M-1 VP Jerry Millen discusses the Strikeforce co-promotion with M-1 Global and Dana White.
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Paul SEMTEX Daley copy

DW:  "Mr. Daley, thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview, and congratulations on your hard-earned and well-deserved opportunity in the UFC.  Your first opponent is Brian Foster out of Matt Hughes 'HIT Squad'.  What do you know about Foster, and will you alter your usual game plan?" 
PD:  "He’s a tough striker with an all round game and heavy hands.  I will train very hard at all areas of my game and I’m intent on making an explosive UFC debut."
 DW:  "I feel with your dangerous and exciting stand-up style that there are several extremely entertaining match-ups for you in the welterweight division:  Thiago Alves, Mike Swick, Martin Kampmann, Carlos Condit, Chris Lytle, and now newcomer Phil Baroni.  Is there anyone on that list in particular that you would prefer to fight?"
 PD:  "I just want to fight and fight whoever the UFC puts in front of me.  I feel I can get in there and beat any of the above names.  I have no vendettas... yet!" (Paul says this with a hearty and devious laugh), "So I’ll just fight whoever."
DW:  "In the UFC, there is a lot of pressure to win.  They often say they reward exciting fights even in a loss, but regardless, if you lose two in a row, the need for a win becomes absolute.  Are you planning on going out there and putting on an exciting fight (like you always do), or are you focusing more on the result now that you’re in the big show?  Will you implement more caution into your strategy because of this?"
PD:  "Freedom, and fight without thought!  (Well, not too much.)  I’m just gonna go out there, come forward and try to finish fights, win or lose I will always do this- this is my style.  I finish fights!"
  DW:  "The UFC has forced training partners to fight before.  As a fan, I highly disagree with it, but I can force myself to understand that point-of-view from a business perspective.  As a fighter, what would your thoughts be if asked to face your friend and training partner Dan Hardy?"
 PD:  "I wouldn’t fight Dan as a choice based on my morals.  We are on two completely different paths anyway, he’s three victories into the UFC, and I ain’t even started!"
DW:  "You’ve listed GSP as one of your idols in the sport.  How does it feel to be competing in the same division as him, looking to earn your way towards a shot at his belt?" 
PD:  "Feels great, but I’ve felt I’m always competing against him, because he’s the top of the sport, no matter what 170 lbs. division you are in, from a small show in the UK to the big UFC, if you want to beat or be the best in the division, he’s the bench mark."
 DW:  "In most of your losses, we’ve seen your opponent almost desperately attempting to avoid your stand-up and get you to the ground.  Are you adjusting for this?  If so, are you looking to improve your ground game should you be forced there, to improve your takedown defense to avoid the ground, or both?" 
PD:  "Improve both and continue to improve my striking so not to be in such an exposed position that makes the takedown more easy for my opponents.  Takedown defense, footwork drills, getting back to my feet, strength and conditioning, submission defense and offense... EVERYTHING!" 
Can you share any details about your UFC contract, such as the number of fights, and/or the pay versus some of the other org’s (Strikeforce, Affliction)?"
 PD:  "I have a four fight deal with the UFC, it's a pretty standard UFC contract."
 DW:  "Can you describe how this deal came about after Affliction crashed?  Were you approached by the UFC, or did your management seek them out?" 
PD:  "The UFC took a few of us from Affliction, and I was pleased they saw the talent and potential in me to feel I was a worthwhile investment for the UFC welterweight division."
DW:  "The nickname 'Semtex' is an obvious reference to your crushing KO power.  To what do you attribute your power and proficiency with your striking?  Is it something you were born with, or is it just hardnosed training specifically in that area?"
 PD:  "I think it’s something I was born with.  At 15 years old I was knocking guys out twice my age, but obviously my training in martial arts has helped harness this power."
 DW:  "I read that you began martial arts training at age 7.  Can you discuss what martial art you started out with, and how that training evolved into the intense program you follow now?" 
PD:  "I started in Karate as something to curb my hyperactive behavior.  I then went across to do some traditional Jiu-Jitsu before finding Muay Thai and MMA."
