The America Bank Center Arena in Corpus Christi, Texas, will rock like it never has before when Gary Shaw Productions, LLC, presents “EliteXC: Renegade’’ on Saturday, Nov. 10, on Showtime (10 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the west coast).
An excellent main event will feature an EliteXC world title fight in a brand new weight class – 160 pounds—between talented, crowd-pleasing Nick Diaz and exciting, hard-hitting KJ Noons.
In other televised bouts, Kimbo will make his EliteXC debut against Bo Cantrell and world-ranked welterweight Jake Shields will face Mike Pyle. A fifth televised fight will be announced in the near future.
Shaw: Hello, everyone. Thank you very much. We’re very excited about this card in Corpus Christi on Nov. 10 on SHOWTIME. I am happy to have KJ Noons on this call and Jake Shields, “The American Dream’’ and our new signee, Kimbo Slice. We’re really excited about this fight card. It’s a coming?out party for Kimbo. It’s an opportunity for KJ Noons to fight Nick Diaz and walk away with a belt. At this time, I’d also like to let everybody know that we’re going to start some new weight classes at EliteXC. From bottom to top, we’ll have a 140-weight class, and also 150, 160, 170, 185, 205 and, of course, 265 is our super weight and above. I believe very much in the safety, health and welfare of the fighters. I’m very concerned in the mixed martial arts world about this cutting of drastic amounts of weight, not only the week of but also the night before and almost the day of. I want to get some weight classes so the fighters can fit much better into certain weight classes and have the opportunity to fight for world titles without endangering their health. That’s, simply, the reason why we’re opening up these weight classes. I’ve always believed that it’s not just about the heavyweights, the big boys, in both in boxing and mixed martial arts, and that the lighter-weighted guys can really light it up as well.
Question: Kimbo, what are your thoughts on joining EliteXC and making your debut for them on Nov. 10 and your transition into MMA?
Kimbo: I’m glad about it. I thank God EliteXC was able to come through and snatch me up because for a minute everything was shut down and I was kind of upset that I wasn’t going to get a chance to fight. That hard training, hard work—you know what I’m saying—that I put into it, (to think I) wasn’t able to bang was kind of depressing for me. (The guys at EliteXC) came through. We had a great conversation. I thank God for those guys, man, because I’m excited about it. I’m ready to fight.
Question: Jake, what are your thoughts going into your Nov. 10 fight?
Shields: I’m excited to be fighting for EliteXC again and have been training really hard. I think Mike’s a great opponent. I’m ready to go out there and fight.
Question: KJ, what are your thoughts on fighting Nick Diaz?
Noons: He’s the No. 1 one guy in the world. He beat Gomi. I’m getting an opportunity to face the No. 1 guy for a title with EliteXC. I’m excited and I’ve been training really hard. I’m ready to definitely make this a fight of the night, fight of the month, whatever. I’m ready to mix it up with Nick.
Question: Gary, can you explain how you go about working your title fights? Why were Diaz and Noons picked for this title fight and why what was originally supposed to be a title fight in the welterweight division between Shields and Pyle is now not?
Shaw: Sure. Let me take the KJ-Diaz fight first. I believe both are deserving of a title in our organization. Diaz did beat Gomi, and at that time Gomi was considered the best in the world. And I believe that Nick showed (a lot the way) came back. He had a real tough fight against Mike Aina in Hawaii. He came out victorious. KJ Noons was someone that we had a confidence in. He obviously walked into a big, I guess it was a right hand, I’m not sure, against “Krazy Horse,’’ and then came in and upset Edson Berto, who everybody thought was going to be the actual first titleholder in EliteXC in that weight class. So we felt that both fighters were up for the challenge. We would be proud of either fighter to wear our belt. And we believe that they are some of the best fighters in the world. As for Jake Shields and Mike Pyle, he (Mike) didn’t want to fight for the belt. We gave him the opportunity. He’s unhappy. He did take the opportunity. Jake was willing to fight anybody. Everybody knows that Jake is the top one, two, or three in the world. There’s no question about it. He’s showing everybody how exciting he is, and he comes to fight. God bless him. And I think that fighters that come to fight and are willing to fight anybody should get that opportunity. And even though this probably will be our last fight with Mike Pyle, you know, we’re interested in putting on the best fights. So whether someone wants to stay with us or not stay with us, we’ll still give everybody the opportunity.
Question: Gary, your first show, “Destiny,’’ was on SHOWTIME, then you did the joint effort with Strikeforce, which was Pay Per View, now “Renegade’’ will be on SHOWTIME again, as “Uprising’’ was. Are we going to be looking at all EliteXC events on SHOWTIME or are there still going to be pay per views mixed in?
Shaw: There will be some pay per views mixed in when we feel there’s something that warrants taking money out of the customer’s pocket. But my job is to try to give the MMA fans as much product and great product as we can without them having to shell out $34.95 and $49.95, etc. So, yes, we will have some pay per views, but we’ll have plenty of shows on SHOWTIME this coming year, 2008. Some will be ShoXC shows. Some will be EliteXC and some will be on pay-per-views. We even may have something really big and special as well in 2008. (Switching gears) I’d like to take this opportunity to say that Kimbo’s opponent has fallen out with a shoulder injury. We tried all the way through Monday to get him medically well. We don’t want to put anybody in a fight that is not medically able to fight. So Kimbo’s hunt for “The Rhino” (Mike Bourke) will have to wait for another day. But we have now signed Bo Cantrell to the fight and Bo will be Kimbo’s opponent.
Question: Gary, are you going to be creating belts for each one of the weight classes you announced?
Shaw: Yes. Why? Are you selling belts?
