Wednesday is UFC 116 workout day at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. That means some of the top fighters on the card will roll through some drills for the fans and then give the media the opportunity for interviews and one-on-one's. Before you say, "who gives a [expletive]!" Keep in mind, it's the final chance for most newspaper, Internet and television outlets to grab material to "help hype/sell the fight." The next two days is when the big push is made and could possibly turn the event into the most-purchased MMA pay-per-views in history.
Rumors have swirled the last few days that Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin are both going to turn down all interview requests at workout day. For Lesnar, it's not dissimilar from what he has done in the past. He's spoken to the media but makes it short and sweet.
Update I: Here is Lesnar doing his part Wednesday and speaking with the media. The champ spoke in a scrum for 10 minutes and also answered two questions from TMZ in his only one-on-one.
Carwin on the other hand is going to be an interesting follow.
Update II: Carwin was cooperative Wednesday during workout day. He spoke with the media for 18 minutes and did no one-on-one interviews.
He ranted a bit on his blog a few weeks ago about being unhappy with Zuffa management and some of the criticism lobbed his way. He tried to smooth things over on last week's conference call, but when he spoke with Ben Fowlkes from Fanhouse, it sounded as if Carwin still has some issues.
"No, I think that we have had two UFC's, one WEC, Strikeforce, Bellator Finals and a TUF Finale that has occupied the media's attention. I think to say that I am not 'selling' a fight when I have been selling this fight for almost a year is pretty asinine," [Carwin said when asked about criticism from management and if Lesnar got preferential treatment.] "I am not overly worried about the media attention or the fame."
Carwin made it very public that he's only making a guaranteed $40,000 for this main event fight that may help to pull in excess of $1.5 million PPV buys. He was asked if he wins the belt is it time to get a new deal from the UFC?
"I do not think so. Beating Brock does not make you Brock. I will still need to insult most of the fighters in my division, flip off the fans, insult the biggest sponsors the UFC has and then and only then will I renegotiate with Zuffa."
That was a nice shot at Lesnar. Carwin went on to say he was happy with the way he's been treated but also made interesting comments about his interim UFC heavyweight title belt.
"Dana [White] and Lorenzo [Fertitta] have taken good care of my family and I. They have given us more than they are obligated to and we are happy. My manager always says it is not about making money when you fight but to make money when you are not fighting. We really do not have our hands out for anything more – if it comes we will take it and smile. I am honored to be working for the UFC and representing them in the 'fake' champions category."
We'll see what happens Wednesday. My feeling is that once on the ground around the media, Carwin will speak and do what he can to hype the fight. But this reluctance to be bombastic and play the role of the baddest man on the planet may have some with Zuffa thinking they're better off with a Lesnar win.
If this is a quiet week with the behemoths, what heights can the fight reach?
It's also worth noting that ESPN and its MMA show "MMA Live" will not be on the ground in Las Vegas for the event. That's too bad. It would've been huge for MMA to have another one-hour, lead-in preview show on ESPN2 like it did before UFC 113. That had a gigantic effect on the PPV sales.