Monday, July 18, 2011

Done and Done.

King of the Cage: Underground 69 is over and it went well.  I won the main event fight via armbar at 1:48 of the first round, even though it seemed a lot longer than that.  More than anything I am relieved to have that fight over with.  While my preparation going into the fight was good, the week before the fight was not.  Almost exactly a week before fight time I injured my back.  I'm not sure how, but I could barely put pants and socks on.  Just getting around and doing everyday activities was tough, never mind fighting.  A few chiropractor and massage appointments helped a little, but I was still in a lot of pain, and not very mobile.  To make things worse, at the same time I got sick and had to go on antibiotics.  Those things really kicked my ass and made me feel sluggish.  Cutting weight while on antibiotics was brutal.  Needless to say, the week leading up to the fight was less than ideal.  Luckily all of the hard work had been done by then anyways.

Sizing up the opponent.
As for the fight, everything went pretty much according to game plan.  My brother Mitch and I had done the scouting report and put together our plan.   It was as if Mitch choreographed the entire fight.    I was able to stay patient and make it through my opponents striking and exploit a few positions we knew I could get to.  I would have liked to pull the trigger a lot more in the striking aspect of the fight as I feel that my striking is much better than I showed in the fight.  The one thing I didn't want to do though, was get in a firefight with a guy who's strongest skill is boxing and who's most dangerous weapon is fast flurries of punches.  With my limited mobility in my back I was much more keen to get my hands on him, control some heavy top positions and take what he would give me, which turned out to be an arm-bar.
Looking to finish.

For those of you that were at the fight and booed my opponents apparent lack of respect in the cage after the fight it's worth noting that I went and talked with him afterwards and he was pretty cool about everything.  For people who've never fought it's tough to describe what happens to you at the end of the fight.  You have so many chemicals being dumped into your system that it's tough to keep your composure, especially after losing a tough fight that you spent countless hours preparing for. trust me, I've been there.

Now I'm looking forward to healing, relaxing a bit and getting ready for my next fight which looks to be not very far away.

Thanks to Trevor Dowhaniuk for the pictures I've used here, he captured some great ones.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

No, I Am Not "Getting Jacked" For This Fight.

"Are you jacked?"  "Are you excited?"  "Are you getting pumped?"

Every time I fight I hear these questions at least a bazillion times in the week leading up to the fight.  When I shrug my shoulders and answer with "not really" or "not yet" people seem taken aback.  The truth is I've never been one to get all jazzed up before I fight and there's a few reasons. 
  1. It's counter-productive.  Some people think that fighting angry, or "psyched up" is the way to go.  That may be true if you think that overwhelming your opponent is the only way you can win.  If you have faith in your training, your skills and your game-plan though, getting all "psyched up" is a detriment to clear thinking.  
  2. When your emotional level gets too high you run the risk of an emotional crash when something doesn't go your way; and in a tough fight there are bound to be moments where not everything is going your way.  In such moments it pays to have a clear mind and be able focus on correcting the situation.
  3. Getting psyched up burns a lot of mental energy.  It can zap the system as badly as using up too much physical energy before the fight.  I often chuckle to myself when I see new fighters with their hands taped and mouthguards in, walking around with angry faces several hours before they fight.  Do they know how much work it takes to look that pissed off for that long?
  4. This is not new. This will be my 8th professional fight. Before that, I had several amateur fights.  I've fought overseas.  I've wrestled for a National Championship.  This fight is important.  It does not, however, overshadow everything I've done previously.  
    This will not be me at weigh-ins.
If you are coming to watch me fight on Saturday you'll probably see my opponent come into the cage yelling, jumping around, gesturing to the crowd and mean mugging.  He might try some of the same stuff at weigh-ins. That's fine.  Maybe, for his own confidence, he feels like he needs to do that, but you won't see any of that from me.  A few hours before the fight you're likely to find me hanging out, playing cards, having a nap or sneaking out to talk to some friends in the crowd.  When it comes time to focus on the task at hand I'll be all business, but there's no sense wasting all of my energy before hand.