Question: Do you have an idea as to who you want fighting for (world titles in) the 140-weight class and 150 and 160, or has that not been worked out yet?
Shaw: No, let me tell you how it works. We don’t sit around a table and decide, OK, let’s make this guy the champion or whatever. I want to see that we get the best fights so that when we present someone with a belt that they’re truly worthy of a belt. And I feel Jake Shields, well, I want to get him into a title fight. I feel he’s worthy of wearing our belt. I feel KJ or Nick Diaz is worthy of wearing our belt. I thought Ninja Rua did a great job against Joey Villasenor and he came back and gave up the belt. I’m very proud to have Robbie Lawler walking around with an EliteXC belt. So every weight class will have a belt. Eventually, after a few fights, if I believe what I know to be true, Kimbo will be fighting for one of our belts as well. He’s a legend on YouTube, he’s trained very hard with Bas Rutten and I think he’s going to surprise everybody. I want to present the best fights and guys that are championship caliber. I just don’t want to give out a belt to give out a belt.
Question: Would you consider doing a one? or two?night event to crown a champion?
Shaw: The answer is absolutely yes. We have spoken about it. The fact that the IFL or Strikeforce is doing it will not preclude us from doing it. I hope they have a great night. I hope they have great fights, because the better it is, the better it helps all MMA.
Question: The Canadian MMA fans are dying to know where Mauro Ranallo was this past Friday? Is he still going to be doing ShoXC events?
Shaw: Yes he will. He’ll be on the next one.
Question: Was that just a one?time thing that he was not involved in that one?
Shaw: Yes, that is correct.
Question: ProElite.com showed the Randy Couture press conference. Are the hopes to try and secure him once his contract expires in nine months?
Shaw: That’s a good question. Let me take that in pieces. The fact we streamed it live, that’s what ProElite.com does. We stream events live. That was absolutely an event. And we stream fights live from other organizations. ProElite.com is trying to do things that aren’t done in the MMA world. That’s a huge expense to us as a company but I think as time goes on it will be good for MMA and what’s good for MMA will be good for ProElite and EliteXC. . As far as Randy Couture goes, I don’t tortuously interfere with anybody’s contract. Until I know for sure Randy is out of his contract, I will not approach him. But, believe me, this organization would welcome Randy Couture of any facet we do either as a fighter or as a consultant or an announcer or anything else. He has a home here. But I would definitely not tortuously interfere with an ongoing contract.
Question: Does the fact that the Pyle-Shields fight is not for a title anymore have anything to do with Jake’s comments that he was potentially looking at fighting in the UFC once his contract expires?
Shaw: No, what happened with Jake ?? he was ?? the USC actually captured him. And he was tied ?? he had his hands tied behind his back on his chair. And he was blind folded and they were doing that water torture. But thank God he broke free and that’s over.
Question: Have you signed him to a new deal or what’s the situation with that?
Shaw: We’re currently working on it with Jake. Jake can answer for himself. We love Jake. I have a world of respect for him. He knows that. And I have that respect whether he’s with us, or he wouldn’t be with us. I’m hopeful that there are not any problems with Jake, but he can certainly answer that for himself.
Shields: I’m very happy, been treated very well. My manager is finalizing everything, working it out. I am letting him deal with it. Certainly at this point, I’m very happy with them. I’ll wait until everything is finalized to say for sure. But everything is good right now.
Question: Kimbo, you are going from the backyard fights to training with Bas Rutten and that is a huge jump. What aspect of your training has improved working with Bas?
Kimbo: Every aspect of my training has improved. My whole life has improved. I don’t even smoke any more. I haven’t had sex in four months. I haven’t had a cocktail in five, six months. So I’m pretty pure and I’m backed up and I’m ready to fight. You know what I’m saying? My focus is on point. I’m accurate. I know how to use my power. My wind is outstanding. I’m ready for anything coming my way. My groundwork is superb. I’m an all?around fighter. I’m no longer one?dimensional. I’m not going to stand there and bang. Working with Bas, that’s like, man, he’s like the Jimmy Johnson, the John Madden of NFL. He’s the best of the best. And Bas, he’s not light. When he trains, he trains hard. And he’s very prompt on what he does. And he’s a great guy. In order for me to even be on that level with him, it speaks a lot for my training and my characteristics because Bas would not waste his time if he felt like I was just trying to become a fighter. He tells you straight up.
Question: KJ, how do you plan to overcome Diaz’s experience factor in the ring?
Noons: If you look at my MMA record, I’m sure Sherdog’s only got me as 5?2 but actually I’m 4?1. I only have five MMA fights. But when you look at MMA, it’s mixed martial arts and I’ve got nine pro boxing fights and 14 pro kickboxing fights. So I have probably 26-28 pro fights. Do the math. I’ve got more ring experience. Granted, Nick has fought in more shows against obviously better, bigger names and opponents. But as far as ring experience, I’m right up there to get ready for this fight. I haven’t got as much TV time or as much as exposure as Nick but I definitely have the ring experience and technique and skill.
Question: Kimbo, what’s your ultimate goal in this sport?
Kimbo: I hope I don’t sound too ghetto, but you’ve got to remember, you have to bear with me. I just came off the streets yesterday. So I’m on a paper chase. I’m after the dog signs. So I’ll fight anybody. I’m in a contract right now, so whoever is coming my way, man, I’m ready to fight. Getting a title is the ultimate reason for all of us doing this. To get a nice payday and have that belt around our waist to consider ourselves a true champion. And that’s what it’s about with me, man. I’m a professional now in my life and I’m taking this thing serious, man. A guy put me in an arm bar, you’ve got to break that (sucker) off. I’m not just tapping out. I don’t know what tapping out is. I’m after something. I want to prove something. Sometimes I just get tears in my eyes when (it) doesn’t work out, when I can’t get a fight. But I want that belt around my waist like everybody else. I’m hungry for it. I’m really hungry for it. I’m not just ?? I’m after this.
