Dream 7: Warren Wants to ‘Eat’ Beebe’s Heart

By Tony Loiseleur Mar 7, 2009
TOKYO -- Decorated Greco-Roman wrestler Joe Warren, in advance of his professional mixed martial arts debut, had some choice words for former World Extreme Cagefighting bantamweight champion Chase Beebe during a pre-fight press conference for Dream 7 on Saturday at Hotel East 21 Tokyo.

Warren and Beebe (12-3) will square off in one of six featherweight tournament matches at Dream 7 on Sunday at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.

“I’m a Greco-Roman world champ, and I’m here for one reason -- to take those belts back and put ’em in my room with the rest of ’em, so I’m excited,” Warren said. “I’ll give everything I’ve got tomorrow. It’s gonna be violent. Chase Beebe … great fighter. When I look in his eyes, I see fear. I want to rip his heart out and eat it. I’m ready for war, and I’m a warrior.”

Beebe, the one-time WEC titleholder, offered similar, albeit less provocative remarks.

“I’m going to go the full 15 minutes, so it’s going to be fireworks,” he said. “You’re going to see someone’s face get smashed; I guarantee it. You know, I got nothing but respect when I looked him in the eyes, but come tomorrow in [the ring], I’m gonna be looking at his chin.”

Akiyo Nishiura took an equally colorful but more esoteric approach towards his tournament showdown with King of the Cage featherweight champion Abel Cullum.

“I’ll paint the ring in my color,” Nishiura said. “I’m wondering what Mr. Cullum’s color will be.”

Though Dream’s in-house translation team had difficulty relaying the words from “Wicky Akiyo,” Cullum (13-2) reacted with a smile.

“I’d like to be red from [the blood] of Wicky’s body,” Cullum said.

Nishiura (9-3-1) pointed to his pink hair and frequent use of pink shorts.

“My blood is pink,” he said.

“OK, well,” Cullum said, “I guess I’ll be covered in pink then.”

Outside of indulging his Japanese opponent’s eccentricities, Cullum’s thoughts on the upcoming tournament were heartfelt and sincere and made him, in the minds of many, the representative voice of the featherweight fighters in the grand prix.

“I’m just a cowboy from a small town of 4500 people, and to be competing here in Japan in front of all these fans is just a dream come true,” he said. I cannot wait to give it [my] all for all the Japanese fans and for everyone coming out to watch us. Expect fireworks from the featherweights -- now and for a long time to come.”

Dream officials also named the Atsushi Yamamoto-Masakazu Imanari tournament match as the main event. The star pupil of Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto was in good spirits as he prepared to face Imanari (15-6-1), a man feared for his leg locks.

“Leg locks are something I’m looking forward to,” Yamamoto (12-5-1) said.

Imanari’s reply was cryptic in nature.

“Well, he looks healthy,” he said, “so I think he’ll be OK.”

A man on a mission, American Top Team’s Micah Miller was all business as he primed for his tournament bout with fellow WEC veteran Yoshiro Maeda.

“Make no mistake, I’m not here just to be here,” Miller (10-2, 1 NC) said. “I’m here to be the champion and take these belts back to American Top Team to further establish them as the best team in the world.”

Maeda (23-6-2), a brutish former King of Pancrase, seemed less concerned with the belts than with how he planned to dispatch Miller.

“While looking at his face, I thought, ‘I’ll punch his face tomorrow, kick his face tomorrow and knock him out tomorrow,’” Maeda said.

Japanese MMA prospect Takafumi Otsuka will face tournament dark horse Bibiano Fernandes in the opening bout at Dream 7. Otsuka (8-3-1) was nonchalant when talk turned to the jiu-jitsu phenom.

“This is my fourth Brazilian opponent,” he said. “I’m used to them now, so I’ll do my best to knock him out.”

According to Dream officials, all fighters were on target with their weight, with the notable exception of EliteXC veteran Ross Ebanez. The Hawaiian, scheduled to face Tatsuya Kawajiri in a non-tournament tilt, was absent from the pre-fight press conference. Dream spokesman Keiichi Sasahara claimed Ebanez (19-6, 3 NC) was working off the extra weight. The promotion’s weigh-ins are closed to the public, and Dream officials declined to reveal how much Ebanez weighed ahead of his bout.
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