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| | Most detailed UFC 73 conference call recap out
From gerweck.net. Once we get back on these lists (they still have Cruz on them I think for us) we'll have detailed recaps of the conference calls like this one, and probably audio as well as Sundance and some others were trying to do back for the Spike TV conference call for UFC 70. Anyways, here's the one from today for 73.
UFC 73: STACKED
Pre-fight Conference call notes
June 28, 2007
- No major developments came out of this call.
- The UFC 73 conference call started at 1:11PM EST.
- Weigh-ins will begin at 3PM on the 6th and fighters will take the scales
at around 4PM. ESPNews will cover the main fight card weigh-ins Live.
- Dana White was asked about the war of words between Tito Ortiz and
Rashad Evans. White commented that it was just Tito being Tito. He “starts
a fight before the fight,” White said of Ortiz. He then told those
gathered that Ortiz was having medical examinations done and that he would
join the call when he was done.
- Asked if PRIDE fighters contracts were null and void from the sale of
the promotion or if the contracts were transferable, White said that the
contracts WERE transferable to the newly formed PRIDE World Wide, but that
many of the fighters can’t just sit around and wait for fights, that they
need to fight. They were signed to UFC contracts, in part, to let the guys
fight and keep the rust off until the whole PRIDE FC issue is figured out.
- Sean Sherk, the UFC World Lightweight Champion, said that his mindset
for the defense against the always dangerous Hermes Franca was “Seek and
destroy”. Adding that Franca hits hard and is dangerous on the ground, no
matter what position Franca is in. He said that he has studied three or
four of Franca’s fight and hopes to study one or two more before fight
night on the 7th.
- Dana White then jumps in and says that the episode of UFC All Access
featuring Sean Sherk is “Amazing”. Adding that if we thought Rich
Franklin’s training was intense, we hadn’t seen anything yet.
- Dana was asked about Tito’s image and if it had changed over the years
and if Tito may be misunderstood by his critics. White said no, “Tito’s
not misunderstood. He is who he is.” He said that the UFC isn’t the WWE
and he can’t tell Ortiz how to act or what to say. “He calls himself The
Huntington Beach Bad Boy for a reason.” He said that he doesn’t always
like or agree with what Ortiz says, but he’s free to speak his mind. He
says that Tito hasn’t changed as much as he’s matured. He admitted that he
doesn’t get along with Tito 90% of the time, but later in the call said it
isn’t as bad now as it once was between the two.
- Rashad Evans said he feels Ortiz is a hard worker and in good shape, but
feels the fight will be a battle of wills and that just because Ortiz is
bigger that doesn’t mean he’s stronger. When asked how Evans had improved
over the last three years since his win in the Ultimate Fighter program,
Rashad said that his mindset has changed. He said it’s about believing in
his gameplan, his abilities and himself. He says he feels more comfortable
with himself as a fighter.
- Dana White then discussed the management issues that kept Sean Sherk out
of the UFC for as long as was. He says that all is forgiven and that
everything is now “great”.
- The issue of promoting the event came up, and a reporter wanted to know
why so many fighters were left off the main poster for the event. Dana
White said it’s all about markets. He explained that some markets have
just Tito and Rashad featured while others have four or more fighters
featured. “Everybody’s in the commercial,” he said.
- Dana White then discussed the drug testing that went on for UFC 72:
VICTORY in Belfast, Northern Ireland. White said everybody came back
- Rashad was then asked who he feels about some of the derogatory comments
Tito has made in the past few weeks and months, and Evans said it’s just
“Tito bein’ Tito.” He uses the words as motivation, further explaining
that he had thick skin and wasn;t going to go home and “cry about it”.
- Ortiz then jumps in and said it was all just a joke. Says he’s been
training for three months for Evans and feels good. No injuries, he
claims. Says Evans is a good fighter and that he hopes to make it a good
- Rashad then said that he holds “no ill will” towards Ortiz ro any other
fighter. Evans said Ortiz could say anything he wants, that they still
have to get in the cage and fight.
- When asked about the disastrous FEG Dynamite!! USA show and how many of
the fighters tested positive for one drug or another and if California
officials told UFC fighters to keep clean or if the UFC was telling it’s
fighters to keep clean, White said no. That they all know the rules about
steroids and how none of it is acceptable. He then offered that if we take
the total number of fights since the UFC was purchased from SEG in
2000/2001 and compare that number to the number of positive drug tests,
that the results would be overwhelmingly in favor of the current drug plan
by the Commissions and be favorable to those MMA fighters fortunate enough
to fight for the UFC. He went on to say that he “hopes” none of his
fighters use Performance Enhancing Drugs.
