Monday, September 29, 2008

Fedor Emelianenko Interview

Fedor Emelianenko recently made an appearance in Japan, at DREAM 6. There has been a lot of speculation on whether or not the World Alliance HW champ would participate at the DREAM NYE show. Although this would be DREAM's first NYE show, it has become tradition for Fedor to appear on NYE events in Japan. If he fights on DREAM's NYE event, it would be his 6th straight NYE appearance. Three of his five NYE appearances have been for Pride FC, while one was for Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye and the other for Yarennoka. He has a total of 7 appearances at year ending shows for promotions, as he made 2 year end show appearances for Rings as well.

This is usually when TV networks in Japan are eager to put on their best shows, as the viewers are usually flocking to their television screens. DREAM is looking to improve immensely on their relatively poor ratings thus far and they could really use the likes of a Fedor on their year end show. The rumors of opponents have been circulating for weeks now and one that is brought up most often is that of Olympic gold medalist in Judo, Satoshi Ishii of Japan. Although utilizing the fame of his recent performance at the Olympics in Beijing, it would be a huge mismatch for a new comer to mma. That said, NYE shows are not marketed to the harecore fans, but more to the casual fans, who watch to see big names in action, not necessarily competitive bouts.

Although the rumors have been rampent and the hopes of seeing Fedor in action again in Japan are high, it doesn't look likely to happen. One of the primary reasons for this pessimistic view is due to Fedor's contract with Affliction and specifically the timing of their 2nd event, which is to take place late January. Affliction is very concerned about Fedor suffering an injury at the event and would rather him sit out NYE and be fully ready for a bout with either Andrei Arlovski or Josh Barnett. They simply don't want to risk Fedor missing another bout, due to injury. They can ill afford to be without Fedor in a big title bout, when they are trying to rebound from a canceled/postponed event that was to take place next month in Las Vegas. Fedor recently had an interview with DREAM addressing whether or not he will fight on NYE and about potential opponent, Satoshi Ishii.

Here is the full interview by DREAM, translated by Suki (Suki MMA)...

DREAM: What was the main purpose of your current visit [to Japan]?

Fedor: I came to Japan to watch DREAM and to meet Satoshi Ishii, who is a Judo gold medalist from the Beijing Olympics.

DREAM: You couldn't see Ishii unfortunately...

Fedor: Unfortunately not, I had been excited to train with him. I'm looking forward to meeting him next time.

DREAM: Did you watch his performance at the Beijing Olympics?

Fedor: No, I was in the U.S. during the Olympics games. The U.S. network [NBC] televised a swimming race, instead of Judo.

DREAM: Did you know Ishii stated he wanted to fight you?

Fedor: Yes, I know. I think it's too early in his career to fight me. I'd be very happy to train with him, whenever he comes to Russia. I heard he said he has a desire to be the best fighter in the world. I think his ambitions are too unrealistic to attain now. He is young, so it's important for him to take his time to gain technique, knowledge and experience.

DREAM: You said you came here to watch DREAM. Have you watched DREAM before?

Fedor: I have only watched a fight of [Gegard] Mousasi's, because I often train with him. I have DVDs of previous events and I will watch all of them eventually.

DREAM: Tell me about your schedule.

Fedor: I'm always ready to fight. I'm going to participate in a Sambo tournament in November.

DREAM: Who are you fighting next in mma?

Fedor: I have been told my opponent will be either Andrei Arlovski or Josh Barnett, on the next Affliction event [in late January]. They are both former UFC champions and I'm sure they will be very strong opponents.

DREAM: Japanese fans are expecting to see you fight on NYE in Japan again.

