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Archive for February, 2010

Q & A with Bellator Fighting Championship’s Joe Warren

February
15

I recently had the opportunity to talk with US Olympic wrestler, DREAM MMA vet, and Bellator Fighting Championship acquisition, Joe Warren. Joe Warren burst onto the MMA scene in 2009 by becoming a semi finalit in the DREAM featherweight Grand prix tournament. Joe Warren had no professional MMA fights prior to his DREAM debut.


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Q: What have you been doing since your last fight?
A: I have been really trying to get another fight. My main concern was trying to get back as fast as possible. I was ready for a two matches and a world championship belt in October (2009) and it didn’t go my way and I was done in like a minute. So I was ready to rock and roll right away. I was training some BJJ, and I tweaked my knee a little bit. Then I thought I was going to fight New Years Eve. They [DREAM] kept telling me I was going to, and then they didn’t let me. So it’s kind of been hectic for me. I really want to get back in there. I am brand new at it, and I need more time in there competing to learn the things you can’t learn unless you are actually competing. I got the Bellator contract signed and now I know exactly when I am fighting and I am excited about it. We are real open minded and focused on what is going to happen for us this year.



Q: Does the Bellator contract allow you to fight in Dream, and other organizations?
A: Yes, yes. They’ve [Bellator Fighting Championships] bent over backwards for me to get me to be part of this organization and I appreciate everything they have done. They are going to continue to let me wrestle. Maybe let me stop and train for the Olympics if that is something I want to do. They are going to let me finish out my contracts and stuff in DREAM.

Q: How many fights do you have left in DREAM?
A: I am going to have 3 more fights this year. Which I could have more, but we signed a three fight deal. I am hoping to fight 4 times for Bellator this year also.

Q: Now I remember watching you on Inside MMA; you were pretty gung ho about wrestling for the USA team in the Olympics. Has that changed at all now that you are training more MMA?
A: Yeah the mindset has changed. When I had these conversations before I was just jamming for as much technique and strategy as I could put in at once. It’s hard to learn that way. Since I signed these contracts I have been training MMA, and I see myself now as an MMA fighter and I am going to focus everything on I have on MMA instead of wrestling. If I am going to wrestle for the Olympics then I will take a little time off for the Olympics and train.

Q: Do you have one dedicated training camp or do you hop all over?
A: I train at Denver Colorado at the Rhino. It’s my brand new training club; it’s a wrestling club, jiu-jitsu and MMA. It’s in downtown Denver, and that is where I have been training. Other places I train are up at Urijah Faber’s gym in Sacramento, and at Boise Idaho with Scott Jorgenson. Those are my two training partners.

Q: How soon do you think you will be fighting in Bellator?
A: I’ll be fighting April 9th, in Miami at the hard Rock. I am real excited to be back in the cage, man. I am real happy to fight in front for the American Public.

Q: They have an opponent set for you?
A: They might, but they haven’t told me (laughs). I don’t really care who they put in front of me. I have been lifting real hard, gaining some size. Not really worrying about my weight as much as I usually do when I wrestle. I am really gaining a lot of strength, and things that I haven’t been able to do before because I have had to maintain a high level of cardio, to keep my weight kind of low.

Q: You touched on this before, and I have heard this from a couple of different fighters. You were supposed to fight NYE on DREAM but it didn’t work out. How does that work?
A: They pretty much told me I was fighting, so we were training real hard. You got to understand that in Japan, it’s pretty much entertainment. The fighting, the MMA over there is entertainment for them. So it is on prime time television and there are big numbers, lots of fans. I think what happens over there is the TV time is sold to like the major network over there and the network picks the fighters. I don’t know if DREAM has a lot of say in that. I think I was going to fight Kid [Kid Yamamoto] again, and I don’t think Kid wanted to fight me, which is probably a smart idea for him. And they pulled back and decided to do that DREAM Sengoku. That sucked. I was ready to rock and roll. Whatever. I got some training in. I got another two months of my training in. We will be able to probably fight once a month in April, May, and June.

Q: Do you feel that you are burning yourself out since you have been training for so long ?
A: No. The only thing I know is training. Since I was in third grade, most of the thoughts I have are about training. It’s a daily deal for me. It’s fun for me. I am learning so much, so much different technique. I respect the sport of MMA a lot more now then I used to. The first two fights were… I was just trying to get through the fight. But now I am trying to learn jiu-jitsu and learn striking . It’s a pleasure for me. There’s so much technique involved in MMA that poeple don’t realize. This 5 or 6 different sports. I have spent my whole life on one sport, and I have finally perfected it. But I have been doing it since I was in fourth grade. For someone to be a complete MMA fighter, it’s going to take some time. Its muscle memory, it’s time in there drilling, and its live competition. It’s hard to simulate live competition in MMA unless you are actually competing. It’s hard to just beat someone as hard as you can and someone not get hurt in practice.

Q: Your first pro fight was in Japan. Did you have any amateur fights in the states or did you jump right into pro?
A: Nope. I jumped right in. I was training for a few weeks before then, and then I was back in Colorado and I got in the DREAM tournament, and that was only a few weeks before the tournament. So we went to California and had a training camp there.

Q: So you have never had an MMA fight in the States. Are you excited for the Bellator debut?
A: Oh yeah man, real excited. I won several medals for this country. I bleed red white and blue baby! I am real excited to be back and compete. I got a lot of fans in the states and they are excited to take a few hour plane trip instead of a 10-20 hour trip to Japan.

