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Urijah Faber, motivational machine, on his new book deal with HarperCollins

By Zach Arnold | July 9, 2011

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MIKE STRAKA: “You’ve accomplished so much in MMA. You’re almost above the belt and I don’t mean to say that to kiss your ass or even to take away from anybody who has a belt, but the things you’ve done in MMA you’ve really pioneered things that other guys aspire to do. One is you were the fact of WEC, you were one of the guys who created the lightweight divisions and certainly created a business for lightweights. You started Form Athletics, your own t-shirt & apparel company, you went into business with K-Swiss, you do mainstream commercials with K-Swiss, Pepsi, and all these different brands that you represent. How do you have time to do everything and did you go into this sport with a grand plan?”

URIJAH FABER: “Um… you know, I think I just went into this sport ready to conquer, you know, and I definitely don’t feel like I’m above the sport by any means but I do recognize that I’ve done a lot and it’s been just through the back of not being scared to do anything. If I have an idea, I believe I can do it, I’ll make it happen, I’ll get the right people on the team, I’ll go after it, and I’m a guy who likes to stay busy. I mean, you can only train so much during the day, you only sleep so much at night, and then there’s a lot of time left over. So, I fill my time, I’ve always been like that. Ever since I was a little kid I’ve been busy, busy, busy and it’s just resulted in a lot of good things.”

MIKE STRAKA: “I understand you have a book coming out or you’re working on a book with a major publishing company. Can you talk about that?”

URIJAH FABER: “Yeah, I actually sold a book to HarperCollins and, um, I’ve got a great concept that I’ve been working on for years, you know, I was a Human Development major at UC Davis and I’ve been really introspective and kind of looked at a lot of people that I admire in my world and taken some laws about, you know, success and weakness and everything else along that line, so it’s kind of a motivational book but a lot to do about my life as well… It’s great that we’re having more and more materials inspired by our sport.”

MIKE STRAKA: “When you talk about being a motivational speaker and having a book that’s’ going to be of motivating value, I was talking to your cousin, Peter, who’s actually shooting this, he’s actually a Sundance Film Festival award-winning cinematographer, so thank you Peter for shooting this for me, but he was telling me when you guys were in first grade you were the same personality, you were the same very confident kid. What do you attribute to that confidence? Is it your upbringing? Is it your parents? Is it Little Man Syndrome? I mean, what is it?”

URIJAH FABER: “I think it’s just a combination of things, but if I had to point one thing in particular it’s got to be undying love and support from family and people have that, you know they talk about in Human Development that kids that are successful from all these different areas have somebody, whether it’s an aunt or uncle or grandparent or the parents or even the teacher sometimes that believes in them and has their back unconditionally and I had that in abundance, my parents were awesome. You know, my mom Suzanne, my dad Theo, my older brother Ryan. … My Italian mom (was) just like, ‘My boys can do anything,’ and always talking about how great we are and if anybody said anything bad about us it’s because their jealous and almost built an unrealistic confidence and I’ve seen that in other guys, I’ve seen that in guys like BJ Penn is one in particular I met his parents and I get the same sense, Jon Jones, you have that from him, Chuck Liddell, even, his confidence has been something that’s been a lifetime, so I got to say thanks to my parents.”

MIKE STRAKA: “I want to go back to your business and also motivating people and believing in people because Joe Benavidez & Chad Mendes, even Mark Munoz, guys who you’ve sort of taken and said, ‘I believe in you,’ and if people don’t know at home, in Sacramento there’s a block and Urijah lives like several homes on the same block and you put up fighters who come in and train at your camp and you put them up and let them live there for free, and you know they work off maybe they clean the gym or whatever, they earn your time with you, but a lot of guys love you because you believe in them. I mean, I interviewed Joe & Chad on Fighting Words and I said, ‘do you ever get sick of hearing the words Urijah Faber’ and, you know, I kind of thought they’d be like, well, you know, yeah, but they didn’t. I mean, they were like sincerely, no, the guy, we wouldn’t be here without the guy and there’s no animosity and no jealousy, I just can’t believe you’ve cultivated that environment. How did you do that?”

URIJAH FABER: “You’re going to buy my book about it but there’s a chapter in there about building a Who’s Who network and it’s basically looking for potential in people and helping people reach their goals instead of, you know, trying to get ahead or being jealous or things like that and I genuinely enjoy that stuff, you know, and I feel like there’s power in numbers and I do everything in my power to help those guys out. I would gladly take a back seat had Joseph got the belt and just gone a different path, you know, and I’m cheering for those guys and they know it. You can’t fake something like that, so they know genuinely and we’ve been through things in life and those guys have been there for me, also, so it’s more a family thing. I’ve talked to Munoz over the years and he just really understands, we have something that you can’t really explain because it’s been through experiences and so, um, I don’t know. I think it just comes from the background I came from, you know, my adolescence was in a Hippie Christian environment where there’s a lot of people around all helping each other get energy and kind of recreated that without the religion.”

MIKE STRAKA: “I know you believe in wrestling, you went to (UC Davis) and a lot of the people, a lot of the programs you work with are about saving wrestling programs in high schools and colleges. How important is wrestling to adolescence and to kids growing up and kids who aspire to be MMA fights?”

