Host Jay “Big Jay Bowski” Pagliaro is reunited in-studio with Shawn “Dallas” Hall. They both thanked Ryan Bruggerman for his work over the last few months and said the door is always open for his return.
RANDY STEINKE AND DESIRE FLORES
LFA fighter Randy Steinke and LFA/AWFF/Combate Americas ring card girl Desire Flores – an ASU grad and bikini competitor – join the guys in studio.
Randy will be taking on WKA kickboxing champion and LFA/RFA vet Cory Sandhagen from Denver, Colorado at the LFA 24 show in Phoenix on October 13th.
He says his opponent is well-rounded and he’s trained with Sandhagen’s last opponent, Jamall Emmers, at The Lab. He’s excited to face him and feels he’s “not going to quit…the last guy I faced didn’t have what it took to be in there with me. I think this guy does”.
Jay mentioned that he’s fought some quality opponents, tried out for TUF twice and has tried to get on the UFC’s radar for some time. He asked Randy what a win over Sandhagen would do for his career and what he needs to do to get noticed by the UFC.
Randy said “You definitely need a finish these days… (otherwise) you’re not going to get signed. It’s an entertainment sport. You’re going to stay in the local realm if that’s how you keep winning fights (by decision)”. “I’m definitely going to be looking for a finish…I want to finish this guy” he continued.
Dallas asked that given it is an entertainment sport, how much focus is placed on that element in training. “I feel better when people are watching me” Randy said. He mentioned that it was all about tendencies and that “exciting fighters are exciting fighters because they are exciting fighters”.
Dallas then inquired whether it was possible to “train to be exciting” and Randy said “yeah, I mean you can teach me how to throw a tornado kick in the gym but if it’s not something that I’m super-great at, it’s probably not going to look that cool or I won’t be able to land it when I need to”. He continued “…at the end of the day, even if you can’t get the W, you know you went in there and worked your ass off… e H
and you didn’t get throttled, everyone respects the fact that I went out there and (was willing to do) whatever it took to win”.
Dallas mentioned that fans are more interested in how you face adversity and that is why fighters like Connor McGregor are so popular. Before the fans followed the winners and now it’s based on how you perform and treat the fans.
Jay mentioned “we’ve almost gone from a sport to an entertainment landscape” and asked Randy what he thought about it becoming an entertainment sport than a sport itself.
Randy said “it has a lot to do with how the UFC changed the sport”. They mentioned athletes like Jon Fitch, Ben Askren and Nick Lentz all of whom won the majority of their recent bouts by decision and were released because “no one remembers the fights”.
Jay introduced his next guest, Keoni Diggs, stating “I’ve seen this guy flash a few opponents in his day and leave them for the sniffin’ salts”. Keoni will be facing Muay Thai champion Nick Chasteen in Arizona. Dallas mentioned the possibility of “seeing a hype-train derailed” as Chasteen has not fought MMA before and felt is “putting himself behind the 8-ball” taking on an experienced fighter like Diggs.
Desire, a martial arts practitioner herself, mentions that Chasteen is also a blue belt in BJJ so he will have some ground game. Dallas acknowledged Chasteen was unquestionably a good fighter but again questioned if he could put it all together, stating “you see people who can strike. You see people who have ground game. You see people who have both. You don’t always see people who can use both simultaneously.” Steinke also felt the cage would be a big advantage as “there are a lot of tricks inside that cage”.
Most of Keoni’s wins have come via submission so Jay asked how soon did he want to take this one to the ground. Keoni said he doesn’t really gameplan much. “I’m going to go in there and get into a fist fight. That’s all that matters. Everybody bleeds just like me”.
Jay asked what’s it like having that full camp to prepare and Keoni said he wasn’t sure it really mattered to him. He said “My training partners are giving me different looks but I’m still doing the same things. I’m not going to have some different tricks. It’s the same-old, same-old.”. Shoutout to my training partners. They give me the looks that I need.
Steinke said “I think the difference is how you take care of yourself outside if training camp. Taking a fight on 3-weeks-notice or 4-weeks-notice shouldn’t be a whole lot different than taking a fight on 8-weeks-notice…if you took some time off and are skipping workouts, 4-weeks to 8 -weeks can make a huge difference.”
Dallas commented that some guys say if they’re always in shape, they prefer it to be a shorter period between fights to which Steinke replied “is it fight camp or is it lifestyle” and he compared it to the restrictions of a regimented weight loss program.
RYAN TALKS WITH BENSON HENDERSON IN A PRERECORDED INTERVIEW
Ben Henderson headlines Bellator MMA 183: Henderson versus Pitbull which aired on SPIKE TV on Saturday, September 23rd. Henderson will be Patricky “Pitbull” Freire after defeating his younger brother Patricio in August of 2016.
Henderson said they had similar styles and tendencies due to the same training partners and camp but they were not the same fighter. “The older one has a little more power in his hands and he’s a little more flat-footed”.
Jay asked him about selecting opponents and Benson said he had the mindset of “whoever they offer, you say yes…if you want to fight on the main card, win your next fight and worry about that”. His wife is 8 months pregnant with their second child and Jay asked if that had affected his training. Benson said “no, as a man, as a husband, as a father, you need to place your priorities right. My priorities are my wife, my family, my kids first and from there you should worry about your job. I think some people have it backwards and they worry about their career first and family next.” Overall, he said it wasn’t taxing on his schedule and he just had to juggle some things.
