Sherdog: 5 Questions for Alexey Oleynik

Roughly a month remains before the Ultimate Fighting Championship touches down in Russia for UFC Fight Night 136. A heavyweight battle between 2001 K-1 World Grand Prix winner Mark Hunt and 41-year-old submission savant Alexey Oleynik will headline the historic event in Moscow.

Oleynik has rattled off 14 wins across his past 16 appearances. He last fought at UFC 224 in May, when he submitted Junior Albini with his patented Ezekiel choke in Rio de Janeiro and improved his record inside the Octagon to 5-2.

In this exclusive interview with Sherdog.com, Oleynik shares his emotions ahead of his next assignment, his thoughts on Hunt and his opinion on hyping fights.

Sherdog: What has the process been like leading up to this event?

Oleynik: I didn’t wait long for an answer about my fight and opponent. After my victory in Brazil, I was asked who I wanted to fight. I said I wanted to fight Fabricio Werdum. He’s the most famous grappler in the world and one of the best. It would have been a tough fight, and I think many fans were looking forward to it. We signed to fight Werdum in Moscow, but the bout was canceled because of his anti-doping violation. Hunt was the only other option with a legendary name, and I agreed to the fight immediately.

Sherdog: What does it mean to you to headline this historic show?

Oleynik: I’m very excited to be in the main event. This is MMA history — it’s the first UFC event in Russia — and I’ll do my best to win. Of course, it means a lot to me but my focus is on the fight so I can perform as well as possible. My wings are no longer growing as strong in my 40s, and this fight is not the first, fifth or 40th of my career (laughs). I’m quite experienced, and I know what to do. You just don’t push past your limits.

Sherdog: Do you think they can fill the card with big names?

Oleynik: I believe Andrei Arlovski is a pretty big name as a three-time UFC champion; he’s on the card. There’s also [Adam] Yandiev. He may not be widely known abroad, but in the (Commonwealth of Independent States), he’s a very popular guy.

Sherdog: Do you think the UFC’s presence will eclipse Russian promotions or increase attention in their favor?

Oleynik: I don’t think the UFC will overshadow all the Russian promotions. You never know how an event will go or how the fighters will perform. Sometimes average promotions may have entertaining fights; they can use those fights for highlights and broadcast them on the Internet and TV. Plus, there are dozens of different organizations, really competitive MMA companies with high-level fighters and fights that serve as steppingstones for younger fighters.

Sherdog: Khabib NurmagomedovConor McGregor is always hot news. McGregor came to the FIFA World Cup final and met with Russian President Vladimir Putin. How do you feel about the hype?

Oleynik: Hype is the correct word, but on the other hand, it’s part of martial arts and any other sport for that matter. You need those types of things to evaluate public interest in a particular event. They try to figure out whether or not they need to give it a go. They make fame and fortune out of it. For example, Conor and [Floyd] Mayweather made a lot of money, so other fighters want to get as close as they can to Conor in order to make a lot of money. [Nate] Diaz fought dozens of times in the UFC, and his purses never exceeded $40,000 to $50,000. After two fights with Conor, he asked for six figures. You can have 20 fights in the UFC and earn $500,000 or you can get a million for just one fight. Of course, that’s what everyone wants, so they try to make money with hype and trash talk. You can name people who are successful at that and those who aren’t successful at it. Let’s see what happens next.

Read story on Sherdog.com.

Lexie Brown Joins the IPZ Family

WNBA First Round Draft Pick Signs with IPZ

WARREN, NJ, July 25, 2018 – Lexie Brown, 2018 WNBA First Round Draft pick, has signed with IPZ, the company announced today.

Brown is a 5-foot-9 point guard who was a McDonald’s and WBCA All-American coming out of high school. She began her collegiate career at the University of Maryland and led the Terrapins to the NCAA Final Four as a freshman in the 2013-14 season and again as a sophomore the following season. In the 2014-15 season, Brown was named to the Associated Press (AP) All-America Third Team.

The point guard decided to transfer to Duke, competed as a Blue Devil in the 2016-17 season, and was named a co-captain. Her 18.3 points per game is the highest for a first-year player in the school’s history. Brown ranked third in the nation in free throw shooting, converting 92.8% of her attempts, and went on a streak of hitting 56 consecutive free throws (most in Duke and ACC history). In addition to being named to the AP All-America Third Team for the second time in her college career (the only player in NCAA history to accomplish this at two different schools), she was also a CoSIDA All-American and the winner of the Kay Yow Award as the ACC women’s basketball scholar-athlete of the year.

