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UFC 122 conference call transcript

Moderator: Marshall Zelaznik
November 5, 2010
2:00 p.m. CT

Male: Hey everybody and welcome to the UFC 122 conference call. We are all looking forward to next Saturday’s fights at Oberhausen. On the call with us today are the headliners for the card Nate Marquardt and Yushin Okami who will be participating in a number one contender match in the middleweight division.

We’ve also Jorge Rivera on the line. We’re waiting on Alessio Sakara. He should be calling in momentarily. That’s why we’re a little bit held up. But we’re going to start it up now. And also Marshall Zelaznik from the (UFCGK) Division maybe will join us later on the call. Mr. Yushin Okami has a translator with him so just please speak slowly and clearly when asking him questions. And I will turn it over to the fighters now and back to our operator.

Operator: At this time if you would like to ask a question, please star then the number one on your telephone keypad. And your first question comes from the line of (Oliver Copp).

(Oliver Copp): This question is for Nate Marquardt. Nate this is your first title eliminator and compared to regular fight does knowing that your only step away from the title shot change the way you go about preparing yourself for the fight.

Nate Marquardt: Yes and no. Really the reason that this fight is going to be different is because when I lost to Chael I kind of realized that I maybe lost some of the desire, lost focus of my desire to be the champion and then now I have that back fully 100 percent and I’m just you know very excited for this fight and I feel very prepared and very ready.

(Oliver Copp): Many experts call you Yushin Okami more disciplined version of (inaudible) stylistically. Would you agree with that?

Nate Marquardt: No I wouldn’t agree with that. He’s quite a bit different style from Chael. He’s you know different body type. He’s different – uses different take downs. His striking is different and his ground game is different. So I don’t think…

(Oliver Copp): Thank you very much. Thank you very much and all the best.

Nate Marquardt: Thanks.

(Oliver Copp): One more question for Yushin. Since you’ve debuted you’ve only lost two decisions so far. Have been a consistent winner for years. Do you feel it’s your time to step up now?

Interpreter: I’m sorry could you repeat the last part of the question. Again please.

(Oliver Copp): Absolutely. Yushin has been in UFC for a couple of years and only lost two times so far. Does he feel that it’s his time to step up now? That it is his time to shine now.

Interperter: OK. Yushin (foreign language). OK this is (inaudible) main event for me and I finally feel I’m in a position to aim for the title shot.

(Oliver Copp): What challenges does fighting present in Nate that Yushin hasn’t had in other opponents.

Interperter: I’m sorry.

(Oliver Copp): What challenges does fighting Nate that Yushin has had in other opponents?

Interperter: OK. Yushin (foreign language). OK. Its going to be a big challenge because Nate Marquardt is a very rounded fighter and he has no weakness and he has very good finishing power so I would be very careful about that.

(Oliver Copp): OK. Thank you very much. Thanks everybody.

Interperter: You welcome.

Nate Marquardt: Thank you.

Operator: And your next question comes from the line of (Steven Marrocco).

(Steven Marrocco): Hi a question for Marshall. Just talking to (Damian) this past month and he said that you guys were still working sort of diplomatically to get the UFC back on TV in Germany. Can you give us an update as to where that’s at?

Marshall Zelaznik: Sure. So the network, just to give you a little background. The network that we were on was a DSF broadcast from within (Bolivara) which is one of the states in Germany where Munich is located. So the TV licensing authority within (Bolivara) is the one that withdrew the approvals for the UFC to air on television.

So we have actually filed a lawsuit against the licensing authority there, the acronym is BLM, so we’re in the middle of a litigation with BLM. Its basically asserting our right that we thought it was improper to removed the UFC from television.

So we’ve got that pending in the mean time there are networks that broadcast from within other states within Germany who have shown interest in the UFC but aren’t prepared to commit to the UFC until this law suit is resolved so we have options that we are waiting to you know take advantage of once the litigation is gone.

But we were able to as part of (inaudible) secure one of the leading sports Web sites there a group is called Spox, spox.com. They’re I think the number two or three most trafficked German language sports Web site so they have become our sort of German language official partner for the event. So there’s still interest by media within Germany but until this lawsuit is resolved, we’re sort of a little bit in a limbo state.

