Cung Le plays the character, Manh, and Eddie Rouse plays the character, Leland
Cung Le plays the character, Manh, and Eddie Rouse plays the character, Leland
Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, one of the most popular UFC fighters, has decided to quit fighting and is now pursuing an acting career.
Jackson wrote a blog on his official website this evening informing fans why he is quitting the fight game.
It appears that Jackson feels disrespected by UFC President Dana White.
Here are some excerpts from his blog.
“The UFC has done a lot for me but I think I have done more for them. The UFC bought WFA to get my contract & they saved my life, so I felt loyal to them. They pushed me into a fight with Chuck Liddel even when I clearly stated I wasn’t ready to fight for the belt because the American fans didn’t know me but I took the fight and didn’t complain & after I won the American fans booed me for the first time which changed the way I saw them & it hurt me deeply.”
“Then this movie role (he plays B.A. Baracus in the upcoming A-Team movie) came about that I have been trying to get for over a year & as soon as I found out I was close to getting it, I called Dana right away & asked to push the Memphis fight back just a month or so. I told him what this movie role meant to me. I told him that I used to bond with my father watching the tv show as a kid when my parents where still married & it represents the memories I had with my father when we lived together. My dad became an alcohalic & addicted to drugs & we grew apart. But after my dad got his life back together, I was so proud of my dad & I told him I would always take care of him in the future & make him proud of me. My dad & I are still very big fans of the show & I am basically doing this for the childhood memories I had spending time in front of the tv with my dad. Dana went on the internet & mocked me because of that & I still did nothing. Dana & I finally talked & we made up & then after that he went back on the internet & said some bullshit & he was talking bad about the movie when information is not even supposed to be released & talking about payments which is not even true could really hurt my future acting career, which could very well last longer than my fighting career. I’m not like Randy Couture.”
” My body has been getting so many different injuries that I wont be able to fight until my forties & neither do I want to fight that long. So I feel like my second career could be in jeopardy.. so I’m done fighting. I’ve been getting negative reviews from the dumb ass fans that don’t pay my bills or put my kids though college. So I’m hanging it up. I’m gonna miss all my loyal fans but hopefully they’ll follow me to my new career & I will gain more loyal fans along the way. & all you hater fans out there can kiss my big black hairy ass! & anybody that don’t like what I just said can come try to kick my ass!”
“I still feel the UFC is a great organization and I felt like I was very loyal to them but they didn’t respect my loyalty but I wish the UFC the best. I did a lot of things for them. I wish no bad blood between us but I have kids & a family back in Memphis to provide for & thats all that matters to me!”
If Rampage remains true to his word, the UFC and their fans have lost one of the most charismatic and popular fighters.
Undefeated in his decorated career as a professional fighter, compiling a record of 22-0 in kickboxing and 17-0 during Sanshou competition, Cung Le took the world of mixed martial arts by storm following his debut in early 2006, winning all six of his bouts fought under the Strikeforce banner by knockout, and capturing the promotion’s middleweight championship in the process. Cung’s own description of his fighting career sums it up perfectly, “I’ve been successful in everything I’ve done.”
This is why there were more than a few experts and fans alike that had very good reason to believe that the sky was the limit for the freshly crowned, and seemingly unstoppable 185 pound title holder. There was a certain energy surrounding Cung following his arm shattering beatdown of MMA legend Frank Shamrock to claim the Strikeforce crown. An energy that dwindled and lost steam in the mixed martial arts community as the championship sat undefended for months and months to come.
All the while, Le has been busier than ever before in his career spent punching and kicking grown men about the skull and torso. Busy stringing together an impressive resume in Hollywood, recently appearing in Fighting alongside Channing Tatum and Terrence Howard prior to this week’s September 25 release of Pandorum, with Tekken slated to come out later this year.
This is where the second side to the story comes in. As Cung recently revealed in an exclusive interview conducted with FiveOuncesOfPain.com in the days following his resignation as the Strikeforce middleweight champion, a plaguing elbow injury suffered prior to the title fight with Shamrock required a tremendous amount of rehabilitation following the bout. A rehabilitation process the injured elbow is still undergoing to this day.
Le stepping down as the Srikeforce middleweight champion just made sense for all involved due to the current situation. Cung put it best when he said, “It was the honorable thing to do”.
