Category Archives: MMA, Sport, Fighters, Cagefighting, UFC, Wannabe,

MAN UP (Not that much)

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This next subject I’m about to tackle on Colossal Concerns surprises me in so much that when I first heard about it, I thought most people would overwhelmingly agree with my view point, which doesn’t seem to be the case now I’ve had the chance to read some of the articles and opinions floating around about the said subject.

So what I’m I talking about? Well it’s the transgender fighter called Fallon Fox. Fallon used to be a man and has now had the operation and medication to help her achieve his goal (it gets confusing) of being a woman. Hence the transgender part.

The part that has caused the controversy in all this is that Fallon now fights woman Mma.
Now, maybe I’m naive. When I first heard about this I thought the up roar would be immense about the fact Fallon is competing in a violent sport and the fact she used to be a man would give her a massive advantage. Not only that but Fallon KO’d two of her female opponents, that weren’t even aware of the fact that she used to be a he!

How can that be right? I mean let’s just boil it all down to facts here, no political correctness just facts, and then go from that point.

Before I go on let me just say I don’t care if you’re a midget, gay, black, fat or transgender or all of these thing put together. I’m not here to criticise transgender people, that’s not what this post is about, if it makes you happy or you think it will then crack on as it’s your business. Who am I, or anyone else, to get in your way? As long as you’re not hurting anyone else then good luck to you. But what happen when someone’s personal choice CAN hurt someone else – like in the case of combat sports.

Fallon Fox had the operation to change gender seven years ago, as far as I know Fallon never competed in Mma as a man (I couldn’t find evidence for this but I could be wrong) and has been on medicine to lower testosterone whilst increasing oestrogen which, then in turn, decreases strength and bone density along with other physical advantages a male might naturally have over a female.

On paper this supposedly makes it a level playing field.

Well… My issues, and I think Joe Rogan stated it very well when he said on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast that Fallon, even though taking appropriate medications to emulate female hormones and characteristics, will ‘still have the bone structure of a man’.

Even with all the medication in the world to make it more of a ‘level playing field’, I’m not buying it that Fallon doesn’t have a strong advantage. Let’s break it down.

Men have an advantage over woman when it comes to sports, largely because even when both sexes weigh the same men have twice as much muscle and half as much fat as a woman does (which as an aside is one of the good reasons, along with hormones that women have cellulite and us men don’t -well we do but it’s just hidden under lots of lean, manly muscle;) but the medication Fallon takes reduces that factor, right?

Ok, by how much? 50% 30% 10% someone give me a figure because I don’t know and it seems no one else does either. Why? Because the subject has not been looked into that closely and even if it was looked in to, it’s all subjective. You have the same issue when it comes to bone density and structure. Sure it depletes with this medication but by how much?

I think it’s been forgotten that another big advantage males have over females is that their organs are different sizes. Men have bigger hearts and lungs that obviously help power the body. So basically what are they telling us? That Fallon’s organs have decreased in size because of the medication being prescribed?

While all the treatment, medicine and such like, can do wonderful things, you can’t tell me that they’ve completely neutralised nature and made things a level playing field.

The only time that medicine will have come far enough to make it a level playing field will be the day that this situation occurs the other way around. A woman undergoing a sex change, to become a man, then entering the world of Mma and dominating a man because of the medication will be the only day that it will be fair. I wouldn’t hold your breath for that one.

I’m guessing a lot of people that are in favour of Fallon fighting females aren’t, in general, ‘in the know’ about combat sports. Fallon advocators are looking at the issue purely from a ‘we are all equal’ perspective. This is great but when it comes down to a physically enduring sport, where a lot of pain and damage is inflicted on someone, it’s not quite as simple as ‘we are all equal’

After saying all this do I think Fallon should be able to fight MMA… absolutely – As long her the female opponent knows what’s up.

Then it’s fair as her opponent has the choice to weigh up the facts and decide whether to accept the fight or not, that is the opponent’s personal choice. It infuriated me to hear in the media that either two or three of her opponents didn’t get to make that choice as the  fights were based on half-truths. What about THEIR rights as woman, competing in a physically damaging sport that can have lasting implications to their health. Who was looking out for the rights of these females?

I can’t image what it must be like to feel like you are trapped in the wrong body and the entire trauma you and your family must go through and, of course, Fallon has as much right to change sex and to do whatever makes her happy, that was her choice and I’m sure it wasn’t taken lightly as I’ve heard the transition is hard to go through.

As long as everyone involved in the fights knows the truth about the situation, then the choices each individual makes based on the facts are the only level playing field we’re going to get.

 

 

Thanks for reading my blog, please remember to ‘follow’ it for updates as to when the next one is posted before it hits the social media platforms.

My Website of all things ‘COLOSSAL’ www.colossalcollective.com

My facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/James-The-Colossus-Thompson/199137513465142 &

My podcast Colossal Concerns on Itunes. http://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/colossal-concerns-podcast/id558622595

My twitter https://jp.twitter.com/JColossus

My YouTube channel Colossalcollective http://www.youtube.com/user/ColossalCollective

DISCLAIMER

Please note, the thoughts and opinions posted here are solely those of the author and do not represent those of anything linked or related. All content provided on this Colossalconcerns.com blog is for entertainment purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner of ColossalConcerns.com blog will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

Colossalconcerns.com is NOT the owner of any videos that are found orembedded on this site. ALL VIDEOS on colossalconcerns.com are hosted by third party sites such as You Tube, Daily Motion, Novamov, Vimeo etc. Therefore all videos found on this site belong to their respective owners. Colossalconcerns.com DOES NOT CLAIM OWNERSHIP OF ANY AND ALL VIDEOS FOUND ON THIS SITE.

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Mma with a twist

In my time of watching and competing in MMA I’ve come across many variations of the sport. I imagine most of these ideas were hatched while consuming gallons of alcohol, drunkenly creating the ‘next big thing’ in combat sports. The geniuses that mustered these ideas have slipped, banged their heads, and in the morning -when sober- the ideas they had still, somehow, held some merit.
Let’s have a quick look at some of these creative ideas…

 

X-Arm – This is where you take a dismembered X-man’s arm. Not really, I’m only kidding as that would be silly. This is much more serious. This is where you strike your opponent while trying to pin their arm, like you would in a wrestling match. Art Davis, the man who brought you the UFC, gave us this gem. One out of one isn’t bad, Art..

blog 17 X ARM

 

Chess boxing- Like the name suggests – You play chess for 3 minutes, then you box. It’s apparently got a large following in Berlin, but then again they also put mayonnaise on their chips.

BLOG 17 Chess boxing

 

Ultimate ball – You have two teams of 4. You put them in a Mma cage. They have a small ball that they have to put it in a small goal on either side of the cage. The other team has to stop them. That’s all I could watch before the over-whelming urge to rip my own eyes out and hurt myself came over me!

blog 17 ultimate ball

 

Ymma- It’s Mma in a slightly different cage (it had slopes at the sides) creatively called ‘the pit’. This was also Art Davis’ brain child. One out of two…Please stop now Art.

blog 17  yamma

 

Now, not one of these “sports” stuck. Which isn’t really that surprising as they’re all, well… shit, for want of a better word. A flash in the pan we call it, where after five minutes of watching them, the novelties worn off and is forgotten about as quickly as it came about.
I’m a Mma purest, in some much as you don’t need bells and whistles to be fitted to MMA. All you need is good MMA and the rest will take care of itself. I don’t get upset over any of it. I just laugh and wonder what Mr X was thinking about when he conjured up most of this shit and let the memory of the whole thing slip into the ether, so not to take up any valuable space on my mind.

Then a fella on twitter named @NeilJones72 asked me my opinion on the ‘Russian Hip Show’. Hmmm…. the hip show sounds like something that would be introduced on Britain’s Got Talent before being booed and buzzed out of the place. I don’t know what ‘hip’ stands for.
Let me do my best to try and explain what this is all about. Bear with me because, as of yet, I haven’t seen any English versions of the rules. What I am about to explain to you about the Russian ‘Hip show’ is just what I’ve gathered from watching myself.

So, you have two teams, made up of two blokes in a team. Both are the same weight (I assume). You give them Mma gloves and head gear and put them in what seems to be a giant jungle gym. This Jungle gym has different levels, slopes, ropes, blocks, walls with holes in, etc. Then throw a few tracksuit wearing Russians in to watch and, hey presto, you’ve got the Hip Show.

The combat icons are placed facing each other over a padded block. A whistle then goes off, and they fight. Now, the big difference here, apart from the fact they seemed to of kicked the kids out if their play area to hold this MMA hip show, is with this the fighters are part of a team. You can help your team mate out.
For example: if your team mate is being choked your ‘team mate’ could push your opponent off one of the giant blocks and rescues you by striking, submitting (not sure if kicking to the face on the floor is allowed) or anyway he sees fit.

If you knock your opponent out the bout is stopped. You go back to your foam block and it’s all restarted, minus the guy who just been KO. So it then becomes 2 against 1… Yep, only in Russia.

What did I think about all this when I watched it? Well, surprisingly, I really enjoyed it. Will it have any staying power, I haven’t a clue. But I found watching good MMA in these different circumstances fun and exciting. I still stand by my earlier statement that I’m an MMA purist and realistically this Russian Hip show isn’t going to take over MMA as really, come on, it’s just MMA but in different surroundings. The whole 2 onto 1 thing, while massively unfair, does make for great viewing

The ‘hip show’ has money. I know this because the format must cost loads (Jungle Gyms weren’t cheap last time I enquired) and they had Vinnie Jones (Britain’s favourite, violent, ex-football player) looking hard in a suit promoting it, and my guess would be that he’s not cheap to hire.

It’s only very early days for the Hip show, but here’s a couple if things that I think they did right, and what they need to do better.

 

Things they did right;

- They had some great fighters that came to fight. This is important as if you a had four guys that didn’t really know what they were doing, it could’ve quite easily become a school playground type environment very quickly

- Kept it about MMA – It’s MMA in a different environment. The ‘team’ element and it going two against one was different and interesting and kept me intrigued.

 

What they need to do better

- Explain what the fucks going on. -What are the rules? Who’s who? Give us some info…

- Make the info English – It’s not just Russians who like to see crazy violence. There should be a site that explains what’s going on in English so we can all understand.

- Change the name- I’m not sure what ‘The Hip show’ stands for. But whatever it is, it’s not working. You’ve done a lot right. You’ve held my interest for more than five minutes, but really, the names not helping

I think if the people behind the Hip show do some of these things then it stands a much better chance of hanging around for longer. It certainly got my interest.

