Politician, MMA Fighter Matt Lindland Sits Down With Jenny Woo

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Jenny Woo
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Matt Lindland

Oregon Republican Representative nominee Matt Lindland, discusses the UFC, his problems getting paid by Bodog Fight, and his political career.

What do you think of when you hear UFC or MMA? Fighting, Wrestling and Mixed Martial Arts, right? Well add politics to that. Matt "The Law" Lindland, Olympic Silver Medalist, veteran of UFC, IFL and Bodog Fight, and head coach of the IFL¹s Portland Wolfpack is running for State Representative of Oregon (District 52).

Matt sat down with Gambling911.com's own Jenny Woo, covering his Olympic trials, issues in his fighting career and his future in politics.

JENNY: Was wrestling something you knew you wanted to pursue as a career at the age of 15?

MATT: Yes but at the time I had no idea I could earn a living doing it. So I also thought about coaching.

JENNY: Did you play any other high school sports?

MATT: No I was involved year round. There was no time for other sports.

JENNY: You earned the nickname "The Law" when you had to fight not only in wrestling but also in court to guarantee your spot on the 2000 Summer Olympic Wrestling team. Did you at any time during that process feel betrayed by the United States Olympic Committee?

MATT: I was betrayed by the USOC, the NGB and USA Wrestling. It was hurtful because I gave so much to the organization.

JENNY: You won silver in the 2000 Summer Olympics. Did you feel even more justified after you medaled?

MATT: I was never wrestling for USOC or USA Wrestling. I was competing for my family, my community and my country.

JENNY: When did you begin your career in the Ultimate Fighting Championship?

MATT: I returned from the Olympic Games in October (2000), was fighting in UFC by December that same year and never looked back.

JENNY: You were dropped by UFC for wearing an unapproved t-shirt to the weigh-ins. I personally think that¹s a little harsh, so what exactly were you wearing?

MATT: That's the company line. I was wearing a Sportsbook shirt and nowhere in my contract did it state you couldn't do that. The new contracts all say it now.

JENNY: What's your opinion on the President of UFC, Dana White?

MATT: That man is a marketing and promotional genius. Look what he has done for the UFC brand. He needs to learn to separate his emotions from business decisions.

JENNY: You continued your career in Mixed Martial Arts with the International Fight League and Bodog Fight. Can you tell me what happened with Bodog?

MATT: I wish I knew what happened to Bodog. They still owe me money.

JENNY: Do you plan on following up with legal action with Bodog?

MATT: No. How can you possibly go after a company that¹s in Costa Rica? Bodog Fight was a separate entity from Bodog. I had the same kind of disputes with UFC. You can't go after everybody that does you wrong or you just going to spend good money facing that. It would cost too much to do it. You just have to go out and start over again. It's a live and learn.

JENNY: A lot of people in online gambling blame the current problems the industry is having on Bodog founder Calvin Ayre's reckless ways and how he regularly mocked the US Government, inviting them to "catch me if you can" in one magazine interview. What was your opinion of Calvin Ayre when you initially joined Bodog Fight and what is it now?

MATT: I don't know if I really have an opinion. I was glad to see more people getting involved in the sport. I wish he would have stuck it out and at least honored the agreements that he had with the athletes. That's as far as it goes. I didn't really have an opinion before or after. It's not personal, it's just business and that's the way things go.

JENNY: I know you're still fighting as you had a recent win in July, but you also coach. How much do you enjoy coaching?

MATT: I love coaching and I am really good at it. It's a passion. I enjoy watching and helping my athletes grow as men and as competitors.

JENNY: What's your opinion on Randy Couture coming back to the UFC? Is there room for Elite XC and the organization he fights for - Affliction Banned? Any other big names we can look forward to with Affliction?

MATT: I am a little bias because Randy and I have been friends for so long. With that said I am excited to see him back in action and have high expectations for him. I think the UFC is a really strong brand but the sport is so dynamic. We have to have other organizations competing. We need to brand MMA not just UFC.