Do you feel like your career in mixed martial arts can be given a fair amount of credit for your fast rise in the movie industry?
Cung Le: I definitely credit MMA, and the popularity of MMA, for the opportunities I’ve had to just walk into these big studios and meet these movie executives because half of them were fans of the sport. They wanted to meet with me because of my past in the sport, and then of course they want to know if I can act. A lot of people don’t realize that when you’re a fighter, you’re going to have a lot of fans, from the top executives from Warner Bros., Universal, and other major companies in Hollywood. If you go in there, they’re going to be a fan, but if they know that you can deliver, and that you can act, a lot of big and wonderful things can happen for you in your career in the entertainment business.
Do you also feel, on the other side of that coin, do you feel like you’re giving back to the sport to some degree by all the press the sport is getting through you being in movies?
Cung Le: I believe that I have given back to the sport because this is going be a bigger market. A lot of people follow MMA, but then there’s a whole lot of other people that don’t follow MMA at all, but everyone goes and watches movies. I think that after people see me in movies, they may end up doing a little bit of research and they’ll be like, “Wow! He fights MMA”.
Can you talk to me about some of the reasons behind your motivation to step down as the Strikeforce middleweight champion?
Cung Le: You know, from my heart, I feel like the opportunity that I have received from MMA and being able to work on films has prevented me from defending my title. I’ve been off doing other things for seventeen months now, and I feel like it doesn’t serve the top middleweight contenders in Strikeforce justice when I’m out doing something else that isn’t their opportunity. I understand that this is my opportunity. I think that for me to take a step back was the honorable thing to do. I wanted to give those guys a chance to fight for the title. Not everyone gets the kind of opportunities that I get, so I have to not be selfish, and take a step back, and do the right thing, which is to vacate the title.
So with you stepping away from your championship belt, are you also stepping away from the sport as a competitor?
Cung Le: Just because I vacate the title does not mean that I’m retiring. I still love the sport, and I plan on getting back in thee and maybe doing a superfight here and there. If everything’s firing on all cylinders maybe I’ll take another run at the title again, but right now I think this is the best, and the most honorable thing to do.
Now I heard that before you fought Frank Shamrock for the title that you had an injury that you needed surgery on following the fight. What can you tell me about that injury and the rehabilitation process that has followed it?
Cung Le: Well I had elbow surgery before. It ended up taking me like six weeks of rehab before I could get back in there and train. I though that it was just a bone spur that may have been pinching the nerve or something. When I came out from being under during the surgery I was like, ‘Wow!’, you know, I felt weird because I had been under before and I was just so out of it. My surgeon told me that it went from a minor surgery to a major surgery because my bone spurt was sticking into a major nerve. So he had to move the nerve out of the way, shave the bone down, and just kind of push the nerve back into the pocket. I remember he told me that I was going to have to rehab it for at least three months, and I was like, ‘Wow!’, you know. Then two weeks later Frank Shamrock wanted to offer me the fight, and my trainer was telling me that I might not get this opportunity again. So I’m working around my injury preparing for the fight, and I got in there and I pulled it off. Right now I’m healing up. I’m at least at 85% right now. I try to keep myself in the best shape I can in case something comes up, then I won’t be that far off from getting back in shape.
I think there are a lot of people that may not realize that outside of the opportunities that came your way in film, you physically couldn’t fight after the Shamrock bout for a large chunk of time.
Cung Le: I physically couldn’t fight in the beginning. A lot of people don’t realize, they think that Strikeforce has been around for so long that they forget that Strikeforce put on their first show of this year in April, Frank Shamrock vs. Nick Diaz, and all of a sudden right after that they were expecting a title fight to come up right away. I thought it was kind of stupid.
In the back of your mind, you have to sit back and wonder how you would do against some of the top guys in the division like Anderson Silva, Nate Marquardt, or even Jake Shields. Is that hunger still there in your stomach? Do you get that burn when you’re watching fights where you just want to get back in there?