Posted by lvollmer on Monday, February 15th, 2010 at 12:36 pm |
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Florian will welcome Gomi to the UFC

February
3

JAPANESE SENSATION TAKANORI GOMI MAKES UFC DEBUT AGAINST KENNY FLORIAN LIVE ON SPIKE TV

Top Lightweight Contenders Do Battle On “UFC Fight Night”
Wednesday, March 31 At 8:00 PM ET/PT

New York, NY, February 3, 2010 – Two of the world’s best lightweight (155 lb.) mixed martial arts fighters, Kenny Florian and Takanori Gomi, will square off in the main event of Spike TV’s “UFC Fight Night” on Wednesday, March 31 at 8:00pm ET/PT. Emanating from the Bojangles Colisuem in Charlotte, NC, the bout marks the long-awaited UFC debut of the Japanese lightweight mixed martial arts star, Gomi.

Florian (14-4), fighting out of Brookline, MA. burst onto the mixed martial arts scene as a finalist in Season 1 of “The Ultimate Fighter” in April 2005. After losing to Sean Sherk in a title bout at UFC 64 in October 2006, Florian went almost three years without a loss, riding an impressive six fight winning-streak defeating many of the lightweight division’s top contenders including Joe Stevenson and Roger Huerta. Florian’s streak ended at the hands of UFC champ BJ Penn, who submitted Florian in the fourth round of their lightweight championship bout this past August at UFC 101. Following a victory over Clay Guida at UFC 107 in December, Florian is back on the winning track and needs a win over Gomi for a third shot at the belt.

“The Fireball Kid,” Gomi (31-5) has a long, decorated career fighting in his native Japan. He is a former Shooto Welterweight Champion and was the final holder of the lightweight title from the defunct promotion Pride Fighting Championships. He is also a four-time All Japan Combat Wrestling champion. The 31 year-old has fought many of the division’s elite fighters including BJ Penn and Jens Pulver, and is now looking to secure the belt in the world’s premier mixed martial organization, The Ultimate Fighting Championship.®

Season 11 of “The Ultimate Fighter” premieres at 10:00 PM ET/PT directly following the “UFC Fight Night.”

Posted by lvollmer on Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010 at 11:16 am |
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Joe Warren signs with Bellator Fighting Championships

February
1

JoeWarren1 CHICAGO, Ill. (February 1, 2010) Bellator Fighting Championships announced today that three-time world champion Greco-Roman wrestler and highly-sought-after MMA prodigy Joe Warren has signed a long-term promotional agreement with Bellator and will compete in the promotion’s upcoming featherweight (145 lbs.) tournament this April on FOX Sports Net, NBC and Telemundo.

Warren is known throughout MMA for making one of the most remarkable debuts in the sport’s history, knocking off former WEC Champion Chase Beebe and Japanese superstar Kid Yamamoto in his first two professional fights. The Beebe bout, Warren admits, “was the first time I ever taped my hands or wore a cup,” and it came just three months after he first began MMA training.

“We are very excited about this signing and being the MMA organization that brought Joe back to the states,” said Bellator founder and CEO Bjorn Rebney. “Joe has the ability, drive, confidence and personality to become a star in our sport. His first two wins would make a good career for most fighters and as his stand-up continues developing, the sky is the limit for Joe Warren.”

The 33-year-old Warren has been competing at a world-class level for years, training with the U.S Olympic Team and taking home gold medals at the 2006 Pan-Am Games, the 2006 FILA Wrestling World Championships and the 2007 Wrestling World Cup. Before that, he was an All-American freestyle wrestler at the University of Michigan. He made his stunning MMA debut last spring in Japan’s DREAM Grand Prix tournament.

“I competed for the USA for 10 years and I bleed red, white and blue,” Warren said. “So I’m ready to come back to this country, make my U.S. debut and fight in front of the American MMA fans. I love everything that Bellator is doing and I’m just honored to be a part of their organization.”

Warren, who is a member of the famed Team Quest, said he is focused now on continuing to hone his stand-up game, an education that has been accelerated by his experiences training with other top-caliber fighters including former WEC Champion Urijah Faber, Pride FC Champion Dan Henderson and WEC standout Scott Jorgensen.

“My hands are getting quicker, I’m seeing the openings quicker … I’m just getting better every single day. I’m already 1,000 times better than I was in my last fight,” he said. “With my style and my experience and my never-lose, never-die attitude, it’s gonna be really exciting for Bellator and for everyone who’ll be watching on TV.”

Among those who’ll certainly be watching are Warren’s wife, Christy Cech, and their 18-month-old son, Xandr Achilles Warren. The couple is expecting their second child in March.

“My family has always been behind me and they believe in me a lot, which drives me,” Warren said. “I’m a family man, but I’m also a warrior. I’ve been through a lot of battles in my life so I thrive on it. In the heat of battle, some people turn, some people run and some people stand up and fight. I see this as a battle and I can promise that I’m gonna stand up in fight.”

Warren is entering a lions den in Bellator’s eight-man Season 2 featherweight tournament where competitors include Georgi Karakhanyan, William Romero, Patricio Pitbull and Bao Quach. Bellator will also conduct tournaments at 155, 170 and 185 lbs. during Season 2, which begins April 8th. The winners in each division will be declared No. 1 contenders to the current roster of champions.

Each of Bellator’s 24 fights during Seasons 2 and 3 will be distributed live in primetime on Thursday nights on FOX Sports Net and its regional sports network affiliates. The top moments from each week’s live events will then be condensed into an action-packed 30-minute highlight show, broadcast every Saturday night, late night, on NBC. A one-hour highlight show will air in Spanish on Telemundo every Saturday night from midnight to 1 a.m.
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Posted by lvollmer on Monday, February 1st, 2010 at 9:56 am |
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Web programmer by day, practicing mixed martial artist at night, Larry Vollmer Jr. brings the latest news from the Ultimate Fighting Championship and the rest of the mixed martial arts world - a fast-spreading obsession on TV and online. These are the bouts - they occur in an octagon-shaped "ring" - that test men's souls.

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