MMANews Exclusive: “BABALU” SOBRAL @ NAGA
Sid Needelman Reporting
Special Guest Follow Up Interviewer: Jon Gorajski
North American Grappling Association: Miami `07
With so many people competing it was hard to focus just on one of them, but “Babalu” is an easy guy to focus on. In his last MMA fight, he ended up holding a choke on his opponent as the official tried in vain to rip off the tight death grip. Speculation arose that it was in response to a shirt his opponent wore at the weigh-ins. However, when we asked, you can see why that could not have been the complete reason.
Babalu lost his win bonus for that little extension of pain, which totaled $25,000, but he was not suspended. A good thing too, as Hermes Franca was going to also be in a superfight at Miami’s NAGA but was not allowed to because of his substance related suspension.
Originally, Babalu was going to face American Top Team’s Jorge Santiago. But Santiago pulled out, and is now planned to participate in Strikeforce’s Tournament in California, which may or may be as exciting as fans hope, depending on what the final format and fighters ends up to be.
To fill in for Jorge, fellow American Top Team member jumped in his place. Carmelo Marrero, whose last win was over Cheick Kongo, the hard hitter who just beat Cro-Cop.
The NAGA superfight was exciting with the competitors showing an assortment of tricks. At some points falling into the crowd, at others going for a submission. The bout saw parts of it on the feet looking for the advantage but also in each competitor’s guard. It looked by midway that Babalu was having his game plan in effect first. And when one minute was announced, it was Carmelo who had to scramble to get a few more impressive moments to tie up, or win.
He was not quite able to but some in the crowd thought it was surely an even bout.
Babalu adds another accomplishment to his already long list with a belt and the recognition. After his fight he took the time to say hi to his fans, and below is a picture of him with the ladies of the sponsor of the superfight, Dropya fight wear.
At the event he was pretty quite about business related items and seemed to enjoy a day off from full training. He also seemed to be happy to speak with some of the ladies he met, including the Dropya lady in the red shorts, April.
Babalu was a nice guy, giving support to some of the other people putting their skills to the test that day.
MMANews.com decided to wait until the following day by phone to ask him some of the more intriguing questions in hopes not to be choked out as well.
MMANews.com: Right now your training under Gracie Barra Team, is that correct?
Renato “Babalu” Sobral: I am training with Gracie Barra Jiu-Jitsu California and Combat Submission Wrestling. I have physical training at the Cutting Edge in Orange County. I also train with Josh Barnett. He helps me out a lot.
MMANews.com: You just recently signed with Strike-force, congratulations! What kind of commitment do you have with them as far as number of fights?
Renato “Babalu” Sobral: Yes, I have 3 fights with them. I also signed with Hardcore Championship Fighting (HCF) in Canada.
MMANews.com: Have you been told when your next fight will be or any discussion of who your opponent will be?
Renato “Babalu” Sobral: No, not yet.
MMANews.com: Going back to the last time we saw you fight at UFC 74, you fought David Heath, on your way into the ring you wore an orange jumpsuit can you tell me what that was about?
Renato “Babalu” Sobral: Everyone knows what that means, it was a joke because of my arrest in Florida. I had a legal arrest for trespassing in Tampa at a casino.
MMANews.com: During the pre-fight weight-ins David Heath supposedly wore a shirt with your mug-shot on it; did you happen to see it?
Renato “Babalu” Sobral: I did not see it if he did. Maybe if he did, he probably likes me, I don’t know.
MMANews.com: In your post fight interview you mentioned you felt disrespected by David Heath, can you tell me how?
Renato “Babalu” Sobral: I already made an answer for that
MMANews.com: Have you apologized to David Heath and your fans for letting them think what kind of person your really not?
Renato “Babalu” Sobral: I don’t care what people say or think about me, but yes I did apologize to David Heath and my fans.
MMANews.com: Do you think we will see you back in the UFC soon?
Renato “Babalu” Sobral: I don’t know right now.
MMANews.com: Any sponsors to mention, besides Dropya Fight Wear who just sponsored your superfight at NAGA Miami?
Renato “Babalu” Sobral: Metal Militia & Hitman.
MMANews.com: Again, thank you much for your time. Congratulations on your new contract with strike-force and we’ll be looking forward to seeing you soon.
E-mail Sid Needelman regarding the above interview-article by clicking here.