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Bellator 251 ‘Manhoef vs Anderson’ virtual media day Q&A | Live updates

Fighters are scheduled to start chatting today at 1:30 p.m. ET from inside Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.

Bellator 251 media Q&A

Bellator 251: “Manhoef vs. Anderson” takes place this week (Thurs., Nov. 5, 2020) at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. The debuting Corey Anderson (13-5) will take a Light Heavyweight bout against fearless combat sports veteran Melvin Manhoef (32-14-1, 2 NC).

The fighters are scheduled to participate in what the promotion is calling a “Virtual Media Day” this afternoon (Tues., Nov. 3, 2020), starting at 1:30 p.m. ET.

Expected participants include:

Melvin Manhoef (1:30 p.m.) - Bellator Middleweight/Light Heavyweight
Tyrell Fortune (1:45 p.m.) - Bellator Heavyweight
Derek Anderson (2:00 p.m.) - Bellator Welterweight
Said Sowma (2:15 p.m.) - Bellator Heavyweight
Corey Anderson (2:30 p.m.) - Bellator Light Heavyweight
Alex Polizzi (2:45 p.m.) - Bellator Light Heavyweight
Janay Harding (3:00 p.m.) - Bellator Featherweight
Jaylon Bates (3:15 p.m.) - Bellator Bantamweight
Sumiko Inaba (3:30 p.m.) - Bellator Flyweight
Austin Vanderford (3:45 p.m.) - Bellator Middleweight

Selected news and memorable quotes from the participants will be available below.


Melvin Manhoef: “Everybody thinks for me it’s like a test, you know? I know I can do it. People don’t think so, but I think I can and my team (does to). I’m going to do what I do best, knock people out. Even if it’s a decision or something else that’s what I’m here for.”

Manhoef: “I signed (for) two more fights after the Bahati fight. I said if you want to do the show in Holland, I want to do my farewell fight in Holland. Give me one fight before so I’m going to stay in shape, that’s why I signed for two more, but then the pandemic came. I’m going to do this fight, and win or lose, I’m going to have my last fight.”

Manhoef: “Very long time (with Scott Coker) since Strikeforce. Scott is really loyal and a really strict promoter. What he says he does (and) he takes care of me. He asked me ‘Yo, can you still do it?” And I said ‘Yes man.’ And now on the end of my career he gave me an amazing fight. I want to deliver (for) the fans and then I’m happy man.”

Manhoef: “After the Bahati fight I was finished, but they said they’d come to Amsterdam, so I want to do that for all my fans in Holland. It’s a shame that it couldn’t (happen) but maybe — I still have one more to go. But let me see how this fight is going to go.”

Manhoef: “Ryan Bader? For the title? Okay. If he brings Ryan Bader (to Holland) I would decline, because Nemkov is the champion I think.”

Manhoef: “I’m not the exact perfect guy to ask because I swap a lot of weight divisions. As you get older it’s better to cut less weight, but if you saw Mousasi vs. Lima it was very great, Lima did great, but Mousasi was like top level again you know? I think some people can do it and some people can’t, but it depends on the person.”

Manhoef: “I don’t think in problems, I think in solutions. For every problem there is a solution.”

Manhoef: “The kickboxing in Holland is not as big as it used to be, but I’m doing this for a long time now. Nowadays I really find myself a MMA fighter, a kickboxer still, but that chapter I closed it like two years ago and there the kickboxing legend stopped.”

Manhoef: “This is my life. I really live for this shit.”

Manhoef: “I really enjoyed it man and just like I said, Mousasi is one of the best fighters in Holland, and the next generation is going to be even better. There’s a bright future still you know? There are gonna come more Dutch guys.”

Manhoef: “I don’t need to prove people wrong. It’s only for myself and my team. You think I’m going to train my ass off, come to America just to lose? Come on guys. It’s the hurt game and I’m not the one who’s willing to hurt. It’s going to be a nice fight. That’s what I know.”

Manhoef: “If (Anderson) is ranked No. 4 in the world he’s like one of the best of the best, and if I can fight him I’m also like one of the best of the best. Yeah, he’s top level. He wants to prove he’s legit and he is. I think he’s a top contender for me, one of the best guys I’ve had in a long time now.”

