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Friday, Sep 05, 2003

Heating Up For The Ifc Tourney: Time For Some Recognition As Forrest Griffin Builds His Way Up And Is Ready For Big Time!


By Eduardo Alonso

Heating Up For The IFC Tourney:
Time For Some Recognition As Forrest Griffin Builds His Way Up And Is Ready For Big Time!


      Just a few hours away from what promises to be one of the most exciting tournaments in recent years, Full Contact Fighter continues to heat up things for the show as they couldn’t be more heated at this point! In a field with famous Light Heavyweight fighters including UFC and PRIDE veterans, and athletes representing the biggest teams in our sport, one guy quietly emerges as the underdog, as he always did in his appearances, and don’t be surprised if he manages to steal the action and come out on with some good wins when all is over at tonight’s IFC show. Forrest Griffin is a guy that has the opposite stereotype of what people got used to recognize as an MMA fighter.
      Very down to earth, calm, relaxed and educated, Griffin is a different kind in this sport. Spending his time and earning his living by helping kids with emotional problems, one can already understand that Forrest is an extremely calm person, and this translates into the ring. If you ever see this guy in a weigh-in, you will understand why he is for real. His calmness and tranquility reaches a point that amazes most people, and one could think he is either a talented and confident fighter, or a crazy unaware guy! But if you look at his record, you’ll soon understand that the first case is what reveals the truth. With one loss coming at his very debut to the hands of a much more experienced, and much heavier Dan Severn, Griffin is yet to lose a fight since, and his list of wins includes names like UFC veterans Jeff Monson and Travis Fulton, and most impressively a recent quick win over seasoned veteran Ebenzer Fontes Braga at HEAT FC 1 in Brazil, little more than a month ago. Quietly and without drawing much attention, this fighter from Georgia has been building an impressive resume and now he is entering the biggest tournament he ever took part in. Make no mistake about it, he knows what this can mean, and he is taking it as he takes all his fights, for fun! This is probably the secret of this guy’s calmness and good showings, despite not training with big names or in any known teams, he loves our sport and he is a natural. So, when the IFC starts tonight, don’t be surprised if Forrest Griffin steals some of the spotlights and put on a good showing, cause winning or losing he is going be having a great time!

Griffin vs. Braga
Griffin vs. Braga

FCF:   Let’s start by talking about your last fight. You fought at Heat Fighting Championship in Brazil, and defeated Ebenezer Fontes Braga, who’s a UFC and PRIDE veteran. What did you think of your performance in the fight, and what did you think of the experience of fighting in your opponent’s home turf?
FG:     It was a great experience all around. The fight worked out well for me. It was one of those things that if the fight haven’t gone so well I would thought of it as a horrible experience (Laughs), but everything went well for me as far as the fight, so the experience was a good one and is always good to travel and sort of overcome that psychological disadvantage of being in somebody else’s home turf.

FCF:   Do you like fighting as the underdog?
FG:     Yeah, it’s a lot easier that way!

FCF:   (Laughs) What did you think of being in Brazil overall, not only about the fight itself, but of the show, or the trip in general?
FG:     Oh, I mean, I loved it! But it’s a totally different place, on the little things. Like the showers aren’t very hot, or the beds at the hotel are small (Laughs) nothing is supersize like we have in America. Everything is a little different, and those things are nice when you’re just going out for travel, and seeing places, and enjoy different parts of the world and get a piece of that culture, but when you’re gonna fight you want as much normality as possible. You like everything to be pretty normal, like you are used to.

FCF:   What did you think of Braga issuing you a challenge for a rematch, in a friendly way, after your victory?
FG:     Well, I mean, is one of those things that ensures me another trip back to Brazil and another fight. You never really want to fight a guy that you already beaten up. It’s just that I know that when somebody beats me I’ll want to fight him again, and I just know that if I had lost that fight I would want to fight him again, and I would just work my ass off for every minute of every day, to make sure that the next time things will go down in my favor. You know in your head that that’s what he is thinking "No way this little punk kid is gonna beat me twice! I’m going to give everything I can and beat this kid". You really have to watch fighting somebody you already beat.

