There’s Only One Ricky Hatton

I touched on this last week but the reason I love the current edition of HBO’s 24/7 so much is because the differences between Ricky Hatton and Floyd Mayweather are so vast its almost comical. Sure, Oscar De La Hoya is no Pretty Boy Floyd but there’s no denying that they share similar personality traits. I would be hard-pressed to find one thing in common between Hatton and Mayweather.

Some have said the whole “I love to drink me Guinness at me Pub” routine seems a little manufactured and that’s certainly a valid point but once you juxtapose it against the brash antics of one Floyd Mayweather it’s television gold.

As for the actual fight, come 12/8 the Manchester native will certainly walk to the ring an overwhelming underdog but, regardless, the Hitman seems more focused than ever.

I’m not just saying that, too. He really does. Take a listen for yourself.

Ricky Hatton – 11/27/07

Booker T Digs His Change Of Scenery

The worst kept secret in professional wrestling – six-time Heavyweight champion, Booker T, signing with TNA – proved to be correct last month. Since signing with TNA, Booker has repeatedly said that he was unhappy with the current direction of his former employer World Wrestling Entertainment. In fact, after his departure from WWE he wrote on his website:

“I had been unhappy for quite some time with the direction that the company was going in. In fact, I asked for my release back in July for that very reason. However, after further contemplation, I decided to continue on with WWE because of my passion for this industry and my desire to entertain the fans. Unfortunately, it quickly became apparent that my unhappiness with my work environment was beginning to take a great toll on other aspects of my life.”

However, as we all know, there are two sides to every story. After Booker’s name came up in the infamous Signature Pharmacy investigation he was suspended from WWE. Apparently, Booker took exception to the suspension and asked for his release…or was he fired?

While we will never truly find out if a) Booker actually asked for his release or was fired and b) if he ever purchased anything from Signature we can welcome the fact that one of the top performers of all-time has found a new home in TNA. Booker’s arrival will, at least for the time being, give the promotion some new blood to work with.

Take a listen as Booker discusses his arrival in TNA Wrestling, the Signature Pharmacy story and his reasons for leaving WWE. (Apologies for the audio but the issue isn’t wasn’t on my end.)

Booker T – 11/27/07

Sam Hoger Speaks His Mind

I spoke to former UFC fighter Sam Hoger earlier today and instead of writing some fluffy intro on him I thought I would just give you a taste of some of his interesting quotes.

“I see Forrest (Griffin) every time I go to Vegas…He’s still a turd. Now, that’s a fight I would do for 5 bucks.”

“The one thing that I wanted out of that whole experience was to put something out there that people wouldn’t forget…I really wanted to just imprint myself in the minds of other people and I got what I wanted for them. So now that I got what I wanted from them my next goal is to be rich.”

“In the world of mixed martial arts, you’re a slave. Doesn’t matter if you fight for the biggest organization or the smallest one…And the way it works out for slaves is the ones who are able to bring the organization attention will get to taste small ends of those riches. The ones who don’t will be cast away into the trash…”

“I’m not in the mood to work for anybody I work for myself. I mean, I’m nobody’s slave.”

“You can take your 30 and 40 and 50 thousand dollar fights and stuff ’em because it doesn’t do much for me.”

“Look sucker, my work made you mainstream…I was a piece of that work that turned us all mainstream in this sport.”

And, while Sam failed to say he was retired from competition…he did say this.

“Now that I am done fighting I am purely a capitalist in ever sense of the word.”

“My mind is no longer on having to entertain the public. I don’t have to be like the rest of the fighters out there.”

For more from Sam Hoger check out the audio below. One things for sure, the man doesn’t hold back.

Sam Hoger – 11/26/07

(Can’t listen to the interview right now? Download this one and all of our great interviews by clicking on the iTunes or Odeo link at the top right of the page.)

Let’s Get It On…One More Time

The UFC held a conference call today to officially announce that Georges St. Pierre (14-2-0) (right) will be replacing the injured Matt Serra at UFC 79 to challenge Matt Hughes (41-5-0) (left) for the interim Welterweight title.

