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UFC: Frank Trigg talks Hall of Fame, playing heel and creating a feud in UFC

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Frank Trigg came on Submission Radio to discuss his UFC Hall of Fame fight induction for his second fight with Matt Hughes.

Trigg is still yet to get his head around the big news:

“It hasn’t really set in yet. It’s still kind of surreal. You know, I didn’t know about it until about 4 o'clock on Tuesday night, and then about 5:15 or thereabouts they announced it on Wednesday night. Karen Bryant announced it on UFC Tonight and it still hasn’t set in much."

Frank was clear that his animosity with Matt was created by him to sell tickets and nowhere close to being real

“No, there never really was. It was all made up. It was a rivalry set because when UFC was squared away back then, there was only eight fights a year. Now they're doing almost four fights a card. So it’s a different ball game. They’d have a face, they’d have a heel. Matt was the champ, he gets to play face. He’s not much of a talker anyway publicly, and I am. So I played the heel and we showed it off. You know it’s, it was a rivalry to set people to want to buy tickets and want to see this fight, and that’s just kind of what’s up”

Frank also discussed why he thought people needed to stop feeling sorry for Jon Jones

"People have to stop making excuses for this guy and feeling sorry for this guy. I feel sorry for his Mom and Dad. I feel sorry for his brothers, I feel sorry for his Girlfriend and for their kids. I feel sorry for the team, the team around him. You know the guys at Jackson’s that have to deal with this whole fallout. Don’t feel sorry for Jon Jones. He’s a grown ass man. He’s a man that’s an adult, that pays his own bills and has his own pay cheque, can drive his own car, can make his own decisions. He’s making dumb decisions. So when you make bad decisions you have to pay for them."

“I’m surprised it didn’t happen sooner."

When it came to Conor McGregor, Frank admitted he hasn't been a fan of some of his antics during the world tour with Jose Aldo

“I’m just one of those guys that I’m kind of a traditionalist. I know that if you look at how I act you would think that I wouldn’t be that much of a traditionalist, but I’m a traditionalist. You never touch the belt till you've earned the belt. You don’t go and grab it away from the champ. That’s just not what you do. You don’t do that. It’s kind of disrespectful to the promotion and it’s disrespectful to what we’re trying to accomplish. I get his antics, I get what he’s doing, but that for me is the line-crosser."

Check out the rest of the interview in the transcript below featuring Frank's thoughts on the Reebok deal, never getting paid 10,000 dollars that Pride owed him and if any of his feuds were ever really real. 

Transcript:

Reaction to finding out his fight second with Matt Hughes will be inducted into the UFC HOF

“It hasn’t really set in yet. It’s still kind of surreal. You know, I didn’t know about it until about 4 o'clock on Tuesday night, and then about 5:15 or thereabouts they announced it on Wednesday night. Karen Bryant announced it on UFC Tonight and it still hasn’t set in much. You know and really, it’s just kind of been so much of a whirlwind. But to be honest with you, I don’t really know what’s happening. Like I don’t know what’s going on. I’ve been told that I’m in the Hall of Fame. I’ve been told I’ve got some stuff I have do the week of the fight expo in July, but other than that I don’t really what else is going on.”

If he expected to ever be inducted into the hall of fame

“No. No I never thought I would be inducted in. I mean my record obviously shows that I'm not a great champ like a Matt Hughes was, and obviously he's already been in the hall of fame. He'll be a double inductee now. He'll in one as a fighter and for his fight history as being a champ, and now one for this fight. But I never thought it was going to happen. I was completely blindsided when they gave me the phone call that this was going to happen for me.”

On the animosity towards Matt Hughes never really being real

“No, there never really was. It was all made up. It was a rivalry set because when UFC was squared away back then, there was only eight fights a year. Now they're doing almost four fights a card. So it’s a different ball game. They’d have a face, they’d have a heel. Matt was the champ, he gets to play face. He’s not much of a talker anyway publicly, and I am. So I played the heel and we showed it off. You know it’s, it was a rivalry to set people to want to buy tickets and want to see this fight, and that’s just kind of what’s up”

If Matt knew that the rivalry was made up

“I have no Idea. I can't speak for what Matt thought or didn't think at that time. I have no clue.”

How it was decided that Frank would play the 'Bad Guy"

“I just decided to play the heel and sell the fight. Like I said, he's not much of a talker. He doesn't go out publicly and talk trash. It's not his style. His style is very quiet and very humble and he goes in there and does his job and beats. You know and I had to get people to wanna watch these fights and wanna buy tickets, so one of us had to talk. And so I ended up - you know because I enjoy speaking, I enjoy the public aspect of selling stuff like that - so I went out and chose that role on my own  to do it and it seemed to work.”

If any of his rivalries with guys such as GSP or Matt Serra were ever real

“No. To me it's always been...I've never been one of those guys that has to hate my opponent to have to beat them up, you know like have to hate them and have to hate everything about them to fight them. I was always one of those guys where it's all about business. It's all about trying to get the next meal on the table for my kids and try to provide for housing and provide for the college fund. So for me it was always business. You know there's a multitude of fighters that don't like me, but there's no fighter that I can really think of off the top of my head that I don't like. I don't like some of the things that some of the fighters do outside of the cage. I mean I don't like some of the things that how they act or how they conduct themselves, but those things don't really affect me. So I kind of separate myself from that kind of mindset. So there's no real rivalry between any of those fighters to my knowledge.”