I'm not saying that I don't get nervous or scared; I do.  I've said before that anyone who says they don't is either lying or stupid.  You should be nervous or scared.  Those feelings you get is your body preparing itself for battle, pulling out those fight or flight (hopefully fight) responses that have been ingrained in our DNA for millenia.  If you aren't getting those feelings, your body and mind are not properly prepared to do what you are going to do.  I recently heard a quote from Urijah Faber that sums it up nicely.  It went something along the lines of "Yeah, I get butterflies; I just make them fly in formation".

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Why Do we Fight (or... Why Fighting is Important)

People often ask me why I fight.  There's a hundred reasons, and I could talk about each of them for hours.  I could talk about the evolutionary or anthropological reasons that people fight; the reasons that the fight or flight response is hardwired into our brains to facilitate human survival.  I could talk about growing up in a family where stories of warriors, be they athletes, schoolyard scrappers or decorated WWI and WWII veterans figured prominently into family history.  I could talk about the need to test my limits and challenge myself both physically and mentally.  I could talk about the purity of combat sports; no balls, nets, hoops or equipment. Just you, your opponent and all of the skill and preparation you could both muster.  I've heard a lot of different fighters explain why they fight a lot of different ways.  I ran across this video recently and enjoyed a slight twist on the overcooked question of "Why do you fight?" Instead of dealing with the question the speaker in the video discusses why fighting is important. 

King of the Cage: Underground 69
 Fight night is about a week away and I've done most of the hard work.  it's time to let me body heal, finalize some gameplan ideas, sharpen a few technical skills and make sure that my weight is good.  I'm looking forward to getting back in the cage, even though it's always a bit of  a crazy feeling.  People who tel you they don;t get nervous are either lying or stupid.  That nervous feeling is your body preparing itself to do something it doesn't normally do.  If that's not happening, something's wrong. I've fought 10 or 11 times now and I still get those feelings.  The only real difference is now I expect them and they don't really bother me.

Steel City MMA

Steel City MMA is opening it's doors on Sept. 1st 2011.  You can now register online for Jiu Jitsu, Kickboxing, Wrestling, MMA or any combination of the above. Check out the on-line registration page.  Click on the "Steel City MMA tab, change the date to September and select the class or classes you'd like to enroll in.  Also, join our facebook page and check out our website for prices, schedule and other info.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Ontario Couch Surfing Tour 2011 Wrap Up.

Best dressed guy in the room!
Is it lame to have a signature shirt when you aren't even remotely famous? Probably. Can you turn someone down if they offer to make you a signature t shirt? Nope. That's why you won't catch me wearing my shirt except on fight day. I did however spot my buddy Adrian Vilaca wearing my shirt in his facebook profile picture while training in Ottawa.
Adrian is a good dude to have around for mma training camps. Always ready to help, able to push people in all aspects of the game and knowledgeable about sport specific training methods. Check out his training and coaching blog here.  Turnaround is fair play so here's me wearing my "Vengeance" Vilaca shirt training with Jesse Ronson and Chris Clements at Adrenaline Training Center. Both guys have fights coming up so I trained with them for a a few days while I was in London.   An ex- wrestling teammate by the name of Andrew Elliot is helping both guys get ready for their fights so we spent a few days together training in the cage and on the mats, working on a few specific situations and sharing knowledge.

Chris Clements is the Ringside welterweight champ and actually has the record for the fastest KO in MMA history.