Male: Do you have any idea of when that law suit you know when it might be resolved?

Male: No, I think that you know we’ve been through a couple of processes a couple of hearings and you know depending on what happens at which level and who appeals what we probably are no sooner than finding out the soonest would be around six months but it could be you know another nine to 12 months.

Male: So basically what you’re saying is for German fans who want it who don’t have (a ticket) you know like a ticket to the event they can log onto this Web site and purchase the show or just watch it …

Male: Yes, they’ll buy … that’s right. So we have a German language UFC site called I think it’s germany.ufc.com if I’m not mistaken so fans can watch the UFC event there or they’ll be able to watch (inaudible) box and it’s free it’s not a charged event. We have effectively since the BLM ruling we have offered all of the UFC live content on the UFC German language site for free so that our fans can still have the ability to see it and we do you know (inaudible) traffic on that. But we think this German language site is really going to help drive more interest in the UFC. We think most of our fans are very internet savvy so it’s a perfect fit for us.

Male: Great thank you.

Male: Thanks.

Operator: Your next question comes from the line (Elliot O’Shansky).

(Elliot O’Shansky): Hi, good afternoon my questions are for Jorge Rivera. Jorge after your last fight with Nate Marquardt you talked you know wanting to entertain the fans, more than you know figuring the title picture anything like that. What does that mentality and you know the emphasis on having entertaining fights do for you as a fighter in terms of how you fight and how you prepare? And can you do things fighting you know entertain that you can’t do necessarily when you know you’re fighting to chase a title?

Jorge Rivera: Well I consider them one and the same. You know obviously I always want to win and winning is going to lead to the title. But I think people are paying good money at home to watch this fight and the people that are paying in the audience to pay even better money to watch you put on a good show.

And I think it’s your job to show responsibility it’s an obligation that you have to give them what they’re looking for. And I’m not going to run from my opponent I’m not going to lay on top of him I’m going to try to finish every single fight that I’m in. And I want to be known as that I want to be known as a fitting fighter a guy who comes putting it all on the line win or lose I’m coming.

I mean and I train hard it doesn’t matter who I’m fighting I have to train hard because you know there’s a top tier of MMA right here and every single person that’s in this organization is good and they belong here and they train hard. And to take anybody lightly and to train soft is a huge mistake and you know it’ll cost you in the ring.

(Elliott O’Shansky): And does any of what you said obviously, you were on the ultimate fighter at the same time as Chris Little who’s you know seem to have a similar reputation in the welterweight division. Does seeing what he’s been able to do in terms of his whole you know king of the bonus thing you know give you an idea for you know what you’re looking for in your career at this point?

Jorge Rivera: I love Chris I know Chris personally, he’s a great guy and I think most of the guys everywhere now show – share the same mentality we’ve been around for a while. We understand what’s at stake and we understand what the people want. You know at the end of the day they’re the ones that are supporting us, they’re the ones that are putting money in our pockets, they are the ones buying pay per views, they’re the ones – the fans are the ones that do it all.

I mean so you have to cater to the fans you know when my career is over I want to be remembered. I mean some of these guys may have more wins than I do, they may have even fought tougher guys, but if they’re boring fighters, nobody’s going remember them. I mean and I want to be remembered you know when my name comes up I want people to say yes, I loved watching him fight.

(Elliott O’Shansky): And do the things you do outside of your fight like for the – like the ‘80s Acapella video, that’s going around or the phony Carter bit that you did on ultimate fighter does that figure into it as well?

Jorge Rivera: I’m having fun with that you know what I mean I can’t be serious all the time. You know I’m a human being I just want to enjoy my life. I mean I’m just having fun with it I just want people to know the other side of me.

(Elliott O’Shansky): Sounds good all right those are my questions thanks so much everybody.

Jorge Rivera: Thank you.

Operator: And your next question comes from the line of (John Moody).

(John Moody): Yes, for Nate. Nate what did you learn from watching Chael beat Okami when you watched that tape what were you able to take away, what were you able to use for your fight?

Nate Marquardt: You know I Okami is listening so I’m not sure I’d want to say if there is anything that I saw from it but really the bottom line is that Chael is a different style fighter than I am and you know I’m going to be looking for openings to finish the fight. And you know like I said we’re just totally different style fighters so even if you know what I do see it’s not going to help me that much.