Question: Were you able to find out if it’s going to be possible for you to fight Tank (Abbott)?
Kimbo: I’ll fight Tank anywhere. We don’t even have to do it in the ring. We can do it in the backyard, parking lot. I’m cool with it. But the big payday is doing it in the ring, that’s cool. I’m EliteXC, those are my guys, whatever they’ve got set up for me, you know what I’m saying, I’m ready for whatever. If Tank wants to do it, get him to sign and we’ll do it.
Question: Gary, are you going to attempt to get some sort of athletic commission recognition for the new weight classes? Obviously you can make fights at whatever weights you want. But are you going to take it to any athletic commissions and try to get it recognized?
Shaw: Yeah, look, I don’t have to legally; they’ll sanction whatever weight classes we put in. But I’m a former regulator. And I know there will be no problems getting the commissions to go along. I’m sure they’ll be all for it. They’re not for this drastic weight cutting, where people wind up in the hospital. We had that problem on our ShoXC fight Friday night. It’s unfair to the other fighter who trained so hard for a fight to suddenly not have a fight because the other guy basically drained himself so much that he winds up in a hospital. That was all the proof I needed Friday that EliteXC is right to care about the whole safety and welfare of our fighters. So I don’t think there will be a problem with the commissions.
Question: Do you have a timetable?
Shaw: To go to them?
Question: To take it to the commissions?
Shaw: Oh, within the next 30 days.
Question: Are you going to call the 160-pound division a super lightweight division or keep it at 160?
Shaw: No, 160 will be lightweight.
Question: That’s your lightweight division?
Shaw: Yes, it is.
Question: KJ, is 160 your preferred weight to fight at? Has it made a difference in the way you train and your preparation for the fight?
Noons: Yeah, 160 is definitely an easier weight for me to cut to. At 155, you know, obviously I’ve got my sights set on the 154-pound weight class for boxing and 155 for MMA. I walk around at like 175 without training. It’s really hard to cut 20 pounds when I don’t have a lot of weight to cut. So I’m really happy with the weight class being at 160. I think people will be pretty surprised how big I’m at 160.
Question: Kimbo, you talked about how your life’s changed, how your training has changed. Is there a difference in your attitude when you’re preparing for a fight and the way you’re getting mentally prepared? Is there a difference in how you enter an arena versus how you’ve entered a backyard for a fight in the past?
Kimbo: In a backyard fight, I used to enter those things high. I was smoking before I went out to fight. Definitely it’s different. It’s not the same. I’m focused. I know something’s coming. I know these guys that are fighting me, professionals. I know they’re for sure of their game. So I have to bring my A game. Yeah, there is a difference, a major difference.
Question: Kimbo, what do you take away from the Ray Mercer bought?
Kimbo: I have ground game and I know when to use it, know when to get ?? I know how to get out of a position. I’m trained to be in every position wherever possible. I have learned a lot. And it showed in that fight. The fight lasted 1:12. I did a combination of everything, you know, knees, elbows. I threw hands and we did some groundwork. It was a short fight, but everyone was able to see that, hey, man this cat’s for real, you know?
Question: What was it about that fight that made you want to stick around at MMA?
Kimbo: That it was a legitimate fight and that I get paid.
Question: Gary, are there any certain fighters you are looking to get for the new super heavyweight division?
Shaw: You mean specific fighters? There are fighters that qualify to be world champions. If they qualify to be on SHOWTIME, then we have an interest in them. If you know them, just call us e?mail us.
Question: Kimbo, would you feel better fighting in the heavyweight division or would you rather make the move up to the super heavyweight division?
Kimbo: I can make a move to super heavy weight. It all depends on the guy’s that’s training me. You’re a fighter; you can fight anybody. You guys toss me around a little bit. Put me in super heavy, put me in heavy. You make that decision for me. But I’m here to fight.
Shaw: What Kimbo is saying is the mentality of a real fighter. And I’m really happy to hear Kimbo say these things. We didn’t rehearse them. But that’s what real fighters are made out of. When Mike Tyson was at his best, that was (his attitude). They don’t care who they fight. They don’t care what weight, what height, southpaw or orthodox, they’re there to fight. Those are true professionals. I haven’t spoke to Kimbo yet. But eventually I’d like to sit down with him. I’d like to possibly even take him like I did KJ and put him in a boxing ring. I do believe Kimbo has the ability to be the heavyweight world champion in boxing, as I do believe he has the ability under Bas to be the world champion in MMA in probably several weight classes. So let’s take it one step at a time, but when Kimbo’s talking, you’re talking to someone with a fighter’s mentality. And that is 70 percent of the game before you ever get in.
Question: If EliteXC brought him in, would you fight Sean “The Cannon” Gannon again?
Kimbo: I’ll fight him ?? yeah, I sure would.
Question: Kimbo, what level do you think you are at at this point in terms of being a professional mixed martial arts fighter?
Kimbo: Can’t compare myself really to any of the other guys on the level. But personally the level I think I’m on, I’m on a level that I’ve never been on, you know what I’m saying? Because I just recently stepped into the game and like I said I’m training with Bas. Yes, he hits hard, but I don’t go down and stay down. I go down and get back up and I say ‘show me how to do this.’ So if there was a level, I would say I’m almost at the top of my game. But I will know more (once I fight more). That’s how I will compare that. I can’t speak for everybody else and what they think about me. I can’t say I care much about it. But you’re going to have some ?? you’re going to have some people that love you. And it’s all good.