The Life of a Drifter.
On my trip I was lucky enough to train with some great fighters and people at Xtreme Couture, Bruckman's Martial Arts, MECCA Jiu Jitsu/MMA and Adrenaline Training Center.  Another great thing about couch surfung my way through Southern Ontario was catching up with family, friends and teammates, some of whom I hadn't seen in a long time.   Big thanks to Andy, Andrew, Andy (yes, two Andy's) Katie, Puds, Dee and aunt Mary for the hospitality, couches, pools, barbeques and meals. It was great to see everyone and catch up.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

On the Road, Training and Visiting

I had a great day of training yesterday.  In the morning I went to Extreme Couture and did some no gi jiu jitsu with Micha Circunov and Darson Hemmings and did some bag work.  In the evening I went to Bruckman's Martial Arts in Oshawa where I did some wrestling, some light sparring and some pad work with Antonio Carvalho.  Carvalho is coming off a big win and recently signed with the UFC.  He made a name for himself fighting in Japan and beating some of the top featherweights in the world like Rumina Sato and Hatsu Hioki.  When I fought in Japan he helped me a out a lot by hooking me up with some great people that helped me find my way through Tokyo and even ended up cornering me.  Definitely one of the most solid and genuine guys I've met in the sport.  Check out one of his recent fights back in Canada.  

Today I'm off to Train at MECCA in downtown Toronto and tomorrow I'm headed to London to train at Adrenaline Training Center for a few days.

Thanks to Andrew and Andy for letting me crash at their house while in Toronto.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Pofessor vs. Scrapyard

What are the chances that one tiny highschool, population 500ish has two teachers that are professional figters? The school I teach at does. Thers' myself, obviously, and another fella named Ray. Ray and I wrestled at the same University (Lakehead Thunderwolves) and train together in MMA. Naturally, kids want to know who would win a fight or wrestling match. Instead of breaking their hearts with the truth that Ray would get twisted up like a pair of hand wraps in the washing machine (kids tend to like him for some reason) I usually just say that it would not be a fight anyone would enjoy. The poor guy is such a head case I don't think he could handle the truth. The only thing in worse shape than his body is his self esteem. That doesn't stop kids from asking though, and we often exchange in smack talk through mutual students. Getting a kid to deliver a well timed chirp to someone on the other side of the school can be very rewarding. We've developed quite a second hand rivalry and kids get more worked up about it than we do. That's why when news leaked out that Ray and I would scrap it out in a wrestling match in front of the school as the entertainment portion of our Intramural awards assembly there was a bit of a buzz aorund the school. Needless to say, people were not expecting us to come out in full sumo suits. I suppose some would say that Ray won the match, but it's only because he's fat.

**disclaimer** I'm now typing and posting from my tablet so I can't embed videos or make secondary titles. I will also blame any spelling or grammar mistakes on this. Any previous spelling mistakes are to be blamed on our education system, especially those dirt-bag English teachers.

Two Weeks Out From Fight Night
Friday was exactly two weeks until weigh in for my fight and I haven't cut weight since November so I decided to do a test weight cut to see how my body handles it. I didn't cut all the way but i felt okay. The full weight cut won't be fun, but it's definitely doable. Instead of going to a gym to do the weight cut I went out to Ray's house because he built a gym and a sauna in his barn (there's a reason his nickname is scrapyard). Check it out.

Traveling and Training
I'm currently on the road in southern Ontario coaching at the Canada Cup of Wrestling and then training at a few different places for my fight coming up. I'll probably post everyday while I'm on the road so hopefully I find my way to a real computer to load some of the vids.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Finally, News.

Well I have a few pieces of news that I've been holding on to for a while and can now let out.  First, the small stuff.  I'll be fighting on King of the Cage on July 16th at Kewedin Casino in Sault Ste. Marie Michigan.  My opponent is a tough dude with a pro record of 3-1 with 3 Knock outs and a solid wrestling background.  He'll be the toughest guy I've faced in King of the Cage yet, and I'm excited for the challenge.  This event will also air on television in Canada and the U.S.A., which is pretty cool.  I'll post more details about that when I get them.
  I had another fight lined up for a big event in Ontario and then it got cancelled. Then it was on again.  And then off.   There was lots of playing games from the opponent I was supposed to fight, but in the end he declined to fight me.  Such is life.  I think I'll run into him somewhere along the line. 