 DW:  "Who did you look up to back in those days or find inspirational (both fighters and non-fighters)?" 
PD:  "I have to say it, Tito Ortiz was an early inspiration in the Sport of MMA, away from that I’d have to say my coach Rupurt Smillie, Hip Hop Entrepenurs for Business, Hip Hop music and marketing is something a enjoying doing/listen to too."
 DW:  "You now train at the legendary 'Rough House' gym in Nottingham with Dan Hardy and Andre Winner, but I noticed in an old video interview that you were training at the Legends gym in the states.  What other places have you spent time training, and how do those places differ (both good and bad) from Rough House?"
 PD:  "I’ve trained at American Top Team HQ in Coconut Creek, Legends MMA (called 'Bomb Squad' back in the day) with Eddie Bravo and Chris Reilly, The Armory Gym, these guys helped me out for fight prep with Jake Shields.  I currently train with Mike’s Gym in Holland and Team Rough House in the UK."
 DW:  "Who do you train with regularly at your gym?" 
PD:  "Predominately Dean Amasinger.  But also with Andre Winner, Lee Livingston and Jimmy Wallhead.  When Dan Hardy’s back in the UK we also get some sessions in together.  Plus a lot of other less recognized up and comers from our team."
 DW:  "Have you ever traveled somewhere specifically to train with a certain person, perhaps to prepare for a certain fighter or style?" 
PD:  "Not really other than Melvin Manhoef at Mike’s gym, but it is something I am more likely to do now I am with the UFC, and have more time between fights and better resources."
 DW:  "A while back, you shocked the MMA world by announcing your retirement.  Although it obviously didn’t last, you only stated 'personal reasons' for the retirement- can you expand any more on these personal reasons, and why you decided to come back?" 
PD:  "Everyone goes through ups and downs in life, that was a down. I came back because I love fighting, I love the sport of MMA."
DW:  "You’ve stated in past interviews that you’re very close with your family.  How did they feel when you first started to compete in such a brutal sport, and how do they feel about it now that you’ve been so successful?"
PD:  "They had always thought of me as a bit of a dreamer, people still do!  Because I have such a different outlook on life and huge goals, people, including my family, now see me achieving what I’ve said I always would.  They have become very supportive."
 DW:  "My most sincere appreciation to yourself and your manager, Wad Alameddine, for your time in this interview, and best of luck with your UFC debut."
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Here's an interview I did with Pat Smith before his American Steel Cage Fighting debut last month. We talked about everything from the old UFCs to the present.
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I had the honor of sitting down with legendary trainer Ray Longo at his gym recently and we talked about everything from his gym renovations to Matt Serra.
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Here at TheGARV.com we pride ourselves on breaking big MMA news stories, and this one's a doozy. It appears that Ray "Sugarfoot" Sefo will be making his Strikeforce debut September 25th in Tulsa, Oklahoma on the undercard of Showtime's Tim Kennedy vs. Zak Cummings fight. Sefo, the legendary kickboxer, made his MMA debut in 2005, knocking out Min Soo Kim with one of his patented head kicks. Returning to the cage, Sefo will be taking on very tough Kevin "The Shaman" Jordan. Jordan, a veteran of the UFC, is fresh off an explosive three round decision victory over UFC legend Pat Smith. Although this fight is not yet signed, sources close to Jordan say that a verbal agreement is in place and it's a go. I'm pumped to see Sugarfoot back in action. He'll be looking to take Jordan's head off, of course, but the Shaman will have other ideas. It's a great match up and makes a fine addition to the Showtime card.
