Interview with Kickboxer Wayne Barrett on the middleweight title and rise of GLORY


GLORY is the premiere kickboxing organization in the world. And even if you aren’t familiar with it yet, Spike TV is betting it will take off. Similar to the way Spike popularized the UFC with an unprecedented TV deal in 2005, the network is betting on the crossover appeal of kickboxing, featuring GLORY kickboxing events on a monthly basis.

“We really like this sport,” said Jon Slusser, Spike’s senior Vice President of Sports. “If you talk to people who like MMA, they love kickboxing. With the growth of MMA and the growth of combat sports over the last decade, a reintroduction of the sport is what we think will give this sport the boost it needs to really climb into the spotlight,” says Slusser.

Middleweight Wayne Barrett finds himself in the perfect place at the perfect time. On the mat is where his opponents have found themselves since the former Golden Gloves boxing champ turned pro.

As an amateur, Barrett compiled a 19-1 kickboxing and Muay Thai record. Barrett’s GLORY debut came in a September when he knocked out Robby Plotkin in the first round. In his second GLORY fight, he toyed with and then knocked out previously undefeated Mike Lemaire in round two. In a total of 23 fights, he has amassed 18 knockouts.

“I’ve never seen anything moving so fast,” said Barrett about his career coinciding with the rise of GLORY as an organization.

“Everything behind the scenes is being done so well, that at this time next year we will be really relevant. GLORY has done their homework and is doing it the right way, not trying to do it all overnight. As a result, I think you’ll see a lot of crossover; guys leaving MMA for kickboxing. There’s going to be even more money in this sport because there already is. Like Joe’s check for $150,000 for winning the middleweight tournament. That is the most money a kickboxer has ever made in the United States.”

The “Joe” Barrett referred to is fellow middleweight Joe Schilling, who back in September won the four-man, one-night GLORY Middleweight Tournament and a purse of $150,000.

Saturday November 23rd on Spike TV, Barrett faces Schilling at Madison Square Garden in New York City for the inaugural GLORY Middleweight Championship.

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The Light from the TV Shows: A Chat with Lorenzo Lamas (“The Joe Schmo Show”)

For someone who’s best known for his work in prime-time soap operas (“Falcon Crest”), syndicated action series (“Renegade”), and straight-to-video shoot-’em-ups (including the “Snake Eater” trilogy, among many, many others), Lorenzo Lamas is a pretty funny fellow, and he gets a chance to show that side of himself – along with several other sides, to say the least – when “The Joe Schmo Show” returns to Spike TV tonight at 10 PM / 9 CST. Lamas took some time to chat with Bullz-Eye before and after the show’s panel at the winter Television Critics Association press tour, and he talked about how much fun he’s having showing off his comedy chops while also taking time to delve into his life and times up to this point.

Bullz-Eye: Well, I was able to watch the first two episodes…

Lorenzo Lamas: Oh, yeah…? How did you like it? What did you think about it?

BE: It was great. I liked the first season, but I never actually saw the second season. But this looks like it’s right on par with what the show’s been like before.

LL: From what I gather, the guy they cast for this “Schmo” is a lot different than the first guy. And what I’m gathering is that…the first guy was just a really great, friendly, open, more innocent kind of guy. Like, a real Joe Schmo, y’know? [Laughs.] Whereas I found Chase to be a very analytical, intelligent, not quite as naïve guy.

BE: Yeah, he seemed like a sweetheart, but he also seemed like a guy who really wanted to win, too.

LL: Yeah, really competitive. Absolutely.

BE: So how did you find your way into this? Did they approach you, or was there a casting call and you heard about it?

LL: You know, John Stevens and I had done something last year together – a pilot for an action show, a hybrid that was part reality, part scripted – so we met on that project, and then when Sharon Levy talked to John about doing this version of “Joe Schmo,” John says, “Well, what do you think of Lorenzo Lamas?” So he kind of brought it up to Sharon, and then Sharon asked, “Does Lorenzo do comedy?” Because the whole idea is this 10-day-long improv where everyone’s in character and they have to really stay in character. So John called me and said, “I’ve got something that’s kind of out of left field, but…would you be interested in doing this show?” And then he kind of formulated a pitch to me. And I had just finished doing “The Eric Andre Show,” and I loved it. That was improv, too. I did one episode, then they brought me back and did another episode. I’d just finished doing it, so I said, “You know, John, I think this might be meant to be…” Because prior to that, I’d also done a couple of episodes of the Nickelodeon show “Big Time Rush.” I played Doc Hollywood, who’s a bigger-than-life character, almost slapstick comedy. And I’ve been enjoying that. I’ve been enjoying the change, wrapping my mind around just…not doing action, y’know?