Have a look let me know what you think

 

 

 

Thanks for reading my blog, please remember to ‘follow’ it for updates as to when the next one is posted before it hits the social media platforms.

My facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/James-The-Colossus-Thompson/199137513465142 &

My podcast Colossal Concerns on Itunes. http://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/colossal-concerns-podcast/id558622595

My twitter https://jp.twitter.com/JColossus

And finally my YouTube channel Colossalcollective http://www.youtube.com/user/ColossalCollective

 

DISCLAIMER

Please note, the thoughts and opinions posted here are solely those of the author and do not represent those of anything linked or related. All content provided on this Colossalconcerns.com blog is for entertainment purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner of ColossalConcerns.com blog will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

Colossalconcerns.com is NOT the owner of any videos that are found orembedded on this site. ALL VIDEOS on colossalconcerns.com are hosted by third party sites such as You Tube, Daily Motion, Novamov, Vimeo etc. Therefore all videos found on this site belong to their respective owners. Colossalconcerns.com DOES NOT CLAIM OWNERSHIP OF ANY AND ALL VIDEOS FOUND ON THIS SITE.

 

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MMA WITH A TWIST

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MIND, BODY & SOUL AND ENSON INOUE

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If you would have said to me, three months ago, that I would have written on my Facebook status and started a thread on mma.tv about the fact I will never tap in another mma fight again then I would have looked at you with an element of distain, whist thinking “you really don’t know me at all”

Why would I ever feel the need to make such bold statement and put pressure on myself? Plus, if a fighter makes a mistake and gets caught in a fight the normal mantra is you tap, you lose, but you learn from it and you come back stronger (hopefully). It’s all very acceptable to tap out in a fight if you’re in an unlucky position you can’t get out of. I have thought this way for pretty much all of my fighting career. No fighter want’s to tap, but we know that it will be ok if we do as sometimes in a fight there is no other way out other than to tap… or is there…

I look at it as ‘my old way of thinking’, and now I have a ‘new way of thinking’.

Old way of thinking = ok to tap (if you HAVE to). New way of thinking = Not ok for me to tap, I’m just not going to do it.

The strange thing is, I still agree with anyone who has my old view on this subject – which makes what I’m saying even harder to understand (even to me sometimes and I’m the one that’s saying it) and I thought by devoting a blog to it, I could clarify my new way of thinking.

First off, me saying ‘I’m not going to tap in a fight again’ isn’t about being tough, it’s not about ego. All combat sport has, to some degree, ego issues but in this case it’s not the determining factor. It’s actually something much deeper, which I’m still trying fully to understand. Let me try and make myself some-what ledge able.

I was listing to the ‘Joe Rogan Experience podcast’ and his guests were Chuck Liddell and Enson Inoue. Now, I have watched Enson, a long time ago, and remembered him as being a tenacious, explosive fighter that always came to fight (understatement of the century). But while I was aware of him, I wouldn’t say I knew too much about him.
While I was listening to him on the podcast it struck me how intense, kind and thoughtful he came across. I got the impression this was a man who says what he means or he doesn’t say anything at all!

When they got to the point of discussing his fights, the subject of ‘tapping’ came up. Now, I was listening intently at this point as my view of the matter was like I stated above – tap, learn, and come back stronger because anything else is just ego bullshit. Enson took another view, quite the opposite of my own, which was the reason I was listening so intently at this stage in the podcast.

Enson hadn’t come across like this at all, in fact completely the opposite.

I remember back to watching him fight Nog and getting caught in a quick transition from arm bar to triangle and being choked unconscious. I remember thinking two things at the time. The first was that it was pointless and the second was that I had a begrudging respect for him.

HERE IS A LINK TO ENSON INOUE VS ANTONIO RODRIGO NOGUEIRA

http://vk.com/video_ext.php?oid=-38384965&id=162907026&hash=4e7a144b788f4df7&hd=1″

 

What he explained next will change the way I fight, and by doing that it will change my life to some effect (I know, heavy right)

Enson said that when he fights, he has made a peace with himself. Right to the point that he has faced the fact he could die when he steps though those ropes to face his opponent. We know he overcomes this fear as he is there, in the ring, ready to fight.

Being a fighter I’m obviously comparing what he was saying with my own way of thinking. Was I prepared to die every time I was ready to fight? Well, in a way I suppose. I guess everyone that fights makes that choice. Is it likely to happen, that we might die in there? No it isn’t. So really grasping that concept and believing it is like letting that fear go.

I never thought too much about that side of it as a lot of the time I feel like the more you think about something, the more you worry, the more likely it is to happen. So I just go in there to do my best and fight.

After hearing Enson on the JRE experience I realised I had to try to free myself from fear as it was stifling me. I was scared to lose which was slowing me down in all aspects of my life, not just Mma. Now I’m trying very hard not to be scared of being scared.

Like any problem you encounter it needs to be looked at – otherwise how else are you going to figure it out. Only, it’s not that simple. Because fear can also be a good thing, it can motivate you and keep you, well… alive. The more I listened to Enson, the more I watched him fight, the more I saw a fighter with a massive advantage over most of us and there was a man who was controlling and using his fear to his advantage. How had he done this? Well like I said earlier, he was fighting like his life depended on it because simply… it did. This in turn made him train like his life depended on it… because it did.

He had come to terms with the fact he could, and was willing, to die in the fight.

Now when you take my old point of view “I’m not going to think and just fight” and put it up against Enson’s “I have accept I might die and now I’m ready to fight” Who do you think has the advantage going in?

I realise it’s not just as easy as this, to just adopt another man’s thinking to improve how you fight, because the way you think or what you believe in also depends on your personality, which complicates this matter even more.

Maybe if you look into it as deeply as Enson you’d get more nervous as thinking or doing without fear might not come naturally to your personality type. If you’re nervously inclined then Enson’s way would make you think ‘I’m only pushing myself and having a go at Mma, I’m not on about dying or suffering serious injury’.

I don’t think people who think this are wrong; there is no right or wrong way… It’s what is right for you and the only one that can tell you what’s right or wrong for you is yourself. No one else can.

What Enson said made real sense to me. He had conquered his fears by accepting them. Which made him more dangerous a fighter and, I’m guessing, as a person.

This hasn’t always been my view. I’ve never gone into a fight with this mind-set. Training like I’m going to have a fight that could end me. In fact for some fights I haven’t trained at all. I’ve drank, gone out, taken all manner of drugs and gambled incessantly and then (surprisingly) fought and lost. Only to wash, rinse and repeat.

You tell me which those two options is more dangerous, especially given the way I fight, which is flat out no matter what shape I’m in. I think the answer (in regards to me) is simple.

So I’m changing, not just the way I fight but the way I am as a person. This started happening before I listened to Enson on the JRE but this interview only accelerated things. This is why I made the thread on mma.tv and posted a status on my Facebook Page.

You’re probably thinking why did I have to make it public, why couldn’t I just adopt that way of thinking in silence. The answer is simply that I’ve noticed when I write something down it helps me get it done. I might not even go back to what I have written but just the act itself solidifies something in my mind.

When I’m doing my YouTube videos (Subscribe to my you tube channel Colossal Collective) I write all my thoughts down on my I pad, note book thing and it’s like I’m writing them into my mind, to regurgitate them in an entertaining fashion for your amusement. I also don’t say things that I don’t whole heartily believe, I just don’t.

So something as big as this wasn’t just a knee jerk reaction. I really looked at it, into myself, for the answers to find what’s right for me… and this is what I believe is.

I’m very aware that it can be perceived as ‘easy to write and say these things’ (even though it wasn’t easy or something I taken likely at all) but there is a big difference in saying ‘I’ll never tap again’ to then get caught in a knee bar with someone like Frank Mir hanging off your leg.

I’m not in that position and have only adopted this way of thinking recently so who knows, in the future I might be writing a blog about how and why I tapped. I don’t know.

All I know is that I’m not scared. If I have to write another blog in the future about me tapping and why I had to, either to stop my having leg or knee broken, or to stop me from dying in a fight, I’m not scared anymore because I will face up to these thing if they happen and look them straight in the eye. The willingness to do this, I believe, makes it less likely to happen and empowers me massively.

I’m now taking this this same approach in my life and its working out well. This is why I love MMA. I believe to be truly great you need to face your fears and let them enhance you.

Mind, body and soul…

 

 

This is the JRE that made me look at ‘tapping’ in a completely different light

 

 

Check out the LONDON REAL Podcast, where I talk about my ‘not to tap’ decision and  loads more

Thanks for reading my blog, please remember to ‘follow’ it for updates as to when the next one is posted before it hits the social media platforms.

My facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/James-The-Colossus-Thompson/199137513465142 &

My podcast Colossal Concerns on Itunes.  http://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/colossal-concerns-podcast/id558622595

My twitter https://jp.twitter.com/JColossus

And finally my YouTube channel Colossalcollective  http://www.youtube.com/user/ColossalCollective

 

 

DISCLAIMER

Please note, the thoughts and opinions posted here are solely those of the author and do not represent those of anything linked or related. All content provided on this Colossalconcerns.com blog is for entertainment purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner of ColossalConcerns.com blog will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.  

Colossalconcerns.com is NOT the owner of any videos that are found  orembedded on this site. ALL VIDEOS on colossalconcerns.com are hosted by third party sites such as You Tube, Daily Motion, Novamov, Vimeo etc. Therefore all videos found on this site belong to their respective owners. Colossalconcerns.com DOES NOT CLAIM OWNERSHIP OF ANY AND ALL VIDEOS FOUND ON THIS SITE.

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MMA vs. BOXING

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This old, tired, semi functioning, bed ridden ‘shitting where it lies’ debate has been given mouth to mouth and resurrected by a man that, funnily enough, fits the above description.

Tyson, real name Luke, called out Cain Velasquez ( The current UFC heavyweight champion) and any other fighter who’d ever put Mma gloves on, in what I think was an attempt to gain some kind of notoriety and get his name out in the States.

Now, I don’t want to go into this too much as I think covered it in my video (which is at the end of my blog), and verbally beating My Fury up is like taking candy from a baby with no arms, I.e. easy to do but you feel bad afterwards.

So instead I want to dissect the question: MMA VS. BOXING

I hate this question. To me it’s not even really a question. True, both are combat sports. True, Boxing is a large part of Mma, True, in both sports you have to be strong physically and mentally to compete but that’s where the similarities end.

