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Bellator 206 conference call report: Mousasi, MacDonald, Rampage and Wanderlei sound off

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Bellator 206 conference call

Bellator 206: “Mousasi vs. MacDonald” comes to SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., on Sept. 29, 2018, featuring a stacked card for the mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion’s debut on DAZN (details). Indeed, “Red King” Rory MacDonald (20-4) will challenge Gegard Mousasi (43-6-2) for the Middleweight title, while Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (37-13) and Wanderlei Silva (35-13) meet for the fourth — and likely final — time.

In anticipation of this historic card, Bellator MMA lined up a media conference call with all of the big players in this event. Bellator President Scott Coker and DAZN Senior Vice President Joseph Markowski were on the line along with Mousasi, MacDonald, Silva and Jackson to discuss their fights at this upcoming “tent pole” event.

An audio replay of the conference call is embedded in the video player above, and selected highlights of the comments by the participants can be read below.

Scott Coker on Bellator 206: “In my years as a MMA fight promoter, I’d say this is one of the biggest events I’ve been associated with. It’s the perfect way to kick off our relationship with a new partner, DAZN. We’re looking forward to putting on a great show for you guys. It speaks a lot about Bellator’s evolution featuring the best roster in the world, and our rapid growth as a global brand. I’m looking forward to seeing Aaron Pico fight as well as all the fighters on the call today.”

Joseph Markowski on DAZN: “Our brand represents better value for MMA and fight fans. All of those cards are offered at 9.99 a month with a free one month trial, that’s a great value. We’re very pleased to stress that through our partnership with Bellator, we’re going to offer all of our content and all of our boxing for only 9.99 a month following that free one month trial in the U.S., Canada, Germany, Australia, Switzerland and Japan. We’re very excited to be starting off our first chapter focusing on combat sports, but it won’t be long until you see us expand our wings and quicker than you expect.”

Rampage Jackson on what a fourth Silva fight means: “Well, Wanderlei defeated me two times to my one, I’m looking to even up the score. My previous performances in Bellator I faced like wrestlers, and those are always hard fights for me, even though I’m a wrestler because I decided to work on my striking and try to be a more exciting fighter for the fans. Wanderlei is not a wrestler so no matter what I have a puncher’s chance in this fight. I think the way to beat Wanderlei is to beat his ass!”

Wanderlei Silva on what this fight means to him: “This fight for sure is going to a finish and for sure I’m going to beat him up or knock out him. He know and everybody know I don’t like him, and we don’t like each other, you know? For sure it’s going to be a good fight.”

Gegard Mousasi on Rory MacDonald doing too much: “I don’t think so. Obviously, there will be a weight difference, but it’s not gonna be much, maybe 10 pounds, that’s not going to decide who’s going to win or not. I’ll find a way to win, you know? It doesn’t matter the weight difference. I think I’m the better fighter and that’s gonna make the difference.”

Rory MacDonald on trying to prove he’s the better fighter: “Yeah, I’m just going to go in there, this fight could take place anywhere, on the ground (or) standing. It’s going to be a hard-nosed fight, we’re both skilled in all areas of mixed martial arts, I’m predicting it’s going to be a battle everywhere and I’m coming ready.”

Wanderlei Silva on his career: “Yeah, I feel good and training good, and I feel good about this card, we’re going to have a great fight. I’m so grateful to Bellator to put me on this card at this time.”

Wanderlei Silva on this rivalry: “We are real rivals, and real rivals everybody wants to see it, because they don’t exist any more. This is going to be one of the best fights of the night for sure. He’s a good fighter, you know? Now he’s a little bit fat, but I hope he can fight good like the other times.”

Wanderlei Silva on why to have a fourth fight: “I’ve won two times (over Rampage), but now I need the victory, because I want to show everybody my power and my technique, you know?”

Rory MacDonald on his grit and toughness: “It gets pretty uncomfortable in there when you have to push through those barriers. With Lawler, with Condit, with Lima I’ve had to push myself and break down walls. You learn to stay composed in those situations and get more relaxed and how to deal with it. I’ve learned the hard way how to get through these kinds of wars when I need to. My favorite way to win (though) is without a scratch and that’s always the goal, but at this level you can’t always have it that way. I’m prepared for the worst, but hoping for the best.”

