New York Pitbulls Press Conference!
Following the end of the Sabres v. Pitbulls team match-up, each of the four teams came in one after the other to field questions from the media. These are some of the highlights from the Pitbulls press conference as they advance to the finals beating the Tokyo Sabres.
New York Pitbulls
On the idea of fighting and training together as a team
I do believe its important to train together. This is a team sport. Now I realize that. Even though we had to replace three guys most of the guys actually came in to train with us and spar with us with the exception of Tim (Boetsch). He fought last Saturday and I called him Sunday.
Renzo then turned to Tim and asked him if he was still drunk.
He called me on Sunday evening and told me he could do it. Then we dragged him to the team and he was fighting on Thursday. To take that kind of a fight on such short notice you have to have a huge heart. The moment he agreed to the fight I knew we would have a tough opponent from Matyuhsenko. So even though he didn’t train with us, I knew he belonged to the Pitbulls.
On the crowd for the fights
Fighting at home is a different ballgame. That was my dream. Since I lived in Rio my dream was to walk into my hometown stadium and fight for my crowd at home. It never happened down there. It happened once in a small arena and we ended up in a riot…Finally, I’ve been living here for 11 years and I feel like this place is my home. To fight in front of my home crowd and see familiar faces and friends sitting around was unbelievable. I was in a state of ecstasy. I was really loving and enjoying this special moment.
On Pat Miletich saying he trains mixed martial artists and Renzo trains jiu-jitsu artists
I really believe jiu-jitsu is the main art for this sport. If you don’t have good quality jiu-jitsu you can win a couple and you’re going to lose a couple. One of the main examples of that was the first guy that actually fought for us Joe Sampieri. He’s a muay-thai teacher. Everytime we have a chance and we have a spot we bring him in. His jiu-jitsu is getting better but the moment he fought a good jiu-jitsu guy (Jason Palacios) he was choked right away. I really believe the base of MMA is jiu-jitsu…Jiu-jitsu is the spine of this sport. To us it’s just another day in our business. To believe what we do is not MMA is not to believe in the sport at all. Now everyone is training jiu-jitsu. So you need to compliment the stuff. You need to increase your hands. You need to improve your takedowns. But I think jiu-jitsu is the most important. If you don’t have that then don’t step in there. You’re going to get tapped right away.
Commenting on how the sport has changed since he started
Fights are getting better. The fights are getting tougher. Now I think it’s very interesting. We have a lot of tough people. We have very good quality jiu-jitsu and everybody’s academy like Pat’s has unbelievable jiu-jitsu teachers at his gym. I know a couple that actually taught there. And I happened to be one of the first guys that he learned from. The only move that I didn’t teach him was the guillotine (choke). People don’t realize I was working to make jiu-jitsu the primary martial art in the world. So I’m working hard to make schools that are successful, to build unbelievable teachers and unbelievable fighters. Right now I have 900 students of jiu-jitsu at my academy. I’m very happy now to see very good quality jiu-jitsu everywhere. It shows that we actually work. We impose our art on everybody. I wasn’t planning to fight Miletich. Monte Cox (Pat Miletich’s Manager) called me a few times to try and set up the fight and I kept telling him I can’t do it. I’m out of shape. I’m working doing something else. I have to open a new gym. I have to break the guys in. But they kept pushing and pushing and pushing. It got to a point where I said, “No problem, I’ll do it.” It doesn’t matter if I’m 60 yrs. Old, you’re going to see me walk into the ring and try to land at least one. On that day, I got him in a guillotine. I do believe in a divine world and I think God punished him for pushing me so much. Because if I called him for a fight and he said no don’t call me again, he will never hear me calling him a 2nd time. Because I do believe that the best win is where you don’t have to draw your sword. So he called me the 1st time, I told him no. Then they called me the 2nd, 3rd then the 5th time until I said lets do it. So I did it, I choked him. Unfortunately it’s been almost two years and they showed this thing last week on TV again. I feel sorry for Miletich. This is the most seen fight in the world. This fight has been shown every week, which I think is a punishment for all the bullying he did on me.
On the importance of winning the team finals for jiu-jitsu
It’s very important. It’s something we’ve been aiming to achieve and we’ve been working very hard. Right now I have a very angry wife outside and she wants to cut my head off because we haven’t had a summer vacation yet. And I probably won’t have a summer vacation until the kids are back in school. My wife is very righteous, she doesn’t let the kids miss one day even though everyday when I go to wake them up they say, “Dad one more hour.” I just say go back to sleep. But winning the title is very important. I think it’s the goal of everybody sitting here at this table. I think we all have the same idea and the same focus to work toward. We’re going to work much harder to achieve that.
On where he sees Fabio Leopoldo in 2-3 years and if he’s ready to take on the best.
He was thinking about opening up a hairdresser…what else could I say? He’ll be on the mat, in the ring fighting. We’re opening up a new gym and he’ll be one of the main structures. He’ll be teaching jiu-jitsu and fighting. He’s definitely ready. Very tough kid. He works harder than anybody else. He definitely deserves to be up there. Unfortunately he had an injury now but he was well replaced by Miller who’s a very good boy with a good heart. And he speaks very good English, I didn’t realize.
