Neil Best leaves no stone unturned in the world of sports media.

Boom Boom Mancini is a fan of mixed martial arts

(Credit: Watchdog)

As I mentioned over the weekend, I turned down an interview with Alice Braga Friday night before the premiere of "Redbelt" in order to discuss the mixed martial arts phenomenon with an old boxing guy.

Ray Mancini plays a small part in the movie.

My job is silly, but someone has to do it.

Click below for the transcript of our discussion.Mancini: "I said about five years ago when I first saw MMA, in three or four years it will overtake boxing as the number one spectator sport. Well, it did that in a year. It is now the number one spectator sport. It’s overtaken boxing.

"I love it, because I know these guys, I’ve helped train some of these guys with their hands. The thing about it I like the most is the best guys fight the best guys, constantly. In boxing you have to wait years, sometimes the time bypasses them and you don’t see it. In MMA the top guys fight the top guys all the time."

Mancini on the boxing community looking down on MMA: "Sure, they do, but now that I’ve trained with Jiu-Jitsu, let me tell you something: In the street you want to know Jiu-Jitsu, because nine out of 10 times, you’re going to the dirt. You have to know what to do.

"I know what to do when we’re on our feet. The Jiu-Jitsu guys say anybody can get caught. It’s like shooting an elephant with a bullet; you get one shot. And that’s the truth, because once they get here, grab you, get hold of you, that’s their game."

Mancini on the movie: "This isn’t a mixed martial arts movie. It’s a Jiu-Jitsu movie. But the philosophy behind Jiu-Jitsu is the philosophy behind it. It’s an American Samurai story. I admire that. I’m glad to be part of it. You take a journey with this guy, and like with any journey, you have to tell a good story.

"It’s like great boxing movies, whether it was 'Body and Soul,' 'Requiem for a Heavyweight.' Boxing is the backdrop. It’s the story of the person. American Samurai is the best way to explain it."

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