Matt Lindland: 'I Actually Feel Sorry for' Kevin Casey

Matt Lindland is a former silver medalist in Greco-Roman wrestling and an MMA veteran whose noteworthy career stretches back 13 years. He also recently turned 40, and with two straight losses on his record, the question of whether it might be time to call it a career is unavoidable.

On Friday night in his hometown of Portland, Ore., Lindland takes on self-appointed jiu-jitsu black belt and relative MMA novice Kevin Casey at Strikeforce: Challengers. Lindland took a moment to talk with MMA Fighting about his opponent, his career, and what he makes of a guy who hangs out with Spencer Pratt.

Kevin Casey doesn't have a lot of MMA experience, but what have you see of him on video?

I've seen a ridiculous rap video that he should be embarrassed of. I definitely saw that. I saw him fight against an experienced fighter over in Japan when he fought [Ikuhisa] Minowa. He looked good in that fight. And I've seen him take on some guys who are B-level fighters. The only A-level fighter he's fought is Minowa, and he lost, but he looked good in that fight. He's obviously got some skills and he's a talented athlete, but he should stick to fighting and really hone that craft because the rap thing is just ridiculous and silly. He needs to stop doing that. It's embarrassing for him, and someone should tell him.

In all fairness, I've seen you in a rap video on the internet too.

Absolutely, I did the IFL rap video. It was a parody of a rap, but I guess you are absolutely right about that.

His background is mostly in jiu-jitsu. Do you see this fight taking place on the ground?

That's where my skills are. I'm a ground fighter and I suspect the fight will end up there. I have no problem standing up with this guy. I don't think he's got the best boxing and I don't think that's his strength at all. Me, I'm fine if we go to the ground. That's where I'm strongest and most comfortable. You've seen me fight plenty of times so you know I'll choke out a black belt if I get my hands around their neck. I've been known to put some underhooks on guys and finish fights with submission holds.

Did you know that one of the things he's known for is being buddies with Spencer Pratt, the reality TV show guy?

Another embarrassing thing for him. He's rapping and his claim to fame is hanging out with Spencer Pratt? I mean, I actually feel sorry for the guy. Does he not have any friends who can give him some advice? You know, someone should be there to tell him, 'Stop rapping, and stop hanging out with this guy Spencer who's a complete douchebag.' What is he doing?

I mean, I haven't met Kevin. He seems like a quality individual, but people are going to question your character when you're hanging around jokers like Spencer Pratt. And the ridiculous rap videos don't help with that either.

Spencer made some dismissive comments about you to Ariel Helwani on "The MMA Hour" earlier this week, talking about you getting "tapped out" in the Olympics and only winning the silver as opposed to the gold. Does it annoy you to hear the younger generation remain seemingly unaware of what you've accomplished in this sport?

In this sport and in two decades of wrestling, yeah. But I hope he's well prepared. He's obviously a good athlete with very good jiu-jitsu skills, but if they don't know who I am and they don't know that you don't tap people out in Greco-Roman wrestling, they're in for an awakening.

You haven't fought in about six months, and the last couple of years you've competed somewhat sparingly. Are you happy with that pace?

You know, I'd love to get in the ring as frequently as possible. That's the only time you get paid. At this point I don't know how many more fights I'll have in my career and how long it will be, so I'd like to be more active than what I've been, but look who I've fought for. Bodog: folded. WFA: folded. IFL: folded. Affliction: folded. Look at the organizations I've fought for and there's your answer to why I haven't been more active. Unfortunately that's just the nature of this business right now.

You're 40 years old right now and you've lost your last two fights, so obviously some people are going to be wondering how many more you've got in you before you hang up the gloves.

I get asked that question a lot so I should probably put some more thought into that. I feel good, I'm healthy, and I continue to get better. Yeah, I'm coming off two losses, but they were both to top guys. You look at Vitor Belfort coming off his win against me, Vitor Belfort gets picked up by the UFC and offered a title fight. The other guy, [Ronaldo] "Jacare" [Souza] is one of the top jiu-jitsu guys in the world. This sport is so volatile, anything can happen, whether it's getting caught by Vitor's straight left hand or getting hooked in a submission. I've got to just take those losses for what they were, improve, and move on.

This fight is in your backyard in Portland. I was at Randy Couture's fight in Portland at UFC 102 and...

I hope you got a comped ticket or you were credentialed.

I was credentialed, yeah.

Because no one could afford those tickets in Portland.

I actually heard a lot of people around town say that. Is your return to Portland for Strikeforce going to be more reasonably priced, then?

The tickets here are very similar to the pricing for my Sportfight events. They start at 20 dollars and the highest-priced tickets are a hundred bucks, and that will put you right next to the cage. The UFC, they weren't really cognizant of the market. They priced it like Vegas.

Speaking of the UFC, you continue to be very forthright about what happened in that situation, and in your dealings with promoters in general. Do you think that's cost you some opportunities over the years?

I guess that's an uncommon quality, to be honest. I hear that a lot. I'm a straight-forward individual. I have a set of values that I live by and honesty is at the top of the list. I don't feel like I have to kiss anybody's a-- or dance around issues. Maybe it has lost me opportunities. Maybe I should have kissed someone's a-- to get promoted more or become a coach on an ["Ultimate Fighter"] show. It's just not my style, and you look at Dana White and it's not his style either. I would think he might respect that more, but maybe that's not the case.

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