A chat with UFC fighter Dan Hardy: Part Two

In the first part of our interview with Dan Hardy, the UFC fighter discussed his feelings toward allowing cardiologists to put wires into his heart to determine the extent of his Wolf Parkinson White Syndrome in order to be cleared to fight. In Part Two, Dan discusses fighter pay, his sponsor’s reaction to his heart condition, his WolfCam training videos, his views on Carlos Condit, the mental edge of athletics and passing on learned lessons.

Mike Furci: Well, as much as I would love to see you fight like many other MMA fans, I have to agree with your decision. What has your sponsor’s reaction been to this situation?

Dan Hardy: You know what? I really can’t thank my sponsor enough. I really expected it to cause all kinds of problems and it’s really not. Venomfight and Xyience are just behind me all the way. They’re still selling my shirts, my shorts and Xyience is still promoting me. It’s refreshing because it’s given me a little bit of time to really get this figured out without having to worry about getting to a fight to pay bills.

It really means a lot. You know, obviously in a situation like this, it would be quite easy to turn their back and move onto the next fighter, but that’s not been the case. I don’t just feel like a commodity now; I truly feel like part of the team.

MF: That’s a hell of a tribute and says a lot about those two corporations – Venum and Xyience. So what’s this I hear you’re claiming to be in the best shape of your life? What’s different about your training now and what are some of the reasons you believe you’re in such great shape?

Dan: Well, this situation with the Wolf-Parkinson-White kind of lit a fire in my ass and my solution to being disallowed to fight is to prove that I’m able to fight by physically just being far better than I have before. I’m not getting beat up as much, I’m not doing the sparing and that type of stuff, so I’m able to train for much longer and I’m doing a lot of yoga. The thing is, the studio is so hot – I mean it’s a 90-minute session and I lose about eight pounds a session. I’m really working on my flexibility. Just basically all-around fitness and flexibility is what I’m going for. It’s kind of funny that my career is potentially coming to an end and I’m actually just finding my stride in my training camp. Totally ironic.

MF: Speaking of training, can you talk a little bit about the WolfCam and your series of training videos that you’ve got YouTube?

Dan: Yeah. Well, I was getting a lot of questions about training, and so the best way for me to answer these questions was just to make a video available. My intention is just to kind of show people what I am doing. Really, I’m not trying to educate anybody or say, “You should be doing this.” You know, if I can make this information available, then hopefully someone will benefit from it. And the feedback from people who are doing my training sessions has been very positive.

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A chat with UFC fighter Dan Hardy: Part One

Dan “The Outlaw” Hardy, who started martial arts as a kid, began training for competitive fighting in 2002 after 14 years of traditional marital arts. He joined the UFC in 2008 and made his debut at UFC 89, winning by split decision.

Dan hardy is a very hard working, outspoken person that personifies a great attitude. In part one of this interview, I had the opportunity to talk to Dan about his artistry, his experience training with the Shaolin monks, the GSP fight, the possibility of losing his contract with the UFC, being diagnosed with a heart condition WPW and the reaction by Dana White.

Mike Furci: First, I’d like to thank you for taking the time today to talk with me Dan.

Dan Hardy: No worries Mike, no worries.

MF: Fans of Bullz-Eye and MMA, today we’re talking with Dan Hardy, one of the most recognizable MMA fighters of today, a UFC welterweight crowd pleasure who fought Georges St-Pierre for the title in 2010. In that fight, he escaped two submission attempts that would have easily forced the vast majority of fighters to tap out, which I believe, Dan, is not only a testament to you, the fighter, but also Dan Hardy the person – as the audience will see as we proceed through this interview. And though you’re not currently fighting, you definitely have not been sidelined.

And before we get into what you’ve been doing recently, I’d like to take the Bullz-Eye readership back somewhat to get to know you a little better and discuss your career as a fighter, if you don’t mind.

DH: Sure.

MF: One thing I didn’t know myself as much as I follow MMA is that you’re an artist.

DH: Yeah, that always comes as a surprise to people.

MF: As most artists, I’m sure you discovered your talents when you were very young, and I understand you were also doing MMA at a very young age. What pulled you into the direction of MMA as a career?

DH: Really, just the drive at the time. I mean, I’ve always been an artist. As a kid, I always had a sketchbook in my hand, so even my parents thought I was going to follow that path. But when I was at university studying art, it occurred to me that this was my athletic peak and I needed to explore it right now. I could always return to art in the future.

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A chat with UFC President Dana White


It wasn’t that long ago that the Ultimate Fighting Championship announced its network deal with FOX. The deal was reached in August of 2011, and since that time, the UFC has held six live events on the national network, with the seventh event taking place this Saturday.

