mma / News

Global Fighting Championships Pre-Fight Conference Call Coverage

August 13, 2007 | Posted by Damian Sarcuni

Global Fighting Championships held a pre-fight conference call today to promote their upcoming event at Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut on April 17th. The call featured a live question and answer session with tough man competition and boxing legend Butterbean, who will be taking on Reuben “Warpath” Villareal in one of the co-main events of the evening. 411Mania was on hand to talk to the Bean and get his thoughts on the upcoming bout as well as MMA overall. Alongside Butterbean was Rick Bassmen, a promoter and talent manager from Valor promotions who represents Butterbean and will be assisting Global Fighting Championships in their first MMA event.

– Butterbean will weigh in at about 385lbs for this fight. He mentioned that MMA is not about who hits harder or who is bigger, it’s about who knows how to fight.

– Butterbean has been training at home in preparation for this fight, but has worked with American Top Team and several other trainers to practice Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and wrestling. About 80% of his training for MMA is ground based. Butterbean still works on his standup but feels he’s more advanced than most MMA fighters in that area. Asked about how hard training on the ground has been Butterbean said that he has always moved well for a big guy and does things he isn’t supposed to be able to do. His ground game is coming along much better now that he knows the basics.

– Rick Bassmen mentioned Butterbean’s fight against Zulu, and said it was really interesting to watch because Butterbean showed off a lot of skill against a larger opponent with a BJJ purple belt. “He looks pretty deft down there”.

– Asked about dealing with his weight in life, Butterbean said that at 18 years old he weight about 420lbs but he wasn’t in good shape. People often think he’s heavy because of just fat but a lot of it is muscle mass. Butterbean has always been an outgoing guy and was in a popular crowd in high school. In elementary school that wasn’t the case but he said that is how you learn to deal with situations. Either accept it and be successful or rebut everything and be unsuccessful. Many also said Butterbean was too large to be a boxer until he started knocking people out.

– Asked about the opponent change for this bout, Butterbean said that he doesn’t like opponent changes. However, he feels both he and Warpath are predominantly standup fighters and that from the fan’s perspective this is a much better fight and he’s glad for the change.

– What were Butterbean’s toughest MMA fights to date? “Genki Sudo because I didn’t have a clue what was going on.” Butterbean says Genki is a unique individual and if he fought him now it would be a much easier fight, but it’s a hard question. Butterbean mentioned that doing standup cardio and ground cardio are very different. He says he can do 20 minutes standing without a break, and some ground guys can’t do 2 minutes.

– Asked about his loss at Cage Rage 22 to Tengiz Tedoradze, Butterbean said that when the referee interrupted the fight his opponent was pretty much KO’d, and still was when he was walking to the back area. He’s not upset because he feels he earned a rematch and the crowd saw what happened and wants to justify it.

– Butterbean talked about weight divisions in MMA and said that many fighters are getting bigger and bigger. He said boxing was the same, when Rocky Marciano got started he was under 200lbs and had trouble finding fights. Rick Bassmen said from a promotion standpoint it is tough to find a place for super heavyweight fighters but K-1 still has a division and Strikeforce is trying to put one together. He said a lot of new aggressive promoters and some from before UFC’s time understand that fans like to see bigger guys go at it.

– Who would Butterbean like to challenge himself against? “Bob Sapp…Tank Abbott.” Bart Gunn (Mike Plotcheck) was brought up as Butterbean faced him at Wrestlemania. Butterbean said he would love to fight Bart again and that he’s a great guy. Rick brought up Plotcheck’s successes in MMA and said that it would be a good fight.

– Asked if he still considers himself a boxer, Butterbean said he does still do boxing and finds some enjoyment but it’s almost getting boring. He said boxing doesn’t really compare to MMA now that people understand the ground game and can follow along watching it. He said improving ground rules has really helped make MMA more exciting.

– There was some confusion as to whether this GFC event would be held in a ring or a cage but it was confirmed the venue would be a ring. Butterbean had a positive reaction, “Alright! Old school!” Butterbean said he works well in both venues but he feels more comfortable in a ring. He also mentioned working off against the side of a cage, and that many MMA guys aren’t used to the flexibility a ring allows.

– Is there a difference in MMA and boxing gloves? Butterbean says not really. He said 10oz Raez gloves have the same padding as 4oz MMA gloves, and Everlast’s have a little more padding. You can get a KO just as well with both gloves. Fighting Plotcheck Butterbean used 16oz gloves, and mentioned he likes bigger gloves for training aggressively.

– Following up, Butterbean was also asked if the timing in the standup game between boxing, kickboxing, and MMA was any different. Butterbean said when you are worried about kicks the timing does become different and changes the whole game. He agrees with fighters like Chuck Liddell who have made claims about the timing being different.

– Does Butterbean have a specific game plan? He says he hopes Reuben tries to bang as he has heard about his chin and both men are known to hit hard. Butterbean said he never really has a game plan and thinking on the fly allows him to do things people don’t expect like taking down Zulu. He feels he would do better at the sport if he stuck to a game plan, but he just can’t seem to do it.

– Now at the age of 40, Butterbean said he’ll be fighting MMA for another year or a year and half tops. He said it will be hard to leave the sport as he truly has fun doing it and is not just enjoying the attention like some fighters do.

– Asked a bit more about his life before fighting, Butterbean said he graduated high school and got married that same year then went to work at a pizza place and later at a mobile home factory. When the tough man competition came along, Butterbean jumped at the chance to make extra money. He said if you can beat someone up and not get arrested and get paid, that’s a job. After winning 18 tough man competitions he was more or less banned. 89 boxing matches later MMA came along and really suited Butterbean because of his size.

– Asked about his upcoming restaurant, Butterbean said it’s a BBQ steakhouse in Jasper, Alabama. He talked about an older place in his neighborhood that had a 64oz hand cut steak that burned down and was never rebuilt. He said he is filling that void and opening his diner soon.


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Damian Sarcuni
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