On having a gut feeling about the team bout with the Silverbacks.
The beauty of this sport is the surprise. If I knew the future, I’d play the lottery. I wouldn’t be in fighting. I do believe we have a huge chance to do well.
On what has to be done to take steroids out of MMA.
I think they should check all the time, even in the off-season when there is no competing. If you’re training at the academy, walk right in with a cup and just pee in this bottle let me check this. I wouldn’t mind that. You know I’ve been taking steroids for 15 years. He stands up and lifts his shirt to reveal his “gut.” It’s been working wonderfully. I think it’s sad though that’s the reality. I think people are looking for the shortcut instead of the hard work. To me to see Royce caught on that is a huge surprise because in my family we don’t take aspirin for headaches. If we had a headache my grandfather said go lay down and wait for it to go away. My father doesn’t go to the dentist because he’s afraid of the anesthesia. My whole family is like that, against medicine. And all of a sudden to see Royce caught on that. Royce has actually been out of the family and by himself for quire a while. I really can’t talk for him but if he really did that, it’s very sad. He didn’t realize the consequence of what he was doing. If you ask who the Gracie family is honestly, I think if you go to the New York academy you’re going to see all of them. That’s where they train, that’s where they get better and learn jiu-jitsu to teach future generations. And if you’re not there then there’s something wrong. So Royce never trains with us. He’s never been with us. The last time that I was actually on the mat with Royce I was 17 years old.
On deciding between the regular starters Patterson, Owings and Leopoldo or the replacements Boetsch/Gusmao, Taurosevicius and Miller for the finals.
I just let them decide. They will decide on the mat. They will go at each other and see who’s better for the task. They have common sense. Believe it. We have a family. We have a team. I have no interest financially in any of them. I teach them because I love it. I think they feel that and they understand we are there to achieve a goal. So they know who’s better to be in there. I’ll let them decide.
On the potential for future Gracies in the IFL.
Definitely. Definitely. Definitely. We have some young kids coming up real soon. They are my young cousins and I protect them a little. I’m always more worried for them. We have Ralek who is training with us. He’s very tough. He’s originally from Hawaii. He’s a young boy, purple belt. He’s getting his knowledge and he’ll be fighting.
One more thing, I think Jamal will have a tough time trying to heal. He went to the doctor and the medicine that the doctor prescribed him he’s trying to get away from that. It was some suppositories so he says he’s going to be limping for the rest of his life.
On the low blows to Antonio McKee (Renzo Gracie serving as translator)
He didn’t really believe he hit the spot. The guy’s future generations would be guaranteed. It wasn’t that good of a shot.
On the armbar Dave Phillips had on him and setting the tone for the fight.
The armbar was on but it wasn’t that tight though. Me straining was picking him up and then when I slammed him down I thin that released the armbar and that’s when he rolled over and gave me his back. I guess it was exciting I don’t know.
He set the pace for the victory. Up to now I didn’t know he spoke. He has a tongue. Damn! He’s always quiet. I don’t even know he’s in the room when we’re training.
On his fight with Vladimir Matyushenko
I wouldn’t have showed up if I didn’t think I was tough. I wanted to win the fight. I think I had the opportunities to. If I were able to put a couple of punches together I think the outcome would have been different. Being a fighter, I’m not really scared of anybody. I think I showed that tonight. I’ll get in the ring with whomever. A little more training, a little more boxing and that fight would have ended differently. I knew he was tough coming in but I thought I could handle it and I think I did. I think I did a pretty good job of it.
On preparing for his opponent Savant Young
I train all the time. I spent a month with the IFL team and Renzo but I got notice like a week before. Then we just set the game plan before. That’s it.
He’s always ready to fight. He’s always angry. Now he’s smiling and I can’t even believe it.
Everything went exactly right. We set up the game plan to stay away from his power punch. Drive toward my right, stay away from his power and let him explode, explode and then try and take him in the 2nd and 3rd round.
On his physical state and if he’ll be ready for the finals.
I think as a team it doesn’t really matter. I’m going to train and try and get ready for it. Andre (Gusmao) is going to train and try and get ready. Andre’s already beaten him (Silverbacks light heavyweight Mike Ciesnolevicz) once before. So I think regardless of who fights, you’ve got a pretty good person up front. Mike’s a very good fighter. I’m excited and I want to fight him. But I got to see where my body’s going to be. But my plan is to fight.
The last question of the press conference came from a reporter who asked Renzo if there was any time or any day when he was NOT smiling? Renzo replied, “The only person who takes this smile out of my face is when my wife wakes me up at 7:00 in the morning to send the kids to school. That’s the only time that I’m not smiling.
Kurt Otto ends the press conference handing out checks to Deividas Taurosevicius and Dan Miller for fight of the night and submission of the night respectively.