Category Archives: UFC

MMA & THE EGO

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Throughout my 10 years or so in Mma I’ve gone back and forth with my opinions on the ego and how important it is in Mma.

The first thing I believe that you have to do is recognize that you have one. Seems like a silly thing to say, but I think so many fighters fall foul of recognizing when their ego is doing the talking, and maybe they should give it a rest and take over for a while. But is letting your ego run away with you a bad thing and if so why? This is a very complex, convoluted question, one which I’ll do my best to answer.

First off since everyone is different, not to mention every situation is different, there isn’t any right or wrong answer.

Now, when I first started Mma I would’ve argued that I didn’t really have an ego. I knew I was a beginner, I had no illusions of grandeur and I listened and tried to learn as much as I could. I linked someone who had an “ego” as a bad thing because like most people… I link ego with arseholes (not literally as I’m not quite sure how that would work).

Because I haven’t ever classed myself as an arsehole, I didn’t think I had an ego. I’ll explain why I was wrong.

When I was training there were no real Mma clubs about so I trained the three martial arts separately, Ju Jit su, Boxing & Wrestling. I remember when I started to get a bit fitter and I’d gained a few low level wins under my belt I watched Pride. Nog vs. Fedor. I recall thinking I’m not there yet but I’m not a million miles away. When the reality was that I was really a couple of light years away!
Looking back, what I believe would have helped me was if I had been sat down and told the cold hard truth, then again if I had then I might not have even stepped foot in the ring/cage to start with.

The problem is that positive thinking can be part of the problem itself, but it will only take you so far when it comes to your ego. Reality caught up with me and let me tell you it has a hell of a right hand.

This is what I was talking about earlier. Once your ego takes a body blow, how will you react to it? When something like this happens the vast majority of fighters lose. I used to get pissed off when I detected a bullshit excuse from a fighter about losing a fight. I’d think come on now. I think it’s essential to look back see the mistake you’ve made hold your hands up and improve on them. The bullshit excuse stops the fighter from doing this and so I didn’t see any plus side in it.

These days I see things a little bit differently. Although I stick by my previous comments I now also see those ‘bullshit excuses’ are a safety device as for a lot of fighters. Bullshit excuses are an airbag that save the ego from taking too much damage. It’s needed because too much damage to the ego can really have a negative effect on a fighter’s mentality.

When it comes to fighting you have to really believe you’re going to win. If you can write off your loses with an excuse, but still train hard and improve what you need to improve, then you’re laughing.

This is why I envy some fighters out there who aren’t really too self-aware. They believe their own bullshit, which can be really helpful especially if you have a good coach who can see this and knows how to handle you with kit gloves and improves your weak areas.

Myself, I am very self-aware. For a while I thought I was TOO aware. When my trainer would say before a fight “ come on James, you’re ready for this, you’ve trained hard” I’d think no I haven’t, I’ve spent most the time at the blackjack table. That’s how I reacted to decisions that I saw as unfair back then.

I used to see this self-awareness as a disadvantage but it wasn’t. It will only work though  if you’re putting the time in at the gym. You can’t spend all your time listening to Antony Robbins tapes, enter Mma and then take the title in blitz of carnage and mangled bodies.

So to sum up. It’s important to listen and learn, stay grounded and realise you’ll never know it all, but at on the other hand if you hear a fighter giving excuses you don’t believe, give him a pass. It’s a tough sport and going out fighting in front of people takes a lot mentally and physically. Sometimes a fighter needs that ‘ego air bag’.

I remember Rampage Jacksons saying in a Pride interview

” I’m not going to give you excuses for my losses, but I have an excuse for all of them”

I realised if I wanted to fight and if I couldn’t baffle myself with my own bullshit then I’d better start putting the effort in. That way, win or lose, I could be satisfied I had done everything I could.

Being injured after the Lashley fight, then having a whole array of sickness and injuries, has given me a lot of time to reflect on my career and now I’m healthy (although fat at the time of writing this) I’ve looked at my weak areas and took apart my training, so next time so you see me you’ll see a more ‘in tune’ Colossus, mentally and physically, who will be dishing out some damage and finishing the last part of his career on top…. Grrrrrrrrrr… I told you I had an ego ;)

 

 

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 enjoy reading my blogs then please feel free to make a donation to the cause, the amount donated directly links to what COLOSSAL Karma you’ll receive.