You know that fight he fought him completely differently than I’m going to fight him and you know so I don’t think it helps that much to watch that fight. There’s other fights that more you know were more valuable for me to watch.

(Elliott O’Shansky): One more in kind of the big picture speaking about the title holder in your division and again watching what Chael did with Anderson what kind of opened your eyes about that fight as far as exposing Anderson a little bit. I mean can you speak to that at all or you don’t want to give anything away as far as that goes either but in general can you speak to the idea of how this – what kind of success he had against Anderson that we really haven’t seen much of in the past?

Nate Marquardt: Yes, well I mean it’s been known to me you know for a long time that Anderson had holes in his game. And if anything it was more of a eye opening event for the media because they put them on this pedestal like he was unbeatable and Chael was able to expose you know obviously, that he’s susceptible to taking downs, susceptible to ground and pound on the end. Even that even if somebody lands a punch on him that he actually can get wobbled so for sure I think if anything it’s more eye opening for the media though not for me.

(Elliott O’Shansky): OK thanks Nate good luck.

Nate Marquardt: All right thank you.

Operator: And you next question comes from the line of (Shaun Barone).

(Shaun Barone): Yes, this question is kind for everybody for all the fighters. With the craziness going on with the scoring of fights by judges and being on a free televised event and headlining it do you feel like there’s even more pressure on you to come and finish a fight rather than just try to squeak out points and get a decision? I’m just going on your thoughts on that.

Male: Who do you want to answer?

(Shaun Barone): I guess you start with Nate and maybe you work the way down the line I guess because guys want to answer feel free.

Nate Marquardt: OK this is Nate. Honestly, I don’t feel any extra pressure because of the reasons you stated but you know feel that, that is my fighting style. My fighting style I fight best to win. I look for the openings, I wait for the openings to come, and then I capitalize and I go for the finish 100 percent and that’s how I fight best. That’s how I do the most damage and this fights not going to be any different.

Male: Maybe Jorge you want to take a shot at an answer.

Jorge Rivera: Sure, if you ever watch any of my fights I mean I don’t – I’ve got over 30 fights and I’ve got only four decisions. I mean so that’s how I fight every time I step in there I never see it going to a decision I’m always thinking I’m going to finish. I’m always looking at – I’m always looking to finish the fight and then I think about leaving it in judges hands and I think from (hard) this is will go down. I don’t want to be on the (short) end of a decision.

Male: Absolutely.

Yushin Okami: (Foreign Language).

Interpreter: This is Yushin my next fight will be the main event for I like to finish with a KO or (permission) and I have been training for finishing (inaudible) for I have no pressure about you know (this) or anything like that.

(Shaun Barone): I appreciate your thoughts guys and I’m definitely looking forward to the fights so thank you very much for your time I appreciate it.

Male: Thanks.

Operator: And you next question comes from the line of (Phillip Laney).

(Phillip Laney): Hi, guys this is (Phillip Laney). I had a question for Nate and Yushin Okami. Nate if you could go first if you win this fight you will have a title shot coming up is there – would you like to rematch with Anderson or would you prefer to match up with (Vitro Bellboard) just from a style perspective?

Nate Marquardt: Yes, you know for me the most important thing is to get the title fight and fight the champion you know that’s my dream is to become the champion. And for me it doesn’t necessarily matter who it is but at the same time, I would definitely prefer it to be Silva just because you know he’s been the champion for so long and he’s proven to be you know the top of the division so.

(Phillip Laney): All right Yushin would you answer that.

Yushin Okami: OK. (Foreign Language).

Interpreter: I’d would like to fight against Mr. Anderson (inaudible) since there is unfinished business between I and Mr. Anderson

Male: Understood. (Inaudible) I had one question for Jorge. Jorge, you’ve got a great (inaudible) performance, possibly the best year of your career. Is there something that you credit for that? Like you spoke about your attitude just wanting to have fun at the game, is that something you credit for just doing so well lately?

