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ELITEXC MEDIA CONFERENCE
July 10, 2008
"Ruthless" Robbie Lawler of St. Louis will defend the EliteXC middleweight title against Scott "Hands of Steel" Smith of Sacramento in the main event on the second primetime broadcast of CBS ELITEXC SATURDAY NIGHT FIGHTS on Saturday, July 26, (9 p.m.-11 p.m. ET/PT).
In a second world title fight, Jake Shields of San Francisco and Nick "The Goat" Thompson of Minneapolis will collide for the vacant EliteXC 170-pound belt.
Stockton's Nick Diaz will face Thomas "Wildman'' Denny of Victorville, Calif., in a lightweight match and Shayna "The Queen Of Spades" Baszler of Sioux Falls, S.D., will take on Brazil's undefeated Cristiane Cyborg in a women's fight at 140 pounds at the Stockton Arena in Stockton, Calif.
Tickets start at $35 and can be purchased at the Stockton Arena Box Office (Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.) and Saturday (noon-4 p.m.), by phone at (209) 373-1700 and (866) 373-7088 (toll free) or online at www.stocktontickets.com.
The event is presented by Los Angeles-based ProElite, Inc.'s live fight division, EliteXC. Doors open at 2:30 p.m. PT. The first live fight is at 3:15.
Preceding the two-hour, four-fight broadcast on the CBS Television Network will be a three-fight, one-hour telecast live on SHOWTIME (8 p.m. ET/PT).
In the main event, Antonio "Big Foot" Silva will face Justin Eilers for the EliteXC heavyweight crown. In other SHOWTIME fights, promising Wilson Reis will meet Brian Caraway at 140 pounds and talented Rafael Feijao will be opposed by an opponent to be determined in a light heavyweight fight.
DOUGLAS DeLUCA: Good morning, everyone. Thank you all for joining. Really appreciate it. We're excited, on the heels of a very, very, in our opinion, successful prime time premiere. We wanted to follow right up, keep the momentum going, come back with another fantastic MMA card. I'm glad you're here to hear about that. I want to thank all of our athletes who I think are some of the best in the world. On this call you're going to have Jake Shields, you're going to have Nick Thompson, Thomas Denny and Nick Diaz. We're going to focus on those fights. As always, our EliteXC fight team has put together a world class card. We have two title fights that night. You have Nick Diaz and Thomas Denny. We came back also with a great female fight so everyone can see that we're committed to standing behind female MMA. One of the other things we're going to do here that is going to be a first is going from a lead-in with a SHOWTIME I would say I wouldn't call it a prefight, it's a main card. MMA fans are getting three hours of unbelievable fight action that night. This will be the first time an MMA card goes from an hour on premium cable right into two hours on prime time network television. We're excited again about pulling off another first for EliteXC. We have Jeremy Lappen, who is on the call, who is going to go through the bouts in more detail. I think it's important to thank Stockton, the City of, and Stockton Arena. We picked Stockton because it is a great MMA town. Turns out some great MMA fighters. Three of the guys on the card are either local or in close proximity. You have Nick Diaz, a Stockton boy. You have Jake Shields, not too far away in San Francisco. You have Scott Smith, who is over by Sacramento. We're expecting a great turnout. We're expecting a great evening of MMA, as I said. Stockton Arena is brand-new, absolutely beautiful. For all of you in attendance, you're in for a great evening. At this time I just want to turn things over now to Jeremy Lappen who will go through the fight card in detail. Thank you to all the press for coming. Thanks to all the athletes for being here. To the press, I want to let you know we at EliteXC, myself included, are always here for you. We're a phone call away. Any questions we're at your disposal. Thanks for the interest. Jeremy.
