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March 18, 2008

Drew Fickett

Cung Le

Frank Shamrock

Gary Shaw

Jake Shields

After months of circling around each other, world champions and Bay Area rivals, Frank Shamrock (23-8-1) and undefeated Cung Le (21-0), will finally face off in the cage when Shamrock defends his Strikeforce World Middleweight (185-pound limit) Championship against Le in the main event of an eagerly anticipated EliteXC-Strikeforce co-promoted mixed martial arts extravaganza Saturday, March 29, at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif.
Tickets for ìShamrock vs. Cung Le,î priced from $30, go on sale this Saturday, Jan. 19, at 10 a.m. PT at the HP Pavilion box office (408-287-7070) as well as at all Ticketmaster locations (408-998-TIXS), Ticketmaster online (www.ticketmaster.com), EliteXCís official website (www.ProElite.com) and Strikeforceís official website (www.Strikeforceusa.net).
The showdown will be televised live on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING beginning at 9 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast).

MIKE AFROMOWITZ: Hi everyone, I just want to thank you for joining the call. I just want to apologize on behalf of Scott Coker who is unable to make the call due to the fact that he had to jump on an emergency plane. But I appreciate the interest everyone has shown in the fight, and we're looking forward to a great event, so thank you.
JOHNNY BEYROOTI: Why don't we begin with opening comments. Everyone knows what a terrific match‑up and a local rivalry we've got going up in the Bay Area between Frank Shamrock and Cung Le, so why don't we start with Frank, the defending Strikeforce Champion.
Give us some opening comments on your thoughts of fighting Cung Le and fighting on Showtime and at home and defending your title.
FRANK SHAMROCK: First of all, welcome everybody, and thanks for your support. You know, fighting Cung Le is San Jose is an absolute dream not only for myself but for the city. It's really brought our martial arts community together for one common cause. The whole town's talking about it. It's probably the biggest thing that's happened here in a really long time. So I'm really happy to be a part of it.
And Cung has been a friend of mine and adversary of mine for a long time. For us to finally get in and mix it up, it's a beautiful thing.
I also want to thank all the media who supported our charity event March 22nd here in San Jose for breast cancer. You guys have been absolutely wonderful about it. If you haven't received information on it, or you do want to add more support, please send me an email at Frank@FrankShamrock.com. And Cung Le, you better keep your hands up.
CUNG LE: I will.

Q. Okay, thanks, Frank. Cung, can we get some opening statements from you, your thoughts on the fight?
CUNG LE: First of all, I'd like to thank Strikeforce, Scott Coker, EliteXC and Gary Shaw for putting this fight together. Thank you, Frank, for accepting me for going after your title.
I'm just very excited to be part of this event, especially with everyone matched up on this card. I think this is probably the best match‑up of the year, and probably going to be the best fight card of the year. So I'm looking forward to fighting my heart out, and putting on a show.
JAKE SHIELDS: First off, I want to thank Gary Shaw for giving me the chance to fight for the title. I'm really excited for the fight. It's right near my hometown. I'm fighting Drew Fickett, who I think is a great opponent. I've got a lot of respect for him. I think me and him should match up well. It should be a great fight. That's about all, I guess.
DREW FICKETT: Yeah, just want to thank Jake for taking this fight. He's never really ducked anyone. He fights everybody. I think he's a very underrated fighter. I think stylistically we match up pretty well. And I hope we bring the best out of each other. I hope we can push each other real good, and hopefully I can make it five rounds and do really well.
GARY SHAW: Obviously, I want to thank all the reporters for getting on this call. March 29th in San Jose, we have a terrific card. Obviously, I don't have to speak for Frank or Cung or absolutely any of the fighters. They all can speak very well. All can speak for themselves. I believe we have one of the best cards we've ever put on.
Proud to say I think we're going to do over a million dollar gate. I believe that we'll do somewhere around 15 to 17,000 people. Just shows the bigness of the fight. I mean, we have a great card with Joey Villasenor against Evangelista, "Cyborg" Santos, Rick Diaz against Jay. Gilbert Melendez against Jake Lemley, and Jake and Drew and Frank and Cung.
You know, there is a lot at stake here, but especially for Frank Shamrock and Cung Le. I mean, this is truly for the king of the Bay Area and the king of San Jose. One of them is going to walk with his head high that night and through town the next week or two, and the other won't feel quite as good.
It's the young against the old. It's a stylistic fight. So there is a lot, lot at stake here. So, obviously, the most important thing is the health, safety and welfare of every fighter that everybody walks out of the cage healthy. That is the single most important thing.
But other than that, it will be a great night for the fans, and a great, great night for all of these fighters, and the best night for MMA. So I thank you all very much, and let's get on with the questions.