Gegard Mousasi on fighters moving to Bellator: “Bellator is growing no doubt about it. I got to fight for the belt, the opportunities I have now, I would never have gotten it in UFC. I’m very thankful they have trust in me, so I just have to put on good fights and win. Bellator is growing and going very well, what can I say?”

Gegard Mousasi on how UFC compares: “They’re putting on bad cards, the main events are not that intriguing, and Quinton vs. Wanderlei is a super fight, Ryan Bader, Matt Mitrione, (Bellator) has so many super fighters now. I think because of my long career I’m now where I should be to have super fights.”

Quinton Jackson on Liddell vs. Ortiz again: “A lot of fans criticize fighters as we get older and stuff like that, but this is what we know and the sport that we love. Even though we get older we still want to participate in it. I personally don’t see anything wrong with older fighters getting out there and fighting, and it’s better for older fighters to fight another older fighter instead of somebody younger and more dangerous. I know Tito wants to beat Chuck, I see that as the reason for them fighting a third time, but I just hope it’s a good fight for both of their sake, because both of them are older than me. They love the sport though and more power to them.”

Quinton Jackson on possibly being his last opponent: “I figured I was going to be his last opponent anyway because after this fight he’s not even going to want to see a cage any more.”

Gegard Mousasi on returning to San Jose after nine years: “At that moment I was scheduled to fight in Affliction against Vitor Belfort, but Belfort didn’t want that fight, and then he went to UFC and fought Rich Franklin. I was scheduled to make a lot of money at Affliction, but then that show got canceled, and then Scott gave me the opportunity to fight for the title against Babalu. That was the memory I have from San Jose.”

Scott Coker on guys holding belts in two weight classes: “That’s something we’ll sit down and talk to each fighter, and they should be treated independently of each other. Rory will enter the 170-pound tournament after this fight with Gegard, but listen, that door is open and we’re not going to close it. We’ll take it on a case-by-case basis.”

Rory MacDonald on going up in weight: “I didn’t put any extra weight on, I’m just fighting at my natural weight, so it won’t be a stress to get back to Welterweight. From my point of view if I put on extra weight it’s just going to be fake anyway, bloating weight that’s going to slow me down and take away from the strength I already have. After my Lima fight I focused on improving my power and strength, but besides that, I wasn’t trying to gain weight. It’s going to be an easy time making weight and getting to Welterweight won’t be a problem because I’m right where I was before anyway.”

Rory MacDonald on defending two titles: “Yeah, I would like to. I’d have to talk with Bellator because I have the obligation of doing the Welterweight tournament, that will take about a year, and the other Middleweights are going to want a championship fight, so we’ll have to see. I’d prefer to stay that way, I wouldn’t want to be stripped, but I have an obligation in that tournament. I don’t know, we’ll see.”

Gegard Mousasi on being the best Middleweight in MMA: “I’m not taking that title, I really don’t care about that, but on the 29th I have to be the best and on the 30th somebody else can be the best. It’s all about match-ups. If I could fight (Robert) Whittaker, I think a guy with good skills of stand-up could beat him, but I don’t care about that I just need to be the best on the 29th.”

Rory MacDonald on Mousasi’s success: “I think that he’s well rounded and he’s got a will to win. He always seems to find a way to win even when the cards are against him and he’s skilled everywhere. It’s really hard to beat a guy that’s skilled everywhere. He’s dangerous off his back and dangerous on top, he’s a complete mixed martial artist, and there’s not too many of those guys competing at the top level. He’s got the skills, you know?”

Rory MacDonald on how Bellator and UFC compare: “I think they’re competing well. I think we have a more exciting division especially with the tournaments, they’re giving us better opportunities, obviously UFC has great talent but the match-ups and the way they’re managing it is not intriguing and the fans feel the same way about it.”

Gegard Mousasi on MacDonald’s success: “He’s a stand-up wrestler, everything is good, his toughness, he comes to fight, he’s mentally strong, technically everywhere he’s good. That’s why he’s one of the best Welterweights for sure.”

Scott Coker on the continuing issue of weight cutting: “We go by the athletic commission rules. When they said they would have fighters weigh in in the morning we abide by that. We monitor weight all week long. We go through some real due diligence here to make sure these guys are not far off from their weight they have to be, and we’re going to abide by what the commission says. Morning weigh in should stay. Let ‘em weigh in, let ‘em eat and rehydrate, but whatever the commission requires us to do we’re going to do.”