And now the bigger news.  For a little less than a month I haven't been training at Ho Shin Sool.  Nothing personal, just a difference of opinion about the direction that our fighters should be going and what they should be doing.  In that time I've gone back to fundamentals.  I wrestle with wrestlers, I do jiu jitsu with jiu jitsu players and I box with boxers.  It's felt good to work on these skills again in isolation. In addition to training, I've been working on opening my own MMA club.  Things have moved really quickly and I signed the lease papers this past weekend.  So with little fanfare and without further ado I give you...
We don't open our doors until September, but the website is up here with info, schedules, prices etc... Check it out.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Travelling to Train

I have a disease.  An affliction, if you will. No, not the tacky MMA Tshirt kind of affliction.  I simply cannot go somewhere, whether it be to visit friends, or on vacation, without checking out places to train in the area.  My personal motto could easily be " Training gear.  Don't leave home without it." or "Got gear, Will travel."  It drives my fiance nuts when we talk about going on a trip and I immediately google what MMA or Jiu Jitsu clubs are in the area.   Last year when we were in the middle of a legal battle with our boss we took a 10 day vacation to the Philippines.  It was what I imagine heaven looks like.  We stayed on the Island of Borocay, named one of the top 10 beaches in the WORLD, in a hut for eleven dollars a night.  During the day we drank 25 cent beers and highballs all day long.  When we were sober enough we would go snorkeling or on a boat ride with one of the local operators.  Apparently that wasn't enough for me.  I needed to get punched in the face or have my arm torqued by some local fighters to feel like I really understood the place.
Fighter entrance at the MMA event in Manilla
Luckily for me I did some research and made some contacts before we got to Manilla.  As luck would have it the night that we flew into Manilla was also the night of the biggest MMA event of the year in the Philippines.  I made plans to meet up with a few local fighters at the event.  The event itself was pretty cool, and the fighters hooked me up with some places to train boxing and jiu jitsu for the next few days.  It was pretty sweet.  Check out the pics.

One of the things I am looking forward to this summer is the opportunity to take a few road trips and do some training.  I'll probably hit Adrenaline Training Center in London, Xtreme Couture in Toronto, visit my buddy Adrian who is spending the summer in Ottawa and train with OAMA or FIT MMA and I'd like to take a trip back to my old stomping grounds in Thunder Bay and train with the boys at Leading Edge. 

Throwing an omoplata in the Philippines.  I know, I know... My hips should be facing the other way.

Super Kid Smashes Some Other Korean Guy.

A while ago I posted a video of one of the "Super babies" that train at Daegu MMA in Korea.  I told you to keep an eye on some of them and that you'd probably be hearing their names at some point.  Well one of those kids that we often called "Monkey" (His real name is Sang Yeon Kim) turned 16 recently and had his first pro fight.  That's right.  First pro fight at 16 years old.  He absolutely dominated and stopped the guy on strikes from mount in under a minute.  You can see the video here  but be warned, the video loads really slowly.

Hanging out with Aoki and Imanari.  No big deal.

Speaking of travelling for MMA, I ran across a few pics from my trip to Japan the other day.   There were two back to back pics of Mazakazu Imanari and Shinya Aoki, two of the best grapplers in the MMA game, that I thought were pretty funny.  I was trying to act nonchalant at the weigh-ins for DEEP.  You know, act like you've been there before type of thing.  I couldn't resist taking a few snaps of these guys though.  Funny thing is every time I took a picture they happened to be looking right at the camera with a "why is this other fighter taking pictures of me?" look on their face.
That's my Korean buddy Dong Hyun in the foreground and Aoki peering over the table in the background.  What're you staring at Shinya?  You need a knuckle sandwich?

You too Imanari?  You eyeballing me?  Yeah, I didn't think so.