It’s like saying ‘which is better, flying in a plane or a helicopter’? I thought this was an obvious thing but with all this Fury nonsense this debate seems to have been reignited, so I’m going to look at both sports and hopefully bring Colossal clarity to the table in regard to this matter.

Oh and please for the love of good could all you Dullards (a hybrid of a dull person and a retard) please stop telling me that if it was a boxing match, Fury would knock me out. Of course he would, like him or not Tyson Fury is a top heavyweight boxer. IF WE FOUGHT BOXING that’s more than likely to happen, but that’s not what he’s saying. He’s saying he can beat any MMA guy in the world.

Like me or not, I’m a high level mma fighter and 8/10 times (I’m being generous here) I’d power double him before choking him out. That isn’t down to my vast skill and knowledge as I know there are semi pros that would do the same to Fury.

Anyway enough of that deluded prick, I’m getting nauseous typing.

On to the topic at hand…. I’ll start with Boxing

First of all Boxing is a tough, really hard sport. Everyone, even Fury, should be given respect for getting in there. You take more damage in Boxing than in Mma because the main target is the head, whereas in Mma if I take a good crack, I can go for a double leg -

(Fury, please take note: this is where I’d lower my level, keeping my back and head straight upright. I’d cover the distance, grabbing behind your knee caps before running you over, like a stream train hurdling towards Bambi (you) producing a cheap, ugly, messy bit of road kill (also you)

- whereas in boxing your options are very limited. Also in Boxing if you get KO’d you get 10 seconds to get your head together before your opponent tries to take your head off again (Untold damage can be done in this way). In Mma the fight is over.

Now please… I’m not saying this is a good or a bad thing, I’m just stating the differences between the two sports as people seem to have trouble differentiating between the two.

When I first started Mma I thought Mma was harder to learn as you have to master more sports and mange to amalgamate them successfully to be a complete Mma fighter.

Rewind a little and look at what I was saying about boxing being a more physically damaging sport. Attacks in Boxing are limited to the body and head. As boxing is restricted to only striking with hands then Boxers, unsurprisingly, get very good at it. Shifting their body weight, head movements, the lot.

Mma fighters simply can’t spend the amount of time on any one discipline with this kind of attention to detail. Mma is so hard as you’re taking so many different disciplines and making them into one, spending limited time trying to master all of them individually before merging them together. Ironically this makes a Mma fight easier in a way as you often have other options to fall back on should one of your combat disciplines let you down. If you get rocked during stand up, you can take to the floor etc.

With Sports like Boxing it’s solely focused on the Boxing (hence the name) and one of the things that makes Boxing hard is that most boxers are at a very good level. Because of this most Boxers that take it seriously will be at a very good standard which means, with the limited options available, they’re sure to be landing heavy shots and an individual’s body can only take so much punishment. The points of impact in Boxing will mostly be focused on the head/brain.

It’s really hard to say one is harder than the other as they’re both very different sports that share some similarities.

I think this goes some way as to why some boxers hold Mma in such low regard. They see the Mma striking and are, generally, less than impressed. When it comes to Wrestling, Ju, Jit su or any other type of grappling, because they don’t KNOW what it is they look at it in a way as to pass it off as men rolling around hugging, rather than seeing it for WHAT it is. Men rolling around with the ability to “hug” you to death. I know not all boxers think this way; I’m just talking about the lowest common denominator.

So we’ve covered that the sports are different. While there are more disciplines in Mma, Boxing is in some ways more intricate as there’s less to focus on.

And that Tyson (Luke) Fury is a loud mouth Dullard (a hybrid of a retarded, dull person)

So now we’re all on the same page. Here’s the video (for those who haven’t seen it & even for those that have) of me asking Tyson (Luke) Fury. A Colossal question….

Where does delusion start and promotion end???

Thanks for reading my blog, please remember to ‘follow’ it for updates as to when the next one is posted before it hits the social media platforms.

My facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/James-The-Colossus-Thompson/199137513465142 &

My podcast Colossal Concerns on Itunes.
My twitter https://jp.twitter.com/JColossus
And finally my YouTube channel Colossalcollective

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SHAWN TOMPKINS

I’m writing this blog about Shawn, a couple of years after his passing, because I’ve decided to write a book called Colossal Concerns: Tales from the gym and other colossal adventures.

As I started to plan these epic tales of Mma wonderment for your consumption, I sorted through the filing cabinet in my brain (Which is full) and selected the best stories that will both amuse and interest you.

Whilst recalling various episodes during my career for the book I arrived at the part where I trained at Randy Couture’s gym, Xtreme Couture, in Las Vegas back in 2008.

As I was cataloguing these stories, I arrived at ones with Shawn. As I relived these events I was hit with a flood of guilt. Why hadn’t I done a blog about him sooner!?!

Now, please don’t mistake me here, me and Shawn weren’t best buddies or anything like that but I got to know him a little during my stay in Vegas as he had little choice but to see me every day!

When I was training at Xtreme Couture I didn’t know a soul, apart from Jay White, who had taken pity on me and let me stay at his home and invade his and his family’s space for ten weeks!

While I was at this strange new gym I was doing my best not to seem intimated or out of place while sharing mat space with legends like Randy Couture, Wanderlei Silva, Heath Herring, Forrest Griffin, Grey Maynard, Tyson Griffin and Mike Pyle – to name drop a few. Not to mention the constant influx of the best fighters in the world that had casually ‘swung’ by.

I can’t tell you how invaluable it was to have a guy like Shawn Tompkins that, while not knowing me from Adam, took me under his wing and made me feel like part of his extended fight family.

When you experience something like this it really is comforting, especially as I didn’t know anyone there and was away from home, hence the guilt I expressed earlier about not having done this blog before.

During the short time I knew Shawn; he made an impact on me and many other fighters.

One of these fighters was my training partner Ronnie ‘the Kid Ninja’ Mann. A quiet lad, very unimposing but who soaks up Mma knowledge like a lethal sponge. Myself and Charlie (our trainer at the time) tried to market Ron as- Ronnie ‘the baby’ Mann.

At one point in time both me and Charlie had plans for me to push Ron to the cage in a pram, then make him fight in a nappy and give him his water in a baby’s bottle!! You have no idea how close this was to actually happening. Me and Charlie actually spent time looking for one of those giant Victorian prams to sit Ronnie in.

In the end though, I was worried it might have sent poor old Ron into a nervous breakdown, I mean Mma is hard enough, you don’t really need a couple of jokers making you dress up as a baby before you do battle…

If Ron does ever come round to our way of thinking though, I want the credit.

I’ve known Ronnie for a good ten years now as we used to train to together at Trojan back in the day. When I left Trojan the hardest part, like I’m sure most fighters will tell you, is suddenly not seeing the people that you’ve made bonds with and that have been decimated to helping you and you them. I felt, and still do feel, very protective over Ron, so you can imagine how pleased I was when I heard he went off to train with Shawn Tompkins.

Ron wasn’t there long, about a year, when Shawn died. But in that time I could see how strong a relationship they had formed. Below are a couple of pictures which I think say it all.

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If you haven’t heard about Ronnie ‘Kid Ninja’ Mann or want to follow his progress then check out his fights and see what I’m talking about. You can also follow him on twitter at https://twitter.com/RonnieMannMMA . If you’re in the Evesham area … The little fucker has only gone and got his own gym sorted called Iron MANN Gym. So go and invade his space.

Like I previously mentioned; training at Xtreme was like a who’s, who. It was really great to train and learn from such experienced fighters. On the down side (which I addressed in my previous blog on here “there’s no place like home, or the gym’ – if you find the right one“) there was only so much time that the trainers could spend one on one with there being so many fighters training there. I mean, they had a lot of high profile fighters, ones like Wand and Tim Sylvia that brought their own trainers in and just used the bodies.

But when I went there I was with only me, myself and I, and I needed instruction.

My friend Jay, who was good friends with Tompkins, introduced me to him. Shawn took a look at me on pads, asked me questions about who I was fighting in my upcoming bout (Brett Roger) and just generally gave a shit. He worked pads with me almost every day and when we’d finish I was invited to the house he shared with his fighters Mark Hominick, Chris Horodecki and Sam Stout, who was the brother to Shawn’s beautiful wife Emilie Tompkins. These guys were as close as close could be and I sensed this immediately. I was pleased to be a small part of this team spirit.

My fight against Brett Rogers was around the corner and I noticed that I was a lot more nervous than usual, even though I’d been sparring a lot. I worked my hands with Shawn (honourable mentions to Ron Frazier who helped me with my hands as well and did my corner with Shawn, and a mention to Jake Bonacci, who helped me with cardio) plus I was doing strength and conditioning training and the Dolce diet, before it was the huge success it is today, with the Man himself, Mike Dolce.

So why was I feeling unconfident? if I had great sparring, my cardio was great -thanks to Jake- and my weight was at around 117kg (a weight I will get to again, even though I’m writing this on NYE about to get pissed and weighting around 135kg). All these things were great but the thing that keep nagging at me was the lack of all-round guidance I had.

I would do my cardio, S&C, pads and spar (not all in one day) then I would do whatever classes that were being taught by the top of the line pros. The only thing was, I could be learning arm bars from the guard when really I needed to be learning take downs and how to control Brett once I’d hit the floor.

Please understand this is not Xtreme s fault. I paid a very reasonable fighters rate to train there and got a lot great training for that. It was my fault as I didn’t really ‘get’ how a proper Mma gym worked. With Xtreme Couture you seem to use the fighters available and their great facility to make your own fight camp, which is why a lot of the pros take their own team members to Xtreme and use the gym and other guys there to take their own regime to the next level.

Fight day arrives. I’m in the changing rooms feeling nauseous and I remember exactly what Shawn said to me

Are you nervous? You look fucking nervous” I nodded “Good, that’s your body getting ready, you’re going out there to fight of course you’re going to be nervous, that’s sensible

I thought about what Shawn had said and was pleased that the nerves did dissipate somewhat. It was such a simple thing to say to me at the time but he was reassuring, made me feel completely normal that I was nervous. It’s what you need when you’re feeling this way as sometimes the nerves can perpetuate if you think about them too much. Shawn brought me back in to focus so to speak.

I still wish he’d told me to duck though, as I was later stopped in the first by Rogers by a KO.

I’m kidding, that advice was great advice and fighters who know me will recognise it, because I say it all the time to them when they’re in that same position I was.

In a sense, and without trying to be dramatic. It’s an example of how we all, in this particular case ‘Shawn Tompkins’ lives on… long after we pass.

 All that left to say is thanks Shawn, you really made a mark on me and so, so many other people’s lives… Thank you.

