The Sundance Kid from the MMANews.com forums provided the following transcript of the Dana White/Mirko CroCop conference call held yesterday to the international media. We missed the first fifteen minutes on the full transcript, but have all the newsbits from it covered in previous articles on the site.
Canadian press: Mirko, can you tell us why you chose the Pride theme song to come out to for your first UFC fight?
Mirko: I would like to keep that to myself, but for the next fight I am entering to “Wild Boys” again.
Canadian press: Is “Wild Boys” your song?
Mirko: Yea, It is.
Canadian press: (To Dana White) What is the status of Fedor?
Dana: That is a good question; we are still working on that right now.
Canadian Press: Is there a disagreement? Do you think that you have his rights, while he says you don’t or…
Dana: His contract wasn’t an exclusive contract with Pride. And we don’t do non-exclusive contracts.
Canadian Press: So does he have an existing contract with anybody?
Dana: Yea, he has a contract with Pride.
Canadian Press: But the stumbling block is that you don’t want to accept it if it allows him to go into Bodog and other stuff.
Canadian Press: Thank you.
Tom Michael with buddy TV (I think it was buddy)
Tom : (To Mirko) What do you feel, is your key to victory versus Gabriel this weekend?
Mirko: What is the key? Well the key is that I do my best that is the key. Gabriel Gonzaga won’t have answers for everything that I have to offer to him.
Tom: (To Dana) Were you upset at all when Tito walked away from your boxing match last week?
Dana: [laughs] Yea, I was pretty upset about it.
Tom: Want to share any additional details that.
Dana: No, lets talk about Mirko
Tom: Ok. Thank you.
Power Flame: (To Dana) New Jersey is currently considering to allow knees to the head of a downed fighter. If New Jersey did allow knee strikes to a downed opponent, how likely is it that Nevada would also approve of knee strikes?
Dana: I don’t know, if they did it would be great, I think it is the one more rule that needs to be added.
Tom: What do you feel that the most important factor in insuring that the UFC becomes an established and respectable sport, as opposed to what may turn out the be ultimately, a short lived fad?
Dana: You know, I don’t think this is going to be anywhere near a fad, we are growing incredibly, not just here in the US but all over the world. Now, with the addition of Pride, the plans we have for Japan, Asia, China, believe me we are aggressive guys, we’ve got big plans for this thing. A lot of the things I say about boxing are a lot of the boxing cards, over the years, have reached in a stole all of the life out of the sport of boxing and stuck it in their pocket. Nobody has ever done anything to secure the future of the sport; we are doing the exact opposite. You know obviously the UFC is doing well and making money and we are dumping all that money back into the sport and helping to grow the industry. It’s only getting bigger it’s not getting smaller and it is far from a fad.
Tom: (To Mirko) You have become a very well know personality in your native of Croatia. What has that done for the popularity of MMA and the UFC in your country?
Mirko: Well, we can say actually, that I brought MMA to Croatia. People first saw MMA fights, when I was fighting in Pride and actually I brought it here. And now MMA is very popular and many people are watching it.
Fight Network: (To Mirko) I just wanted to ask, how would going back into the special police would affect your fighting schedule over the next year or two? I mean what does the special police entail for you at this point?
Mirko: Well, I just like the job, I like the people that I used to work with, it makes me happy and that is the most important thing and it won’t be reflected in a bad way on my fighting career.
Fight Network: Is it a very physical job at this point? Whatever position you took back with the special police?
Mirko: What do you mean by physical?
Fight Network: Something where you’re exserting your body a lot. Putting yourself in situations…
Mirko: Well, Kind of. But, mostly there as a martial arts instructor but of course there is physical things you need to do especially things with the weapons, and some other things, but I don’t have to do all that exercise concerning conditioning, since I’m training myself every night, so I can handle it.
Fight Network: Sounds like you’re going to be more of an instructor working within possibly a school somewhere, not out in the field.
Mirko: I am afraid you are speaking to fast for me.
Fight Network: I’m Sorry, (ask same question, only slower)
Mirko: In the class room, in the field, Where ever.
Fight Network: So you might go back out in the field as well?
Fight Network: OK, Thank you.
Washington Post: (TO Dana) Is Mirko the best striker in the UFC?
Dana: He is one of them, I mean it is hard to say who the best striker in the UFC is but he is absolutely one of them.
Washing ton Post: (To Mirko) where did you learn to kick like that?
Mirko: I liked kicks since I was a kid and I was training since I was 11 or 12, I was kicking everyday on a sand bag I made my self. So I just like it and I train a lot, that is it. I have a good feeling, good timing for kicks and plus my legs are huge, I have very powerful kicks and that is one of the strongest weapons of mine.
MMANews.com: (To Dana) When will Big Nog be making his debut and if you have any idea who the opponent will be?
Dana: I don’t know either, yet. I’m not sure, we’re trying to figure that out, I mean realistically, we just signed him like last weekend. So, we don’t know yet.
MMANews.com: (To Mirko) Who else in the UFC would you like to fight?
