MMA legend and former UFC middleweight champion Frank Shamrock and foul-mouthed, trash-talking, knockout-artist Phil “The New York Bad Ass” Baroni clash for the vacant Strikeforce middleweight (185-pound) championship in the main event of a spectacular MMA cage fight card on Friday, June 22, at the HP Pavilion at San Jose, Calif.
If Baroni can fight half as tough as he talks, Shamrock could be in for a long night.
In a second world title fight on a Strikeforce-EliteXC cage fight card that will be produced and distributed live by SHOWTIME® PPV (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT), Joey “Dream Smasher” Villasenor and Murilo “Ninja” Rua will clash for the vacant EliteXC middleweight title.
Other scheduled PPV fights include: EliteXC’s Charles “Krazy Horse” Bennett vs. Victor “Joe Boxer” Valenzuela, lightweights; Strikeforce’s Cung Le vs. Tony “The Freak” Fryklund, middleweights and Carter “The Beast” Williams vs. Paul “The Headhunter” Buentello, heavyweights.
Before the PPV telecast, six exciting undercard fights will be streamed live at ProElite.com, a respected, rapidly growing Internet destination for the MMA community. First fight is at 7:40 p.m.
Please be aware before opening this post that it contains a good amount of foul language…
Question: Frank, can we have some opening comments and thoughts?
Shamrock: I would just like to thank all the media for being involved and being supportive of this monumental event. Not only Showtime’s first big super fight card, but also the first Showtime Pay-Per-View out of San Jose, California, which, of course is my hometown. San Jose is a martial arts community and a marital arts town, and I’m honored to be fighting for them and representing our fine city. I’d like to thank the HP Pavilion for hosting us once again, and I estimate that we are going to sell a boat load of tickets on this, as we usually do. About the fight, it has been a long time coming. Phil threw out a challenge. I have gladly accepted it, and I would just rather let me actions in the ring do all the talking. I have done my homework, and I am ready to show them what is going on.
Question: Phil “The New York Bad Ass’’ Baroni, could we have some opening comments from you, please?
Baroni: I do not know what that asshole has been doing, but this is not grade school. When they lock the cage door, I am going to knock his ass out. I am not thanking anybody. I could give a fuck, really, about who is there. All I care about is June 22, Judgment Day, when I knock Frank Shamrock the fuck out. Put him back to the seminar circuit where his ass belongs. You know, he is a punk. He has a big mouth. He is writing checks with his mouth that his ass cannot cash, and I am going to put him to rest in his hometown. Beat him up, knock him out, and send him on his way.
Question: Phil, when did you first issue a challenge to fight Shamrock?
Baroni: When he was armchair quarterbacking, when I was fighting the best fighters around the world, and he was sitting at home, ridiculing and talking about everybody. The guy had a lot to say. I never thought he would back it up, and I still will not believe it until we get to the ring and they lock the cage door. I thought that he was looking for a way out of this fight. I do not believe he is going to back it up. I issued a challenge. He is the one that deals with the HP Pavilion. He is the one in with you guys, Gary Shaw and all those guys. So I issued a challenge. Everybody wants to fight that punk. It is not just me. He, being the so-called legend, got to pick his opponent, and he picked the wrong cat. He is getting knocked out.
Question: Phil, is Shamrock a guy you hate more than any other opponent? Does he stand out in some special way in regards to not liking him?
Baroni: I think he is a scum bag. I am not going to hold any punches. The guy is a hypocrite. I think he is a fraud, and everyone that has ever dealt with him, that I know of, does not like him. I mean Javier Mendez, who was his old trainer, all the guys at AKA that I have trained with over the years, Dana White, UFC President, who is a personal friend of mine. Everyone I know that has dealt with the guy thinks he is a fucking ass hole and a jackoff. Judgment Day is June 22. I want to see what he is about. Wait till he steps in with the real deal. I am the real deal, and I am going to throw punches with bad intentions at his fucking head and put him to sleep.
Question: Frank, are you still sticking by letting your fists do the talking? Or are you going to respond to this?
Shamrock: Well, it is what it is. I am a professional martial artist, and I am a professional fighter. Phil is a professional idiot. I let my talking happen in the ring.
