From FUEL TV:
"State of the UFC:" Evans, Bisping, Cruz and Florian Discuss Judging, Training Injuries, Choosing Fights, TRT and More
UFC Tonight airs Tuesdays 10:00PM ET/7:00PM PT
LOS ANGELES, CA – On this week’s "UFC Tonight," Insider Ariel Helwani joins Analyst Kenny Florian and guests former Light Heavyweight Champion Rashad Evans, middleweight contender Michael Bisping and Welterweight Champion Dominick Cruz in a special "State of the UFC" edition. The panelists discuss the UFC’s hot topics, everything from whether veteran fighters should be allowed to choose their own fights to fighters training too hard and TRT.
"UFC Tonight" Insider Ariel Helwani asks whether veteran fighters should be allowed to pick their fights:
Guest panelist Rashad Evans: "Yes, I think so. What it comes down to is you have to look out for your career and what is best for you. No offense to the UFC, but every time they present a fight to you, it may not the best fight for your career because you want to keep moving forward and keep your career moving."
Guest panelist Michael Bisping: "I have asked for higher fights a couple times. I can kind of understand why Shogun Rua feels the way he does being a former champion. And Glover Teixeira is an amazing fighter, but he is not a household name like Shogun. Glover has everything to win in this situation, but Shogun has to look at what the gains are for him. I am not saying I would choose my fights, but I sympathize with them. We are not in the habit of choosing our fights, the UFC makes the fights. I have never turned down an opponent."
Helwani asks if fighters are training too hard?
Panelist Dominick Cruz: "I think I absolutely train too hard, but if you turn it down you have to remember that are going to go fight in front of a million people. You have to go to sleep every night thinking about the fight and who you are going to fight and if you are going to win. It is so different to say that you are not going to over-train. You work hard and you tell your coaches to train you hard. That is what your coaching staff is for. My job is to go into practice and do what my staff tells me. I don’t know what I’m doing when I go in there. I do what I am told."
"UFC Tonight" Analyst Kenny Florian: "There is a bunch of things involved as a fighter. Dom is correct; you go in there and do what you’re told. We are like soldiers. The problem is that it is still a new sport; we are in a grey area. The coaches don’t know how to mainstream the practice. We go to all of our different practices and conditioning and we are at different places, the coach can’t be at all those places at the same time. So now I have a coach who is pushing me in boxing, sparring, conditioning, jiu jitsu. And neither one knows how hard the other is pushing me. Everyone’s ability to handle the volume of training is different and sometimes we push ourselves too far. We are still learning the scientific ways of training and then we will learn what is too far."
Evans: "Because there are so many facets of the sport and you have to perfect all aspects of it, it is hard to say. It is different with each fighter. You have to know when to pull yourself back. That is what it comes down to because no one is going to pat you on the back and say that today is your rest day. Because you become addicted to training and when you have a rest day you feel weird that you’re not working out. You train in gyms with a bunch of different fighters and freak accidents happen."
Florian: "But then we need to tweak our training. If this guy has a championship coming up, he shouldn’t be put in that situation where he could get hurt. We should be changing the way we are training."
Cruz: "The only way to get ready for a fight is to get in a fight during practice. And, in a fight you want to destroy the other guy. So no matter what you do, you are close to injury in every single practice. It doesn’t matter how light you go, it just happens."
Helwani asks if refereeing and judging are the biggest problems in the sport today?
Cruz: "Yes, but just like anything else, some guys are good at it and some guys are bad at it in the sport. Take Herb Dean, you haven’t heard anything bad about him. He does a good job. But when someone else does a bad thing, you hear about it non-stop. I think there should be a minimum number of events they should work to get to UFC. Right now there’s no minimum. Our careers are in their hands."
Florian: "If you’re a ref or judge, what kind of review process do you have? If you do something, you must be accountable for it. As a fighter, you get one shot in the octagon and that could determine your career. But that’s not the case with the judges and refs. There should be a review board for them made up of fighters or other refs to make sure they’re doing their job correctly. There needs to be an overall education process happening."
Bisping: "As an example, after a fight two judges might score a fight 29-28 for one fighter, then the third judge could score the fight 30 – 27 the other way. If that happens, he should have to explain what he did. They should go backstage and review the fight right away and see if either he wasn’t watching the fight or couldn’t figure out what was happening. They should be accountable for their decisions."
Evans: "This is still a new sport and it’s going to go through growing pains. It’s still a subjective sport and susceptible to human error. Judging is a bigger issue than refereeing. The judging has a long way to go still."
Bisping: "The big problem is all the bogus decisions the judges give to fighters."
Florian: "I know the commissions are working on it and trying to define judging better."
Helwani asks if fighters should be allowed to use Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT):
Florian: "Well you know there are two thoughts on this. Either everyone should be able to use this across the board or it should be banned. There are a lot of ways around it. A lot of guys can say their testosterone is low because they are coming off a cycle, but it allows my opponents or their opponents to train much harder than me. If I am drilling more than these guys, that is a lot more training sessions over my opponents. The hardest thing about a fight is being able to get your training in."
Bisping: "I think it’s nonsense. When you are 21 testosterone is flowing at its max and as you get older it lowers and when you’re a 40 year old you start slowing down. The whole thing is ridiculous. Nobody should use anything. If you tested them three of four times a year, then you wouldn’t be able to cycle and it wouldn’t be an issue."
Evans: "This is a professional sport, people are going to find a way to get an edge and you’re saying it’s not fair for everyone across the board, but everyone can get it. People will find it anywhere if they want it. The commission allows four-to-one or six-to-one in some places, so now you have guys coming in with four or six times the advantage. It should be allowed or cut completely."
Cruz: "I am cutting so much weight I can’t even think about TRT. I wouldn’t make weight if I put anything in me. The other issue is it is a huge help to what you are doing in the sport, but is me adding TRT going to make me from a blue belt to a black belt? No, I still need to know technique. But what it does help is conditioning. But, you can’t double the workload if you have something in your system."
Helwani asks how the UFC on FOX deal affected the sport overall and has it affected them directly?
Bisping: "Well, it’s affected me a little bit. I used to get a little hate mail, now I have a personal assistant to open up all the hate mail I’m getting."
Evans: "It makes me think of the future. How big will the UFC go? I love the fans right now, but sometimes I just want to go to the store and not get mobbed by the fans. But it’s a good thing overall."
Florian: "I think it has the ability to get much larger and bigger than sports like soccer. We have the ability to reach so many more fans now thanks to the deal with FOX. This has enabled the sport to bring in new fans and educate them more about the sport."
Cruz: "The deal adds to the legitimacy of the sport. The UFC is now labeled the NFL of MMA. It’s helped us grow with getting more sponsors and a lot more."
"UFC Tonight" is the official weekly news and information show of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, airing every Tuesday night at 10:00 PM ET on FUEL TV. The show is co-hosted by veteran UFC fighter and multiple title contender Kenny Florian and former UFC host and WEC Announcer Todd Harris. Two-time World MMA Awards Journalist of the Year Ariel Helwani adds insider news.
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