Mirko: Nothing specific but, I will fight anyone that is decided by the UFC. But I have a feeling that I will fight “Big Nog” very soon, and I am ready for that.
Long Beach Press Telegram: (To Dana) We have heard for a while that you guys are negotiating with HBO. What is the status of that and when do you thing you guys maybe making your debut on HBO?
Dana White: This Summer,
LBPT: This summer?
Dana White: YES!
LBPT: (To Mirko) A lot of fans I’ve seen, their talking about, maybe a potential dream fight down the road with Chuck Liddell. Do you think you could get down to the 205 mark, or do you think that Chuck would have to come up to Heavyweight?
Mirko: I defiantly have no more space to go down. Only if I cut of my hand or something. But the fight can be arranged at any time. Chuck can accept the fight the way he is, or he can lift weights, up to 200Kilograms, 220. But I am defiantly not going down in my weight.
UFC: To Mirko: Your very calm in the ring, nothing seems to bother you when you’re in there. Have you always been like that and where does that attitude come from?
Mirko: Good Question, I don’t know, I don’t know. I just feel that way, I don’t know, I am calm and I am concentrated. Honestly I don’t know what I should answer on this.
UFC: So no nerves right before the bell rings?
Mirko: No, No. Nothing special, but of course every fighter has feelings before the fight, you know? But it is nothing special, it is just my job, it is a job I like to do and I’ve been training all my life for that, and finally I am professional. No special feelings.
UFC: Did you see the fight with Randy Couture and Tim Sylvia, and if so, what were you thoughts on that?
Mirko: I didn’t see the whole fight, I see just a few minutes of the fight, just on youtube. I didn’t get the DVD or tape. I just saw the first minute of the first round and O my manager is just giving it to me, so I will watch it tonight.
UFC: Everyone is talking about a title shot to the winner of this fight, how do you keep your focus on Saturday night with all the talk going on around you.
Mirko: Well, Honestly. Talking about my fight with Randy Couture, I think it is a Jinx for me; I don’t like to talk about it. I have an opponent in from of me to fight on Saturday night and right now I’m concentrating on Gabriel Gonzaga. After that we can talk, we can discuss all the deals about my fight with Randy Couture, but anything before that I think is a Jinx.
CBS Sportsline: (To Dana) You mention that the HBO deal could happen in the summer, is that a signed deal, and delivered deal?
Dana: Yea, the UFC will be on HBO this summer.
CBS: So we can report that as being official?
Dana: [laughs] Yea, we will be on this summer.
CBS: I know you mentioned that is no date for the LWGP, but if that does take place, there have been some rumors that some UFC fighters participating in that, is there any truth to that?
Dana: The UFC and Pride are completely separate companies, and you won’t see a UFC fighter versus a Pride fighter until we do the big event.
CBS: You guys got some press on ESPN this past week with the GSP/Serra fight. Is there any more talks about expanding your relations with ESPN and ESPN possibly covering live events?
Dana: Yea, ESPN will cover the UFC on a regular basis now.
CBS: And Live events possibly?
Dana: Yea, weigh-ins and live events, and you know the results of the events.
Ringside Mag.: (To Dana) Are you going to bring over judges and Refs over from the US? (For UFC 70)
Dana: Yes, inspectors, judges, and Refs.
Ringside: So, on local talent in that regard?
Dana: No, there might be some local guys over there but not as Refs.
Ringside: (To Mirko) You are very well known for you kicking and your punching, what haven’t we seen about you which regard BJJ?
Mirko: Well, I’ve trained JJ a lot, and I have JJ experts in my gym and I feel comfortable even on the ground even with JJ fighters like Gonzaga. I am aware that he used to be a World JJ champion. I am pretty worked in ground fight now. You know of course my background is standup, and I will try to keep the fight in standup position but even if it goes on the ground, I am not scared.
FightSport Mag.: (To Dana) Does the UFC have plans to train European and UK officials in the future or will you just continue to bring people over from the NSAC?
Dana: No, absolutely, we plan on training; we are doing it here in the US too. It is a long hard process, training officials. Yea, it is going to take us some time but the answer is yes. The pool isn’t that deep in the US either.
Orange County Register: (To Mirko) What are the biggest problem that Gabriel Gonzaga present in this fight, what do you have to be aware of and ready for?
Mirko: Well Gabriel Gonzaga is a solid fighter, is a good fighter, he is a tough guy, he won’t hesitate to fight. He is a first class grappler, and I have to be careful, of course I will try to keep the fight in the stand position as long as possible, and he will, of course will try to turn the fight on the ground. We will see, we will see, I don’t want to underestimate Gabriel Gonzaga, you know?
Sportsline: (TO Dana) With this being your first major jump into the European market, can you discuss whether you have had an difficulties doing that, whether logistically or whatever, or has it been a pretty smooth transition?
