Exclusive: Frank Trigg – The Growing Pains of Mixed Martial Arts Part I (2-28-2008)
By Dave Carpinello
In this exclusive interview, PunchDrunkGamer.com had a chance to speak with World-Renowned MMA Star Frank Trigg about the growing world of mixed martial arts, HDNet fights, the UFC, training and his future in the sport.
PDG: Let’s start with last weekend’s Strikeforce event that you covered for HDNet fights; what was your overall impression of the fights and the production of the show?
Frank: It was nice to see some guys fight that I have never seen and it was also nice to see some guys I have seen fight before but not for a very long time. For whatever reason, being either on the other side of the world or because they were in a production that I wasn’t covering. So that was kind of cool. The event as a whole was great, it was announced this week that it broke records… Strikeforce crushed it. I think the closest event at the Tacoma Dome to that had like 4,500 ticket sales and they had like 7,000. I really like Scott Coker as a promoter so that helped out as well.
PDG: Did the fights go kind of how you expected?
Frank: Yeah, everything went pretty much as planned. I don’t think Joe Riggs had it in him that night. I think the previous injury that he had to his rib and his back hurt him but I didn’t think he would lose like that. Even an injured Joe Riggs is a gamer, a guy that can fight all the way through and I thought that he would have enough to be able to continue to the end. At least to a decision, I didn’t think it would end like that.
PDG: From where I was sitting it looked like a little bit of an awkward toss. What do you think?
Frank: Not really, that is the way you land when you are thrown like that. I may be a little biased because I am a second-degree black bell in judo and that is a big judo throw. So for me watching that throw, that is how you’re supposed to land. It is a match finisher for judo. He landed correctly; he just landed on a previous injury.
PDG: Yeah, now that you bring it up I was just having a little bit of trouble with the TNT bombs, flames and smoke going on 5 feet behind me.
Frank: Yes, that goes back to the old K-1 style and Scott Coker really embraces that. It was a great show.
PDG: The last time you fought was a submission victory over Edwin Dewees in December; when can your fans expect to see you back in action again?
Frank: I don’t know for sure… I am trying to get some things worked out. I signed to fight for HDNet fights as a promotion not as a television station and I am not sure what they are doing with their promotion right now. There’s so many events now on TV, why would you throw your own events when you already have so many other events on your station?
PDG: Are they going to be showing the new DREAM promotion on HDNet?
Frank: I don’t know yet but I hope so because that means more work for me [laughs]. To be honest though I’m not sure right now.
PDG: Okay back to you. You fought just about everybody out there; who would you like to set up a fight with?
Frank: Well you know, I have fought everybody out there at 170 pounds and I am at 185 pounds now. It’s a whole different ballgame now, I would like to fight Robbie Lawler again. I did something that no other fighter has done before. I don’t care if you are in the top 10, you did not fight the schedule that I fought. I came out of retirement and fought Jason Miller for my first fight at 185 pounds and then I turned around and fought Kazuo Misaki, who at the time was ranked #2 in the world. Then right after that I fought Robbie Lawler. At that time, all of those guys were in the top 10 and I fought them all in a span of four months. So I couldn’t recover and I couldn’t heal, when you fight guys like Miller and Misaki you need to take off at least two months in between fights. I never really stopped my training camp and it wasn’t good for my body. I don’t think Lawler is really that good of a fighter but he did knock me unconscious. On a scale of one to 10, he fought a number five Trigg. A Trigg that only had 50% of my body, 50% of my mind, 50% of my emotion but yet it goes all the way to the fourth round. I basically told my corner between the third and fourth round that this is the last round and one of us is going home on a stretcher. It just happened to be me.
PDG: Lawler has had a lot of injuries and it doesn’t look like he’s going to be fighting anytime soon.
Frank: He is always getting hurt, he tried to pull out of the fight with me. He ended up winning and then he beat Ninja and now he is hurt again. He is one of those guys that is always getting beat up.
PDG: I would definitely watch the rematch between the two of you.
Frank: That is one of the fights that I am a looking for, just not right now. If Anderson Silva beats Dan Henderson, then I would like to fight him, also Paulo Filho, Frank Shamrock… not because I don’t like these guys but I think that they would be good fights. I want to test myself. I don’t need to hate my opponents anymore, I just want to fight interesting fights and those fights interest me as a competitor.
PDG: What is your current training schedule like?
Frank: I took off from December 15th until the end of January so that I could try and heal up and rehab my bad shoulder. It didn’t work and so about a month ago we went in and did a little surgery to clean out some bone spurs on my shoulder cap and other scar tissue that was hindering my rehab. So now I am just now in my second week of full-go training. I get up each morning at 4:30 a.m. and my first training session is at 5:30 a.m.; strength and conditioning. Taking two months off at my age of 35 years old, you tend to pick up some fat. So I’m just trying to get my body back in shape and next week when I am in town I will be over at Xtreme Couture’s. So I can get my rhythm in kickboxing and boxing back and then it’s on to jiu-jitsu. Then in the afternoon I’m going on slow 4 mile runs to help with my conditioning so that I can get in fight shape again.
PDG: So after taking that time off, the therapy and of the surgery; how long until you will be fight ready?
Frank: I can fight in May. That is the goal right now and we are trying to get some stuff put together for May. We are keeping our eye on a couple of different organizations and I have received some offers but nothing significant yet. Come mid-May I will have completed a full training camp and it will be time to Rock ‘n Roll.
PDG: Are you going to be covering the IFL fights tomorrow night?
Frank: Bas Rutten will be doing the live telecast on HDNet but my radio show, Tagg radio will be there doing the pre-fight and the post-fight. After the event tomorrow night we take off for Columbus, Ohio for the Arnold Classic on Saturday and then the UFC fights that night.
PDG: What do you think of the two new Japanese organizations World Victory Road and Dreams?
Frank: I don’t know yet, you have to kind of wait and see what happens with their first shows this next month. You have to see if they are going to be like the old PRIDE or something new. They brought back the lightweight Grand Prix tournament that everyone was trying to make happen before the end of PRIDE, so we will have to see if it is going to work this time.
PDG: World Victory Road got Josh Barnett to headline their first show and Dreams got Mirko “Cro-Cop” to headline their first events; albeit nobody seems to want to fight pro-cop so far.
Frank: They did a weird thing over there at Dreams. First of all it is K-1 and Dreams is just basically replacing the Heroes portion of their organization. They called Ray Sefo and said hey do you want a fight with Cro-Cop in three weeks… for some reason they think that fighters can get ready in that little of time.
PDG: Barnett’s comeback after well over a year since his last MMA fight is against Yoshida; good opponent or not?
Frank: I don’t think Yoshida has much for him and it will be a game of submissions that Barnett should win easily. He is a better wrestler, has better submissions and is a better striker than Yoshida. It is a great way to get your name back out there in Japan and a good tune-up fight for Josh.
PDG: Outside of fighting what can Trigg fans expect from you this year?
Frank: I am spending a lot of time on my clothing company and we are releasing new products every week. In between fights, I am also trying to learn how to be a better commentator. I hang out with Jay Glazer, Kenny Rice and Ron Kruck all the time and it comes so easy to them, I don’t know why I struggle.
STAY TUNED FOR PART II OF THIS EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW
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