JEREMY LAPPEN: Hello, everybody. This is Jeremy Lappen. I'm head of fight operations for EliteXC. Thank you all for coming on the call. I'm going to walk you through the television fights for the card very quickly, then turn it over to the fighters, which is the reason for this call. Just walking through, starting with the SHOWTIME bouts, the first bout on SHOWTIME will be Wilson Reis against Brian Caraway at 140 pounds. Just to give you a little background, Brian Caraway has won seven straight fights. He actually just won a fight a few weeks ago, a strike force card. He's going against Wilson Reis, who is an undefeated fighter out of Philadelphia who EliteXC is very excited about. We believe Wilson is arguably the best fighter in the world at 140 pounds. He'll be making his SHOWTIME debut. He's fought on some of our under cards before and just destroyed his opponents. He's got a tough opponent in Brian, but it should be a great fight. The second fight is Rafael Feijao against Travis Galbraith at a 205 pound weight limit. Travis has won four fights in a row. He's the King of the Cage Canadian champion. He is fighting a guy in Feijao who is, again, another guy who we would put up against anybody in the world at 205 pounds. Feijao is 6-1. His only loss came when he up-kicked a guy and was disqualified for it. He comes out of a camp with Nogueira and Anderson Silva. He's just been devastating everybody we've put him in front of. Actually we had a very hard time finding an opponent for him for this fight. Travis was gracious enough to step up and brave enough to step up. It should be a great match. But there were a number of fighters we went after who turned down the fight because they didn't want to face Feijao. In the main event of the SHOWTIME portion, we are having our heavyweight title match, the first time the EliteXC heavyweight title's on the line, Antonio "Big Foot" Silva taking on Justin Eilers. We have been promoting Antonio for a while now as the person that we think is the best in the world at heavyweight. But he's got a very, very tough test in Justin Eilers. Justin has won 10 of his last 11 fights, his only loss coming in a decision loss to Pedro Rizzo. Moving on to the CBS card, it will open with Shayna Baszler against Cris Cyborg at 140 pounds, a female fight. Shayna Baszler, which will be her fourth appearance for us now, she has fought three times previously on SHOWTIME, finished off her opponents in the first round every time. But she's got a very, very, very tough competitor that she's facing in this fight, somebody we're very excited about, Cris Cyborg out of Brazil. If you have not seen her, you're in for a treat. Cris is one of the most powerful, vicious and aggressive female fighters in the world. This should be really, really interesting. Should set up very nicely the winner of this hopefully getting a title shot down the road. The other fight on the card, the main event, I'll skip to, is "Ruthless" Robby Lawler against Scott "Hands of Steel" Smith. This is the rematch from our last CBS event. That fight was an epic fight, turning into one of the greatest fights ever until it was stopped prematurely with a poke in the eye. We wanted to bring it back. Both guys are very excited to redo it and finally settle the score. Then going to the two fights that are on the call, with the fighters on the call, we have Nick Diaz taking on Thomas Denny. This is a fight at 160 pounds. Nick is trying to work his way to get his rematch for the title for KJ Noons. Thomas is finally getting his big shot. He's taking a huge step to CBS. This is a fight these guys have been wanting to have for a long time. They've been trying to fight each other for a very long time. I'll let Thomas speak more to that. But it should be a great one. Then finally for our welterweight title, we have Jake Shields against Nick Thompson at 170 be pounds. Nick Thompson has won 20 of his last 21 fights. He's won 12 in a row. He was the Bodog welterweight champion. Just been on a terror of let. He's taking on Jake Shields, who hasn't lost in almost four years, has won nine in a row, is ranked in the top five in the world on most ranking systems. Jake has fought for us numerous times. Basically we haven't found anybody that can take Jake out of the first round yet. This should be a great one. Two of the top 170 pounders in the world. It should be a great battle. We're very, very, very proud to have this for our welterweight, our first ever, welterweight EliteXC belt. With that, I'll turn it over to the fighters.
DOUGLAS DeLUCA: We'll begin with Jake for some opening comments. Jake, what are your thoughts on finally getting a shot at a world title? How is training going? How are you physically?