Dana: No, it was very rough, you know? When we first went into the UK, we were there in 2003, and I had this big plan, and it didn’t go like I had planed it to go because the PPV distributor over there…Lets just say things just didn’t work out. I invested a lot of money in to the UK market and I wasn’t going to let it go I mean I’ve been working on this deal since 2003, to get back over there. Thank God for Bravo. The Bravo network over there, when we reached a deal with them and started showing TUF over there, then we brought the two guys from the UK for the season 3, that is what really help start the whole thing and they made it happen for us over there, but I never gave up on the UK market. We spent a lot of money over there and I wasn’t going to let it go.
Sportsline: Now that your there, and you’ve kind of set up shop and to be there again for future shows, is there anything specific that you maybe would do differently after this time any growing pains involved or….
Dana: No, This show here, pulling this show off and getting everything going, this time it has been very smooth. You know, we kind of knew what we were walking into this time. We have better partnerships over there now than we did before.
Post Bulletin: (To Dana) You mentioned insuring the future of the sport, here in Minnesota we are in a situation where there is no commission and we just had another town that just banned MMA, it is a second here in a month, and I know their going through difficulties down in Iowa too. Are you guys as the UFC kind of being the leader here in the US, are you guys doing something to help out at all with that situation?
Dana: Absolutely, It is incredibly insane for these places to be banning MMA, I mean it is on TV everyday of the week, nobody has been seriously injured or killed in the 15 year history of the sport, and it is just insane. But, there is an education process that is going to take us time we will get it all straitened out. Our goal in the next fight years is to have this thing sanctioned in every state. The UFC might not go to Idaho or someplace like that but somebody is putting on a show there this weekend, and we want to make sure that it is sanctioned and overseen by the commission and safe for the fighters.
Post Bulletin: So it is going to be a matter of putting money into lobbyist, or what is it going to be?
Dana: It takes time, there is only so many things that I can do. We are trying to get, right now we own Pride, WEC the UFC, right now we are going in a million different directions, I started with 3 employees 6 years ago, I have 90 employees now, and that is just for the UFC, that’s not including the WEC or Pride. So, we have a lot of shit to do. I will get to that, that is in our plans over the next five years, to get all these states on board.
Post Bulletin: Right now, these guys putting on shows here are basically under there own regulation, you know, do you have any advise for the guys, you know, I know they want to do things right but what can they do to insure the future here?
Dana: It’s bad, if you’re putting on shows that aren’t regulated it is bad, you know. I highly doubt, believe me, we’ve talked about this going to the UK. Regulating yourself is pretty weird. One of the thing about us is we don’t cut corners obviously we have made a big investment in this sport and the last thing we ever want to see is any of these guys get hurt, you know? A lot of these guys we care about, we have very good relationships with these guys. So the last we want to see is some fighter getting hurt out in some state where there is no governing body, no regulation.
Post Bulletin: So, do you prefer that there are no shows in these states until there was a commission?
Post Bulletin: how devastating do you feel it would be for the sport if something were to happen in one of these shows?
Dana: Who knows? I don’t know the answer to that question; I know it wouldn’t be good. It is never fun when somebody gets injured or dies, God forbid. You know? Never good.
Canadian Press: (To Dana) Is it just the UK that seems able to get the PPV? What kind of numbers would you like to see?
Dana: We are in 170 countries on some form of TV. Whether it is free TV or PPV. So, no there are many people that are getting it.
Canadian press: So what kind of audience do you think this show is going to attract in the UK?
Dana: I don’t know, I really don’t know, I know the last show we did there with no awareness, you know, when I say no awareness, obviously not he awareness that we have there now, it did pretty well. So, we are pretty confident this one is going to do very well.
Canadian Press: What kind of subject matter are you going to have on HBO, will it be reality shows, will it be fight cards, like PPV cards?
Dana: It will be fight Cards
Canadian Press: It will be something different than PPV cards and UFN’s, I’m thinking something in between.
Dana: Yea, it will be, well, we are going to have this process that guys come off of the reality show fight on Spike TV, and you will have, here I’ll give you an example, you will have you Kos’s and all the starts that come out of there with the exception of the guys who won. The guys who won will move on to HBO. Here I’ll give you an example, Big Nog, maybe his first fight will be on HBO.
Canadian Press: Someone like the next Bisping, would he end up on HBO?
Canadian Press: (To Mirko) Do you think that anyone is as dangerous as you are in this sport?
Mirko: No, I don’t think so.
Canadian Press: How would you rate you performance against Sanchez? How do you think you fought?
Mirko: Well, Sanchez avoid the fight, and that is one thing that was hard for me, It was my first time fighting in cage, you know, it is a strange feeling, the cage is bigger than the ring and it is a little bit different, you know? Plus Sanchez was running away, so I had to run after him. And I just don’t like that kind of fight.
Canadian Press: So you thing against Gonzaga, the fans will see more of the real Cro Cop?
Mirko: I believe that Gonzaga is a different type of fighter.
Las Vegas Review Journal: (To Dana) How big do you think a Mirko and Randy could be. Is Mirko well enough know in the US right now to make this another Chuck/Tito fight?
