By Cindy Ortiz
“I’m a better fighter than both those guys; I know it, they know it and hopefully the fans will soon. I just hope they will “man up” and fight me again.”
This was Sam’s answer when I asked him if there was anyone he would like to “mix it up with” inside the octagon.
As usual, Sam Hoger had no problem speaking his mind when I interviewed him last week. After reading Sam’s “controversial” interview with Inside Boxing a couple of weeks ago, I contacted Chad Nuzum, one of his very good friends and “right hand man” to set something up. I wasn’t sure which Sam Hoger I would be chatting with (the nice and polite “beanie-burglar” or the “I’m a hater” gladiator) but I was confident I could handle whoever showed up!
Before we got into Sam’s reasons for wanting to fight Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar again, I asked him about some of his comments in the Boxing Insider interview.
Cindy: Hi Sam! Let’s get this out of the way right off the bat. On April 18th, you addressed some questions on the TUF forum from your fans. When asked about Bobby you responded: “Bobby’s a tough guy. Our families have met and our beef is gone. He’s a good guy and after we fought, he was a gentleman. He’s a much better guy than what we saw on the show.”
When asked in a recent interview with Boxing Insider “Were there any roommates you liked,” you responded, “I liked everyone on the green team. There were only two good things about my blue team: Chuck Liddell and being able to train with Chuck Liddell. Aside from that, my blue team was ass! They fucking suck. They are pieces of trash to live with.”
Bobby was a member of the blue team so I just have to ask if the recent negative comments applied to him, too, because the contrast between your April comments and your November remarks is like day and night.
Sam: Yeah, he was asking me what it was like at the time all this went on, you know, during the show, but he failed to mention that in the interview. Both accounts are correct; the Boxing Insider comments applied to my thoughts and feelings while I was in the house and taping the show. He asked the questions about what it was like in the house and I told him. My remarks on the TUF forum applied to my thoughts and feelings a few months after taping concluded, the show was edited, the finale fights were over and things had calmed down a bit.
Cindy: Like I said, it seemed confusing that all was well in April when you posted on the TUF forum, but by November, you seemed to hate all of the fighters and was dishing out the insults like you were still living in the moment. Now we know why.
Sam: I did make all the negative comments, but they were based on questions about what it was like “then,” not now. The Ultimate Fighter was so much more than anyone expected it to be in a positive and a negative way. I would do it all over again in a minute because it helped to launch MMA into the limelight where it gained mainstream acceptance as a legit sport. Fighters are professional athletes and should be respected as such and I’m honored to have gotten to play a small role in creating public awareness of MMA as well as the UFC. I just had to roll with the punches, like we all did, as the series unfolded every Monday night in millions of homes across the country because you could never be too sure how the whole thing was edited for “entertainment value.”
I have no “beef” with anyone from the show and it was a learning experience, one I’ll never forget.
Cindy: But you still want rematches with Griffin and Bonnar?
Sam: Oh, hell yeah! Quite simply, Cindy, I’m a better fighter than both of those guys… no question about it. Had I realized not punching from the bottom would be construed as not intelligently defending myself by the ref, Forrest would have never gotten the win when we fought. I could have gone all the way; now I know… but so does he. Forrest knows I’m a better fighter than he is and I have continued to improve. I want a rematch.
Cindy: So you think Forrest won the first time because you made a tactical mistake (not punching from the bottom position), not because he’s a better fighter than you?
Sam: Because I was sitting down there defending while he was punching me, that’s why he won! In the Midwest, unless your head is bouncing off the canvas, they won’t stop a fight. If your hands are up, that’s considered good defense if the fight is standing and in the Midwest, that’s considered good defense on the ground.
However… I didn’t know in the UFC that if you just laid there and covered up, letting your opponent punch himself out a little bit and then you went for your stuff, that they’d stop the fight. But, low and behold, that’s what happened.
Cindy: What would you do different next time?
Sam: I’d start punching from the bottom just like I did when I fought Bonnar when he was on top, punching me in the face! I was swinging even though I was on my back. I was staying busy even though doing so meant I had to take some punishment.
Cindy: We were commenting about that because it looked as though your ground game had improved ten-fold, then someone said they thought you had a strong ground game before… you just didn’t show it when you faced Forrest.
Sam: I just don’t see myself on the bottom in a rematch with Forrest, though.
Cindy: Is there anyone else you’d like to step inside the octagon against?
Sam: Forrest is the fight I really want and after I beat him, I want a rematch with Bonnar next. I’m a better fighter than both those guys; I know it, they know it and hopefully the fans will find that out soon as well. I just hope they will “man up” and give me the fights. We’ll have to wait and see, huh?
Cindy: Dayum, Sam! “Them’s fighting words!” Good luck on making those fights happen because I’d definitely be interested to see what you’re working with the second time around.
Sam: We shall wait and see.
Cindy: You have often said “every move is a set up.” Was the controversial interview you did with Boxing Insider a publicity stunt to get people talking about you again?