JAKE SHIELDS: I couldn't be more excited about this right now. I think it's awesome. I've been fighting for over eight years. To finally be fighting for a world title on CBS is just phenomenal to me. As far as training, right now I'm in great shape. I'm feeling the best I've ever felt. I had an injury that messed me up, got me more motivated than ever. My training camp is going great. I'm glad to be fighting in Stockton, which is only an hour and a half from my hometown. I feel super excited about my opponent. I'm more excited to be fighting Nick Thompson than Drew Fickett. Unfortunately that fell apart. Nick Thompson is just somebody I've been wanting to fight for a while. I know that he has been wanting to fight me. I think we're both on huge winning streaks. It's a perfect time for us to fight, go out there and make this a true world title fight.
DOUGLAS DeLUCA: Nick, do you want to say a few words to everyone about the fight.
NICK THOMPSON: I basically just feel the same way as Jake. Fighting for a title is only as good as the competition within the organization. Jake is one of the best in the world. I feel that I'm one of the best in the world. Sp I'm honored to fight him for the title. For it to be on CBS, it's just icing on the cake. I think we're both very technical fighters. I think we're going to show the world what mixed martial arts is truly about.
DOUGLAS DeLUCA: As an interesting tidbit, Nick, aren't you following up this fight with your bar exam?
NICK THOMPSON: Two days later I take the bar exam.
DOUGLAS DeLUCA: We'll see what happens on both. We're excited to see you guys fight. Thomas, do you want to say a few words to everyone?
THOMAS DENNY: I'd like to give a big thanks to Terry and Jeremy and JT. These guys have all been working real hard, believing in me, bringing me into the EliteXC. Man, I'm excited. Nick and I were supposed to fight three or four times now. Just seems to have never materialized, whether the shows fall apart, the money's not right, whatever it was. But now I'm real excited. I'm going to fight him in his own hometown, finally getting to go over there and bang and scrap it out with him. Real excited. Thanks for the opportunity, guys.
DOUGLAS DeLUCA: We should open it up to press for questions.
Q. Jake, do you look at this sort of as a home fight for you, so to speak? I guess last time you fought in Stockton was when you were there for the state wrestling tournament.
JAKE SHIELDS: Yeah. No, I definitely think of this as a home fight. I mean, Stockton is not my exact home, but pretty much. Anywhere in northern California pretty much looking at it is home. I grew up an hour and a half from Stockton, in Calaveras. Wrestled the state meet in Stockton. Now I'm an hour and a half the other direction in San Francisco. I go out there, train with the Diaz boys. It's pretty much -- I definitely think this as a home fight for me.
Q. Do you think that's any advantage? Your dad said most of the town of Mountain Ranch will probably pack up and head down there.
JAKE SHIELDS: Is it an advantage? I don't know, maybe a small one. It's always good to be home. I'm used to fighting way, going to Japan. I'm sure Nick obviously fights Japan, Costa Rica, all over. So it's one of the those things, it's an advantage, but a very small one.
Q. Jake, do you feel there's distractions because this is a home game for you?
JAKE SHIELDS: Yeah, exactly. It almost could be looked at as a negative, too, having all my friends, family, everyone calling, trying to get tickets, have me arrange things, helping. I almost prefer taking off and disappearing. I almost prefer taking off and disappearing. But it is nice to have everyone get to watch, too.
Q. You're saying tell everyone to leave you alone?
JAKE SHIELDS: Exactly. Any of my friends listening to the call, leave me alone. That's not going to happen, though, 'cause all the ones listening to this would already know that (laughter).
Q. Doug, what is Gary Shaw's status with this company? Is July 26 the last show he has with EliteXC?
DOUGLAS DeLUCA: I was waiting for one of those questions. That's good. No, not at all. It's a good opportunity for me to kind of set the record straight. Gary is still very involved with ProElite. Gary and our team from day one at ProElite basically took MMA here at our company from ground zero to a huge network success. So Gary's got a lot to be proud of in the MMA world. In the process of doing it, as you can imagine, Gary being from the East Coast, we're a West Coast company, took a lot of time from Gary. He was traveling non-stop. Took a toll on his boxing business, which is a successful boxing business. Took a toll on his family. To some degree, it took a toll on his health. We collectively made the decision that Gary was going to back off a little bit, kind of take a little bit of a relaxed role as far as being front and center involved, which is a good thing for all those three things, for his health, for his boxing business, and for his family. But Gary is still very much involved. Still talk to Gary almost every day. He's still there. Gary's interest still lies in EliteXC and ProElite, making it a top organization in the world. That's the status with Gary.