Dana: I’ve got billboards in LA, a whole building on the Sunset strip, I’ve got billboards in Time Square, Las Vegas, and a few other key cities here in the US, he is all over the UK, we are beaming this fight back live on Spike TV. So we are really doing everything that we can to get Gonzaga and Cro Cop known. And yea, I think the fight between Cro Cop and… I don’t like to jump past anybody and you know first of all Cro Cop has got to beat Gonzaga, he has to face Gonzaga first, he wins that fight then yea, we have already been working and will continue to work on making sure that everybody in this country knows who Mirko Cro Cop is.
PART 2: Coming Soon
Las Vegas Review Journal: But, Dana, don’t you have to get past the hardcore people and in order to make a fight to the level of what Chuck and Tito was or bigger than that, do you have to go beyond the hardcore audience and get new fans?
Dana: Yea, I think we continue to do that everyday with the programming we put out, we will put together a whole countdown show like we do for all our other fights that will air on spike and I’m sure we will come up with a lot of other creative ways to hype that fight up, but at the end of the day, there is already a buzz here in the US and the UK and many other countries around the world about Mirko Cro Cop and Randy Couture is one of the most beloved fighters ever, so I think the fight will be very big.
Las Vegas Review Journal: One of the big contentions on HBO and the UFC was that, the production and the announcers and everything. What have you decided on that?
Dana: It has been a long hard process, this deal with HBO; I’m very comfortable where we are right now. I would have never signed a deal that I wasn’t comfortable with. I probably could have had a deal with HBO a year ago, but I was never going to sign a deal that I wasn’t comfortable with and I think that HBO and the UFC are both comfortable with where we are at right now.
Las Vegas Review Journal: Where is that?
Dana: We will be doing a show this summer. [laughs]
Las Vegas Review Journal: But, who is going to provide the announcers and who will be doing the production?
Dana: HBO will be doing the production
LVRJ: Really? So that is the first time that you’ve given that up?
Dana: Yep, [laughs] it wasn’t easy.
Washington Post: (To Mirko) Can you please tell me about your life in Croatia, growing up, and what it is like now.
Mirko: It is hard question to answer in a sentence. Croatia is my homeland and as far as I’m concerned it is the most beautiful country on the planet earth. I have a good life here, and good friends here, and I could never imagine living anywhere else than Croatia.
Washington Post: What exactly do you do for Parliament? What exactly are your duties?
Mirko: Like everyone else, I am parliament member and I duties like every other member of the parliament.
Washington Post: How much have you enjoyed that?
Mirko: Not so much like fighting.
Washington Post: Why not?
Mirko: Being a member of parliament is a great responsibility and fighting is a great reasonability too but, first I am a sportsman and them I am a politician. It is hard to explain in a sentence or two, and especially for me when I have to explain it in English it is not easy.
Wrestling Observer: What is the situation as far as Pride on TV in the US and in Japan? Is there anything that you’re close to working on as far as that goes and what is the status of the FNS contract with Pride?
Dana: I’m working on those deals right now, and I’m going to go out on a limb and guarantee that we are going to have a huge TV deal here in the US for Pride and a good one in Japan too. I’m feeling very confident.
Wrestling Observer: Markets, whether it be Dallas, TX or East Rutherford or Montreal I know you’ve talked about all those cities, but any kind of firm dates or cities that your that your marketing shows in by the end of the year? In the US or Canada
Dana: In the UFC?
Wrestling Observer: Yes.
Dana: We are talking about, Chicago, Washington DC, Boston, Albuquerque.
Wrestling Observer: Ok, is there any thought or any future of “Inside the UFC” or a time frame that, that might be brought back? Or is that a dead issue?
Dana: No, it’s not a dead issue, it is coming back, I don’t know when though. We are working that out right now too.
Wrestling Observer: How did the tryouts for the next season of TUF?
Dana: It went great, it went good. You know, we do those things, but we pretty much know who we are looking for but we like to do the casting calls because we find some people, every time we have done it we have found somebody that we have used and it turned out to be great. So it went well.
Wrestling Observer: Is it going to be a US/Canada theme or is it just going to be a similar thing to what there doing this season?
Dana: Well Canada the US and the UK are all part of the try outs for TUF.
NBC Sports: (To Dana) I was wondering if you could comment on Roger Huerta on a next possible fight, how far do you thing he is from possible title contention and how important it is for the UFC to have a Latino fighter with his appeal as the organization expands to new markets.
Dana: Mirko you can go ahead a drop of the line, I know you have some training to do buddy. Thanks for coming on today, see you in the UK.
Dana: Roger Huerta is an amazing fighter, he is a very marketable fighter for us, we couldn’t be happier as far as his title show, that is a rough division, we are going to take our time with him and keep building him up and giving him good fights. I mean that kid he fought last time, he had a war with that kid and those are the type of fights that will take him to the next level. But as far as going out and looking for a Hispanic fighter that kid is a dream come true.
NBC Sports: Is there any kind of time frame you are looking for his next fight?
Dana: He will probably fight within the next 3 months, no names though; I don’t have anybody off the top of my head.
Orange County Register: As far as the live gate for the show this weekend, is it being affected at all by Rage Cage’s event that is going on at the same time this weekend?
Dana: We are sold out. [laughs]
OCR: Guess that answers that question.
