Brett Rogers and Fedor Emelianenko were on the sidelines this weekend during the Chicago Bears game. They'll be fighting this Saturday on CBS. And right now, they're in the middle of the pre-fight push. That means plenty of media interviews. What follows is a transcription of their conference call this afternoon. Because of less than stellar sound quality, and my own poor typing skills, all answers and questions have been edited and condensed for clarity. They come from writers across the world, including the humble CP scribes.
Brett Rogers: #6 ranked heavyweight and hometown favorite.
Scott Coker: President of Strikeforce, co-promoters of the fight.
Brett, is Fedor's marriage going to be a distraction?
-I doubt it man. He's been a fighter for a long time. I believe it's not his first marriage. With the timing, you don't think this is going to affect him. Naw, he's a fighter. He sees what I'm capable of doing. By him being who he is I'm pretty sure he set aside the time to train.
Brett, have you watched any of his fights?
I have picked it up. Anything to pick up a larger game plan. Yes, I watched a handful of his fight tapes.
Brett, how do you avoid mistakes?
-I've been training for him for three months. The way I see it, I have his style down. All I have to do is wait to take me down. If he takes me down. He deserves it. I been studying MMA for 6-years. You got to have the ground game in MMA. You have to have it.
Fedor, do you ever get nervous?
-I'm not really nervous before or during the fight. But one day before I'm nervous. I'm human like anyone else.
Fedor, why did you specifically want to fight in Chicago?
-There are a lot of Russian people in Chicago. Love to perform for American people but Russian people as well.
Fedor, you were on the sideline for the Chicago Bears game. Do you think you would have made a good American football player?
-I found the game interesting. The games I watch on TV are more interesting. More exciting. If I could play? I don't know, when you watch that from the side, it appears easy. But frankly speaking, I don't know and I don't know the rules good.
Who do you think the crowd will be supporting? Brett, do you expect to have more fan respect? Fedor, any fan backlash from not signing with UFC?
-Brett: Way I see it, I hope the fans cheer me on. Lot of friends from Minnesota are coming to the fight. I'm more excited to get the vibe of the room. But it is what it is.
-Fedor: Certainly a lot of people will come and support Brett Rogers. Chicago is birthplace of Brett Rogers. I understand that and treat that with understanding. Had experiences where the audience cheered for my opponent. As for the UFC and fans being disappointed. I hope they understand I could not sign a one-sided contract and deserve a little more.
Scott, are there any challenges of marketing this fight, specifically, promoting Fedor?
-It's the number 1 heavyweight fighting the number 6. We created a marketing plan nationally and locally. If Fedor was living on America, we'd take him on a lot more shows. Since he does not, we make the best of it.
Fedor, is it a challenge to break through in America?
-I'm not thinking and don't think about that.
Fedor, you are a religious man. Does it help your mentality during fights?
-I cannot answer this question accurate.
Scott, interest in Fedor's brother, Alexander?
-I know Alexander is out there... but until he clears with the commission, nothing happens.
Fedor, you like to train outside. Why don't you like training in expensive gyms and expensive training camps?
-I've been training in same conditions since childhood. That is my gym. That is why. I do not see any reason to change, try new technology, or techniques.
Rogers knocked out Arlovski fast. How do you plan to counter it?
-I know Brett is a serious opponent. I just try to work and prepare and train like I usually do.
Fedor how will fighting in a cage impact your game?
-I think my submission and striking doesn't depend on where it takes place, ring or cage.
Brett how do you think the cage will affect the fight? Give you advantage?
-It is different. As far as strategy, it is going to matter. He's being use to ducking out through the rings. Those are his natural instincts and he's going to think the same way.
Scott, preliminary estimates on ticket sales?
-The building holds 12K... we're about 80% full.
Fedor: how long have you been in the US? Where are you training?
-I usually come 10 days before the fight. We have a gym in the hotel and we train in the hotel. I work out with my coaches and do not train with any American fighters.
Brett, what did you take back from California?
-I wanted to see where I was at. I think that will be my program... train a month, test to see where I'm at, especially with professional fighters. Most of the work I did on the West Coast was ground-work. Stay strong with my technique.
Brett, when did it cross your mind you could be the next guy to fight Fedor?
-When he didn't sign with UFC I knew I'd see him sooner rather than later. Once I was sitting down with coaches they said, "Why take him on later when you can take him on now?" I'm always up for a challenge. Each fighter is different. Train hard for that individual. I'm confident and comfortable and can't wait to go.
Scott, let me start by asking the co-promotion with M-1 Global. How have they helped?
-For this first fight, just bring Fedor. As far as day to day sponsorship sales... The nuts and bolts of the fight was pretty much coordinated through our company. But internationally, they're working with Best who are responsible for airing the fight on Russia's national network. It'll will be on Bravo in the UK, Japan, and 40 countries around the world. It's worked out really well.
Fedor, so much been made of you, do you need to make a statement with this win?
-No, I'm not thinking about that and never thought about that.
Brett, your long odds in the fights. If you beat Fedor, is it like Buster Douglas over Tyson? Or am I selling you short?
-It is what it is. Like I said before. It is a challenge and I'm defiantly prepared.
Brett what is it about you that makes you so confident against Fedor when so many others fell short?
-Coming from nothing. Always wanted to do this. This is me. This is my life.
Fedor, congrats on the marriage. But will your recent marriage have any affect?
-Thanks for the congratulations. But I don't think my marriage will affect anything in any way.
Brett, could you name any movies or TV shows you've been talking with?
-The MTV show. Bully Beatdown. I kind of turned it down. Otherwise, yeah, why not? A-Team, that came across too, I'm fresh to the spotlight. Rocking the mo-hawk. Didn't have enough time to get things down.
Fedor, How do you respond to the critiques of Rogers, and other fighters, who say you're, at times, a sloppy fighter?
-Well, maybe when look from the side it looks not as more vivid.
Brett, could you talk a little bit about your pit-bull, Prince Buddy? And the reason you partnered with the organization, Knock Out Dog Fighting?
-It was one of those things I wanted to do. I have my own place and felt like this was right place and time to do it. The organization? You know with all the Media and trouble with dog fighting. I'm one of those guys who loves animals.
Brett Rogers, did you train with wrestlers to prepare your ground games?
-My training is basically all wraslin'.
Brett, do you see Fedor standing to punch with you?
-I can't see him trying to stand and bang with me.
Fedor, are you going to test his standup skills or try to take him down?
- I can't tell right now, depends on what my opponents offers me and what I offer my opponent.
Fedor, any difference fighting here than fighting in Japan?
-Different adaptation. Different fights.
Brett, does all the media attention make the preparation any more difficult?
-I get what is needed, done. And I get me more exposure. I get it done. It's only a distraction when people are following you around for the week.... (re: his appearance on Fight Camp 360)
Fedor, how is fighting on American national television different than on Affliction or in Japan with Pride?
-2 different nations 2 different cultures. 2 different people. I really like having fights in America. I can feel a very warm reception.
Scott, any misgivings about signing Fedor? (re: the track record of him bankrupting organizations?)
-This is our core competency. We're excited to take it to this level.
Fedor, what are some problems that make Rogers unique?
-I've been fighting for quite a long time. I feel these things by intuition. One of his great advantages is his punch.
Fedor, your brother Alex said he killed a bear with a fork and knife. Is this something you've taken a part of?
-I haven't met the bear. I met in the bear in the zoo. Bear is very strong, very hard for a human to kill a bear with simple methods.
Scott, how are you going to measure if this is a success?
-Aside from the economics... we'd like to see an amazing fight. And I believe we will see an amazing fight.