Thursday, September 15, 2011

Seth Petruzelli - MMA


     Back in October of 2008 I interviewed Seth Petruzelli for Skinnie Entertainment Magazine. He was fresh from defeating Kimbo Slice in a CBS national broadcast of an EliteXC match.
     Petruzelli was brought in as a last-minute replacement, creating quite a scandal when he knocked out Slice in 14 seconds.
     Slice, an underground pit fighter made popular by YouTube, looks about as scary as an MMA fighter could possibly be. A lot of people couldn't understand how Petruzelli took the massive Slice out.
     Well, Petruzelli is 200 lbs, and had been doing martial arts for most of his young adult life. His punch had most of his weight behind it as Slice rushed forward. When Slice's jaw hit Petruzelli's fist, it was like two cars colliding head-on.
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Seth Petruzelli

     For anyone who’s spent the last few months in frozen suspended animation, last October Kimbo Slice was slated to fight Ken Shamrock in Florida for an Elite XC MMA match.
     But Shamrock ended up with a busted eye in training, which meant that the Florida Boxing Commision put the kibosh on Ken allowing the less-famous Seth Petruzelli, who was slated to fight Aaron Rosa, to battle Slice instead.
      Petruzelli became the stuff of MMA legend that night by beating Slice in less than 30 seconds. Controversy has followed with some saying Petruzelli was paid to not go to the ground with Slice. UFC President Dana White has also Elite XC and Slice over the matchup. Now it’s Petruzelli’s turn to give us some of his words.

Alright Mr. Petruzelli, where did you learn to fight and when did you start?
     I started taking karate lessons when I was 7 years old at the Kobayashi Dojo in Cape Coral, Florida. I also wrestled in high school. I later trained in Thai boxing, kickboxing and eventually moved to Orlando to study Brazillian Jui Jitsu. I got into MMA fighting and got noticed by promoters and turned pro in 2000. I was also on a season of the Ultimate Fighter TV show.

How did you end up fighting Kimbo Slice?
     I was warming up for my fight with Aaron Rosa, and I heard that Ken had gotten hurt. Elite XC asked if I wanted to fight Kimbo Slice. I said, “Hell yeah, let's do it.” I only had 5 minutes to think about it.

What did you think would happen? 
     I knew who Slice was and I wanted to get into the ring with him and fight him. I've seen his videos, and he’s pretty good, but it's a lot different when you fight trained fighters. I knew that I could fight him, and that he was a straight-forward boxer with not a lot of angles. My plan was to hit with push kicks and shoot him (take him to the ground), but I landed a good shot on the button.

Tell me more about the fight, please.
     He rushed me, and he was pretty intimidating…I did what I did, which was throw some push kicks to get him off me but he kept coming in. I threw a kick and ducked down to throw a body shot, hooking right, and I saw him stick his chin out and went for it. After he was going down my body took over and I just rushed him. I kept pounding him and he wasn’t stopping me. I knew the ref would jump in and stop it.

Do you intend to fight for the UFC? 
     For right now I'm under a contract with Elite XC. I was in Season 2 of The Ultimate Fighter and they released me from my contract afterwards and said, “Go get some wins.” Right now I’m in a  four fight deal with Elite, but I would like to fight for the UFC, too.

It's been said that in another interview you were paid by Elite XC to not shoot and take Kimbo to the ground. Is that bullshit? 
     I was misunderstood in an earlier interview. All that happened was that I was offered a knock out bonus, and that Elite XC wanted a good, “stand up fight.” Bonuses are common. Their words didn't change my game plan at all.
     Plus, Kimbo Slice was already training to take on Ken Shamrock. He probably had a ground game, but things went differently. MMA fans like a good fight, and tend to cheer more over two fighters who are going toe-to-toe. The “stand up fight” is just an expression.

Apparently, Dana White, President of the UFC, has been harshly critical of the match. What are your thoughts? 
     He’s just standing up for his organization, so he has to dog the competition. Dana White has been pretty cool with me.

Where and when will you be fighting next? Has that match "changed your life?" 
     I’ll be fighting in January or February. Some names have been thrown around but nothing solid. The 205 belt is vacant, and I certainly want that 100%. I'm getting offers from sponsors, I'm getting noticed, and it feels good since I've been busted my ass since the year 2000.

Are you going to have a rematch with Kimbo Slice?
     Yeah, I do, but Slice hasn’t been cool with that. I know why, if it happens twice his career would be messed up so it's better to fight Ken Shamrock. Slice will make a huge comeback fight which will get him back on top. Everybody gets losses, it’s part of the business.

Seth Petruzelli's page at UFC.com.

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