UFC on FOX will be held from the HP Pavilion in San Jose and airs live on FOX on April 20 at 8 pm ET. For the fourth time, the UFC will headline its FOX card with a championship bout, as lightweight champion Benson Henderson defends his title against former Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez.

The FOX card also features a heavyweight clash between former UFC champion Frank Mir and Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix champion Daniel Cormier, who is making his UFC debut. Lightweights Nate Diaz and Josh Thomson and welterweights Jordan Mein and Matt Brown complete the main card. Six preliminary fights will air live on FX beginning at 5 pm ET and the prelims and main card can also be viewed on FOX Deportes.

The man behind all the action this weekend is UFC President Dana White, who took some time out of his busy schedule to talk with us about Saturday’s card, the UFC’s partnership with FOX, and the buzz around the new women’s bantamweight division. White, a Boston native, also gives his thoughts on the tragic Boston Marathon attack on Monday afternoon.

BULLZ-EYE: Thanks for your time Dana. Can you give everybody a little rundown of the UFC on FOX 7 event that is taking place this Saturday night in San Jose?

DANA WHITE: One of the things I was really excited about with this deal with FOX was being able to bring big fights back to free television. That has always been my goal since we bought this company. Coming off “The Ultimate Fighter” finale last weekend, every fight was sick, it was an amazing finale. We pulled 1.7 million viewers. We were the highest-rated thing on network and cable television with males 18-34. This fight on FOX is going to be a big one. Ben Henderson is defending his lightweight title again, this time against Gilbert Melendez, who is probably the toughest guy at 155 pounds that has never had a shot in the UFC. Everybody thinks this guy might be the best in the world, so we are going to find out on Saturday.

BE: When Ben Henderson came into the UFC from the WEC, what were your initial thoughts on where he fit in at 155, and have you been impressed with what he has done thus far in the octagon?

DANA WHITE: Absolutely. You never really know about a fight or a fighter until the fight happens, but Ben has been phenomenal. If you look at the guys that he has beaten since he has been here, he’s been outstanding.

BE: You have a lot of former Strikeforce fighters competing and being featured on this card. How have you assessed the Strikeforce fighters and their performance in the UFC thus far?

DANA WHITE: I have been thrilled with the Strikeforce fighters. A lot of bad stuff happened at Strikeforce. A lot of guys didn’t get paid for a while and these guys are hungry. First of all, they are happy to be back fighting and getting paid to do it. These guys want to prove to the world that they can fight and become the best in the world. The UFC is the place to do that. These guys have been fighting like maniacs, and I love it.

BE: There can be a lot of added emotion and pressure when you fight for the first time in the UFC. We saw that with Cat Zingano last Saturday as she was fighting back tears just walking out to the octagon. How do you think fighters like Melendez and Daniel Cormier will handle fighting in the UFC for the first time?

DANA WHITE: I think they are going to be fine. They have had big fights on TV before. I think it is tough if it is your first time on TV and you are making your UFC debut, but these guys have had big fights before. Cormier fought Josh Barnett — that’s a big fight. I think they are going to do fine.

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A chat with Bas Rutten

Since its inception in 1993, the UFC has revolutionized the fight industry. Started as a professional fighting organization, the UFC has evolved into a business where hybrid athletes are required to have mastered various disciplines, e.g., karate, jujitsu and wrestling. It’s the largest pay-per-view provider in the world. Every sport that has evolved to become wildly popular and lucrative has individuals that are credited for paving the way. Bas Rutten is one of the names that come to mind when people talk about legends of mixed martial arts (MMA). A true pioneer of the sport of MMA, Bas who has retired from fighting, has also established himself outside the ring. Find out what Bas had to say about MMA, his injuries, training, and working with stars like Kevin James on the hit movie, “Here Comes the Boom.”

Bullz-Eye: Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to do this interview.

Bas Rutten: Oh no. Thank you for doing the interview. This is great.

Bullz-Eye: Well, for our audience at Bullz-Eye, I’d like you all to know that I’m talking with Bas Rutten, who many, including myself, consider to be one of the top MMA fighters of all time, an absolute legend and pioneer of the sport. Throughout his MMA career, he was known as a submission artist and devastating striker who perfected taking out opponents with body shots to the liver and open-hand strikes. The list of competitors he’s beaten reads like a list of who’s who in the world of MMA. Undefeated in his last 22 fights, he’s a former undefeated UFC heavyweight champion, a Muay Thai champion, and a three-time undefeated King of Pancrase.

As if all your accomplishments — and I haven’t even read them all, obviously — in the world of MMA weren’t enough, Bas has also made a name for himself outside the ring as an actor, host and television personality. Rutten can be seen co-starring with Kevin James and Selma Hayek in the feature film “Here Comes the Boom,” which, by the way Bas, I have to say that film was awesome.