JENNY: You fought what many consider to be the best fighter in Mixed Martial Arts today as part of the Bodog organization, Fedor Emelianko, what is your opinion of him? Would you get back in the cage/ring with him? Do you agree he's one of the best?

MATT: Either Fedor or Anderson (Silva), one of those two are the best right now. Put me in there with either one of them right now and I'll be ready to scrap.

JENNY: What does your family think about your fighting career? Especially your kids.

MATT: It's just a job you know. It's what dad does to put food on the table. My family supports me in everything I do.

JENNY: Has your family been equally supportive of both your fighting career and your future career in politics?

MATT: My family is supportive of everything I do.

JENNY: You won the Oregon Republican Party's nomination for the district 52 seat in the House of Representatives. They say it was close race. How close was your win over Phyllis Thiemann?

MATT: It would have been close but the voters are not responding to the negative personal attack. Oregonians want candidates to stay focused on the issues and leave the lies and personal attacks out.

JENNY: What made you want to go into politics?

MATT: I am an Oregonian I care about the state and the people and I believe I can do a better job as a legislator than some career politician. I am not your typical politician. In fact I am not a politician I am an athlete, small business owner, Olympian and family man. I'm not running to just fill the box on some "political resume". I want to focus on the economy, jobs and government accountability.

JENNY: What are your thoughts of Obama vs. McCain?

MATT: I believe McCain would do a better job as president.

JENNY: The Republican Party platform insists that ONLINE GAMBLING SHOULD BE ILLEGAL. What are your views on freedom to bet online?

MATT: I believe in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I believe the role of government is to protect these rights. Individuals should be free to pursue their own lives as long as the respect the rights of others.

JENNY: Have you at all been judged in these elections because of your career in fighting?

MATT: http://jp.youtube.com/watch?v=4jGzNBQvQtk - you decide. I think it's

a great ad. It legitimizes what I do and shows I have reached the top of my chosen profession

JENNY: Gambling911.com has staff members based out of Oregon and, like with most states, the economy seems to be issue number one. What are a few key points that Matt Lindland as State Representative can bring to the state of Oregon?

MATT: Oregon's economy is my number one concern, as it should be for anyone

running for the legislature.

* Reduce the capital gains tax and encourage more investment in Oregon by businesses.

* Provide tax relief to lower income families, which will invigorate the retail and tourism economies.

*Reduce the tax rates for 2 million Oregonians with the biggest relief going to those who earn less than $30,000 per year.

*Right now, under Oregon's marginal tax rate structure, the top marginal rate of 9% kicks in at an income of $7,300! It is unconscionable that a worker making just above minimum wage pays the same tax rate as an Oregonian making $80 per hour!

*The Legislative Revenue Office suggests that restructuring our antiquated tax brackets would help create 19,900 new jobs!

*Oppose tax increases that will hinder the creation of more jobs or the expansion of business. It is high time that the state legislature, your advocate to state government, exercised real oversight over state agencies. Our government must be more transparent.

*Move a portion of the Secretary of State's budget to the state legislature to conduct audits of state agencies.

*We need a legislative audit office that will hold state agencies accountable.

*As your State Representative I would be accountable to you much more than some state-wide elected official or bureaucrat.

*Put the budget for state agencies online for everyone to see.

*Oregon is way behind the times on this. Many other states now allow citizens to see, with a few simple keystrokes, where their money is going and how much.

JENNY: What's next for you politically, coaching, and your fighting career?

MATT: As far as politics, November 4th will be the answer. We'll see where I go from there, I really don't know until after Election night. Fighting, January 24th in Affliction. I don't know if an opponent¹s been confirmed. And as far as coaching, it's something that I will probably always be involved in.

NOTE: If you live in Oregon and believe in Matt Lindland, go out there and do what I did today - VOTE!!!! Your vote can make a difference nationwide. Check out his website at www.mattfororegon.com


Jenny Woo, Gambling911.com

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