Question: Kimbo, are you are related to Roddy Ferguson, the Olympic Judo player?
Kimbo: I don’t want to put the guy out there or make him like whatever, but I’ve never really met him. And I guess by us having the same last names, people kind of think we’re related. But I would like to meet him and if he’s as good as everyone says he is on the ground, I can benefit from it. Can’t hurt me. I wouldn’t mind meeting him and learning, whatever, wrestling with him, rolling around with him.
Question: KJ, Nick is known more as a grappler, the fight with Gomi is something that people will remember for a long time. You’re coming primarily from a boxing background. It’s not going to be hard to figure out that he’s going to want to get that fight to the ground. Can you tell us where your ground game is at this point and also how you see you could stop him from taking it to the ground?
Noons: I’ve been working with a lot of guys that do college wrestling. I’ve been working on Jiu-Jitsu for quite a long time. It’s pretty obvious Nick will want to take it to the ground. But he’s got ?? I’ve got stripes on him. He’s got great stand?up. And I don’t think he’s going to be ?? I don’t think he’s really going to want to take it to the ground at first. I think he’ll want to test the waters. I think he’s got good stand?up. And hopefully we’ll bang it out. He’s still with Gomi and Robbie Lawler and some of the best. And those are a whole weight class and a half bigger than me, so why wouldn’t he want to stand with a smaller guy like me? I might have a lot of skill and stand?up, but I think he’s willing to test the waters. Come Nov. 10, it’s the title for a fight. So let’s get in there and fight.
Question: Jake, can you tell us what your long term plans are?
Shields: Obviously I want to get a title. First of all, I’ve got to do Mike Pyle, who is a very good fighter. I’m looking at it one fight at a time. He’s very good and I’m preparing for that, get through him. Hopefully I’ll fight for a title. I’m willing to fight whomever EliteXC throws at me. If I win the title, I hold the title.
Question: Gary, could you repeat the weight classes again?
Shaw: 140, 150, 160, 170, 185, 205 and 265.
Question: Gary, Kimbo mentioned he’d be open to fighting Shawn Gannon again. Is that something you’d be interested in making happen?
Shaw: I want to make the best fights we can make for Kimbo. If that’s one of the best fights out there, if there are revenge fights for him, if there are Tank Abbott fights for him, if there are Fedor fights for him, whatever is out there, we will move him along as his skill level moves and we’ll fight anyone. Anybody that knows my reputation in sports knows that when you sign with me, you have to be willing to fight. I don’t baby my fighters. I believe in my fighters. So, yes, there’s nobody that we won’t fight, with any of these guys, with KJ, with Jake, with Kimbo.
Question: It was reported that Yves Edwards and Antonio Silva will be on the card for Nov. 10. Is that report correct?
Shaw: Antonio Silva right now, we’re getting cleared by the commission and that’s the most up?to?date I can give you on him.
Question: Is it true that Yves Edwards is going to be involved as well?
Question: Gary, outside of Jake, who else do you feel like you have in the welterweight division that you feel is a strong fighter?
Shaw: The one thing EliteXC is willing to do is to fight any fighter from any organization. So it’s not just within our organization, although Paul Daley over at Cage Rage is a spectacular fighter, but there may be someone in the IFL. Everyone knows I’m very friendly with Jay Larkin. He’s like a brother to me. I have long, long history with him. Don’t have a long history with Scott Coker—not sure he would consider me a brother, unless we were in the street. Kimbo knows what I’m talking about. So maybe there’s a Strikeforce fighter out there. It could be anybody. It could be someone from K?1 or someone from Spirit MC. There’s not a fighter that we won’t bring and put on SHOWTIME. And let me tell you, Jake Shields, I believe he’s the No. 1 fighter in the world. So we’ll make that challenge.
Question: Kimbo, you have been so dominant and intimidating in your fighting career. Was it a humbling experience when you first started rolling around with a guy like Bas?
Kimbo: I’ve never considered myself to be what you just said, but I’ve always been humble. I’m humble with my kids and my girl and I’m humble with my friends. I have a humble spirit by nature. Fighting just allows me to really be the way I probably would normally feel on the regular, if you know what I mean? But I came into this experience with Bas like a sponge, not like I needed to be tamed or humbled or anything like that. When I’m working with Bas and the other guys, I’m a human sponge.
Question: KJ, what lessons have you taken from the fight with Berto that will help you against a guy like Diaz, who is relentless?
Noons: Like I said before, I’m very confident in my Jiu-Jitsu and wrestling. I just tend to want to stand. I like to fight. I like to fight people that like to fight, and I like to finish the fight. So no disrespect to great Jiu-Jitsu people but that stuff is just really boring to me. I’m definitely a crowd?pleasing fighter. And I’m coming there to fight. In the Edson Berto fight, I could have probably done more things on the ground. I wanted to stand up, not because I had the advantage, just because I wanted to fight.
Question: Gary, you mentioned Fedor. What is your impression of that organization, M?1, and the fact they don’t they have a TV deal now. How hard are you going to push to get him involved in some kind of fight with your organization?
Shaw: That’s a good question. I believe Fedor may be the best heavy weight in the world today. I have a lot of respect for him. I have a world of respect for Monte Cox. We’d like to work with anybody. When you say pushing hard, I push harder to work with Monte and Fedor than I might push to work with someone else. But we’d love to feature Fedor and work with him and work with M?1, and I wish them all the success. My party line is the same since last October. The better we make MMA, the better fights we put on TV, the better it is for the sport. The more the sport grows the better it is for my fighters and my company.