Baroni: Yes, see he did a lot of talking. He is the one that started the bad blood with his little videos and this and that. Now he wants to be the good guy. He has nothing to say because he is embarrassed, and he is going to get smashed. Now it is getting close, buddy. You can feel the heat. I am coming for you. You know what I mean? It is three weeks away, two weeks away, whatever the fuck it is, and you are going to get knocked the fuck out. You are going to hurt real badly and there is nothing you can do about it now. There is no backing out. There is no more tough guy talk. No little funny videos. It is just going to be me and you when they shut that door, and there is nowhere to run and there is nowhere to hide.
Question: Phil, can you talk about those funny little videos?
Baroni: Go on YouTube. He made a bunch of funny little videos.
Question: What are they … do they refer to you specifically?
Baroni: Yes, you know, they are little funny videos with chicks. I do not know what the fuck they are. They are funny little videos. Go check them out. I cannot really explain them.
Question: You are not amused by them, though?
Baroni: I think he is wasting his time. Now he wants to … he is a pompous asshole. He is a fraud. He acts like … he uses big words, he is a big idiot. He is a retard, to be honest.
Question: Frank, where do you rank yourself amongst today’s top middleweight fighters?
Shamrock: I have no idea. I have not fought very many people for a length of time, to be honest. He is just a stepping stone to move up, so I am just working my way up.
Question: From this call that we have had so far, what bothers you the most about Baroni?
Shamrock: I do not mind Phil at all. I think he is a great marketer and promoter, and obviously speaks very well. He is a mid-grade opponent, and he looks good, sells tickets. I think he is wonderful. I have got nothing against Phil. I think he is hilarious.
Question: What are the strengths Baroni brings to this fight, and do you think he has the cardio and stamina to last with you?
Shamrock: I know he does not have the cardio and stamina to last. The strengths he brings are brute force and mindless punching. So I am prepared for it, and I do what I do.
Question: Not to look past Phil and his fight here, but should you come up victorious over Baroni, is there a rematch with (Renzo) Gracie on your radar?
Shamrock: That would be my next goal. That would be my definite next goal.
Question: For someone who has seen the darker side of life and has obviously risen to incredible heights of success, what motivates you now?
Shamrock: I just enjoy being a professional athlete and a professional martial artist, and enjoy teaching martial arts and guiding the community. I enjoy getting in and mixing it up. For me, the game is still the same. Just the money is bigger and the stakes are higher, but this is what I have always loved to do, and this is what I plan to do for awhile.
Question: Frank, is getting into your opponent’s head an important thing before a fight?
Shamrock: Yes, I mean the psychological game is a big portion of it. All the elements of fighting are involved, and I work on all of them, and exploit all of them. It is just part of the game. That is part of my game with Phil.
Question: Is a big goal of yours to become a champion again in this modern era of MMA, or do you simply want to provide for your family well, and just get as much money as you can from doing what you do?
Shamrock: My plan is to come back, to fight the best, and be the best. I did not see a reason to cripple my body and waste my body when the sport was not going anywhere. I have been training every day. I am a martial artist. I have been waiting for this moment, and now is my time. Phil is my stepping stone.
Question: Phil, what do you think about being regarded as a stepping stone?
Baroni: I think he is going to fucking trip on this stone. I think it is a big fucking stone to step over. Actually he is not going to step over it. I am going to fucking knock his ass down. He is a jackoff. That is what everybody thinks. He is going to get fucking killed. I regard myself as one of the best middleweight fighters in the world. I have fought nothing but the best, had them hanging on for dear life. So if he thinks I am going to fade, he is out of his mind. I am not going to fade. I am going to be strong all five rounds. I am going to beat him for four and a half, and put him to rest in the fifth. Right before it ends. He has another thing coming with the stepping stone. I am the best, you know. (I have fought the very best, and won. In Japan, I got jobbed) the Japanese judges, if their eyes were not crossed, they would have known and gave me the fight. Then they did not know what they were watching. I have fought the best fighters in the world. Who has Frank fought? The one guy in common that we fought; I knocked him out in 18 seconds. So this is a big stepping stone. He better do some more homework. You must have fucking flunked out of high school, asshole, because your studies are not going that well.