Dana: Yea, we are sold out, there has been this whole battle thing built up between us and Cage Rage, but listen, at the end of the day the companies like the Cage Rages’ of the world and companies like that, the UFC and Pride, needs those type of organizations, they build the up and coming talent that is going to end up in the UFC. In no way shape or form do I think that Cage Rage or any of these other companies are going head to head with us, but they are necessary, we need them we are not trying to stomp them out or put them out of business or we are trying to take the same gate as they do and all this crazy conspiracy shit. We need the Cage Rages’ of the world to bring up, up and coming talent.
OCR: Did you guys expand the arena to accommodate more people or what is the size configuration.
Dana: Yea, the way that the layout works, when we get the octagon in there and set up the floor seating, and we got a bunch of kills for the screen, so now when we get there we will adjust the screens so that we can open up more seats and selling some obstructed views too. So once we get there and start looking at it, we will try to do everything that we can to open up more seats and sell more.
Sportsline: I have a question about Fedor, you guys claim that you sort of have a contract with him, but it is not exclusive. If he were to go and sign with another promotion would you somehow seek an injunction to keep him from fighting for another promotion or is he technically a free agent at this point?
Dana: He is not a free agent and absolutely I would slap an injunction on it.
Canadian Press: You’ve had some incidents recently with some high profile fighters and some high profile bouts testing positive for drugs, Sanchez and Gillard. Now I know a lot of other test have come back negative but are you concerned that some of these so called social drugs, cocaine and Marijuana, would you, if you haven’t done so already, think about introducing random test to your fighters as an organization?
Dana: Yea, I’m never excited when guys test positive for anything, whether it is casual drugs or social drugs or steroids, it is one of those things, as the sports gets bigger and more and more people get into the sport things happen, I can’t be with these guys 24 hours a day and as far as testing guys, all the guys who come in through TUF are drug tested and steroid tested. I don’t know what else to do, it is a problem, and I’m sure it will be a problem for a long time.
Direct.net: I was wondering if Andre Arlovski was offered the fight with Cro Cop or was approached about fighting Cro Cop, I know Arlovski has fought for the title in the past, had that terrible fight with Sylvia at UFC 61, but on the same token Gonzaga didn’t have too good of a showing at UFC 56 I believe it was, so was AA approached for this fight or not.
Dana: No, AA was set to fight Werdum and you know if Arlovski wins that fight, he will probably face the winner of Cro Cop and Randy Couture.
Wrestling Observer: Do you have an update as far as when Sean Sherk would be available to fight.
Dana: Yea, I think we have a plan for Sean Sherk to fight in July 7th.
Wrestling Observer: And this is the fight with Hermes Franca?
Dana: Yea, That is the Ortiz/Evans fight.
Wrestling Observer: And is Anderson/Nate fight also on that Card?
Dana: Yea they are, it’s a good card, really good card.
Wrestling Observer: Is it official Sacramento at this point or not?
Dana: Yea it is pretty much official at this point. We were trying to do Atlanta and it didn’t work out.
Wrestling Observer: Are you going to try to get a date in Atlanta by the end of the year?
Dana: Yea, we are.
MMANews.com: I was just wondering what the Dan Henderson situation is? Will he keep both belts, or will he be striped of one?
Dana: No, we wouldn’t strip him of one, but I have no idea of how that whole thing is going to play out.
MMANews.com: What about guys like Shogun, will he be showing up in the UFC or will be staying with Pride?
Dana: He will be staying with Pride. All the guys that are in Pride will stay with Pride.
Long Beach Press Telegram: Follow up to the HBO question, are the announcers going to be HBO announcers or are they going to be Mike and Joe? What is the situation with that?
LBPT: So does that man Jim Lampley or
Dana: Hell No, Hell No.
LBPT: So, you don’t know who the announcers will be from HBO?
Dana: No, It won’t be Lampley or Merchant, I guarantee you.
LBPT: There have been a lot of upsets so far this year, you know, Couture, Matt Serra defeating GSP was a shocker, how difficult does that make you job, like, planning ahead and then trying to eyeball fights down the road.
Dana: It’s hard, you know, I never really can plan ahead, this isn’t the WWE, we can only go so far because you never know what is going to happen. It is part of what makes the sport so exciting. Everybody went in to that fight knowing that GSP was going to beat Matt Serra. And when that doesn’t happen it is amazing it is increasable it is very exciting. So you know, it is a great part of the sport, but it is tough being a promoter and trying to plan ahead.
Question (don’t know who it is): I’m interested in the future, if your going to have fights between Pride and the UFC champs what rules will you have, UFC rules or Pride Rules?
Dana: It’s not UFC rules, it is the Unified MMA Rules, Which was put in place by the athletic commissions here in the US, those would be the rules that we would follow.
Fight Network: GSP has went on record stating that he has requested a fight on the July 7th card, If you guys can accommodate him, although, he said you guys said that August is more likely.
Dana: Yea that is probably true, we’ve got that July 7th card stacked already.
Fight Network: At this point do you have any idea who you put against GSP in August?
