(PRESS RELEASE) – The Mixed Martial Arts fighters who will appear on the CBS Television Network this Saturday, Nov. 7 (9 p.m. ET/PT) and executives for Strikeforce and M-1 Global participated in a jam-packed final press conference at CBS Channel 2 WBBM Thursday for “STRIKEFORCE: Fedor vs. Rogers” at the Sears Centre.
In the four bouts on the CBS broadcast, the legendary Fedor “The Last Emperor” Emelianenko (30-1, 1 NC), of Russia, will meet unbeaten, hard-hitting Brett Rogers (10-0) of St. Paul, Minn.; streaking, world-class Jake Shields (23-4-1), of San Francisco, who has won 12 in a row, will be opposed by colorful Jason “Mayhem” Miller (22-6), of Orange County, Calif., for the Strikeforce world middleweight belt, Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Gegard Mousasi (29-2-1), of the Netherlands, will put his 13-fight winning streak on the line against Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou (7-4) of Murrieta, Calif., in a non-title scrap; and Fabricio Werdum (12-4-1) of Marina Del Rey, Calif., and Antonio “Big Foot” Silva” (13-1), of Coconut Creek, Fla., will clash in a battle of top-notch Brazilian heavyweights.
Tickets, starting at $35, are on sale at the Sears Centre Arena box office (www.searscentre.com), at all Ticketmaster locations (800) 745-3000, Ticketmaster online (www.ticketmaster.com) and STRIKEFORCE’s official website (www.strikeforce.com).
Doors for the live event open at 5:15 p.m. CT. The first non-televised bout begins at 6 o’clock CT.
What the fighters and executives said Thursday:
SCOTT COKER (Strikeforce)
“We are very excited to be here. We are happy to have fights on CBS and in primetime. We have a historic night of fights ahead of us. We have the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world, Fedor Emelianenko, fighting Mr. Brett Rogers. We also have the Strikeforce middleweight title belt on the line between Mr. Jake Shields and Mr. Mayhem Miller. It has been an exciting week with Jason!
“When you talk about companies working with partners, you find try to find a partner where the goals are common and aligned in future business plans. With M-1, we have found that to be true. They have been amazing partners.
“We know Alistair (Overeem) will be fighting in the first quarter of next year. Depending on the outcome of this fight and the next, we can work on putting a fight together. You see the matchup potential between the winner of the Silva vs. Werdum fight and the winner of the Fedor vs. Rogers fight. I think it would make sense for those two guys to fight each other in the future depending on how things go. Then, Alistair can come in later and fight the winner of that fight. We have some great heavyweight fights upcoming and we are looking forward to promoting them.
“I believe Alistair will be available in the first quarter. We will get him in the mix as well as some other heavyweights we will announce here in the next week or so.”
“Fedor is the reigning champion (of WAMMA). I believe that they will honor the fight and that the fighter that wins the fight will get the belt.
“The beauty of this deal is that we get to watch Fedor vs. Rogers on CBS for free. We can try to get as many millions of eyeballs as we can to drive mixed martial arts forward as a mainstream sport. We are proud to do that.”
JOOST RAIMOND (M-1 Global):
“We have a huge fight card on the line. It is unprecedented. It is the best fight card we could ever imagine. With CBS, we have found the greatest outlet ever to bring the great sport on MMA and these great athletes to a huge audience. I think now the overall U.S. public can enjoy the wonderful event we have on Saturday night at the Sears Centre.
“The partnership with Strikeforce and M-1 Global is tremendously important. We have gotten off to a great start. We have had a lot of media attention for the event. Thanks to Scott Coker for working with M-1. This partnership allows us to bring you the best events possible with the best fighters possible. We have Strikeforce’s Brett Rodgers and M-1 Global’s Fedor Emelianenko as the headliner. We are all in great anticipation of what is going to happen there.
“For us, the American market is extremely important. In a partner, we look for a company with the same goals. Synergy is extremely important and what we can bring from both our sides is Strikeforce has an amazing stable of fighters and M-1 Global has a growing stable of fighters with Fedor and Gegard [Mousasi] heading that up. Together we have the additional strength in putting on very good events. Strikeforce has a great base in the U.S. and we bring international knowledge to the table.”
SERGEI MATVIENKO (M-1)
“We hope that the relationship we are starting now will be very long and beneficial. As far as we can see, MMA is getting more and more popular all over the world – not only America or Japan. We hope that the show will be liked by all of the spectators. I really believe we won’t disappoint anyone that will be watching the show. Let the strongest win.”
“I watched the fight of Brett against Andrei Arlovski. I know that Brett is very strong. He has a very strong knockout punch. We usually train for all fights in the same way with some slight difference regarding the opponent. This time we are just doing some corrections regarding the technique of Brett.