Q. In what capacity is he now working with EliteXC?
DOUGLAS DeLUCA: Gary is still, like I said, majorly involved. I would say he's more or less consulting in terms of all his promotor abilities, all his contacts and everything Gary does. So Gary is kind of behind the scenes with us kind of shaping the direction of the company, the way it's going, pulling the strings in terms of how we're going to promote, what we're going to do. Again, his involvement is very much similar to what it's always been. The difference is, you know, he's not going to be front and center, doing all the time-consuming stuff that he's done in the past.
Q. Jake and Nick, how do the win streaks impact a fight? For example, is there additional pressure or how does that play out?
JAKE SHIELDS: I think it just gives us both extreme confidence. When you're on a winning streak like I'm on, I just feel completely confident and unbeatable right now. I've been running through people. I mean, I'll let Nick speak for himself. But I have the feeling it's the same effect. We're two fighters going in there confident, at the top of our game. Neither one of us feels like we can lose right now.
NICK THOMPSON: I don't really have much else to add, other than what Jake said. I think for younger guys, winning streaks can be difficult because if they get in adversity, they're not used to it. But Jake and I are both veteran fighters. We're used to adversity and we're also used to winning.
JAKE SHIELDS: We fight good fighters, too. We're not just on these winning streaks versus no one, which is a big difference.
Q. Mr. Thomas Denny, what does it mean to you to be on CBS? Could you explain that feeling?
THOMAS DENNY: You know, it feels awesome. Obviously it's the biggest stage I've ever been on. You know, I've been fighting in this game for nine years now, busting my hump, raising a family and having a gym and everything else that I do. This is just a real huge opportunity. I'm glad to be a part of it. It's been a long time coming.
Q. Thomas, what is your biggest concern with Nick?
THOMAS DENNY: My biggest concern with Nick? His hard head (laughter). The guy, he takes a beating, you know what I mean. He's a real durable guy, you know. He doesn't care if he's bleeding and bloody and swollen, he just keeps coming. I think it's going to make for a really good fight.
Q. Thomas, I read some comments attributed to you regarding Nick's inability to make weight in his last fights. Do you think fighters feel too much pressure to fight when their opponent doesn't make weight?
THOMAS DENNY: I don't know if they feel too much pressure. But, I mean, it's rules, man. Rules are rules. They're meant to be followed. If you sign a contract that says you're going to weigh 160, you should come in at 160, not 169. So, I don't know, I just think it's unprofessional.
Q. Thomas, what do you think a win over Nick Diaz right now does for your MMA career?
THOMAS DENNY: It shoots me to the top, man. It hopefully sets me up for a fight against KJ or Yves. I would love to fight KJ for the belt. That's a lot to ask for. But hopefully I go out there and shine like I feel like I should and maybe I'll get recognized enough and I'll get that title shot.
Q. Jake, where did you pick Nick Thompson for this fight? Do you feel your styles match up to make for an exciting fight and why?
JAKE SHIELDS: Well, I didn't necessarily pick Nick Thompson. They asked me a few people who I wanted to fight. I said I definitely wanted Nick Thompson because I just felt like he's the top of the game, I'm looking to fight the best. I thought his winning streaks, not to mention I read an article a couple days before where he was saying he wanted to fight me. Do I think it's an exciting fight? Definitely. I think we're both well wounded. I know I'm going to come out at Nick, and Nick is going to come at me. Neither one of us are going to go out and there and dance around, try to win a decision. I'm going to go out there and try to finish him. I know he's going to do the same. I think it should be a really exciting fight.
Q. Nick, how are you able to juggle training for a world title fight and studying for a bar exam?
NICK THOMPSON: Very carefully (laughter). I get up in the morning about 6. I'm at the gym at 6 doing my strength and conditioning. Then I go straight to class. Then it's back to the gym, train. Then I've got a little break room there. I study for a couple hours, train again, go home and study some more.