Manhoef: “If I win, I’m going to get drunk. That’s what I haven’t been able to do for a long time (because of the pandemic) so I’ll take something to my room and party by myself.”

Tyrell Fortune: “I’m extremely excited just to fight. My last fight went barely over two minutes and I didn’t get to fight. I had two performances in a row where I didn’t get to fight. Right after that fight I only had two days off and I went right back into training camp (and) evaluating what I needed to do next.”

Fortune: “It’ll be good for me just to get back in the win column and get the train running again. I’ll just be happy if I can get in there and the fight can be completed.”

Fortune: “I think I’m one of the best in the (Heavyweight) division, regardless of where Tim Johnson or anybody else is at. I think it could be a great rematch in the future if all the cards fall into place.”

Fortune: “I think Bader wins (in a fight with Johnson). When you look at his last fights, Bader is way better than he is, and he’s going to have a handful with him in every category.”

Fortune: “For me COVID didn’t do much. I have keys to the gym so it never prevented me from getting my work in. The protocols (at Mohegan Sun) don’t bother me at all. Whatever it takes to get in there and get it done.”

Fortune: “The loss opened my eyes, made me pick my flaws and see where I needed to improve my game. My confidence is still there, I still believe in myself, it was just like ‘Okay what am I missing?’ So I just sat down and evaluated myself and made sure I made better decisions in the future.”

Fortune: “I have a nutritionist now who controls my diet. I realized I needed to invest in myself to get to that next level.”

Fortune: “This guy (Said Sowma) making his debut in Bellator, he might be a little edgy, but that’s all up to him.”

Derek Anderson: “It was crazy man. (Daley) backed out on me three or four years ago here in Connecticut. In Italy I was blown away because it already happened before. I think he got scared. They told me he didn’t make weight and I was like ‘Hell yeah it’s Christmas time.’ I think he realized I felt better than he did and I wasn’t scared, not intimidated at all. It was gnarly that he backed out, I couldn’t believe it. I was pretty upset at first — well, I’m still upset about it. I could have got his extra money from missing weight, but I simmered down, Bellator got me another fight with Killys, hopefully I work my way back up soon. I got paid all one check (for Daley) anyway. There was no show and win bonus, it was one bit of money (for me) so it worked out.”

Anderson: “Usually a layoff makes me really hungry. I’m a really aggressive fighter already. I had a little bit of build up toward my camp, this one I was taking a little vacation and they were like ‘Fight Paul Daley on three weeks notice’ and I said ‘Sure” and got ready (but) that didn’t happen. The way we do it we just smash through everything we’ve got to do and get ready for the fight. We did a lot of sparring, a lot of bag work, just real technical stuff but sparring’s good you know? I feel really good. Honestly a layoff is good for me. This time I think I’m ready to chill out a little bit. I’m taller than this guy, maybe use my reach a bit, but my combos are where it’s at. I think I’m just growing up as a fighter and I’m ready to be a very tactical guy.”

Anderson: “The gym’s opened back up for me, so I got to use 24 Hour Fitness again, even for the Daley fight I got to use the treadmill and stuff. We had some (COVID) setbacks at first but we’ve opened up more and more and I’ve gotten it done. We always get a good camp in and that’s what gives me so much confidence — training so hard. COVID is a hassle, right now we’re sitting here in quarantine in the hotel, and that’s tough. I barely cut any weight but still I can’t imagine what it’s like for some of these guys. All you have to do is sit in your room and think about fighting, but we’re lucky to be doing it in times like this.”

Anderson: “I can take a shot better than anybody. Hit me man, let’s go. You hit me, I get excited. I’ve never been pissed off, so somebody taunting me, that would be great.”

Anderson: “I think I really came after Bomba and I just freaking gave it to him. I threw freaking bombs on him and he was ready for that. I try to bait guys to hit me because when they try to hit you it’s a little better for you, but some guys they stay safe. I try to bait dudes. I could have relaxed off him but I just gave him those big shots. I was just throwing big bombs on him and I didn’t really change it up too much. Bucia was tough, I almost finished him, we spent the whole first round wasting time on the ground. I think I am still a very good finisher but I don’t have them lined up in my last few fights as much.”