Jorge Rivera: That’s part of it. You know the other part is (the camp) that I’m now with. You know Peter (inaudible) in South Boston (inaudible) in North Providence (inaudible). My management obviously management and the guys (inaudible) and sponsors and just the people that I’ve surrounded myself with, they’ve been a great, great help to me.

They’ve pushed me forward, they believe in me and (inaudible) confidence. And I’m really enjoying what I’m doing right now because you know I’m getting older in my life. I can only do this for so much longer and I’m having a good run. I’m having fun at it.

Male: All right. Thank you. Good luck tomorrow night. Or not tomorrow night, but when the fight happens. (inaudible). Thank you.

Operator: And we do have a follow-up question from (Oliver Copp).

(Oliver Copp): This question is for Jorge Rivera. Jorge, can you hear me?

Jorge Rivera: Yes, I’m right here.

(Oliver Copp): OK. Perfect. Now, just to add to the …

Male: By the way, that’s Marshall crying if anyone’s asking.

Jorge Rivera: I apologize. That’s my four year old.

Marshall It wouldn’t be unusual, but it wasn’t me.

(Oliver Copp): All right. Jorge, (inaudible) the question you just answered. Is something you are planning to do to make one more serious run at the title? Or are you content to having fun and taking fights as they come along?

Jorge Rivera: Right now I’m just taking my fights and hopefully bang them all out. You know what I mean? Make them good exciting fights and letting the rest take care of itself. You know you keep on winning, you keep on putting a couple of (bullets) in front of you and the rest works itself out.

I mean, like I was saying before. The fans are the one that really dictate all of this stuff. You know if they want to see me fighting tougher guys and higher level opponents and getting that title shot, then hell yes. You know what I mean? I think we all fight to be champions. To sit here and just think that I wouldn’t want to be champion is foolishness.

And you – of course this is what you do in any profession. You know baseball players they play baseball to be in the World Series. Basketball players want to be in the finals. UFC fighters want to be champion.

(Oliver Copp): You fought in England before, now you’re going to be fighting in Germany for the first time. Is there any big difference to you as far as fighting in different countries is concerned? Or what are you expecting from coming to Germany except for cheesy rated music?

Jorge Rivera: I don’t …

Male: I heard the (inaudible) pretty heavy too.

Nate Marquardt: I’m sorry, is this for me or for Jorge?

(Oliver Copp): Sorry?

Nate Marquardt: Is this for Nate or for Jorge?

(Oliver Copp): It’s for Jorge.

Jorge Rivera: I have no problem with the food over there or the time difference or fighting in Germany. I love seeing different places around the world, meeting different people and just getting myself out there. I’m looking forward to going to Germany.

(Oliver Copp): Oh and same question for Nate. You’ve been in England before now you’re in Germany, what are your expectations of fighting there?

Nate Marquardt: For Nate you said?

(Oliver Copp): That’s for Nate now.

Nate Marquardt: Yes sir. OK. Yes, yes. Yes, I mean. I pretty much know what to expect as far as traveling you know. I travel to Japan a lot for fighting and I’ve been to London twice to fight over there. And you know with the jet lag and all that and the food and you know I’m very confident that I’m going to be at home there.

(Oliver Copp): All right. Thank you very much. My final question is for Marshall. Marshall you’ve mentioned the current issue with television, but my understanding is that the (inaudible) itself in Oberhausen is actually doing very well. What’s your impression of the actual market as far as interest in the UFC is concerned?

Marshall Zelaznik: What I think the – there’s no doubt that there’s interest there. You know we had a very successful event last June in Cologne. The fight came off well. We turned the media as a result of that event in some fashion. You know the media surrounding this event has been much more positive.

We haven’t had near the misinformation that was out there. So I think those things along with you know the continued traffic we have to our web site – you know just the e-mails we get from people and then obviously the ticket sales – I think that it really you know speaks very loudly that you know the reason that we’re putting the effort into Germany is going to be rewarded at some point.

So there’s definitely a fan base there. I think the fighters that when they fight on this card will see the energy that the crowd brings. I expect it to be very much like the atmosphere in Cologne.

(Oliver Copp): OK. Thank you very much Gentlemen.

Operator: And your next question comes from the line of (Mike Chiappetta).