Q. How long has this fight with Cung Le been in the works? It seeps you guys have been talking about fighting each other for a long time. What was your reaction when the fight was finally signed, the same question for you, Cung?
LE: I think it's been about six years for us to start out like a couple of rounds with MMA. Now it's finally happening. I think it's a good thing for this fight card and this town. I can't wait to step into the cage against Frank Shamrock.
FRANK SHAMROCK: From my end, Cung Le exaggerates a little bit, because we've never actually sparred in MMA. We've only sparred in his sport of Sansho, because like most people, he's afraid to go to the ground with me.
But it has been in the works for five or six years. Cung's a wonderful athlete. And I've always viewed him as somebody, if he learned the art, it would be a good fight.

Q. Jake, you've waited a long time to fight for a world title, now is your chance. You're fighting a very tough, experienced opponent. In a lot of ways, I think most would say is similar to you. How are you looking at this fight, and the fact that you're finally getting a shot at the world title?
JAKE SHIELDS: First of all, I'm excited I'm finally getting to fight for that title. I've been in the sport for a long time. I've had some titles in Japan and stuff. But this is one of the most legitimate titles in the world. So I'm excited.
Like I said earlier, Drew's a really tough opponent, good ground, good stand‑up, so I'm prepared for the war.
GARY SHAW: John, Drew to his credit earned the shot at Jake by beating Mark Weir in Cage Rage. So he earned his shot. And obviously, everybody knows Jake's record, and how long it is since he's tasted defeat.

Q. Drew, do you think that you have more experience than Jake?
DREW FICKETT: Probably not. He's fought, he's probably been fighting as long as me, but he's fought back in Japan and Shuto. I remember when I was beating Sakurai, I was working with my favorite fighters and I was kind of upset with that. And I was like oh, Sakurai, because I was so excited. He's been fighting in bigger shows than I have. So I have to say he has more experience.
JAKE SHIELDS: Drew has fought a few more shows. We've fought about the same amount of time. Experience‑wise, it was pretty good to me.
DREW FICKETT: Were you pretty freaked out when you were watching Sakurai?
JAKE SHIELDS: I was so excited, I couldn't believe I had that opportunity. And to go beat him was really cool.
DREW FICKETT: I just saw that fight the other day, that was a scramble, man.
JAKE SHIELDS: Yeah, it was quite an opportunity for me.

Q. Gary, you've been making some huge strides in mixed martial arts over the past years, signing big fighters, securing network television deals, co‑ promoting with the likes of Strikeforce, putting together this fantastic card with Cung and Fickett and Shields, is there any reason why you aren't making a play for a Couture‑Fedor match up, seeing how they're fair game at this point?
GARY SHAW: That's a very good question. Until Randy Couture is absolutely out of his contract with UFC, everybody knows me and my reputation, I do not interfere with anybody's contract or any fighter. I respect the fighter, I respect the contract, and believe it or not, I respect the UFC.
I have had talked with Fedor, I don't deny that, but I have not approached Randy Couture, and I can't approach Randy until I know that he's out of everything with the UFC. But I'd be thrilled to put it on.

Q. When that comes, would you be interested in signing that deal?
GARY SHAW: I would sign it in less than a heartbeat.

Q. Fantastic. Thank you very much, Gary, and good luck with this upcoming fight.
GARY SHAW: Thank you very much, and believe it or not, I'm proud to be a part of this with Scott Coker. I think it's a great, great event. And I'm very, very proud to represent Frank

Q. Frank, not to look past Le by any chance, but there is a guy that's coming out, and he's on his last fight in his contract. A pretty big fighter and there are already rumors of him jumping over. What do you think about a rematch with Ortiz?
FRANK SHAMROCK: I think it's a great idea. Obviously, our main focus is this coming Saturday night after this Cung Le fight. But, yeah, I think it's a great idea. I think there are a lot of strengths and brand value in some of these old timers like myself, and, you know, guys like Ken.
Yeah, I've been talking to Tito about it, and we're trying to work it out. Hopefully, it will come to fruition. About ten years after I last whipped him, I plan on whipping him again.