As a senior, Brown remained a co-captain and captured additional accolades: AP and espnW All-American, ACC Defensive Player of the Year, All-ACC First Team, Senior CLASS Award finalist, Kay Yow Award winner, preseason ACC Player of the Year, and numerous more. Brown averaged 19.4 ppg and 3.7 spg (led ACC). She was also the only active NCAA player to notch 2,000 points, 500 assists, 250 three-pointers, and 300 steals.

Following her storied college career, Brown participated in the 2018 State Farm College 3-Point Competition. A few weeks later, on April 12, the three-time All-American was selected with the ninth overall pick in the WNBA Draft by the Connecticut Sun.

Brown has appeared in 16 games for the Sun so far this season and will be playing overseas for CMB Cargo Gyor, a Hungarian EuroCup team, shortly after the conclusion of the WNBA season.

“I’m very excited to work with IPZ,” said Brown. “They are everything and more that I wanted in representation. They appreciate what I bring to the table on and off the court and understand the bigger picture. I am looking forward to bringing all my ideas and endeavors to life.”

“Lexie is truly one of a kind,” said IPZ’s WNBA Agent Kyrsten Van Natta. “Not only is she an outstanding basketball player, but she excels in many areas off the court as well. She earned her MBA from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke – one of the best business schools in the country – and was a standout on the court for the Blue Devils simultaneously. There’s no question in my mind that Lexie will have an amazing career in and after basketball. We, at IPZ, are thrilled to be with her on her journey.”

USA Volleyball’s Kelsey Robinson in espnW

What athletes eat: Team USA volleyball player Kelsey Robinson’s full-power breakfast bowl

By Natalie Gingerich Mackenzie

Outside hitter Kelsey Robinson is used to living out of a suitcase. This spring the 2014 world champion and 2016 Olympic bronze medalist was in five countries in five weeks competing with the women’s national team in the Nations League.

But continent hopping and jet lag don’t slow down the self-declared foodie and travel addict, who keeps a food and travel blog, called Nom & Play.

Robinson shared her go-to power breakfast, which she adapts to suit her current locale. “When I’m in California I use fresh avocado or maybe some leftover salsa from tacos we’ve had the previous night,” she says. “If I’m living and playing in Istanbul, I’ll use tomatoes, cucumbers and a lot of herbs. It’s fun to keep this recipe dependent on the local ingredients you have.”

Day and time: This is my go-to breakfast when I have any morning free from training.

Place: Toyota, Japan, for the FIVB Volleyball Nations League

What I’m eating: Egg breakfast bowl

Why I’m eating it: What I love most is that this provides me with sustainable energy throughout the day. It has the big four that I try to incorporate into every meal: protein, fat, fiber and greens!

While I typically like to make a big portion for mornings off, you can totally make it before a morning practice or weights session and it’ll power you through.

Whose recipe: This was the first dish my fiancé ever cooked for me, and needless to say I fell in love with him right then and there. Obviously I had to steal the recipe and tweak it to make it my own (and a little better).

The recipe:

Ingredients:
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
2 to 3 eggs
3 to 4 slices bacon
Diced onions
Your choice of greens (or leftover salad)
1/2 avocado
Turmeric
Salt
Pepper
1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
Tapatio

Optional add-ins: 
Black beans
Sweet potatoes (diced or shredded and cooked, or leftover)
Steamed beets
Prosciutto

Boil quinoa to cook (I usually do this the night before and store it in the fridge, but you can also do it in the morning). Chop or grate and cook sweet potatoes if using.

Melt coconut oil in a pan over medium heat. Add bacon, and cook until crispy. Remove from pan and cook onions in leftover bacon fat. Add greens to saute briefly, then crack eggs into pan and cook. Season with salt and pepper.

When eggs are almost cooked, add the quinoa so it can heat up if you made it the night before.

Combine quinoa and eggs in a bowl, topping with bacon, turmeric, tapatio, avocado and your choice of other ingredients. I like to add sweet potato hash browns, beets or even leftover salad.

Read the story on espnW.