(Mike Chiappetta): (Inaudible) you simply – Yushin has obviously been considered among the top five or ten middleweights in the world for quite a while. And there’s been sort of a local contingent of fans who have thought that maybe he’s been wrongfully bypassed for a title shot in the past.

And I’m wondering what Yushin’s feelings are on that. If he feels that he should have already had a title shot by now, or maybe not.

Interpreter: The connection is not really appreciating Japan. So could you speak a bit slower for me?

Mike Chiappetta: We’re – yes, it’s just – I was wondering if Yushin feels that he should have had a title shot by now?

Interpreter: OK.

Mike Chiappetta: If he feels bypassed for any reason? Or if he feels maybe he has not exactly earned it yet?

Interpreter: OK. (Foreign Language).

Yushin Okami: (Foreign Language)

Interpreter: (Foreign Language)

Yushin Okami: (Foreign Language)

Interpreter: I have lost some very important fights so I’ve never thought that (inaudible) bypass or anything like that.

Mike Chiappetta: The last part again? I’m sorry I didn’t quite hear the last part.

Interpreter: Oh, I’ve never thought that I (working) on a bypass.

Mike Chiappetta: Oh, OK. It’s OK. OK. And you know just being – I guess – his most high-profile opponent is – he fought Rich Franklin a few years ago. Is there any sort of extra sense of pressure in a fight like this? Being in a main event against someone like Nate who’s been a number one contender in the past and is so highly thought of?

Interpreter: OK. (Foreign Language).

Yushin Okami: (Foreign Language)

Interpreter: (Foreign Language)

Yushin Okami: (Foreign Language)

Interpreter: (Foreign Language)

Yushin Okami: (Foreign Language)

Interpreter: OK. I did not care who (he is) but I know that Nate Marquardt is a great fighter. So he is kind of giving me a good pressure to me.

(Mike Chiappetta): Nate, you mentioned early on in the call that I guess somewhere around the (inaudible) fight, you said you sort of lost focus or lost desire to be the champion. I wondered if you could sort of explain that a little bit more.

What do you think led to that? Because obviously you know like you said, like you guys I’m always saying being the champion is the most important thing. Why do you think you lost that focus or desire even if it was briefly?

Nate Marquardt: Well, I mean I didn’t lose it completely. I just – I think I lost sight of my desire. So you know it’s still there. It was just like I guess – I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s just that I had – I’ve had so many fights throughout my career or what it is. But you know all I can tell you is the desire that I have now is greater than when I fought (Chelsanan) and it’s the same you know it feels the same as when I was a kid.

You know I want to be the champ and I know I’m one step away and I’m going to give it everything that I have to be the champion.

(Mike Chiappetta): Did it – did losing that fight to – is that the thing that sort of reignited it? Or is there – was there something else to it?

Nate Marquardt: Yes, yes. I mean it just – yes exactly. It reignited it and you know I feel I lost to a guy that I should have beaten. And you know that really makes me mad and – makes me mad at myself you know. And just like I said it just reinvigorated that desire.

(Mike Chiappetta): OK, thank you guys. I appreciate it. Thanks.

Operator: Your next question comes from the line of John Moody.

John Moody: Yes, hi, for Nate again. Nate, you mentioned you’re the kind of fighter that likes to wait for your opening and then pounce. Can you kind of explain possibly your thought process? If you’re in a fight, maybe it’s going to be this one where you’re kind of looking to counter, waiting for your opportunity, but your opponent’s also doing the same thing.

And you find yourself three or four minutes into the first round where both fighters are looking to counter. Kind of – kind of what’s going through your head at that point? And do you feel a need to kind of maybe break your game plan and make the first move?

Nate Marquardt: Well, waiting for an opening to me, doesn’t mean necessarily countering. You know if I set something up correctly, there’s going to be an opening. So you know just as an analogy or whatever, if I throw two left hands and then you know the next one’s a right hand, I set it up correctly and you know he’s waiting for the left again and I throw the right. And you know instead of just going out there and throwing the right. Does that make sense?

So it’s not a – it’s not necessarily that I’m going to try to counter-fight, but you know I have to fight smart and find the openings, create the openings and you know then attack.

