INDIANAPOLIS -- At the UFC 119 press conference, hometown boy Chris Lytle was clearly the crowd favorite, drawing big cheers from the crowd. The UFC 119 main players were all there.
-- Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic came in as a late replacement for Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. He fought just a few months ago at UFC 114, but said that deciding to fight was a no-brainer.
"Don Corleone sent me an offer I couldn't refuse," Cro Cop said.
White and Mir both joked about Cro Cop's possible eye injury -- which was cleared by doctors -- and how they were both a little nervous about it.
"I actually joked with Matt Mitrione. 'Hey man. You've had two fights. Let's go out there and have a war,'" Mir said.
-- Cro Cop went on to discuss trash talk's role in MMA. Frank Mir had plenty to say about Filipovic before the fights, but Cro Cop isn't crazy about trash talk.
"I think I should be respectful of fighters. This sport is brutal enough itself. I don't think you should say stupid statements or should act like savages. At the end of the day, [Frank Mir] is my brother in arms," Filipovic said. "There's no anger. I will do my best to beat him. I expect him to do the same. I see no place for insulting each other. I have never done it."
-- Filipovic pointed out that this Saturday's bout will be his 70th bout. He's had 37 in MMA, 32 in K-1.
-- Though wearing sunglasses -- and the best fanny pack I've ever seen -- Cro Cop said that his eye is fine.
-- A reporter asked Dana White if the business was slowing down. In a word, no.
"The business hasn't slowed down whatsoever. TUF still pulled great ratings. We're one of the longest-running reality shows in history. We're in the top 10. People are enjoying this season, and as far as the mainstream, we continue to grow. If you look at the economic disaster, and what's going on right now, and you look at other sports and entertainment, the UFC machine continues to roll, and we're putting on event after event. This sport continues to grow. We continue to grow. You are very misinformed, my friend," White said.
-- Though not on the dais, Mitrione was at the press conference and had a few questions for his friend and mentor, Chris Lytle.
"If there's a fire while you're here, will you be called to fight it?" Mitrione asked Lytle, a firefighter in Indianapolis."
"I hope not! I think the whole city might burn down, because all my fire department people should be watching my fight." Lytle responded.
"Will you bring Serra?" Mitrione said. When Lytle said yes, White broke in.
"You'd better bring somebody taller than Serra!"
-- Mir said that any discussion of going to light heavyweight was premature.
"If I lose Saturday, it might be easier to go to 205, because I'll be depressed and won't eat," Mir said with a laugh. "No, I spoke about it in passing, and certain people in my life responded by saying, 'There's no way in hell that can ever happen.'"
-- The UFC ended the press conference by taking questions from fans. A fan asked White to come and sit with him at the top of Conseco Fieldhouse. White said, "You are a gentleman, sir. I'd love to sit with you."
- Chris Lytle
- Matt Mitrione
- Frank Mir
- Cro Cop