by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
Like it or not Matt “The Law” Lindland calls it likes he sees it.
Whether it’s his own career or commenting on the world around him, Lindland is not one to sugarcoat things.
So when Affliction recently canceled its scheduled Aug. 1 “Trilogy” show and then less than 24 hours later closed up shop on its MMA promotion to partner back up with its once-scorned business associates, the UFC, Lindland was more than willing to give his thoughts on the situation; among other recent MMA happenings.
MMAWeekly: Matt, does it surprise you what happened with Affliction this past Friday?
Matt Lindland: No, it doesn’t surprise me a bit. When I heard (Josh) Barnett was out, I more than expected that outcome. I was under the impression this was going to be their last show anyway – although they owed me another fight on that contract, and they weren’t putting me on that Aug. 1 card – I kind of assumed that would be their last show anyway, so it wasn’t a big surprise anyway.
MMAWeekly: It sounds like you weren’t expecting to ever get in that last fight for them.
Matt Lindland: Yeah, I didn’t think they were going to honor their agreement. It’s not just me; look at what they did to all the fighters that were training for that event.
MMAWeekly: When do you think you’ll fight again?
Matt Lindland: I’m back in the gym, training and looking to fight somewhere soon. I haven’t got anything signed right now. I’m just reviewing some contracts and we’ll make an announcement this week. But the goal is to always stay active and get in there and fight against the best guys out there.
MMAWeekly: As the way the American MMA landscape looks right now, you have Strikeforce and the UFC. Is that pretty much it, that or nothing for you?
Matt Lindland: Yeah, that’s pretty much it. I mean, really, you look at the huge strides the UFC has made over the years, recently even. I knew once they put that (reality) show together, we saw the results of “The Ultimate Fighter” being on TV and how the sport blew up. Then within this last year I’ve really seen the growth.
They’re doing shows on Wednesday night, at three in the afternoon, and are filling up arenas in Nashville, Tenn.; and UFC 100 was just unbelievable. It’s hard to imagine where we came from in this sport and where we’re at now.
MMAWeekly: Do you feel that the relationship is there between you and the UFC to bring you back, or maybe are some fences going to need to be mended?
Matt Lindland: I really don’t know if there was ever a bad relationship (between myself and the UFC). I never communicated well with Dana to understand what the problems were, and if there was a way to resolve them. If there really is anything there or not, I couldn’t really tell you. I would say I’ve tried to get some dialog started, but nothing’s really ever came out that.
MMAWeekly: Speaking of UFC 100, there was a lot of attention geared towards Brock Lesnar’s “bad guy” actions by the mass media. As someone who’s seen the antics of fighters such as Tank Abbott and Tito Ortiz, is that just another similar situation that just happened to have gotten blown out of proportion because of all the new media surrounding the event?
Matt Lindland: I think that’s exactly why; you had a bunch of new media there that kind of got a taste of that for the first time. Most of the guys in this sport are hugging after the fight, (like) they’re best friends (saying), “We’re just warriors out here,” or whatever, blah, blah, blah. I think it’s kind of refreshing to see someone like Brock.
I’m sure Dana was not happy with the comments about the sponsorship stuff. He acted like he didn’t like it, but how could you not like that much attention being brought to your organization?
MMAWeekly: Does that mean Matt Lindland would be content to play the bad guy?
Matt Lindland: I think I am the bad guy for whatever reason. And I think Brock got put into that role. I don’t think he chose it. I think a lot of fans put him in that role, and he does a good job playing it up. Nobody’s indifferent about Brock – you either love him or you hate him.
Nobody’s indifferent and everybody knows who he is, and I think he’s got an opportunity to stay at the top for a while; so, why not go one way or the other? If the fans aren’t already embracing you, embrace the fact that they hate you.
MMAWeekly: Switching gears now, tell us about Team Quest and what’s been going on with them and what can we see from the team in the near future?
Matt Lindland: We did open up another gym (in Tualatin, Ore.), and it’s been about exactly a year on July 15, that the second gym opened. We continue to grow; the gym continues to grow as the sport does. What’s nice to see is that we keep bringing out new athletes.
We just signed another guy to the WEC in David Jansen, and we’ve still got some young guys coming up. We’ve got some talented fighters that I’d like to see get back in the ring and get busy, for sure.
(Ryan) Schultz is back in the ring at Sengoku here in September. Dan Henderson recently had a great fight (against Michael Bisping at UFC 100), and has got another one coming right up against Rich Franklin (at UFC 103 in September). Chael (Sonnen) has got a big one coming up against (Yushin) Okami (at UFC 104 in October) that should be a lot of fun, and I think will put him in one of the top contender spots.
MMAWeekly: Thanks for your time Matt. Is there anything you want to say in conclusion?
Matt Lindland: Team Quest has got great things coming up. As for myself, I will be active again here soon. I do appreciate all the fan support of myself and Team Quest. I certainly think we’ll see me back in action soon. I need to get back out into the ring and lead by example (again).