The UFC held their pre-fight press conference for this Saturday’s UFC 130: Rampage Vs Hamill event today in Las Vegas.
In attendance were Dana White, Rampage Jackson, Matt Hamill, Frank Mir, Roy Nelson, Jorge Santiago and Brian Stann. If you didn’t get a chance to see it then below you can find detailed notes on what was said.
– Brian Stann says he gets a little uncomfortable talking about his military background as he worries people might think he’s bragging, but he says it is useful as it also gives him a platform to talk about his charity work to do with the military.
Stann also says he believes he has more to gain by fighting Jorge Santiago than Wanderlei Silva given that he’s high up the rankings, is a champion with the Senguko organization and is on an 11-1 streak since leaving the UFC.
– Jorge Santiago says being back in the UFC is like a dream for him, especially since he’s fighting on the main card of a big event against a good opponent on Memorial Day Weekend. He says that the UFC is the biggest promotion in the sport and that he has worked hard for the opportunity to make it back onto the roster.
– Rampage says he hasn’t thought about whether there’s any more pressure being the heavy favorite and says he just takes fights as they come. Having said that he admits he does like the underdog role when he can get it, but he’s happy for Hamill to take it on this occasion.
– Matt Hamill says he loves being the underdog, and has been so in many of his recent fights yet he keeps proving people wrong by emerging victorious.
– Dana says this is a huge fight for Hamill and could be a ‘career defining moment’ if he is victorious, while he also says Rampage is one of the best fighters in the world and will be in the mix for a title shot if he wins.
– Frank Mir says he’d fight in Las Vegas every time if he had the chance since he lives here and can stay at home and be with his familiy close to the event. Roy Nelson agrees, and adds that since it’s a city that’s open 24/7 he can go out and grab a burger anytime he wants (funny, but somehow I don’t think he was joking!).
– Regarding any rivalry they may have Mir reveals that there really isn’t any and that he and Nelson were actually sharing gym time and joking around with each other in the early build-up to this fight.
As to whether being friendly with each other will effect the way they fight on Saturday, Mir says that if his wife got into the Octagon with him then he’d try to knock her out or submit her…that’s his roundabout way of saying he’s happy to fight Nelson even though they are friends.
Nelson feels that many people are missing the fact that this is a sport, and when taken in that context you don’t have to have animosity with your opponent to be able to compete against them.
– Mir says Shane Carwin and Junior Dos Santos will produce a very worthy No.1 contender, while the winner of his fight with Nelson should be right in behind them in the title hunt.
Dana White agrees that sounds about right, but also adds Brock Lesnar’s name into the mix and says he hopes the former champion will be back sooner rather than later.
– Mir comments that he will weigh in a the heavyweight limit (265lbs) on Friday. He says rather than worrying about whether he’s too light or heavy he is now of the belief that ‘Technique is king’. Nelson adds that’s been his thinking too for a long time.
– Dana White says he ‘loves’ it when fighters have opportunities to appear in films, etc as long as it doesn’t conflict with their fights.
– Asked who he’d like to see play him in a movie of his life Rampage says he’s not sure about his childhood, but 50 cent could play him as an adult.
– White confesses he’s not a big fan of fighters being overly ‘buddy-buddy’ in the cage, hugging and touching gloves, saying he feels uncomfortable with it. Instead he likes fights like Diaz Vs Daley where there’s a real rivalry and both fighters want to take each others heads off.
– Dana says he thinks it’s great when fighters like Jorge Santiago get cut from the promotion and then work hard and fight their way back into the fold. “Those are exactly the kind of fighters we’re looking for” he states.
– Rampage says he made a decision when he was young that he would retire at 35. Strangely he then goes on to say that he’s taken up finger-painting and that he can see himself doing that a lot when he retires.
Later he states that his main reason for fighting is due to making money so that he can do things like put his sister through college, and give his mom and dad nice houses and cars. He also adds that while he might be putting some of his kids through college, and quips that he has a feeling he’ll need to pay lawyer fees for some of them too which gets a lot of laughs from the assembled media and Dana White.
He hopes that he’ll be continue to do that in the future, but if he really needed to make money after 35 then that might encourage him to continue fighting.
Dana White says he likes when fighters have a goal to retire at a certain stage rather than continuing to fight on past there best, citing boxer Roy Jones Jr as an example.
Rampage confirms he doesn’t want to be like that.
– Rampage reveals he now regrets balooning up in weight in-between fights, and says he’s sick of that lifestyle. He is now excited about getting into shape and is happy to finally be seeing his abs again and looking more like a professional athlete.
– Stann says that due to his past experiences (war veteran, etc) he doesn’t feel pressure to fight in the Octagon as much as it may some other fighters. He says he doesn’t need to fight and could get another job instead, but that he loves the opportunity the UFC have given him and wants to relish it while it lasts.
– Hamill reveals that he gets 3,000 emails a week from his fans in the deaf community. Half way through saying this he’s told he needs to change his microphone as people can’t hear him. He chuckles and says “maybe you guys need to borrow my hearing aid.”
Then it’s time for the staredowns which turn out to be pretty good natured as a jovial Nelson and Mir engage in a mock embrace for the cameras, while Rampage does the old ‘bunny ears’ maneouver behind Hamill’s back and then pretends to be rubbing his own head when Hamill looks round. Hamill knows what’s going on though and they both are smiling as they shake hands and exit the stage.