NEWS! (nope, just kidding, still can't say anything)
Lots of people have been asking about my "news".  I really thought I'd be able to let it out by now, but that is not the case.  I've had a few fights tentatively booked and fall through and there are a few more options on the table.  As soon as I know anything for sure I'll post it here.  Some of you have sen my face on the poster for a upcoming King of the Cage event.  That fight is not confirmed yet, although it is a possibility.  The Ontario MMA scene is still new and growing.  Here's hoping tings settle down and become a little more predictable over the next year.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

NEWS!... sorta

Here's a Teaser... Stay Tuned!

I have at least three separate pieces of news that I am itching to break. But I can't.  Yet.   I CAN tell you that I have some fight announcements coming up and that one of the fights will be televised in Canada and the USA.  How sweet is that?  I last fought about 6 months ago so I am really looking forward to getting back in there soon.

The Canada/Korea/USA Connection
Ever since I've returned to Canada I've had a fair bit of contact with the fellas at Daegu MMA in Korea.   I muddle throught the Korean Language website to post stuff and they always get one of their English speaking members to translate and post a reply.
It turns out that I've also become a bit of an English speaking contact for Daegu MMA.  When a foreigner in Korea is interested in training they usually Google "MMA in Daegu", or something similar.  My blog is usually the first English language result for that search.  Because of this, I've had lots of people look me up on Facebook for information regarding the club.  I point them in the right direction and wish them luck in their training.  Recently a Facebook contact filmed a bit of a Sambo seminar that was happening at Daegu MMA.   Here are some vids from the seminar.  There are some great techniques here that are a little different from your traditional Jiu Jitsu style, but look quite effective.  I can't wait to try them out.  **Note** I'm proud to be a part of the team from Daegu MMA that won the 2010 East Asian Sambo Championships, beating several Sambo schools along the way.  On the day of the tournament I had 7 or 8 matches. (Can't remember for sure. Let's say eight, just to increase the level of my awesomeness in the minds of both people who read this blog).  I lost one match and won the rest; it was a  grueling day.

The guy is the video is Ron Dayley, an American/Korean who has family in Daegu.  he also owns and runs his own gym in Clarksville, TN.  Some of his fighters have competed in the UFC and Strikeforce.

Real Life Humour For The Week.
The following story was relayed to me from my fiance.  A friend of hers was visiting the doctor, who happened to be an elderly east Indian man.  he asked if she was pregnant.  She said "No".  He asked if she had ever been pregnant.  She said "No".  Asked if what she method of birth control she was using.  She said "Homosexuality".  
When the doctor regained his breath after choking on his water he said something about that being a pretty effective method.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Tough guys don't act tough. Strung out, scrawny drunks do.

While writing a code of conduct for members at our MMA club a friend of mine wrote this:
"Tough guys don't act tough, they do tough things"
That couldn't be more true.  Being involved in combat sports at a relatively high level for most of my life, I've been around some tough dudes.  I mean REALLY tough dudes.  These guys come from all different places, and have all kinds of different stories.  The one thing they have in common is that the really tough guys don't act tough.  They know they are and they don't have to prove it.  Don't get me wrong, most of these guys aren't going to tuck their tail between their legs and run from a situation, but they aren't going to start one either.
There's a whole other league of guys out there though, that some people think are tough.  They're the guys who haven't really accomplished much.  Maybe they got in a fight with another drunk moron who has no actual combat skills and won, fueling their belief that they are in fact tough.  These are the guys who go around posturing, talking tough and mean mugging people all the time.  Sometimes they're big guys, all juiced up to help their insecurity, sometimes they're little guys who feel like they have something to prove.  Some people actually believe that these guys are tough because no one ever calls them on their BS.

