PRO MMA (promma.info) took part in Tuesday’s media conference call for STRIKEFORCE’S LAWLER vs SHIELDS card scheduled for June 6th at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missiouri.
The two headliners, Jake Shields and Robbie Lawler, were on the call although it was quite obvious they would much rather be in the gym training or in the cage itself. Phil Baroni on the other hand, seems to enjoy, relish, and understand the promotion side of MMA better than most and while he was on the conference call, his opponent Joe Riggs failed to show. Strikeforce’s Director of Communications Mike Afromowitz was also present.
The following are some of the highlights and notable quotes from the call:
Is there any problem with you getting down to 182 pounds?
“I’m going to make it. I don’t want to make it but I’m going to make it. This whole time off I was thinking of getting a little leaner and cutting a little more weight than normal so I think I’ll be fine.”
What is your game plan for Saturday night?
“Well, I definitely don’t want him (Shields) on top of me. He’s got a great top game and he looks to finish, looks to mount and looks to improve position so being on the ground is definitely not a good place to be.”
How do you approach selling a fight? Has your approach changed to it over the years?
“I stay pretty reserved still. I’m pretty laid back. I do it but I typically don’t like to get involved in and definitely don’t like doing it. But I do as much I can to help the fight. It’s good for the sport but I’d rather be out there fighting than being on the phone.”
How do you feel about fighting in your hometown?
“It’s not a big deal. I’m looking at it as another fight.”
Are you looking for a first-round knockout Saturday night?
“However I can get a win.”
What about going down to 182 pounds?
“Well it is nice not having to diet all the time so hopefully I’ll go in there feeling stronger. Dieting and sucking water, all of that can take it out of you. There are positives and disadvantages to it. It’s always nice being the bigger guy but it’s also nice to not have to diet or cut water out. So there are two ways of looking at it. I’ll just have to go out there and see how I feel on Saturday.”
What is you game plan Saturday if he keeps you on your feet and you’re not able to get him to the ground?
“Punch him in the face. That always helps. If he takes me down I just have to punch back.”
How do you assess Robbie’s ground game?
“I think Robbie’s a great wrestler. He’s always been surrounded by good college wrestlers. He’s certainly not going to be easy to take down. His ground game is his weakest aspect but I haven’t been able to see it lately because not a lot of guys have been able to get him down.”
Is this the biggest fight of your career?
“Yeah, I’d say it’s the biggest. I’ve fought a lot overseas but as far as media attention goes and Robbie being top 5 or top 10, it’s a huge fight for me.”
Do you feel like an uncrowned champion and would you prefer to fight for a title in your next fight?
“I do feel a little like an uncrowned champion. For me it’s more the fight that matters than the title.
Belts are nice but it’s really just about the fight.”
“The guy (opponent Joe Riggs) is a no-show for the conference call. He’s got a real big problem. I’ve been telling you since Day 1 you better have someone else lined up because I don’t think he’s going to show up. We’re all busy and we’re all training right now and we don’t want to do this but we’re all big and professional except that (expletive).
“It’s up to him how long the fight is going to last. I want to show everyone in MMA that I’m for real. All roads lead through Joe Riggs. I’m planning on blowing right through this kid.”
How has it been for you making weight?
“It’s been real comfortable. Losing 16 pounds of muscle helped a lot. I feel great. I feel like I’m 19 years old again. I have tons of energy. I feel like I should be on a box of Wheaties and doing cereal commercials.”
“I’m on edge right now. Don’t cross me now because I haven’t had sex in four weeks and I’m on a diet. I’m ready to kill someone. This is going to be a war and I’m in total fight mode. I don’t even know what I’m talking about right now. Next question.”
“I’m just ready to go. It’s a coming out party for me. I’m a different person out there. Joe Riggs is underestimating me and making a big mistake. The talking is done. It’s time to do it in the ring. I can’t wait to get in there and show the world I’m a legitimate contender and can do this. Better later than never.”
MIKE AFROMOWITZ (Strikeforce):
Is this the biggest show Strikeforce has ever had?
“I would say it’s up there. From top to bottom it’s the best. We have three of the best fighters on the phone right now and I think you would have to say it’s the best fight card we’ve had over the last three years.”
How are ticket sales?
“They’re strong. We came out of the gates really strong. We’ve been moving 100 to 200 a day in the last two weeks. So we’re looking for a big crowd in St. Louis.”
If you would like to listen to the STRIKEFORCE: LAWLER vs SHIELDS conference call from Tuesday June 2, 2009 you can do that at www.promma.info