Sam: No, no, no. I was in the sauna cutting weight when I did that interview and all the rage and anger caused by that environment, plus the questions I was being asked pertaining to what it was like in the house contributed to my “unfiltered” responses. I’m like that anyway, though. If you ever want to know what Sam Hoger is thinking or feeling, just ask. The words that come out of my mouth will always be the truth and may or may not be politically correct; but that’s just me.
Cindy: (laughter) Do me a favor then; if I ever call you and your sitting in a sauna, please tell me because I’ll gladly call you back the next day! Deal?
Sam: Deal. Kal did a good job with the interview and I absolutely said every single word he wrote and I think he did a good job. He made sure I knew he was going to use what I was saying, so… you know, I didn’t have a problem with it and I still don’t.
Cindy: Glad we cleared that up, Sam. Do you consider your occupation to be fighting or is it just something you do?
Sam: Yeah, this is my full-time job, you know? It’s something that I do and I absolutely love doing it. It’s kinda like having a wonderful looking girlfriend like the one that just walked pass me.
(Sam says to… I assume a hot chick (lol), “Hey… how ya doing? Mmm! Mmm! Mmm!”)
Now where was I, Cindy… oh yeah, fighting’s something I do because I love it… just like a beautiful girl.
Cindy: Well, that sounds like fighting is a combination of business and pleasure for you, Sammy!
Sam: You know, Cindy… yes it is. Yes… it… is. It’s right up there.
Cindy: Now, in April, you claimed to “have no game” with the ladies. Has that changed?
Sam: Cindy, I said that as a joke. I got a little bit of game, come on now (laughter)!
Cindy: Juuuuust asking! Didn’t you do one of those “Girls Gone Wild” or “Girls Gone Stupid” earlier this year?
Sam: Oh, I know what you’re talking about. A friend of my runs a club and they were going to be filming one of the “Girls Gone Wild” things there and I was brought in as one their “celebrity” guests. It was fun! I’ve got plenty of game and I get tons of chicks. Sometimes, I try to play it down because it makes me seem more modest, which can be nice, but the truth of the matter is… I can’t complain.
Cindy: Well, if that’s the case, Sammy, describe for me your ideal woman.
Sam: Oh my goodness. Pam Anderson in ‘92, with the virtue of Mother Teresa! She’d be a “lady in the street but a freak in the bed!”
Cindy: Ok, Ludacris! Would she have an occupation?
Sam: Yes, she’d be a neurosurgeon
Cindy: For the record, is Sam available to the ladies?
Sam: Oh my goodness! Sam is always available to the ladies, until I get married at least!
Cindy: Well, alrighty then! What is your definition of “heart” as it pertains to a fighter?
Sam: The ability to withstand pain and keep pushing yourself in the midst of it without giving up, no matter what. To not quit; the word isn’t in your vocabulary, for the most part.
Cindy: What single piece of advice would you give to up and coming fighters?
Sam: Oh my goodness. Let’s see… to get with a good team and train hard. Stick to your regimen; maintain your diet so you’re not having to cut a lot right before a fight. If you don’t believe in yourself, you shouldn’t be there. If you do have faith in yourself, don’t let anyone make you doubt that.
Cindy: You have mentioned in the past that besides Randy and Chuck, one of your favorite TUF 1 fighters you liked to roll with in practice was Diego Sanchez. Diego’s a welterweight and in his division, do you agree Georges St. Pierre is number one, Diego’s number two and Matt is number three?
Sam: Oh no, no, no. Matt’s at the top, Cindy. I mean, come on girl, let’s keep it real now. Who’s defended the title seven times (laughter)? Let’s be honest here, you’re trying to get me to throw rocks at the throne, baby! Come on, now!
Cindy: Slow your roll, Sammy! Don’t be “hatin’ the messenger!” I think Diego is good, but not THAT good at this point in his career. He made those claims in a couple of previous interviews and I’m pretty sure coffee shot out of my nose all over my keyboard the first time I read it (laughter)!
Sam: I can appreciate Diego’s confidence but until he dethrones the king, he’ll continue to be behind and below him. A belt is a belt; what it represents is what is important.
Cindy: Well, Diego doesn’t have one so he can just keep reaching for the stars. I don’t agree with his notion of being the “uncrowned champ” or that Matt is just keeping his belt shiny and warm. The sad part is that I just love the smack talkers but damn, Sam! Diego is just spittin’ too much game!
Sam: (laughter) Maybe one day, but it certainly isn’t today.
Cindy: Agreed! Where there we have it then! Is there anything you would like to add to the interview or do you have any sponsors you would like to plug or a message for your fans you’d like me to pass along?
Sam: You know it… I’d like to thank all the fans out there, you guys are the greatest! Now the list of people to thank:
My family, God, Pat Miletich, Ted Stickel, Team MFS, Kim K, Dana White, The Fertittas, Gene Joanen, Chad Nuzum, Joe Cavallaro, Chris Seifert, Randy Harris, Tim Silvia, and Nate with Warrior Wear.
Also, check out my site at www.samhoger.com!
Cindy: I got it, Sammy! Good luck with getting a rematch with Forrest (Griffin) and Stephan (Bonnar) and I’m sure all your fans look forward to seeing you back in the octagon real soon.
Sam: Thanks, Cindy. I appreciate the interview.