Scott Coker on interim titles: “It’s not something that we’re going to do for sure. We almost did it with the Chandler vs. Primus fight, but that’s a whole different topic. Right now we’re going to wait for these fights to roll out and see how it shakes up. We’ve got the four of the best fighters in the world here and we should focus on them.”

Wanderlei Silva on his weight: “I feel good because I don’t have to lose weight and I have my full power. I like to fight in my weight. My weight right now like 220, I feel really good. Natural ... I feel good. I train with the young guys. I make the jiu-jitsu class. I’m so happy to be back to fight again on 29th September. I think 220 to 225 is okay.”

Quinton Jackson on Heavyweight: “Yeah, I’m getting more adjusted to Heavyweight. It don’t bother me fighting at 205 or Heavyweight, but Heavyweight I don’t have to cut weight, which is fine. A lot of people with thyroid problems aren’t young athletes, so they (the doctors) don’t really know what’s going on.”

Quinton Jackson on how he feels: “I don’t walk around hating people and stuff, this is my job, this is my career. I’m always happy to get in the cage and punch him (Silva) in the face. I’m super excited to be fighting against an opponent who’s down to scrap, who’s down to be entertaining for the fans. I love standing with Wanderlei. This fight I’ve been training for 13 long weeks. My cardio is mint. I can go hard all three rounds.”

Wanderlei Silva on stealing the show: “I know the fight is gonna be a good fight, a great show for the fans. I prepare for everything, but for him I expect to have a battle, we’re going to have a great battle with a great show.”

Rory MacDonald on Mousasi’s resume: “Yeah, I would say it’s the biggest name of a fighter I’ve faced so far, so that’s exciting. He’s fought everybody, he’s been all over the world, he’s done it all in this sport. It’s very exciting to compete with a guy like that.”

Gegard Mousasi on the size difference: “I don’t think like that. I’ve been up to Light Heavyweight, I’ve been up to Heavyweight, actually Heavyweight was the easiest division because the guys are slow. I’m planning to fight two more Middleweight fights then go up, no more weight cutting for me. I think the guy who wants it more is going to win, but I have to outpower him, outsmart him, I’ll do whatever is necessary to win, but definitely weight won’t be an issue. It’s not a size factor in who is going to win.”

Rory MacDonald on how the fight will go: “It’s going to be a battle of technique, our fight IQs, our physical capacity, I think it could go in any direction from ground to standing. I’m just prepared for everything. With a guy that well rounded and myself I like to take it everywhere. I really can’t predict it I’m just going to go in there and fight my fight.”

Rory MacDonald on not putting on weight because of Georges St-Pierre: “He definitely gave an example of what I didn’t want to do, but even before that I didn’t believe in putting on weight. Fighting with the strengths I already possess instead of packing on an extra 10 pounds of water, I just don’t think it helps anything.”

Rory MacDonald on what winning a second belt would mean: “This could cement my name in this sport. Gegard’s been everywhere he’s fought everybody. This is the biggest fight of my career for a bunch of different reasons. If I go out there and fight hard with passion I can cement myself in this sport.”

Gegard Mousasi on MacDonald’s strategy: “I expect him to come and push the pace especially being the lighter guy and go for takedowns. I will go for takedowns, too. I have no problem taking the fight to the ground. I don’t want to brawl with Rory, I’m the technical better guy, but if I’m in trouble stand-up I will try to take him down and I think he will do the same.”

Gegard Mousasi on fighting Ryan Bader: “If I go up, I will never go down again. I’ve been cutting since I was a kid, I’m tired of it. I will finish the contract, all of my options are free, and then we’ll go from there.”

Rory MacDonald on going through the tournament for a legacy: “I’m just excited for a busy year. It’s been a few years now since I’ve been really active. I’m just excited. I have so many different opponents and I’m just going to be a busy mixed martial artist and work a lot.”

Rory MacDonald on thinking about Jon Fitch in the future: “I pretty much just focus on myself. At the end of the day I like to just carry in my own skills and focus on what I do, so I’m not really focusing on anyone, I’m just trying to dial in my own thing on getting ready for these fights.”

Wanderlei Silva on a possible New Year’s Eve RIZIN fight: “We’re going to check with Bellator what their plans are for me, and whatever Scott Coker says, we’re going to do.”

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