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An okay evening at Spike TV’s “Guys Choice” Awards

We’re fussy about Red Carpet events here at Bullz-Eye central. That’s largely because as a lone, online writer you’re pretty much at the mercy of the publicity gods in terms of who you’re going to meet up with and you never know who that’s going to be. One condition we have is that we get to see the show/movie/what-have-you in question so, if all else fails, we can write about that or at least get a bit of entertainment and free food. In this case, that was a good thing. Not because we didn’t get to talk to anybody interesting, but because Spike TV’s “Guys Choice” presentation, which premieres on the network at 9:00 Eastern/6:00 PDT Friday is not your usual award show.

Right down to the sexy female dancers who liven up the breaks and its highly distinctive award statue, “the Mantlers,” it’s easily the most laid back and honestly silly awards show I’ve seen. It’s also the only award show we know of which contains R-rated profanity in one of its award titles: the “Funniest Motherf*cker” award, this year being given to Jim Carrey. It’s safe the say the show was completely irreverent about everything, except for its commendable commitment to drawing attention to the bravery and sacrifices made by members of our armed forces.

Speaking of Jim Carrey, the famed comic provided a remarkable bit of comedy dealing with the always absolutely never hilarious topic of..oh, Lord, we’d better just leave it alone. You don’t want to know. Carrey himself made it clear that children and other sensitive people were better off not hearing the routine before proceeding with a shocking and explosively funny performance, abetted by the sensitive stylings of violinist Neil Hammond.

More traditionally edgy and hilarious at certain points, but a lot longer, was a marathon bit by faux canine Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog, aka comic genius Robert Smigel. The latter merited a bad on-camera review from Sean Penn who between this show and his criticism of Ricky Gervais at Golden Globes, seems to be developing a side career as a real-time award show comedy critic.

Mila Kunis at the Spike Guy's Choice AwardsJustin Timberlake less controversially proved himself to be, once again, no comic slouch, while promoting the charms of the co-star of his next flick, “Friends with Benefits,” the beautiful and talented Mila Kunis. Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards distinguished himself by simply being alive to pick up his award and being the innately humourous individual he is.

And so it went. I’ll have a few choice quotes from the show at the end of this piece. First, though, let’s talk about the folks we met on the Red Carpet.

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Bullz-Eye hits the Spike Video Game Awards with Jeep

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 11: Host Neil Patrick Harris speaks onstage during Spike TV's 2010 Video Game Awards held at the LA Convention Center on December 11, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Last week I got an email I’m sure every gamer would love to get: Do you want to go to the Spike Video Game Awards Show in LA? Oh, by the way, it’s being hosted by Neil Patrick Harris. Being the professional that I am, I tried to answer with the most reserved ‘Hell yes,” I could manage. It was…not so reserved. I was to be sent to the show courtesy of Jeep and Spike, who had partnered to promote the Call of Duty: Black Ops edition Wrangler. We would stay at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills, hit a Maxim party on Friday before the show, and sit on the floor for the show. Again, hell yes.

As you might guess, Spike knows how to host a party, and though I’m sure I slept at some point, the weekend remains an endless blur of bright lights and free drinks. Staying at the Four Seasons is like staying in another world, a world that is completely unlike and seemingly infinitely better than my own. I was greeted in the hotel lobby by an enormous bouquet of live lillies. There was marble, quite literally, everywhere. My room was spacious and well-equipped and I had a great view of the hotel garden below from my private balcony. The bathroom followed the hotel’s upscale, modern decor and featured amenities by Bulgari.

Spike wasn’t content to leave me in that room for long. Shortly after my arrival, my host and I made our way to the tenth floor, where Spike had arranged a gaming lounge for its weekend guests. The suite was packed to the walls with food and drink and each room hosted a different game system. Black Ops was on hand (of course), and I got to spend a little time with Microsoft’s Kinect. As I mentioned in a post on our gaming blog, I’m not typically a shy person, but jumping around like a fool in front of a room full of people I had just met was an odd experience. Still, it was great to have access to some games to get into the mood for the weekend.

