Breaking what has been a relative silence since Ringside 11 in June, promoter Eric Champoux took questions from the MMA media this morning, addressing his event (see full card here), signing Paul Daley, having GSP‘s suport, and the return of Stéphane Patry, among other topics.
Here are the highlights (italicized texts are info I’ve added):
On signing Paul Daley for Ringside 12:
“We’ve been working on it for over a year now. Since the UFC cut him (May 2010), we’d been in contact with his management… He went to Strikeforce, but we maintained our interest. The timing worked out now, where Paul felt able to fight twice over two months, so we decided to go ahead… and we’re convinced its something big for us.
On how Luigi Fioravanti ended up as Daley’s opponent:
“Within Canada, no one was willing to step up and face him, no one felt ready, so we looked to the US, and the Italian Tank (Fioravanti) was the one who raised his hand.
On the potential danger of having a main event devoid of local Quebec fighters:
“The way we built the card, Daley is like a cherry on top. Local guys we’ve been building up over the past twelve events are there: Alex Garcia, Mike Ricci, Kevin Morin, Mitch Gagnon. So people have local fighters with as a bonus an international main event like you’d see in the UFC.
His reaction to bantamweight champ Stéphane Pelletier pulling out of the co-main event due to injury less than a month out from RS 12:
“I’ll admit I was a little disappointed, but with getting ‘Bo’ Harris as a replacement, a guy who recently beat Adrian Wooley, I feel like I’ve almost increased the quality of the fight. It’s going to be exceptional… I’m happy with how it turned out.
His reaction to hearing former business associate/TKO promoter Stéphane Patry was back with Instinct MMA:
“He’d been talking about coming back for years now, so I figured it was going to happen sooner or later. No question he wanted to go full force for his debut. But I’m not at my debut, it’s my fifteenth event (12 Ringsides + 3 Rising Stars), so we don’t have the same strategy. He wanted to blast out of the gates, but I’m sticking to my path. Three or four organizations have come and gone since the beginning of Ringside, so I’m not surprised. Better yet, it’ll mean more bouts for local fighters.
On why he’s kept relatively silent since Ringside 11 in June, thus allowing Patry dominate the media sphere:
“My logic is that I’m not interested in engaging in verbal tussles or war of words, so I let him deliver his show. Now that it’s done, we’re going to put the pedal to the metal to deliver ours. We’ve already very satisfied with the public’s reaction since tickets went on sale two months ago.
On Eric Barrak calling out Donald Brashear after his win over Butterbean at Instinct MMA 1:
“Mr. Barrak called me yesterday to offer his services as a fighter. Donald is aware of Barrak’s interest. I spoke to Donald, his plan is to make a comeback next spring, so we’ll see what happens… I like that Barrak called me, a guy who isn’t scared to get his feet wet and challenge himself, makes the effort to contact us about wanting to fight, it’s interesting, which is why we’re listening.
On UFC Welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre popping up in a recent RS 12 promotion video:
“Georges is helping us promote our event. He likes Ringside, and he likes the fights on the card. In the coming days we’re going to release a bunch of little videos like that with him talking about his training partners, Alex Garcia, Mike Ricci, Paul Daley, etc. It’ll build up interest in checking those guys out.Garcia is a guy you want to watch, but when its Georges telling you, it’s going to have a bigger impact…Georges trains with some of the Ringside fighters (at Tristar in Montreal) so we asked if he’d be willing to lend us a hand, and he was happy to do it.
On whether the fact that Patry is GSP’s former manager, a relationship that ended badly, had anything to do with it:
“No, I don’t think so. Georges is a professional and he’s got better things to do than waste his time with tiny wars. He turned the page long ago.
On where Alex Garcia is at after losing for the first time at RS 10 to Seth Baczynski:
“Losing that fight was the best thing that could have happened to him. He learned he isn’t invincible, and that he needs to fight with his head, not his heart. It was his first fight at the Bell Centre, he wanted to make a big impression, he fought emotionally, and he made mistakes. Since then… he’s improved his stand-up, he trains hard daily. On October 21st he wants to make a statement and show people he’s serious, not just a flash in the pan.
On Steve ‘the Snake’ Claveau, a fighter Champoux wanted to bring back, being rejected a fighter’s license by the Regie:
“It’s only part of the story, Steve just needs to straighten a few things out and reapply in the coming months. So if he’s not back for this event, he’ll back for a future one in 2012, and why not have the comeback event in his hometown of Victoriaville.
On Patry putting on an event last week without having yet been granted a promoter’s license by the Regie (he promoted by proxy through Gary Chartrand’s license):
“I think it’s unfortunate that guys like Steve Claveau can’t find a front to fight in their place. Seemingly anyone can be a promoter with a paper and a letter. No doubt it’s sad for people like Eric O’Keefe and Claveau, guys who are passionate about the sport, but are persecuted, because they don’t have that alternative.
On Patry claiming Champoux doesn’t know how to build stars, and is erring in his decision not to use more ‘pure-laine’ Quebec fighters (Quebecers of French origin):
“I respect his opinion, but I’ve done 15 events over the last two-and-a-half years, and the guys I’ve built are Alex Garcia, Mike Ricci, Mitch Gagnon, Stephane Pelletier. It’s the fighters we chose to work with in the past, and we’re not planning to change our mind going forward.
On whether Rising Star shows (for up and comers) will be back:
“For the time being there won’t be any more. We’re probably going to be doing more events under the Ringside banner, and let Patry take the rest.”
On his announced December date for Ringside 13 in Quebec City, and the fact that Instinct MMA also plans to have an event there around that time:
“We’ve been there twice, so it’s normal that we go there to have events. We work with the Nordik Fight Club, Quebec City’s only gym… so it’s our territory, and it was already planned that we’d be back there in December from the start. So if Patry wants to keep doing events a week before me, we may eventually have a battle, but… it’ll be up to fans, for example in Quebec, to decide whether they want to see Quebec fighters, or guys from Montreal.
On when and where Ringside 13 will take place:
“We’re looking at December 9th. As for location, we’re still working on it… It may take place at the Pavillon de la Jeunesse (the same location Instinct is having their show on December 2nd), or somewhere like that.
If you understand French, you can listen to a recording of myself and other journalists asking the questions over at MMA Nouvelles.