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Interview with WFC President Matt McGovern

Griffin Tobey

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The other day I was able to catch a couple minutes of World Fighting Championship’s President Matthew McGovern’s time. I was able to ask him some questions about the skyrocketing promotion that is the WFC. The organization has such prospects such as Chris Gutierrez and Thanh Le. As well as fighters such as UFC vet Kyle Bradley, who is looking to revamp his career. McGovern gave some very insightful answers and it looks like his organization will begin to battle for world class talent.

Griffin Tobey: What are your goals for the  future for the World Fighting Championships?

Matthew McGovern: Our goal for the WFC is to continue to build our reach and help our fighters get to the next level. We have promoted 39 shows at 9 different properties in 4 states. We are in talks with properties in California, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Indiana, Florida, and New Jersey right now. Once we establish roots throughout the country, we plan on competing for National and International talent.

“The UFC and WWE are promoting their show on the same day in Louisiana and I guarantee we sell out to fire capacity and have better fights than both of those cards.” – Matt McGovern

GT: You have two events coming up in the next couple of months, WFC 40 on June 6, and WFC 41 on June 27. What can you tell me about these two events?

MM: WFC 40 and 41 will be our biggest events to date. WFC 40 is June 6th at the Belle of Baton Rouge and it will be 7 Professional boxing bouts. The fight card is STACKED with the top talent in the South and each & every fighter has a huge following. The UFC and WWE are promoting their show on the same day in Louisiana and I guarantee we sell out to fire capacity and have better fights than both of those cards. WFC 41 June 27th in Reno is the first Professional and Amateur MMA and Muay Thai event in Northern Nevada ever. We have been building up the market for the past 3 years for an event this size and we are ready to take it to the next level. This will be our biggest MMA card to date.

GT: Your current Bantamweight Champion, Chris Gutierrez recently beat former UFC fighter Aaron Phillips. What does this say about the talent of Gutierrez, and, by extension, the talent of the fighters in your organization?

MM: Chris Gutierrez put together a dominant performance [against] a high-level guy in Aaron Phillips. His devastating leg kicks were the difference in the fight. He actually broke Aaron’s leg in the first or second round. Chris is ready to compete for Uncle Dana soon, but he first has to beat a lethal talent in Carlos Vera August 22nd. As for the overall talent of our organization, I think we have 3 or 4 guys that will one day compete for the UFC title in my opinion. Keep an eye on Thanh Le. He will get the “call” any day and will out strike Conor McGregor every day of the week at 145 lbs.

GT: There is a current uproar over the UFC and the new Reebok deal as [they have been cutting] down on the fighters sponsors. As a promoter, what is your reaction to it? What do you think will come of it?

“If everyone embraced [the Reebok deal] and promoted Reebok’s products, the deal has the potential to be worth 10 times as much.” – Matt McGovern

MM: I think the Reebok deal is great for the majority. Make things easier for Fighters, Managers, and the UFC. If everyone embraced it and promoted Reebok’s products, the deal has the potential to be worth 10 times as much. The UFC is doing a phenomenal job creating these opportunities and setting a great foundation for our sport.

GT: Kyle Bradley, who headlined your last card on Saturday won via TKO. That makes him 2-1 in the WFC. The former UFC veteran has had an up and down career fighting in many places. Do you think he has found a home in the WFC? Also, he took current UFC champion Rafael dos Anjos to a decision a couple years ago. What are his title chances in the WFC?

MM: Kyle Bradley finished a strong 17-3 guy in Kalvin Hackney. It was the best Kyle Bradley I have seen. A couple more performances like that and I would be open to a title shot.

GT: Many prospects are looking for their chance to shine against good competition in an organization. What makes your organization the ideal fit for many of them?

MM: We are a young, hungry, talented and aggressive promotion that is looking to make an impression in this sport. Associating our brand with fighters with similar attributes is vital to our success.

McGovern stated that Featherweight Thanh Le could outstrike Conor McGregor. He also says that WFC 40 will have better fights than the UFC. Confidence in his fighters and organization is what makes Matthew McGovern such an outstanding promoter. The WFC has put together some amazing fight cards in the past and looking at their next two cards it looks as if that will continue.