Q. How do you feel you match up with him now that he's had all the back problems and such?
FRANK SHAMROCK: Well, he's always been kind of a big bully guy who wrestles well. So I beat him last time on striking when my striking was really terrible. You know, I beat him on striking and conditioning. Now my striking is ten years more advanced, and my conditioning is even better, so I just think I would destroy him. But it would still be a great money fight, and I think it would be a great story and promotional event.

Q. Do you ever feel like you should match‑up with other champions of other organizations that you have EliteXC has acquired or been in with like maybe Crazy Horse or Baroni?
FRANK SHAMROCK: Yeah, I've got so many belts I don't have a place to put them. I just stack them up in my gym. So I realized a long time ago that belts don't mean anything. It's easier to become a champion than to stay the champion. For me, it's just a way of life. If they give me a belt, that's great. If they don't, I could really careless.
GARY SHAW: Let me just interrupt, because Frank's on a good point. There comes a time in fighter's careers that it's all about the fights. It's no longer about belts or trinkets. Or sometimes not even the money, although it's always about the money.
But at Frank's stage of his career right now the most important fight he's got as he said is the one in front of him. And that is Cung Le. After that, there are a lot of big fights out there for Frank. So it's not necessarily a belt holder from some other organization, it's about which fights are the biggest fights.
Obviously, Tito Ortiz would be a big fight, and I'm a big fan of Tito's, and hope Tito and I are going to do business together. There is Ken Shamrock out there, and brother against brother and bad blood. So there are a lot of fights out there for Frank.
But on behalf of Frank, I want everybody to know that for Frank it's only about big fights. The biggest belt is the one that I wear around my fat waist. But on a serious note, for Frank, it's strictly about the big fights at this stage of his career.
FRANK SHAMROCK: What Gary said is true. To me it's about how big we can make a promotion, and how much attention we can draw to it, and how well it's received with the fans. So I'd rather fight a guy like Phil Baroni who can sell a match like nobody else in the world, and then take a beating like nobody else in the world, than a champion who can't put two sentences together and who doesn't draw a big crowd.

Q. Drew, what kind of fight do you expect?
DREW FICKETT: A pretty exciting fight. Lot of scrambling, lot of striking, lot of ground. I think, like I said, I think me and Jake are going to push each other like we haven't been pushed before which is going to be good for both of us. I think this is the first time I've really been motivated for a fight for the last like few years.

Q. Jake, do you feel like this is going to be your toughest opponent?
JAKE SHIELDS: Definitely up there, one of them. As far as tough opponents it's definitely one of the toughest. I've fought guys like Masaki, and I definitely put Drew up there at that level. I'm taking him really seriously. I'm ready for war. Like he said, he's motivated. When Drew comes in in shape looking good, he's definitely tough.

Q. Cung, tell me what this fight means to you? I just got on the call so I wasn't able to hear the early part. Can you talk about this fight and what it means to the whole San Jose area?
CUNG LE: This is the biggest fight of my career. I think this is one of the biggest fights in San Jose up to date. I'm just looking forward to it. I've been training, you know so hard for this fight, and I'm looking forward to stepping in the cage against Frank.
Frank's been around a long time. He's got a lot of wins against big names like Tito. And I'm looking to match‑up. Frank says he's going to knock me out in the second round. And if Frank chooses to stand, I think we're going to have a great fight. You know, they'll put us in that cage and just Rock 'n' Roll.

Q. Can you talk about when you made the move to MMA? You're such an accomplished kick boxer, you know, can you talk about what made you want to try this sport?
CUNG LE: Actually it was Frank's old trainer, and now my trainer, Javier Mendez. He talked me into doing MMA. Back in 2006 he said the time is now. MMA's about to explode even more. I said, okay, I'll give it a shot.
And Frank and I were on the same card in March two years ago. And it was a sellout. I guess there were over 18,000 people that showed up. You know, we're expecting another big show.
So two years later, I'm just fortunate to have the chance to compete for a title and fight someone like Frank. You know, it's only been two years for me in the MMA game, and I just feel like I came in at the right time. I was at the right place at the right time and have been blessed. And Frank gave me the shot, and I'm grateful. I'm going to do everything I could to, you know, take that belt away from Frank.

