World Series of Fighting 8 conference call notes

RaySefo1The World Series of Fighting held their traditional pre-event conference call today, in advance of their 8th card on January 18th. MMASucka was there on the call, along with WSOF President Ray Sefo, matchmaker Ali Abdelaziz, Justin Gaethje, Rich Patishnock, Mike Kyle, Anthony Johnson, Jessica Aguilar, and Alida Gray. Audio of the call will be made available here at MMASucka later tonight, but for now, here are the notes from the call.

World Series of Fighting 8 conference call notes

Ray Sefo

  • Thanks everybody on the call, says 2013 was a great year
    Relationship with NBC SN is great, says there will be a few announcements in the coming weeks, but for now htat’s where it’s at. “Can’t talk too much about that issue.”
  • Says they’re a complete team at WSOF, and that he and Ali talk and are aware of what goes on. Nothing but love and respect.
  • Says that WSOF has come a long way in a year, appreciates fan & media support. Says has a lot of young talent on the card, and hopes to continue to build those guys as generations move on. Young guys will come up rankings and they need to help build them up and make champions.
  • There have been discussions of potential reality shows, but says nothing is set. Only that they are possible.
  • Said there will be a title opportunity for the winner of the Johnson if he wins the fight, but Kyle may have to get another win after losing his first fight for the promotion.
  • Thinks the proposed WSOF-Bellator card is good. Calls Ali one of the best matchmakers in the business, thinks it’s an amazing proposed card. Says if it happens, it will be great for the sport. Hasn’t heard one negative comment about the Bellator challenge. Feels it WSOF fighters would go 10/10.
  • Says – using Justin Gaethje – as an example, that fighters who prove themselves should be the ones who get title shots. Says Rich Patishnock earned his spot too, and that he can be dangerous as a short notice opponent as he comes to fight.
  • Is expecting around 5000 or more for this second Florida card, and likes the energy the crowd brings.
  • Says upcoming fight cards will be announced later.
  • Says Nick Newell just fought, and for him to fight Justin Gaethje only a month later would not be fair.
  • Says future Light Heavyweight title opponent is still being determined, but it depends on outcome of Johnson/Kyle fight.
  • Says the comments attributed to Matt Brown are disgusting. Says it gets to him when people say “stupid s—t” like that.
  • Made sure to thanks the media for being on the call, thanks his fighters, says is looking forward to all the fights on the card. Said to tune in to NBC Sports on January 18th.

 

Ali Abdel-Aziz

  • Said he wanted to focus on the fights, and would make big announcement regarding the Bellator challenge at end of the call. The call ran long, and something came up preventing the announcement.
  • Says Gaethje vs. Patishnock will be a bloodbath.
  • Said that Rich Patishnock was brought in as injury replacement after his two victories over Igor & Gregor Gracie showed his heart. Noted that Patishnock will come to finish, that he can see the fight being 5 rounds, brutal, and that the fans will be the winner.
  • Says Alida Gray is a young lady who hits like a freight train. He also said she was a 1996 Olympic Judo alternate, and believes Gray is very competitive. Doesn’t see fight going 5 rounds, expects a finish.
  • Stated that the WSOF office is like a family, and that Sefo Ray is not only like a brother to him, but the engine behind WSOF.
  • Doesn’t know what Bellator’s matchmaker does.
  • Says that he does more than matchmaking, but Ray is “the man” of the company. He says he has a good understanding of the sport, but that everybody in WSOF works together. He will speak his mind about issues, and has no filter.
  • Says 99% of reaction to Bellator challenge is positive. Says they’re focused on getting people to tune in and watch their fights. Asked one reporter on the call if he would pay $40 to see WSOF vs. Bellator. The reporter confirmed he would.
  • Respects all the Bellator fighters, but that the sport can only grow when people can work together, not when they boycott and speak badly of others.
  • Says they need to protect fighters and pay them well. Says all WSOF fighters will agree they are well-paid.
  • He is not worried about attracting talent for women’s strawweight division. Says they have signed four girls, will find more, and have open arms. Will work with Invicta, or anybody else, to put on some matches.
  • Praised Shannon Knapp’s work with WMMA. Says has #1 woman in the world, and has to bring in oppoonents for her matches.
  • Does not want to force people to fight for them. He says loves Anthony Johnson, and hopes to keep him around after this fight. However, he will support him 100% if chooses to go somewhere else.
  • Says that he wants any WSOF fighter to be happy and comfortable to get their best performances out of them. Does not want to create an “Eddie Alvarez” situation, and claims that it killed Bellator’s reputation. Fans will follow the fighters. Says it’s 2014, and it’s not boxing. If someone has a dream to fight somewhere, he is not going to stand in their way. Ideal of the WSOF promotion is “Fighters first.”
  • Says 2014 will be a big year for WSOF, with lots of fights.
  • Says Nick Newell is one of the biggest stars in WSOF, and they have nothing but love and respect for him. Says Newell not being in the title fight is a timing issue, and that he has a big plan for him. Has been planning this particular fight for Newell for almost 7 months.
  • Said that WSOF can’t force all the talent onto one card, they need to spread it out to make every show a decent show.
  • Says Patishnock will give Gaethje a brutal fight, even guaranteeing it. Says it’s a great stylistic match-up, and both fighters will walk out of it sore for weeks.
  • Claimed Alida Gray could knockout Matt Brown for his comments about women’s lack of KO power.
  • Says their position on the card is not meant to take anything away from Jessica Aguilar and Alida Gray.
  • When asked about fighter pay, he said they start around the UFC’s pay base, but that any fighter that has an issue with their pay can call and he’ll be happy to discuss it with them. Says they pay fighters well for being a new promotion, and pay will go up as they become more established.
  • Confirmed Yushin Okami and Rousimar Palhares will fight on March 28th card, and that there will be two more title fights.
  • Thanked the media on the call, and the fighters taking part. Thanked the undercard fighters, and apologized for not being able to place them on the main card. Plugs Cody Bollinger vs. Tyson Nam, and Macaco vs. Luis Palomino on the main card. Says every fight will have highlights, and it will be a grueling night for the fighters. Says fans are the big winners. Thanks fans, and NBC Sports, calls them the biggest media company in the world.

