Strikeforce held a media conference call earlier today (March 31) to promote its upcoming "Diaz vs. Daley" event airing live via the Showtime network on Saturday, April 9, 2011, from the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego, California.
Right off the bat, a noticeable change was Dave Sholler's presence as the "master of ceremonies" of sorts. Sholler is the UFC Director of Communications and he took the role in the call normally occupied by Showtime's John Beyrooty.
Present on today's call were Strikeforce welterweights Nick Diaz and Paul Daley, who will be fighting for the division title in the main event next Saturday night. Both fighters have reputations as two of the best trash-talkers in MMA but they held their tongues on this call, both stating they had mutual respect for one another.
Also on the call were lightweights Gilbert Melendez and Tatsuya Kawajiri who will be competing for "El Nino's" lightweight title in the co-main event in a rematch of their PRIDE fight from 2006.
Recap and conference call highlights after the jump.
- Scott Coker confirmed that Mike Kyle broke his hand yesterday and a replacement to fight Gegard Mousasi will likely be announced in the next two days. Also, he refuted the rumor that Fedor Emelianenko had been released from his contract.
- Paul Daley said Nick's striking is some of the best in MMA. Nick doesn't have the power he does but his distance, timing and range are fantastic.
- Nick Diaz sees a lot of good stuff happening with potential good fights and match-ups that people want to see (in regards to the Zuffa purchase).
- Nick Diaz stands by his previous statements that he's not impressed with Daley's MMA skills in regards to being a well-rounded fighter.
- Paul Daley on his comments immediately after the Zuffa purchase of Strikeforce: I honestly thought I wasn't going to take the fight.. ..The way I saw it was Strikeforce was competition to the UFC and Dana White kicked me out of the UFC and I felt like I was a rival to the UFC and that was driving me by being in competition directly. I was proving my worth as a fighter. I had some decision wins and some knockout stoppages but the most important thing is people were talking about the fights I was in. As a fan of the martial arts and a fan of MMA, I don't like to see the way it's going in the sport. There's gonna be a monopoly and how in 10 years time people will be calling MMA, "UFC." I think that's bad and that's why I wanted to pull out of this fight.
- Paul Daley: The most important thing is winning this fight and winning it in style.
- Paul Daley: I hate wrestlers that are just going to lay and pray. My objective is to knock people out and I've been very successful doing it. You wouldn't ask Mike Tyson how he'd win in his heyday and expect him to say he'd try to win on points. He was a knockout artist and he came to knock people out and I'm the exact same way.
- Nick Diaz: I'm not gonna be the one to back out of this fight.
- Gilbert Melendez: (The purchase) motivated me big time. It lit a fire under me. I've got Zuffa behind me and that means I'm gonna be exposed to every fan out there that calls MMA, "UFC" and I'll get a chance to prove if I really am number one. There's a lot of great match-ups for me. It's gonna be great for my career. I'm looking to fight for at least six more years.
- Nick Diaz: Jon Jones and Rashad Evans aren't real training partners. They're like 10 years apart and they didn't train together that much. I don't even appreciate being asked about fighting teammates. They don't pay me even close enough to fight a teammate.
- Gilbert Melendez says he would be willing to take a pay cut to not have to fight teammates.
- Nick Diaz says elbows on the ground are boring and they help keep boring ground fighters on the ground.
- Paul Daley says it would mean a lot to be the first UK fighter to win a significant MMA title. He's ready to make MMA history.
- Paul Daley: I really don't care (if Nick stands with me). He does have the option of taking it to the ground and use his jiu-jitsu and my game is to take his options away from him. I'm trying to take his options away so he no choice but to stand with me.
- Kawajiri feels he's advanced as an MMA fighter and believes he will fight a smarter fight this time around.
- Kawajiri says he's training as usual with no specific training geared for a fight in a cage.
That's a wrap.
For the current Strikeforce: "Diaz vs. Daley" fight card and rumors click here.