Question: Have you had talks with Randy Couture and is there anything going on behind the scenes with him to try to get him when he’s free from UFC to fight under your umbrella?
Shaw: If there’s something behind the scenes, I’m a promoter, so for sure I wouldn’t tell you. But putting my own personal hat on and trying to be honest, there’s nothing going on behind the scenes. I said earlier that ProElite does a great job of streaming live events. That was an opportunity they got to put it on. I have a world of respect for Randy Couture. He’s welcome into my organization any time he wants, as an ambassador, as a fighter, as an announcer, referee, whatever he wants to do. I think he’s a legend. But I would not tortuously interfere with the UFC’s contract. Would I love to have Randy? Absolutely. Would I love to have Randy and Kimbo in the ring? You bet I would. But until that time comes, I stay on the party line. Everybody’s welcome to fight for EliteXC but we do not tortuously interfere with any contract that any fighter has with another organization.
Question: On the battle that’s been waged the last two weeks with UFC and Couture, what’s your impression of the way it’s been handled, and with such a fighting background have you encountered this a lot where money becomes a gigantic issue in the world of fighting?
Shaw: You can quote me on this. It’s not about the money, it’s about the money. My statement is that Randy in his mind is entitled to something or whatever, and I don’t know what his contract says. And as promoters, the UFC is entitled to keep the contract that they have in good faith in place. That being said, Dana White thinks he owns the sport. He doesn’t own the sport. He works with the UFC. They have some of the finest fighters in the world. They’ve put on some great fights. But they don’t own every great fighter and they don’t own every great fight. So I don’t want to get in the middle. I don’t know the actual facts. I only know what I’ve listened to on the stream and what I read on some of the sites and I guess if there’s a real beef, then the best place to have that real beef is in a court of law. You bring out your contracts and then the judge looks at the contracts; and then if there’s a breach, the fighter wins. If there’s not a breach, the promoter wins. It’s as simple as that. The rest of this is just nonsense.
Question: From your knowledge of contracts, what’s more likely—that there are more fights left on this contract or it’s a time contract?
Shaw: You’re asking me to make a statement on a contract that I haven’t seen. We have contracts that are both time and within a number of fights. And that’s generally how I do my boxing contracts and it is generally how I do my MMA contracts. I try to be fair to the fighter. If they’re great fighters, obviously I want to keep them as long as I can. Do I think they should get paid? Yes. I don’t know what his pay-per-view deal was. I don’t know what fights are included in the contract. Sometimes you could do a contract that says you do so many fights on television and then so many on pay per view. The pay per view may not fall into the timetable of the others. So it’s hard for me to say. There’s a lot of ways you could breach. Maybe they didn’t pay him everything they’re supposed to pay him from his pay per view revenue. I don’t know. So I’m not going to sit here and say UFC’s wrong. I’m not going to sit here and say Randy Couture is wrong. Obviously they’re unhappy with each other right now. To me, the best way is either make up and kiss and make friends or you go to a court of law and let the court of law judge (decide). Then, he’s either stuck with the UFC or he’s a free agent. If he’s a free agent, I’ll send a limo for him.
Question: Gary, there is a fighter that hasn’t appeared in a little while who has a home in Canada by the name of David Loiseau. What is going on in terms of maybe working with David? He said he’s wants to get involved in the promotional side of things and maybe tag teaming up with you guys to bring an event to Canada, which is something that has not been able to happen with some of the major MMA companies. Is that a possibility or has it been discussed?
Shaw: I haven’t had that discussion but I’ll be more than happy to do a fight with David Loiseau in Canada. If it makes sense, it makes dollars and I’m always for that. So I’d love to promote in Canada. I used to represent Arturo Gatti, so I am familiar with the Canadian market and know the Canadian fans are great. I’d love to do something with David Loiseau. My phones are open. The doors are open and would love to do it.
Question: Kimbo, now that you have a different opponent, is your strategy going to change or are you just going to go in and roll with the punches?
Kimbo: I was expecting to fight that big Rhino. Now that I’m not fighting him, I’ll continue to (do my thing. I train to fight. To be honest with you, I think I’m prepared to fight anybody.
Question: Gary, what is your interest in some of the heavyweights that are available such as Josh Barnett?
Shaw: Very interested in Josh Barnett. Great guy. Had him in Hawaii as our guest.
Question: Are you going to talk to him now to see if we can secure something?
Shaw: Let me put on my promoter hat. I have no comment.
Question: Kimbo, what is your current weight?
Shaw: I think his weight right now is around 170. He wants to fight Jake Shields.
Shields: I’ll fight him at heavy.
Question: Jake, what’s your opinion of Paul Daley?
Shields: He’s a talented fighter. I think he’ll be easy. He doesn’t have the ground game. I think I’ll put him down in the first round.
Question: Is there anybody that you have a great deal of interest in fighting?
Shields: I’m just trying to get through Mike Pyle. I think he’s one of the better guys. Then, from there, we’ll see who EliteXC is talking to. I’m sure we can find someone good to bring in.
Question: Any prediction on how that fight is going to end up?
Shields: I think it’s going to be a tough fight. I think I’ll end up TKOing or submitting him in the second or third round.
Question: Kimbo, what are you weighing these days?
Kimbo: When I’m training every day, my weight goes between 225 to 235. And if I just take a couple of days off, I blow back over, right back up to 250.
Question: What do you think is a good fighting weight for you?
Kimbo: I like 235. Not too far from 240. But 235 is decent.
Question: Gary, as someone with unique experience across the board, what do you think of the overall landscape of both boxing and mixed martial arts and what can you say in general about the entire future of the fight industry right now.