Fedor: I want to fight in Japan again, however, I can't control everything. God knows what will happen. Whether I fight or not on NYE depends on negotiations between my manager and DREAM.
It doesn't sound like he'll be fighting Ishii or anyone else for that matter on NYE, but he doesn't completely rule it out. A work around that might allow Fedor to take on Ishii and eliminate most of the risk of injury, would be to have Fedor and Ishii face off at DREAM under a submissions grappling match. The idea might be welcomed by DREAM, who had set up a grappling match between Mirko CroCop and Ralek Gracie at DREAM 4. That fight was canceled due to an injury to Mirko, but it shows that DREAM would be open to such an idea. Affliction might give the green light, considering there would be far less risk of Fedor injuring himself, considering his injuries are usually due to breaking his hands on strikes. In any event, we'll most likely be seeing Fedor in at least one event within the next few months and possibly two.

Our thanks to Suki (Suki MMA) for the initial translation of the interview from DREAM. For more coverage of Japanese mma, please visit

Monday, September 22, 2008

Roger Gracie Off Sengoku 5 Card...

World Victory Road posted a press release on their website today, explaining why Roger Gracie will not be participating on the Sengoku 5 card. According to WVR officials, Roger Gracie relayed messages to them about not being able to participate due to injury. WVR subsequently wanted medical reports to back up the claim and supposedly haven't been given such reports and plans to issue a punishment for the 26 year old, Gracie Barra UK fighter, who is undefeated at 2-0.

Here is the press release from WVR, translated by Suki (Suki MMA)...

We regret to announce that Roger Gracie, who was supposed to fight Travis Wiuff on Sep. 28, will not be a participant at Sengoku 5. Here are the details of how this came about.

On Sep. 17, Kevin Liddle, who is Roger Gracie's doctor, emailed us and presented Roger's condition. In the email, he described that he ordered Roger complete bed rest for 4 weeks, because of damage to the intercostal muscles. Roger's manager actually contacted us a week ago and mentioned the possibility of Roger having an injury. We ordered him to submit a formal medical report of his injury from his doctor.

A WVR official doctor read the email and considered Roger's condition wasn't serious enough to cancel his fight. WVR asked Roger to submit additional information, such as an official medical report by his doctor, the result of CT scan and other related examinations he took. However, we didn't hear from Roger.

On Sep. 19, Roger contacted us and requested to have a phone meeting between Dr. Liddle and our doctor. Our doctor, translators and WVR staff were ready for the meeting, however, we couldn't reach Dr. Liddle. When Roger asked for a meeting, he agreed to let Dr. Liddle respond to our questions within 3 hours, but we didn't hear back from Dr. Liddle.

On Sep. 20, Dr. Liddle emailed us and reported that Roger didn't break nor fracture any bones and that he hasn't even taken any examinations.

WVR ordered Roger several times to arrive in Japan by Sep 22 and take an examination. He refused to come to Japan, stating he expected to have difficulty in breathing during the long flight. We haven't seen him in Japan yet and haven't heard anything from him. So, WVR decided to make this announcement today.

We apologize to Travis [Wiuff] and our fans for delivering this news at the last minute. As for Roger Gracie, we are considering issuing a severe punishment for the incident. We will find an opponent for Travis [Wiuff] as soon as we can.
No word on what the punishment will entail, but it'll be interesting to see how WVR deals with one of their up and coming and potentially very marketable, young fighter. On one hand, you would expect them not to burn any bridges with the youngster, but you would also expect them take effective action, so such incidents do not become common place within the organization. Roger Gracie and his management haven't made any replies to today's press release by WVR.

We would like to thank Suki (Suki MMA) for the initial translation of the WVR press release. For more coverage of Japanese mma, please visit

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Cyrille "The Snake" Diabate Interview

Cyrille Diabate, the 34 year old French mixed martial artist, recently made his U.S. debut for ProElite's ShoXC branded event. He garnered a 3 round unanimous decision victory of American Jaime Fletcher. He hopes to work his way up the ProElite ranks and get featured on the EliteXC brand. The contenders in the light heavyweight division is developing nicely for EliteXC, with the likes Rajael "Feijao" Cavalcante, Jared Hamman, Paoi Sugunuma and possibly Justin Eilers, who may go down to light heavyweight. He's amassed a record of 12-6-1, predominately fighting in Europe and Japan. At 6'6, he has the height advantage against most of his opponents, but the great height advantage hasn't translated to big wins against the bigger names of the sport. Originally developed as a kickboxer and shootboxer, he now tries to establish himself as one of the premiere light heavyweights in ProElite's stable of fighters.