Dana: No, we don’t know yet.
Fight Network: Shoguns representation recently went on the record, and stated that Shogun said that he signed a contract for 2 UFC fights and then 2 Pride fights, but you just stated that all the Pride guys will stay in Pride, so what does Shogun mean that he signed a contact for 2 UFC fights.
Dana: I have no Idea, it is not true.
LA Times: When would a Cro Cop/Couture fight take place?
LA Times: Can you give anymore details on the HBO deal? How many fights are you planning a year and how many years is this deal, and specifically when would the first date be?
Dana; No, we haven’t signed or announced anything yet, I’m just being cocky and telling you that we will be defiantly be putting on a show this summer.
LA Times: Do you have a month?
Ringside Mag: How did you guys arrive at Belfast of all cities for the next Europe show?
Dana: We will have 4 to 5 fights this year in the UK, so we did London in 03, we just did the M.E.N., so we figured that we would go over there and do an event.
Ringside Mag: Do you have any security concerns regarding Belfast?
Dana: No, we don’t. It’s changed over there a lot, when you thing of Belfast you think back to the crazy days, it’s changed a lot over there. Not as scary as it used to be.
CBS: Before Sak left Pride he apparently went down to Brazil and signed Shogun to a 4 fight deal and attempted to sign Wandy to a deal as well, apparently that wasn’t successful. Is Silva still contracted to Pride or is he a free agent?
Dana: No, Wandy signed a 6 fight deal with Pride not too long ago, and I think he has only fought twice; he has 4 fights left with Pride.
CBS: Can you sort of Clarify the kind of fighters that we will be seeing on HBO?
Dana: All of our top guys, you will see all of our top guys on HBO, you will see Big Nog you will see guys that win TUF, you will see guys that have been fighting on Spike for a long time and are making there way up the ladder. There will be great fights.
CBS: Now with all of the HBO shows, the Pride PPV’s and the UFC PPV’s is there still going to be room for the UFC Fight Nights?
Dana: Yes, there will still be UFC fight nights. And the WEC starts live on Versus this summer too, so. A lot of MMA.
Post Bulletin: You mention Pride contracts a little bit, there are a lot of guys Like Nick Diaz and Travis that have just signed contracts right before you guys took over, are you going to honor all Pride contracts?
Dana: Of Course, we have never not honored a contract, ever. There is a lot of talk about this guy said he signed for two of this, this guy says he is a free agent, this guy said that, It is a crook of shit. The same thing happened when we bought the UFC, everybody started scrambling to renegotiate there contracts, it is a shitty part of the business, but we will get it all figured out. We will get this whole thing on track. I mean this is just a fraction of what we have to deal with coming in and doing an acquisition like the Pride one, Pride is a major organization, you know, they put on big events in Japan and here in the US, you know there is a lot of things that they did great and a lot of things that I think will be done better now. They will get more exposure here in the US. Like I said, I’m confident that we will end up with a major TV deal in the US for Pride. A Major TV deal for Pride in Japan, and a lot of good things are going to happen so, we just have to get our arms around this thing and get it rolling.
Post Bulletin: So how do you deal with these non-exclusive contracts that Pride has?
Dana: That is a good question because I’ve never been in this position before; we are still trying to figure that out.
Post Bulletin: Like a guy like Travis Wiuff who just fought in Texas, well he has a 3 fight deal with Pride.
Dana: Trust me when I tell you I’ll Fix it.
Real Fighter Mag: Most fans seem to think it is unfair to classify Marijuana as a performance enhancer, do you think that Nick Diaz was recently given a fairly harsh sentence from the NSAC?
Dana: The day they legalize weed, and then you might have that argument. Until then, how are you going to argue that weed isn’t an illegal drug, or it’s not this or it is not that? It is an illegal substance, you can’t smoke weed whether you’re fighting or not fighting unless you have a doctor’s prescription.
Real Fighter Mag: If they had a prescription would that be different?
Dana: I don’t know I guess so, that would be up to the NSAC.
Real Fighter Mag: Mirko Cro Cop had a relative easy first fight in the UFC; Do you see that same thing for Big Nog?
Dana: No, I don’t. I think Nog is going to fight one of the top guys right off of the bat.
Real Fighter Mag: Why does he get a tougher draw than Mirko?
Dana: I don’t know the answer to that question.
Question: Can you respond to a press release that I read in which Tito Ortiz said that you were a disgrace to fighters, I believe that was his comment. And he said that he wants to get this fight with you done in any way shape or form. Is he aware of what the NSAC said where they don’t want to hear of the fight happening in another place. They don’t want to hear it took place in the cellars. Is he aware that this just can’t happen anymore?
Dana: Tito isn’t aware of anything right now, he is living in a f***ing bubble right now. I just tell what happened, I showed up, he signed a contract to do this thing and I showed up, he didn’t. Is he afraid of me? No, he’s not afraid of me, but he has people around him right now that thought it wasn’t a good idea unless he got paid a shit load of money for it. And why would I pay Tito Ortiz a shit load of money to fight me, it was something he asked for in his contract, he is out there making himself look like a Jack Ass right now. He ought to shut his face and worry about Rashad Evans.