Shaw: I think there’s room for both. I’ve always felt that way. Boxing was here before I got on earth. And it will be here when I leave. I think they’re attracting different demographics right now. People really like the mixed martial arts. They like the fact that it’s wrestling. They like the fact that it’s a bit of street fighting. And they like the fact that it’s highly skilled within the mixed martial arts field. And it’s very fast. The fights are fast. They’re stopped quickly. There’s a lot of action. There’s a great in?arena experience. There’s something to be learned by boxing from the mixed martial arts events, whether it’s the dancing girls that we travel with or just the high, what I call high energy, high octane. So I think mixed martial arts hasn’t even started to boom yet. You haven’t seen it all over. It’s not Olympic sport. But when it gets that way, when we could do a true World Cup, when we can do true world championships and Dana White comes off his high horse and the fighters at UFC decide they want to be true world champions and fight other champions, then you will see the sport really emerge. For those of you that don’t remember or are younger than me there was something called the AFL. And nobody thought it would make it. And it finally had something called the Super Bowl, which was actually the AFL against the NFL. That really is what my hope is for mixed martial arts, that we will all go out there, take a page from the boxing book, promoters working with promoters to go promote events, that the fighters truly become world champions, the fighters get paid really handsomely and the sport grows. For boxing, I think it will stay around. I don’t represent Floyd Mayweather, Jr., but his fight against Ricky Hatton from England is going to be a terrific fight and one that I’m looking for. And I’m not promoting it. But whether I am or not, I believe that there are fights out there that are great fights to be made and the same goes with mixed martial arts. I think the one thing that we have to be careful of in mixed martial arts is what happened to boxing. And that is where we put on what I perceive as mismatches, where the red corner, before it even begins, you know, is going to win all the time. The one great thing about mixed martial arts is that I’ve seen real fights and fighters willing to fight each other. And taking a loss is not catastrophic like it is in boxing. As long as we put on real fights and the Kimbos and the KJ Noonses and the Jake Shields of the world just say bring it on, then that’s what we need. But if we’re going to start putting on fights that aren’t what I call legitimate, meaning mismatches, putting them on pay per view, charging the fans $49.95, then mixed martial arts will be in trouble. But right now I see a bright future for mixed martial arts. This year, we’ve put on some great fights in boxing, some that I’ve been involved in like Rafael Marquez and Israel Vazquez and a lot that I have not been involved in. But, nevertheless, I always root for someone else’s show because the better it is for boxing, the better it is for me. The better it is for mixed martial arts, the better it is for ProElite.
Question: What do you think about the discrepancy between the paydays and is there anything that EliteXC is really trying to make possible where you can bridge that gap there?
Shaw: Truthfully, I don’t think there is a discrepancy. I think that people believe that. But trust me, there’s not a discrepancy that you all think there is. Fighters that are starting out that are getting paid a thousand or two thousand a fight are no different than an undercard boxer. Remember one thing. In order to make the gigantic dollars, then you need two fighters. One fighter doesn’t make a fight. And the only two fighters that I know that have ever been able to put all the butts in the seats by themselves are Tyson and Oscar De La Hoya. And they’re very few and far between. Most other fights need both sides to make the huge fight. So De La Hoya and Mayweather did huge pay per view numbers but it took both fighters, it took more of a street guy in Mayweather and more of a cross?over in De La Hoya. So you need that as well in the mixed martial arts. But I don’t think that there’s the discrepancy that you all think there might be out there. I think I think there’s some bad info out there.
Question: KJ, Diaz is mostly known as a really rare fighter with his striking and groundwork. Are you confident about your ability to both stand and go to the ground with him?
Noons: Again, do I have confidence to go to the ground? Yeah, I’ve been drilling a lot of wrestling, a lot of Jiu-Jitsu. I’ve been doing it for years now and for this camp I got a really good camp going on. I’ve been training my butt off hours every day so I don’t know how much more I’ll have to train to get ready for it. But come Nov. 10 I’m going to be ready for everything because Nick Diaz brings a well rounded all around game, striking, clinch, wrestling, submission. He’s a great all around fighter.
Question: Gary, are you going to be looking to bring any professional boxers in to try to be MMA fighters?
Shaw: The answer is yes, if they really want to be an MMA fighter and they’re qualified. It can’t just be someone that can punch, because part of the game is, as you know, on the ground. But are there fighters out there that I would love to cross over, you bet.
Question: Gary, you have a couple of fighters in MMA with KJ and Muchin Corbbrey, right?
Shaw: That’s true. And Kimbo is going to be another one. Jeremy Williams is another boxer that’s crossed over. And Kimbo’s going to be the first MMA fighter to ever be the heavyweight champion of the world in boxing. And they’ll walk out with two belts, an MMA and a boxing belt and that’s the same thing that KJ Noons is going to.
Question: Gary, you mentioned the AFL when they merged with the NFL that they had a new NFL. Is there any discussion among MMA promoters to do something like that?
Shaw: Good question. First of all, I believe everybody will work with everyone except Dana White and the UFC. There’s only one organization that refuses to work with anyone. The others will all work. Personally, I wanted to wait a while and put in my time and have people believe I’m serious about MMA, that I’m not just a cross?over boxing promoter. And I think I’ve achieved that. I think I’ve put a great team together at EliteXC to implement the vision. And I think we will be sitting down with other organizations about getting some type of formation of working together and maybe putting up that one world title bought that I was talking about that would either be a Grand Prix title or World Cup like in soccer, but something that everybody can strive for. And that’s a dream of mine and hopefully it will be implemented. I can’t give you a timetable.
Question: On the Internet there have been a lot of reports about what the usual UFC contract is for fighters in the organization. Have you looked at any of those articles or any of those reports and can you comment on what kind of provisions, particularly with exclusivity, they require in their contracts?