John Moody: I guess that’s my point, when you find yourself and you realize you know a minute into the fight that you’re looking at a guy who’s really waiting to react to you. Does that jumpstart you a little bit more than you might have planned on getting going?

Nate Marquardt: Does that – well I mean you know if he’s just going to wait on me you know that’s just make – that’s just going make my fight a lot easier, my game plan and everything just you know if he’s not going to attack me then you know he’s going to be in trouble. He’s going to lose the fight if he doesn’t attack me.

John Moody: Just you know attacking once – waiting to see what you show and then making a move is kind of what I’m going at.

Nate Marquardt: OK, what’s your question?

John Moody: No we’re good, I’m good thanks so much.

Nate Marquardt: OK, OK.

Operator: And your next question comes from the line of (Ken Pishna).

(Ken Pishna): Hey Nate how you doing?

Nate Marquardt: What’s up man?

(Ken Pishna): Just wanted to see if you could address what you think went wrong for you in the first Anderson Silva fight and also what you think went wrong in the Chael Sonnen fight and how you addressed those problems.

Nate Marquardt: Yes well I fought Silva I you know for awhile I’d been having a lot of success and you know it’s one of things where I was – I was fighting, I started fighting to not lose. So I starting fighting too conservatively and you know not wanting to make any mistake or overextend myself.

And you know I was able to win all my fights in the UFC and then I got the title shot and when I fought Silva you know I just felt like I didn’t – I didn’t use all the tools that I have because I was holding back. And you know since then you can see in all my fights even the fight against Chael I did the most damage in that fight even though I lost on a decision because he got the take downs but I did way more damage to him.

You know all my fights I do a lot of damage and you know my last four out of five fights I’ve finished by knock-out and it’s just – that’s just the way I fight best is to find an opening, find the finish and go for it. And you know with Chael the main reason I lost that fight was I didn’t follow our game plan.

So maybe it’s you know kind of a balancing act following the game plan and also going you know going for the finish 100 percent without holding back. But for sure my last fight you know I felt like I follow the game plan perfectly and you know I feel very ready. I feel like it’s my time that I’m going to be the champion.

(Ken Pishna): Do you feel like you’ve addressed the issues that ended in losses in those two fights so that you can come out on top against Yushin?

Nate Marquardt: Yes, yes that’s what I just said. I like all my fights since Silva. I’ve done a ton of damage, I you know knocked out four of my last five opponents and then with the mistake that I made with Chael I you know followed my game plan my last fight. And you know followed it perfectly, so.

(Ken Pishna): OK, thank you. For Yushin real quick. Yushin, Nate Marquardt is known as a pretty aggressive fighter and obviously a guy who likes to finish. How do – how do you see yourself handling his attack and does he bring a more aggressive style than you’re used to because you’re kind of used to controlling where the fight goes. Do you feel you can do that against Nate Marquardt?

Yushin Okami: (Inaudible).

Interpreter: I know that Nate is a very aggressive fighter but I’m not going to (inaudible). I make him (inaudible).

(Ken Pishna): OK so you feel like your game plan is such that you can – you can keep Nate Marquardt from implementing his will against you?

Interpreter: That is what I’m going to do.

(Ken Pishna): And just lastly real quick for Yushin. Do you feel any added pressure to make this an exciting fight knowing that a title shot is on the line but other guys have lost that title shot when they haven’t been as exciting as fans would like sometimes. Do you feel any added pressure to go out and be exciting and try to finish Nate?

Interpreter: I do not have that kind of pressure. I (inaudible) for the fight and I know that when they do what I have to do it’s going to be a very exciting fight.

(Ken Pishna): OK, thank you very much.

Operator: And your next question comes from the line of (Shawn Barone).

(Shawn Barone): Yes this one real quick is for Yushin. Now you were the last guy to technical beat Anderson Silva back in ’06. I know it was by disqualification but what would it mean for you to win this fight and get that chance to kind of you know get that victory against Anderson Silva again and really make a statement?

Interpreter: Revenging on Mr. Silva is one of my goals so this is a very important step for me.

(Shawn Barone): (Inaudible). Thank you very much.

Operator: And there are no questions at this time.

Marshall Zelaznik: All right thank you everyone for joining. We’ll see you all I guess on the weekend. Thank you.

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