Donations via PAYPAL colossalcollective@hotmail.co.uk

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

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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 or embedded 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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MEETING MY HERO – THEN HIM KICKING THE SHIT OUT OF ME

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Meeting my hero
(then him kicking the shit out of me)

This was originally meant for the book I’m writing titled Gym tales and COLOSSAL adventures.
But seeing that I’ve got so many exciting, action packed, fun filled tales I thought- what the hell I’d throw out a bit of a free taster for you guys. Why? Well that’s just the kind of guy I am. So join me as I take a trip down memory lane and recall what it was like to meet my hero, Randy Couture, then have him kick the shit out of me.

So, I had been fighting mma for just over two years. I’d had two fights in pride and the daunting task at hand was starting to dawn on me. You’d think it would have hit me before this but a mixture of ego and the fact that I’m a slow learner delayed this process. I started to realise that if I wanted to improve- which I did- I needed to be pushed. Even though I was by no means the most skilled person at Trojan mma club where I was training at the time, I was the biggest and I’d muscled my way out of trouble thus far. I realised when I fought some one that was my own weight I wouldn’t be able to do this and there wasn’t anyone my size to spar with at Trojan either.

It became clear I was going to have to travel to get the things I needed from training. Where to go, where to go?

I decided on team quest in Portland, Oregon. I knew I was fighting in two months for Pride FC and since it was in Pride I was getting used to the fact that I had no idea who my opponent might be so I opted for team quest. Home of such greats like Randy Couture, Dan Henderson and Matt Lindland. How could I go wrong training with guys like that!? Whoever the’ Pride powers that be’ saw fit to pit me against… I’d be ready.

So I made a phone call to Team Quest. They told me there was a motel I could stay at that was literally across the road from the gym and that I’d be welcome to train there so I told them when I’d be over, put the phone down, booked my flight and counted down the weeks till I’d be there.

I can’t remember that much of Oregon. I think it’s because for the most part of the eight weeks I trained there I was literally on the same road that had my motel on. The super market was just across the road from Quest and that was all good for me.

I arrived late, around ten pm. I checked into my motel and said hello to my crack head neighbours. They seemed nice enough, a bit twitchy but all was good. I settled into the room, got my training kit ready for the next day and resisted the great temptation to buy the ‘miracle knife’ which was a on an infomercial I found strangely entertaining.

The next day I was up early. I found a nearby restaurant and had breakfast then made the short walk to Team Quest. I was an hour early but whatever; I could get a feel of the place and warm up a bit.

I entered the gym from a side entrance. There was a small room with mats and bags then the reception in the middle then the main room which had a huge matted area. I approached the reception area and introduced myself to a lady called Willow. Willow looked a hippie but strangely for hippie she was in shape. A ‘high performance hippie’ if you will. I half expected her to try and sell me a dream catcher as I explained who I was and why I was standing in front of her. She was as nice and welcoming as could be and showed me to the changing rooms.

I got myself ready and made my way to the main room to start warming up. Half way through my third round of shadow boxing a voice said “Hi buddy do you want to spar?” I ceased my devastating combo of punches and I can tell you my imaginary opponent was VERY relieved. I turned round to see the voice belonged to Mr Randy Couture. His back was towards me and he was rummaging in his training bag. I don’t know why I was so shocked to see him standing in front of me, I mean this was his gym after all, but I was.

Even though I had heard him my response was “eh??” I don’t know why I said this. Was I buying time while the reality of the situation absorbed into my frontal lobe? I immediately thought this sounded rude when Randy said “Sparing, would you like to spar?”

This was unreal. Would I like to spar with Randy Couture? This was too much, of course I would!

I said yes, well I actually said “aye” (Which is a northern way of saying ‘yes’).

A puzzled looked came across Randy’s face and he said “your eye?” in a somewhat puzzled tone of voice.

This wasn’t the first time an American had trouble making out what I was saying, in fact Americans on the whole have enormous difficulty in trying to understand what I’m trying to convey. That is until I teach them the Queen’s English.