Shaw: I have not ?? I don’t go by ?? I don’t mean it in a disrespectful way ?? I don’t go by what I read on the Internet or in the newspaper, because if I did I’d wind up hating myself. There are enough Gary Shaw haters out there; I know I’d walk around depressed. I know you know me. I don’t take that to heart. I don’t know what the UFC contract is. I haven’t seen it. I know Monte Cox knows what they are. He’s had fighters there. I know Jeremy Lappen, head of our fight operations, was an agent and knows what the UFC contracts have in them. But it would be wrong for me to comment on their contracts as I’ve not personally looked at one that’s current.
Question: Hopefully somebody will get you a copy of that. Because what I saw were very onerous provisions in terms of exclusivity and after even you quit or resign there’s a pretty long period where you can’t really do much of anything. And I don’t know how that stuff would even stand up in court. But even whether they do stand up in court or not, it just seems that it ties the fighters down in a very one?sided manner.
Shaw: Again, I don’t know what their contract says, but when a fighter signs a contract they need to live by the contract. When the promoter signs the contract, the promoter’s got to live by the contract. The only thing I’ll say is that if there’s an opportunity to fight outside of EliteXC and we believe it’s right for the fighter, we allow it. Nick Diaz, when he beat Gomi, was under contract to EliteXC. But we gave him that opportunity. He proved it. And now look at what’s happened? Turns around and it helps KJ Noons, who is now going to get the opportunity to fight Nick Diaz, who beat Gomi. So we try to do the best we can for our fighters.
Question: Gary, something you just said, when Diaz beat Gomi, he was under contract with EliteXC?
Question: When do you see Kimbo’s boxing career beginning?
Shaw: When I sit down man to man with Kimbo, tell him some of the visions I have for him and hear his reaction. I’ve never had the discussion. He’s hearing it for the first time on this call. He may not have any interest in being the heavyweight world champion or be in boxing, and I would respect that. So to answer your question directly, after I sit down with Kimbo, man to man, street to street, then I’ll have a better answer for you.
Question: The last time we heard from Frank Shamrock, before his fight with Phil Baroni, there seemed to be an interest in a Shamrock versus Shamrock fight, him against Ken. Have there been any talks of a brother versus brother fight?
Shaw: Yeah, I talked to my team all about it. I would love to do brother versus brother. To me if I could do that and maybe get in some other brother acts, maybe I could talk JD Penn into fighting BJ. I’d like to do it. It would be great promotion. Call it “Brotherly Love Final Chapter’’.
Question: Have you spoken to Ken about fighting for EliteXC?
Shaw: You want Gary Shaw or the promoter. Who are you asking the question to? The promoter has no comment.
Question: On Nov. 10 on HBO, there’s going to be the Cotto-Mosley fight. Do you find that it’s trying to take away from the boxing audience? Are mixed martial arts fans and boxing fans the same kind of fan or do you not concern yourself when your event is on the same night as a boxing pay-per-view fight?
Shaw: Great question. No. 1, when we scheduled, we didn’t have HBO’s schedule. That’s the first answer. Am I concerned? Sure, you split an audience and there’s no question that Cotto with Mosley is a great fight. I used to represent Mosley. But I think that the mixed martial arts audience is different than the boxing audience. For sure it’s a much younger demographic. So will it hurt one or the other? I don’t know, but we have to go forward with our show. It’s free on Showtime. And the fights that we have, you know, Kimbo’s a legend and Jake and Mike and KJ and Nick, I’m proud to put on those fights. I can’t wait. I have some guys sitting around the conference table from my team. I whispered to them before I think we have a great card. I’m excited about it. It’s not just putting on fights to put on fights. But would I like it if there was no HBO show, would HBO like it if there was no Showtime show, absolutely.
Question: From a personal standpoint can you discuss or describe the high points and low points of your involvement with mixed martial arts?
Shaw: That’s a heavy?duty question. Nobody’s ever asked that. Normally I’m pretty quick, because I could anticipate your questions. One of the low points I think was the show we did in June with FEG where we kind of lost control of it. And I wasn’t happy with the product, wasn’t happy with the production. And I thought it was a real bad co?promotion. So if you ask me low point, I mean to me that was the low point because I like to be proud of what we put on. As far as high points, yeah, there are several. I had a high and a low one the same night. On Feb. 10, our first show ever in Mississippi was a huge high that we pulled it off with Frank and Renzo Gracie. And the low point was when I looked at that dragon they were walking out of. So when we make mistakes, I stand up and say we made mistakes. That dragon sucked. We slayed it and left it in Mississippi. But I’ve had other high points. Getting Cage Rage and King of the Cage and Icon and Spirit MC and becoming a truly global brand has been the high point. Putting the team together that supports me, you guys all ask me the questions, but there’s a great team behind me. There’s a high point for me every day. Having some of the fighters that we have, and I’m not saying it because they’re on. I honestly believe that Jake Shields may be the best fighter in his weight class in the world. And fighters like KJ, I’m proud to represent guys like that.
Kimbo: What about me, what about me?