Cung Le: You know, maybe I’m different than some of the other fighters, but that burn that I have in my stomach is just to challenge myself. it doesn’t matter who I go in there against. I’ve been competing for a long time. Since 1994 as an amateur, and I turned pro in 98. I fought professionally in Sanshou and Kickboxing until 2005 before I turned to MMA in 2006. I’ve had a long career, where I’ve represented the United States in the World Championships, and I was the only American to bring home three different medals from three different world championships, along with winning other titles in Sanshou and kickboxing, and now in MMA, I’ve been successful in everything I’ve done. It’s just that a lot of people don’t realize that I’ve been a competitor my entire life, so that fire is always there for me. At the same time, I know that sometimes you just have to take a step back, and let yourself recover, and just kind of re-energize for when you take that next step, and get ready to walk back inside of the cage or ring again. I’ve been doing this for a very long time.
I can totally understand that, but you see the same question come up with a guy like Fedor for example. Is it a situation where you’ve just been dominant for so long at what you’ve been doing that you don’t really feel like you’re being challenged anymore?
Cung Le: No, I challenge myself. I’ve always been a competitor, I’ve always loved the martial arts, and I always try to represent myself well. I know that people have high expectations of me, but they’re not the ones doing it. They’re not the ones putting in the time. They’re not the ones that are going through the hardships, the ups and downs, so they really don’t understand. They just have a tunnel vision thought process about certain things. They call it the way they think it should be, but they don’t really understand. I’m not done yet. I’ll be back. I’m just doing the best that I can do to make the right decisions. I’m not in it for the short haul, I’m in it for the long haul. I have to do the right thing, not only for the fans and the promotion, but I have to do the right thing for myself, and my family too.
Fair enough. I can respect that. I have to ask you, is Anthony Johnson going to be the guy to beat Georges St. Pierre?
Cung Le: The only fear I have with Anthony Johnson is him being able to make 170 pounds. Every time he comes back for the next fight he’s bigger and just putting on more muscle. He’s really putting his time in right now, trying different things, and I really feel like the sky is the limit for Anthony Johnson. I think he’s just really big for the weight, and I know it’s a very hard cut for him. He has all the talent, and everything it takes to beat anyone, but when you have to make that drastic of a cut in weight leading into a fight, you’re not even the same person. I think he could be competitive at 185, but he likes to fight at 170 because he’s bigger than most of those guys, so that’s why he does it. I think that he has all of the potential in the world to do whatever it takes.
Of course, a question a lot of fans want to know; Is there any chance we’re gonna see Cung Le fight in the UFC before it’s all said and done?
Cung Le: I have a lot of respect for Dana White and the UFC. I have to give Dana and the UFC all the credit for getting MMA in the mainstream, but right now I have a contract with Strikeforce, and I’m doing the best I can as a martial artist and an MMA champion… former champion…. you know, I could not say right now. I’m not that young anymore [laughs], so we’ll see
Thanks so much for taking this time with me Cung. Is there anyone you would like to thank?
Cung Le: Definitely, I’d like to thank Zebra Mats, Throwdown, ADX, KNOXX Gear and BR Flooring. I also want to thank all of the fans, the Vietnamese community, and to everyone in MMA that supports all of us as fighters and athletes, thank you very much.
Alright Cung, thanks a lot….
Cung Le: And thank you for the interview. I think I shed a bit of light, more than any other interview for you, so hopefully your interview with me stands out more than the other ones.
Video of model, Elissa Alva, helping with the demostration of the new workout equipment. This was her first time holding focus mitts so she was quite nervous about doing this. She ended up doing a great job ! Check out her interview and get to know more about this beautiful model at http://www.tunerplayground.com/index.php?act=models&model=6
This exercise equipment is available at http://www.bodykore.com
KNOXX sponsored event in Sacramento – Muay Thai Origins: Battle at the Wat
Paizly C. & Elissa Alva
Waiting to give out the trophies to the fighters
Paizly C. & Elissa Alva ( http://www.tunerplayground.com/index.php?act=models&model=8 and http://www.tunerplayground.com/index.php?act=models&model=6 M )
Recording artist, Jay 3 of The Bayliens, rockin the KNOXX Lifestyle’s HELLA FRESH tee.
KNOXX fully supports Cung Le’s decision and wishes him much continued success on his new career in acting. Check out his next movie, Pandorum, coming to theaters near you on Sept 25th!
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker Thursday confirmed to MMAWeekly.com that his middleweight champion, Cung Le, has booked another major motion picture role and will relinquish his belt.