A little while ago I was out watching a friends band and I ran into a guy like this.  He was a guy that I knew from around town.  He was about the same height as me and about twenty pounds lighter, meaning that he was so small there wouldn't even be a weight class for him in MMA.  He was a drunk and  had never done anything to prove that he was tough in any way but had a mouth that well overshot his tough-guy experience.  This particular night I had already separated myself from the fella in question because I couldn't stand to listen to him talk any more.  I had run into another guy that wrestled for a cross-town highschool at the same time I wrestled.  We were talking about the good old days and how awesome we used to be when douchy mcdouche strolled up and started instigating.  He was saying stuff like "wrestling's for fags and hommos.  A bunch of guys rolling around grabbing each other's dicks.  If anyone ever touched me like that I'd kick their ass".  Those last words left me with only one thing to do.
I poked him in the dick.
He didn't like that.  I don't think that he was used to being called on his false bravado.
He imediately got flustered, puffed out his chest and in his best angry-man voice said something along the lines of "I'm not kidding, if you do that again I'll kill you!"
So I poked him in the dick again.
Needless to say, he didn't kill me. He didn't even make a move.  I rolled the dice on the fact that he was "all show, no go" and I was right.  He didn't have a clue what to do when someone stepped up to call his BS.  His friends, some of whom I know, came over soon and ushered him away, apologizing the whole time. 
Once again, tough guys don't act tough.

Six months seems like a reasonable amount of time to put together a story about an event, no?
The last time I fought was in November for King of the Cage.  After the fight I did a video interview with a local reporter, which never aired.  Somebody recently clued me in to the fact that this video was just posted on the local news site this week.  Better late than never I guess.  Here's the video.  Go to 4:35 for my section.

Last week I wrote a blog about Karlin Armstrong; a guy I thought was a bit of a poser in the MMA community.  I mentioned that the only thing that gave him any credibility whatsoever was that he trained at a respected MMA club called BDB martial arts in Calgary and had some reputable fighters, including UFC Nick Ring, participating in seminars he was helping to organize.  Well, it turns out neither of things hold any water.  Brad Cardinal, the new Wreck MMA lightweight Champion responded to a post I made about the guy.  Here's what he said.
"I was part of the seminar from the link above that was organized by Karlin Armstrong. I'm not going to get into details, as I don't want to contribute negatively in any way to Canadian MMA, but in the future neither Nick Ring or myself will be having anything to do with Karlin.

Also, I read in the blog linked above that he claims to have been training at BDB Martial Arts in Calgary. I don't think I've seen him on the mats there more than a few hours, and I'm there everyday."  - Brad Cardinal
On the charges of being an MMA poser/wannabe and vastly overstating his influence, participation and involvement in the MMA community I find Karlin Armstrong guilty.

I also blogged about having a matchmaker put my name on an event that I had not agreed to fight on.  It seems that once my manager made this information public the floodgates opened.  There's been roughly 50 comments on the story, most by other managers, matchmakers, fighters and coaches who have had problems with the matchmaker in question.  You can read what people are saying about him here.
It's also interesting that my name is still listed on the fight card, even though I was never remotely interested in this fight and there have been requests to remove my name from the website. There are also rumours going around that the matchmaker is now offering a lot of money for fighters on this card because it is only a few weeks away and they only have 5 fights booked.  Panic time?  Hopefully this organization will get with a legit matchmaker for their next fights and make a successful run at MMA in Ontario after a rough start.

Monday, May 2, 2011

That's News to Me

Yesterday I was reading a press release for an MMA event that had a very interesting main event. Tim Wadsworth,a very good wrestler that I had competed against in the past and undefeated in MMA at 145 was going to fight Shigeki Osawa, a very tough Japanese fighter that wrestled in the Olympics and is know for suplexing people on their heads. Like this.