Q. Frank, what did you think about Ken Shamrock's fight the other week in Cage Rage? Can you give your thoughts on that fight?
FRANK SHAMROCK: Sure, I was pretty disappointed in his performance. You know, I don't know if he's still got the heart of a lion in him. Granted the guy was a little bigger and had some better reach on him.
But I know Ken's skill level, and I just think he's having trouble connecting his desire with his mind and his body and then putting all of that together to be an exciting fighter. I hope he's still got plenty left in him, because he plan on taking a little out of his ass as well.
GARY SHAW: He told me he's got enough to take you, Frank.
FRANK SHAMROCK: I sure hope so.
GARY SHAW: Yeah, on a serious note, he was sick that night. He got something, some type of stomach ailment, so he didn't go into the cage 100%. But he absolutely told me he's got enough to take your ass.
GARY SHAW: All right, you're laughing.

Q. Jake, you were recently promoted to black belt; could you talk about that? Was it mostly a symbolic thing for you, or would you consider it a milestone in your career?
JAKE SHIELDS: Mostly a symbolic thing. I've been competing in tournaments for years in high levels. I've been going to the Black Belt Division. I think I compete at that level for a while, but it's definitely nice to get the recognition and get the belt from Caesar. Everyone knows Caesar doesn't give out belts easy. Now it's just me, Nick Diaz, and David Charles so far there's only three, so it's quite an honor.

Q. Frank, you indicated you want to apparently keep this fight standing, and you want to go for the knockout. Could you tell us why, of all things, you chose to strike with a striker?
FRANK SHAMROCK: Well, you know, I've been in this sport for as long as I have because I've got to have something to challenge me. I'm an older guy. My art has been tweaked many years ago to be a striking art. As far as the last decade, most of what I've studied has been striking. And I think it's just time for me to try out my striking.
It might be a little dangerous, but it's not like we're not in a dangerous sport. So I have the utmost confidence in what I do. And I think that Cung Le is a great striker. But I don't think he's prepared for an MMA striking match. And that's just my strategic analysis of the match. So I'm going for it.

Q. Cung, the stand‑up would seem to be your big strength in this fight.
CUNG LE: I think it's a big smoke screen. Frank's a very intelligent fighter. And of course, he's going to put it out there that he's going to strike with me. And really, I think, he's going to test the waters a little bit and probably jump for half guard or look for the ankle locks and start hunting for my knees. So that's what I think.
I believe, of course, the battle starts early with Frank trying to get into my mind. Then trying to put out what he's going to do out there, making me think that he's going to strike. But, you know, I'm also a very intelligent fighter, and I'm prepared for what Frank is going to come with. If he chooses to stand, great. If he doesn't, then, you know, I'll be on my bicycle, stepping out of the foot locks.

Q. Tell us, Cung, about your background. We know besides you've had some wrestling background in the past. Tell us how your ground game is in wrestling and submissions.
CUNG LE: I was a high school All American, and I went to West Valley Junior College and I won the states there, too. I pretty much wrestled year around from 8th great to freestyle, to Greco Roman, to collegiate wrestling. I trained with Caesar and Hoff a bit when they were together. It was too much of a commute for me. I stopped going after three, four months.
And then I started doing strictly stand‑up. Now I go over to A.K. and I have Paul Shriner here and Garth Taylor. And then I go out there and train. You know, Jake comes up to the A.K. and we've got all kinds of great sparring partners and guys that are really round up in the stand‑up and the ground game. So I learn a lot.
I'm just excited to be part of this Mega event. I'm just going to focus and stay focused on Frank and not worry about who is next. I also know that things always happen in three. Ken
Shamrock, Anderson got defeated so watch out, Frank. It always happens in threes.

Q. Frank, given you expect this to be striking, do you think this bout's not going to last very long as a result?
FRANK SHAMROCK: Well, if Cung Le runs from me, I think that it might last a while. It will take me a little while to run him down. I think Cung Le has a good strategy. I know he's going to punch, kick and then wrestle.
But I don't think it's going to get very long. I don't think it will go past two or three rounds. I'm going to push the pace really hard and try to finish it in two because my wife's pregnant, and I want to make sure I'm home with her just in case the baby pops out. Other than that, I don't think it's going to be a long fight.