“I am certainly planning on performing in the United States. I know for sure I will have two fights next year in the U.S. and then we will see if the contract will work. Maybe we will sign another contract.
“I never think about how impressive I am. I just come to the ring to show my techniques and skills. I want to finish the fight as fast as possible.”
“I am ready to go. I have been training real hard. It has been a long training camp. I understand who I am fighting, but he is just a man. I can’t wait.
“Up until this point, I have had to get back to work the next day. It is a great experience training and focusing on what I have to do come fight night.
“It does feel good to come to Chicago and put on a show in my birthplace. At the same time, Minnesota would have been good. My goal is to go out and put on a good show.
“(With two days to go) I just meditate and do what I normally do. I try not to get stressed. If I get stressed I am going to lose focus on my main goal. I just stay relaxed. Come Saturday morning, I definitely get into that fight mode. I think about everything that is coming, knock out the butterflies and then after that it is on. I am in that ball right now and I am ready to explode. This is the first time coming into a fight that I can just train and fight. I am ready to go.”
“I feel great at this weight. I am willing to fight wherever – welterweight, middleweight, wherever. I am just looking for good fights. I think Miller was the fight that makes sense. I am willing to go up in weight. I am not that small. People forget, I cut a lot of weight (to make 170). People make too big of a deal about the weight. I’m not going to use that as an excuse. Win or lose I am ready to fight and I don’t think weight is going to be a factor.
“I fight because I want to keep myself interested in the challenge. If it is not interesting, there’s no point in doing it any more. It is exciting for me to bounce between the weights. Right now I’m worried about going up and staying up, but who knows what the future holds if they find a good opponent in the ‘70s. Right now I am not worried too much about that. I am just looking at one fight at a time, but it does keep it interesting for me.
“I am taking it one fight at a time, but most likely I’ll take another fight at 185. My weight is up right now and obviously I’m willing to drop back down, but I wouldn’t want to go up and down every other fight. That makes it difficult. Really, I’m just worried about getting through Miller and see what happens from there.”
JASON “MAYHEM” MILLER
“(Referring to Shields’ winning streak) All good things come to an end. It is an amazing streak that Shields has put together. I am proud to be guy standing across the cage from him on Saturday night.
“I don’ think I’m going too overboard [in the spotlight]. My goal is to provide entertainment for the CBS viewers. If they just want to watch a bar fight they can go to their local brew house. I am going to try to perform so that everybody is talking – that includes walking to the stage, and all the way to the post-fight press conference.
“I think people think because I am on TV every minute that I am standing in front of a camera every minute. Honestly, Bully Beatdown takes about two weeks to film and then they just replay it nonstop. Everyone thinks I live inside the box in their living room. It is not true. I actually walk around and do things outside of that.
“As far as marketing goes, you stick me in front of a camera and a microphone and I am going to blah, blah, blah and hopefully you are going to either want to watch me get me teeth knocked out or knock somebody’s head off. Part of my job is standing in a cage and beating somebody up, but the other part of my job is to make sure that you care about the fact that I am going to do it.”
“Every time you win, people expect more of you. There is some pressure, but I feel like I have good people around me that keep me focused. It is a very good fight for me and I am well trained so, God willing, it will be a good night.
“It is huge exposure for us fighting on CBS. It is a great card. I think any fight could have been on the main card, so I am concentrating on winning and doing my part. It is a big deal.
“I will try to finish the fight, but every fight is different. Sometimes you can finish the fight quickly, other times not. I don’t really care. I just want to win if it is decision or submission or anything. I’m just going to do my best to win.”
RAMEAU THIERRY SOKOUDJOU
“I believe he got injured during a fight, so I am looking forward to fighting him now. This is a great opportunity for all of us. I know this will not be an easy fight. No fights are.
“But I am here to give my best. When it is over, Mousasi will know he will have been in a very hard fight for both of us.”
“I am very happy to be here. This is a great opportunity for me. I think the Mike Kyle fight was hard, but I’m ready for all fighters. I have trained a lot and have trained with the best fighters and coaches in the world. My focus now is on this big fight. After that, my goal would be to fight Fedor or Rogers.
“But I know I can’t look ahead. For me, the future is Saturday.”
“It has been a while since I have fought in the States. It’s great to be part of a card that includes fighters like Fedor and Brett Rogers. I’ve come to seek what I think is mine. I will be working very hard for that.”
“Werdum is a fighter of many qualities. He’s fought in many events. He has strengths and weaknesses. I’ve been training very hard in Jiu-Jitsu and standing up with my coach. I just came out of a fight in Japan and have been fighting ever since. It is do or die. It is a big fight and it is very important. I have come and I am ready to lay it down.”
All photos by Esther Lin/Strikeforce