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Bellator

Michael Page Not Focusing on Opponent Ahead of Boxing Debut

Harry Davies

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MMA Latest spoke to Bellator’s Michael ‘Venom’ Page, as he makes his boxing debut this Friday at the Hayemaker Ringstar Fight Night.

Page (12-0 MMA) is renowned for his entertaining fight style inside the cage, with most of his knockout and submission victories ending up in highlight reels online, that almost always go viral.

‘MVP’ was supposed to make his boxing debut on the undercard of David Haye vs Tony Bellew in March of this year, but due to ongoing negotiations with Bellator, his debut was delayed. Shortly after Page signed with Haye’s promotion “Hayemaker Ringstar.”

Q: So, Michael, we’re about five days out now from your big boxing debut, and still we have no name of an opponent? Can you break the big news, who will you be fighting next week?

I honestly couldn’t even tell you his name right now! I know I’ve got an opponent, but I haven’t even looked at him because it has changed so many times. I don’t like to pay too much attention to it, because it’s added stress. For me it’s just a case of turning up, and firing punches at whoever is across the ring.

Q: Is this fight 10 or 12 rounds? Given a standard boxing fight is a lot longer than your typical 15-minute MMA bout, has there been an emphasis on cardiovascular work in your training camp?

Depending on the opponent, I think it’s 6-rounds. The preparation has been different, I’m having to stress out my shoulders and core a lot. The kicking distance as well is very different, getting used to having people a bit closer. I’m getting used to the corners of the ring, I’ve done it before but not to this extent so I am familiar of it, but my body wasn’t really used to it.

Q: So, is this kind of like a one fight deal for Haye’s Ringstar promotion? Regardless of this fight’s outcome, will you return to MMA?

Not at all, I’m taking it seriously. Otherwise, I would have just had a super fight against a big name like McGregor did. This is why I can’t just jump into a 12 round fight, I need to adjust my body and get it prepared for boxing.

There’s no future plans yet, I’d like to have an MMA fight again before the end of this year, as I haven’t fought this whole year, but another opportunity for boxing may come up and I might get a chance to jump on that, so it depends.

Q: Were you frustrated that Bellator booked Paul Daley vs. Lorenz Larkin, and if you could send a message to Daley right now what would it be?

I have no interest in him anymore. It feels so pathetic and unnecessary now. I don’t think he deserved that fight with Larkin right after the shocking display he put on in Wembley against Rory MacDonald. But good on him he beat Larkin, however he calls me out immediately after then goes on to say he’s past that fight, it just doesn’t make sense.

Credit – michaelpagemvp – Instagram

Q: A statement we hear a lot is “MVP is the only guy outside the UFC that I want in the UFC” People criticise the talent in Bellator and say you’re fighting nobodies, what do you say back to them?

The amount of times you hear “you shouldn’t fight this person, you should have fought that person.” Everyone’s got an idea of what the correct steps someone should make are, but at the end of the day it’s their career. People are so fickle and easy to forget. If you are a fan of somebody, just be a fan of them regardless of win or loss.

Q: I’ve got to ask about how things are with Bellator, because from the outside looking in it’s quite unclear. How is it relationship at the moment?

Yeah I get on with most of the guys, it’s like a small family. I’ve still got a couple of fights left with them, they’re growing very well, the only problem is I feel like they’re focusing a bit too much on ex UFC fighters. For me it says you’re classing yourself as second best. Bellator generate some amazing superstars and young talent, they should continue to promote them.

You can watch ‘MVP’ make his boxing debut this Friday night, as the Hayemaker Ringstar Fight Night will air at 21:00PM on Dave.

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BAMMA

Exclusive: Alex Lohore “Didn’t Know” Who Richard Kiely Was Before BAMMA 32 Booking

Harry Davies

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We spoke to the recently crowned BAMMA welterweight champion Alex Lohore, as he prepares to defend his title against Richard Kiely at BAMMA 32 in Dublin.

Lohore (13-1) won the vacant BAMMA welterweight title last month at BAMMA 31 in London. Fighting his longtime rival Nathan Jones on the night, Lohore knocked out “Mr Bag & Tag” with a knee in the first round.

Q: Obviously the rivalry between you and Jones had been going on for years, but you finished it in brutal fashion. Did you to speak to him after the fight?