Q. Cung, your thoughts on the length?
CUNG LE: Oh, you know, Frank can believe whatever he wants to believe. But we'll see come March 29th. You know, if he believes he's going to chase me down striking, great. I'll feed him plenty of punches and kicks so he can run into all of them strikes that he believes he's going to get in on me.

Q. Frank, there are a lot of rumors going out there that when you and Cung Le did spar, that he was a world class above you. How do you respond to those rumors?
FRANK SHAMROCK: Oh, well, they're all true. Cung Le kicked my ass. I was basically his sparring partner in his sport. We only did Sansho, and I sucked at Sansho. That was a great many years ago. And that was at the beginning of my understanding of striking. Now it's just a different level, different story.
But time will tell. You know, my actions in the ring will make everybody understand.

Q. Frank, can you take me through the last three hours before the fight? What do you do? What do you think about? That type of thing?
FRANK SHAMROCK: Sure. Last three hours I have a light meal about three hours before. Then I take a nap just after that. I drive to the arena about an hour and a half before the event. I check in. I read for about 30 or 40 minutes. I go out and say hi to all of my friends, family, sponsors and people that are out there. And then the last hour I warm‑up, focus my mind, and go out and do my job.

Q. What do you read?
FRANK SHAMROCK: What do I read?

Q. Yeah.
FRANK SHAMROCK: Right now I'm reading the "Fred Factor," which is a book on how to focus your life and be a unique and interesting, exceptional person.

Q. Frank, it's interesting that you're talking about striking or going after a guy in the stand‑up who is really an accomplished stand‑up fighter, even though he's relatively new to MMA. Is this kind of like a personal thing because of all the quote unquote ass kickings you got in the past. That you want to beat him at his own game?
FRANK SHAMROCK: No, for me, it's just what fighting is about. I'm personally challenging myself or something. If I fight somebody in their game and they kick my ass, that's the way it is. If I fight a wrestler and they outwrestle me, that's the way it is. Mixed martial arts is my game and kicking and punching are a huge part of it.
For me, I saw the sport changing in 1999, and turning into a striking sport. And I, in turn, adjusted my style and got my striking prepared for this modern day striking art. Cung Le just is the right guy at the right time for me.
I don't know, you know, it may be a bad call, but as I go through my record, you know, I've never been knocked out, tapped out, submitted, gave up in an MMA match. So it's time for me to try something new and different. You know, everyone figured I'd take down Phil Baroni and work on the ground on him, and he ended up taking me down. I just think that Cung Le will end up doing the same thing.

Q. There's been a lot of talk about Anderson Silva, the middleweight being the best pound‑for‑pound fighter on the planet. What are your thoughts about that claim?
FRANK SHAMROCK: Well, I think I've been named that guy several times over the past 14 years. So I think that it's fleeting. It's exciting, but I certainly don't think he's the best in the world. I think he's probably one of the best guys in the UFC.
But all the best fighters are not in the UFC. So, hopefully he can hang on to that and make something out of it and gain some fame. But I have, if I ran into him, they'd be calling me that guy.
GARY SHAW: Before you go to the next question, until someone beats Frank, then Frank is the single best in the world. If Cung should beat Frank on March 29th in San Jose, then Cung Le will be the best in the world. And as Frank said, there is no single organization that owns the best fights or the best fighters. But in this case, the best fighter in the world, hands down, bar none, for sure, is Frank Shamrock.

Q. Cung, I know your kicks are very wild. I was wondering if you're worried about one of your kicks and your legs getting caught. I know Frank can stand with you, but if he does take you down with one of your leg kicks, are you worried about that?
CUNG LE: I've been working on the ground too, so if he does take me down, I'll scramble to get back on my feet so we can keep it standing where he wants it.

Q. Gary, with Arlosvski is coming out, he has his last fight, and he's getting into the undercard. Is there any possible way you're looking at signing him and picking him up?
GARY SHAW: Thank you for the question. I'll repeat what I saw. There are many fighters out there that I'm very interested in signing to EliteXC to fight on Showtime, and to fight on CBS. Arlosvski is one of them. I do not tortiously look at fighters contracts with any organization until they are clearly out of that contract. When they're out of that contract, I'll be more than happy to speak with them with no problem.