Question: OK, you said that the Super bowl of MMA the UFC vs. Pride, is there any chance that this could be Shockwave event that Pride runs in Japan every year? The enormous NYE show that they run?
Dana: It could be, I don’t know yet, like I said, the acquisition of this thing just happened and there is so much stuff that has to be sifted through. Not only all the business deals and all of the crazy stuff, getting the fighter contracts under control and all the other stuff that is going on. You know if you think about it, when we bought the UFC we were doing five events a year, that’s what we did. So in between events we had a lot of time to plan the production and get the business stuff together, this thing is so big now that and we have so much going on, it is going to take us a little while to get our arms around this thing and get control and figure out where we are going and what we are doing.
MMANews.com: I don’t know if you’ve heard anything about Floyd Mayweather and James Toney were saying, have you heard anything on that?
Dana: I heard what Mayweather earlier and I responded to him, is there something new?
MMANews.com: No, nothing new from Mayweather. James Toney was saying some stuff though, said that he would fight Liddell or Couture.
Dana: We had talked on time to Goosen about Toney fighting in the UFC, but that was still when he had the title and it would of kind of meant something, you know, it would have meant something. I don’t know, I mean, does anybody out there think that Toney is going to come into the UFC and beat one of the UFC fighters? There is no way. Neither is Floyd Mayweather.
Fight Network: With the announcing of cards in Japan in Pride, they have tendency to announce cards almost a week before shows. Now that a US based company is in control of Pride do you think that that tradition will chance and we will be hearing of cards sooner and be will you be promoting them the ways you guys promote the UFC?
Dana: Absolutely, once we get that think dialed in will be rolling just like the UFC does.
Fight Network: So no last minute cards, last minute match-ups? Also beyond the 265lb. class, have you guys given any thought to Super HW?
Dana: There aren’t enough HW’s out there much less super HW’s.
Fight Network: At this point the super HW vs. the HW match ups are not happening.
Dana: you won’t see any mismatches or crazy 106lbers fighting 230lbers, you won’t be seeing that kind of stuff.
Fight network: Will changes be made to the American broadcast of Pride, production wise, commentating, I know you must of looked at that already.
Dana: Yea, you’re going to see a lot of changes as far as the production goes and things like that, you know, but it is still going to be the Japanese show that the fans of Pride like. I think the things that are going to be changed about it are going to be things that needed to be improved on business side, that is about it.
Fight Network: OK, but do you think that will change the actual product of Pride that comes to the US in particular?
Dana: No, not the actual show, the show will stay the same.
Fight Network: Commentators, production team that type of thing would stay the same?
Dana: Yea, all the Pride employees are staying in place. The people that have been bringing you Pride for years are going to stay in place but we are going to tighten up the business side of it.
Fight Network: Is the US office for Pride in the US has been kind of in limbo for a few weeks now, what are your plans with that? Then also, is Pride going to do another US Pride show this year or not? Do you have any more details on that?
Dana: What do you mean by limbo?
Fight Network: Once the purchase was made, production for the US Pride show was stopped. The original date for the old company that bought Pride they ceased production of that particular event. So is the Pride US office up and running again?
Dana: It is up and running, there is a Pride office in LA and one in Las Vegas.
Fight Network: Do you have any more details on, I assume they are working on a US Pride show this year. Do you have anymore details on that?
Fight Network: Is it definitely going to happen this year though?
Dana: Yes, definitely, but I don’t know when.
Fight Network: That is what these two offices are working on right now? Consecrating on the US market?
Dana: You mean the ones in LA and Las Vegas.
Fight Network: Yes, is it their new prerogative, your going to continue to hold shows in the US under the Pride Banner.
Dana: Yea, I’m going to be the one that goes out and does all the American deals.
CBS: Back in January, when you did the fight night here in Florida, you said that you would be back but you didn’t know when. I know that the UFC is kind of in expansion mode right now, going to places that they haven’t been but do you foresee a UFC return to Flordia, either at the Hard Rock or at a bigger arena for a PPV?
Dana: Yea, we were just actually trying to set up a fight in Flordia last week we talking about Flordia, yes we will be back to Flordia.
CBS: Are you looking at doing a Fight Night or maybe a PPV would come to a bigger venue?
Dana: Not sure yet, but defiantly a Fight Night, maybe a PPV.
CBS: You stated that all the Pride employees kept there job, assuming that that includes Jerry (Gary) Millen, will there be any hard feelings between the two of you if you have to work together?
Dana: No, I have no hard feelings, I told him what was coming and he didn’t want to listen. When I say shit, I don’t just say it, I don’t just talk out of both sides of my neck, If I say it, I mean it and it is probably going to happen.
Las Vegas Review Journal: With all the programming, and all the air time that MMA is getting, Is there any point where you have to worry about over saturation of the market?
Dana: I don’t think so, when people ask me that, I always say, “Is there too much football on TV?”, “Is there too much Baseball?” People love good fights, and if there on I think people will watch them.