Hot diggity, the UFC really worked their magic with this one. Sure, we all wanted to see Serra and Hughes settle their differences once and for all but Hughes-GSP III is just as intriguing.

And, one has to believe, Dana White will be all smiles regardless of who walks away with the interim title come 12/29. If GSP wins, it will potentially set up a great rematch against Serra in Montreal come April. I have attended many great events in Montreal and I can assure you that you will never hear a crowd like the one that will go nuts when a title-wearing GSP walks into the cage to avenge his loss to Serra.

Or, Hughes defeats St. Pierre for the second time, captures the interim title and Serra vs. Hughes, a feud that has been built up for over a year, is back on.

Regardless, UFC 79 is shaping up to be a tremendous card. Already announced was Silva vs. Liddell, Sokoudjou vs. Machida and, now, this.

Dana White, Georges St. Pierre and Matt Hughes were all present at a special UFC 79 conference call earlier today. No huge news coming out of it but Hughes definitely had some choice words for Serra that are worth checking out (including saying Serra is taking the easy way out and will be soon out of the UFC). Take a listen below.

UFC 79 Conference Call – 11/26/07

“Matt Serra’s A Great Guy…I Don’t Hold Anything Against Him”

This past week’s episode of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Hughes vs. Team Serra was one of the more controversial ones ever as Head Coach Matt Serra refused to corner against two of his fighters.

In case you missed it, problems arose when four of Serra’s fighters (Matt Arroyo, George Sotiropoulos, Troy Mandaloniz and Richie Hightower) were picked to fight each other. Obviously, Serra couldn’t corner two fighters at the same time so Dana White decided to flip a coin to determine which two fighters would train with Team Hughes for their quarterfinal showdowns.

While Arroyo and Hightower were chosen to train with Hughes, Serra was still unhappy. He refused to corner Sotiropoulos and Mandaloniz in their fights and thus left his fighters to fend for themselves.

This decision appeared to be a big distraction for Troy “Rude Boy” Mandaloniz as he prepared for his fight against Matt Arroyo. Coincidentally or not, Mandaloniz ended up losing to Arroyo via arm bar in the first round.

A tough loss for the Hawaiian and one he would surely love to forget – Mandaloniz will get another chance at UFC glory on 12/8 when he faces Richie Hightower on the TUF Finale.

Mandaloniz talked to me about his MMA career as a fighter and referee, his experience on the show and Serra’s decision not to corner him. Be sure to listen to his comments on Matt Hughes’ definition of what it means to be “professional.”

Troy Mandaloniz – 11/25/07

The Haitian Sensation

It’s been a while since I called the great city of Montreal my home but that doesn’t mean I still don’t hold a soft spot in my heart for all things Quebec (just look at the name of this blog for further proof).

So, needless to say, when I was offered a chance to sit down with the new WBA Light Middleweight champion and pride of Montreal (by way of Haiti), Joachim Alcine (29-0), I jumped at the opportunity.

The soft-spoken Alcine is one of many great boxers to come out of Montreal as of late. Currently, he is sharing the spotlight with IBF Super Middleweight champion, Lucien Bute, but come December 7th the eyes of the boxing world will be focused squarely on the undefeated Alcine.

Alcine will be defending his newly-won WBA title against Alfonso Mosquera (19-5-0) at the Bell Centre in Montreal. A win over Mosquera would surely place Alcine in line for a shot at the current WBC Light Middleweight champion, Vernon Forrest (Forrest will first have to get by Michelle Pircillio on 12/1).

Take a listen as Alcine discusses his upcoming fight against Mosquera, the distractions of becoming a champion and who he would like to fight next.

Joachim Alcine – 11/25/07

Redemption Song

Coming off two tough losses on Strikeforce cards, Jason Von Flue is stepping back into an MMA cage this coming Saturday to face Brett Cooper (5-4-0) for the Pure Combat Welterweight title.

This fight will be Von Flue’s first away from the national spotlight in over two years as he had been fighting for the UFC and Strikeforce since January 2006.