 

R.I.P Shawn Tompkins March 16, 1974 – August 14, 2011

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Picture courtesy of Evan Shoman (@shomanart)

 

 

 

Thanks for reading my blog, please remember to ‘follow’ it for updates as to when the next one is posted before it hits the social media platforms.

If you’re on twitter then I’m https://twitter.com/JColossus & give my good friend and training partner (the very charitable) Jay White a follow him https://twitter.com/Jaywhitemma . (I warn you though, he might tell you to fuck off)

My facebook page  https://www.facebook.com/pages/James-The-Colossus-Thompson/199137513465142 & finally my podcast Colossal Concerns on Itunes.

 

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THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME OR THE GYM ( IF IT’S THE RIGHT ONE)

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I started writing this blog about the gym you choose, as a fighter, and what a crucial role it plays in your development as a fighter, a while ago but never finished it, “why” ? Well, I felt like I was stating the obvious, like I might as well have been writing a blog about how important it is to eat and drink (which I’m proud to say I have successfully mastered).

After some time, I came back to my half-finished scribbling and really thought about the experiences I’ve personally had with all the different fighting establishments I’ve called home over the years and wondered if it was so easy, then why have I and so many of my friends had so much trouble finding a gym to settle at?

So I decided to write about it from a different angle, rather than why you need sparring partners, decent instructors and other such head shatteringly obvious things, I thought I would write about some of the mistakes and pitfalls that I and others have made, so that some of the fighters out there can have a better chance of avoiding some of these situations or maybe even make them ask questions about the gym they train at. I have broken them down in to handy, digestible; bite size chunks of tasty Mma knowledge.

What is your goal?

Before I go into the trials and tribulations of a professional fighter finding the right place to train at, I just want to give a brief mention about what you might need from your gym, if you’re thinking about joining one? First off, you have to know what your training goals are. Is it to keep fit and know some self-defence? Etc. If it is, you don’t need the best gym around, you just need a half decent gym with facilities and space available, to do whatever you want to do, and the people teaching you there have to have the right knowledge to get you to where you want to go.

If you suspect you’re not being taught the right things, then stop wasting your time and money learning the wrong techniques as you’ll only have to go back and unlearn what you’ve been taught. You’ll then have to start from scratch, which is much harder than just learning the correct technique from the start.

I wanted to do this blog about finding the right gym, for those that are serious about being a fighter and are considering doing Mma for a living, and I wanted to recount some of the trail and tribulations that I, and other fighters that I know, have experienced. A lot of the things you need in a good gym go without saying, but I’ll say them anyway. You need good instructors, good sparring partners, decent facilities and trainers that have your best interests at heart. I don’t want to spend much more time on this, as it’s pretty obvious why these things are very important and if you need someone else to tell you this, you’re going to run into problems.

Sparring and misguided loyalty

Now, being a heavy weight, it has always been a struggle to find guys to spar with. I remember nearly killing the smaller guys by sprawling on them. These same guys would say they “were fine” and struggle on, trying to do their best to help me out and get ready for an upcoming fight, which was so good of them, even if it wasn’t great for their health. What I noticed that started to happen was that I started holding back on everything, from leg kicks to take downs. I adapted my technique and force for the smaller guys and, after time, it stuck.

I remember re-watching my fight with Butterbean and what hit me, apart from Butterbean and the terrible decision, was that when I threw a leg kick at Mr Bean, I ‘pulled it’ massively and why wouldn’t I? I’d been training that way for months. Seeing this, I decided things had to change. So, I packed my bags and headed off to train at various other Mma clubs in the U.S like Team Quest, American Top Team, Eric Paulson and Extreme Couture.

As much as it was what I needed to do at the time, going off to the States to train was an expensive hobby. Sometimes I’d have to borrow money to get there, on the proviso that I’d pay the monies back once I’d fought and got my pay check. All the while I was also paying to train at my old gym, here in the UK.

It meant that, after a fight, I would get paid. I’d then pay my agent who, at that time, was also my trainer (more on that later) and then pay back the money I’d borrowed to travel to the US, where I lived and trained for two months at a time- which wasn’t cheap- and so by the end of the fight, I would hardly have anything left!!

Now, the reason I’m bringing this up is because this is what I see an awful lot of fighters doing. I don’t mean the travelling abroad part whilst still paying their old gym (that’s purely a Colossus fuck up), but I definitely see other fighters stay with an old gym that they’ve outgrown, not because they’re stupid but because they’re stupidly loyal!

It’s just my own example of me being at a gym, outgrowing it, training elsewhere and out of loyalty to the gym, and not wanting it to close for my team mates who had, literally, risked life and limb helping me train.

The moral in this is, if the gym you’re at can’t give you what you need (in my case sparring) you have to sit down, talk it out with whoever is in charge and if nothing changes and you’re taking your Mma career seriously, you have to start thinking about other options.

Keep your training and management different

This brings me to my next point, a piece of advice which I have to thank my fiancée for, as it has proved invaluable. Keep your training separate from your management I.E: don’t have your trainer manage you.

It’s not too bad at the start of your career, in fact it’s natural, but as you get more successful it’s always best to separate the two. It means that, God forbid, if you did have a disagreement with your management it doesn’t affect you, its damage limitation should things do go wrong. I really believe, generally, it’s not a good idea to have one person control so much of your career, unless you really know and trust them. The excuses I’m guilty of spouting out, and have heard other fighters make for their team/manger, sounded like something a woman that’s making excuses for domestic abuse might come out with “it’ll get better, it’s just a difficult patch we’re going through”. Again, every situation is different and you have to make these judgements for yourself, this is just what I’ve personally experienced.

One of my good fighter friends had the same trainer and manager, he was coming to the end of his career and for his last couple of fights, he wasn’t paid some of his sponsorship monies. It was basically stolen by his trainer/manager. During a conversation about it he said to me “they know I’m on my way out and are taking what they can”. This then had such a negative effect on his confidence; it literally took all the fight out of him and made one of the hardest jobs out there, so much harder! I also decided to leave the team because, even though this has never happened to me, as I always kept trainer/manager separate, it proved to me that if the opportunity ever arose then this is how they would have treated me, especially since the fighter I’m talking about had been with these guys for more than 10 years! It made me not want people like that walking out behind me, as those guys are supposed to be the ones that have my back when I enter the cage.

There is more to where you train than a name

A common mistake a lot of fighters make is hearing the name of a well-known gym, hearing about all the great teachers and fighters that are located there and thinking it’s just as simple as turning up! But what I and a lot of other fighters don’t figure on is that it’s often a double edged sword. Let me explain… Because of the weight that the well-known gym name holds, it means there will always be an influx of new fighters coming to train there, as well as the fighters who fight for the gym anyways. So, your variety of sparring partners is always great. What isn’t so great is trying to get one on one time with instructors. I mean, there are only so many hours in the day and the people who are part of ‘the team’ obviously have to come first. I noticed when I was training at Extreme Couture’s that the fighters that fought for the gym i.e. Tyson Griffin, Gary Maynard, Martin Kampmann etc., had their own training camps, which worked on the’ whatever they needed to work on’ principal, where as I (not part of ‘the team’) would be sparring and doing classes.

The problem was that the classes that I was doing were working on any number of techniques, not specific things that I needed to work on for my up-coming fight.

Please understand me here, I’m not saying anything against Extreme Couture, or any of the teams I’ve listed, they were all massively welcoming and I learnt a lot from training at each one of them, but I feel people need to realise that it’s impossible for the gym to provide the same time and resources to everyone that walks through the door and wants to train there and why should they? I was, after all, only paying a small amount daily to train there whilst some of the fighters in the team we’re paying a % of their fight purse to the gym. I was also only there for around 2 months and after that, they might never see me again so it stands to reason that more time and effort is with the guys that fight out of the gym.

I feel inclined to say a big thank you to Shawn Tompkins who, not only made me feel welcome while I was at Extreme but always, no matter how busy he was, took the time to take me on the pads and help me out as much as he could R.I.P Shawn Tompkins.

Who’s watching out for you?

On a recent Joe Rogan podcast, Mac Danzig was talking about when he was training at Extreme Couture and that he “never felt there was one person watching over them”. He talked about how he felt like “the patients had taken over the asylum” and these patients were all of the “alpha variety” which meant it was always hard sparring, all of the time, which then lead to everyone dreading training but no one wanted “to be seen to be the one to be backing down in any way”.

I thought Mac made an important point of how crucial it is to have someone who knows what they’re doing supervising things and that all the fighter’s respect and listen to. That’s why when the sparring is planned out it’s not going to be flat out, hard sparring every day and if someone does get buzzed, in those sparring sessions, then there’s someone supervising that will make sure whoever needs it, sits out. In big gyms, where a lot of fighters train, it’s hard to keep track of what everyone is doing. It’s important that if you’re training for a fight then you’ve got someone who keeps track of you.

The conclusion

All the above leads me to where I am now. I train at a lot of smaller clubs in Bristol, UK. I do my boxing training at Paddy Johns gym, my Ju Jit Su at Pedro Bassa and wrestling and mma with my good friend and fighter Wesley “the owl king” Murch at Olympians gym. I trust everyone at these clubs and know that they all have my best interests at heart. They all work hard with me on whatever aspects I need to improve on, for whoever I might be fighting next. When it comes to sparring…. I’ve always struggled, so for my last fight I brought over Dylan “Sudden” “Rush from the U.S, he’s a great Mma fighter and helped me out so much with my preparations for the Lashley fight.

I’ll also travel to spar with fighters like Oli Thompson and to my good friend Mustafa Al Turk, who opened up a great Mma gym named Team Junk Boat fighting out of Pumped Gym.

If any of you reading this are in the Stevenage area, of London, I couldn’t recommend it enough…. tell Mus I sent you and give him a slap round the face from me! Don’t worry he’ll be fine with it.

I’ve found that by keeping my training base local and with people I know well, I can control what I am going to work on for my next fight rather than travel somewhere that has a good name- rightfully so- but is already stretched and has new fighters coming in all the time, so you’re left fighting to get a bit of direction and mentoring.

Everyone is different and dealing with different circumstances and I’m by no means saying there is a right or a wrong way, I’m just simply mentioning a few of the experiences I, and fighters I’ve trained with, have come across.

The last thing I would like to say is to all the Mma fighters out there, that might find themselves in any of the unfortunate situations that I’ve mentioned, whether it being that you feel the gym you’re at isn’t being honest with you in some way, or maybe they’re all great guys but don’t have the sparring or knowledge to take you to the next level. Whatever it might be, if you feel something’s not right, no matter what it might be, you have to address it and see if you can sort the problem out. If you’re at the ‘right camp’ then the instructors will want you to bring up whatever’s bothering you, so it can be sorted out. If it can’t be sorted out you have to decide whether you stay or go. Either way at least you know where you are with it.

