Robert Lisita Interview Part 1 – May 2013

Robert Lisita

Australian fighter Robert Lisita recently moved to featherweight but over the last few weeks have voiced his opinion over social media over the lack of opponents wanting a shot at him. Lisita has made numerous appearances  in the defunct Cage Fighting Championships and over his career has defeated the likes of Glenn Taylor-Smith, Shane Wundenberg, David Vergers and Rory O’Connell. His last two outings have been in the Legend Fighting Championships and against though opponents there, Lisita went 1-1.

Lisita has been announced to be partaking on the Adrenalin – Unleashed event scheduled for June 29 and being headlined by two fighters that Lisita has close links with being Jai Bradney and Adrian Pang. We caught up with Lisita for a two-part interview with Lisita where he talks about various issues within Australian MMA.

Fight News Australia: Hey Robert, how have you been mate?

Lisita: I’m doing great just training hard, eating right , living a clean productive life as a fighter.

Fight News Australia: I believe you are based out of Thailand now?

Lisita: I’m a Gypsy! I’m here at Phuket Top Team which I can say without being bias is the best gym in Thailand. Back in Oz I travel to Brisbane and train at Intergrated MMA which is the best gym in Oz and in Sydney I’m all over the place.

Fight News Australia: Missing the loved ones?

Lisita: My girls where with me here for 6 weeks but just left last night. I already miss them terribly.

Fight News Australia: Do you think a lot of fans understand the sacrifices fighters make to fulfill their dreams?

Lisita: No way! They think we all live like the top 1% of this sport. The truth is most fighters are bordering the poverty line. But we have until 65 to break our backs doing labouring and we only have small window to do something we love.

Fight News Australia: Have you given yourself a time span in this sport and what are your short term and long term goals?

Lisita: I’m looking at about another 5 years if I keep winning. I’m not fussed about the UFC, belts, rankings and records. I just love to fight and with my style of fighting my body will not take it forever.

Fight News Australia: With UFC concentrating on records, do you think this has impacted how some fighters sign to bouts to secure a win?

Lisita: Of course but that’s all out the window now. The UFC said they need to cut over 100 fighters so if fighters aren’t excited they get fired and they sure as heck won’t get signed.

Fight News Australia: It leads me to the next question, you have moved down from lightweight to featherweight but have struggled to find match-ups. How frustrating has it been for you?

Lisita: It’s so frustrating. I’ve beaten top welterweights, top lightweights and went looking straight for the best featherweights, I’ve never missed weight and always look to fight to best guys. I’m shocked people don’t think the same. When I think about it I have to say pound-for-pound I might be one of the best Aussie MMA fighters ever.

Fight News Australia: Are there fighters at featherweight you are in particular looking at fighting?

Lisita: I want to prove I’m the best. Grant (Blackler) was considered someone but only fought nobodies. The first time he fought someone tough he got stopped. So now I want Pat Promrangka. I hope he steps up I think it will be a great fight. Any Aussie that can make featherweight and has the balls – lets do it!

Fight News Australia: I think Promrangka was set to face Suasday Chau before Chau recently got injured and was forced out. He has an entertaining style. Would be an entertaining bout. Have you seen Promrangka fight before?

Lisita: I never seen him fight but it doesn’t matter. I’ll fight my fight no matter what. He seems game and deserves to get a good fight. If Fury MMA can get the money together, I’ll fight him on that but let’s do it on the big stage. June 29 – Adrenalin MMA. Semi main-event under Jai Bradney vs Adrian Pang. Winner gets bragging rights as Australia’s best at featherweight.

Fight News Australia: Who else in Australia do you rank in the featherweight division?

Lisita: Rory O’Connell is right up there. I’ll give him a rematch when he wants. Like I said I’m a man and I’ll fight who I’m told to. But to be honest, it’s up to these guys to fight me and make a name for themselves. Most other weight classes are really close but I think I’m so far ahead of any other Aussie featherweight. That’s why I wanna fight them and find out.