Alexey Oleynik talks wanting to fight Fabricio Werdum, Mark Hunt, and UFC first visit to Russia

The only man to win by Ezekiel choke—twice–in the UFC, Alexey Oleynik (56-11) is honored to fight a mixed marital arts legend Mark Hunt, but he was looking forward to duke it out with a jiu jitsu extraordinaire Fabricio Werdum.

Oleynik has been unofficially announced to take on Mark Hunt (13-12) in the UFC’s first visit to Moscow, Russia in September 2018. His last fight was against Junior Albini where he defeated his foe by Ezekiel choke in May.

Originally, Oleynik was scheduled to fight former heavyweight champion Werdum, but he was pulled from the fight after he was busted for using illegal substances.

Oleynik last fought in Russia back in 2013, so it is like a homecoming for him.

He said he is looking forward to a fight with the New Zealand brawler.

“I am really happy to take this fight,” he said. “I am happy. It is an honor for me. This is a hard fight. This must be a hard fight. Mark Hunt is a MMA legend, in K-1. But I am not young too. I have very many fights too. I am happy to be on the main card and the main fight and first time the UFC is in Russia.”

He added that Hunt has competed against top caliber fighters and has much respect for him, but he was looking forward to fight Werdum to match skills.

“Mark Hunt is very famous. He is a legend in MMA, but he is a legend punching.,” he said. “Werdum is a wrestler and grappler all time best jiu jitsu, all time in the heavyweights. Werdum is a very famous grappler. I think I am good grappler and it would have been an interesting fight with two grapplers. Werdum is good on the punching too, when he fought Alistair both times he fought with him punching and he was good. Overeem doesn’t like grappling.”

View the story on RodolfoRoman.com.

NJ Biz Covers Pro Agents + IPZ Alliance

Baseball agency with Yankee pedigree inks deal with IPZ

By Howard Burns

A full-service professional baseball agency created by offspring of local legends with deep connections to the New York Yankees has formed a strategic link with Warren-based strategic agency IPZ, the companies announced Tuesday.

Pro Agents Inc., headquartered in Woodbridge, was established in 1995 by Major League Baseball agents David Pepe and Billy Martin Jr. Over the past 23 years, Pepe and Martin have combined to negotiate more than $200 million in contracts.

Pepe is the son of the late baseball writer Phil Pepe, who covered sports in New York for more than five decades, including several as the beat writer covering the Yankees for The New York Daily News. Martin is the son of the former Yankees second baseman and five-time manager Billy Martin.

Among the players the agency has represented or currently represents are six-time MLB All-Star reliever Joe Nathan, former MLB pitcher Carl Pavano, current Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Tom Koehler and 2016 first-round pick of the Los Angeles Angels, Matt Thaiss.

Specialists in contract negotiation and off-field management, Pro Agents will receive support from IPZ with public relations and marketing opportunities for current and former baseball clients. In addition, IPZ, through its network of coaches and sports contacts, will refer baseball players to Pro Agents for representation. Pepe, a member of the New Jersey Bar, will also be available to assist with other contracts for IPZ athletes.

“I had the pleasure of working with Dave’s father, the great sportswriter Phil Pepe of the Daily News, and covering Billy‘s dad, the former Yankee manager, during my days as a sportswriter,” said IPZ Founder Robert Zito in a statement. “I’ve followed Dave’s career and am thrilled we will now have the opportunity to work together. Pro Agents has the same family philosophy and commitment to integrity that IPZ has. Together, we will provide a trusted resource for players and their families.”

IPZ is a management, representation and consulting company aligned with public relations and marketing communications Zito Partners, also based in Warren.

View the story on NJBiz here.

Pro Agents Forms Strategic Alliance with IPZ

Baseball Agency Teams Up with Sports and Entertainment Agency

WOODBRIDGE, NJ, and WARREN, NJ, June 12, 2018Pro Agents, Inc., a full-service professional baseball agency, has formed a strategic alliance with IPZ, the companies announced today.

Pro Agents was established in 1995 by Major League Baseball (MLB) agents David Pepe and Billy Martin, Jr. Over the past 23 years, Pepe and Martin, Jr., combined, have negotiated more than $200 million in contracts. Among the players the agency has represented or currently represents are 6-time MLB All-Star Joe Nathan, former MLB pitcher Carl Pavano, current Dodgers’ pitcher Tom Koehler, and Angels’ 2016 first round pick Matt Thaiss.

