Hopefully, the action at next Wednesday's UFC Fight Night will be more lively than the media conference call Thursday, a collection of cliched quotes and long pauses between questions.
Main eventers Nate Marquardt and Rousimar Palhares were on the call, along with Efrain Escudero and Charles Oliveira, all men who found their way into these match-ups from various injuries to originally scheduled opponents.
None of the four talked trash or said anything that was "locker room" worthy enough to create a buzz going into next Wednesday's event in Austin, Texas, but regardless, here's the best quotes from the 35-minute call.
"I think that's just coming from someone who isn't a good wrestler. I think wrestling is a big part of MMA and you shouldn't complain about it. You should learn it and learn how to defend against it. I was unable to defend the takedowns from my last fight, and that's why I lost the fight.
"I think with mixed martial arts, we see waves or changes, trends in the sport where one minute it's the strikers that are dominating the sport and all of a sudden then it's the wrestlers and then it kind of goes back and forth. It's just something you have to pay attention to and be prepared for."
This was Marquardt when asked about Dan Hardy's recent comments about wrestling in MMA and what he had learned in his loss against Chael Sonnen. This will be Marquardt's first fight since the surprising Sonnen defeat, so this will tell a lot about what the former Pancrase champion took from that crushing defeat.
This wrestling in MMA debate is getting kinda heavy, eh? I was listening to a Josh Koscheck interview Thursday where he said Georges St. Pierre was boring and reiterated the importance of finishing fights.
There seems to be a giant chasm in the mindsets of fans and fighters between the entertainment and sport aspect, an intriguing side story that is evolving with each passing event.
"You guys got to ask Palhares some questions."
Kevin from Spike joked about this as the call went silent with no questions for a solid minute and seemed to be wrapping up with no one asking Palhares anything. There eventually was a run of questions, but when the answers go through an interpreter, you definitely lose something in the translation and emotion of what's being said.
There's also the realization that while Marquardt is floating around that star/well-known level, Palhares is not and this card seems to be devoid of anything mainstream fans will care about. I'm really looking forward to Ross Pearson vs. Cole Miller, however.
Ratings-wise, this event is really geared toward the hardcores.
"The only thing that upset me was that I saw a lot of people saying and implying that I am somebody that I'm really not. I had no intention to hurt anybody. I'm not like that. And that's the only thing that upset me."
Palhares was suspended for 90 days after holding a heel hook submission on UFC 111 opponent Tomasz Drwal after he had tapped out. He later apologized and said he didn't feel the tap but was still put on the shelf. Apparently, this has happened before with Palhares, hence his vacation.
Holding on a submission a few seconds longer? That doesn't happen, right?
"I always said I'd put records aside, but at the end, the bottom line is, it actually does play a good role. And now that I got that first loss out of my way, it's one of those where I got caught making a mistake. I blame it a lot on my cardio. I think I've gained a lot more from that loss than I would have gained from a victory."
This will be Efrain Escudero's second tilt since losing his undefeated record to rising prospect Evan Dunham earlier this year (remember his shoulder almost being twisted off his body?), bouncing back with a unanimous decision win over Dan Lauzon in May.
This is an important fight for the 13-1 Escudero to see where he fits in the 155-pound mix, a division that needs some fresh faces moving into title contention.
Realistically, Double-E is 2-to-3 impressive wins away from thinking about the gold and a big performance against Charles Oliveira would help kick that off.
Experience wise, the TUF 8 champion should win, but the 13-0 jiu-jitsu ace is no joke. Speaking of Charlie...
"The first fight that I had in UFC was very quick. I don't feel, you know, nothing, no weakness in anything. So I was in very good shape. We got back to Brazil, where we continued training and when I heard the news about fighting right away, that will not (dissuade) me at all, because I was already training anyway."
This was another translator situation, which resulted in some broken answers. You'll remember Oliveira from his :41 submission victory over Darren Elkins at UFC Fight Night on Versus 2 that won him Submission of the Night.
While Oliveira has less than a minute's worth of UFC experience, he's been competing as a pro for 2.5 years and carries an undefeated record into next Wednesday.
He has shown some power in his early fights, but what do we have here? Booking him against Escudero means that Joe Silva sees something in him, making this fight quite compelling.
Look for my interview with main eventer Nate Marquardt this Sunday night. We had a great chat, talking about acting, Pancrase, Twitter, and, oh yeah, the fight next Wednesday.