Ultimate Fighter Live on FX Conference Call Transcript
May 17, 2012 - by Steve Gerweck
FX NETWORK: The Ultimate Fighter Live Call
May 16, 2012/1:30 p.m. PDT
Moderator Welcome to the Ultimate Fighter Live Call. During today’s presentation all participants will be in a listen-only mode. Following the presentation the conference will be open for questions. This conference is being recorded today, Wednesday, May 16, 2012.
I’d now like to turn the conference over to Ms. Isabel Hodge from the UFC.
I. Hodge Hello. Thanks. Thank you very, very much, to everyone on the phone for your patience. Obviously, in TV production or any event, for that matter, unfortunately schedules do shift, but we are ready to go with this Friday’s four quarterfinalist fighters. Welcome to the Ultimate Fighter Live quarter final media conference call. As you all know, the Ultimate Fighter Live airs Friday night’s at 10:00 p.m. on FX and is now entering its 11th week and final quarter final elimination. The remaining schedule, is, Friday, May 18th, two live quarter final fights; May 25th, two live semi-final fights; and then this season’s Ultimate Fighter will be crowned on June 1st at the Ultimate Fighter Live finale at the Palm’s in Las Vegas.
Today on the call, and those who will be answering the questions, are Team Cruz’s Vince Pichel of Sherman Oaks, Calif.; Team Faber’s Chris Saunders of Long Beach, Calif.; Team Faber’s Al Laquinta from Wantagh, N.Y.; and Team Faber’s Andy Ogle from Newcastle, England.
Before we begin, I’d like to remind everybody in the media that the fighters have been secluded in the house since the beginning of the show and have not seen any of the episodes. Just keep that in mind when you are crafting your questions.
Let’s open this up to questions.
Moderator Our first question comes from the line of John Morgan with USA Today.
J. Morgan Al, I was curious if you could talk about the feeling of being in the first teammate versus teammate fight of the season and if there’s any kind of change in mindset or challenges in approaching the fight knowing that you’re fighting somebody you’ve been training with.
A. Laquinta Yes, fighting someone that I’ve been training with is kind of something that I … directly when I was wrestling in high school, in college. We had wrestle …. It’s a unique situation in that you kind of know a little bit about the guy’s game, but it’s always different when you get in the cage. I know he knows about my style and I know about his style, but when we get in there a lot of things are different and you just have to bring ….
J. Morgan If I could ask Andy about that situation as well, what has your approach been like? Obviously, everyone knows you may have to fight a teammate at some point in the season. Did you ever hold back in practice or maybe keep something to yourself in knowing that you might have to fight one of your partners at some point?
A. Ogle I would never hold back in practice. The main part of practice is to get caught in sticky situations and develop. You get caught in the sticky situations on purpose in training so you never get in that situation in a fight. You go through a lot of situational training.
J. Morgan For Vince and Chris, I’ll ask you guys the same question, and start with Vince. Could you talk about the potential that you guys might have to fight three times in three weeks to win this title? Are you forced to approach the fights any differently considering you may need to protect yourself from injury being this close? Also, would winning this season mean something special because of this three-fight run?
V. Pichel Yes, definitely, I was thinking a lot about fighting three times in a row because I’m one of the bigger guys here and it’s not easy for me to cut weight, but as long as I stay on my diet I can do it. The main thing is, like you said, (is) not getting injured.
J. Morgan Chris …?
C. Saunders Yes, it is in the back of my mind, the fact that I might have to win three fights in a row to win this competition, but you know, right now I’m trying to look at it fight-by-fight. Right now I have Vince Pichel in front of me, so that’s the most important and the biggest fight of my life right now. If the fight after that in the semi-finals comes, that’s the biggest fight of my fight life right there. If the finale comes, that’s the biggest fight of my life. I’m just taking it fight-by-fight right now and that’s really how you have to keep your mindset in this house.
Moderator Next question comes from the line of Heidi Fang of MMA Fight Corner.
H. Fang Al, I was reading that your parents didn’t want you initially involved with MMA. How much would winning the Ultimate Fighter prove something to your family and to yourself about pursuing the dream of MMA?