Von Flue first arrived on the mainstream MMA scene as an injury replacement on The Ultimate Fighter 2 and made some noise by picking up a win over Jorge Gurgel. A loss in the semifinals to Joe Stevenson eliminated the San Luis Obispo native from the show, however, he would end up fighting three more times for the UFC.

While Von Flue has been fighting for close to nine years, he still has a lot to prove – particularly against two fighters. A nasty cut suffered in a match versus Cung Le forced the referee to call off his match against the San Jose fighter only 43 seconds into their bout. To say Von Flue would like a rematch against Cung Le would be a huge understatement.

Also, Von Flue and current TUF 6 cast member, Mac Danzig, fought to a draw over three years ago on a Gladiator Challenge show and he is certainly hoping to settle his score with Danzig once and for all.

I spoke to Von Flue about his upcoming fight, his future with Strikeforce and why he thinks the San Jose-based promotion is afraid to grant him a rematch with Cung Le.

Jason Von Flue – 11/25/07

This Week’s Probables

A look at who will be stopping by Jarry Park later this week…

* Former TUF 2 alum and current Strikeforce fighter, Jason Von Flue, will discuss his MMA career.

* Current WBA Light Middleweight champion, Joachim Alcine (left), will break down his upcoming title defense against Alfonso Mosquera.

* Current cast member on The Ultimate Fighter: Team Hughes vs. Team Serra, Troy “Rude Boy” Mandaloniz, will talk about his experience on the show and his thoughts on Matt Serra not cornering him.

* Former ECW, TNA and WWE wrestler, Kid Kash, will let us know if he is in fact returning to TNA or taking his career elsewhere.

* Strikeforce Light Heavyweight champ, Bobby Southworth, will discuss his latest fight against Anthony Ruiz and when he is looking to step back into the cage.

* Legendary pro wrestler, Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake, will take a trip down memory lane when he looks back at his decorated career.

* The UFC’s version of Harold Lederman, Eddie Bravo, will break down all things UFC and MMA with us.
All that and so much more including press conferences by Ricky Hatton, Floyd Mayweather and Booker T. It’s certainly going to be a great week at The Park.

Got a question for any of these guests? Drop us a line in the comments section and we will be sure to ask them. In the meantime, download all our great interviews via iTunes or Odeo by clicking on the links at the top right of the page.

Just Call Him Mr. Gogoplata

When it comes to submissions maneuvers, the gogoplata is as rare as gets. It’s safe to say that you are more likely to see a triple play executed in a baseball game than a gogoplata in an MMA match.

So, you can imagine the shockwaves Heavyweight Brad Imes sent when he defeated, not one, but TWO opponents via the gogoplata. Unbelievably, the Missouri native used the move in back-to-back fights….44 days apart from each other.

Perhaps that’s why his name was atop everyone’s rumored list as Brock Lesnar’s first UFC opponent. Obviously, those rumors were false (Lesnar will be fighting Frank Mir at UFC 81) but there’s no denying that Imes is quickly developing into one of the top Heavyweights in the world.

It seems as though it’s only a matter of time before we see Imes fighting for the IFL, Elite XC, HDNet Fights or even the UFC again. A former cast member on The Ultimate Fighter 2, Imes is represented by agent Monte Cox. Could Cox, the new president of M-1 Global, try to sign Imes as potential opponent for Fedor?

Take a listen as Imes discusses his back-to-back gogoplatas, his 2008 fight schedule, the Lesnar rumors and if he is bothered by Monte Cox being named the president of M-1 Global.

Brad Imes – 11/23/07

Oh, and in case you are wondering what a gogoplata looks like, watch below as Imes applies it on Bo Cantrell last month.

Between Rounds With…Natalie

Another week, another model talks to us about fighting. Tough life, I suppose.

Thanks to our partnership with The Platinum Agency, we spoke with Natalie (right) about the fight game and whole bunch of other topics.

Be sure to visit The Platinum Agency for all your casting, modeling, ring card girl, friendly smile needs at their official website.

Tell them Jarry Park sent you. Then wait for them to reply: “who?”

For more on Natalie check out Between Rounds.