- White said the September 22, 2007 show in California will be in the
Pond. And that he can not confirm that “Shogun” Rua will be on the show.
- He was then asked if the number of positive tests in the sport is
troubling and what the UFC’s policy is on steroids and drug use, not just
the commissions. Dana White said he never happy when a fighter uses and
that a lot of money is spent to promote a fighter as well as time and
energy. He said that Lorenzo and he are working on a seminar for the
fighters so they can learn the risks and pitfalls of steroid use and drug
addiction on their bodies. He skirted the question in regards to how the
UFC deals with positive tests.
- Sean Sherk was then asked if during his hiatus from the UFC if there was
any pressure on him. He responded by saying that he puts a lot of pressure
on himself. That he didn’t want to be one of those guys that sits on the
couch and eats potato chips while everyone else does the fighting. Says a
tear in his bicep and shoulder, as well as another issue that was hard to
make out because of interference, kept him out of action. He spent up to
four hours a day rehabbing the injuries. He was then asked if there was
anybody in the 155lbs division that he’d like to fight, and Sherk
responded “no”. That he likes the position he’s in and that he’ll fight
whoever he has to fight, no matter what. It doesn’t matter to him who it
is, as long as he gets a chance to fight and make money. When asked if his
takedown and ground and pound ran counter to how the division is promoted,
Sherk said “no”. He said that he can stand and trade and that there’s a
market for every style.
- White jumped in and pushed Sherk’s standup.
- When asked if he enjoys creating controversy, Tito said that it’s all
part of his personality; his bad boy image. He said he speaks his mind on
all terms and is a fighter and a business man, adding that when a person
fights Ortiz “it’s ferocity.” He said that he’s all about intensity. Then
he goes on a rant about troops and Paris Hilton and al of that. He sounded
more like Holden Caulfield in these moments than Tito Ortiz. Very
- He went on to say that his image is one of “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”.
But in the end it’s “his head or mine”. He says he always stops for fans
and signs autographs and that he’s always there for fans.
- Tito goes on to say that he’s fought for the UFC for nearly ten years
and that he’s only lost to two fighters: Randy Couture and Chuck Liddell.
He says he’s an emotional person before fight time and that he’s an
entertainer, a fighter. That he wants to give the fans “bang for their
- Asked if the rumors were true that Ortiz turned down a re-match with
Forrest Griffin at UFC 72, Tito confirms. He says that there was no point
in going backwards and fighting a guy he’s already defeated. Evans is a
- Dana White was asked about the “explosion” of popularity in MMA and
responded that it was from years of “Busting our ass” and making it
available to as many people as possible. That a lot of hard work had to be
done and a lot of money had to be spent. He feels it’s not mainstream yet,
but it will get there.
- Sean Sherk was then asked how hard it was to sit back and not fight, and
Sherk tells about how he had a full time job and how he had to watch all
of his friends train and fight and how it was tough to do. He said he was
miserable and that his wife was the one who pushed him to get back into.
“She knew I was miserable,” he said.
- Rashad Evans was then asked if a victory over Ortiz would be the biggest
win of his career and Evans said that every win is the biggest win; that
you’re only as good as your last fight, adding that he thinks Ortiz is
half the fighter he used to be.
- Ortiz then jumps in and says something about how al Rashad wants to be
is a superstar. This leads to a war of words that couldn’t be made out by
- Dana White was then asked if he was surprised that Royce Gracie tested
positive for steroids and White said he was “shocked”. He said that Gracie
didn’t look like he was using, but maybe some of the steroids make you
look you’re not using.
- All rumors of a Ken Shamrock return to the UFC were all but destroyed by
Dana White. More on that in a little bit.
- Asked what he feels “mainstream” is, White said when ordinary people
know who the fighters are. He explained that the UFC is the biggest combat
sport in the world; bigger than HBO boxing, the WWE, and anything else.
- Tito then said he’ll be leaving Big Bear on July 4. That he’s injury
free and ready to fight. He claims he was 60% when he fought Forrest
Griffin and all the weight is on Rashad’s shoulders. He feels Rashad is a
good wrestler and a good fighter.
