Sid Needelman Reporting…
Next week Hermes Franca will be competing… yes, you heard correctly. It seems his status with the athletic commissions will not hinder his ability to be one of the stars in a superfight exhibition grappling match. On October 20th, Miami will host the next NAGA (North American Grappling Association) tournament. Everyone from Gracie students to high school wrestlers, will test themselves out against competition coming from all over the state and from out-of-state as well. The 8th annual Miami Grappling ChampionshipL No-Gi & Gi Tournament will feature another UFC fighter veteran who has also had a rough year, Renato “Babalu” Sobral. Hermes will be taking on Enrico Cocco during the early part of the day.
In speaking with Hermes, we found out the following… but before that, anyone who will be in the area, there is an Official NAGA after-party to watch the UFC PPV, sponsored in part by Dropya Fightwear [ http://www.myspace.com/dropyabrand ] who is also one of the sponsors for the superfights. You can e-mail me for details and a chance to getting in without paying admission.
MMANews.com: When was the last time you were in a grappling event?
Hermes Franca: Oh, about 2002 I think.
MMANews.com: How many times a week do you train grappling only?
Hermes Franca: I train all the time. I like to stay good, so three or four times a day… I mean week, I would say.
MMANews.com: Do you know anything about Enrico Cocco?
Hermes Franca: He's a tough kid. He just had an MMA fight. He is a local guy and a tough guy.
MMANews.com: Your open letter after your last UFC fight [about his “dirty test”] was very heart-felt, and some appreciated the candor and honesty. Have you felt most of your fans have been understanding?
Hermes Franca: It's fifty-fifty. Those who stick with me are my real friends. I was honest, I made a mistake. Yeah, I would not make the same mistake twice and other people may. I apologized to my friends, to the UFC.
MMANews.com: Is there anyone you want to thank?
Hermes Franca: Yes, please. I would like to thank Fight Republic and Premier Martial Arts!