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Before the mass manifestation of MMA in the United States and throughout the world, almost singularly brought about by Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar wailing on each other for 3 rounds in the finale of the first Ultimate Fighter show, the UFC shared the global spotlight with an organization called Pride Fighting Championships.  A significant amount of internet web space has been swallowed up on MMA messageboards consisting of heated arguments and comparisons of the two organizations; when they were in their prime, many fans flaunted self-awarded allegiance to one organization or another, while some more reasonable fans categorized a set of criteria under both headings of "likes" and "dislikes" for each blockbuster promotion. Segueing from fond nostalgia to the present, the UFC purchased the entire Pride FC organization in October of 2007, which equates to one player making a move to take ownership of Boardwalk and Park Place in the game Monopoly.  This literally changed the face of global MMA- some think for the worse, some the better.  Avoiding the insertion of personal opinion, I think none can deny the fact that it eliminated the leisure of choice, as "ultimate fighting" became the biggest and brightest star for MMA in the states by light years.  A great wall was formed between American MMA and Japanese MMA, which were always firmly isolated, but the fans could transcend that gap by floating back and forth between the Pride and UFC events.  Although the DREAM and Sengoku promotions were eventually formed in Japan, the Pride talent had been scattered amuck... and it just wasn't the same. Scott Coker of Strikeforce has made an announcement that may represent Monopoly players 2,3 and 4 bonding together to join forces and unite against player 1, who is laughing maniacally while counting the heaps of money rolling into "The Octagon" from his previous power-purchase. Speaking to MMAWeekly, Coker revealed that Strikeforce, who recently contracted the best fighter in the world (Fedor Emelianenko) by banding with M-1 Global, will also be partnering with the Japanese DREAM organization with the ability to interchange fighters.  In plain terms:  this puts Strikeforce, M-1 Global, and DREAM on the same cooperative team, with the shared interest of pooling their fighters together to make the best events possible.  A quote from Mr. Coker:
“If we want to get Japanese fighters, we would work exclusively with Dream, and Dream would work exclusively with us, and M-1 as well.  M-1 will be part of this too.”
Instead of a handful of infant and besprinkled organizations struggling to keep their heads above water individually in the established ocean owned by the UFC (see:  Affliction), the outsiders have joined forces to gather up the best group of talent available outside of the octagon, with the given intention of attracting more.  The two unique keys they hold, which is the ability and willingness to co-promote with each other on the worldwide stage, and the planet's best and most sought-after fighter in Fedor Emelianeko, are anomalies indeed, and may provide the extra thrust that stand-a-lone promotions lacked in the past.
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Carmichael Dave of CBS Radio has divulged some rumors that M-1 Global is vehemently denying.  The gist of the gossip was that Fedor was offered $30 million for 6 fights and an immediate title shot. Joost Raimond, the CEO of M-1 Global, spoke with sherdog.com to relay that the alleged negotiation terms are a complete fallacy.
“I can say that the guaranteed -- and the word ‘guaranteed’ is of great importance here -- the guaranteed offer made by the UFC is less than what Fedor made before.  The five-million (per fight) is way, way, way out of range. Half of that is even way out of range of what they offered.”
In addition to the misreported information about the proposed compensation and an immediate title shot, Raimond also said that the number of fights pertaining to the contract were not even discussed, but he did confirm the alleged inclusion of PPV percentages to M-1.  Further supporting the speculation in the garv.com article below that the intricacies of the contract (image rights, champions clause, etc.) were still a significant roadblock, Raimond added:
"And there were a number of provisions attached to that offer that made it very much less interesting."
Raimond also provided what is probably the final, thunderous, and brutally blunt "nail in the coffin" reflection that will echo throughout the MMA world as the source of the unattainable marriage between the UFC and Fedor:
“We made it clear that Fedor, now and forever is part, even part owner, of M-1 and those two cannot be separated."
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TheGarv.com will be premiering an exclusive interview with the only man to hand WEC superstar Jose Aldo a loss.  Luciano Azevedo is the Cage Gladiators world LW champion and grappling virtuoso who holds impressive wins over Aldo, Rodrigo Damm, and Din Thomas.  Here are some videos to whet your appetite until the interview.
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Matt Serra is training hard for his big time grudge match with Matt Hughes.  These two guys genuinely dislike each other and that's going to make for an explosive fight.  In this exclusive video interview, Serra talks about Hughes, the GSP greasing scandal, his new baby girl and other topics.  He even manages to turn the tables (and the camera) on Dino Kostakio.

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