Boxingtalk's Fire With Tarick Salmaci

By Jose Aguirre


Boxingtalk's Fire With Tarick Salmaci

Salmaci defends Contender brass, upset with Ishe!

"Since the Contender ended things have been great. I feel what Ishe Smith said about the Contender is really unfair. I have nothing against Ishe, I'm good friends with him actually. Since the Contender finsihed filming I have been pretty close with Ishe but I feel what he has been saying is totally off track. Alot of the comments he has made are ridiculous and unfair to the Contender. I know that some of the things that Ishe said may represent all of us. Some people reading that article may think "Jesus, is this how these guys are treated?" Nobody is perfect, I'm not saying that they are perfect but saying stuff like Mark Burnett being a racist and Ishe saying stuff like he should wear a Mark Burnett t-shirt while picking cotton. That's ridiculous."

Jose Aguirre: In your involvement with the show, apparently you didn't make the finals, but did that leave a bad taste in your mouth overall from the show?

Tarick Salmaci:"Not at all. You want to know something, I made more money off of that show than I made in my whole career and I got more publicity off that show than I ever got in my whole career. It was nothing but positive. If I wanted to continue my career it helped me out. But saying stuff like Mark Burnett is a racist and especially the comment about Najai Turpin's death, the blood of Najai Turpin on their hands. Saying stuff like that is not right, it's not right. It's wrong to say stuff like that."

JA: Do you feel by Ishe Smith saying these things that it puts a bad light on everyone involved with the show, boxers included?

TS:"Yeah, I mean for an average person reading that article must think wow why is this guy saying all that stuff. It must have been like that. They must not really care. They must have been bad towards these guys when in reality these guys were good to all of us. Come on, they hooked us up. They gave us an opportunity of a lifetime. They gave us publicity that money could not buy. And they really gave us a great opportunity. If Ishe would have won the Contender you would have not heard one word about it. He would not have said nothing negative about the Contender. He lost and some guys don't know how to handle defeat. I don't know."

JA: During the whole production of the show how did the staff Sylvestor Stallone, Sugar Ray Leonard and the rest treat you all and was Mark Burnett involved in the day to days makings of the show?

TS:"I think they treated us fairly. Very good. They treated us more as friends than just fighters on the show. Mark Burnett and Stallone were on the set everyday. They would come and talk to us. Mark Burnett was a fan. He is a huge fan of boxing, a big fan. he did this because he sees the state of boxing and the way it is and how alot of us don't get an opportunity and he really wanted to help us out."

JA: You were on the show day to day. After the show was over and you got to sit at home and watch it was there anyhting that you thought they did, maybe purposely, to make somebody look good or make somone else look bad? Was there anything that made you say "Whoa" that's not what happened?

TS:"You know what? I'm going to say this. I don't think they would intentionally make anyone look bad. It's impossible. Lets put it this way if someone is an a_hole you're going to be the way you really are no matter how they edit you. Now I tell you one thing, alot of the stuff wasn't shown but it was only because of the time. There were only fourty minutes per episode and each episode was three days of filming. Seventy two hours of filming with five camera crews. Seventy two hours times five. All that film has to be cut into fourty minutes so not everything is shown. The whole fight is not shown, alot of stuff that went on in the house was not shown.

Alot of stuff wasn't shown. For some guys their attitude portrayed them if anything better than what they actually appeared, not worst. For example, the only guy I think on there that wasn't portrayed the way they actually were was Joey Gilbert. I think it's the time that didn't show alot of stuff he did. Joey Gilbert was on there and he kind of played the game. It's two hundred million dollars, he played the mind game. Honestly, he faked all his injuries.

They were all fake because he didn't want to fight. He wanted to stay in the competition as long as possible. because he knew he was the least experienced. All his injuries were fake and the producers don't know that. He conned all of us. Those were fake. Him not fighting in the finale saying he was injured, that was fake. Joey Gilbert was begging and pleading. Begging people on the show not to fight him. If you win the challenge can you go up to Ahmed (Kaddour) or Juan DelaRosa or of you guys win the challenge please don't pick me I'm hurt. Please, please, please, please, please. It's a game but at the same time you don't sacrifice your manhood, you know what I'm talking about? Joey Gilbert sacrificed his manhood and looked a bitch on the show. Honestly. the guys used to make fun of him. I stook up for the guy on the show because I felt bad for the guy but when it came on tv nothing like he was did it come out. So if anything he came out better on there (the show) and not worst. They can't make you look bad. They could make you look good but they can't make you look bad. You look just as you are."

