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02-12-2008, 10:10 AM
Join Date: Oct 2006
| | Erik Paulson Interview: Talks about Brock's Last Fight and Steve Mazagotti
PDG: Let’s start with your training of Brock Lesnar for UFC 81. How did the training go? And what is he like to work with? |
Erik: Brock went through about two months of extensive training leading up to the fight. They brought me in to work on his submission awareness techniques. Greg Nelson already had a list of drills and techniques that they were working on. So I worked with Brock on position and transition awareness techniques. The first time we worked together was in November and then he spent all of December working with Greg and then I returned in January to help out again. When I got back out there, Marty Morgan (University of Minnesota), Greg and I started getting them ready for the fight at UFC 81. One of the workouts that Brock did was rolling with four different heavyweights for five minutes each time. Brock was very impressive and went through all four opponents in a row while each one of them took turns taking breaks.
His conditioning looked great but we were still a little concerned that he might punch himself out. So we had him work on this ground bag that is called the “alligator”, it has a head at each end. Brock smashed that thing for five rounds straight, moving and punching and then at the end of his regular workouts we had him do another 500 punches to help increase his conditioning. As far as working with him, he was very respectful. At the end of the day if training got a little too intense and he hit somebody too hard he would walk up and tell them sorry and also thank everyone that was training with him at the end of every day. He was 100% quality with his professionalism and he was never late for one practice.
PDG: What about the days leading up to the fight?
Erik: He wanted to get a workout in the day before weigh-ins, so I drove in to Vegas from California Thursday afternoon and we did some drills and got Brock to break a sweat at a practice that night. We had worked leg submission defense over and over and over and over again, and that leg lock that Frank caught him in was surprising. In practice I had tried and so did the rest of the training partners several times to catch him with that, unsuccessfully. Frank was able to catch him with that because when Frank first got a hold of the leg lock Brock paused for one second too long and we were yelling at him from the corner “watch that leg”. When Brock turned and tried to get away and then he dove pulling Frank about 3 feet off the mat with him his leg got extended. When that happened Frank was able to get his heel and with Brock's leg completely extended he was not able to get it out.
PDG: Did Brock have to cut any weight to make the 265 pound limit?
Erik: Not really, it was only like 3 pounds so he didn't have to cut. He lost that in his sleep.
PDG: It has probably been a while since you or anyone else for that matter was a part of such a highly anticipated event as Brock's debut. I know the people at my UFC party we're sitting on the edge of their seats and then went nutz when the “Shout at the Devil” song came on for Brock's introduction music. How was that experience for all of you?
Erik: The arena was on fire and I was like wow, it is great to be back here. I have cornered Sean [Sherk] before but there was not that kind of energy. I think everyone was waiting to see that fight, you know, to see Brock come from the WWE to the UFC. I saw all of the pro wrestlers like Kurt Angle, the Undertaker and tons of other guys sitting ringside to support him.
PDG: Yeah, even Stone Cold Steve Austin was in attendance.
Erik: The whole thing was so surreal; it was like walking onto the set of an action movie. When we got to the cage I slapped him in the face and on the chest a bunch of times to make sure the energy and intensity were there. Josh did that to me before my last fight and it makes you go crazy. It wakes you up and gets you ready to be hit. When he got into the ring he was definitely ready to go. Brock was anticipating the whole thing and he wasn't nervous at all, I mean he was the main event in front of crowds of 75,000 people before. So being there in front of 10,000 people wasn't a problem for him. Even when he got caught and lost the match he turned around and just shook his head because he knew we had worked that a thousand times. He was one second too late and he may have been a little over anxious because he felt that Frank was on his last leg from those punches.
PDG: What did you think of the stoppage in the point deduction without warning by the referee Steve Mazzagoti?
Erik: It was stupid how he stopped it and stood them up without giving a warning.
PDG: On the replay, it only looked like one or two punches that were unintentional.
Erik: Yeah, it was one or two. Mazzagotti said in the locker room before the fight, that he would be watching for guys hitting in the back of the head but that if the guy is moving his head around back and forth and rolling with his head, that he was not going to call that. Frank was three quarters of the way out and we thought that the fight was over when the ref stepped in. He kind of looked at Frank and Frank was like.....ugh..... and then he stood the both of them up. I think that Mazzagotti thought that maybe it was too early of a call so that when he stopped it, he was like now what. When he raised Brock's arm up I thought the fight was over. Then all of a sudden he goes “point” and all of us in Brock's corner were like what? I think he knew he made a mistake since he stopped and paused and then he wasn't quite sure what to do.
PDG: It almost looked like the fight was over since he raised his arm.
Erik: We all thought the fight was over. You don't raise a fighters arm up in the air and then say “point”. Dana [White] came into the locker room after the fight and said that it was a bullshit call. He said that we should file a grievance with the commission.
PDG: Dana White said that?