Jake Shields and Jason “Mayhem” Miller will now vie for the undisputed title under the eye of CBS when the two meet at the promotion’s network debut Nov. 7 at location to be announced early next week. A report on ESPN.com says the Sears Center Arena in Chicago is under intense consideration, citing sources close to the situation. The telecast will air live from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET. Coker was unaware whether the broadcast would be tape delayed to other parts of the country.
“I had a conversation with Cung and he has a lot of respect for Jake and Jason, and he’s got another movie coming up, so he’s asked me if he could step down, which we’re going to honor his request,” said Coker. “By no means does that mean he’s going to be retired, but he’s going to be unavailable for the next two months.”
Coker said he hoped to book the newly minted movie star again after his filming obligations are completed, though nothing was confirmed.
“With Cung, every six weeks we’ll be checking back with him,” he continued. “Now that he’s not going to be our title holder, we’ll put him in some big super fights and continue his MMA career, but not have the pressure of defending his belt when he has movie opportunities.” For me, potentially I have another project, and I know I’m not in fight shape right now, and I think I should vacate my title because it’s not fair to them who their livelihood is fighting for an interim title when I’m here running around making movies and doing something different. It does not mean that I’m retiring; I’m just doing it because I think it’s the right thing to do … because I’m not ready to step up in the next coming months and fight five-rounders. I definitely intend to return, and I know for a fact that I will return, but I can’t just jump back in and be able to go five rounds at peak level when I left (after) the fight with Frank (Shamrock).”
–Strikeforce middleweight champion Cung Le talks about his absence from the promotion after churning out an assortment of upcoming movie roles. He already has two movies set to be released in the near future, including the big screen version of the popular video game “Tekken” in which Le will play the role of Marshall Law. With three more movies in progress it will be no sooner than 2010 before he returns
When: September 19, 2009
General Admission: $15
Where: Wat Lao Saoputh Buddhist Temple
8741 Gerber Road
Sacramento CA 95828
Time: Event starts at 9am
Non-profit fundraiser:Proceeds benefit the Wat Lao Saoputh Buddhist Temple
This event will coincide with the “Battle at the Wat” adult competition. It has been our tradition to start children at an early age in competition to develop good sportmanship and confidence. The children participating are between the ages 5 to 15 years old. These exhibition matches are approved by the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC). There are no losers as they all learn from this experience. Please join us as we encourage our kids and watch them grow.
When: September 19, 2009
General Admission: $15
Where: Wat Lao Saoputh Buddhist Temple
8741 Gerber Road
Sacramento CA 95828
Time: Event starts at 9am
Non-profit fundraiser: Proceeds benefit the Wat Lao Saoputh Buddhist Temple
For more information please check out http://www.muaythailao.com
Promoting the upcoming release of Cung Le’s latest film “Pandorum,” Overture Films and KNOXX are sponsoring a sweepstakes that offers participants a chance to win a xBox 360 Arcade system.
The “Pandorum Feed Yourself into Paranoia” Sweepstakes is now underway and will conclude Sept. 25 at 11:59 p.m. EST. In addition to the xBox 360, the winner will receive the following titles: “Dead Space,” “Condemed 2: Bloodshot” and “Left 4 Dead.” Visit the web site FearTheUnknownContest.com to complete the entry form.
In “Pandorum,” two astronauts awaken in a hyper-sleep chamber aboard a seemingly abandoned spacecraft. It’s pitch black and the only sound is a low rumble and creak from the belly of the ship. They can’t remember anything.
Who are they? What is their mission? Slowly the spacecraft’s shocking, deadly secrets are revealed and the astronauts find their own survival is more important than they could ever have imagined.
“It’s a thriller, a sci-fi horror movie; it bounces through a lot of different genres,” said “Pandorum” actor Ben Foster (“3:10 to Yuma,” “Alpha Dog”) in an interview with io9.com. “I imagine it will appeal to a wider audience … When I read this script, it had me. There were a lot of interesting physical twists and physical demands which were exciting to play with.”
Directed by Christian Alvart (“Antibodies”) from a script by Travis Milloy, the film also stars Dennis Quaid (“Vantage Point,” “The Express”), Cam Gigandet (“Never Back Down,” “Twilight”), Cung Le (“Tekken,” “Fighting”) and newcomer Antje Traue.
“Pandorum” hits theaters Sept. 25. Check out the trailer below:
SOURCE: Ryan Rotten, Managing Editor
ShockTillYouDrop.com: How did you line up with director Christian Alvart?