“Of course Mr Couture I would be honoured to part take in the said duel” I said like a character out of Pride and Prejudice…

I’m only kidding I think I said something like “aye, I mean yeah I’d love to have a spar”

I’m not sure how much Randy understood me as he said “Oh you mean yes”. He must have been thinking – fucking hell this simple question is a workout in itself!

I again responded with “aye”. It was an automatic response. If I would’ve had a miracle knife to hand I would’ve willingly fallen on it.

I quickly followed with “I mean yes, great of course”.

He smiled and carried on putting on his training kit. This whole conversation must have lasted all of thirty seconds but it felt like a lifetime. I suddenly realised my mouth was so dry that my tongue seemed to be welded to the top of my mouth. I went to get a drink of water, then stopped and went to put on my gloves then tripled back as I realised it would be easier to drink water without having boxing gloves on!

I was glad Randy wasn’t paying me any attention as it looked like I’d decided to jack in Mma to start doing the robot.

Get a grip Thompson, I silently demanded to myself as I walked over to my water. I drank, put my shin pads and boxing gloves on and walked to where Randy was waiting for me. When I look back I didn’t feel nervous, I mean I’m sure I did but that emotion would have been further down the list of what I was feeling, after surrealness and just pure awe.

We touched gloves. Randy was circling out of distance and I was wondering how hard to go. I mean, I hadn’t sparred that much due to lack of training partners of my size and when I got in the ring/cage I tended to go for the ‘all out full psycho’ approach, which I would never do in training. As I was mulling over this delicate quandary, a stiff jab landed straight on my chin quickly followed by another.

I rushed forward; Randy got under hooks and took me down. I then spent a lot of time on my back being ground and pounded.

I can’t remember too much more about it as I was getting tired and hit a lot! Even through all this I am willing to bet there was no-one more happy to be punched in the face!! Other fighters started to come in to train at this point, so we called it a day.

As I was grabbing some water it suddenly occurred to me I hadn’t landed a punch or got a take down. I hadn’t done anything apart from be an ‘over happy punch bag’. My joy of being beat up dissipated and I started to feel embarrassed – When you’re a fighter of any age and you train somewhere else you always want to give a good account for yourself. I hadn’t done that and suddenly felt sick.

I introduced myself to Robert Follis, the head coach at Quest, there were a hell of a lot of fighters in the gym now. We all warmed up in the massive matted area before sparring with each other. I sparred with Matt Lindland first. I recall that I was very determined to give a good account for myself. I can’t remember much of the spar except that I got an arm bar right at the end of the round. I remember this as firstly it was Matt Lindland and secondly I never go to get arm bars.

I was feeling like I’d redeemed myself a little in this spar. We had a minutes rest and then went with someone else.

The next guy (I can’t remember his name) had only had a couple of fights and was a small, light heavy weight wrestler, but he guillotined me in the first 30 seconds. I was then arm barred by Dan Henderson from guard which I thought was out of order since I’ve never seen Dan do this. Then I got tapped out loads by Matt Horwich, who I thought was a little unorthodox in his methods, as he would tell me what he was going to do before he did it. He wasn’t actually saying his next move out loud for my benefit, he was obviously organising his moves in his own head and speaking them out loud, but it went a bit like this

“Horwich gets a under hook, takes the single leg, heel hook and then Horwich gets the tap” it just what he did sometime but it worked for him so fair play. (I’ve since met up with Horwich again when I fought in KSW and he’s a genuinely nice guy and I wish him well in multi universal life and in his Mma endeavours :)

Anyway back to Team Quest. I was exhausted by this point, when Lindland ask for another spar! My body cried out as I was tapped and pummelled relentlessly. It was a mad, painful first day but I really enjoyed it – apart from when Lindland’s glove caught my eye at the end of the last spar we had and it wouldn’t stop watering. It was painfully annoying and I couldn’t see out of my eye as it constantly streamed water.

At the end of the session Randy asked me if I wanted to get something to eat with him and Lindland which was great. I wasn’t nervous by then as I think my nerves had been beaten numb. Of course I got showered and took them up on their offer. I can’t remember much of the meal or the conversation as my eye was watering constantly and caused a massive distraction. Just my luck I thought, here I am sitting here with two Mma legends and all I can do is wince and dab my streaming eye with a napkin!