Anderson: “Before Daley I was kind of laid off with some injuries, the one I pulled out of MVP for, because we just train so hard (that injuries) set you back. Now (fights) seem to be there more than I’m ready. Maybe I could’ve gotten some shots in my groin for that MVP fight. I wish I could have done it anyway. I just don’t want to let things hinder me. Get shots or ignore things, whatever I have to do. I’m just tired of waiting on anything.”

Said Sowma: “I’ve watched a couple of (Tyrell)’s fights, he’s high level, I think he’s been in MMA for four years but people don’t grow that drastically between fights so I’ve got a (good) idea of what will happen.”

Sowma: “To be honest I’m not really sure (where a win puts me). I’m getting used to this, it’s a worldwide promotion, I’m just trying to get a win and go from there.”

Sowma: “I have to deal with it and do what I can. I like it. I’m happy that I’m here now.”

Sowma: “It’s kind of crazy. You get all this attention all of a sudden and you see people noticing you. It’s pretty crazy, yeah. I don’t know yet, I can’t put my finger on it, but I enjoy it. Keep an eye out you know? I’ll surprise people. I’m a smaller guy coming from a regional (level) but I believe in my skill, so keep an eye out.”

Sowma: “I was off a five year break from competing (in my first fight) so it was ring rust. Steve Mowry is a very tough guy. Skill wise I was fine but the adrenaline kicked in and I gassed out. I had to adjust my pace for Heavyweight and just work on my nerves.”

Corey Anderson: “It’s the same thing, just different people. ‘What do you see different here in Bellator?’ I told ‘em it’s the same risks but with a higher reward now. In UFC they didn’t value me. In Bellator their first offer was a big amount of money compared to what they wanted to pay me. I could end up in the hospital, broken arm, brain damage, but at least I’m getting paid what I signed for (now) instead of just showing up to cock fight.”

Anderson: “At the end against Jan, I didn’t go out and fight the way Corey does, I was fighting the way Jan fight and I paid the cost. As for this camp I haven’t even fought about when I’d get a title fight, what it would do for me next, either way we’re getting paid for these fights. Am I saying I don’t want to get to a title fight? No, but right now Manhoef is the focus. If they want me to fight another one, fine. If they want me to jump for the title next, fine. But I go out there and get paid to perform.”

Anderson: “Some of the biggest decisions have nothing to do with the people in the organization and the division. It was about self-worth, setting myself up financially. If you look at my bank account you’d think I was still on the regional fight scene. The money I was making there (in UFC) wasn’t worth the people I was beating, and now people are there one or two years making more money than I was. It’s a slap in the face. Since I got in the fight game, the UFC, my mindset was to be UFC champion. It’s hard for me to think when I signed this contract that I wouldn’t be fighting for the UFC title, those three words, but everything else was right. Bader, Nemkov, Machida, Davis, you already know they can perform at the top. Either way I was going to fight the top people, but which one was I going to get paid for? Make a little money and take care of your family.”

Anderson: “Manhoef isn’t the biggest name I fought. It was either Shogun Rua or Glover Teixeira. His name isn’t as well known as those two, Shogun and Glover, those two both fought Jon Jones. Glover went five rounds with Jon Jones and I beat Shogun up pretty good. I think those were the bigger names than Melvin but he’s in the top three for sure.”

Anderson: “You got out there to dominate. You go out there to impose your will on a man. You make them want to quit. Pressure constantly constantly and make them go through a living hell. I feel like I can do that in Bellator again. I feel here it’s not going to be (you’re boring) — if you win you move forward. I think the Corey Anderson business is a hot market. The one loss I have is now the world champion. Why wouldn’t you want to get into the Corey Anderson business? Why wouldn’t we take that guy? He’s top in the world. That brings extra media, and he tells people the way he gets treated, other people will come over and get paid more too.”