Known for its expertise in sophisticated contract negotiation and shrewd off-field management, Pro Agents will receive support from IPZ with public relations and marketing opportunities for current and former baseball clients.  In addition, IPZ, through its network of coaches and sports contacts, will refer baseball players to Pro Agents for representation.  Mr. Pepe, a member of the New Jersey Bar, will also be available to assist with other contracts for IPZ athletes.

“It is an honor to work with the professionals at IPZ to help us continue to provide the best service available to all Pro Agents’ clients,” said Pro Agents’ David Pepe.

“I had the pleasure of working with Dave’s father, the great sportswriter Phil Pepe of the Daily News, and covering Billy‘s dad, the former Yankee manager, during my days as a sportswriter,” said IPZ Founder Robert Zito. “I’ve followed Dave’s career and am thrilled we will now have the opportunity to work together. Pro Agents has the same family philosophy and commitment to integrity that IPZ has. Together, we will provide a trusted resource for players and their families.”

About IPZ: IPZ represents clients in sports, media, and entertainment, providing management, contract negotiations, consulting, public relations and marketing communications support. The company, an alliance with Zito Partners, is built on the integrity of its professionals, maintains a family focus, and provides whole life solutions for its clients. For more information, visit www.ipzusa.com.

New Zealand Breakers’ New Marketing Effort Tips Off

IPZ and Zito Partners to Assist

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND and WARREN, NJ, June 5, 2018 – The New Zealand Breakers, a professional basketball team that competes in the National Basketball League (NBL), Australia’s top-league, has teamed up with IPZ and Zito Partners (ZP) to assist in its branding and marketing efforts.

The New Zealand Breakers organization was founded in 2003 and has made seven NBL playoff appearances, winning four NBL Championships (2011, 2012, 2013, 2015) in the club’s 15 seasons of existence. With its home in Auckland, the Breakers are the only non-Australian team competing in the NBL.

According to a 2016-17 study by Nielsen Sports Research, the Breakers have more than 107,000 fans with 90% being likely to attend a game.

In February 2018, former NBA player Matt Walsh and his business partners Adam Goodman, Romie Chaudhari, Dan Katz, and NBA All-Star Shawn Marion became the Breakers’ majority stakeholders.

“We couldn’t be more excited about this partnership,” said NZ Breakers’ Matt Walsh. “IPZ and Zito Partners have worked with top brands and businesses across all industries and we look forward to working closely to take the Breakers to the next level.”

“Matt and his young ownership group are bringing NBA excitement to the NBL,” said IPZ and Zito Partners’ founder Robert Zito. “This is a dynamic group of professionals who will energize Auckland, the NBL and its sponsors and fans. We’re thrilled to be part of the team.”

About New Zealand Breakers: The New Zealand Breakers are an Auckland, New Zealand-based professional basketball team that competes in the Australian National Basketball League. For more information, visit www.nzbreakers.basketball.

About IPZ: IPZ represents clients in sports, media, and entertainment, providing management, contract negotiations, consulting, public relations and marketing communications support. The company, an alliance with Zito Partners, is built on the integrity of its professionals, maintains a family focus, and provides whole life solutions for its clients. For more information, visit www.ipzusa.com.

About Zito Partners: Zito Partners builds, energizes and defends brands. A boutique firm representing a select group of clients from a range of industries, Zito Partners believes in a “ready, aim, fire” approach – understand the client…develop the appropriate strategy against the key target constituencies…and execute against the plan. And through its strategic alliance with Ketchum, Ketchum Zito Financial, Zito Partners is assisting additional clients with their financial communications needs. For more information, visit www.zitopartners.com.

ART EDMONDS SELECTS IPZ

Media + Entertainment Group to Represent TV Host

WARREN, NJ, May 7, 2018 – Art Edmonds, co-host of “Military Makeover,” has signed with IPZ, the company announced today.

Edmonds is a TV host and spokesperson with more than 17 years of experience. He is, currently, best known as the co-host of the TV show “Military Makeover” which airs nationally on Lifetime.

Nat Geo Wild has utilized Edmonds’ voiceover talents for two of its series “Swamp Men” and “Dr. K’s Exotic Animal ER.” Edmonds was the narrator for the top-rated series “Swamp Men” for three seasons and seasons one and two of “Dr. K’s Exotic Animal ER.” He was also the narrator of docu-drama series “Plane Xtreme” on The Weather Channel.

