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Wednesday, 06/19/2013, 10:17 am

EXCLUSIVE (Part 1)| Urijah Faber on MMA Draft and Combine | BJPenn.com Radio

By JAKE CHASTAIN

| UFC bantamweight top-contender Urijah Faber recently joined our boys Pedro Carrasco and George Mathews on an episode of BJPenn.com Radio and “The California Kid” had a lot of talk about regarding what he’s currently been up to, his work on the first ever MMA Draft/Combine, and his upcoming fight with Yuri Alcantara on the stacked UFC on FS1 debut event in August. Faber, who has been a big name in the sport for a long time, has been very bust outside of his fighting career. He’s helped host charity gold events, he’s a leader at his gym in Sacramento, and he’s been currently working hard to help the MMA world evolve even further with his work on the first MMA Combine/ Draft. Here are some of the highlights from Faber’s interview with BJPenn.com Radio:

He first explained to all the listeners just what exactly the MMA Draft and Combine are and what they are meant to do for the sport. The MMA Combine is set to be hosted in Las Vegas at the UFC Fan Expo on July 6th. Faber explained, “Basically it’s an MMA combine. We’re taking all amateurs and what we’re trying to do is create a system where these amateurs are given opportunities coming into their pros careers. Because you have a lot of guys like myself, Phil Davis, guys like Randy Couture  and Mark Coleman, Tito Ortiz, Chuck Liddell, you know, the list goes on and on and on. Mark Munoz, the Nogueria brothers, all the guys that have decorated amateur careers…the tide is changing where we got to create opportunities for them before they become pros. Like in baseball, basketball and football there’s a lot of recognition that goes into a top amateur participant, guys in college who’re accomplishing big things, I mean, all eyes are on them. They have opportunities waiting for them. Money, management, teams bidding for them, all sorts of different things. So we’re going to try to create that.

He continued, “We got a whole bunch of guys that are coming out to compete. Amateurs that are either self proclaimed or from our scouting system at MMADraft.com. They’re going to come out and do some standardized testing, some MMA testing and really get their faces out there and meet the media and be seen, so it’s pretty exciting.”

When asked who the mastermind behind the entire project was Faber replied,“It was actually Phil Davis and I. We started thinking about this about two-plus years ago.” He continued, “We started talking about the future of our sport and how guys that are decorated amateurs are gonna eventually have big opportunities and the money is going to get better, and there’s gonna be a draft pick and we started right there. We came up with the concept and went up and started developing the first MMA Draft Combine and also the MMADraft website. It’s basically a resource for all the amateurs.”

It sounds like a great system that could absolutely help the sport continue its already-massive growth. Faber definitely showed his confidence in this idea as he stated, “its part of the progression of our sport I feel like.”

“There has to be a starting point,” he explained. “We want to keep our eye on that and find out who is going to be the next step up in the evolution of the sport.”

He was then asked how he manages to stay so busy doing so many different things outside of fighting, himself. He replied, “For me, it’s just about having some concepts and finding the right people to fill in the blanks. If I have an idea I set out to do it but I don’t by any means try to do anything by myself. I have some great partners in this thing.”

Faber then discussed how the extra expose on the amateurs is going to help lead to better organizations and more legitimate, sanctioned fights. In responding to what he felt he could personally do to make the sport more legitimate, safe, and overlooked he said, “I think the biggest thing is giving helpful hints, like, pointing them in the right direction. When things are done properly it’s not dangerous, per se. The problem is when people are uneducated. They don’t have a real awareness.”

Faber is hoping that by shining a brighter light on the amateur scene that the sport will see a steady increase in understand, knowledge, and acceptance of the sport. He is taking the reins in leading this MMA Draft concept and it sounds like and extremely beneficially tool that will be extremely useful to young up-and-coming fighters of the future.

Faber then touched on how the MMA Combine was going to work at the UFC Fan Expo in a couple of weeks (July 6th in Vegas). He explained, “Basically it’s gonna be a ton of my peers, professional fighters, trainers, we’re gonna have coaches and a lot of who’s-who in the sport, they’re gonna be evaluating. So we’re going to have some standardized testing that’s similar to the football and soccer combines where you’re testing athleticism.” He continued by saying, “And then we’re going to have MMA specific training as well.”

“And then on top of that we’re going to do  some interviews with media and talk about some of the best standouts in the amateur world right now. I know I have a couple on my team right now and there’s going to be representatives from gyms all across the US that are going to be there. It’ll be kind of cool. You’ll get to take a peek at some of the future stars.”

Faber then broke it down on what the Combine was meant to do for the fighters that get rated at the event in July and how it will help build the website and the MMA Draft concept by saying, “We have a ranking system on the website and this is all going to be content for that.”

“The idea eventually is to have something really tangible for the top performers; money, endorsement deals, things like that when they do turn pro. But right now it’s all about creating awareness.”

He then gave a plug for more information regarding the MMA Draft and the Combine in closing. He said, July 6th is the combine. You can check out MMADraft.com where you can sign up, find out what the criteria is, and things you have to do when you actually get there to compete.”

We thank Urijah for taking the time to talk with our team at BJPenn.com Radio and we look forward to hearing about more of the success that this MMA Draft and Combine bring to the sport of Mixed Martial Arts.

-Jake Chastain

@jchastain45

 

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