Bas Rutten: Right? Yeah, that’s what I thought. You come out with a happy feeling.

Bullz-Eye: My fiancé and I went to see it when it first came out, and I have to tell you, that was just an excellently well done film. The premise was awesome, and the fighting looked very realistic.

Bas Rutten: He did a good job. Kevin James, I know Kevin James for a long time, 16 years. I mean, pretty much right away when I came into the States. He had quite a different life at the time. He lived in a one-bedroom apartment that he shared with his brother. That was when the first season of “King of Queens” started. We became friends right away. And all these years, I’ve been doing a lot of projects with him and with his brother.

Bullz-Eye: Well, both my fiancé and I are into high levels of fitness and training. And when you see him jumping around, and moving about, even in that other film that you appeared in, “Paul Blart: Mall Cop,” we both commented how extremely athletic he is.

Bas Rutten: He really is. I came home from my first time training, and I told my wife, true story. I said, “He’s like a bear. He’s fast and he’s very powerful, and he picks up things really fast.” Great student, great man. Great guy And he was actually at my last fight that I had in 2006, when I made a comeback, he was there 80 percent of the time for my training.

Bullz-Eye: Oh, no kidding.

Bas Rutten: He was there in the same room pushing, pushing, and pushing me because when he was in my corner, people went, ‘Ah, it’s just a publicity stunt,’ but he was really there all the time.

Bullz-Eye: He sounds like a good guy.

Bas Rutten: Yeah, he’s a really good guy.

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A chat with #1 UFC Middleweight Contender Chris Weidman

The hottest name in the UFC’s middleweight division belongs to Chris Weidman. Fresh off a beat down of leading middleweight contender Mark Munoz, it was just announced this week that he will next fight Tim Boetsch on December 29th for the right to face Anderson “The Spider” Silva with the belt on the line.

His ascension to legitimate middleweight contender has been quick thanks to his willingness to fight (five fights in a year and a half) and a commitment to discipline, including a 32 pound weight loss in 11 days prior to fighting Damian Maia.

“I had to cut 32 pounds in 10 days on top of not being in great shape. I pretty much came right off the couch and took that fight. It definitely wasn’t a great idea for me and was probably the worst experience I ever had. So, I wouldn’t recommend anyone else doing that and I would never do it again myself.

“But it was a huge opportunity for me and I found a way to win against a guy who was top five in the world at the time. I was fighting at about 10% of what I generally feel like I fight at, but it did more for my confidence than any other fights, even the ones I’ve finished in the first round. After that fight I got a lot of criticism because it wasn’t a very exciting fight and I looked tired but it did a lot for my confidence regardless.”

What has created so much buzz about Weidman is his overall multifaceted skill set, and his ability to finish fights in different ways. In the course of going undefeated in his first five UFC fights, Weidman has collected both “Submission of the Night” and “Knockout of the Night” honors, an incredibly rare feat.

“I don’t really have a preferred way to end a fight, I just want to end it and win, “said Weidman. “It’s always a good feeling to knock someone out, but I don’t want to be one of those guys who only looks for knockouts and get caught because that’s what I’m looking for exclusively.

These days, Weidman’s name has been increasingly linked with middleweight champ Anderson Silva. Thanks to the way Silva has torn through every one the UFC has put in front of him, and the quick rise and exciting fights Weidman has fast become known for, it’s a fight the fans want to see.  But Silva’s camp has been reluctant to accept.

“It’s frustrating,” said Weidman about trying to orchestrate a fight for the title. “Since I got into the sport anytime I’d tell people I was doing MMA they’d ask what weight class and I’d say middle weight and they’d say “Isn’t that Anderson Silva’s weight class? Oh, you’re screwed. You better change weight classes, pal.” That motivated me and he deserves that type of respect ‘cause he’s earned it, but it motivated me to take risks like fighting on short notice and I’ve worked really hard to be the #1 contender and for him to just kind of downplay me, more his managers, it’s kind of frustrating. So I hope the UFC makes the fight happens but if not, I will fight someone else.

Currently Chris is a member of “Team Edge” shaving gel and is in the running to become the next “Face of Edge.”

“Basically it’s a contest,” said Chris. “There are four guys in the running to be the face of Team Edge Shaving Gel from the beginning of July to the end of September. The winner becomes the next “Face of Edge” so basically the winner will have their face on a couple million cans of edge shaving gel cans. I’m trying to win but I’m in second place and I’m down by a lot, these numbers are weird man. I think there’s some cheating going on (laughing).”

To listen to the full audio interview click here.

Follow Chris on Twitter at ChrisWeidmanUFC

Check out Edge Shaving Gel and vote for Chris at Edgeshave.com/ufc