Moreover, Edmonds’ voiceover credits include national spots on CBS, CNN, TBS, and TLC, as well as block promos and TV and radio commercials including a Proactiv + spot. He also voiced “Dog Whisperer: Family Edition,” “Expedition Wild,” and “Outback Adventures with Tim Faulkner” as part of Litton’s Weekend Adventure, a programming block featured in national ABC and CW Network syndication. Currently, Edmonds is the daily network image announcer for CBS affiliate WDBJ7 Roanoke.

The multi-faceted Edmonds has live TV experience as he appeared on the “Morning Blend” and “Great Day Tampa Bay” when he was the Tampa Bay, FL spokesperson for 50 Floor. He has also been a guest on QVC, HSN, and The Shopping Channel Canada representing the ZeroWater filter pitcher. Edmonds was the national TV spokesperson and voice for ZeroWater for four years.

“We are thrilled that Art Edmonds has joined the IPZ family,” said IPZ Managing Director of Media + Entertainment Patricia Stark. “In his Military Makeover host role, Art shares his big heart and soul with veterans, their families and the viewers at home. Art possesses a wonderful combination of approachability, credibility and fun.”

Watch Edmonds’ demo here.

About IPZ: IPZ represents clients in sports, media, and entertainment, providing management, contract negotiations, consulting, public relations and marketing communications support. The company, an alliance with Zito Partners, is built on the integrity of its professionals, maintains a family focus, and provides whole life solutions for its clients. For more information, visit www.ipzusa.com.

About Zito Partners: Zito Partners builds, energizes and defends brands. A boutique firm representing a select group of clients from a range of industries, Zito Partners believes in a “ready, aim, fire” approach – understand the client…develop the appropriate strategy against the key target constituencies…and execute against the plan. And through its strategic alliance with Ketchum, Ketchum Zito Financial, Zito Partners is assisting additional clients with their financial communications needs. For more information, visit www.zitopartners.com.

Alexey Oleynik Talks to Fightful About UFC 224

By James Lynch

Alexey Oleynik is stepping foot in the Octagon again at UFC 224, facing Junior Albini in a heavyweight division affair.

The heavyweight is coming off of a controversial fight against Curtis Blaydes at UFC 217, but Oleynik believes he needs to win a few fights to get a rematch.

“I’m actually not seeing this (fight happening again) so soon…so fast, if I beat one or two fighters, then maybe this is worth mention. Not now, maybe one or two fights and I win these fights,” says Oleynik in an exclusive interview with Fightful’s James Lynch.

Blaydes became only the second fighter to defeat Oleynik in his UFC run, with that other competitor being Daniel Omielnanczuk.

Oleynik plans on getting back on track at UFC 224 and the fighter wants to do that by choking out Junior Albini in his native Brazil.

“Either Oleynik doing the choke or Albini doing the knockout, I think there are only two variants (for how the fight will end),” says Oleynik.

UFC 224 takes place on Saturday, May 12 from the Jeunesse Arena in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil with Amanda Nunes and Raquel Pennington headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, with a post-show podcast to follow.

View story on Fightful.

NJ Biz Picks Up The Pearl

By Howard Burns

Basketball Hall of Famer and former New York Knicks star Earl “The Pearl” Monroe has signed for representation with IPZ, the management, representation and consulting company aligned with Warren-based public relations and marketing communications Zito Partners, the company announced.

The 1968 NBA Rookie of the Year and four-time All-Star has spent more than 30 years in the entertainment industry, with projects ranging from off-Broadway musicals to running his own record and publishing company. He also won the Peabody Award for producing the critically acclaimed documentary “Black Magic.” Monroe also does TV and radio commentary for the Knicks.

Additionally, Monroe is a motivational speaker and has written two books: “Earl the Pearl, My Story,” published in 2013, and “Getting Back in the Game,” a self-help book that is soon to be published.

Monroe has been a spokesperson for companies including Emblem HealthRemy MartinAmerican Heart AssociationBoehringer-Ingelheim, and most recently, Merck, where he led an award-winning campaign called “Diabetes Restaurant Month.”

“Class is the word that describes Earl,” said IPZ Managing Partner Robert Zito in a statement. “From his days on the court, to his family life, to helping his community and representing brands, ‘The Pearl’ is the class of class when it comes to ambassadors representing brands.”

View on NJ Biz.