FCF:   Are you a guy that seeks rematches? You only lost once, but did you think about rematching Dan Severn after you lost to him in your debut?
FG:     Not really. I don’t know, you know, I just don’t see it helping me out really. It’s not like he was a mean guy, or vicious or anything like that. He didn’t really leave a bad taste in my mouth, for me it was just one of those things as growing, learning, developing as a fighter and overcoming the fact that there’s people watching you. For me it was a good learning experience, it’s tough to lose but I didn’t get hurt and I was training again in the next week. The guy wasn’t mean, he dominated me but he didn’t hurt me or didn’t destroy me, he didn’t break me mentally. So that’s not I fight I ever wanted a rematch.

FCF:   So you don’t hold grudges against the fighters you face in the ring?
FG:     No, not particularly (Laughs) I don’t want to talk about it too much, but there’s a couple of guys that I won the fight straight up, no questions asked and they were like "it was fluke, and this and that" These people I would be happy to fight again. Just because I go out there and fight a good fight, and you have an off day it doesn’t mean you can run around saying, whatever, it doesn’t count. It counts!


Click here to continue the interview


From Dream Stage Entertainment:


Pride FC logo
PRIDE FC AND THE AMERICAN MMA MEDIA

September 5, 2003
LOS ANGELES, California – Because of Ryan Bennett’s recent article "Pride Shuts Out American Media," Dream Stage Entertainment USA has felt compelled to respond.

While we do respect other viewpoints, we decided it was time to give our perspective on dealing with the media for Pride FC events in Japan. Because of the international nature of Pride, we receive media requests from all over the world, including the United States, Brazil, Australia, and numerous European countries. This is not to mention the Japanese media, which are in their own home market. In Japan the sport isn’t only covered by the Japanese MMA media, it’s also covered by the mainstream media. All in all, we commonly field over 300 press requests per event. It’s an enormous challenge to satisfy everyone when dealing with such a literal crush of media.

While Dream Stage Entertainment USA has been working diligently these past four years to bring Pride FC into the United States, it must be realized that it is still primarily a Japanese show. This is not to say that DSE USA does not cater to American fans, on the contrary, the fight cards are always built with the intention of hopefully satisfying both the Japanese and American fans.

In regards to the American MMA media—they have been given more access and privileges than most of their Japanese counterparts, including closer photography positions and being privy to the hotel in which the fighters are staying. In many cases, members of the American MMA media have been brought to Japan and accommodated as guests of DSE. In addition, it’s been common practice that the American MMA media is allowed to ride from the hotel to the events in the same bus as the fighters, granting them even more access and convenience than their counterparts. While it’s true that we cannot always give all of these privileges to each individual American MMA website at the same time, we’ve done the best that we can.

In terms of going backstage, no media, American or otherwise, is given access. This is done, again, because of the amount of media we must accommodate (and keeping things fair) as well as our belief that the fighters must be given their privacy prior to their matches.

As far as weigh-ins, this comes down purely to a cultural difference, which has either not been understood or explained to the American MMA media. In Japan, it’s not culturally acceptable to have a public weigh-in the same way it is in the United States. Yes, it’s an opportunity for drama, stare downs, bad blood to boil, etc. But this is from the American perspective. While Pride FC events are in Japan, their events are run according to their cultural rules.

To address negative press—DSE USA respects the right of journalists to write what they like, but the problem has been that many critical articles and even posts on message boards by well-respected members of the MMA community have been written completely without our point of view. While we cannot always disclose all the reasons behind our decision, to not be approached and then be criticized with only one side of the story, isn’t always easy to accept.

Most of these issues seem to come down to cultural differences and/or just plain misunderstandings and we are making attempts to be more open and approachable in the future. If guidelines and expectations are set in advance, we feel that this would only benefit both sides.

DSE USA is aware and thankful for our support in the United States and for coverage by the American MMA media. As the sport grows in this country we look forward to a long and fruitful relationship with the media and the fans.

I welcome any suggestions or comments by the American MMA media, in the hopes of building a better, more open relationship.

Best Regards,

Turi Altavilla
Vice President of Production
Dream Stage Entertainment USA

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posted by Full Contact Fighter @ 8:00 pm
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