Bellator boss talks King Mo, Ben Askren, Michael Chandler and more
Post fight comments from Bellator’s huge Spike TV card held at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho NM on July 31. No press conference was held for the fighters due to five post TV prelim fights but Ben Askren, Michael Chandler, King Mo and Bjorn Rebney were available for some quotes.
Thoughts on Askren dominating Koreshkov…
I watched Koreshkov, though it’s probably a bad example to what happened to (Jake) Ellenberger last week, train with Ellenberger, who has crazy wrestling at this level. I saw Koreshkov stuffing his takedowns, literally moving, giving him angles, giving him distance and then he comes in here and Askren rolls him like he is a ragdoll. After coming from Russian to train for this fight, he spent two weeks here with Ellenberger and Bubba Jenkins. Bubba was executing takedowns on him but he was stuffing some of them. He was doing things that would translate very nicely against Askren. Askren is hard to explain. He is so one dimensional yet so dominant. I thought (Douglas) Lima had a chance because he has lightning quick hands. I thought Koreshkov had a chance because he is light on his feet and moves beautifully. Nothing. It’s a hard one to explain.
What’s the next step with Ben?
I don’t know. That was his last fight with us. We are going to have to talk to him and see what happens next. He is such an odd anomaly. I try to think of analogies for it, like Royce (Gracie). At the time Royce got in trouble until he found the position he loved off his back and then you went, oh, Royce is in control. There were moments when he was standing and that’s not his safety zone. It’s almost if Ben is bored in there (cage). It’s like he is going through his motions and sparring and working out his kinks in his wrestling game. Everything you do to Ben, he rolls out of it into something else. I don’t know. It’s a tough call.
Thoughts about Michael Chandler?
I know a lot of people have different opinions and it generates a lot of back and forth, but I think Michael Chandler is the best lightweight in the world. I saw that with all due respect to other guys. There are some guys we have as champions that I don’t say ‘Hey, they are the best in the world.’ Chandler man for man with his skill set beats anyone 155 and below.
Is there a possibility of King Mo fighting Emanuel Newton again before getting a title shot against the champion Attila Vegh?
Conceptually. (Attila) Vegh was injured and we are still working through that with him. Emanuel is ready to go right now and I just spoke with Mo and he is fine.
Concerning the heavyweight tournament final, a point was deducted from Vitaly Minokov so did it concern you about a draw situation?
The point deduction threw me for a loop because he wasn’t warned. He was in a clinch and throwing knees. Ninety-nine out of 100 times the ref will say ‘watch the knees.’ I don’t know how you take a point away without telling him ‘watch the knees while you are in the clinch.’ It could have been a problem. If we took the tournament finals to five rounds, it’s another step and these guys would be exhausted.