URIJAH FABER: “I think it’s really important and I’m actually on a really cool project with Phil Davis that’s going to help kind of highlight some of the amateur side, that’s what we’re working on…”

MIKE STRAKA: “Phil Davis, a great Penn State wrestler…”

URIJAH FABER: “Yeah, he was a national champion, two-time, and a really smart guy also but what it comes down to is… wrestling is one of the main backbones for our sport, it’s a simulated fight, the same regiment, the same attention to detail and technique and, you know, it takes the same type of individual that enjoys a fight that enjoys wrestling, so it’s huge and we need to really grow the programs. It’s a shame that California college programs are dwindling, you know, with the wrestling programs because of budget cuts and stuff but the California high school programs are almost double the nearest state as far as participation goes and there’s a lot of Latino kids competing and it needs to keep growing, man, and Dana & Lorenzo I think can maybe get behind it a little bit with Zuffa and realize that’s the proving ground, that’s the breeding (grounds) for the future of MMA.”

MIKE STRAKA: “Speaking of Dana & Lorenzo, they just released the UFC Kinetics video game which is a training thing for I think its the XBox, right?”

URIJAH FABER: “It’s a THQ video game but its available for Nintendo Wii and, uh, XBox and, you know, all those video games where you’re basically you’re the remote control, you stand in front of the screen, you move, you do the workouts.”

MIKE STRAKA: “Phenomenal.”

URIJAH FABER: “Yeah, it’s incredible, and that’s actually why I’m here in New York talking about that, you know, I’m one of the spokesguys for the brand and I really believe in it and it’s, uh, it’s cool to see Mark Dellagrotte and Greg Jackson and Javier Mendez in there instructing you, it’s their voice, it’s their image, and they’re showing you how to punch, how to kick, and you can pick fighters, you can pick me and have me tell you ‘good job, homie’ and ‘c’mon,’ stuff like that. It’s a great way to get in shape and learn about the sport.”

MIKE STRAKA: “So, one thing that I always laugh is when I see the K-Swiss commercial with Kenny Powers and he calls you Shirtoff and he cracks me up, man. But you do, in his defense, like to take your shirt off a lot.”

URIJAH FABER: “Well, you know what? I’m at home in California, the sun’s out, the shirt’s off, man, I spend a good portion of my day covered in sweat, go through about three shirts a day, drenched in sweat, and, you know, it just feels normal. I spent most of my adolescence running around on the beach in Santa Barbara and then the streets in Sacramento, you know, just in flip flops and shorts and it just feels normal to me. I’ve had the same lifestyle since I was a little kid.”

MIKE STRAKA: “I just want to get your thoughts on the sports of MMA and UFC in particular, you know you started a long, long time ago now, it’s been like 7 years since you started fighting?”

URIJAH FABER: “7, almost 8 years.”

MIKE STRAKA: “Almost 8 years and you’re obviously one of the pioneers of the lightweight divisions, I Mentioned your accomplishments earlier but, you know, the sport has grown and you’ve, I said it earlier, grown further than most fighters have grown but everybody’s risen with the sport as the sport’s risen, anybody who makes a living in MMA has the UFC to thank for that. But guys like you really took it to the next level, but what are your thoughts on the UFC today, where it’s heading, and how far its come in these 10 years.”

URIJAH FABER: “Well, first off, it’s been incredible the rise and when I first started it was illegal in California, I was fighting on Indian reservations, there was really no opportunity for the sport in general let alone the lightweight fighters, the UFC didn’t have 135, 145, 155 wasn’t even an issue, it didn’t exist, so the biggest thing is… we have incredible people behind it now that are developing the sport, we have smart guys like Dana & Lorenzo & the Fertitta business and their business savvy and they’re passionate about the sport and then we have all these passionate fighters that are developing, you know, their talent and making fighting their lives so you’re getting these warriors that are dedicating their life to it and pouring their heart out and making these exciting shows. We’ve got intelligent guys backing it financially and putting a system behind it so, um… you know, the sky’s the limit, really, they’re really planning on taking over the world and making this the best sport in the world and it makes sense, it’s the oldest sport in the world. Fighting’s been around since day one, man, that’s how I used to get women back in the day.”

Topics: Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 7 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

7 Responses to “Urijah Faber, motivational machine, on his new book deal with HarperCollins”

    • The Gaijin says:

      Don’t forget Bute! BAMF.

      But that Paul Williams decision was complete and utter incompetence. I thought the NJSAC was supposed to be one of the good ones! Landy got fkin ROBBED…like, at gunpoint robbery.

      Hopefully everyone operates as though he won and Williams lost. The Paul Williams from last night would get MURDERDEATHKILLED by Sergio Martinez’s OH left.

      • The Gaijin says:

        And just to add, I love the new Chris Arreola, staying busy, continuing to show up in shape and just being flat out honest about a bad performance.

        Refreshing to see that from fighters…basically the EXACT opposite of Paul Williams’ reaction to his “win”.

        • edub says:

          I asked on badlefthook the other night if anyone could remember a worse decision then the one that happened Saturday. I gave Williams 2 rounds, and I honestly thought that was being generous.

          In my time watching combat sports I believe that was the worst “robbery” I have ever seen.

          Also thought Arreola looked better. Ahunanya is hard to put away, and it was good to see Chris not be satisfied with a performance I thought was “ok”. I’d really like to see Arreola-Haye down the line.

        • The Gaijin says:

          I fully agree with this and have been saying it since that turd that Haye put on with Wlad. If there’s anyone that can make Hayemaker actually, ya know, FIGHT, it’s a fighter like Arreola that is always moving forward and throwing with bad intentions.

  1. edub says:

    For a guy who seemingly doesn’t make that much per fight he has a lot of avenues for income.

    I hope he’s able to come back soon. A fight with Jorgensen or Bowles (among others) would be awesome next. Although I think Zuffa will make Torres-Faber before either loses anymore marketability.

    • Chromium says:

      He’s coming off a loss. He needs to fight another top-level fighter coming off a loss, or a big “name” coming off of a win (there are none of the latter). Frankly the fight that makes the most sense is Miguel Torres.


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