Q. I'd like to ask Gary, for the build up to this fight the main event between Cung Le and Frank Shamrock, have you seen any sort of reaction from the fans as much as you've seen one for this fight?
GARY SHAW: Well, you know, every fight has its hype, and every fight hopefully is a great promotion. I've got to say on behalf of Frank, he understands great promotions and what promoters do.
I thought the Kimbo fight in Miami had a huge amount of heat. Now we're coming into San Jose, and we're coming into California on the west coast. For me, this is the biggest fight that we've had. I believe this is a lot hotter even than Baroni. Though Phil can really talk a lot of smack.
But this is a case where it has intense heat in the Bay Area. And, in this case there are two different gyms, two different fighters with a distinct fan base. Both for Frank and for Cung. And probably people that dislike each fighter equally as much as they like each fighter. So in a way it's a promoter's dream.
The gate is showing that, the attendance is showing that, and the fans are going to be rewarded with a great fight. As I sit and listen to what Frank is saying and what Cung Le is saying, even I'm starting to try to think what is Frank going to do when he comes out and how is he going to do? And how is Cung going to react? So for me, it's a great fight.

Q. Jake, what is the difference between going against Drew Fickett than it was going with (indiscernible). Because the fight against Mike Pile was for the belt, then something happened with that. Now you're going against Drew Fickett. What is the difference in training?
JAKE SHIELDS: There is a difference in the fights. One, this is going to be a five‑rounder, which is different, so you have to prepare a little more. They're both good grapplers. So I think Drew's a little stronger little more experienced, you know.
So training is pretty similar. It is doing the same stuff. Basically I'm just ready. Only difference is I have a little more cardio in this one because I'm ready to fight five rounds instead of three?

Q. Drew, a tough wrestler like Jake Gibbs against Josh Koscheck, he was controlling you for the three rounds.
DREW FICKETT: I'm sorry, you've got wind or something, I can't hear you.

Q. The first time you fought a tough when you fought Josh, you had trouble with him pretty much all of the fight until the final couple of segments of that fight. Did you learn in that fight against Josh Koscheck?
JAKE SHIELDS: I learned from that fight in that strategy. I wasn't at the level that Koscheck was at. So I wasn't going to try to wrestle with him. I didn't wrestle at all in that fight. I planned on giving up the takedown or catch him into submission and trying to knock him out like I almost did a few times throughout the fight. I almost caught him on a couple of submissions and caught him with some knees. It worked out good for me.
So on this one, Jake's a good wrestler, by think he would agree that neither me nor Jake are as good as Koscheck who is undefeated as an NCAA Division 1 Champion. So I think the wrestling will be a little more both ways.

Q. Drew, I was wondering if you could give me your predictions on how the fight was going to go.
JAKE SHIELDS: I never predict fights, I just know it's going to be one hell of a fight. And the rest of the card is so stacked up. All night long it's probably going to be the best fight card of not just the year, but maybe of the century.

Q. Gary, is there any information on when the first CBS card will be held and what type of fights you would like to have on that?
GARY SHAW: Yeah, there will be a CBS press release going out tomorrow announcing when the first fight card is. Announcing some of the fighters on that card. So I don't want to preempt it. But it is sooner, much sooner than later, and we think we have a great card put together, and we're very, very excited to be on CBS.
I think that the announcement will surprise some people. It's just exciting. This is the single biggest thing that I think will ever happen to any fighter or to MMA to have the ability to be seen by over 100 million eyeballs.

Q. Can you leak the date on that at all when the fight will be?
GARY SHAW: No, I don't do that. CBS is going to release a worldwide press release tomorrow, and everybody will get it at the exact same time. Except Jake Shields and Frank, because they fight for me. I'm going to tell them the secret.
FRANK SHAMROCK: We're going to get it right after the press release.

Q. I'd like to ask a question for both Drew and Jake. The first for Drew is how concerned are you about this first fight in EliteXC being a title fight?
DREW FICKETT: I don't really think like that. Like Gary was saying earlier. I'm about the fights man. I think it's cool to fight in EliteXC. Gary's treated us really well, and they're really organized, so I'd like to thank them for that. But I'm more excited to fight Jake than for a title, if you will.

Q. Jake, as far as this winning streak that you have going, what has changed between your last loss, and up until now, aside from earning the black belt in Jujitsu?
JAKE SHIELDS: I'm just taking the sport a lot more serious. After my last loss, it sucked really bad. I hated losing. So it just got really serious. And cardio, I think cardio is just kind of the crucial key to fighting. Making sure you're in shape. Just everything. I take everything more serious, so.

