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Tuesday, Oct 30, 2001

Ufc 34 Press Conference:the Return Of Stand-ups

UFC 34 Press Conference:
The Return of Stand-ups

by Jim Genia

      The MGM Grand, in Las Vegas, played host to the Ultimate Fighting
Championship 34 press conference today. And while there was the usual mix of respect and trash talking, the big news was the return of referee stand-ups — a tool thought to have been discarded with the advent of rounds.
Big John McCarthy
      In hopes of making the UFC more fan-friendly and exciting, Zuffa reinstated the referee’s power to stand the fighters up whenever there’s a significant lull in the action. From behind the podium, head referee Big John McCarthy cited the stalemates which plagued the card at UFC 33, and described the stand-ups as a power to be used at the referees’ discretion. "If the fighters are put in a stalemate position, and they’re both unable to bring the fight to an end or better their position, then we’re going to give them a warning," he said. He went on to say that they would be brought back their feet and restarted if the warning went unheeded. "That’s just to bring the entertainment value up for the fans and keep the fights more exciting." The reintroduction of the rule was met with applause.
      All of the fighters were in attendance and looked to be healthy and in great shape. After Dana White introduced those competing on the undercard, the champions and challengers took center stage.
      "First, I want to thank Zuffa and all the staff," said welterweight challenger Matt Hughes. "I came to Vegas for one reason: to bring my title back home. It belongs to the Miletich camp, and that’s what I think is going to happen." Looking intense and focused, Matt wished his opponent good luck.
Matt Hughes and Carlos Newton
      Ever the spokesman, welterweight champ Carlos Newton issued a personal challenge to all the fighters. "Guys, let’s see who can make the most exciting fight of the night, because that is our future." Turning to his opponent, Carlos unleashed more of the brashness we saw after he’d won the belt from long-time welterweight champ Pat Miletich — Matt’s friend and trainer. "Matt, I hope you’re a good dance partner. Don’t let me have to lead all night, or else." Facing the audience, Carlos continued. "This is the third time fighting a guy from the same camp, so I know they’re looking to get it right this time." With an almost-cocky smile, he added: "But what can I say? I’m the champ, and I’m gonna stay the champ."
Pedro Rizzo and Randy Couture
      A stark contrast to the bad blood in the welterweight title bout, the two men facing off in the heavyweight title bout showed nothing but respect for each other. At the podium, challenger Pedro Rizzo thanked Zuffa and champ Randy Couture for giving him the rematch. "It should be a great fight for all the fans. This time is going to be harder than the last time. I think it’s going to be a great show and everybody’s going to love it."
      Displaying an equal amount of class, Randy thanked the MGM Grand and Zuffa, then admitted that his previous fight with Rizzo was "the toughest fight I’d ever been in. Pedro is a great striker, and he showed wrestling abilities I didn’t know he possessed." He went on to say he’s trained with one-time opponent Maurice Smith to learn how to deal with Pedro’s striking. "I’m looking forward to this chance to show what I’ve learned." Randy concluded by thanking the fans.
      The MGM Grand Arena seats around 7,000, and while tickets are still
available, Zuffa was optimistic. However, whether it’s a sell-out or not, the return of the stand-up rule certainly promises an event more exciting than the last.

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posted by Full Contact Fighter @ 8:00 pm
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