Erik: Yes and we got it on video. He said that is a bullshit call and all that the guys sitting around him including Matt Hughes were like holy crap when that guy learns some submissions he is going to be a force.
PDG: Were you surprised at all that Frank Mir was able to weather that early GNP by Brock?
Erik: Frank is a tough guy but I don't think he was expecting Brock to come out that hard and fast at him. When I held the pads for Brock during training my shoulders were sore for the next couple of days. Greg had him working on his striking a lot and he hits like a truck.
PDG: So overall Brock took the defeat well? And is he excited to get back in there?
Erik: Yes he showed total sportsmanship and of course he was bummed in that he didn't win but he said himself "I need a little more work". After the fight, Brock told us that when the ref held up his arm he thought that he had won the fight and when he learned of the point deduction it kind of sucked a little bit of the wind out of his sails. I think it was a bogus call and that Mazzagotti knew he made a mistake. He knows 100% that he made a mistake but what are you going to do now. You have to go back to training and get ready for the next fight and try not to make the same mistakes that were made.
PDG: You mentioned that Greg Nelson was the head trainer for Brock's camp. How was it working with him again?
Erik: Yeah they brought me in on a specialized basis but Greg was there for the majority of his training. Greg is one of the top coaches at my gym and is an important part in designing the training methods and schedules and so on. He trains a lot of successful fighters including Sean and Nick Thompson. Greg tends to fly under the radar and keep a low profile but he is from the University of Minnesota and he is a Greco-Roman teacher and muay-tai black belt. He is one of my only full-time instructors at CSW. He has a full stable of professional fighters that he trains at a very high level. I just don't think that he gets the notoriety that he deserves.
PDG: How about your career; when are you planning on fighting again?
Erik: I am staying in shape and I am currently in talks with several different promotions about my next fight. While I decide on my next MMA fight, I am traveling to Japan this week to do some of the pro-wrestling shows with the IGF. It is a fun way to spend your time and you also get a paycheck. The Japanese wrestling is a lot different than say the WWE, it is not as scripted and is more like a shoot. Like I said is a lot of fun going out there and having a standing ovation of 15,000 people. The last time I did it I fought a sumo guy and it was great.
PDG: Barnett has also wrestled for the IGF; now that his return to mixed martial arts is about three weeks away with World Victory Road against Yoshida; are you going to be helping him train for that fight?
Erik: Yes, he has been at the gym training and I am trying to supply fighters for him to spar and roll with. When I get back from Japan I will have two weeks with him to help with the preparation for his fight. It is good that Josh is getting back in there as he has been itching to fight for over a year now. Quite frankly, some of the people that he is training with want him to fight again so that he quits beating them up.
PDG: What do you think of Yoshida being his first opponent?
Erik: I think Josh will beat him. If Yoshida is smart he will fight like Pavel did against Josh. Pavel went after Josh and took him down since Josh was out of shape for that fight. But this time it still may not work, Josh is in excellent shape. Like I said earlier, Josh really needs to fight because he is getting too moody and angry with the people he is sparring with and he needs to let out some of that aggression.
PDG: I wanted to talk about some of the other training that you offer; especially for those who can't make it to your gym. You have a series of training DVDs and you just released a new one called “Neckbreakers”.
Erik: It is being released through Scientific Wrestling. One of the guys that I train and train with at the gym, Rob didn't much like the making of that DVD....... I cranked his neck all day for the filming. The day that we were trying to wrap up the filming of the footage for that DVD I had an amateur class coming in and so we had a little surprise for them. I used all the different neck cranks that are featured in the DVD on the five guys in the class that day. One guy in particular, that I call big Dave, called me out and so I let him take top position and then when we started rolling I reversed him and neck cranked him really good. Other than taking a lot out of the fighter, the neck crank is very painful [laughs]. In addition to the new DVD I have several other projects in the works that people can find on Erik Paulson's CSW. Fighters and fans that are interested in the DVDs can get most of them on my website and then the Neckbreakers is available on Grappling Techniques for Mixed Martial Arts, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Ultimate Fighting, and Wrestling.
PDG: Is there anything coming up that you would like to tell your fans about?
Erik: We are going to be really busy in the upcoming months and there is a list of seminars that are available to fighters on my website. Make sure to check in to see where the CSW fighters are going to be competing, as we have fighters that are going to be fighting all around the globe this year. Also we are currently adding a new ring and cage at the gym and as soon as that is completed we will be having a fighter’s camp. It will be a four-day camp going twice a day. I also want to tell my fans and supporters thanks for everything and that I hope to fight a couple more times this year and I am just mulling over the options.
PDG: Erik, always a pleasure and thanks again.
Erik: Definitely, thank you.
So even Dana White is disagree with Mazagotti's call and he said that they should file a grievance with the commission, Interesting.
02-12-2008, 12:56 PM
Join Date: Oct 2007
That fight proved brock is a beast and isnt a chump. he will bounce back
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