For dinner we headed to The Bazaar by José Andrés at the SLS Hotel, also in Beverly Hills. The Bazaar features Spanish tapas, both traditional and modern, as well as some classic dishes with a culinary twist. Andrés was named GQ’s 2009 Chef of the Year, an accolade I can now appreciate after several hours with his food. Our server was kind enough to let us order roughly forty dishes and bring out enough for the table to taste. We went through baby Japanese peaches with burrata, hazelnuts, and arugula, a tuna ceviche in an avocado roll, jicama wraps with mint and basil, and refined versions of homestyle cooking. Cod fritters with a honey aioli replaced your average battered fish. Air bread filled with aged cheddar and topped with rare Wagyu beef took the place of a Philly cheesesteak. Oh, and I can’t forget to mention my cotton candy foie gras. It was decadent.

We left The Bazaar and made our way to Hollywood Blvd for the Maximum Warrior party at LA’s Supperclub, hosted by Maxim. It was everything you would expect from a Maxim party: girls on trapezes soaring over the dance floor, bottle service in private booths, bunkers with skimpily-clad models playing Call of Duty: Black Ops, a photo booth with weapons and costumes to celebrate the Maxim competition, and a DJ that rocked the house as late as people would stay. I had a chance to meet Mark Salling from Glee, chat with Cedric Yarbrough of Reno 911 fame and said a quick hello to Masi Oka from Heroes. All of this, and we hadn’t even made it to the awards yet.

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 11: A general view of atmosphere at Spike TV's 2010 Video Game Awards held at the LA Convention Center on December 11, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images)

After a late night, both at the Supperclub and in various rooms of the Four Seasons after, I was glad for a slow start Saturday morning. My host and I hit breakfast at the Four Seasons café and then split for a few hours – him to the spa, me back to the room for some writing. We reconvened for the Spike Video Game Awards just before two, and enjoyed lunch on the way to the convention center. The red carpet seemed to fly by, and before long we were in our seats on the right side of the main stage. I’ve never been to awards show, so it was interesting to see how the live show went off. Neil Patrick Harris came on just before things got started to give us a little pep talk about the proceedings and get the room fired up for the awards.

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 11: Rockstar Games/ Rockstar San Diego (makers of Red Dead Redemption ) accept the Video Game of The Year award onstage during Spike TV's 2010 Video Game Awards held at the LA Convention Center on December 11, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

The show itself was pretty cool – NPH is always fun to watch and there were some very cool appearances. My favorite part of the evening was listening to Jose Gonzalez perform his theme for Spike’s Game of the Year, Red Dead Redemption. If you haven’t played the game, it’s hard to appreciate how much atmosphere ‘Far Away’ gives to Rockstar’s vision of a wild west, but you could feel the eerie tension as he played. As part of the show, we also got to see trailers for Mass Effect 3, Guillermo Del Toro’s Insane, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and Uncharted 3, all on an enormous screen. The show staff came around periodically to deliver typical gamer food, with a bit of a twist. We had pizza bites made with gorgonzola, sliders and tater tots, and classic hostess snacks.

After the awards show it was off to Katsuya at LA LIVE, the entertainment mall that hosts Staples Center. Katsuya is probably best described as a modern sushi bar for the American palate. The dishes are simple but delicious. I ate chef Katsuya Uechi’s Crispy Rice with Spicy Tuna in quantities typically reserved for buffet trays (at one point, our server actually asked if she should just leave the tray – my answer: yes). Katsuya was laid back, quiet enough that I could enjoy the company of some fellow Midwesterners from Jeep’s Detroit media office. Once I had finished the last bit of spicy tuna in the place, we went back to the Four Seasons lounge for drinks before bed.

It would be tough to say enough good about the experience. Both Jeep and Spike are excellent entertainers, and the Spike VGAs were the perfect place to integrate the Call of Duty: Black Ops edition Wrangler. If you ever have the chance to get to LA for a weekend, seize it and don’t look back. You’ll never be short on things to do, and if you’re over near the Staples Center, be sure to get yourself some Crispy Rice with Spicy Tuna.

For more about the Spike Video Game Awards, be sure to check out our gaming blog, Fearless Gamer. I’ll be covering several of the announcements in more detail and discussing the atmosphere of critical awards in gaming culture over the next few days.