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Renato Babalu: You have to ask Showtime why I can’t get booked more often

By Zach Arnold | May 23, 2010

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Click on picture to listen to the interview

I bring up this interview for a few reasons. 1) It’s Renato Babalu and I followed Babalu when he first appeared in RINGS in Japan. 2) My old radio chief, Jeff Thaler, was Babalu’s former manager. 3) It is amazing how bluntly fighters under the Strikeforce banner are willing to speak out about how much the scheduling sucks for them. You don’t hear about this as often in UFC because there are so many shows and also there’s great fear that if you speak out you are one loss away from getting cut. As far as the fear factor is concerned in UFC, it is what it is.

Babalu’s English isn’t perfect but the interview is perfectly fine to listen to. I would encourage you to listen to the audio version after you read this just because I want you to hear the frustration and exasperation in his voice.

As far as how he learned of the fight booking at 195 pounds versus Robbie Lawler

“It was kind of funny because Jason (Miller), he is one of my training partners. I was in the gym and he came to me, ‘Oh, Babalu, you stole my fight!’ Just joking around, just joking around. I mean I don’t know what problem he does have, but I didn’t speak anything about the fight and Jason Miller, he’s helped me to train to fight Lawler right now and it’s just, I just changed my schedule a little event. I was supposed to fight in DREAM but DREAM got canceled and they had an opportunity. I didn’t hear about the Jason Miller fight. When they offered me to fight in this way I actually wanted to fight and then I asked for 195 and Robbie Lawler agreed to fight 195, it was pretty good for me because I had been away for a long time and I’m happy because he agreed to fight, he gave me a chance to fight him. He couldn’t say no and (when) he said yes, that’s very respectful.”

Is Babalu planning a move down to Middleweight (185 pounds)?

“I’ll see how I feel and see what happens after that. I went to my doctor and he wasn’t sure if I would be healthy at 185 by the time but now as I’m losing weight and see how I feel and see you know keeping healthy, keeping shape, walking around at 210, 205, so it is a possibility that I will go down to 185.”

Impressions of Lawler after his win over Melvin Manhoef?

“Well I mean that’s what I say he’s more confident than ever. That was an amazing fight last time and on top of that I come from a loss so I’m very hungry, I’m very hungry right now to keep my career, to get back my career on the winning track and I want to give all my best that people have never seen of Babalu inside the cage.”

Why haven’t you fought in about a year?

“You should ask Showtime, you shouldn’t ask me. Yeah, that’s what happened, you know I mean I’m always ready to fight. I took some time off but I was ready since December.

“Especially because you do have a family to support and you need to work, you know, and unfortunately in this sport it’s just winners have the voice but sometimes when you are a loser you still have a family to support, especially me in my position… But besides that, I mean as I already say, they give you more time to pull your things together in training more and realize and work as an athlete, too, so I mean sometimes it’s sad but it is what it is.”

Are you a forgotten man?

“I mean, I don’t know. I have been training so all my fans want to see me fight so I’m happy with my fans and I’m going to give my best, that’s all that matters, I’m going to give my best on June 16th. What happened in the past is in the past and it’s all looking forward to see my next (fight).”

Do you plan on fighting in DREAM?

“Now, things are going to change so. I have to fight Lawler, so if I end up at 185 I’m not going to fight 205 any more. So, we’ll see what happens after this.”

Topics: Media, MMA, StrikeForce, Zach Arnold | 3 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

3 Responses to “Renato Babalu: You have to ask Showtime why I can’t get booked more often”

  1. Mark says:

    Gurgel said the same kind of thing a few months ago. I think what they should do is encourage the guys they know they’re not going to use to go work DREAM or one of the scores of small MMA shows around the country because he’s right that it isn’t fair they’re going without work for nearly a year.

    But it’s just the way Strikeforce is going to be. They don’t want to use guys they’re paying the larger amounts they pay on any fight that isn’t a main event against another name. And they don’t do those often like the UFC does. So they really need to start encouraging those fighters to look elsewhere for work if they know they’re only going to use them once or twice a year. Maybe work an official deal out with DREAM that they get these guys 2 fights a year and then they come back to Strikeforce for 2 fights a year. Of course you’re going to end up with some guys getting hurt and not making good on a deal, but it’s better than them wanting to flee to UFC more than ever because they can’t get paid.

  2. 45 Huddle says:

    What’s going to happen is that they will start to have a hard time signing better fighters who know they could be shelved for months.

    Strikeforce has a serious fighter relations problem going on right now. And I don’t see it getting better anytime soon.

  3. […] Strikeforce Fighter Babalu Sobral on why we hadn’t seen him for nearly a year: “You should ask Showtime, you shouldn’t ask me. Yeah, that’s what happened, you know I mean I’m always ready to fight. I took some time off but I was ready since December. Especially because you do have a family to support and you need to work, you know, and unfortunately in this sport it’s just winners have the voice but sometimes when you are a loser you still have a family to support, especially me in my position… […]

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