Q. Is there any way you can compare what being an MMA fighter is and becoming a lawyer?
NICK THOMPSON: You know, I think there's a lot more similarities than most people would expect. Just because both of them are technical chess matches. One you're using your body, the other you're using rhetoric. But in either case, you're picking out a strategy and trying to beat your opponent with a chess match.
Q. What is a normal training day like for Jake? Have you changed that up for this title fight?
JAKE SHIELDS: Normal training day? I mean, my days vary a little bit depending on what day of the week. But usually wake up. My first training session is at 11 or 12, which I am heading to now. I'm going to go spar five five-minute rounds with MMA sparring with big gloves, then hit the grappling right after, grapple like 30 minutes. Then afterwards I'll go take a little break, then I'll come back and do either strength and conditioning or pad work. If I have energy, depending on how I'm feeling, I'll go hit a run. If I'm too exhausted, I'll just wait for the last day.
Q. Has Cesar brought anybody in special to get you ready for Nick?
JAKE SHIELDS: No, I've been training with the same people. Training with Nick Diaz. The only thing that is a little different, I've been training with Fitch a little bit because he's training at St. Pierre. Sparring with him a little bit too, getting a little extra, since he's training for a fight round or two.
Q. Who was that you're training with in?
JAKE SHIELDS: Jon Fitch.
Q. Nick, knowing that Jake Shields is as awesome as he is on the ground, do you have any special tactics you're going oh to use in this fight?
NICK THOMPSON: Yeah. I'm going to try to avoid being put on the ground (laughter). I feel comfortable there. I think my submission skill are decent. My wrestling is decent. Jake is as good as anybody in the world at taking people down and submitting them. I definitely don't want to be there any longer than I have to.
Q. Nick, have you brought in anybody special to try to get yourself ready for Jake?
NICK THOMPSON: I think it's going to be hard to find someone that can do everything as well as Jake. But I've got some guys already in my camp in their individual areas I think overall can reproduce what Jake does. I obviously have Sean Sherk in my camp, guys like that. Have a few black belts. So I'm just kind of piecemealing everything together.
Q. You, Jake and Nick, have you thought about what the impact is going to be on national TV, what it might mean to you as far as advertisement dollars?
JAKE SHIELDS: Mostly I just think about the fight. Obviously if more money comes in, that's great. I fight because I love it. Anything that can make me more money, make a living doing what I do, it's great.
Q. Thomas, you talked about the fight together with Nick Diaz has taken a while. Three or four times it's been thought of and not happened. Do you care you're going to be fighting him in his hometown?
THOMAS DENNY: You know what, it doesn't matter. It's just him and I when you get in there. Obviously he's going to feel a little more pressure than I am, because that's all his friends and fans. They all hate me as it is. So do I have pressure? Not really. I think if you look at it he's going to be the one dealing with a little more adversity than I am. I'm expecting them to throw bottles at me, cuss at me, flip me off, everything else. If he goes out there and loses in front of his hometown, he's the one that's going to be shunned upon. I feel he has more pressure than I do.
Q. You were asked about the weight issue before. Are you going to stand by the fact if he doesn't make weight, he's good to?
THOMAS DENNY: If he comes in nine pounds overweight, yeah, the fight probably won't happen. It's just ridiculous. I think he knows and he has something to prove that he is a professional. So I think he'll come on weight and I think the fight will happen.
Q. Thomas, in the buildup of this fight, there's been a lot of trash talking. Is that just part of the game when you're fighting, especially when you're fighting a guy like Nick who likes talking trash? Has it become something more than that?
THOMAS DENNY: You know what, a fight's a fight. Any way you look at it, we're both going to get in there, we're both going to punch each other in the face and at the end may the best man win. All the stuff leading up to it is just all pre hype fight. I don't know, man. I'm excited. I don't have nothing bad to say about Nick. I think that, like I said, he's a durable, tough guy. I think his antics are a little over the top. I think the flipping people off and cussing everybody out and stuff, you know, we got kids watching the sport. We're trying to legitimize the sport. I think it's a little over the top. At the end of the day, we're going to get in there, we're going to rock 'em sock 'em robots and may the best man win.