Q. Gary, you've got Gilbert Melendez fighting on this card coming up on the 29th. He's a Strikeforce Lightweight Champion. Have you given more thought as far as the inter‑promotional title fights with Gilbert maybe fighting K.J. Noons or Keith Edwards or Robbie Lawler fighting Frank Shamrock. Have you got any thoughts of those type of bouts?
GARY SHAW: We always think in those terms. One of the differentiator for EliteXC is we allow our fighters to fight for other organizations as proven by Nick Diaz fighting Gomey, or Eddie Alvarez fighting in the Orient last week, and winning. I like Scott Coker very much, I think we do great co‑promotions together. The first one we did together in San Jose followed by this one.
So would I do that? Absolutely. You know, I have a lot of respect for Gilbert Melendez. I like him on a personal level. I think he's a great kid. And I love to have him fight for an EliteXC belt against our top fighters as well.
Going back to what you said about Frank, Frank's world class, and it's only about the big fights. You know, I like putting great fights together. I think Jake Shields is probably the best in the world. But I have a lot of respect for Drew. When we put a fight together, we're interested for the fans of putting thee most competitive fights.
We think that Drew actually fits that bill. When he won over in England, it just proved our thoughts. So he earned the shot, now he's fighting the best in the world. And like I said about Cung, if he beats Frank, he's the best in the world. And in my book, if Drew Fickett beats Jake Shields next Saturday, then Drew's going to be the best in the world.
When K.J. beat Nick Diaz after the Nick Diaz beat Gomey, he was so proud to say I'm the best in the world because Gomey was the best. Nick beat him, and now I beat Nick. And I'm a firm believer in the man who beats the man who beats the man. I think those are the fights that really mean something that prove something.
So the short and the long answer is, yes, I would work with Strikeforce and Scott, for sure. And there are other organizations that I believe that I'd love to work with as well. When the UFC gets some religion, and allows their fighters to fight other fights, then that's going to be the greatest thing ever for mixed martial arts.

Q. Gary, if you could give us an update on when we might see two fighters from your organization, Robbie Lawler and Gina Carano. Can you give us any update on those two?
GARY SHAW: How about just waiting for tomorrow. As I said, there will be a CBS press release coming out tomorrow worldwide.

Q. I'd like to find out how you feel about your build‑up as far as transitioning to MMA and the opponents that you've received? Do you think that that's a jump so Frank Shamrock could be a bit dangerous to your career?
CUNG LE: You know what, not at all. It's a win‑win situation. Everyone's been saying that I need to step up, so Frank is a huge step up. I'm just grateful that I'll have the opportunity to fight Frank.

Q. Jake, I was wondering how it feels fighting in front of basically what's going to be a home crowd?
JAKE SHIELDS: It's going to be interesting, fighting in Japan. I want to fight in my home area one more time. So it's just a great feeling having all my friends and fans there. It's both good and bad. It's nice having that support, but it's going to make me a little more nervous, too. But it's nice to be at home.

Q. Cung, I wanted to ask you about your wrestling background and making this transition to MMA. But on the theme of transitions, how have you developed or where is your transition gained as far as going from stand‑up to a ground game? Is that an area that you've focused on?
CUNG LE: What kind of game?

Q. Like doing your transition from MMA. As far as going from a stand‑up, if Frank tries to take you to the ground. How is your transitioning game as far as going from stand‑up into the ground game?
CUNG LE: You know, the transition has been good. I've got a great camp. A lot of good guys to train with. I've trained with Jake, I've trained with Koscheck, I've trained with those guys, and against those guys you have to learn, you've got to learn quick. I'm always a student of the game. I'm excited to be, you know, fighting Frank Shamrock. I'm just very excited.

Q. Frank, San Jose has become one of the better markets in the country for mixed martial arts. In many ways the fight with Cung Le is sort of the culmination of it since he was the semifinal in the big fight with Caesar Gracy a few years ago. It's sort of been going towards your fight with Cung Le. Where do you feel MMA in San Jose is going to go from here? Do you think it's going to continue to have the success it's had so far?
FRANK SHAMROCK: I definitely think the success of it will continue. The reason we've always done so well here, and Cung will attest to this, San Jose, we're a small big city. Everybody loves martial arts. We're a very tight‑knit community here. You know, they really support their martial arts here. They really support their martial arts competitors.
You know, this is a win‑win situation for Cung, for the sport, and for everybody else. I'm the one who has everything to lose here because if I lose this fight, you know, it changes the landscape of what's going on. But it's a sacrifice I'm willing to take. Because if I do lose, God forbid, maybe Cung Le will fight me again, maybe he won't. But either way, something monumental will have happened here. That's what San Jose is looking for in mixed martial arts.
It was monumental when I came here in 1997 and started teaching everybody mixed martial arts. It's now time to see where we go from here.