JA: So Tarick, are you also under promotion with Mark Burnett, Stallone and the likes?

TS:"I'm not under promotion. I didn't sign with them. They offered me a promotional contract and I didn't sign it. By me doing this interview I have nothing to gain that's what I want to make clear. It's not that I'm working with them or they asked me to do this. I'm actually doing this because I feel it's totally wrong the things that were said about them. Harsh things. And Ishe can have his opinion like he feels he should get paid more money or that the fights weren't edited the right way. I mean, he's entitled to his opinion but when you say stuff like someone is a racist and stuff like that you have to have more proof. You can't just come ot and say stuff like that. Or that someone is responsible for a death of Naji Turpin, that the Contender is responsible. That's wrong to say womething like that."

JA: Overall it seems like you came away with a good feeling about the show regardless of how far you did or didn't make it. Is that the case?

TS:"Hell yeah. Don't get me wrong there were alot of bad decisions on that show but that comes with boxing. Alot of close fights, alot of bad decisions. I feel because of the five rounds it made so many fights so close it could have gone either way that if the show was done over again you'd have different guys in the finals. Anybody could have been in the final four. Anybody!"

JA: Given the chance would you do it again?

TS:"In a heart beat. Right away. To be honest with you I was 32 when I did this. I'm 33 years old and not many people at 33 can say that was the best time of my life. The best experience I had in my life and I have nor regrets and no complaints about it. Ishe is compalining about his pay and so forth but don't forget, he never made as much money as he made with the Contender. he never got as much publicity as he did in the Contender. One years ago today no one knew who any of us were besides the hard core boxing fans and we were nto making any money. On the show I really never liked Ishe too much because he was real moody.

After the show I started talking to him and started getting close to him. I'm the only guy on the show that he keeps in touch with. Day in and day out we'd speak. We'd talk boxing to family to relegion. Everyday. I still consider him a friend but until last week before that article came out. The one he wrote right here on Boxingtalk, he totally cut communication ties with me. Out of the blues he just totally stopped taking my phone calls. He avoided and didn't return my phoe calls. For no reason what so ever. Maybe he's going through alot right now. He did leave me a message via email and told me he was going through alot right now mentally and he didn't want to put me in the middle of his problems. I repect that but as a friend I don't think that was right. What kind of friend is that? I considered myself a friend of Ishe. I was a true friend. I'm still a true friend. I'm not knocking him in any way, he has the right to believe what he wants to believe. I'm not knocking him, I'm just sticking up for the Contender when it comes to him saying that they are racist and that they're responsible for Najio Turpin's death. It's the only right thing to do for someone else from the show can come out and tell the public what really happened on there."

JA: If there was anything you would want to say to Ishe as a friend what would that be? If you do care to share that with us.

TS:"I would tell Ishe what I've told him before and how I actually told him in an email. I told him that he needs to get somoen to represent him. Have someone that will represent him and any problems that he felt he had with his promoter. He just needs to concentrate on boxing and on training. If he lets these problems get in the way it's going to distract him and it's going to hurt him in the long run. Sometimes you have to get someone to represent you and just do the training. I feel Ishe at times takes little problems and makes them bigger than what they are. Alot of the problems he has with the Contender could be resolved. He just needs someone to speak to him and work it out. I don't know I can't speak with Ishe. Maybe what he's been through in his career. I don't know what he's been through with his managers.

Maybe it's gotten him to be a little defensive. Maybe he thinks everyone is out to get him. I don't know, I don't know.As a person and  I 'd like to say this and I'd like to have this on record. I  respect him as a person. He's great guy and a great family guy. I think he's a great fighter. But to knock the Conetender the way he did but not about how much you're getting paid but about personal stabs at the Contender. Like saying that Mark Burnett is a racist or resposible for the death of Najai Turpin, I think that's wrong. That's his beliefs, he's intitled to those beliefs. If he wants more money he should fight to get more money from them. That's a whole different issue. How can he called this guy a racist when he casted two Arabs and four African-Americans. Out of 16 guys two of us were Arabs. What are the odds of that?"


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