If it would be tough reliving the losses to Mat Hughes when Frank gets inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame

“Well no because now - like you said, the UFC hall of fame is the most prestigious hall of fame in mixed martial arts. It's one of the most prestigious hall of fames of all hall of fames. You know of course you go against boxing and football and basketball and hockey, you know you have a longer hall of fame for those. The UFC hall of fame is newer but it's a very prestigious hall of fame. Now it actually helps take away some of the bitterness of the fight. You know I've come to terms with it, it's a piece of history. I lost the fight, I lost to Matt twice. He was the champ and I couldn't defeat him either time and that's the reality of those fights. And now it kind of takes away - for the rest of my life I will always have that on my business card. For the rest of my life, it will always be in my bio page of all my social networks and my bio page on Wikipedia that right now I am a UFC inductee. That I'm in the hall of fame. Come July 11th I will be a UFC hall of fame member. And that will always be on my business card for the rest of my life because that is the reality.”

Thoughts on the Reebok deal numbers and fighters complaining about losing money through it

“The fighters can complain all they want. If they don’t like it then leave. Go someplace else. You don’t get what you deserve. Athletes don’t get what they deserve. Every athlete deserves at least two or three times more than they're actually getting paid from their promotion, or from their team, or from whatever. The reality of it is, you get what you negotiate. And these guys are negotiating, and this is part of the negotiation deal that these Reebok deals will be a part of their deal, a part of their contract now.”

Frank on if any sponsors never paid him his money

“That was back in the day. I’ve had, you know Pride still owes me 10,000 dollars and they closed shop and never paid me. It’s always been one of those deals where you can stuff the fighter and all he can do is complain about it and it won't do him any good. And I’ve had sponsors bail out on me and I've called them to task. And I’ve been real lucky that my management team - you know I’ve had different managers throughout my career, but they’ve always been able to hunt down the money and get it for me. And so literally the only time I really didn’t get paid was when Pride walked away and they owe me 10,000 dollars. Other than that, I got the money that I could get and that was how the game was, and when I was in there, there wasn’t that many sponsorships that you could actually have, because people didn’t have money and the game wasn’t that big. And when they finally put a lockdown on them, a lot of sponsors got pulled out and they couldn’t afford to be in as much as they were. So that’s the game. That’s just how it goes. You know and I’ve been very lucky, I haven’t had to worry about sponsorship money and didn't have to worry about sponsorship deals like that, but of course I wasn’t in the heyday. My payday was not in the heyday."

Thoughts on Conor McGregor and they was he carried himself in the press tour with Aldo

“I’m just one of those guys that I’m kind of a traditionalist. I know that if you look at how I act you would think that I wouldn’t be that much of a traditionalist, but I’m a traditionalist. You never touch the belt till you've earned the belt. You don’t go and grab it away from the champ. That’s just not what you do. You don’t do that. It’s kind of disrespectful to the promotion and it’s disrespectful to what we’re trying to accomplish. I get his antics, I get what he’s doing, but that for me is the line-crosser. But then of course you have Chael Sonnen talking about, you know smacking Anderson Silva’s wife on the ass was a line crosser for me as well. Like it’s always been trash talking for you between the fighters. Keep the families out of it. But Chael made a career out of it and I didn’t like it, but I laughed at it. It was funny. The same thing with Conor McGregor. I don’t like it, but I got it. I understand what he’s doing.”

“Right now honestly, and people ask and ask about it, that he is the number one draw right now for the UFC. Right now, he’s the biggest name the UFC has. Bigger than Ronda Rousey, bigger than Jose Aldo, bigger than - obviously bigger than Jon Jones now that he’s out, bigger than anybody else in the UFC right now. Conor McGregor the challenger is the biggest name we have going on.”

Reaction to Jon Jones hit and run and him being suspended by the UFC

Like, I’m on the fence with the Daniel Cormier side, in where people have to stop making excuses for this guy and feeling sorry for this guy. I feel sorry for his Mom and Dad. I feel sorry for his brothers, I feel sorry for his Girlfriend and for their kids. I feel sorry for the team, the team around him. You know the guys at Jackson’s that have to deal with this whole fallout. Don’t feel sorry for Jon Jones. He’s a grown ass man. He’s a man that’s an adult, that pays his own bills and has his own pay cheque, can drive his own car, can make his own decisions. He’s making dumb decisions. So when you make bad decisions you have to pay for them. Sometimes the payment is smaller and easier, and this payment that he’s about to make is going to be huge.

"It’s going to be crazy for him to try to even think about trying to get out of this. And he’s in a difficult place right now. And you know for the UFC - and I think Dana White came out and said "hey, he’s going to have an immediate title shot when he comes back after everything gets settled". It’s kind of early to say that. You know, we love Dana and the fact that he says everything that comes to his mind, he holds true to his word and he wears his heart on his sleeve, but the reality of it is that it's too early to say that because, you know he could be doing six months. You know six months in jail in New Mexico. And then to come out and start training again and try to get ready, I don’t know if that’s going to happen. I don’t know if he could pull that off.”