Q. Thomas, you have fought a majority of your career at higher weight classes. I know you have now gone down lower to fight at lighter weights. How does that affect you?
THOMAS DENNY: You know, this is more my natural weight class than anything. I have a weird body shape. I'm 5'9", I walk around about 175, 177, that's out of shape. So usually for my career, fighting at 170, I wouldn't even cut weight. I would just basically wake up, eat breakfast, go weigh in. I've always been a real small 70 pounder. But I'm a little too lean and I have a little too much muscle to make 55. That last five pounds would kill me. But 160 I feel is a real good natural. I feel healthy. I feel strong. I feel it's a good weight class for me. I'm excited that EliteXC brought it in.
Q. In the past when you've had animosity against a fighter like James Finch here, is that a thing that has helped or hurt you in fights? How will a that affect you in this fight?
THOMAS DENNY: You know what, I'll take being the underdog any day of the week than being the over-dog. When you're expected to win and you're expected to perform and you're in front of all your fans, you have so much more pressure. Everybody's expecting you to lose. Everybody thinks I don't even belong in there. Man, I'm excited because everybody felt I didn't belong in the ring in Tony Fryklund, that he was going to smoke me, I was an 8-1 underdog, whatever. I went out there and finished him in 1 minute and 12 seconds. I love fighting when I'm the guy who shouldn't even be in there.
Q. Jake, you're fighting Nick Thompson, the last guy to hold the Bodog title. You're fighting for the EliteXC title. What does that mean to you? Do you feel like it's a unification fight or more of finally about time for me to fight for the title?
JAKE SHIELDS: You know, a little of both. It's great finally fighting for a title. Like me and Nick both hold different belts. Because he's the Bodog champ. I was the Shooto champ, the Rumble on the Rock champ. So it's nice to have guys who already have held titles fighting for EliteXC. EliteXC is obviously one of the biggest if not the biggest show in the world now. I think it's just an awesome opportunity.
Q. Nick, same thing to you?
NICK THOMPSON: Yeah, it means a lot to me that Jake held those belts because, you know, it's going to be a fight of two champions. I don't think anyone in the world can deny that the winner of this fight is a world-class champion.
Q. Jake, this is your first fight in nine months. Is that your longest layoff ever?
JAKE SHIELDS: Second longest. I went awhile without fighting a few years ago. I was doing a bunch of grappling after fighting at Shooto. Definitely a long layoff, a lot longer than I would have liked. But unfortunately I had some injuries to deal with. The important thing is I'm healthy now and ready to fight.
Q. You suffered a lower back injury?
JAKE SHIELDS: Lower back injury. I was out. I wasn't able to train for three months. That was pretty depressing considering fighting is what I love to do and how I make money. I was pretty bummed out. But luckily it got better. I'm back to a hundred percent and now I'm ready to fight.
Q. Are you holding back in training at all?
JAKE SHIELDS: No, I've been a hundred percent. The back's not going to be an issue in this fight. I was feeling it for a while. When I tried to train, I would just get hurt again. I found a great, great doctor that's been working on my back. Even though it's healthy, I keep working with him at least once a week just to keep it. Whenever I start feeling it tense up, I drive right over there and have him work on all the pain.
Q. Nick, I want to make sure I heard you right earlier. You said something about how you try to like to stay off the ground as much as possible, is that right?
NICK THOMPSON: Yeah, if we can keep it standing, I'm okay with that.
Q. A lot of your fights, you've had at least a pretty decent wrestling and grappling advantage. Have you kind of tried to change your game plan more for this fight or are you pretty comfortable wherever the fight is going to go? How much have you been working on your standup so you can try to keep the fight on the feet?
