[EXCLUSIVE] Cristiano Marcello on Reza Madadi: “I Have a History of Taming Bullies”
STUDIO MMA, RIVERSIDE, CA – On October 13th, former Chute Boxe BJJ head coach and TUF 15 alum, Cristiano Marcello, will finally get his hands on rival Reza “Mad Dog” Madadi. Last month StudioMMA reported that the grudge match was set for UFC 153 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The rivalry began when Marcello stepped into the cage at Superior Challenge and challenged Madadi who just won his fight against Rich Clemeneti. Madadi ripped the microphone from Marcello and said, “F@#k off!”
Both fighters made their UFC debuts earlier this year, though only one was victorious. Madadi scored a second round submission win over Yoislandy Izquierdo at UFC on Fuel TV 2, while Marcello was knocked out by Sam Sicilia in The Ultimate Fighter 15 finale.
We here at StudioMMA.com interviewed BJJ wizard Cristiano Marcello. Check it out below.
StudioMMA: How personal is this fight with Reza?
Cristiano Marcello: First of all, this fight is very personal. I see Reza as a bully, and I have a history of taming bullies. I have a family, I have students, and I have my dignity. I have done my best to make a positive contribution to our sport. I don’t know where this guy gets off thinking he can disrespect people for nothing. It hurts the evolution of MMA with this kind of attitude. Reza and I are going to hurt each other on October 13th, I guarantee you that.
StudioMMA: What initiated the bad blood? What happened at Superior Challenge in Sweden?
Cristiano Marcello: I am a professional and I have a history of being a respectful fighter. When I was cornering one of my fighters at the Swedish event called Superior Challenge, the promoter asked me to go in the cage after his fight to challenge the winner of the lightweight championship. To be honest, I thought I would be challenging his opponent that night because I believed Reza lost that fight. I have the same goals as any fighter, and that is to become a champion. And I also believe that if you are the champ, you have to accept the challenges that come with being the champ. It is customary for fighters in any event to enter the cage to challenge the champion. I entered the cage in a respectful manner and thanked Reza for the opportunity. But he responded by grabbing the microphone out of my hand and screaming at me with profanities. So let’s do it now in Brazil.
StudioMMA: Do you and Reza still have animosity towards one another?
Cristiano Marcello: That night where we had our altercation in Sweden, Reza said one thing that was true. He said that I am not on his level. He is right, I am far better than him. He has never fought outside of Sweden against top level fighters. I have fought all over the world in Asia, USA, Middle East, Korea, and Brazil against the best fighters in the best shows. So to answer your question, we have animosity towards each other.
StudioMMA: What’s his opinion of Reza, both as a fighter and as an individual?
Cristiano Marcello: I don’t really know what to say about that to be honest with you. I don’t know how much of the things he does he does for self-promotion or if that is the way he really is with people. I know that the people that like him in Sweden like him a lot. So maybe he acts like a bully to self-promote himself. One thing I do know is that he tries to psychologically break his opponents before the fights by using bad words and using an ugly and aggressive face. As everyone knows, I am not afraid of any bully. The only way Reza can scare me before the fight is if he tries to kiss me or if he tells me he love me.
StudioMMA: How has training been? Any changes in camp and top-name teammates at Chute Boxe who mimic Madadi’s style?
Cristiano Marcello: Training is going great. I will simply say this. If he tries to knock me out, I will knock him out. If he tries to take me to the ground I will submit him.
StudioMMA: Marcello is from the legendary Chute Boxe camp, which has lost some of it’s fearful name, as fighters have moved camps/opened their own gyms. How important is “repping one’s gym” in today’s MMA?
Cristiano Marcello: When I was one of the head coaches at Chute Boxe, I committed myself to producing world champions for Chute Boxe Academy. Now this is my time to represent my gym, CM System, and to bring the victory to Brazil and to my academy. We have some very talented fighters at CM System. In the future you will see a lot of guys from my gym in the UFC. Keep your eyes out for Bruno Carvalho at 155 lbs (not to be mistaken for the Swedish Brazilian Bruno Carvalho), for example. He is the best striker out of South America with 24-0 victories in Muy Thai and 18 KOs. He has made a very successful transition to MMA fighting in Dream and other top organizations. Bruno is one of many fighters I am producing here. We have a factory of talented guys. Keep a look out for them.
StudioMMA: Is there any added pressure, not wanting to go 0-2 in the UFC and fighting in your home country?
Cristiano Marcello: No, not at all. A fight is a fight and I go into all my events with positive pressure. We will be successful that night.
StudioMMA: Fighting in Brazil — some fighters love fighting in front of their home crowd, while some feel it’s added pressure. How do you feel? Also, Reza loves the crowd and hasn’t fought on the “enemy’s turf,” so to speak, in a long time. How do you think it’ll affect Reza?
Cristiano Marcello: I love to fight in Brazil. Fighting in front of my people in my hometown gives me a lot of energy and power. Plus, I am happy that I am not fighting another Brazilian. So the fans can be united for this great brawl that Reza and I will give the fans. I know that Reza has the experience with the hometown advantage, so I am sure he knows what I am talking about. I don’t think Reza knows what it is like to not have the crowd on his side as he has never fought outside of Sweden.
Fan: What do you like to do outside the MMA and training?
Cristiano Marcello: I like to stay with my wife, and my two children. I spend time with my friends and family. It is the most important thing for me. Thanks for asking.
Fan: What did you think of Sweden the last time you where here?
Cristiano Marcello: I love Sweden!! The people are so respectful and such a beautiful country. I always feel well received, and enjoy my experiences there. I hope to have the opportunity to go back soon one day.
Fan: You and Reza have similar records. You both finish fights with submissions. Will you be able to submit Sweden’s number one, fan-favorite fighter?
Cristiano Marcello: That would be great. I want to challenge Reza to go to the ground with me. I can start with my back on the floor. Lets see who has the better ground game between us. I say that with all respect to the Swedish people. I love Sweden and the people. Unfortunately, I have a problem with Reza, not Sweden. If you want to learn more about me please follow me on twitter @cristianoBJJ or my fan page. Thank you for the opportunity for the interview. See you guys soon.