We'll have a longer write-up here at SB Nation MMA tomorrow, but this was easily the best UFC conference call since Diego Sanchez poured his heart out on the media call for UFC on Versus 3. Sanchez, at that time preparing for Martin Kampmann, told of losing hundreds of thousands of dollars to people whom he naively assumed were close confidants, improper training he worked through under Saulo Ribeiro after feeling marginalized at Greg Jackson's and his ultimate return to Jackson's thereby coming full circle in his life.
Today's call with Chris Leben was similar. The UFC middleweight's comments didn't carry the weight of true career reformation that Sanchez's carried, but they expressed a degree of vulnerability uncommon among fighters. Leben spoke of improperly preparing for Brian Stann at UFC 125, actively disliking fighting, sincere admiration for his foe and much more.
Many fighters simply do not grasp that what often moves the needle within the media is a demonstration of humanity at both ends of our complicated emotional sectrum. We, and fighters more particularly, are alone, afraid, unsure, confident, determined, remorseful, merciless, exhausted and eager. When fighters share their experiences covering the entire swathe of the human experience, it makes for far more compelling content.
There's much more to the call than Leben's contributions. Silva was forthcoming about his layoff and Cruz and Faber's natural rivalry emerged as well. We'll get to all that and more in subsequent posts.