- Nate Marquardt thinks he’ll dominate the fight with Anderson Silva and
- Tito Ortiz then goes into how happy he is about the support he gets from
the Latino community.
- At this point I asked Dana White to put a percentage on the chances of
PRIDE FC returning, but he skirted the question. He said he said that
“guys need fights” and that the company was a mess and that they’re just
now finding out how horribly mismanaged the company really was. They are
busy with the expansion of the UFC throughout the rest of the world and
PRIDE will have to wait until it all gets sorted out. He said he still
likes the “Superbowl” idea.
- I then asked about the HBO deal being reported as dead, and Dana White
suggested that the deal was far from dead and could actually be close to
be being finalized. Hmm…
- I then asked if the winner of Rashad/Ortiz would be in line to fight the
winner of Liddell’s next fight and Dana White said it’s all wait and see.
Tito liked the idea and jumped in to support a fight between himself and
Liddell for a third time.
- I asked Dana White if the title fight in London was going to be a
unification fight and White danced around the question saying that they
must respect both titles and that if Rampage wins he’ll most likely walk
out with the PRIDE belt as well. From the sounds of it, the fight will NOT
be a unification fight, justr a fight were two belts are on the line like
- Dana White was then asked about sponsorships in relation with the UFC
product, and White said that the Ultimate Fighter 5 Finale blew away
NASCAR on ESPN2, the Yankees/Giants game, and all programming on ABC, CBS,
FOX, and NBC in the much coveted 18-34 demo. He said it’d be nice to have
sponsors that use the UFC to grab that audience, but they didn’t have them
before and it’s no big deal if they ever do.
- Tito then said a fight with Rampage Jackson is a long shot. Rampage
supposedly told UFC officials at the time of his signing that he would not
fight Ortiz because of their friendship. But if the money was good,
anything could happen.
- Nate Marquardt said he enjoys being the underdog in the ring and that
being passed over by media and internet reporters isn’t a big deal to him.
He feels that that will change after the this fight.
- When asked if the issues with Ortiz hurt his abilities as a promoter,
White said “no”. Their issues don’t effect how he markets Ortiz and that
they tolerate each other.
- When asked about changes to the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts,
White said he never wants to see soccer kicks or head stomps in MMA and
the knees to the head of downed opponent would level the playing field
more. But he still wants to get the sport regulated in all 50 states
before any changes are made to the rules.
- Chicago and Michigan are next as far as new cities to run UFC events in,
- Nate Marquardt was then asked if a victory would mean redemption, and he
said “yeah, definitely”. He feels he’s already proven himself by winning
his last four fights.
- Tito has two fights left on his UFC/Zuffa contract and talk swirled
about the possibility of Ortiz leaving the UFC for a rival promotion.
White said he’s never lost a meaningful fighter in the six years they’ve
owned the company. He plans on resigning Ortiz as long as he wants to
- Dana White the elaborated on the HBO/UFC deal saying that it’s almost done.
- White then said that Liddell vs. Silva is off for the time being and
then criticized the DSE run PRIDE FC for screwing up the biggest fight in
- According to White, Liddell will next fight in November, but no opponent
- Nate Marquardt then said he doesn’t blame the UFC for many of his fights
being off of television.
- Dana White expects a large crowd, maybe as much as 12,000, at the Aarco
- Dana White said that the Latino audience in MMA is a no-brainer. He says
that boxing has been kept alive for the last five years or so because of
the Latino fans. He feels that once the Latino base is exposed to MMA and
the UFC that they will flock to it. He then says that after a UFC event
it’s hard to watch boxing.
- To close the call out, the issue of Ken Shamrock came up. It seems that
Shamrock has been telling anyone who will listen that he still had one
fight left on his UFC contract at the time it was terminated. Dana White
confirmed this, saying that outside of Kimo at UFC 48: PAYBACK, Shamrock
has lost all of his fights in the UFC. He then said that if you look at
his PRIDE career, he’s lost even more than that. He says that Shamrock
needs to focus on retiring and not fighting again. He said a Ken Shamrock
vs. Frank Shamrock fight is not a UFC caliber fight. He then closes out
the call by saying that all of things Ken Shamrock has been saying are
- The call ended at 2:26PM EST.
UFC 73: STACKED is Live on Pay-Per-View July 7, 2007 with a Pay-Per-View
start time of 10:00PM EST.