Showtime hosted a conference call earlier this afternoon in preparation for the upcoming EliteXC: Uprising event scheduled to take place on September 15th in Honolulu, Hawaii. The fighters featured on the call were ICON Middleweight Champion Robbie Lawler, EliteXC Middleweight Champion Murlio Rua through the use of an interpreter, Jake Shields, and Gina Carano. Other officials participating in the call were EliteXC President Gary Shaw and ICON Sport President T. Jay Thompson.
Shaw Talks Potential Acquisitions, Diaz-Gomi II, and More
Gary Shaw was upfront about almost everything during the length of time he was on the conference call. He only participated in the first half since because of connection troubles. He announced that ProElite has finalized a partnership with Spirit MC, the promotion stationed in Asia where Denis Kang is currently their heavyweight champion. Shaw also stated that ProElite has sent letters of intent to ICON Sport and King of the Cage in order to possibly purchase the promotions. Shaw went on to talk about how EliteXC is inclusive and not exclusive, meaning that fighters under contract with EliteXC are more than welcome to fight in other promotions, thus why Nick Diaz was able to take on Takanori Gomi in PRIDE.
Shaw said that he would love to do Diaz-Gomi II but has not yet contacted Gomi’s agents about a possible matchup as of yet. He said that he will most likely do so after Diaz’s fight with Mike Aina on September 15th. Shaw discussed how he wants to unify all the available titles and not have the title situation in MMA similar to the one currently in boxing. He said that he wants world champions to actually mean that the fighter is a world champion and that he invites any fighter from any promotion to come and challenge for a title and vice versa.
It’s not about building EliteXC as a brand to Shaw, but to build the sport of MMA. He noted that EliteXC will never become bigger than the sport itself, unlike how the UFC is right now in the world of MMA and that the same goes for WWE in pro wrestling. Shaw talked about ProElite’s acquisition of Cage Rage. He stated that the owners of Cage Rage will be involved with EliteXC is some capacity. He also said that he has three signings to announce on September 15th when it comes to the women’s division.
Carano Discusses Training, Life after Kedzie Victory
Gina Carano started off the call by saying that she is now part of the training team at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas. She said that she wasn’t able to work directly with Couture as much as she would have liked because he was preparing for his bout against Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 74, but the staff and other fighters that work out at the gym were more than enough to get her ready for this upcoming bout against Tonya Evinger.
Carano went on to talk about how much her professional career as changed ever since her win over Julie Kedzie back in February. She said that while her personal life has relatively remained the same, the amount of attention she gets from fans and those involved in the sports has been tremendous. She said that she was very thankful for all of the support and that so far she has able to take it all in with a level head.
Lawler Talks Strategy Against Rua, Opening of New Gym with Matt Hughes
Robbie Lawler joined the call half way through and was his usual confident self. He said that he believes that the beginning of the fight will be spent on the feet. Lawler said that if Rua wants to take things to the ground, he’ll be ready for it. He said that he will able to defend the takedown and make his way up back to the feet, just where he wants the fight to take place. Lawler went on to say that he must be ready for everything when it comes to Rua because he is such a well-rounded fighter. He said that Rua’s greatest strength is the fact that he comes from the Chute Boxe camp. However Lawler noted that if he is able to touch his chin a few times, he will knock him out. When asked if making yet another transition from a ring to the cage will be tough for Lawler, he said that it will be no problem at all.
Lawler was asked about the opening of his new gym with Matt Hughes in Illinois but didn’t really go deep into the facts with his answers. He stated that he will be the co-owner of the gym as well as one of the main instructors. He said that Pat Miletich is still like a father to him and that their relationship is still the same. He revealed that has been training at MFS for this fight. He also noted that he has put all thoughts about opening the new gym behind for this fight because he didn’t want to be distracted.
Rua Speaks on Lawler’s Skills; Expectations for Fight
Rua started off his part of the call by saying that he was unaware that both titles were on the line in the fight and now he is even more excited for September 15th. His translator didn’t seem to be very fluent in speaking English either. Rua talked about Lawler and his aggressive style of fighting. He said that he is going to be able to counter it and that he will be victorious. He said that he will be able to win standing or on the ground and that he is confident that he will be able to knock Lawler out if it stays on the feet.
When asked about Lawler’s recent win over former ICON Middleweight Champion Frank Trigg, Rua said that he was impressed but that it doesn’t change his mentality for the fight. He said that he is still confident he will be able to win the fight no matter where it goes.
Shields Talks Charuto, Training at AKA, Trigg, and More
Jake Shields was probably the most talkative fighter on the call. He seemed to talk way too fast but he gave a lot of good quotes and information. Shields said that he was supposed to fight Renato Verissimo two different times before this so he is excited that the fight is finally happening. Shields said that the Team Gracie vs Team Penn storyline is making the event that much more exciting. Shields revealed that Gary Shaw has told him the promotion will be instituting a welterweight division in the near future and that he would love to fight for the belt.
Shields said that he loves how the people at EliteXC are treating him and that he doesn’t plan on going anywhere anytime soon. He said that he would love to take Carlos Condit’s WEC Welterweight Title away from him but is staying where he is at the near future. Shields talked about how he trains at the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose every couple of weeks. He said that his usual training partners are Jon Fitch and Mike Swick. Shields said that if it came down to it, he is unsure if he would fight either of them but that they are in different promotions right now and he doesn’t have to worry about that.
Shields was asked multiple questions concerning his war of words with Frank Trigg. Shields said that the two were supposed to fight many times but that Trigg has always either never signed a contract or backed out of the fight. Shields said that if the opportunity presented itself once again he would accept but that it’s probably a waste of time taking on Trigg at this point. Shields said that for the right offer he would be willing to move up to 185 lbs to take on Trigg. He stated that they actually had a verbal agreement to fight in October but that Trigg backed out for unknown reasons.
Both the ICON Middleweight Title and the EliteXC Middleweight Title will be on the line in the Lawler-Rua fight. The winner will walk away with both. Nick Diaz was originally supposed to be part of the call but was unable to make it. The unified rules of New Jersey and Nevada will be used during the event, not the PRIDE rules that are usually used in Hawaii. A cage will be used instead of a ring as well. No word yet on whether or not the event will be televised on The Fight Network in Canada.