Please always remember, you’re the one getting in the cage and by doing this putting your health at risk…. So you owe it to yourself to give yourself the best possible chance available.

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WHEN DOES BIG GET TOO BIG -The Dangers of the UFC

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Before we go any further on this blog I feel I have to make this point. It’s sad that I have to make it but such is life huhumm (clears throat)… The UFC IS NOT MMA!!! The UFC IS AN ORGANISATION THAT SHOWCASES THE SPORT OF MMA. Simple!

Unless you’re trying to explain what Mma is to the uninitiated then those of you that call Mma ‘Ultimate Fighting’ or ‘Cage fighting’ or anything else that you think makes you sounds cool, edgy or extreme, need to please follow these instructions.

1. Please place your ineffective, useless head at the mouth of a doorway

2. Make sure the door is either heavy wood or thick steel.

3. Finally place your head in said doorway and continue to open and shut it with all the ferocity you can muster in a Vinnie Jones, Lock Stock & two smoking barrels sort of way.

If you’re having trouble with this then ask around and I’m willing to bet that there will be an army of people you’ve offended with your nonsensical & dim-witted ways that will be more than happy to smash what little contents there is contained in your head over the floor provided.

I can hear you saying to yourselves ‘what difference does it make if I call it Ultimate fighting/Cage fighting and not Mma, it’s only a term describing the same thing, what’s does it matter what words you use as long as people know what you’re on about?’. To you I would respond ‘calm yourselves down… the door will shortly be free for your use’!

Many of you might think my Point, on what nickname you give Mma, is a small and somewhat insignificant point to make, but if you look closer I think it reflects the bigger picture and is one of the most worrying things about the UFC. Perhaps I’m wrong by saying this but, I can’t ever recall hearing Dana White call Mma…MMA. I’ve only ever heard him refer to Mma as ‘Ultimate Fighting’.
Now, I understand why he’s using the phrase ‘Ultimate Fighting’, he’s branding Mma, and hats off to Dana and the rest of the powers that be as they have done this VERY, VERY well. Branding and getting the UFC out there is their job so they don’t need to ignore the fact that the sport is MMA… but, like I said, hats off to them for doing an amazing job of it as they’ve almost made MMA into UFC, just as tissues are to Kleenex & Vacuums are to Hoovers etc. etc.

It all makes perfect sense because Dana White & Co are businessmen and, as good businessmen, it cleverly put’s their brand out there constantly. It’s free advertising for them as a huge amount of Mma fans use the term ‘UFC’ when taking about Mma in general. Mma fans out there need to remember that they are businessmen with a brand and, out of that brand, they make a lot of money from big named sponsors and you ( ‘the fan’) whilst you advertise their product for free.. It’s brilliant brand marketing!

Now this isn’t an anti UFC blog. I love the UFC. How can you not? They’re entwined with Mma so massively and to such a degree that for some people it has to be painfully pointed out that they are not one and the same thing. Credit where it’s due, the UFC has also done a lot of things that are great for the sport, but it’s only fair to say ‘what’s good for the UFC doesn’t automatically translate that it’s good for mma’.

Mma is more popular than ever! The standard of Mma is rising and we are getting to see some great fighters, most of which are fighting under one organisation- the UFC. You could argue Mma fans have never had it so good and to a point I agree, BUT To a point should be underlined heavily.
The thing that worries me more than anything is that MMA is one of the fastest growing sports in the world, yet the only people making any real money out of the sport is the UFC. A sport so massively popular that five out of the top ten 2011 pay per views were UFC’s. Mma is unquestionably dominated, and to a large extent controlled, by ONE company! How can this be? Well, I think the answer lies in the fact the UFC spread their net wide and have introduced MMA to most parts to the world where they have no other means to access Mma shows. That, along with the clever branding they use, means the UFC have maintained the top spot- when it comes to Mma shows- for the longest time.

Now, we have to be careful not to fall in to the trap of vilifying the UFC for their success. I mean, “what are they meant to do, not be successful?”… no, of course not and it should be noted that the UFC has more than paid it’s dues for its current success as it was there at the start of the Mma revolution. In fact I’d go as far as to say it was pretty much the start of ‘mainstream Mma’.

In the early days the company lost a hell of a lot of money…somewhere around $30 million until they eventually stuck gold with the ‘Ultimate Fighter’ reality TV show, which got Mma out to the masses, and thus garnering the rewards. It should be remembered that no one gave them anything at the start and it was a hard road to walk. Even with that said and remembering all their early hardships, it has to be a concern. At the time of writing this the UFC are pretty much the only game in town and any time you’re the only game in town it means you get to set your own rules. Where is fighter X going to go if he thinks the rules aren’t fair? What are the alternatives?

To quote John Dalberg- Acton “power tends to corrupt, but absolute power corrupts absolutely” and the UFC has no plans to give up any of that power.

I’ve seen a UFC contract and once you sign it Dana White & Co have your SOUL (it’s rumoured Dana White uses them as paper weights in his office). It’s a tricky thing for fighters signed to them as the way the UFC are reported to go after people who disagree with them, on any number of issues, is with actions that are hard to describe in any other way…other than plain old bullying. At this moment in time Mma fighters have to just ride it out. It means they take their lumps inside, as well as outside, the cage and just hope they’re in agreement with the UFC’s view on things.

The UFC buying out Strikeforce, which was one off its last real competitors, has meant the UFC’s grasp on Mma just got that bit tighter. Since Pride went under and was bought out by the UFC it seemed it kick-started Japanese Mma into disarray and apart from the thousands of smaller shows out there, the only real competitor for the UFC at the moment is Bellator. Whilst they have achieved a lot in a short amount of time by getting shows out there and producing a promising alternative to the UFC… Dana White isn’t losing any sleep over them.

Other than Bellator you have to look to Asia to see signs of green shoots appearing.

We’ve got One FC that is putting together good quality shows with great production. They’re also holding some kind of summit, where they’re trying to bring together Mma companies across Asia, in the hope to band together to produce great quality Mma. I don’t know many details of this, if it will work or fall flat, but it is encouraging to see One FC trying to put something together and build some momentum. The people of One FC should be applauded for this.

We’ve then got the SFL (Super Fight League) who are based in India. I’ve fought for them twice now and while they’re not inviting me to meetings and showing me their blue prints for success, I do see behind the scenes of this organisation and I’m impressed with what a decent, committed, passionate team they have running the show.

In Europe the only big Mma shows I can think of are Showtime, which is a massive show that cross promotes Kick Boxing and Mma. These events sell out football stadiums in Holland but outside of Holland not many people know they exist, yet alone sell out massive football arenas. Then there’s KSW, a Polish Mma org that has a few promising Polish stars & great production quality. Like Showtime, KSW again doesn’t hold any weight anywhere in the world other than Poland. So as you can see there isn’t an abundance of choice for fighters outside the UFC realm.

I think that this monopoly the UFC holds over the Mma world will take time to change. Mma was brought to the world by the UFC and because of this it will take a long time for the casual fan to realise that the UFC is an organisation that showcases Mma fights and that the UFC is not actually the whole sport of MMA.

As Mma continues to grow then it stands to reason that in time other org’s (perhaps one I’ve mentioned earlier) will come along to rival the UFC and while the UFC will all ways be at the forefront of Mma, it will no longer be the only game in town. This is so much healthier for the fighters and Mma in general, not to mention -ironically enough- the UFC, as competition forces the best out of companies. It breeds the best out of people and companies simply because it has to… You have to be on your game to be able to survive. If you’re the only game in town, like the UFC are, then eventually somewhere down the line you get fat and lazy and everyone then suffers. There are so many examples of this through out history.

I believe we had better fight cards when Pride was around…Why? Well firstly, even though the fighters weren’t all under one organisation and Pride weren’t competing in the UFC’s backyard (apart from 1 pride show they did in Vegas) there were more ‘main event’ worthy match up’s on Pride shows to excite the fans. Pride kept the UFC on their toes as, at one point in time, Pride was genuine, healthy competition for the UFC. I don’t believe the UFC would have ever considered going down the road it seems to have now taken, in terms of aggressively adopting a boxing model for its fights i.e. one big fight per card, if pride were still around.

While on one hand it’s great for the fans to have most of the major Mma competitors under one roof, on the other I feel the fans ultimately suffer because these fights are now spread out over so many different pay per view events.

I’m not exactly sure what the pay per view costs are for a UFC card, I think it’s somewhere between $50 and $75 in the States. When there are three… sometimes four UFC PPV’s a month then not only is the talent being spread thinly, but all the PPV’s are saturating the market. This is why the PPV sales for the UFC have dropped significantly, that’s not to say that they’re not still turning over a massive profit.

The main reason that the UFC 151 was cancelled was the fact they couldn’t find a replacement fighter for the main event, which meant the card simply wasn’t strong enough to sell without their one major, monster fight.

Nowadays the UFC has to have so many events because it has so many fighters under contract that all want and need to fight. So, even if the UFC agreed that they were saturating the market it would make no difference as they would still need to keep putting on shows to keep the many fighters under contract with them busy. This is another reason why the fans and fighters need more competition and choice when it comes to Org’s.

So, what am I hoping for? I, as a Mma fighter AND fan want a viable alternative option to the UFC. Dana White would say that the reason that there isn’t another big Mma org out there right now is because it’s not an easy thing to achieve. I think he’d be a 100% right for saying that, it isn’t easy but never the less it needs to happen otherwise we’ll be paying more money… for less fights.

I, for one, want healthy competition inside the cage as well as outside of it.

As always, thanks for reading and taking time out to comment, my new weekly PODCAST is out and the link is here for anyone that wants to check it out

http://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/colossal-concerns-podcast/id558622595

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Do Women have a place in MMA?

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Don’t worry ladies; we haven’t gone back to the fifties despite my rather dated and antagonistic title. A more fitting title would have been ‘how big will women’s mma get’? My answer to this would be ‘Massive’!

We’ve seen the sport of Mma sky rocket to new uncharted areas of growth so it’s easy to forget just how new the sport actually is; really it’s still in its infancy. Within the last five years women’s Mma has sky rocketed and thus, so has the quality and amount of women competing in the sport.