Ryan asked him about The Lab and Coach John Crouch. “I think it’s all about the hard work…and getting better every single day” he said, acknowledging that Crouch has been his only MMA coach his entire career. Ryan also asked about the rumblings that he (Henderson) might return to the military in some capacity. “The plan was always to go into the (Air Force) reserves” in an effort to give back to his country.
As we now know, Henderson lost a split decision to Freire.
CANELO VS GGG
The guys talked about the big Canelo Alvarez versus Gennady Golovkin boxing fight on September 16th. Dallas felt the draw was warranted, feeling the rounds were divided equally but he couldn’t see how one judge gave Canelo 9 rounds or more. “It was a very close fight…GGG was in there taking shots and proving he had a chin”. Ryan basically agreed, scoring it 115/113 for GGG but again disagreeing with judge Adalaide Byrd. “This was the fight for boxing…and then to get a split-decision draw which is like going to the senior prom with your cousin”. Floyd Mayweather also came out on Instagram and showed he bet the draw. Dallas believes that Vasyl Lomachenko versus Guillermo Rigondeaux will be the fight to bring fans back to boxing. Keoni said that fighters like Terence Crawford and Earl Spence make him excited to watch boxing. Jay is looking forward to Anthony Joshua/Karam Abdullah and Deontay Wilder/Luis Ortiz heavyweight match-ups. Andre Ward’s recent retirement and Jake Lamotta’s death were also mentioned.
Desire admitted to not being a boxing fan and also that she recently handed another ring card girl the wrong card. “I noticed right away and I tried to call her back but she was doing her thing”. Dallas does a Barney Fife impression. They also discussed John Cena, The Iron Sheik and professional wrestling
JAY TALKS WITH ROY NELSON IN A PRERECORDED INTERVIEW
Roy “Big Country” Nelson makes his Bellator debut against Javier “Javy” Ayala at Bellator MMA 183 on Saturday, September 23rd
Ayala KO’d PRIDE FC veteran Sergei Kharitonov in just 16 seconds in his most recent Bellator appearance. Jay complimented Nelson on his superior chin and asked how many shots he felt he was going to take. “My coach always says please don’t get hit…but at the same time I don’t mind getting one to give one”. And as for taking Ayala down he said “one thing I like to do is entertain the fans…but at the same time I’m going out there to get the W”.
Jay mentioned that Roy has stated this was a “politics-free opportunity to compete for the belt” and “the handcuffs are off”. He said “the handcuffs are sponsorship. You can basically have just about any sponsor you want for the most part and it allows you to make your money again…and I’m also free to be me”. He continued “basically you’re allowed to just be a free spirit to go out there and go to work like you’re supposed to like any other independent contractor”. He was also happy to have a walk-out tee that fans would be excited about wearing.
With wins over the majority of the Bellator heavyweight division – Cheick Kongo, Matt Mitrione, Justin Wren – Jay asked him how close he is to earning a shot at the title. “Basically, the way I’ve been my whole career is just give me 1 fight. I’ve never lost a championship fight”. As for goals, Roy would like to bring new fans into MMA because he feels the sport has plateaued. He also professed that Bellator believes this is a “fighter driven sport” where the UFC does not. Jay said that Bellator treats the fighter like a valuable asset.
Roy called for a 2nd round finish but as we now know, Nelson won a unanimous decision over Ayala.
MORE WITH RANDY STEINKE, KEONI DIGGS AND DESIRE FLORES
Randy and Keoni talked more about their upcoming fights, preparations, careers and staying motivated.
They talked about Mike Perry (won $50,000 bonus, KO’d Alex Reyes), now with ATT and Nico Price (TKO’d Alan Jouban), training with Mike Brown. They talked about the potential end of Hector Lombard’s (TKO loss to Anthony Smith) run in the UFC. Dallas felt that body type would fade out of the UFC unless they were on “the special sauce”. Randy mentioned “Vitor (Belfort) before USADA” to which Dallas said “I think that guy had a pharmacist on call”. GSP’s name came up as one who could carry a lot of muscle and still grind out a fight. They also talked about fighters who train like athletes and fighters who are at the bar the week of the fight. BJ Penn, Matt Hughes, Sean Sherk, Thiago Alves and Thiago Silva’s names came up and talk of an era gone by. The return of Luke Rockhold was brought up and what the challenges of another fight with Michael Bisping would present.
Dallas said he wasn’t as interested in some of the Asian fight cards even with names like Yushin Okami and Takanori Gomi. Desire attributed it to an unfamiliarity of the fighters and basically too many fights too often. Everyone seemed to be looking forward to the MMA debut of Gokan Saki. They also agreed that the media drives who you should pay attention to and the casual fan only follows their lead.
And talk of how there are too many titles but, at the same time, it’s difficult to promote a fight people will watch without a title on the line. Dallas mentioned that someone like Demetrious Johnson – who doesn’t make a lot or draw fans – still makes the UFC money because fights around the country provide a good live gate.
Until next time.