Guy Metzger, former UFC and PRIDE veteren, and current President of Mark Cuban’s HDNet Fights, recently sat down with Percy Crawford of FightHype.com to discuss a variety of topics. Below are some of the highlights of that conversation:
Metzger On HDNets Upcoming Show:
Everything is going good. We are moving forward with our next card for HDNet Fights on December 15th. We have a really strong card with real good matchups. We have Jason “Mayhem” Miller, he’s fun and he’ll be fighting Sean Salmon, as well as Frank Trigg fighting Edwin Dewees and those will be our main events. We also have Yves Edwards, Chris Bowles, Jason House, a real strong new 185 pound guy named CB Dollaway; he’s a freaking stud.
Metzger on His Vision For HDNet Fights:
I really think there should be an alternative to the UFC. There’s nothing wrong with the UFC, but I just think that there needs to be another airline. If there’s only American Airlines, then there’s only so much that they can cover and the airline business wont grow. There’s enough room for American Airlines, Delta, Continental and United. Really, that’s our intention is to be the Continental to the UFC. Our intention is to be a destination to these guys as an alternative to the UFC. It’s not if they can’t make it in the UFC. That’s kind of a problem with what’s going on. The UFC has been branded as the pinnacle of what we’re trying to do, and rightfully so. They deserve that. In order for a sport to grow, they have to get outside of that medium. What we do is hold non-exclusive contracts and they can fight for whoever they want to fight for. We want the champions from the UFC to fight the champions from HDNet, Sport Fight and Ring of Combat in order for us to create a real world champion because the reality is that the UFC championship is considered the world champion, but it’s not really. They do pay the most money, so they do attract the best athletes. Look at Fedor Emelianenko, who’s considered by most people the best heavyweight out there, but he doesn’t want to deal with Dana White and some of the dynamics and I’m not in on the conversations, but I hear things secondhand, probably a bit more of a clearer picture than most people get. The reality is they don’t want to relinquish the control that the UFC has over its athletes and it’s understandable from both ends. The UFC wants to control their investment in these guys and I understand that aspect, but I also understand the other aspect in this business of fighters wanting to be involved in Sambo and other aspects that are very important to us and the athletes and they don’t want to surrender a lot of that stuff to the UFC. There are pros and cons to everything. What we are trying to do is say, “Hey, listen, we need to make money and be successful in what we do, but we also want to do what’s best for the athletes.” We’re investigating how to create an insurance medial. We are investigating how to put together a fighters union where we could create the ability for them to get the proper insurance for them to be able to protect their money. We’re also collectively looking at how we can break these standards outside of the sponsorship markets, outside of the supplement companies, energy drinks and mixed martial arts clothing wear. How do we get Nike, Ford, Chevy and American Airlines behind us? How can we get outside of this medium?
Guy Metzger On How HDNet Will Treat Fighters Differently Than Other Organizations:
The thing you asked is do these guys have a friend in me? Absolutely, because I’m going to be straight with them. I’m going to try and get them as much money as we can; that’s smart. The aspect of what we’re doing, and it may be a little bit disappointing, but they thought Mark was going to come in like all of the other companies with these huge promises and bring Fedor in and all of these guys in and spend millions and millions of dollars to make nothing; to lose money. Mark Cuban did not become a billionaire because he knew how to lose money. He became a billionaire because he learned how to make money. His intention is to be around long-term and to be around long-term, you don’t need to go out spending stupid money on things we don’t need to spend it on. Our intentions are to create a market that the fans can trust, which is a big deal. The UFC has really built that trust and whether they keep it or not is irrelevant at this point because they have a great market brand. People know the UFC. That’s what we’re trying to do. We are trying to create HDNet Fights and HDNet Fights Presents, which is our partners like Sport Fight, Steele Cage Productions and Ring of Combat, and hopefully we’ll be able to make a deal with some of these other larger companies overseas. HDNet Fights wants to bring the very best that’s out there outside of the UFC. We want people to know this is where they can come see some good fights on Friday night and that, eventually, we’ll grow to where we could sustain a good Pay Per View.
Metzger On Exciting New Fighters Fighting Under The HDNet Stable:
CB Dollaway is an example of a new fighter that people don’t know who is a young, freaking stud. I think within a year’s period, he can hang with anybody in the 185 pound or 205 pound weight class. He’s a big guy, but I think he’ll be a lot more successful at 185 and he could make the weight easy and still be strong; he’s a freaking stud. We have Chris Bowles, who’s 8-1 and a slightly older fighter, who is 155 pounds that people don’t know because he’s never been in Pride or the UFC. They are some phenomenal athletes that really just need their chance to shine. Alex Drody is another one who has fought in the UFC and Pride, but not with a huge amount of success because of where he was in his life, but has made a remarkable rebirth after a 6-year layoff and hopefully we get him involved. There’s always a guy who you think will be great and they turn out to not be, but that’s Murphy’s Law. There’s a heavyweight out there named Sunia Filikitonga, and I butcher the poor guys name every time I say it so I just call him Sunia because he’s Samoan and his name is hard to pronounce. He’s a phenomenal athlete and he walks around at like 275 when he’s down to fight weight and he could easily walk around at 300 pounds and still be at fight weight. I just want to bring him down to the heavyweight class because it’s a more popular class than super heavyweight. He’s a former Dallas Cowboy, but he doesn’t fall into the trend of ex-football players that can’t fight. He really could fight. He has really good ground game, his standup game is not great, but when you weight 265 pounds and you’re as strong as this guy, you don’t have to be the best boxer in the world. His strength is phenomenal and he’s a genetic freak. He puts his knuckles on someone and they go to sleep. Here’s a guy that could be a real contender in the heavyweight division down the road. We want to build these guys up and that’s just a couple of guys. We have a lot of guys coming out of the woodworks, who understand what our message is and what we want to accomplish, that want to get onboard. That’s why we want to have great fight companies and work with them in developing the talent so that we have those Sugar Ray Leonards, Muhammad Alis and the Mike Tysons and all of the greats; the Durans of our sport. This cannot be done if it’s just the UFC. It’s just too limited. I’m not holding my breathe on this, but we eventually, down the road, would like to see the Sport Fight champion fight the HDNet champion and the winner fight the King of Cage vs. the UFC champion winner. Then have some unification fights in all weight classes and have some legitimate champions. That would be awesome. I don’t hold my breathe on it happening, but that is our vision.
To read the entire interview with much more from Metzger click here.