When I got back to my room I led on my bed and went through the events of the day. I started going over the mistakes I’d made while sparring then beating myself up over them which was easy as I was tired from everyone else giving me a beating. I started to feel down. I was letting my ego get the better of me. Instead of concentrating on the bad stuff which I’d been over analysing for the past hour I tried to look at the good stuff as well as the bad in order to help me improve. The things I had done at Quest, the fact I’d met so many Mma legends that were really nice people and the fact that I’d even eaten with Randy Couture and Matt Lindland… Jesus!! It had been a great day. What did I expect to come here and take over? Of course not. I realised that If I trained hard I could learn a lot from this whole experience and that’s what I intended to do.

Pride ended up giving me giant Silva to fight. A guy with not much skill but that posed a lot of difficult questions since well… he was a giant. I went into that fight feeling confident due to the fact that I’d had such a lot of help from Matt Follis (head coach at Quest) Mike Dolce who worked on my diet and strength and conditioning, and Jay White, my heavy weight sparring partner, not to mention all the legends I’ve mentioned before in this blog and a whole host of fighters I haven’t. Basically it was a great experience, one I’d recommend to any fighter to do. Get out of your comfort zone, leave your ego at home and go train.

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 enjoy reading my blogs then please feel free to make a donation to the cause, the amount donated directly links to what COLOSSAL Karma you’ll receive. 

Donations via PAYPAL colossalcollective@hotmail.co.uk

My Colossal Collective T-Shirt is available directly from my website page

http://www.colossalcollective.com/shop/tshirts/colossal-collective-teeshirt-black/

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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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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“SO, YOU WANT TO BE A FUCKING FIGHTER” ?

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“So, you want to be a FUCKING FIGHTER” ?

To many who hear these words reverberating off of their eardrums from Mr. Dana White, the answer is an unequivocal “yes.” But since I’m not in that pressure cooker like these new fighters are and since I actually AM a fucking fighter, I took time to ponder what the question really means.

Nowadays, this question is being asked more and more. Why? Because the UFC is having more and more shows, which means more fighters are getting injured, which means more fighters are needing to step up on some short notice, causing Dana White to bark out the inevitable question. I’m going to look at both sides of this coin, and, since every case is different, I’m going to do my best to give you my humble opinion of what makes a fighter. So are you fucking ready? Ready for some fucking MMA knowledge bombs, motherfucker?

I apologize–I’ve got that all out of my system now.

The Promoter, a.k.a. Dana White:

Now Dana’s point of view is this: if you make your living as an mixed martial artist, then you should be ready at any time to step up and fight. I mean you’re a fighter, right? He’s only asking you to do what you do. I think Dana gets constantly frustrated because he’s trying to make the best fights possible for the fans, and more and more he’s running into roadblocks in terms of unwilling fighters who don’t want to step up on short notice and risk losing. Which to a lot of people, Dana included, is the essence of what makes a fighter. And, to the credit of Dana, he has avoided the pitfalls of boxing, where to make a fight happen means a year of negotiations. I can’t see that happening (thankfully) with MMA, and the reason for that is Dana. Now, the “do you want to be a fucking fighter?” question was first asked on the TV show “The Ultimate Fighter.” Let’s always keep in mind that it’s a television show, but, having said that, it’s a valid question when it’s being posed to inexperienced fighters, many of whom haven’t got that many fights under their belt.

I remember seeing a few fighters who didn’t really want it. They had this chance to be on a big TV show, and they didn’t want to take it. You shouldn’t have to ask this question when you’re talking about fighters who are in the UFC. I mean they’re there for a reason, of course they want to be a fighter. But Dana is finding it harder to get fighters to step up, which is causing problems. Look what happened with Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen and how Dana laid the blame and heaped untold pressure on to Jones. He did this simply because it’s black and white in Dana’s mind. You’re a fighter. If the situation calls for it, you step up, it’s as fucking simple as that.