Anyways, as I was reading the press release I noticed a name I recognized. Brent Fryia vs. Jason Sampson. Hey! That's me! Too bad this fight is less than four weeks away and I never agreed to it. This was a fight that I was offered, but turned down because I felt like the promoter was seriously trying to undersell the opponent to get me to fight. They told me that he was 4-0 with some college wrestling experience. A quick google search told me that he was actually 7-0, a div. I All American wrestler, 2-0 as a pro boxer, had won the Pan-Am championships in Jiu-Jitsu as well as placing second at the IBJJF World Championships. I got in touch with my manager who asked the website to remove my name from the post. That started a storm of conversation about the matchmaker on the same website. It turns out that this organization had posted the names of several fighters that were unconfirmed and had never agreed to fight on this event. It turns out that even Tim Wadsworth, one of the main event fighters, is not even fighting on this card. Interesting. Here's a link to the press release (with my name now removed). Press Release If you scroll down you can see all of the discussion that takes place about the event and the promoter/matchmaker.

P.S. Please go follow me on Twitter here: Twitter me!

P.P.S. Please go vote. Some people are cheesed that we're having another election and think it's a bad thing. The fact that when our leader doesn't have the support of the people we can kick him out and try again is a GREAT thing. Let's get this guy outta here.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Blog is Back!

When I got home from Korea I was so swamped with getting caught up at work that the blog became an afterthought; something I'd get to if I had time.  Considering I was coaching a highschool wrestling team, a club wrestling team, being the convenor for the local wrestling league and trying to find time to train myself there was zero time for anything else.  During this time I often had something happen to me, or witnessed something and thought "that would make a good blog post".  These days I have a little more time on my hands and in the last few weeks a few people have asked about the blog and if it would ever return.  Here it is.  It's kind of like "Return of the Mack", but way better.  What is a "Mack"?

Posers, Cling-Ons and Wannabes 
Poser checklist: 1) Taking pictures of yourself... 2) with no shirt on 3) with all of the UFC and Tap-Out gear you bought from Sport-check 4) in your bedroom with cliche posters in the background 5) mean mugging and/or giving the finger.   **note** This is not the guy that this article is about, just a good example of the type of people that try adopt a tough fighter image without putting in the work to actually be a fighter

Whenever something gets popular there's bound to be some posers (or poseurs, as the French say) hanging around and MMA is no different.  Everyone's seen overweight tattooed thugs who couldn't throw a straight punch if their life depended on it rocking the Tapout sleeveless jersey and straight brimmed hat combo. These are the guys who want to see sloppy slug fests and could care less about the ground game.  Ironic considering the term "Tap Out" comes from the ground game in the first place.  For these guys it's about an image that they can cop, not about the sport.
There's another type of poser and cling on in the MMA game too.  The one's who actually are somewhat involved in the sport but overstate their involvement, talk about themselves a lot and try to convince people that they are big wheels on the MMA machine.  For these guys too, it's about an image. It's about being part of something cool.
A great example of this is a recent article that appeared in my local newspaper.  It was about a fella who sometimes spends time visiting his family in my city.  To listen to him talk the guy is definitely a big deal; involved in every aspect of MMA including fighting, managing, sponsoring, reporting, promoting, owning an MMA clothing line and training fighters. And all of this at the age of 22. Wow.  Here's the article Sault Star Article
There are a few hilarious bits in this article.  The first is that he is sponsoring fighters but can't release their names to the public because of privacy issues.  Hmm.  I have a few sponsors and I'm pretty sure the way it works is they pay you to wear their stuff and in turn they can use your name and image to promote their product.  He also talks about training fighters.  An 0-1 fighter with no previous combat sports credentials training fighters?  Sign me up!  Speaking of his 0-1 record, the guy has every excuse in the book from taking the fight on short notice to citing injuries from an accident 7 years ago! Now I've had some pretty decent injuries (broken neck anyone?) and I understand taking fights that aren't on ideal terms but once you accept to fight under those terms you lose the right to complain or use them as excuses.  When I fought in Japan there was a laundry list of reasons why the fight wasn't great for me but I took it anyways.  I lost.  I didn't lose because of all of the particular details around the fight that I thought were BS.  I lost a winnable fight because the other guy fought better than me that night and planted a right hook on my chin that sent me wobbling to the canvas.  End of story.
When I read the article I wondered how this guy could be doing so much in Canadian MMA without ever having heard of him. I wanted to find out if this guy was a legit or if he was, like lots of other questionable characters involved in MMA, trying to make a name and a few dollars off of the sweat and hard work of fighters and other people who have worked hard to make the sport progress to where it is today.  I took my curiosity to a few well known message boards where lots of pro fighters and well known journalists, managers and commentators post and interact regularly.  I asked if anyone knew him and what their impressions of him were.  Here's a few of the reactions...
"can't help you...but apparently as involved as he is I should've heard of him, no?"
                    - Sean MacManus, editor of