NICK THOMPSON: I don't think I've been working my standup any more than any other area of my game. You know, I just look at the style matchup and I think the area I have the biggest strength over Jake is standup. It's still not a huge advantage. But I think on the ground we're fairly close. Standup we're fairly close. But I think I can maybe use my standup a little more effectively and try to control the pace of the fight that way.
Q. Jake, how do you think you match up with him as far as the standup?
JAKE SHIELDS: I think this fight's a great matchup. I think he's got good standup. I think my standup might be a little underrated. But I think Nick definitely has a good standup. So obviously I'm not going to lie, (indiscernible) I'll put him on his lack. But Nick has good ground, too. So it's not like I take him down, the fight's over. It's not like he's a standup guy with no ground. That's why I'm so excited about this fight. We both can fight anywhere. It's one of those fights, we might be standing on our feet, we might be on the ground. We're both going to be able -- I think we're both adequate wherever the fight goes.
Q. Thomas, you talked earlier about being the underdog, kind of being expected to lose. I think certainly people are going to favor Nick. He hasn't looked all that fantastic in his last few fights. Are you expecting him to look and be at his best or do you think maybe he's slipping bit, not training as hard as he used to, holes in his game you can take advantage of?
THOMAS DENNY: You know, that's kind of, you know, Nick said, what he has going on, I can't be a judge of that. I mean, you know, I've seen his last few fights. I mean, I don't know. I hope that he comes at me like he has come with his last few fights. I think he's looked real slow and sluggish. He looks to try to pace the fight. I'm definitely going to look at going out there and pushing a very fast, hard pace. I hope he can hang and put on a good show for the fans.
Q. Obviously Jake didn't grow up in Stockton, but he grew up pretty close to here, went to high school in this area. Sort of a home fight for him. Do you think that's an advantage, disadvantage for you? There's a good chance he's going to be the fan favorite and be adopted here.
NICK THOMPSON: I think there's two sides to that coin. There's certainly advantages to fighting at home. You know the area. You don't have to travel. And the fact that you've got the crowd cheering for you. But there's also disadvantages. There's pressure. Like Jake was saying, there's people asking you for tickets, stuff like that. At the end of the day, it's probably awash.
Q. You talk about wanting to fight him straight up. You also have a great history on the matt. You sound like you're pretty confident if you have to go down and trade holds down there, you'll be okay?
NICK THOMPSON: Yeah, that's what makes this fight so interesting is that where one of us may have a slight edge somewhere, it's not enough of an edge, you're not going to see the classic style matchup of a grappler versus a striker, a wrestler versus a grappler. This is going to be two fighters that really can fight anywhere. I'm able to keep on the feet. Jake is more than adequate on the feet. If it hits the ground, I'm decent on the ground. It's going to be an interesting fight wherever it goes.
Q. Jake, I don't mean to stray away from this fight, but the Drew Fickett situation, he seemed to imply you did not want to fight him and backed out of the fight due to reasons of I guess you didn't want to fight him. Can you comment on that whole situation.
JAKE SHIELDS: I just think that's laughable. I would fight Drew Fickett any time. The people at EliteXC decided to pull him. I said I would still fight him after he pulled out of the fight. The guy pulled out of my fight on the 14th, fought on the 7th. I'll fight him anytime. If he wants to fight after, I have no problem. I think the guy, he's a great guy, I have nothing against him, I just think he's a little crazy and not all there, a little delusional. He thinks you can pull out of a fight and fight the week before and have the show not be mad at him. But like I said, I'll fight him anytime. It's EliteXC that made the choice to pull him.
Q. Jeremy, can you weigh in on that?
JEREMY LAPPEN: Yeah, no, Jake was more than happy to fight Drew. We're the ones who pulled Drew from the card. Drew basically pulled out of the last fight in Hawaii when he was supposed to fight Jake, citing a knee injury, then appeared actually breaching his contract fighting in another event without clearing it with us. I think it was either a week before or a week after. I get the feeling, I don't know for sure, but I think Drew is going through some pretty serious personal problems. You know, those around him have been confirming that. He's been consistently breaching our agreement and taking fights. I think you saw recently he got in trouble trying to take another fight, breaching an agreement with another promotor he had. We didn't feel confident enough that we could depend on Drew to actually show up for a fight. We're obviously ecstatic that Nick was available. Nick Thompson is a more highly regarded fighter, has a great record. We think this is actually a more title-worthy fight. So we're very happy that we were able to put that on. Drew, if he can clean up his act, I think he's a terrific fighter as well. I think he's got some personal issues he needs to solve before he can fight for us.