The fighter:

Now, there are many different types of situations, and I can’t go through every single one of them. So let’s stick with the Jon Jones situation. Of course, I’m not talking for Jon Jones–just where I think he was coming from by not taking the fight. Jones is at the top. He has fame, he’s making money, and rightly so. When he didn’t take the fight with Chael, who would be coming up a weight, and the UFC was canceled, a lot of people scratched their heads and went for the jugular with Jones. I mean, why not save the day, taking on a competitive, but smaller, fighter? He’d been training anyway, so just take the fight! But what people forget is that, once you’re at the top of the mountain, and you’ve gotten there through following a certain system, you don’t want to change that system. I believe in the case of Jon Jones that it was an unnecessary risk. It deviated from the system and therefore was a risk he and Greg Jackson weren’t willing to take. Jones wasn’t scared of fighting Chael…it was just unplanned. So, I guess the question is: when should you take a fight you haven’t fully prepared for? If you don’t step up, are you not a really a fighter? This is a very personal question which each fighter who is in that situation has to answer.

My opinion:

Where to start….I’ve looked at both points of view, and I can see valid points on both sides. At the end of the day, Dana White is looking at it from a promoter’s point of view. Of course he wants fighters to step up. He wants to put the best show possible on. And Jon Jones is looking at it from his point of view. Why should he take unnecessary risks? I look at it like this: as a rule, mixed martial artists aren’t scared to fight other mixed martial artists. If they are, then they’ve chosen the wrong profession. What fighters are scared of is stepping up, taking the fight on short notice, losing, and getting cut (I’m speaking in general here, not about the Jones/Chael fight). I think this is the problem with the UFC–the upside doesn’t weigh out the potential downside of losing your job. I haven’t fought for the UFC, but from being around the MMA world and knowing a lot of people it seems very dog eat dog. That’s great to a point, but when competition is so fierce, stepping up and losing while making Dana happy for the time being is risky. How long is his memory? How good is the memory of mma fans? This is why more and more fighters aren’t willing to take the risk. They know that they could only get one shot in the UFC and they have to be at their best to take advantage of that shot.

When I fought for Pride, they would change my opponent seemingly by the hour. It was just the way it was, and I know I wasn’t the only one. Were the fighters of Pride more braver, more fighter-like? No, of course not, but the difference was that in Pride, as long as you fought with all your heart and gave it your all, you’d be back to fight again. If you just fought to win, there was a strong possibility that you wouldn’t be back. The reverse is true in the UFC. I believe Dana can’t have it both ways. You can’t have fighters so fearful of their job security and then get mad when they don’t jump at the chance to take a fight at two weeks notice.

So, to wrap it up, I think if Dana and the UFC want more fighters to step up then they can’t have the threat of executioner’s axe resting on the fighters neck. Of course fighters can’t keep losing and expect to keep their position in the UFC, but I think that if you talk to most of the fighters in the UFC they will tell you that they fight constantly, surrounded by an air of uncertainty.

Thanks for reading, please remember to follow my blog to be updated on when the next one is out before it goes out on the social networking sites. If your on twitter you can find me @ https://twitter.com/JColossus or like my facebook page here http://en-gb.facebook.com/pages/James-The-Colossus-Thompson/199137513465142 & finally I also write a NON MMA Blog here http://colossal-personal-concerns.com/ where I can free my mind and have a rant about all sorts of general topics.

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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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Down, but far from out: Fred Ettish

Down, but far from out: Fred Ettish

With it being Easter, I figured you’d all be far too busy shovelling chocolate shaped eggs into your mouths to read. Having had some extra time to ponder what topic I’d like to tackle next, I settled not so much on a topic, but rather an MMA Fighter. “Of whom” I hear you ask “Silva, Wand, Fedor???” Well none of the above actually… I settled on a man named Fred Ettish. Now you’ll be forgiven for asking who the hell he is, but bear with me. Whilst I had witnessed Fred Ettish fight in the very beginning of the UFC I too was unaware of his story post UFC, up until recently.
After watching & reading about him, I managed to find the one emotion I still had in my body that hadn’t been deadened or hardened by life, and I was actually moved by his story. Also, with my last blog being about Traditional Martial Arts, I thought it followed on nicely from that topic and it shows that even if the Martial Art isn’t great, it doesn’t mean the person practising it can’t be.
(A quick note on my last blog. I forgot to mention some of the positive aspects of Traditional Martial Arts.. I.e. discipline and fitness for kids. Please forgive me, this sometimes happens when you get hit in the head for a living)…

So to the story of Fred Ettish

I had a few of the UFC’S on video tape back in the day- DVD’S weren’t all the rage then and we used to make phone calls on giant phones that looked like portable landline phones just so you can relate to how far we’ve all come. I think the dinosaurs were just dying off and becoming extinct around that time too but I digress and need to get back on topic.. Back to the Video Tapes..