A. Laquinta I don’t think it was so much that they didn’t want me involved in MMA; I think they saw it as very dangerous and didn’t have many options as far as making a life out of it. They also wanted me to go to school as well. They still kind of supported me, but they definitely wanted me to do school. I think they see now that I can make a living out of it and there are a lot of options. The sport’s growing and blowing up, so they’re definitely really supportive of me in everything that I do.
H. Fang Andy, being that you’re so far away from home, it seems that on the show, what we’ve seen, (is for you) a little bit more of an emotional ride than the others. How does that fuel you coming into this fight?
A. Ogle Well, the way I see it is I’m representing my country. I don’t feel as if I have the burden of a nation on my back. I feel as if I’m wearing the flag with pride. The emotion side, well, yes, that’s just me. I have big highs and big lows. It’s just part of who I am and this whole thing means so much to me. I have a big heart. I have a hell of a lot of loving to give.
H. Fang Vince, you’ve finished every single fight that you’ve had in your MMA career. How much of an intimidation factor do you think that is for any of your opponents going into a fight?
V. Pichel Well, I’m sure opponents don’t take me lightly after that, but they’re probably looking at me like I’m looking at them. Regardless of … I did finish every one, but I still look at every guy like he’s going to be the toughest fight I’ve had. I do think it plays a little bit. I mean, they have to obviously be thinking about that. They know I’m dangerous, especially the guys here because they’ve seen me fight and they know the way I am, the way that I fight. So I do think it plays a little bit, but as a fighter I’m sure the guys are thinking what I’m thinking—he’s tough, but I’m tougher, and I’m going to go out there and take him out.
It does play a role, but at the same time I’m sure a lot of guys try not to think about that too much. That kind of stuff will really get into your head and start messing with you during the fight, especially.
H. Fang Chris, you were the last … overall on the show. Do you feel in any way that that kind of makes you more of a dark horse going into the tournament? How do you prove that you have actually earned the right to be in the cage with everybody else?
C. Saunders Yes, I’m definitely the dark horse. It’s definitely a role that I like. You know, how do I prove that I belong here? Do exactly what I did in my last fight, try to put people away, kick them in the head, put their face on the canvas, stuff like that. That’s how you’re going to prove yourself.
Moderator Our next question comes from Mike Searson of Lowkick.com.
M. Searson Andy, one of your cohorts described you as the most mentally tough member in the house. Have you always been that way or did you develop that mindset after you became a fighter?
A. Ogle Well, when watching the Ultimate Fighter from the start of my career, I never ever thought I was going to be here, but it was always a dream. You know, I saw the light at the end of the tunnel and it was just a pinhole. Now this light is getting bigger and bigger and the UFC contract’s at the end of that light. It’s almost big enough to get my hands on it and grab it. That’s what I’m all about. I want this contract. I know 15 of the guys wanted this contract as well. It’s one of those things.
It’s going to be a hell of a lot of skill in this contest, but also a hell of a lot of will to see who wants it the most. It’s a hell of a long contest. It’s very long. It’s the longest the Ultimate Fighter has. It’s like double. Really, it’s a hell of a lot of pressure on us all in this house. It comes down to the mental games—who wants it more?
M. Searson Vince, we all know Dom got injured. Has this affected morale or training in any way?
V. Pichel No, not at all. It sucks and we’re all kind of bummed that he got injured and isn’t fighting Faber, but we’re training as usual and it didn’t really slow us down. Honestly, it happens. It’s part of the game. It’s as much a part of fighting as winning or losing. You just kind of try to take it in stride and do the best you can with it. It hasn’t bothered us too much. We’re moving ahead with it.
I. Hodge Thanks, everyone, for attending today’s call. Don’t forget to tune in to FX on Friday night at 10 to catch the next Ultimate Fighter Live episode. Also, on Friday’s episode UFC President Dana White will officially announce Faber’s new opponent for the July 7th interim title fight. So please, we do hope you tune in. Thank you for joining us today.