 

Justin Gaethje

  • Thanks Rich for taking fight on short notice, WSOF for opportunity to be “Face of Lightweight Division.”
  • Says he will fight anyone for a belt, but feels he already proved he was a better fighter than Gesias Cavalcante. Is excited for the new challenge of Rich Patishnock, complimenting his TD defense and punching ability. Says it will be an exciting fight, but is concentrating on himself and his own game.
  • Expected to be called for first LW title fight. Feels like he established himself at the top of the division, and wants the “target on his back.”
  • Says he used to wrestle, and that there’s a big difference between wrestling and fighting. Being too aggressive hurt him in wrestling, but has helped him in fighting. His style is to move forward and push the pace. He will makes his opponent push back and have to try and stop the implementation of his game plan.
  • Is excited that his training camp’s coming to an end. Is ready to take risks and put on a great show.

 

Rich Patishnock

  • Thanks WSOF for opportunity, Gaethje for taking fight. Wants to stay calm, have fun, and put on a great fight at a new weight class
  • Said he felt great taking the fight with Gaethje on short notice. Was preparing to fight anyways, and didn’t feel much pressure taking the fight on short notice. Stated he is focusing on how he fights and how he moves. Says gameplans don’t stick in fights. He is glad to have opportunity, and will give it his best.
  • Says his original fight  on the card against Luis Palomino was at 155 lbs., so the weight cut wasn’t sprung on him at last minute. Says he doesn’t think he’ll have as much strength, but that the weight cut is going smoothly.
  • He is happy to be here, and grateful for the opportunity. Calls Gaethje a class act, hopes to put on a good show. He then thanked WSOF for putting him on the card.

 

Anthony Johnson

  • Everything going smooth, and he is really excited to get fight over with. Seems like the fight took a year to come together, after each man had to pull out once. He is excited to give the fans what they want.
  • Feels great going into fight, 100% confident in himself. Says Mike is talented, and is at one of the best camps one can go to. Welcomes the challenge of Kyle trying to push his cardio.
  • Hopes to be more active in 2014, though he said 2013 was good. Says he helped his team grow throughout 2013 since he wasn’t fighting. Was happy with 2013 due to the way his team developed. Will be sure 2014 is even better.
  • Said he is willing to break his hand against Kyle to get the win.
  • Feels great to be considered a title contender if he wins this fight, but has to focus on beating Mike Kyle.
  • Says is not close to the best he can be. Says he hasn’t hit his prime yet, and is just having fun, enjoying himself, and not worrying. Says we’ll know when he hits his prime.
  • Doesn’t know if it will feel like a “hometown” fight, but is excited that his family will get to see him live.
  • Says this his last fight on his WSOF contract, but says that they will deal with contract talk after the fight.
  • Says will never fight Tyrone Spong as they are in the same camp.
  • Feels that things like title shots will happen when they are meant to. He is having fun, enjoying himself, and says that guys who call for title fights end up choking in their eliminator bouts.
  • Said he plans on KOing Mike the same way Mike plans to KO him. Expects a calculated fight, not a brawl. Says he’ll take whatever Kyle gives.
  • When Kyle could not be reached for his last question, says he “ran away.”
  • Plans to show the world what WSOF is all about. Plugs open workouts Jan. 16th at Jaco Hybrid Workout Center.

 

Mike Kyle

  •  Thanks Anthony for taking fight, says it’s a “bummer’ this fight took so long to happen. Sure they will put on a great show to kick off the year.
  • Says he had a good camp, in great shape, glad to be back at 205 lbs. Excited for this fight, says it’s been hard to stay injury free. Says he is backing off in training, and will be prepared come fight night.
  • Expects 2014 to be a great year, is hoping to train smarter and avoid injuries. Hopes WSOF can use him, as he is a guy that likes to take fights. Wants to take as many fights as possible this year.
  • Feels this will be a good fight, as both he and Johnson like to fight. Hopes for a stand-up battle. Says Rumble has a good camp behind him, and it should make for an exciting fight. Wants to push the pace and test his cardio. Says it is what it is, and that WSOF will give him a title opportunity when he’s ready.
  • Says happy to be fighting back in Florida. Likes to go on the road to fight and distance himself from everyone. Looking forward to take a break, as he is a full-time Dad, and looks forward to getting a bit of a break away from the kids.
  • Says the motivation to come back to MMA comes from having kids. Says things are how they are, and is thankful for the opportunity he has. Will take those feelings to the ring with him, and make it Hell.