DOUGLAS DeLUCA: I'd just add to what Jake said, which is Jake has never turned down a fight that we've put in front of him. Jake is one of the top in the world. As he said, he's always eager to fight anyone else that's in his same class. To Jake's credit, he's never turned down any fight.
JAKE SHIELDS: It would make no sense to turn down Fickett then ask for Nick Thompson.
Q. You're fighting Nick Thompson. Come on, who is Drew Fickett?
JAKE SHIELDS: It's almost not worth responding to.
Q. Doug, can you talk about the long range plans with CBS.
DOUGLAS DeLUCA: Absolutely. I mean, you know, the plans at the moment, like I think you guys have read before, we're going to do four fights in our calendar year contract. It started just at the end of April, beginning of May. You'll see another couple fights. That could expand based on the success of those fights to even more fights. That's kind of something we mutually have to agree upon between CBS and us. There's options to renew that. So as far as a commercial deal goes, as far as putting great MMA fights on prime time, I mean, you're going to see a lot more out of that. Again, the better fights we put on and the more that the MMA fans come out and watch, I think the more fights you're going to see. CBS is a great partner, as is SHOWTIME. They're very supportive of MMA. They're very supportive of ProElite and EliteXC. We're excited to be in business with them. I think you're going to continue to see big stuff, milestone things out of us and CBS and SHOWTIME. We're committed to growing the sport. It is a great sport of mixed martial arts. I think in our last telecast on the 31st of May, we gained a lot of fans, a lot of new fans to the sport, people who had never watched the sport before, as well as all the hardcore fans I think came out as well. As long as we can keep growing the fan base for this sport, which is inevitable, CBS and SHOWTIME and ProElite will have a long and healthy lasting relationship. I think that's where it's at. A big thank you to our athletes for coming out here. Again, some of the best in the world at EliteXC. Thank you, guys, for being on this call. Thank you for step ping into that ring. Thank you to all the press for being here. We're excited for July 26th.
JEREMY LAPPEN: Thank you to the fighters and the media for calling in. We're very, very proud of this show and this fight card. I think this is going to showcase world class talent. I think if you look at the fight card, every single fight at every weight class we have people on display that we would put against any other fighter in the world. These are truly the best fighters in the world. It should be a great show, an exciting show. If you're up north, there's nothing like seeing our fights live. Come out and buy tickets. If you can't make it live, watch it on CBS and SHOWTIME. Thanks a lot.
JAKE SHIELDS: First I want to thank everyone at EliteXC for giving me this opportunity and CBS, a huge opportunity for me. I've been fighting forever. To have this opportunity is awesome. Also I think everybody should make sure to watch this fight. I have a feeling it's going to be a great fight between me and Nick. I think we're two both of the top guys at 170 that haven't quite got the proper exposure and stuff yet. We have a lot to prove on the 26th. I just don't see this not being a good fight. I know I'm going to fight hard. I know Nick's ready, too. So be ready.
NICK THOMPSON: I would just like to reiterate how excited I am to fight on CBS and especially to fight Jake. We're two of the best fighters in the world. I think this fight's going to be the toughest test of either of our careers.
THOMAS DENNY: Once again, I want to thank everybody for all the support over the years. Thanks to, like I said, all the EliteXC guys, CBS. Thanks to Nick Diaz for giving me this fight. I'll really looking forward to going out there, showcasing some skills. I've been training my ass off. I'm going to go out there, I'm going to bring it, I am going to set a high pace. Then I'm going to get my ass in the front row and watch Nick and Jake beat the hell out of each other. I'm really excited for that fight.
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