Anderson: “U, F, C. Those three letters. They aren’t the end of the world. If you can go somewhere else and get paid, do it. I didn’t want to be a UFC champion until I was in UFC. Once I was in I wanted to go all out and make the best of it. When I have a mindset to do something, I usually do it. That’s why it was so hard to part ways.”

Anderson: “I’ve made peace with (not fighting Jones). Once I leave, you break bread with that. My beef and my drama with Jones is behind me. I personally reached out to him and apologized. You mature and you learn how to put things like that behind you.”

Anderson: “The top here and the top there are the elite 205ers in the world. Now that Jon Jones has moved on, Bader has done a lot of great things, but you have to give a lot of respect to Jon. Unless you beat him or do the things he’s done, we’re all chasing him. Can we compete with him? 100%. I think he actually lost the fight with Dominick Reyes. The top guys here can go toe to toe with any of their guys. I’ll never claim who is the best or what is the best until they match each other up and prove it.”

Alex Polizzi: “It’s tough to say right now and as cliche as it sounds I’m just looking forward to the fight at hand, and that’s Julius Anglickas. You guys probably know a lot more of the names than I do. I just show up and punch who they want me to punch.”

Polizzi: “You guys are asking questions above my pay grade. I show up and hurt people. I hope a win on Thursday lands me in a position to fight somebody else for more money with Bellator being happy to see me back.”

Polizzi: “As fighters we’re always looking for the knockout, the big exciting finish because it looks good on our record, that’s the goal. But I think it might be a good thing to have gone that full amount of time, the distance, getting that three rounds in because I can press it there and impress upon the judges that I won the fight.”

Janay Harding: “Hundred percent (I want Leah McCourt) and after she comes back from her surgery we can find a date that suits both of us. I don’t think the UK will be an option, but whatever we can do, so hopefully if we can early 2021 that’ll be awesome.”

Harding: “I prefer fighting on the West coast, it’s a bit of a shorter leg, but I’ve fought at Mohegan before. From the time I left my house until I stepped into the hotel it was about 31 hours. I kind of know what to expect and I take it with the gig. It is what it is.”

Harding: “They (my family) almost stress more than I did. I just wanted to fight. Once I got here I really understood the substantial difference in the amount of (COVID) cases, how much more prominent it is here. For so long at home the borders were closed and I wasn’t even able to see my mom. I’m just hoping that once we come back, our elections are going on as well, and things are changing. Hopefully when I come home I’ll be able to see them and destress them from all that I do.”

Harding: “I’m 100% MMA. I’ve let boxing go now. It was taking away my attention from the things I needed to work on the most.”

Jaylon Bates: “Everything is great. (I’m) on weight. Love it. Honestly (the pandemic) it hasn’t (affected me). I’ve been ready for this fight since January.”

Bates: “There’s a lot of opportunity on the rise (at Bantamweight). I’m an opportunist so I’m going to seize it all.”

Bates: “Patchy (Mix) was going back and forth with me a couple of months before his fight with the champion now. When I’m 6-0 we’ll get there. I want him on my seventh. (Gallagher) doesn’t impress me. Not in the slightest.”

Bates: “The popularity contest never stops, no matter where you go. It was always fighting bullies growing up and learning to defend myself in peculiar situations, because I was a skinny guy. I’m still a skinny guy.”

Sumiko Inaba: “My last fight I decided at that point that was going to be my last amateur fight. I was ready to move on to the pros. Yeah I was super excited to move on to bigger and better things and then I wound up in Bellator, which is awesome.”

Inaba: “I think that they (Bellator) believe in me, that they can build me up to be a top contender for the belt. I can’t be more than thankful to Bellator for giving me this opportunity. They see potential in me.”

Inaba: “It’s amazing to have a fellow Hawaiian be the champ. They have definitely done really really well — I went to both of the events in Oahu. Hawaii has such a huge support behind MMA fighters and I’m feeling that too.”

Austin Vanderford: “It’s been a roller coaster for sure but I’m happy to be here now and that Bellator got me a fight on short notice.”

Vanderford: “I was sicker this year alone. After my fight in Israel I got the flu when I got home. The weird thing about (COVID) is how it affects everyone differently.”


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