Strikeforce Middleweight Champion Frank Shamrock, challenger Cung Le, welterweight title hopefuls Jake Shields and Drew Fickett, as well as EliteXC Live Events President Gary Shaw got together today via conference call to discuss the upcoming Shamrock vs. Cung Le show taking place on March 29 at the HP Pavillion in San Jose, Calif.
The big news stemming from the call is that EliteXC plans to announce the date and fight card participants for its debut on CBS sometime tomorrow (March 19). Kimbo Slice is expected to headline the show; however, Shaw would not reveal any details about looming announcement.
We'll pass along the details of this announcement as soon as it becomes available.
In the meantime, here are some highlights of the teleconference.
On Shamrock vs. Cung Le -- "This is one of the best cards we've ever put on. We plan to do one million at the gate. This is a fight that is truly for the king of the bay area and of San Jose. It's young vs. old."
On Frank Shamrock -- "No organization has the best fighters or the best fights, but the best fighter in the world, hands down, bar none, is Frank Shamrock."
When asked about putting on a fight between Randy Couture and Fedor -- "I do not interfere with other orgainizations contracts, we respect the fighter, respect the contract, and respect the UFC. I have talked to Fedor, but not to Randy Couture, not until his UFC deal is up. But yes, I would sign that fight in a heartbeat."
On Andrei Arlovski and Tito Ortiz - "There are many fighters out there that I'm interested in, Arlovski is one of them. But again, we have to wait until his UFC deal is up. I'm a big fan of Tito Ortiz and I hope to do business with him in the future. Tito would be a big fight for Frank."
On the first CBS show -- "There will be a CBS press release tomorrow announcing the date of the first show and some of the fighters competing on that show. Let me just say it will take place a lot sooner than later." (Later he was asked when Robbie Lawler and Gina Carano's next fights would be and he said to wait for the press release tomorrow.)
Frank is a very confident guy, almost cocky at times. He seems like he has no worries about Cung Le or this fight.
On fighting Cung Le (mash) -- "Fighting Cung Le in San Jose is a dream for myself and the community.... Cung Le better keep his hands up.... Like most Cung Le is scared to go to the ground with me.... Cung Le is a great striker, but he's not prepared for an mma striking match.... I'm going to push the pace hard and try to end it in two because my wife is pregnant and I want to get home in case the baby pops out."
On the best fighter in the world -- "Anderson Silva is not the best fighter in the world. Best in the UFC, but all the best fighters aren't in the UFC. I have 100 percent confidence that if I ran into him, they would be calling me the best."
On Ken Shamrock -- "I was disappointed in Ken's performance. I don't know if he has the heart of a lion anymore. I just hope he has a little something left so I can take it from him."
On Tito Ortiz - "I think its a great idea to rematch Tito. I've talked to him and we're trying to work it out now. I beat him with striking when I was terrible at striking. I'll destroy him now, but it would be a great money fight."
Le was very respectful toward Shamrock. He was very thankful to ProElite and Strikeforce for the opportunity.
On Frank Shamrock (mash) -- "I'm happy to be a part of this card in San Jose. This is the biggest fight of my career. I've been training so hard for this fight. Frank is a great fighter. He's fought big guys like Tito. I have a lot of respect for him.... If he chooses to stand it will be a great fight.... It's all a smoke screen. Frank's an intelligent fighter. He says he's going to strike, but he'll jump on an ankle or start hunting for my knee. I'm an intelligent fighter too and I'll be prepared either way."
This kid talks and acts like a champion. He has confidence and class. Shaw said over and over that he thought Shields was the best fighter in the world at 170 pounds.
On Drew Fickett -- "I have a lot of respect for Drew. I think we match up well and it should be a good fight. I'm prepared for a war. Fickett is good on his feet, he's good on the ground, its going to be a war."
On fighting for the EliteXC belt -- "I've held some titles over in Japan, but this is a legit one of the biggest titles in the world."
It's just another day at the office for Fickett. He's a fighter and just likes to fight.
On Jake Shields - "I think stylistically we match up well. Shields is one of the more underrated fighters in the world. I just hope I can go five rounds and do well. Theres going to be a lot of scrambling, striking, ground, me and Jake are going to push each other. This is the first fight I've been motivated for in 10 years."
On fighting for the EliteXC title -- "I'm more excited to be fighting Jake than to be fighting for a title."
That's pretty much the meat of the call.
Strikeforce: "Shamrock vs. Cung Le" will air on Showtime March 29 at 9 p.m. ET LIVE from San Jose, Calif. The other main card fights are: Gilbert Melendez vs. Gabe Lemley for the Strikeforce lightweight title, Nick Diaz vs. Jae Suk Lim and Joey Villasenor vs. Evangelista Santos.