On a side note: Something that puzzles me is ‘how come women’s Mma is steadily growing and gathering pace whereas women’s boxing has been at a virtual standstill’?, and that’s being kind. I wonder if it’s because people don’t like to see woman solely punishing each other with punches and even though Mma is seen as brutal by some, there are more varied ways to win other than by a KO. Some will say it’s simply all a fad and women’s Mma (along with Mma in general) will shine bright and then will burn out shortly after, but if you look closely at who’s saying this you’ll find it’s mostly crusty old men who are all about “the sweet science “… Boxing, and so stuck in their crusty old ways they can only ever imagine women putting on gloves to clean. These boxing dinosaurs are nothing to be scared of, I suggest tolerating them like a bad smell – unpleasant to be around but it won’t kill you. They will fade out long before women’s Mma… That’s enough pensioner bashing, for now.

Mma is an extreme sport both mentally and physically. It’s hard to compete seriously at any level. Because of this there are only a certain percentage of people who will ever dedicate their lives to compete at it professionally. Add to that the amount of time it takes to get half decent at it, not to mention the small amount you’ll be getting in compensation for the vast amount of time, effort and sacrifices you’ll have to make, and then not forgetting the likelihood that you’ll be working a day job for a long time – to fund your quest for Mma greatness- and you’ll forgive people for thinking you need your head seriously testing (which you’ll have to pay for as 95% of mma org’s won’t, as a cat scans are pretty expensive) to enter this sport.

All the points above rule out a lot of men from the sport yet alone women that also have to overcome a stigma that they shouldn’t be fighting as It’s pretty fair to say Mma isn’t the most feminine sport out there. It’s not like you see that many (if any) young girls pitting Barbie against Cindy in a fight of physical supremacy! So then, when it comes to women’s Mma the numbers are already depleted for all of the reasons above and it’s safe to say that we’re now in single digits. What we are left with is a slightly unhinged, tough, athletic female who likes to fight. You’ll see the number one issue facing Women’s Mma is… numbers. There are not yet enough women involved in Mma right now, right down to the amount of women competing and facing each other to training partners and having a deep enough talent pool to sustain the public’s interest…

If more women watch mma and take an interest in it, it will then filter down to more women actually training in Mma. As long as things keep going in this vain then the knock on effect is that eventually we’ll end up with more women competing. The numbers of women in the sport will vastly improve, like they have been doing, and hence the skill level will rise. In the last 5 years the thing that surprises me the most is the speed in which this has happened.

A common factor I’ve noticed in women’s Mma is the intensity of it… Generally it’s flat out right from the off. I would say (speaking very generally here) that women Mma fighters seem to fight with more passion and are willing to leave it all in the cage/ring. I think the reason for this might be because women are evil and they’ve learnt to harness this evilness- I’m joking (a bit).

No, really I think it might be what I alluded to earlier in this post. By the time you’ve filtered everyone out through the training, low initial pay, stigma etc. then what you’re left with are the real female savages that want to fight for no other reason than to test themselves….It’s either that or something to do with PMT.

When asked why women’s Mma isn’t in the UFC, Dana White simply states that the ‘depth of quality isn’t there yet’… which is a valid reason. But this reason won’t be valid for too much longer.

If someone had said to me five years ago that a women’s match up would garner enough interest to headline a UFC, I would have bet that you either had ovaries, or you were going out with a female fighter and you didn’t want her to beat you up! But this has been and gone, with the likes of Gina Carano vs. Cris Cyborg which was a co main event at Strikeforce. That was a while back but these days the match up of Ronda Rousey vs. Cris Cyborg could easily headline a UFC.

It doesn’t get much clearer… Women’s Mma is going from strength to strength. Let’s not forget we got two high profile women fights in one night when Ronda Rousey vs. Sarah Kaufman and Miesha Tate vs. Julie Kedzie fought on this past Saturdays Strikeforce show

I do believe Dana White has made the right decision showcasing these fights on Strikeforce first because as good as these fights were you’ll notice that Cris Cyborg’s name has been linked twice in the biggest ever women’s fights (Gina Carano whom she already fought and the eagerly anticipated fight with Ronda Rousey which hasn’t happened yet). This goes back to the problem that keeps occurring that I mentioned earlier, there just isn’t enough depth of quality or variety with female Mma fighters yet.

What women’s Mma doesn’t need is to get forced out front and centre with a few fights from these female fighters that are capable of captivating massive audiences on a main event card, which in turn gets people excited and really into women’s Mma, but then doesn’t have a talent pool deep enough to draw from… meaning we end up watching Cyborg vs. Ronda Rousey twenty times! That would be a great shame, would hurt women’s Mma greatly and would make it harder to get back to the UFC. That doesn’t need to happen and that’s why -at the moment- the way Dana Whites dealing with this issue is correct, in my opinion.

There is the argument that says the quicker women get into the UFC the better, as the added exposure to a bigger audience will get more women out there involved in the sport hence the quality of women fighters in mma would get better. While I think all these views are correct I do think you have to be careful because, even though it’s unfair, you have to remember practically all of the audience that views Mma and the UFC are male and if you don’t constantly deliver top quality Mma female fighters it won’t be long until you hear grunts and sexist moaning, about a woman’s place being in the kitchen etc., from shame faced males who wish they had the balls to do what these very women they’re criticizing are doing.

I think the way it is at the moment hits a perfect balance with Strikeforce getting female Mma out there to the masses, without diluting it needlessly. If the progress continues, and I see no reason why it shouldn’t, I’d go as far to say that we’ll see women’s Mma in the UFC in within the next five years.

I haven’t mentioned the people who think women’s Mma shouldn’t be allowed or isn’t somehow right since it’s not feminine. If you’re a male and have this view I’d say the real issue that keeps your sadly deficient in testosterone body up at night if you dig a little deeper, is the fact you don’t like the thought that there are hoards of trained up females able to kick your ass at the drop of a hat and even though I can see why this is a terrifying thought for you, I’d simply say ” man up son, grow a pair and get to the gym”

If you’re female and have these views I’m not quite sure what to say other than not every female wants to be in beauty pageants or a glamour model… Oh yeah I forgot, you don’t want women doing that either as it’s seen as degrading. In fact seems like whatever you do as a woman you’re upsetting someone- whether it’s going to work, staying at home, showing your tits or punching someone else in them…someone is going to have an issue with it… So the advice from The Colossus is… do what you want, because you’re the one that has to do it and be happy doing it.

In short, I don’t see Mma as divided up in to sections or groups… If I see a beautiful armbar, a perfectly timed double leg or a spirit sapping body shot… it’s just that! It doesn’t matter who’s throwing it, all that matters is that it’s executed well. If Llamas could fight Mma I’d be there front and centre row getting involved, not just because I like Llama’s (who doesn’t) but because I love Mma whoever or whatever’s doing it. Anything else is just people projecting their issues onto the sport… And no one wants or needs that.

Right, now I’ve done burning my bra (don’t worry I have lots left) for the cause of women’s Mma. So to all you women out there, go train some Mma but don’t forget to wash up first. Oh come on, that’s only the second sexist joke in the whole blog!! I reckon I’ve done pretty well.

Here are a few female Mma fighters who have caught my attention. All of them are at different stages of their careers. Some are very well known others are up and comers, either way… all are deserving of respect for deciding to try and master the toughest sport out there.

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Ronda Rousey- an Olympic judo competitor that’s been making people take notice since she got into the cage. One of the few people who has applied their knowledge of Judo to their game plan and made it work in Mma and this is before we even get to her Ju Jit Su prowess. Once the fight hits the floor your thinking it’s only a matter of time until you see bones cracking, such is her ferocious technique. I’m sure she working hard on her stand up now to make her the complete fighter. Here is a female fighter that I’m excited to watch and no one will deny that a match with herself and Cris Cyborg is a worthy main event on any Mma card

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Cris Cyborg- another woman fighter I’m always exited to watch. She always comes in ready to fight flat out and leaves it all in the cage. Stopped the unbeaten Gina Carano and finishes most her Mma fights which is something you can’t argue with.

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Gina Carano- No longer fighting but brought a lot of attention to the Mma world when she was champion. Off making movies now so I don’t know if we’ll ever see her back in the cage.

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Felice ‘Lil bulldog’ Herrig – A former Thai boxer that made the move to Mma. It seems like she’s added the ground game to her arsenal. Always full of energy and exciting to watch.

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Lena Ovchynnikova – Lena competed at Thai before making the switch to Mma and picking up the ground game, which has fared well for her since 7 out of her 8 victories have come from armbars. I’ve watched Lena fight twice at SFL and both times she was on the losing end, but to say I was impressed not only by the level of Mma I was watching but by her never say die attitude. If I had to choose the heart of any fighter male of female I’d choose her. So many times I thought she was done and she came back time and time again.

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Jo Calderwood- When I heard Jo was fighting Lena Ovchynnikova at SFL 3 and it was only her second fight I thought it was unfair and throwing her in at the deep end, but what I actually witnessed was someone who’s is proficient in all areas of Mma. She fought a great fight and took a decision, proving me wrong and impressing everyone who saw the fight… Her press up needs work though!

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Rosi Sexton- Rosi’s been top of not only the UK but the international rankings for what seems like forever! She also has a doctorate in maths-science from Cambridge uni, showing she can do more than just smash pretty faces in. A great female fighter and ambassador for female Mma. Check out her well written blog at – http://rosisexton.wordpress.com/

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Sanja Sucevic- She was the K1 champion of Serbia in 2010 before moving over to Mma. She impressed here as well, as after winning both her SFL fights she has been selected to be a coach on the SFL reality show because of her strong showing.

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LJ ‘Xena’ Adams- LJ is relatively unknown and pretty new to the sport of Mma. I’ve been impressed with her wrestling and never say die attitude LJ trains at the same Olympians Mma gym that I train at, so I’ve witnessed her thirst for knowledge and hard work first hand. If she keeps at it, at this pace she’ll be making waves on the UK scene soon… mark my words.

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Fedor – Greatest of all time ( G.O.A.T) or Just Goat

 

When the name Fedor Emelianenko is mentioned to Mma fans, opinions are split. In fact, I don’t think you’ll find another fighter out there that will split opinions quite as much. Since he’s recently retired I thought now would be a good time to look at the last emperor’s career and give my two cents on where I place him in mma history.
Is he a Mma pioneer that crushed all comers and reigned over the Mma world for the longest time? Or is he simply a tubby disinterested looking fighter with little skill, but a lot of clever management whom protected their golden goose by feeding him a series of ‘has been’s’ and ‘never was’s? I’m going to try and sort through all the issues and arguments that have been placed at the last emperor’s feet over his 11 year career.

