Friday, March 16, 2007

An interview with the Fight Professor [Pt 1]

By William Davis

The nickname “The Fight Professor” is not just handed out. Stephen Quadros has been involved in combat sports since before most of us were born. He’s commentated for almost every major MMA organization and has had his own combat sports magazine. He has also judged many major shows, including the UFC. Stephen sat down with to discuss this year in MMA and his own personal career.

William Davis: Thank you for the interview, Stephen. Let’s talk about the IFL event coming up on Saturday. It features the Anacondas taking on the Razor Claws. The Anacondas actually beat the Silverbacks on the first IFL show this year. The Silverbacks were last year's champions and had never lost a team battle. Does that victory automatically assert the Anacondas the team to beat this year?

Stephen Quadros: Yes, it does because Pat Miletich and the Silverbacks had this aura about them. It was almost as if it was the beginnings of a dynasty. They won every team competition. They always figured out a way to get it done. But, Bas Rutten is also a mastermind. He’s also, and you can quote me on this, a five star general in the sport of MMA, and he does not like to lose. We saw that in his career in Pancrase. When he came in, he lost a couple matches, and then he changed and said, “No more losing to submissions.” He hasn’t lost a fight since.

With his team, he went back to the proverbial drawing board (after the Anacondas lost to the Silverbacks in last year’s Semifinals), and he said, “Guys, we have to train as a team.” That’s the whole thing with the IFL. You can’t just grab a whole bunch of ronin type guys and throw them in the mix and say, “Okay, you’re with us,” even though they train with someone else. It doesn’t work like that. There’s a certain vibe live at an IFL event, the team concept is more important than everything else. Bas saw that. All the other coaches are seeing that now too.

I asked Pat about this before, now that he’s won both the IFL exhibition tournaments, is his team marked men? He said, “Absolutely. Everyone is gunning for us.” So, Bas got the first crack, and they got a win. But, believe me, Pat isn’t going to take it lying down. Pat wants pay back, and he wants to reassert himself. Bas may have figured out a formula to beat Pat and the Silverbacks, but this won’t be the last time we see the Anacondas against the Silverbacks in my opinion.

William Davis: Are the Anacondas and the Silverbacks on their own level, or can you see a third team challenging this year?

Stephen Quadros: I thought that Matt Lindland and the Wolfpack really gave a good accounting for themselves last year. They made it to the World Team Championship Finals. They went up against the Silverbacks and we’re defeated, but Matt Lindland already had his team in place.

That’s the key. If you don’t already have a team in place, then get one in place. Matt Lindland had Team Quest in Portland, Oregon and so many great fighters have been there. Fighters like Randy Couture, Dan Henderson, Matt Horowich, and Chris Wilson. They’ve got some talent. They’ve got a wrestling base, but they have a good striking program as well. They would be the first one that popped into my mind.

But, I’m not going to rule out Renzo Gracie’s Pitbulls. They didn’t have that good of a season in 2006, but they finished strong. They only lost by a thread to Pat and the Silverbacks. That was the first time we saw some vulnerability in the Silverbacks. Renzo brought in all these terminators from Brazil. They came ready. So, they could be up there too.

William Davis: One of the other teams competing that night is the Tokyo Sabres. In 2006, they didn’t win a team competition. In the off season, they got a new coach in Mr. Ken Yasuda and picked up some new fighters like Vladimir Matyushenko. They match up with Marco Ruas’s Condors. How do you think that team competition plays out?

Stephen Quadros: That’s going to be an incredible competition. They (the Sabres) got Matyushenko. He’s arguably the most experienced and most talented guy in the IFL. We don’t know, but we’re going to find out. If you look at his resume and who he’s fought, it’s pretty impressive. He’s fought against Tito Ortiz, Andrei Arlovski, and Carlos Barreto. It’s a pretty intimidating resume.

It’s going to be a hard one to pick who will win the team competition. Marco Ruas has got Antoine Jaoude from Brazil, who’s a Olympic wrestler. He’s going up against another big guy in Wayne Cole. Wayne’s 7 - 3 record speaks for itself. Justin Levens, the king of the first round stoppage, is taking on Matyushenko. Levens, even though he dropped his last fight to Reese Andy, is warrior and he’s going to make Matyushenko work. Jeremy Williams is against Kazuhiro Hamanaka at Middleweight, which is a great grappling match on paper. Rodrigo Ruas is going up against the Sabres’ Antonio McKee at 170. McKee is probably the best pure wrestler on the Sabres and maybe in the entire league. At 155, the Sabres’ explosive Savant Young is taking on Adam Lynn. That’s going to be a great team competition.