Shaw: I thought our Icon fight was a great production in Hawaii, probably the biggest production ever that size. The deal that we did with SHOWTIME was huge. And that’s a high point. And I have to tell you, not because he’s on, I thought that when we came up with the idea of signing Kimbo and we believed in it, it wasn’t just, well, should we? Everybody, when we said Kimbo, it was how do we get him? And we were very careful how we did it and I can tell you now that I put two people on a plane with a check in their hand and we had a stealth kind of meeting, and I was back and forth on the phone with them. And we were all holding our breath because I honestly believe that Kimbo could be maybe the biggest star ever in the history ?? I know that’s a mouthful ?? of MMA and only time will tell. I can do so much as a promoter, and the fighters have to do so much as a fighter. But he is a heavyweight. He’s unique in that he’s had his career on the Internet. He’s got more unique visits than any other fighter ever on the Internet. I think it’s over 10 million. I may stand to be corrected. And the fact that he’s a fighter now that is taking his profession (very seriously) rather than smoking a joint and going into someone’s backyard (says it all). He’s training with Bas, and only time will tell. You know I once said something, and I stick by it: The last line of the speech is “Kimbo’s story is still untold.” And we’ll know and we’ll come back and you guys will either say, hey, Gary you and your team were brilliant for signing Kimbo or it was a circus or a show. I don’t think so. Anybody that will get on a conference call and say you could break my arm in an arm bar, I’m not tapping out, that’s someone that I want to see. That was Mike Tyson. That’s the Tyson I knew. That’s the Evander Holyfield I knew in boxing. So highs and lows, I’ve had a lot of them. I’ve had a lot of good days and believe me I’ve had my share of really bad days. But that’s the job of a promoter and at the end of the day I have to live and die by the fighters that we sign, the fighters that we believe in, the fights that we put on. I think we give great matches. We really try hard. It’s not red corner, blue corner and, OK, let this guy win. And I think Jake can speak to it and KJ can speak to it. We try to get them the best fights. They know it’s not a set?up. I respect these guys. That’s why I want them to wear our belts because they’re willing to fight anybody we want them to fight. A lot of people thought Berto was going to have a easy day with KJ coming off the “Krazy Horse” fight. So I try to do my best. My team tries to do their best. Hopefully my good days outnumber my bad days. I can guarantee you when my bad days outnumber my good days someone else will be on this conference call. I thank you for your question. It was very deep and I appreciate it.
Question: Jake, who is out there that you want to fight?
Shields: I just want to fight the best guys, so whoever those top guys are, I’ll fight. After the fight with Pyle, I’ll worry about who I get next.
Question: Any closing thoughts, Jake?
Shields: Just that I’m training hard. I’m excited for it. This will be an interesting fight. Mike isn’t somebody I’ll just run through. But I’m training my hardest. I’m going to try to go out there and put him away.
Question: KJ, how much did the win over Berto do for your confidence and what kind of weight was lifted off your shoulders especially coming off the fight with “Krazy Horse”?
Noons: It was great for me because I got to go almost through all three rounds and I got to show people that I do have skill and that I am a serious fighter. And the other fact, too, is a lot of people probably didn’t know but I broke my left hand with the first left hook I threw in the first round, the first minute. And I fought all the way through those three rounds still with a broken hand. And I still won. And I just have that mentality that I want to go in there and I want to win. And come Nov. 10, it’s going to be a great fight for me. It’s a great opportunity. I’ve got everything to gain, nothing to lose. I’m fighting the toughest guy in the world. I just hope Nick brings his best because I’m going to bring mine on Nov. 10.
Question: Kimbo, can we just get some closing thoughts, but first, how did you get the name Kimbo Slice?
Kimbo: Kimbo has been my name all my life. Slice was given to me by fans on the Internet. I accept it. It was cool. After the first fight I had with Big D in the backyard, I caught him with a left hook that sliced the bottom of his eye, and I guess broke his whatever. His eyeball came a couple inches down, almost out of his head. They branded me with that name. Ever since then Slice has been part of the name. I kind of ?? I have the domain, so I accepted Slice. As far as my fight with this guy coming up, I don’t know anything about him. I leave that up to my trainers to do their homework. I don’t even like to watch hardly any footage on the guys I’m fighting.
Question: Ten million downloads – and counting—on YouTube and other various Internet websites is beyond astounding. How would you describe your love affair with your fans and vice versa? Is it indeed a love affair? I know you pay attention, right?
Kimbo: You know, I’m down with you. I just bought a computer earlier this year and I bought a laptop on my birthday in February, when I turned 33. But you know, those fans, some are crazy people. And they’re my type of people, you know what I’m saying. We didn’t just ?? I didn’t just capture the hearts of the people from the streets: White, black, Chinese, Australian, we caught people all over the world, old, white, old, young. Middle aged, we caught everybody. Male, female, kids we caught everyone’s attention from it. And these are the same people that are going to follow my career with EliteXC. They really are going to follow me. I get so many questions on YouTube. I get so many questions on MySpace. Even back in our main office in Miami people call up all the time asking questions about the fight. I just turn them on, I turn them all to EliteXC and ProElite and Showtime. Hopefully we’ll have a good relationship with these guys and I get to do what I do.
Shaw: First of all, some may have misunderstood Kimbo. He’s 23 and he’s looking forward to a long, long career. So I just wanted to clear that up. On a serious note, I do want to say one thing about EliteXC. We were the first organization to really go into women’s mixed martial arts. And we did it with Gina Carano. We felt we had someone special, and we stood by her. We’ve made her a star. She is a star. On Friday night on ShoXC we featured Shana Bazsler, someone else who I know is going to be a huge star, and we’ll build to a fight between both girls. We said all along that we were going to do lower weights as well. So we are really trying, and I want the writers and the press to understand we’re really trying to expand the sport. So give credit where credit is due. We also have probably the largest library in the world of mixed martial arts between EliteXC, Icon, Rumble World, King of the Cage, Cage Rage, Spirit MC; and now we have Kimbo. We have a huge addition to our library and everything else. So I thank Kimbo. I thank Jake Shields. I thank KJ Noons for being on this call with us. My team that’s around me right now, I thank you all very much.