Question: Does Shamrock have the skills to stand up with you?
Baroni: No. He does not have the skills to stand up with me. He talks a lot of shit. He talked a lot of shit about Renzo wanting to take the fight to the ground, and he is there to fight, and he is a knock out artist. First of all, who the fuck has he ever knocked out? He never knocked anybody out. I am the fucking knock out artist in this weight class, at this game. He wants to say I have no stamina. As soon as I touch a guy anywhere on his body, he is scrambling for the take down. There is no way in a million years he is going to stand up with me. It is funny too, because he talks so much shit about Renzo and about (how) Renzo did not want to fight, and how he wanted out of there, and he did not want any part of a fight. I am going to be in the middle of the ring, ready to trade. If you want to trade jackoff, you are getting fucked quick. It is going to be bad and ugly in your own hometown. Frank is not that stupid. He is not going to trade with me. He is not going to box with me. He is not going to kick box. He is not going to do anything with me. If he does, I am going to kill him. There are no ifs, ands or buts about it. He will not stay on. He does not have the ballas, the testicular fortitude to get in there and bite down on his mouthpiece, and grit with me. There is no way he will do it. So I am not even … that is not even in my mindset of him trying to stay on me. He has nothing for me on his feet at all. His game plan is to be wrestling around on the ground like a faggot, like they complained about Renzo doing. Trying to get me tired, and trying to make a boring fight, trying to pull something off, which is not going to happen, because I am twice the athlete he is. I can out- wrestle him. So we will see. He is not going to stand for more than 25 seconds. As soon as I land the first thing on him, if he is not sleeping, he will wish he was.
Question: Phil, where have you been training?
Baroni: I have been training in Vegas, where I have been living the last couple of years. There is a host of good guys there. I have popped in a couple times at Frank’s old gym and trained there.
Question: Should you be victorious over Shamrock, where would this position you as a fighter in the middleweight division?
Baroni: Right where I am right now, you know. I am supposed to win this fight. This is not a stepping stone for me. This is just me beating up a jackoff. You know what I mean? Getting to beat up a punk. The only thing I have to gain by this fight is to beat up a asshole. He is not like any of the guys I have fought before. After I win this, I am going to move on to bigger and better things. I am going to look to unified titles. Be a world champion. That is the main difference between me and Frank. Frank came back because of the money. There is money in this sport and opportunity. I am fighting because I want to be champion. I was fighting when there was no money, and I kept fighting. Now there is money, and it does not make a difference. I have been poor and broke my whole life. I am not in it for the money. I am in it to prove something to everybody, and mostly myself, that I am the best fighter in the world.
Question: Phil, for a long time, you have made it well known that you wanted two things. One, a fight with Shamrock; the other being a title fight. You get them both in the same night. How sweet is that for you?
Baroni: My time is finally here. Like I said, I have fought the best in the world, and I never got a title shot. The guys that I beat were winning titles and getting title shots. The guys that I am better than are getting title shots. It is just finally my shot, and I get to kill (two) birds with one stone. Send this jackoff back to fucking doing seven hours out of the mainstream public where he wants to be so badly, and I get to be a world champion. I get to defend my title, and prove I have what it takes. Best in the world. So this is going to be a great night for me. I cannot wait. I am going to party my ass off for the next couple of weeks after I kill that dude.
Question: Phil, Joey Villasenor and Ninja, Murilo Rua, are fighting for EliteXC’s middleweight title on the same card. Has it already been discussed that the winner of your fight with Frank would fight that winner?
Baroni: I have not talked to them about it, but I am sure that is a big possibility. I am sure they are thinking about it. Either one of those guys would be a great opponent for me.
Question: Phil, do you have a long term or multiple fight contract, with Strikeforce?
Baroni: I have a multiple fight contract with Strikeforce, and it is also non-exclusive, so I will be able to fight for any title. After I knock this guy out and defend my Strikeforce title (I will) bounce around. (I will) beat up the winner of Villasenor-Ninja.