William Davis: The upcoming Bodogfight event features Matt Lindland taking on Fedor Emeilanenko. Lindland shocked many people last year when he moved up in weight class and nearly beat Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. Can we expect Lindland to give a repeat performance against Fedor?

Stephen Quadros: I don’t think that particular lightning will strike again, but Matt Lindland should change his nickname from “The Law” to “Mr. Amazing.” That fight with Rampage, which most people thought Rampage would dominate, it didn’t work out that way. A lot of people thought Matt Lindland won that fight. Then he came back to the IFL and beat Jeremy Horn, a guy who is at any given moment competing for a top 5 middleweight spot. Lindland stopped him in the second round. Then he faced the extremely dangerous Carlos Newton and dominated him standing with that strange and deceptive stand up style that Lindland has got. He put Newton in a guillotine from the mount. I was thinking, “Oh, my God!”

But, he’s facing the greatest fighter in the sport, in my opinion. Fedor Emeilanenko is the best fighter that I’ve ever seen compete in MMA. He’s the most well rounded, meaning he’s an expert in all the areas. Most guys can only get pretty good at one area and then maybe good at another. This guy is a great striker, a great wrestler, and a great submission fighter. I was having a discussion with one of the guys who competes in one of the top teams in the UFC, and I said Fedor is a submission guy. The guy told me, “Hell no. He’s not a submission guy. He‘s ground and pound.” So we looked at his record. He has 6 wins by TKO and 12 by submission.

Fedor is going to be a hard guy to beat, especially with Lindland going to fight him in Russia. But what can you say about Matt Lindland going to the lion’s den, so to speak, to take on the world’s greatest fighter? To me, it says eons about his guts. He’s trying to be the Billy Conn of Mixed Martial Arts. Billy Conn was a boxer in the late 40s - early 50s, who stepped up in weight class to face the great Joe Louis. Conn had Louis in a world of trouble, but he got greedy and tried to knock Louis out and ended up getting knocked out himself. Matt Lindland could probably outwrestle Emeilanenko, if it was strictly a wrestling match. But, once Emeilanenko grabs one of the arms, it’s really hard to escape his submissions. I’d have to say that Emeilanenko wins that fight, but I can hardly wait to see it.

William Davis: Now a question directed toward your personal career. Can you tell us how long you’ve been involved in combat sports and how you got started?

Stephen Quadros: In the year 1730, during the reign of the emperor Yun Chang, who was one of the early emperor’s in the Man Chu Ching dynasty, many kung-fu experts were recruited by the government and taught to use that fearsome weapon called the flying guillotine. It was for the purpose of this that they were to seek out and to destroy the supporters of the former Ming dynasty and many patriots fell to the new weapon. Those who escaped went into hiding, and then, of course, became “The Fight Professor”, who was born one day in Santa Cruz, California. He later moved on and appeared in 1998, ringside at a K-1 championship match between Ernesto Hoost and Peter Aerts.

That’s actually when I started my broadcasting career. I’ve been involved in martial arts since the 70s as a practitioner and later as a trainer for fighters. Journalistically, I started as the editor-in-chief of the Kickboxing Ring Report which was pretty influential publication in the 90s. I was editor-in-chief for 5 years. Then we got absorbed by Black Belt magazine. I became a columnist and contributing editor for them. I did that for 3 years, and then Black belt gave me my own magazine. My name for my column in Black Belt was Black Belt Fight Sport. Then, when they gave me my own magazine, they called it Black Belt presents Fight Sport with Stephen Quadros. I participated for the first year to get it launched, but then I exited because I was getting so busy with broadcasting. I was working on films like Cradle 2 the Grave and Exit Wounds as a technical advisor. I also had an acting career going at the same time.

I started commentating, as I said before, in 1998. I didn’t have a lot of warm up shows, I went right into working for K-1. It was a natural fit because I had already been established on camera as an actor, I was already a trainer for fighters, and I worked as a journalist. It was natural for me to get into broadcasting. I did two shows for K-1 in 1998, and then they suspended their United States effort for a while. At which time, I got picked up by PRIDE FC in 2000. I worked for PRIDE for three years with my buddy, Bas Rutten. Then, the rest is history. There’s not too many organizations that I haven’t worked with. Currently, I’m with the IFL in the states and Cage Rage in the UK.

Part Two of this interview will be brought to you by on Monday


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