Q. What kind of bread is Kimbo making?
GARY SHAW: Well, he makes little white bread. He trains hard, so he gets mostly whole grain. So I know Frank and Jake, and Cung and Drew would be very proud of me for only giving him healthy bread.
One thing I don't discuss is what fighters get paid. But no fighter has ever left us for money. Nobody has ever left us because we didn't treat every fighter whether they have a belt or don't, like a champion that they are. So if you fight for EliteXC, believe me, you get treated like a royal prince.

Q. Drew, thanks for participating on the call. Just what are your closing thoughts in fighting for a title and taking on Jake?
DREW FICKETT: Oh, I just want to say good luck to everybody. Good luck with training. Use karate, and thanks to Gary and Scott for giving me a chance. Giving me a good contract, fair contract. Treating the fighters well, and good luck to Jake and we'll see what happens.

Q. Jake, closing comments?
JAKE SHIELDS: Yeah, I want to thank Gary real quick, and the rest of the EliteXC people for giving me a title shot. Thank Drew for stepping up and fighting me. I think everyone should watch the fight, it will be a great fight. I think me and Drew match up really well. He's a great fighter. Sounds like he's coming in in shape ready for war, I know I am. I definitely plan on putting on a good fight?

Q. It's going to be a great, great fight for the EliteXC World Title.
Cung, can we go to you for closing comments? And I have one last question. After all these years of waiting, do you think that Frank's making a mistake by fighting you at this time?
CUNG LE: You know what, I can't say that. I just, I've got to thank Frank for giving me the shot for fighting him and for his title. Like Frank says, you've got to take the risk. You know, make things happen. So I think win or lose, this is going to be a big fight.
Definitely, you know, all of the fight cards that stack underneath us, we've got a big load to carry on our shoulders because there are going to be some great fights and we've definitely got to come out that night and perform.
I'm just looking forward to it. So for all the fans, don't miss it. Better get your tickets before it sells out.

Q. Frank, closing comments from you?
FRANK SHAMROCK: Thanks everybody, Scott Coker, Strikeforce, Gary Shaw Pro Elite, Showtime. This is what mixed martial arts is truly supposed to be about. I wish all the best to all the fighters fighting. Drew, you guys kick ass. You know, this is the future right here.
I think this is really a really monumental card. Not just because it's happening in San Jose, but because of the quality of fighters on the card, and the quality of fights I think that we're going to see or they're going to see.
Yeah, you know what, I want to thank Cung for stepping up. It was time for him to take some risks. You know, there is no bigger risk than fighting me. I think we're going to have a great show. So thanks, everybody.

Q. Gary, closing comments?
GARY SHAW: I thank you. First of all, I wanted to thank Scott Coker, my co‑promoter for working hand in hand with myself and my staff. It's going to be a terrific night of fighting. And always, there's no one bigger in our organization than the fighters. Because without the fighters, there is no promotion. Without the fighters there are no great fights.
So, for each and every fighter on this call whether you fight for me or you fight for Scott, it doesn't make a difference. I personally thank you for taking the challenge, because every one on this card that is fighting is in tough fights and are in real challenges. So I thank you all very much.
Again, all credit to Scott Coker and Strikeforce, as well as my staff at EliteXC for being able to bring this card to San Jose and on national television on a worldwide stage. To Ken Hirschman and Showtime, I always thank them for having the vision to put this on the air that will now enable us to go on to CBS primetime Saturday night. It's going to be tremendous for mixed martial arts. This is the explosion that guys like Frank Shamrock have waited many, many years for it to happen.
So, Frank, thank you for making this happen. Cung, thank you for being able to step up and take the challenge. Jake, you know, I think you're the best fighter in the world at this weight right now. And Drew, all the confidence in the world in you. May the best man win. And always, I wish you all the health, safety, and welfare of coming out of the cage in great shape. Thank you all so much.

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