Question: Frank, there has been an issue between the two of you since 2002 when you guys were battling back and forth on the internet. Back then it seemed like you did not really consider Phil to be a sufficient opponent for you. How do you feel about him now?
Shamrock: Well, he is a good opponent. He has a bunch of skills, and he is strong, and he knows how to wrestle. I have always thought he was a good opponent. I never thought he would fight me, to be honest with you, so for me, it is a win/win situation. I am pretty excited about it. Phil is up there. He is a contender. I do not think he is the best in the world. In fact, I know he is not the best in the world. If he beats me, he beats me. He is the better man. But I am an artist. I do what I do.
Question: Assuming you are successful against Baroni, do you see yourself defending your title on a regular basis?
Shamrock: I have my fights planned through ’09. Look, I have always been honest. I have always been straight forward. This is what I always do. This is what I have always wanted to do. I just saw no reason to get in and do it for people I did not want to do it for, and for no money, and cripple my body up. Part of being a martial artist is being a smart businessman. I have always been a smart businessman when it came to fighting.
Question: Who are you training with right now?
Shamrock: Training with my guys in San Jose at the Shamrock Martial Arts Academy.
Question: Frank, does this still have the same sort of appeal and motivation for you—after the multiple titles you have won throughout your career?
Shamrock: (Yes, but) Honestly, I am not in it for titles. I have won more titles than most people will ever win. I am in it for the art, and I am in it to prove to myself the things that I believe to be true. I am in it to show the world what mixed martial arts, and what professional martial artists are about. That is why I am in the game.
Question: Frank, you mentioned that your schedule is booked up through ’09. Could you talk about some of the opponents you have in mind for the future? You mentioned you were interested in possibly fighting Ken, and also a rematch with Renzo.
Shamrock: Well, those two are definitely on my horizon, Renzo being next. There is another local celebrity and rising mixed marital artist named Cung Le, and I would like to fight him sometime in ’08. If me and Phil have a good fight, maybe we will give Phil a rematch after he loses. I am very definitive on what I want to do, and I would like to get myself into the game at the highest level, and compete against the best people out there and see how I do. Some of those fights do not have names or faces yet, but they have months and times.
Question: Phil, if you beat Frank, or knock him out, will that give you another ticket back to the UFC?
Baroni: First of all, I want to classify, I can go to the UFC any time I want. I have an open invitation back. Look at the guys fighting in the UFC. There is a bunch of bums. TV show reality star rejects and everything else. I am more than good enough to get to fight in the UFC. I am more than good enough to wear that middleweight title. I left because I had to go and fight in the Grand Prix, which I did. There is an open opportunity to come back and fight for the title after I beat Frank Shamrock. It is not to come back to the UFC. I can say I want to go in the UFC tomorrow. (Dana White) is a friend of mine. Not only is he a friend of mine, he is a businessman, and not to have me fight on the card would be retarded. Why wouldn’t you want me to fight on your show? Every one of my fights is exciting. I bring more to the table than anybody. As far as Frank Shamrock, I have to adjust one thing he keeps saying (that) he is an artist, this and that. Well after I fucking knock you out, Frank, I will buy you a box of crayons and a coloring book, and you can go be a fucking artist. But this is not a fucking artist, and this is not going to be a martial arts exhibition, jackoff. This is going to be a fucking fight. Do you get it? I am not here to fuck around… I do not know what the fuck this dude is talking about martial arts. I am a fucking fighter. I have been a fighter since the day I was born. You are going to get in a fight. There is going to be a fight. I am going to take your fucking head off. I am going to pound you the fuck out. This is not a fucking … I do not know. I do not know what he is talking about martial artist and paint the picture, this is what I do. If this is what you do, you do it. I have been doing it. This is what I have been doing. I do it in the street, I do it in the ring, I have been doing it my whole life. I am a fucking fighter. I do not know what a fucking martial artist is, but man, this fucking guy is just a retard. He is in fucking la-la land, you know? I do not know where the fuck he is from. I am a fucking fighter, you know? Man, I do not get this cat. You are in for a rude awakening, dude. You are in for a rude awakening. You are going to get fucked up.
Shamrock: That is why they call him the “New York Bad Ass.’’.