LVRJ: How are you going to break it up when you have so many partners and potential partners, in terms of PPV versus free TV fights? I know you said that you wanted to give your big fights to HBO, ESPN and all the others, how can you make sure they all get a good product, but by the same token you want to save your big ones for PPV right?
Dana: You know, there some things that I’ve always said, where boxing killed it’s self was everything was PPV, everything was all about PPV. I don’t feel that way, I think you need to have a healthy balance. You need to have great fights on free TV, you need to have great fights on HBO, and you need to have great fights on PPV. I think you need to have a good balance and that is what we are going to do we are going to continue, you know, when you turn on a UFC a UFC event, whether it is a Fight Night, a HBO fight, or a this fight, this special that is coming up in the UK, we are always going to give you great fights every time you turn on the TV. When boxing got so greedy, and started putting everything on PPV, everything was one PPV. Not like when we were growing up and you could see USA’s Tuesday Night Fights and Wild World of Sports and things like that. You know, they got into the C and D level fighters fighting on the sports networks, and these shitty fights that you didn’t even want to watch. That is NOT going to happen with us.
LVRJ: One last thing I wanted to follow up on it the Pride announcers, I watch the last PPV from Japan and quite frankly I thought the announcing was horrendous, you know? All this Pride is the greatest, it’s like alright say it one time then move on. Where you turned off by that constant showing and constant I don’t know how you would characterize it but for me it was a real turn off. Do you think you need to raise the professionalism of the, of those kind of broadcast in that manner?
Dana: Absolutely, I think one of the problems with that is that, at the end of the day even the whole US broadcast of the thing, what Pride main focus was the Japanese, they were worried about the Japanese production and what they do, they let a lot of these guys like Jerry was running the thing, you know what I mean? And when you are sitting on TV and your always saying that were the best we are #1, we’re this we’re that. Usually means your really not, like your trying to convince everybody that you are. I agree with you 100% and that is going to change.
MMANews.com: You said that the production would be run by HBO in this move with them in the summer.
MMANews.com: Does this mean no, Joe Rogan, no Mike Goldberg for the announce team?
Dana: Yea, there will be a new announces team, there will be an HBO announce team.
MMANews.com: What about the Pride announce team? Is that going to stick with Trigg and they seem to have someone different every time, but is Frank Trigg going to be announcing, or would you like to get Quadros back, or Bas?
Dana: Na, we are going to look for new guys
MMANews.com: So no more Frank Trigg?
Question: With the status of Fedor’s contract are you trying to sign him?
Dana: Yea, obviously we want to sign Fedor. He is under contract right now with Pride, he does have a Pride contract, but it is not exclusive.
Question: Will you continue to run Pride shows in Japan?
Dana: O, Absolutely, they are a Japanese company, there main offices are in still in Japan. There is an office here in Vegas, and in LA, it has always been like that, and we will probably keep those office open too, but Pride is still a Japanese organization still run by and over in Japan. All I’m doing is that I’m working on the American side for Pride.
Question: Is the Sakaraba deal that they announced at Pride 34, him returning, is that legitimate or was that just a thumb in the eye of the UFC?
Dana: [laughs] Who was there?
Dana: Yea, I don’t know what that was to be honest with you, I don’t know.
Question: So, you don’t know if it is legit or not, or if it were something that they just through together?
Dana: If it is Legit I don’t know about it.
CBS: I know this is early, but has there been any names discussed about a possible broadcast team for the HBO telecast?
CBS: Is it safe to say that “Jerry” Millen is done with Pride?
Dana: I don’t know, I don’t know what is going to happen with Gary Millen.
CBS: So it is still in limbo I guess?
Dana: Yea, we are still working on this whole thing, like I said, we are still trying to get our arms around this whole deal and I’m trying to figure it out.
Wrestling Observer: Is there anything going on with you and Josh Barnett, because obviously he was a star with Pride but he also may have some hard feelings from years ago and everything.
Dana: Yea, Josh doesn’t like me very much, and you know, I don’t know if is one of those things that he can get over or not get over, but we are interested in Josh still fighting, so it is going to be up to him.
Wrestling Observer: As far as the PPV buys with Couture Vs. Sylvia, where did that stand as far as your level, was it near the top or high middle, what kind of ball park was that thing in?
Dana: It did well, it did really well, we were happy with it. You know what used to happen to us? When we would do fights that were outside of Las Vegas, for some weird reason fights outside of Las Vegas didn’t do well. Fights on the east coast did even worse on PPV, and that isn’t the case anymore and we couldn’t be happier.
Fight Sport Mag: Do you have a contract with Brandon Vera at the moment? Will he be fighting in the UFC again?
Dana: Brandon Vera will be fighting in the UFC again.
Fight Sport Mag: Since you have quit training for you fight with Tito Ortiz have you put on a crap load of weight?
Dana: Yea, I will probably be as fat as I was in three more days.
Dana’s closing remarks: Hey, I really apprechated it guys, thanks to everyone that took the time to call in today and I hope to see most of you in Manchester, Thank you Guys!!