He recently had an interview with Darrick Patrick, here is that interview...

Darrick: What was the road that led you to competing in professional mixed martial arts?

Cyrille: Long story! In short, like a lot of my fellow fighters, it started with a tough childhood. I had a lot of anger and energy to express. I started to train and fight in Muay Thai, kickboxing, and Savate - and I fell in love with those arts. MMA was the next logical step.

Darrick: Any words of advice for other individuals looking to train in MMA?

Cyrille: Take your time and choose wisely who your trainer is going to be. They will have a great impact on what kind of martial artist you become.

Darrick: What personally brings you the most fulfillment out of martial arts?

Cyrille: A sense of achievement and the feeling that I've become a better person.

Darrick: Who are some of the people that greatly influenced you while growing up?

Cyrille: My mother and grandfather. They both passed away when I was young and both stayed strong until the end, never complaining.

Darrick: What does a typical training session for you consist of?

Cyrille: There's not really a typical training session anymore. I've been training and fighting for seventeen years and if I get bored, I don't train as well! The length, content, and intensity varies a lot depending on my schedule and needs. I rely a lot more on experience and steady training than before.

Darrick: Who are a few of the people in the sport that you highly respect?

Cyrille: There are a lot and for different reasons. Fedor is one of them. When I see him fight and read his interviews, I am as equally impressed by both. He's down-to-earth, effective, and humble. He has those qualities in large proportions! I also respect Genki Sudo - I saw a great documentary on him once. He's a great fighter and showman, and is a really interesting person.

Darrick: Outside of competitive fighting, what are your other interests?

Cyrille: Movies, reading, video games, traveling, and nice restaurants.

Darrick: What moment in your life have you been proudest of so far?

Cyrille: My first major win in an international tournament. I was twenty-three and I had won my three fights by knockout to win the tournament. It felt great!

Darrick: Tell us something about you that most people don't know.

Cyrille: I draw well and take good pictures.

Darrick: What is your oldest memory?

Cyrille: Riding my bike as a kid.

For more interviews by Darrick Patrick, please visit his site here...

More exclusive Darrick Patrick interviews

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Jaochim "Hellboy" Hansen Photoshoot

Jaochim "Hellboy" Hansen is currently on the high of his life, having just won the DREAM Lightweight Grand Prix Championship. Although he suffered a dramatic loss to Eddie Alvarez, a fight of the year candidate, he got slotted into the alternatives bracket and defeated Kultar Gill. Ironically, he came on as alternative for the fighter he lossed to, as Alvarez wasn't permitted to participate in the finals, after another fight of the year candidate bout with Tatsuya Kawajiri led to an eye injury. The stage was set for a rematch between Shinya Aoki, the heavily favored and home town hero, and Jaochim "Hellboy" Hansen. With Eddie Alvarez enthusiastically rooting him on, Jaochim managed the upset of the night via TKO in the first round and became the first ever DREAM title holder and Grand Prix Champion.

It was indeed a great accomplishment and one that had to top many other feats by Hansen, which include some dramatic victories over some of the best fighters in the world, like Rumina Sato,Takanori Gomi, Gesias Cavalcante, Caol Uno and Masakazu Imanari. The 29 year old Norwegian currently ranks amongst the Top 5/10 lightweights in mma today. Simen Kjellin, mma photo journalist/photographer, recently got an opportunity to take some amazing training session photos of Jaochim and his Team Hansen training partners. Here are some of those great shots from the set...

Photos credited to Simen Kjellin/

If you would like to view the entire set of 100+ photos, please visit