Pat Barry and Mirko Cro Cop were on fire during yesterday’s UFC 115 pre-fight press conference. They both thoroughly entertained the crowd while the local Vancouver media focused on the details of the last-minute deal struck between the city and the UFC.
Several reports have suggested the UFC won’t be back to Vancouver because of the outrageously high insurance requirements, however Dana tells MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani that’s not true at all. Dana is ultra-confident that they’ll leave such a positive impression this weekend, insurance will no longer be an issue, paving the way for their return. In all likelihood though, that means they’ll return when the sport is approved at the province or federal level and the city drops the insurance demands.
Back to the stars of the press conference… With Rich Franklin, Chuck Liddell and Mirko Cro Cop — three fighters who have headlined shows for years — to his right, Pat Barry couldn’t hold back how thrilled he was to be sitting at the same table as them.
Barry continued to act more like Cro Cop’s biggest fan than Cro Cop’s next opponent. He got the chance to meet Cro Cop yesterday, but still hasn’t got his autograph. When asked about it at the press conference, Barry coyly floated the request down the table.
“As to what this means to me, I’m just a kid up here,” he said. “I don’t know whether I have to use the bathroom or throw up sitting on the stage here right now. I’ve always been the guy behind the TV screen watching this and the fact that I’m even up here right now is still unbelievable. I’ve shaken my head a few times to see if I’m awake. This means everything I’ve been doing, all the sacrifices I made, all the childhood dreams of being a ninja every Halloween, it’s really coming true.”
“I’m still trying to figure out when’s the appropriate time to ask for it,” he said. “Before or after?”
He turned towards Cro Cop, sitting opposite him on the stage: “It’s still something I want and whenever you’re OK with giving it to me, I don’t mind.”
Cro Cop, perhaps feeling a little uncomfortable with Barry’s adulation, said he’d try to give Barry at least one “autograph” in the Octagon Saturday night. Then he threw out a great line responding to a comment Barry made about staring out the window for two years if he won.
“If I get lucky and land the high kick, he might stare at the window for two years, too,” he said. “With a nurse.”
Later in the press conference, Ariel Helwani finally asked Cro Cop about a very visible, long mark running across his forehead that wasn’t there the day before. Cro Cop jokingly (I think) responded:
“It’s a delicate question… Late training in my room. A few ladies in my room.”
It was easily the best mood we’ve seen Cro Cop since he joined the UFC. Maybe it’s sign he’s finally loosening up and getting comfortable in these surroundings or maybe it’s just the fan in me reading too much into it. I don’t know, but I suspect we’re going to find out Saturday night.
As for that mark on his forehead, they’re calling it a scratch, but let’s hope it doesn’t turn into a cut before Saturday night. I think Pat Barry might die from a broken heart if the fight got canceled at the last minute.
Update: Kevin Iole talks about Cro Cop loosening up with the media, and his scratch which doesn’t sound like it will become a factor in the fight.
— Dana White wouldn’t outright say this is Chuck Liddell’s last fight if he loses. It depends on how he performs. Dana says his biggest issue with Chuck was his lifestyle, which he’s cleaned up.
“My big beef with Chuck was his lifestyle. He’s changed his lifestyle. We’ll see what happens on Saturday.”
Meanwhile, Chuck didn’t say anything about retiring, and only talked about his career moving forward, hopefully towards a title shot.
— Dana says Rich Franklin will “probably get a new car” for saving the day with the Tito Ortiz situation. “That’s Tito costing me more money,” said Dana.
— Speaking of Tito, he’s not too happy with everything Chuck has been saying about him.
“I think we should still fight, just because of the shit he’s been saying. Saying that I’m afraid of him and I’m a pussy, this and that. Go fuck yourself man. Are you kidding me? Has he ever defended his world title longer than me? No. Has any light-heavyweight ever defended the world title longer than me? No. I’m only 35 years old. I’ll be back in the cage again, and I’ll be dominating.”
— Dana says Josh Koscheck needs to “shut up” about blood testing for the GSP fight. He says that’s what the commissions are for.
“I think that’s what an athletic commission is for,” White said. “The athletic commissions have been around for a long time. When fighters start talking about other guys being drug tested? Shut up. Worry about you.
“It’s been a long time since somebody tested positive for steroids. When we first took over, guys were popping here and there and I said, ‘You have to be a moron to do steroids in this sport.’ It’s just dumb.”
Image via Kevin Iole