Renato “Babalu” Sobral – Ring of Fire, Shogun & ‘Tiger’ White
By Dave Carpinello
In a PunchDrunkGamer exclusive, Dave Carpinello had a chance to talk with Renato “Babalu” Sobral about the Ring of Fire, the UFC, Shogun and his upcoming fight against Vernon White.
PDG: Thanks for taking the time today. It has been a busy couple of months for you. With the controversial ending to your last UFC fight against David Heath and your release from the UFC. Do you hold any ill will against the UFC?
Babalu: I don’t hold any ill will towards the UFC. They fined and released me, what am I supposed to do, cry like my daughter is right now.
PDG: At the StrikeForce event at the Playboy Mansion, it was announced that you signed a contract with StrikeForce. When are they going to have the fight?
Babalu: That is a good question.
PDG: So obviously your contract is non-exclusive.
Babalu: Yes the contract is nonexclusive so I am basically free to fight for whoever I choose.
PDG: Let’s talk about where you are fighting. You are fighting on Team Barnett for the Platinum Ring of Fire production and your team won the first match-up. How was the whole experience?
Babalu: It was awesome. It was a great event and a very nice time. They really took care of all the fighters very well and it was exciting to be in a new market. There is a lot of opportunity for growth in South East Asia and there are many new fans there. I think the finals are going to be in China in March. It will be great to go to China because there are so many people there. It will be a great business opportunity and a chance to make lots of money.
Platinum Fighting Productions – Ring of Fire
December 9th, 2007 Areneta Coliseum
Team Barnett vs. Team Gokor
Koji Oishi wins by UD over Karen Darabedyan
Yuki Kondo wins by UD over August Wallen
Renato “Babalu” Sobral wins by Side Choke over Rodney Faverus
Jeff “The Snowman” Monson wins by UD over Hakim Gouram
Ginele Marquez wins by Forfeit
PDG: Is your opponent going to be Mike Whitehead?
Babalu: It should be Mike from Team Shamrock but I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
PDG: Is Team Barnett keeping the same group of fighters for the finals?
Babalu: From what I have been told we are not making any changes to our roster.
PDG: With your fight coming up against Vernon White in a couple of weeks. What is your training schedule like now?
Babalu: This will be my second fight in one month so I have to be ready. I’m training very hard three times a day, six days a week. Sunday is my relaxation day and I usually do some yoga. Sunday is also the only day of the week that I eat red meat so I am cooking up some good BBQ right now. I am already in shape from my last fight so I just need to continue to train hard to get ready to fight Vernon.
PDG: What aspect of your game do you think will give you an advantage in your fight with Vernon?
Babalu: Vernon is a very well-rounded fighter and has been around for a long time, like me. I guess that my advantage would be on the ground. What can I say; I want to win this fight, so I am going to do whatever it takes to beat him.
PDG: The next StrikeForce event is in March and that is when the Ring of Fire finals are supposed to be. If the schedule stays the same and StrikeForce has a fight for you in March. Which one of the two events will you fight at?
Babalu: I have not yet been contacted by StrikeForce about any events. So I don’t think that I can answer that question. Obviously what ever event offers the better challenge and the most money is the one that I would like to fight for.
PDG: Let’s talk about the UFC 79 event that took place last night. What did you think of the Chuck Liddell vs. Wanderlei Silva fight and the rest of the fights?
Babalu: I loved it. That was one of the best fights of the entire year and it was good to see those two go at it. Then the main event, I knew Georges St. Pierre was going to come into the fight with Matt Hughes very prepared as he is always training very hard. He had a great game plan for fighting Hughes and he executed it perfectly. Hughes is a hell of a fighter and was champion for a long time but things change. GSP is the future right now and we will see what happens when he fights Matt Serra. I also really like how Lyoto Machida destroyed the other guy………
PDG: Do you mean Sokoudjou?
Babalu: Yes he totally dominated him. I was very impressed because I have trained with Lyoto in the past. Sokoudjou has just a couple of fights and he needs to get more experience. In order to prove yourself as a fighter nowadays you have to do more than just knock people out. You have to have a well rounded game.
PDG: Do you think Machida can win the belt at 205 lbs?
Babalu: I think he can and I think he has a great opportunity ahead of him. He should be fighting the winner of the Forrest Griffin/Quinton Jackson title fight. Who else would be the number one contender at 205 lbs now? Chuck is coming off of two straight losses before his victory last night. In my opinion, if Machida wins the title then maybe he should fight Chuck. But what do I know, I am just a professional fighter…….. not a commentator.
PDG: Is there anyone out there from your past or anyone new that you would really like to fight?
Babalu: I don’t care who my opponents are. I just want to beat them.
PDG: A couple of years ago, you had a victory over Shogun. What do you think of his and Ninja’s decision to leave Chute Boxe?
Babalu: I don’t know man. Nowadays fighters have so many things going on it is hard to be committed to just one place. I think it is great for the two of them because the ground game is great but you definitely need boxing skills to succeed in MMA these days. It goes back to what I said earlier about having a very well rounded game.
PDG: Where are you training now?
Babalu: Most of the time I am training at the CSW gym in Fullerton, California with guys like Erik Paulson.
PDG: Thanks again for your time Babalu and good luck against Vernon.
Babalu: I want to say thank you and thanks to my fans. It is great to be healthy and to be able to fight for a living. I hope everyone is looking forward to my next fight.