Let’s first look at the people who said Fedor was really an overweight LHW that should have lost some of the fat and dropped to fight at LHW. I agree with them in the sense that,  perhaps in the latter part of his career, Fedor probably should’ve dropped some of the excess and a division, but rather than detract from his greatness I think this just added to it. I think the Mma world would have stopped spinning if Fedor had turned up for one of his fights with a six pack – It just wouldn’t of been right and just the thought of it freaks me out! That was Fedors way and like many of the things that didn’t seem quite right about him, it just happened to work. That being said, although he won fights against bigger guys like Mark Hunt and Brett Rogers, I thought you could tell he struggled somewhat with the extra weight of these guys. This really showed in Fedors loss to Big foot Silva in the Strikeforce HW tournament back in Feb of 2011. That really was a case of a good big UN beats a good little UN.

So, what about Fedors skills as a Mma fighter?
People are of the opinion that Fedor hasn’t got your ‘typical’ Mma style of fighting’, the way he fights does look somewhat- ‘sloppy’- but one of the reasons is because Fedor has mastered the art of being relaxed which often gets misconstrued as ‘sloppy’. Watching Fedor for the first time you could be forgiven for thinking that you’re watching a tubby, disinterested looking guy, throwing wild haymakers with reckless abandonment. I’d agree Fedor is not the most ‘text book’ of fighters but what you have to remember about his ‘sloppy’ style is that it was accurate… very accurate!

If you watch some of his fights back you’ll see what I mean about Fedor being relaxed. He walks down to the ring, then he has the face off (where he won’t look at his opponent as he says it ‘tense’s him up’). When the fight starts it looks as if he’s just woken up from hibernation! Being relaxed works well as it allows him to throw his whole body into the shots he’s throwing and he reacts quickly to anything coming back in his direction, not to mention if he’s slammed (see video below) staying relaxed has more than likely saved him from the confines of a wheel chair and taking his food in liquid form. If you think I’m I’m over exaggerating then please watch the video below and tell me that Fedors ability to turn into jelly upon a massive impact, didn’t literally save his neck.!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WIZjCstIFxs

Going slightly off topic for a second, Fedor and his ‘relaxed state’ (which is really only a hop, skip and a jump away from a coma victim) is what convinced me to try and relax a lot more in my own fights. To see how well this ‘relaxed state’ works you only have to have eyes, and then move those eyes in the direction of my first Pride fight – funnily enough – against Alexander Emelianenko (Fedors brother) If you watch this fight back it shows the contrast in the way me and the Emelianenko brother approached the fight. Alexander looked like he’d just be thawed out from the deep freeze, whereas I looked like I’d just been systematically injected over the course of the last month with a heavy cocktail of caffeine and class A drugs!
Needless to say, the Emelianenko way of approaching a fight was far superior to my early misguided efforts.

I could talk all day about Fedors fighting style the pros and cons of etc. . . . But what I really want to get into is his legacy, what he leaves behind and the criticism he has faced.

Most of the criticism directed at Fedor is because- it is said that- he hasn’t always faced the best opponents and that the people he has fought have looked like escaped members of a traveling freak show! I would say this is true to a certain degree. If you cast your minds back to when Fedor was the king of the hill and ruling over Pride’s HW division, then you’ll remember how he fought whoever was put in front of him. We all know the Japanese love a ‘freak show’ fight and when you take the painfully ordinary looking Fedor and put him against monsters like Ho man Choi and the scary looking Zulu (who was untested at the time) you have the typical ‘skill V size’ battle which the Japanese can’t get enough of. I think it’s a pretty safe bet to say that neither Fedor or his manager were selecting these opponents, it was just a ticket seller and the way the Japanese roll.

Let’s fast forward a bit to when Pride shut up shop for good. Now Fedor was accused of not fighting the best competition (which I say was true) but let’s be fair to Fedor here, the best competition was in the UFC and to give him due Credit- he fought the best around e.g. former UFC champs Andre Arlovski, Tim Silva and let’s not forget he was willing to fight Randy Couture in the fight hat unfortunately never happened.

I don’t know much about what happened with the UFC as I’ve only heard what I’ve gleamed from various articles/interviews etc, but what I think happened is this.

Dana White gave Fedor an offer for tremendous amounts of money to sign away his rights, his soul, his family’s souls, neighbours souls, pets’ souls and every other person he has ever met souls over to the UFC. Fedor and his manager, not 100% keen on this,  angled for more control and his manager (Vadim Finkelstein) knowing he had something very special with Fedor, used this to try and broker some kind of cross Promotions with the UFC and Finklesteins M1 Mma promotion. Now, I’m not sure what Finklestein was smoking but it must of been strong if firstly he thought that this was in some way fair on Fedor or in his best interests, and secondly if he (in my best Phil Baroni voice) EVER,EVER thought  that Dana White- or anyone connected with the UFC- would ever go for that. It’s just not realistic: so the fact Fedor didn’t fight the best people around falls at the feet of three people.

1. Vadim Finkelstein -Fedors management. The fact he think he thinks he deserves to cross promote with the UFC is just laughable. Plus he was looking out for his own interests rather than the interests of the person who was paying him to look after his, Fedor.

2. Dana White- I’m laying a proportion of the blame at his feet as the contract he would have wanted Fedor to sign would have been so tight it would have made his very being ache. Dana might argue that it was the same contract all UFC fighters sign, just with a lot more zero’s on the money part. It’s a fair argument but the reality was that if he really wanted to sign Fedor, like the UFC they say they did, then Dana White should have eased up on the contact side of things to get the deal done. In the same way that Fedor would have had to ease up on his side, and relinquish the sort of control he was afforded in Pride.

3. Fedor -you have to blame the man himself. Even though he passes all the negotiation side of his fighting to Vadim (so he can concentrate on his training/fighting) he as the fighter has to know that whoever is representing him is speaking for him. So, when that guy representing him is talking about co- promoting in order to make it a possible for him to fight in the UFC, Fedor should have stepped in and realised it’s wasn’t going to happen unless he took control of the situation. Fedor didn’t and so we never saw him in the UFC.

I don’t think it’s as simple to just blame one person, that we never saw Fedor in the UFC to face ‘the best competition’  as I’m sure it’s far more complicated than for the blame to fall at just one person’s feet, but it was a great shame for all Mma fans everywhere.

After Fedor didn’t sign with the UFC things started to slide for him. He lost three fights in a row to Fabricio Werdum, Antonio Silva and Dan Henderson. The Fedor Haters will say this is because he started fighting ‘proper competition’ but when I watch all these fights I see elements of bad luck, bad judgement and most of all I see a fighter that’s  lost some of his love for the sport. I’m glad Fedors retired now, just because I get the feeling it’s what he wanted to do and as much as I love seeing him fight… I don’t want to see it if he doesn’t want to be there as it would only tarnish his legacy.

Summing up, to answer my original question goat or g.o.a.t, I would say neither. As much as I respect Fedor, I can’t call him the g.o.a.t as he never made it to the UFC where towards the end of his career, that was where the best competition was. When you’re talking about g.o.a.t, I think Anderson Silva, GSP, and maybe one day John Jones, would get the nod before Fedor. That being said, Fedor is not too far behind as you have to remember that Fedor ruled the Mma world for a good amount of time. He beat some great people. Whether he could have continued to this in the UFC, or whether the wheels would have fallen off, is something we’ll never really know. Due to politics and disagreements behind the scenes, we can only surmise and wonder what would have been. What I do know is that I was very fortunate honoured to fight on the same card as Fedor a few times in Pride and I was always astounded at how overwhelmingly down to earth and friendly he was. He had time for everyone and struck me as a person who hadn’t let being the no1 HW in Mma go to his head- I always feel that is a sign of a legit champion. So thanks Fedor for giving us so many hours of great fights and amazing moments in Mma… you will go down in Mma history as one of the all-time greats… (Certainly one of my own all-time greats)

I’ll leave you with a story of mine from when we both fought on Pride shock waves 2006. I had beaten Yoshida on the NYE Pride show and had come back to the hotel early from cerebrating as I was drained and I’d had enough for the night. As I entered the hotel lobby Fedor was standing front and centre swaying from side to side, he straightened up as I came through the doors and looked up towards me. I started moving from foot to foot as if he was still swaying and he burst out laughing at this and beckoned me towards him. As I approached him he lightly grabbed me and we started play fighting in the lobby, it was only messing around however I’d be lying if didn’t say a small part of me was praying he wasn’t a violent drunk and that he wouldn’t snap and sambo throw me on to the cold hard floor of the hotel lobby. If the Truth be told I was actually checking the floor during our ‘play fight to see if there was a softer part of it for me to land on should things have started to go wrong!

After we’d stopped with the play fighting, Fedor beckoned me towards his table which was in a kind of Lounge area with sofas and chairs crowded around a coffee table. I said hello to the inhabitants who were all Russian males that didn’t speak any English- apart from Fedors manager Vadim Finkelstein who spoke good English. Fedor picked up a sports bag and placed it on the coffee table in front of us all. I could tell from the clinging and clanging of glass that his Mma kit wasn’t in it. A couple of his Russian mates went to get glasses & Fedor started to produce these strange shaped glass bottles from his kit bag. What struck me as odd was that none of these bottles had labels on and you could tell that they weren’t bought down the local off license; they reminded me of bottles you might find in a pharmacy. As Fedor brought out all these bottles of different shapes and sizes I could tell which ones were the strongest (or the favourites) by the gasps and applause each bottle would receive. Fedor delved in to his bag of tricks once again and produced a square bottle which had Smokey dark blue glass and a long narrow neck. But what I really noticed was the reaction of the group, as for a second they were silenced- before hushed gasps of shock and Awe reverberated around the table.

Fedor held this bottle up as if it was the world cup before cuddling it in his arms as if it was a new born child and this brought laughter. He poured a large amount in to one of the glasses -I’m not sure if smoke came off the liquid as it was poured or if I’m just embellishing that part for the story, but what I do remember was that the liquid was clear and handed over the table to me by Fedor with great care. All eyes were now focused on the Englishman and I felt like I was part of some experiment and seeing that I know how seriously Russians take their drinking; I didn’t want to spoil my street cred by asking if they had any Orange juice to mix with it. I was somewhat nervous of the drink that lay before me, so I pictured that what was in the glass was the ‘secret elixir to what made Fedor great’ and by consuming what was in the glass, it would have the same effect on me. With these thoughts I threw back my head and downed it in one.

