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Saturday, December 1, 2007

World Combat League Press Conference Notes

By Art Shimko

Friday November 30, 2007
Hard Rock Cafe
Atlantic City, NJ

WMMR radio personality Randy Kotz opens the WCL press conference, and talks about their debut show "Turf Wars" at the Trump Taj Mahal on Saturday, tickets are available at Ticketmaster and will be at the Trump Taj Mahal box office.

A knockout highlight reel from various WCL events is played on a flat screen TV near a small stage in the restaurant.

Randy Kotz then interviews Munah Holland from the NJ Tigers, she says the WCL has lots of fast-paced action, being a team sport differentiates them from other fight promotions. Holland says the WCL is a wonderful, exciting event and thanks Chuck Norris for starting the league. She concludes by saying that the women and men will bring the action on Saturday night.

WCL ring announcer Trevor Griffin and WCL Commissioner Cory Schafer are onstage to introduce the teams fighting Saturday night.

All four of the WCL eastern conference teams are the St; Louis Enforcers, the Miami Force, the NY Clash and the NJ Tigers.

The Enforcers are fighting the Force and the Clash fight the Tigers, fighters were introduced and did the stare down pose for photographers, some words exchanged but just for fun, nothing serious.

Afterward Chuck Norris took to the stage to talk about the WCL.

Mr. Norris said he actually started this concept 30 years ago with the formation of the National Kickboxing League, he then formed the Los Angeles Stars and toured the country with successful results. Mr. Norris then got an offer to star in the movie "Good Guys Wear Black" and chose a movie career over martial arts.

After his television series "Walker, Texas Ranger" ended Mr. Norris decided to get involved again in marital arts. Mr. Norris also discusses how he was approached to be a partner in the original UFC but wasn't into the "anything goes" approach of the fighting.

Mr. Norris recalls an early UFC fight he saw where a fighter on the ground was getting repeatedly elbowed, Mr. Norris feared this fighter might die until his opponent asked the ref if the fight should be stopped. It was then that Mr. Norris felt he didn't want to be involved.

Mr. Norris then talks about the concept of the WCL, saying how he wanted to avoid the "ground and pound" element with the WCL as well as eliminating submission ground work. He wanted a more exciting paced fighting style thus this fighting league relies on stand-up fighting, more of a kickboxing style. Also with each match being two three-minute rounds and fighters being penalized for staying down on the mat, stalling and passivity these are all elements to produce exciting rounds of full-on action.

Mr. Norris also brings up Chuck Liddell and Fedor Emelianenko as examples of guys who are more stand-up fighters who are popular and successful.

Mr. Norris says the WCL's motto is "knockouts, not tapouts."

Mr. Norris says that the WCL will be back on the Versus network in February, he concludes the press conference by putting the coaches and fighters over saying they'll make the league successful.

After the press conference I got to meet Chuck Norris and ask him some questions.

My first question was how he felt about the other promotions and about how the WCL and IFL both had teams. Mr. Norris said he loves competition comparing it to two stores across from each other selling the same thing. As far as the IFL the differences he saw between the two leagues was that the fighters for the IFL, even though being on a "team," were still fighting for themselves individually. With the WCL, Mr. Norris says the fighters really fight for their teams and what also helps is the points system and bonuses for knockouts that effects an entire team rather than an individual fighter.

We again discuss the excitement the WCL delivers over other MMA promotions, Mr. Norris points out how in UFC the fighters are brought to their feet and discouraged from stalling to produce an exciting fight.

I then asked if the WCL would ever consider expanding to international teams, Mr. Norris said he would someday want to have 36 U.S. teams, 24 teams in Europe, 24 teams in Asia and 24 teams in the Middle East.

Here's the line-up for Saturday's show:
Fernando "Cool" Calleros (Enforcers) vs Remy Bonnel (Force)
Dusty "The Dream Killer" Miller (Enforcers) vs Armin "The Bosnian Prince" Mrkanovic (Force)
Felice Herrig (Enforcers) vs Angie Woolum (Force)
Kevin "The Hitman" Engel (Enforcers) vs Roger Krahl (Force)
Issac Diomande (Enforcers) vs Bob Stines (Force)
Tim "Irish Pride" Connors (Enforcers) vs Craig "The Hammer" Oxley (Force)
Tommy "Lil Dragon" Bach (Clash) vs David "Speedy" Gonzalez (Tigers)
Jason "Troubleman" Quick (Clash) vs Chad Blevins (Tigers)
Danny "Assassin" Abbadi (Clash) vs Cory Miller (Tigers)
Dan "Son of a Preacher" Erickson (Clash) vs Remy Bonnel (Tigers)
Mark "The Red Scorpion" Gee (Clash) vs Carlos Brooks (Tigers)
Jennifer Santiago (Clash) vs Munah Holland (Tigers)