Cung Le: My managers introduced me to Jeremy Bolt and he had me down to Universal, where their offices were at. I brought my world title belt, which I had won three months prior, I got a chance to meet Jeremy Bolt and he told me about the script which had an Asian guy in there. He thought I might be good for it. The character was Japanese, but I was willing to learn the language. The next thing you know, I’m auditioning and they said I could read in my native tongue, which is Vietnamese. Not longer after I got the part and next thing you know I’m on set amazed by the spaceship set and being directed by Alvart.
Shock: The trailer is elusive, it doesn’t give anything away, especially with your character – so who do you play?
Le: His name is Manh. He’s an agriculture specialist and he’s been awake for a while. The storyline is two crew members wake up and don’t know where they are at. Or what they’re mission is. I’ve been awake and I know what’s going on and I’ve been surviving on this ship. Over time he’s battle-hardened. He knows what to do.
Shock: I bet. Now, is there a language barrier between your character and the other crew members?
Le: Yeah, and I had to make sure I looked like I didn’t understand what they were saying. Three times a day I would train, put myself on tape a couple of times. And in the afternoon I would read over the lines to memorize them and at night I would just deliver it on tape to be prepared. I did that for a month before I filmed the movie. I would translate all of the English dialogue to Vietnamese which I speak fluently but there were some words I didn’t know like “pilot” or “crew member.” I had to really familiarize myself with that. I think a lot of people who say, “He’s a fighter, can he act?” will be impressed.
Shock: Well, what separates this from some of the similar genre fare we’ve seen set in space, on a ship and with scary shit going down?
Le: The actors in this movie are seasoned, from Dennis Quaid to Ben Foster. Christian is an amazing director with awesome producers. Without giving too much away, you’re going to get a little bit of everything here. You think you’re going to figure something out and you’re going to be wrong. You think you know what’s going to happen next and you’re going to be wrong. I guarantee there are going to be so many twists and turns. And the ending is going to make you think. It’s a mindf**k. For the horror fans who feel scary movies have been lacking, this is it. This is something that is going to appeal to action fans, sci-fi fans and horror fans. Take your girl to it, she’ll be jumping in your lap.
Shock: Since the trailer hit, I’ve been slowing scenes down. If you do that you get to see the threat which comes from…humanoids or creatures?
Le: When I saw those creatures, I was like wow. There are a couple of chase scenes and they’re really coming at you. When you pass the camera, you turn around and you see them coming full steam ahead. It was just really spooky being on the set with them. The mood and the lighting made you just feel you were in that scene. You didn’t need to act anything out. You got immediately into character and you can feel them inching closer to you. The actors in the makeup were amazing. They brought these creatures to life and that was definitely worth it for me. I was blown away.
Shock: What was the ratio of practical to green screen set work?
Le: I’d say about 80% of the sets were practical. There was some green screen stuff. The sets were amazing. I did a full sprint down this long hallway, or ship corridor, jumping over pipes and that was amazing. We’d film different pieces of the ship, it’s pretty elaborate.
Shock: Aside from the language challenges, physically this film must have pushed you as well.
Le: Oh yeah. I’ve been in the ring and in the cage. Lots of amateur fights and wrestling matches. I’ve got a lot of respect for the stunt men. I did 90% of my own stunts and there were a few times I woke up the next day feeling like I was in a MMA fight. Just banged up take after a take. Hitting the walls. Slamming into things. There’s going to be kicking and shin bones flying around. I think the hardest thing for me, when I got on set I was about 193 or 195 pounds. Jeremy Bolt came over and said, “You’re looking great, man, but there’s not much food on this ship so I think you need to cut some weight.” He needed me to cut about 15 pounds. I said I’d get it off in two weeks. It’s not just cutting water weight. I got to cut it and keep it off. Usually for a fight I cut it and put it right back on. Sure enough, it wasn’t that hard, and I got it off quick, but keeping it off for two months was tough. Once the food came out…I had a strict diet. I had to work out in the morning and night. I was just exhausted and always hungry. When the German chocolate came out…that is my greatest weakness.
Cung Le will be venturing down to the San Diego Comic-Con this year for the first time, not just to promote Pandorum but to pimp out his action figure which is the best-selling one in its line. You’ll also see him in the upcoming video game adaptation Tekken and Bodyguards and Assassins with Donnie Yen.