roll in their next few bouts, will that make a third fight between the two any more interesting, maniacs? My Spidey-sense says no, which makes this a potential conundrum for Franklin and the UFC.
“Realistically, another fight with Anderson wouldn’t be that interesting for fans. But (fighting) is how I make money. Whenever I’m at the end of my rope and I take a week away from the gym, I’m anxious to get back. I’m just a competitor.”
to me this is his way of officially announcing that He is Now the Middleweight Gate keeper.
Shogun: "I'll Be Back Likely In August"
Mauricio Rua is planning to undergo surgery Saturday, March 8th. He suffered an injury during the training at UFL Academy.
"I'm calm, I have to operate, there is no other way, I hope Chuck waits for me (laughs)"
Asked how he injured the knee, Rua responded, "I did shit, I was hurt helping a friend in the training, He was running and I held him by the waist and forced my knee"
Also, the former PRIDE Champion stated that he is surprised with his substitute, Rashad Evans, Despite Evans stature here in the US and his undefeated status in the octagon, the Brazilian fighter doesn't know who he is.
Rua is confident about his return to the octagon, "I'll be back likely in August."
WAR RUA's KNEE, to a 100% recovery and nothing less than 100%
Liddell - I want to fight Fedor!
In an exclusive interview with SunSport, ‘The Iceman’ claims Fedor does not live up to his billing as the world’s greatest fighter.
Liddell said: “Fedor’s someone I want to fight because he’s someone I match up well with.
“He’s a ground and pound guy that doesn’t have a great shot. He doesn’t have a great game plan.
“I think I could take him. I think I match up well with him.
“As far as I know he’s never knocked anyone out from his feet and I think he’d have a hard time taking me down.”
And The Iceman admitted a move up to the heavyweight division could happen once he has achieved his goals at light heavyweight.