Yeah I did have a chat with him. I was telling him that it was a great fight and we should train together sometime, but he was he wasn’t really keen on it. I guess he was still a bit sore about the defeat.

Q: In the cage after your win, you called out Richard Kiely, now you’re fighting him. Are you happy you got the opponent you asked for?

Everyone keeps saying I called him out, I didn’t call him out, he called me out! I didn’t even address his name, I said ‘this Irish kid has been running his mouth we’re going to go out there and shut him up.’ I didn’t even know who he was. He’s been mentioning my name and talking a lot of rubbish on my social media disturbing me and my fans.

Q: The finish against Jones was picture perfect. From the elbow, to the right hand, to the knee, was it the best of your career?

Yeah I think it is, by far! It was perfect technique. I knew as he was going he back he would try to duck in for the takedown. Because I was throwing the head kick anyway all I needed to do was just switch it to a knee. I couldn’t ask for any better.

Q: Given it’s in Dublin and Richard is Irish, How do you feel about going into enemy territory at BAMMA 32?

That’s great, that’s why I’m doing it! I need to be comfortable in every environment, so going out there will test. I wanted to be on the Dublin card, now I can teach him a little lesson too, I can’t wait.

Q: As you know the Geordie Shore star Aaron Chalmers has brought a lot of attention to BAMMA recently, what are your thoughts on him? 

He’s good man. For someone who doesn’t come from a fighting background and does reality TV stuff, he’s doing good. How can people say he should fight someone more experienced, because he is taking  guys that are on his level and he’s doing good.

He’s helping MMA fighters because he has got a big following so more people are going to be watching MMA and learning about MMA so it’s a good thing having him on board.

BAMMA32 will take place at the 3Arena in Dublin on November 10th. Tickets are now on sale at ticketmaster.ie. The card will air live on both UNILAD’s Facebook page, and Dave.

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Bellator

Exclusive: Andrey Koreshkov eyeing fight with Rory MacDonald

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Former Bellator welterweight champion Andrey Koreshkov is coming off of an interesting past two years. In 2015 he beat current welterweight champion Douglas Lima, via a dominant unanimous decision, in order to win the welterweight title. He returned in 2016 and beat former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson via another dominant beatdown. It seemed like Koreshkov was going to be the champion for a very long time, making elite fighters look like they had no business being in the cage with him.

Koreshkov’s world came crashing down one night in Isreal. The Russian was beating Douglas Lima in a rematch, he was up 20-18 on the score-cards, and it seemed like he was going to walk away with another successful title defense. Koreshkov forced Lima’s back against the fence and started winging punches at him, Lima started to do the same as he looked to get off the fence, and then it happened, a huge left hook caught Koreshkov on the chin and it was lights-out. Lima was once again champion, and Koreshkov’s reign was cut short.

What was next for Koreshkov after losing the title? Perhaps a move to middleweight? Bellator’s middleweight division has fewer contenders than the welterweight division and could promise a quicker path to the title for the Russian. Koreshkov is a big welterweight, standing at 6’1, he certainly wouldn’t be small in the higher weight class. Speaking to MMA Latest, Koreshkov was quick to shut down the idea of moving up. “No, no, I work hard at welterweight and I’d like to stay there.”

Sticking with welterweight, Koreshkov knew it was going to be tough to get another title shot after his fight with Chidi Njokuani, but he seems to know the key to fighting for the title “It’s not about how many wins, but rather, the quality of my wins”, with that in mind, he promised the gameplan against Njokuani was to “stand and bang”. Koreshkov fulfilled his promise, against Njokuani he came out guns-blazing, giving Njokuani all he could handle on the feet before eventually taking him down and finishing him with some nasty ground and pound.

Koreshkov also got the chance to explain who he’d like to fight next, should he not get a title shot. “I don’t have any favorites, I know that there are a lot of tough fights at my weight class, but if I had to choose, I would say Rory MacDonald.” Unfortunately for Koreshkov, MacDonald is booked against his former opponent Douglas Lima, as the two are set to fight for the Bellator welterweight title in January.

A fight against MacDonald would promise fireworks as the two are known for their ruthless style. There’s a strong chance Koreshkov may get his chance against MacDonald next, as the former champion is certainly either next in line for the shot, or set to fight the loser.

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