 

Jessica Aguilar

  • Very excited, honored to be part of WSOF and fighting for title on NBC Sports. Can’t be more grateful. Plans to give the fans what she always does: “The best of her.”
  • Says she was speaking to a few promotions after Bellator dissolved their women’s division. Focused on her Vale Tudo Japan fight with Megumi Fujii in October, then attended a WSOF show, spoke with management, and was offered a spot. She is very happy to be part of WSOF and to be the face of their women’s division.
  • Says deal was done a week before UFC’s announcement. Is excited to start off 2014 (but said 2012).
  • When asked if being the #1 strawweight has caused changes in her mindset, she said that all the hard work she’s put in is coming to flourish. Stated that she and her team at ATT work very hard. Said she takes this sport seriously, and here she is. She is going to enjoy and ride it while continuing to prove she’s the best.
  • Fighting for the first WSOF belt means a lot to her. She says this will be her first world title, and it feels like all her hard work will pay off. She is honored to be fighting for the belt.
  • Stated she is very confident she can bring in everything she’s been training for in this camp. Once again stated that it’s her first world title, that she has been training really hard, and will leave all of herself in the cage on January 18th. Promises the fight will be exciting, and is part of a great, stacked show. Says it’s another challenge to be the best fight of night, but will challenge herself to make it happen.
  • Says she will be ready for Gray’s judo and stand-up, and is looking forward to going out and having fun with her.
  • Says it will take a lot of hard work to take this opportunity away from her.
  • Has worked hard to get to this point, even in Bellator, and is ready to give the best of herself for WSOF and starting 2014 strong.
  • Said she doesn’t care about position on the main card, and feels WSOF is doing a great job. She just wants to enjoy this moment and have a great fight.
  • Says this fight is can be called a reintroduction to casual MMA fans. Is ready, and has prepared well. Excited to be on NBC Sports and to come back strong.
  • She said she can’t speak badly about Bellator, because they gave her an opportunity that she took – even though they decided to change their ways. She is grateful to WSOF for giving her the opportunity and will make 2014 a great year.
  • Said she is honored to be one of the “top leaders” in WMMA. Says it’s like night and day from when she started 7.5 years ago, and she can see light at the end of the tunnel. She is very thankful to promotions who are giving women opportunities to showcase their skills.
  • She made a point to thank the media for sharing the fighters’ stories. Also said to tune in to NBC Sports, and that she is excited to win her first world title.

Alida Gray

  • She is honored to be picked for this fight. Will bring a fight to Jessica, and will give it her all
  • Is ready for this fight, having watched Aguilar since prior to turning pro. She is ready to take these higher caliber fights, and made her decision to turn pro this past summer. She wnows she may be unknown, and that her opponent is the #1 ranked strawweight.
  • Says people will start to get to know her on Jan. 18th.
  • She said that she thinks the fight could go anywhere. Says that both she and Aguilar are well-rounded fighters, so she will not predict where the fight will end.
  • She doesn’t expect to rely solely on her judo, and says she will bring a fight.
  • She believes that Aguilar is ready for a title fight, and she is ready to take it from her, and to put on a show.
  • She believes she is the underdog, and considers it to be an advantage. She says she will go in there and fight.
  • Feels like she has gotten lucky, but also feels like she’s moving backwards, fighting Patricia Vidoninc in her first fight and Jessica Aguilar in her fifth.
  • Noted that her father was a karate black belt, who would stage punching contests amongst his children, which she would always win.
  • Says she worked on her overhand right for two weeks before her last fight, managed to land it perfectly, and KOed her opponent. She  doesn’t care how she wins, she just wants to win.
  • She feels that Matt Brown’s comments about only wanting to watch women fight if their topless is disrespectful. Says he’s entitled to his opinion, and he can tune in to watch if he wants.
  • She believes it’s time for females to shine in MMA. She was thankful for WSOF bringing in strawweights, as well as the UFC. She feels it’s amazing, and is happy to be a part of it.
  • She says she’s near the end of her career with MMA, but will make the best of it. She is looking forward to the future, and feels it will be good.
  • Stated that shes has not been working on anything specific in preparation for Aguilar, but has been focused on her overall game. She needs to be ready for anything that “JAG” brings.
  • Stated that the only thing she doesn’t want to see happen is for the fight to go to the judges’ score cards.
  • She can’t wait to get to Florida and shock the world, telling people to tune in January 18th because it will be “a fight.”

The call ran approximately 90 minutes, and could certainly have gone on longer. World Series of Fighting 8 goes down on January 18th, from the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Holywood, FL. The main event will see Justin Gaethje take on Rich Patishnock for the promotion’s inaugural lightweight title. Stay tuned to MMASucka.com for more on this and other upcoming events.

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