Now bear in mind this wasn’t a shot glass, it was a normal sized glass filled half full (not half empty). As the contents of the glass filled my mouth, my tongue recoiled and looked for a place to hide. The burning sensation I felt in my mouth, then throat, then chest was overwhelming but I’m English and we too pride ourselves on our drinking ability and even if It was petrol that he’d given me to drink (which is not completely impossible judging by the taste) I was downing this fucker of a drink, not just for my own honour but for the honour of England! I slammed down my glass, gave my head a shake and with the machoness I thought eastern Europeans would recognise, I tipped my glass implying that I wanted another one… which was the last thing I wanted. My new Russian friends loved this and patted my head as I ran my tongue over my teeth to check were still there. Fedor laughed at this and poured me another healthy glass of evil.

With that Josh Barnett came into our drinking area, he had fought Big Nog earlier and lost a close decision. Josh and Fedor had talked and straightened out some problems they’d had the day before and in the process they realised they actually got on very well (I knew this as my trainer/manager at the time had arranged their talk). Fedor greeted Barnett like a long lost brother. He pulled up a chair for him and poured him a drink. I was pleased with this as it meant the Russians had a new westerner to experiment on, plus it gave me a minute to collect myself- which was needed as whatever it was that had been pushed in my direction a minute earlier was coursing though my veins and making me blink a lot for some bizarre reason!.

I talked to a mixture of people for 30 minutes or so which seems strange when I look back as there were only three people that spoke English including myself! I was still tired and I had to be up early in the morning for a stupid o clock flight home. My room (which was my original destination) for the second time that night, became my goal. I was saying my goodbyes to all my new friends when Fedor appeared and pointed to the (my) glass which I hadn’t touched since giving it the ‘big un’ half an hour previously in front of everyone. I felt a massive weight suddenly hang over my head again, I looked at Fedor pleadingly but he just held his glass up and tipped it just like I had done. I pick up my glass clinked it with Fedor and once again downed this un-godly liquid. It again felt like I was trying to down hot coals and I half expected my liver to write me a note whilst I slept that night stating that he could no longer take the abuse!. Fedor tried to make me have another drink but I’d said my goodbyes and I stumbled off to my room… I’m sure this thing I call the ‘Russian turpentine ordeal’ wasn’t a big deal for Fedor as he was just being himself and I doubt that he would hardly even remember all this, but for me it was a big deal and I love my story and appreciate Fedor taking the time and just being able to have a laugh. For me, this doesn’t make him a great champion…but it definitely adds to it.

Check out the Fedor tribute Video below

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3WJEyuZsJc

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The many faces of the Chin

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What makes a good or bad chin is a question that has been asked throughout the ages of combat sports. There is a spectrum of answers, ranging from the shape of a person’s face to their mental toughness.

I’ll use myself as an example in this blog a lot, since I’ve been accused of being ‘chinny’. Having suffered my fair share of KO defeats it’s something I understand. I can give you my take on the subject, whilst trying not to completely hijack this blog in an attempt to justify my own chin. I will be as frank and painfully honest as possible to tackle this subject head on.

The first thing I want to bring up are the Mma fans that class fighters, that have only lost one fight by K.O, as having ‘glass jaws’. No example paints a clearer picture to me than the recent main event fight between John Jones v Rashad Evans.

Before the fight I was perusing the vast vaults of Mma knowledge on the net, otherwise known as      ‘the Mma forums’, when I stumbled on a few different forum threads on the topic of Evans’ chin and how it wasn’t able to take a punch.
Now, I believe Jones kick started this chin hype on Rashad by making various comments about Rashad’s chin before they fought and sadly the many ‘mma sheep’ out there put their trainers on and ran with it.

I 100% get why Jones said these things, this is not the issue as he’s going to fight the guy and anything he can do to gain any kind of advantage-whether it’s fact or fiction- is smart.
What isn’t smart is the number of deluded ‘mma sheep’ who jumped on this theory as if it had any kind of merit. Let’s bear in mind we’re talking about a guy, who at the time had only lost and been K.o’d ONCE! Yes it was a dramatic K.O, yes he pulled a weird yet amusing/horrific face and yes his body resembled that of a contorted twisted black version of the scarecrow from the classic film ‘The
Wizard of Oz’. All these things are true but that doesn’t mean he has no chin! I’m only basing the reason for all this talk about Rashad’s chin on the way he looked after that KO loss, because what else is there to go on? Rashad has been fighting the best, at the highest level, for the longest time and he has 1 KO loss to show for it!! If he has no chin then 99% of all Mma fighters are screwed. If you’re a dullard of epic Mma proportions and you carry on making such brainless observations then I’ll have to insist on rounding you all up and throwing heavy blunt objects at you as you hang your empty heads in shame.

Now, unlike Evans it might surprise you to know that I understand why I’ve been classed under that upsetting, spirit crushing, ego destroying banner of the ‘chinny’ fighter. I don’t like it and I defiantly don’t agree with it however I have to understand why it is said about me and the reasons, which if we’re being frank, you don’t need an IQ which is up there with Hawkins to figure it out. Simply put, I’ve lost a lot of fights by way of KO. ‘Case closed’ I hear you cry’! “Well,” (I say in my best Colombo impersonation as I turn back round just before heading off into the sunset) “Just one other thing”

This is where it all gets a little confusing. Ok, so I’ve been K.O’d in some fights, but I’ve also taken a lot of hard shots on the button:  i.e. Kimbo, Pudzianowski, Fujita & Lashley, and I’ve carried on fighting- even winning- on some of these occasions.

What usually happens is the fighters landing these shots on my face are usually deemed as ‘having little power behind their punches’  but you’ll have to trust me on this one, that is definitely not the case with a couple of the fighters I mentioned. Although some of them I’m sure can improve on their striking, all of their shots hurt like hell and I have the scars, broken bones and an ear like a piece of chewed chewing gum to prove it!

In that case it must be down to a fighter’s chin wearing down over time. This is a legitimate reason as you can only get hit a certain amount of times in training and in fights before there comes a point when your punch resistance starts to slip, I think when this happens it stands to reason that your confidence (a massive part of anything you partake in, never mind a sport like Mma) can slide and if you’re not careful your will to win, plus the love of the brutal but addictive adrenaline fuelled game of Mma we’ve decide to take part in, starts to slip. If that starts to slide then you’ve got major problems!

That being said, in my case this doesn’t apply. All you have to do is look at the time frame of my fights. You’ll see from Kimbo onwards a lot of the other fighters I’ve fought and taken heavy shots from were in the latter part of my career. It would seem the reverse is happening to me… The more I get hit the better my chin becomes. Sadly this is not the case either.

What is the case then? Well I’ve wondered long and hard as to whether to go into detail about this, and had many discussions with my girlfriend about whether to write such personal information about myself in a blog like this, but in the end I have decided to… why? Because it’s part of my journey and in effect part of who I am, whether it’s good or bad.

I believe a lot of my KO losses were down to taking a substance called GHB. For those of you who don’t know what GHB is, it first came about as a drug to help alcoholics.  The idea was that they’d drink it and when it mixed with the alcohol… they’d pass out (one of the side effects). Most people will have heard of it from the body building scene. GHB was used on the body building circuit as a supplement. At one point in time it was perfectly legal to buy GHB off the shelf at your local GNC store. In the body building world it was meant to work by inducing a deep state of sleep once taken at night time in liquid form, thus releasing more HGH (Human Growth Hormone). GHB has also been used as a powerful party drug. It’s taken by the small cap full, every hour or so, and the more you drink alcohol with it, the more powerful the alcohol and GHB become.

As you get more intoxicated it can become a problem as your judgement about when the last time you took some, as well as your measuring ability, becomes massively hindered. If you take too much your body just switches off (that’s why it’s also used by sad fucker’s who can’t pull) not before I hasten to add, you make a complete twat of yourself, which I cringingly have to hold my hands up high to and plead guilty on countless  occasions.  Just ask anyone who was at the old London shoot gym in Ladbroke grove, and they will testify.

When I started using this substance heavily, I thought I’d cracked it! Here was something that was inexpensive that I could have a great night on (if used carefully) and the big bonus!?! No hang over the next day! I’d get in at 4am, worse for wear, (quite possibly the biggest understatement I have ever made) have a very deep sleep till 8/9am and then get up feeling well rested and ready to train.. No problems.

But like so many things in life it comes with a price. The more I used, the more my tolerance to it built up, so gradually I would need to take more for it to take effect. Then I started to notice the headaches. I NEVER get headaches, but after these nights out (that were becoming more and more regular) I felt like my brain had been fried, then frozen, then put in a vice.

Like any truly retarded young chap, I forgot about it and ventured on. The next price to pay was me noticing that I was getting buzzed (dizzy after being hit- which is normal- but was happening more often than it should’ve) a lot in training, and then flash knock downs were happening, not only in training but in my fights too. Still…2+2 wasn’t making 4 as of yet for me.

I have to say; this is not an excuse. I made a decision to keep taking GHB even when I started to have an inclining that it may have been bad for my health and lively hood. All I can say on reflection is we really do live and learn!!

There was a well-known Mma fighter that I’m sure went down this path with GHB, suffering bad K’O losses towards the end of his career. I decided to edit the section on him out as reading it back I thought it was unfair as he didn’t have a choice in what I wrote. I mention it to highlight the fact that I really do think GHB has a detrimental effect to us lot that get hit in the head for a living.

I also have to point out that not all my KO losses are down to GHB. As much as I’d like to neatly place them in to that box and bury them for ever more… I can’t. I wasn’t taking GHB that often when Neil Grove sparked me right out and that was the first and only time I’ve been completely out of it.

So, in between learning more about my chin and deviant ways. I’ve hope that what I’ve highlighted about the chin hasn’t been lost in a sea of general ramblings. Here are a few refresher points about K.O’s & the chin..

1. Some time you just get caught. This is Mma, boxing, life.

2. Punch resist, fades in time.

3. Detrimental personal choices a fighter is making in life

4.Being KO’d is a big thing for a fighter to take. Some fighters can’t take it, lose confidence and become gun shy.

5. The shape of the fighters head & neck might seem silly but I’m sure there’s something in having a head shaped like a breeze block i.e. Fugita, Hunt.

These are just a few points. Sometimes it can be a few of them at once, but there’s no real way to know. It doesn’t really matter as the fan can only evaluate you on what they see and if you’re hitting the deck a lot, they’ll say your ‘chin is weak’.

You as the fighter have to dig deep start asking yourself some very deep searching important questions. All I ask is that Mma fans not throw the term ‘glass chin’ around where it’s not totally warranted. I’m telling you for your own good, as all it does is send a flair highlighting your naivety as a Mma fan.

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