Strikeforce: Evolution Media Teleconference
I am an amateur mixed martial arts writer, I don’t have a degree in journalism and I’ve never done any professional writing. That’s what makes the last 24 hours so special. Last night at about midnight I received an e-mail with an invitation to the Strikeforce teleconference. All four fighters in the main event for this card were available for interview. This included former middleweight champion and actor Cung Le, his opponent Scott Smith, lightweight champion Josh Thomson and his opponent, interim lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez.
For me, this was incredibly surreal. My only contact thus far with fighters was Kenny Florian saying “lol” to a twitter message I sent him.
Hell yes I saved it.
Anyways, I was incredibly antsy when I woke up this morning, I spent about 3 hours researching all the fighters looking for decent questions to ask them so I wouldn’t look like the complete amateur that I am. Once I felt I was prepared, I called the Strikeforce hotline with the access code, identified myself and I was in! Sure, I had to wait 20 minutes, but I’ve never been more excited to listen to lame “hold” music in my life.
Once 2PM rolled around, the teleconference started. The Strikeforce media director gave a prepared statement and each fighter gave their opening comments. They went something like this:
Cung Le – I’m ready to be back, I’m excited for this fight.
Scott Smith – I’m excited to be a headliner, it’s an honor.
Josh Thomson – I’m trying to get through this last week without injury. I think Melendez is the best fighter in the division.
Gilbert Melendez – I’ve been training hard, prepared for a 5 round war.
After some of the reporters from bigger organizations asked their questions (taking several that I had prepared), it was my turn. I got to ask each fighter one question.
Me: Cung, does it bother you to be fighting so soon after having to vacate your belt?
Cung Le: It was really hard to vacate it, but it was an honorable thing to do. I had the movie career, and it wasn’t fair to the other 185 pounders in Strikeforce who were worthy of holding the title. I wasn’t expecting to be fighting so soon, but a movie got pushed back because a producer was still working on Resident Evil 4 and I had that urge to get back in the cage.
Me: Scott, you have great power standing, but Cung Le poses a serious threat with his dynamic striking and kicks. Have you been working on mixing up your strikes?
Scott Smith: Absolutely, you have to prepare for each fight individually. I’ve been working with my coaches and watching a lot of film of his fights to be ready for him. What you have to remember is that he has to prepare for me too. The best way to win is to force him to fight your style, and if I can do that, I know I can win.
Me: Josh, this fight bas been rescheduled multiple times due to your injuries. What precautions have you taken to ensure you will be healthy?
Josh Thomson: I took it easy with the training early this time to ensure I was fully healed. I decided to train with tough grapplers like Josh Koscheck and Jon Fitch. I also trained a lot more with fighters in my own weight class, because I kept getting hurt by training with considerably bigger guys. I’ve been kicking with my leg hard, putting it into leg locks and it feels great. I’m 100% healthy and I’m ready for this fight.
Me: Gilbert, this fight has been in the making for over a year. How does it feel to finally be coming to fruition and to unite the lightweight belts?
Gilbert Melendez: It was a blessing in disguise, you never wish injury on anyone, but the fact that he got injured twice has given me even more time to prepare for him. I’m not sure if I was mentally ready the first time to fight him but I’m happy that this time has come and I’ve been given a chance to redeem myself.
And that was it! Hopefully I get another chance to do this again. It was something I’ll never forget.