"He probably got excited in the interview and kind of overstated where he's at in the MMA culture, as evidenced by the fact that the biggest MMA nerds in Canada (like the people on the Canadian UG- and I mean 'nerds' in the best sense) don't know who he is.
Sometimes people try to oversell themselves, sometimes cuz, yes, they want the attention, sometimes just cuz they wanna get laid in their hometown, and sometimes just cuz they get wound up while being interviewed."
                      - Robin Black, professional fighter, On-air personality for The Score,  The Fight Network

"Nice enough guy but touts his own horn way too much. In my brief conversation I tried to figure out exactly what he did, he just told me he does "marketing". I asked him what that entails and he says he makes moves, talks to people, gets people's voices heard and names recognized (paraphrasing here but you get the idea)" ...  "His clothing company is "Lights Out Fight Wear" and until recently they only had 2 t-shirts and a hoodie on their website.. there's not much more now (and they claim to have been established since 1982 lol). He probably doesn't talk about the fighters because he only deals with amateur athletes with 1-1 or 0-0 records who swallow everything this guy says."
                 - Anonymous  poster

To be completely fair, I don't think this guy is malicious in any way.  He has some ties to BDB Martial Arts in Calgary which is a very reputable gym so at the very least he sees high level training on a regular basis.  I think he really does love the sport of MMA and wants to be involved.  I just think that he is a little quick to give himself credit and, in this article, has overplayed his involvement in the scene.  I'll let you judge for yourself.

A Few Thoughts on UFC 129
  • Great showing by the Canadian contingent. John Makdessi, Jason MacDonald, Claude Patrick, Ivan Menjivar, Rory MacDonald, and GSP all got great wins.  Pierson, Bocek, Jabouin and Hominick will all be back in the big show busting heads soon.
  • Speaking of Hominick... what a warrior.  He fought a great fight against one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world and even when he was behind on the score cards and had a hematoma the size of a baseball on his head he turned up the juice and blitzed Jose Aldo for the last 5 minutes of the fight.  Not a lot of people gave him any kind of chance and most didn't think he'd last very long.  I told everyone who would listen that Hominick absolutely belonged with Aldo and could beat him. I was down at his training center in March and trained with him while I was there.  I look forward to training with him again soon.
  • I hate watching Randy lose.  Anyone else think that fight was bad matchmaking on the UFC's part from a promotional perspective?  You don;t want one of your heroes going out on a loss but you also want Machida to get back into contention.  Seemed like a lose-lose proposition for the UFC to me.
  • Can Steven Segal please drown in wet cement?
  • $129 000 in bonus money for winners of Fight of the Night (Aldo/Hominick) Knock out of the night (Machida's karate kid crane kick) and sub of the night (Garza).  Dat's very nice.  I know all of the bonuses from now on won't be that high but I can't see them dropping back to the previous ammounts.

Other Stuff
I'm not sure what the format will be for this blog now that I'm back in Canada but I'm trying to figure it out.  It will definitely be MMA based with some other side-bar type stories and comments but I'm not sure to what degree I'll include other topics.
I noticed that I have a few blogs drafts that I had written while in Korea and Japan that i never got around to publishing.  I think there's some pretty interesting stuff in there that people might like.  I'll have a look at them, add any additional info and post them shortly.