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Sunday, Jul 14, 2002

“mohr” Exposure

"Mohr" Exposure
An Exclusive Interview with ESPN’s Jay Mohr at the World Fighting Alliance’s Level 2 event
By Loretta Hunt

Loretta Hunt and Jay Mohr
I got the call the morning of Friday, July 5th saying that I’d get five minutes with Jay Mohr. Mohr, the host of ESPN’s sports comedy show "Mohr Sports", had arrived into town the night before and I was told that his schedule would be very tight. Mohr was the guest of John Lewis and his World Fighting Alliance show, and had come to record some footage of the MMA event that night for an upcoming show. I was told that only one other mixed martial arts reporter would be granted time with the celebrity, so I knew I had to make my short encounter with him count. Thoughts started to rattle through my head as to just what I would ask him. I was anxious to find out what he knew of the sport and to reveal his intentions, but all the while knew that I would be representing not just myself, but thousands of MMA fans around the world. My words would have to be chosen carefully. As I got off the phone and quickly prepared my questions, I tried to think of a good "icebreaker" for the film, television and stand-up comedy star. His role as a sleazy sports agent opposite Tom Cruise in "Jerry Maguire," although highly entertaining, was too obvious to mention. Everyone had seen that movie. As I gathered my things, I remembered his highly acclaimed yet short lived TV show "Action" and a smile came to my face. I was off.

I arrived at the WFA offices to find Jay Mohr, surrounded by assistants and admirers, trying on wardrobe for the evening’s festivities. There was a heightened sense of excitement in the room brought on by the celebrity’s presence. Jay approached me with an extended hand and gave me the once-over. The first thing I noticed were his piercing blue eyes. The second — this dude was pretty small. Jay was immediately pleasant and surprisingly anxious to talk to me and as we were guided to a quiet corner, I was again reminded that I had only five minutes (Jay, himself, would later milk it to ten.) He started by explaining that he had been on the sinful streets of Vegas with John Lewis, Frank Shamrock and Jermaine Andre (slated to fight that night) the night before, and his breath might not be up to par. I chuckled and responded that I would keep my distance. Then, with the clock ticking, I took a deep breath and began.

FCF:   Thank you for taking the time to speak with me Jay and to come out and see this MMA show. How did ESPN and your sports show "Mohr Sports" get involved with this upcoming WFA 2 event?
JM:     We have pretty good autonomy at "Mohr Sports", so ESPN allows us to go where we go. It wasn’t a collaborative effort between myself and the "suits" in Bristol, Connecticut. Vikki Van Hoosen [the WFA’s Entertainment Coordinator] randomly e-mailed me at my web site at jaymohrlive.com and suggested that I cover the WFA. It was all very professional. I knew John Huntington from "Club Rubber" was involved and that great fighters would be there. I emailed her back and said "Yeah, okay." I went to the WFA web site and got to know all the fighters. Then, I went to my writers and told them a little bit about it. A couple of their eyes lit up and they couldn’t believe I was talking about the WFA, so I knew I was on to something. It was just that random e-mail to my website that got the ball rolling.

FCF:   Did you have any knowledge of mixed martial arts before the e-mail?
JM:     I was a fan. I always watched the pay-per-views of the other events. I wasn’t particularly familiar with the WFA at first, but when I was doing my research, I saw that the show has all the best guys. I knew of John Lewis and when I spoke to Vikki or [Frank] Shamrock about it, there was no attitude and… effortless is the best way to put it. I’ve done "remotes" [a remote segment not shot in the studio] with minor league baseball teams, bowling — and there’s always some kind of drama. Here with the WFA, they really rolled out the red carpet and welcomed me, but I think they underestimated how excited I am to be here too.

Click here to continue the interview

posted by Full Contact Fighter @ 8:00 pm
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