Question: Phil, if you knock out Frank, you have been promised a UFC middleweight title shot, right?
Baroni: (White) promised me a title shot. He promised me a big bonus. Again, the difference between me and Shamrock is not about the money. I grew up poor. I have always been poor. I can care less about the money. It is not about the money for me. It is about setting goals and accomplishing them. I set high goals for myself. There are about six billion people in the world, and there is one middleweight champion. I plan on being that one guy. You only have one life and I want to do the most with mine, and this is what I choose to do. It is not about being an artist, and painting fucking pictures, or fucking teaching old ladies how to defend themselves in karate, and all this shit. It is about getting in the fucking cage. Do not make it what it is not. It is a fucking fight. It is two men going into a cage, and seeing who is the fucking bigger man. I guarantee on June 22, Judgment Day, I will be the bigger man. Frank Shamrock is going to get fucking weighed, measured and found lacking.
Question: Frank, the origin of this fight came on interviews you cut on the internet. How effective can promoting on the internet be, and do you expect the popularity of this fight to be generated solely from the internet?
Shamrock: Well, it is obviously an effective tool. It is reaching a demographic that is supporting our sport, at least in the masses. It was a huge tool for us. We had a lot of trouble getting Baroni to sign. He had some issues and what-not, and we used the internet as a huge marketing tool to push him into that position and get him to commit. Really this whole fight was born on the internet from Phil getting on there and being his wonderful, vibrant self, and creating some energy behind this fight, which otherwise would have never happened.
Question: Phil, what were your reactions to the skits that Frank produced and conducted?
Baroni: He is patting himself on the back thinking that he had anything to do with me getting in the fight. I could care less. I just had my manager and my agent negotiating me a better deal. I always wanted to fight the guy. You believe I did. He credits himself as a businessman. I got as much as I can out of this. So he has to pat himself on the back with his little stupid videos. That is not what made me want to fight him. I do not know what it really did, really for anybody, but cracked me up. It had nothing to do with me signing. I will fight anyone any time. I have always said it, and I have always done it. I have fought nothing but the best, and I finally get a fight against someone who is the top five in the world.
Question: Phil, what was your reaction once the fight with Frank was made?
Baroni: I was a happy man. I was excited about the opportunity to knock his ass out. I did not think he would be dumb enough to sign the contract, but he did. I was just happy about being able to be the one to knock his ass out.
Question: Phil, what has Shawn Tompkins added to your arsenal as a fighter, and second, what is the status of your legal case in Florida? Has that been having any interference with the lead up to this fight? Are you clear? What is the status of that?
Baroni: Well first, Shawn Tompkins is a great trainer. I finally found someone that has a similar style and a similar attitude on fighting as me. Someone who likes to get in there gritty and with similar body styles. I have had a lot of great coaches. I have worked with a lot of top guys. This will probably be a ground fight thanks to Frank. As far as my legal case goes, it is being handled. I am not going to worry about it until after my fight. I could care less, really. I cannot worry about it right now. I am innocent until proven guilty.
Question: Will it go to trial?
Baroni: I have no idea right now. It will be taken care of after this fight. I hope not.
Question: Frank, your fight in February was your first in quite awhile. How disappointing was it afterwards, and how long did it take you to get over the fact that you lost on DQ? Are you over that, or is that still lingering in your mind how that fight ended up?
Shamrock: It is what it is. I accepted it. I was pretty down for a couple weeks, but it is part of the game, and that is how I look at it. Nothing else I can do about it. I will get it back on the rematch, and I will put it to rest then.
Question: Do you feel, after watching it, that the call was just?
Shamrock: This is my personal opinion, and that is that he was looking for a way out. I could hear the guy. I know about fighting. I have been fighting for 13 years as a pro, and I barely touched the guy, and the guy was looking for a way out. That is just my personal opinion, and some people do not like it, and some people do not care. That is just the way I feel, and I have been taught to speak the truth and roll with it. That is what I believe the truth is.
Question: Frank, leading up to the fight you had mentioned that you had a lot of respect for him. Did the outcome of that fight change how you feel about him?