Fight News Australia: I spoke to you in private, and you feel under appreciated in the Australian MMA scene. Why do you believe you are not getting the respect you should be?

Lisita: I’ve been fighting any weight anytime in the largest orginisations. I always put on excited fights but when I win its barely spoke of but when I have lost these bullshit decisions I feel they talk of my opponent like his the greatest thing since sliced bread. Fighters should be judged on there willingness to finish a fight and I’m always looking for the finish.

Fight News Australia: When you say ‘they’ do you mean fans, fighters, media or all?

Lisita: I’ve always had respect from fighters because they know I’m a man that will go to the death, any fan that watches me fight becomes a fan of me but I feel that the media outcast me for some reason. I wear my heart on my sleeve and if I say I’ll do something in a fight I do. I appreciate that the media cover the sport but I think there too worried about upsetting people. I think if a fighter is boring or just crap and doesn’t deserve to be on a show they should say so. Without fighters this sport wouldn’t exist but you need to earn your money and not just turn up.

Fight News Australia: We here at FNA try to cover the sport (especially the local Australian scene) as well as we can. We would argue that we actually help in getting your name out there and giving you opportunity to voice your concerns in articles and interviews?

Lisita: I agree and I for one have always been interested in your articles. You and other MMA media do it for the love of the sport. So many fighters lose money, paying for training and expenses but it makes me laugh that some promoters say they run shows for the love of the sport. That’s bullshit! If they don’t make a profit there wouldn’t be a second or third show. Thankfully there are a small number of promoters that treat their fighters like they are somebody and pay them their worth. Just know if I fight for a show they are one of the good guys.

Fight News Australia: Do you think there needs to be a happy-medium. I agree with you that not many promoters would do show after show losing money but there needs to be a happy medium between fighters. Promoters should make a profit and fighters should be paid what they think they deserve. It’s a matter of finding that medium and I guess that comes to finding the right promoter and unfortunately different fighters find that happy medium with different promoters. Correct?

Lisita: Exactly! It’s just the way of the world. A lot of people in high positions cry poor and promise the gold at the end of the rainbow, and if you complain they say they will find someone else. I think in life you should be paid what you deserve and in fighting if your excited and have the crowd on their feet cheering you should be payed well, but if you stall and are boring and the crowd boos you deserve little money. Just look at the Pride FC format those where the days.

Fight News Australia: Though you could make an arguement that a boring local fighter would bring in more friends to a show than an entertaining fighter travelling from interstate. One thing that I did like in Pride FC was the yellow card. Would this help MMA going forward?

Lisita: For sure ticket sales makes money. But if a show is televised and it wants to grow as far as investors and sponsors you need exciting fights. At the end of the day if your mate is boring you’ll watch him once and never again whereas if you go to a show and see a beast your gonna pay to see him again whether you are friends or not. The yellow card thing is subjective what we need are competent referees that see if a fighter is stalling or actually trying to advance his position or set something up.

Fight News Australia: I believe that goes both ways as well. If a fighter is moving and and setting something up then should be allowed to continue. Its when there is a stall in the fight that we encounter problems. George St Pierre recently spoke about having just one round of 15 minutes of fighting. What are you thoughts on having this instead of say 3×5 minute rounds?

Lisita: That’s ridiculous. Do you remember the original UFC Superfights, that some some of the most boring fights even, but you look at k-1 it’s 3×3 minutes and they go balls to the wall not worrying about saving energy.

Fight News Australia: The pro though would be that one big round in a fight would allow the fight to be scored as a whole and not per round which is currently done. This might help fighters winning fights by getting a late takedown in a round?

Lisita: I think if they got ex-fighters to judge fights it would make things a lot better but even then it’s hard because if a fighter came from a wrestling background he would favour that. Striking, BJJ and so forth. They just need to follow their own rule and that’s effective striking, grappling, aggression and cage control. If they judged on that for real, then MMA would be great.

Check out part 2 of our interview with Robert Lisita

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