Shamrock: No. He saw an opportunity to take the win, and he was not going to win any other way. So I think the guy is a pretty intelligent guy. I still think he is a great fighter, but it is what it is, and I do not know Renzo personally. I still have a lot of respect for him. Fighting is fighting is fighting.
Question: Frank, does it concern you at all that you had a lot less activity in the ring in the last seven years compared to Phil, and that your more recent successes have been arguably against less experienced opponents than he has? If not, why?
Shamrock: No, it does not concern me. I train every day, and Phil does not get this, but I am an artist, so I work out, I train, I study fighting every single day. I train my team, and I train my Razor Claws. For me, not fighting is … I have not had a chance to party in the ring for awhile. Every time I walk in I just feel like I am home again. It is what it is.
Question: Phil, you have said this was a do or die time in your career, and that you wanted to take it to the next level. Are you where you want to be in terms of the opportunities? Do you feel like you have a good opportunity to do that? To fulfill those goals?
Baroni: Yes, it is a big opportunity. It is a huge opportunity. I may not like the guy, but the bottom line is he is a legend, and he probably has more moves than I know, but the difference is I am a fighter. I do not fucking study fighting. I fight. I get in there and I fucking do what I do. That is fight. I do not fucking study, I do not teach bullshit like that, or anything he does. I do not understand what he does. I do not think about fighting, I fucking do it. I do not have a manual and read it. I just go in there and mix it up. It is a big opportunity for me. The guy is a legend and he has fought all over the world. He fought good fighters, but I’m not here for a fucking picture. I am here to break his fucking head. It is going to come down to who wants it more. I think he is in it for the money and the popularity of the sport right now, and I think I am in it to be a champion. He said he has won a lot of titles, more titles than other fighters, and I do not think he is hungry. Not like me. Hungry for the money, but when it comes down to checking our gloves, and who wants it more, I am going to beat him. I am going to push through it. I am going to push harder, and I am going to knock him out. I am going to make him quit. I am going to find that soft spot and lay in it. I am not concerned about his cardio, or about what techniques he has, because I am going to make it a fight. It is not going to be a technical match. It is not going to be who knows more. I am going to come out, guns blazing, and he is not going to weather it. He is going to be there for five fucking rounds. He is not fucking weathering it. Here comes Hurricane Baroni. It’s a fucking big one. He is going to get fucking chopped up, spit out, and laid to rest. It is a big fight, there is a lot on the line. I cannot afford to lose to this guy. I have been in big fights before, and I have always taken care of my business. I cannot afford to lose to this guy. There is a lot of pressure on me. They have me training my ass off. I am in phenomenal shape. I am bigger and stronger than I have ever been in my career. I am focused, and I am in a better place in my life than I have ever been before. I am going to take it to this guy. It is time for me to take his place. Pick up where he has left off. He is going to pass the torch on the 22nd. He is well rounded, he is a good athlete. He studies fighting, whatever the fuck that means, but I know, from watching his tapes, from what I know from other fighters the guy can fight. He is a great athlete, a great competitor. But so am I. It is my time. This is my destiny. I have been waiting for this moment my entire life, and I am not going to come up short. I am taking care of my business.
Question: Frank, it seems early on in the buildup to this fight, the attacks became pretty personal against Phil. Why did they become so personal so quickly?
Shamrock: Basically I was just reiterating back to Phil and what he had started on the internet. I mean, obviously that is how you sell a fight, and obviously that was the name of the game. The truth is, I trained to fight Phil, and then all of a sudden he had some personal issues and he could not sign, and they wanted to renegotiate or whatever they wanted to do. I looked at it as a business opportunity. We needed to get the media and the public behind getting this fight to really truly happen, and the only way to do that, I felt, was to make him look like the fool. Here we are now.
Question: You consider yourself a martial artist and Phil considers himself a fighter. In your opinion, what is the difference?
Shamrock: Well, the difference in my opinion is one person lives their life a certain way, by a certain code, and the other does not. To me it is fighting. Phil is in for a really rude awakening, because I fight everybody in the world, and I have trained with everybody in the world, and I know what my skill set is. It is about the way you live your life, and the way you hold yourself, and present yourself to the world. That is how I present myself.
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