The UFC shows on my old tapes weren’t in any particular order, UFC 2 I think, had the least rules. Refs were only there to enforce what little rules there were, rather than to stop the fights, which of course they did do; less there would have been a death! It seems at that time, the finer details of the UFC hadn’t really been thought out all that well, which is also the accusation you would’ve thrown at Mr Fred Ettish if you knew he was going to take part in such a contest. When I first saw him step into the cage I wondered why a good friend hadn’t taken a minute to say to him “Fred, have you really thought this through”. Fred looked like someone who had been pulled from behind the desk at the local accountancy firm, asked to swap his suit for a Kenpo Karate GI, then thrown in the cage. But we all know appearances can be deceiving.
As Fred uttered these fateful words, in an interview before his fight ” I have full confidence in my art of Kenpo Karate”, he was beaten like the accountant he looked like by a much larger Johnny Rhodes, he knocked Fred to the floor, delivered a couple of hard knees to his face before a landing a few more punches and choking poor Fred out.

That was my understanding of Fred Ettish, just another misguided Traditional Martial Artist who believed his misguided Traditional Martial Arts would see him through an MMA competition…. but it didn’t.
His story doesn’t end here which is a good job really as it wouldn’t make much of a blog….Luckily Fred story is just getting started.

After losing in such crushing fashion, Fred was belittled by fighters, laughed at by emerging MMA fans and shunned by his fellow Kenpo and traditional martial arts fans who wanted to disassociate from him as he was hardly a glowing advertisement for the art of Kenpo.

There was a website put up with Fred as the ‘poster boy’ which, although funny, was also cruel as it went under the name of “the art of fetal fighting” making fun of the fact that Fred spent most his time in that fight in the fetal position. All this happened to poor old Fred when his marriage was falling apart and on top of all this, his new born son had died.

At a time when things couldn’t get any worse for him, Fred did what must have been one of the hardest things to do given all the shit he’d been through.. He turned to the sport, that some would say had kick started his fall from grace, MMA. He learned the sport from one of the greats Pat Miletich; he talked to Pat about the possibility of opening a Satellite School in his home town of Kansas and then did exactly that. He now runs a successful MMA gym.

But the demons that haunted him from that embarrassing UFC appearance still resided in Fred’s psyche so much so that, at the age of 56, he went back into the cage and beat a man half his age in the first round!! What struck a chord with me in Fred’s story was that I’ve had experiences in my own career when I’ve been viewed as ‘a joke’ and it was the hardest battle to keep fighting on, and my experiences are nowhere near as bad as Fred’s! So Mr Ettish I don my cap to you. You took the very thing that some would say made you a laughing stock (MMA) and used it not only to get your life back on track but also to vanquish the demons that haunted you. That is what I call a true Martial Artist.

I encourage you all to watch the video MMA history Fred Ettish on you tube

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Part 2.. CFS (Cage Fighter Syndrome)

PART 2.. CFS (CAGE FIGHTER SYNDROME)

I spoke about WFS (Wannabe Fighter Syndrome) on my last blog and now to the more intricate of the Syndromes…  Cage Fighter Syndrome (CFS) I split these two subject up as although there’s a lot of similarities between them, they are also quite different and This way you can easily digest the wisdom I humbly impart to you.
Ok lets go, first off what is CFS? A CFS sufferer is a man, who after having a couple of fights starts to think of himself as the Tsunami of the MMA World, destroying anyone unfortunate enough to be in his path, only leaving broken people and minds in his wake.
The major difference between CFS (Cage Fighter Syndrome) and WFS (Wannabe Fighter Syndrome) is that CFS Sufferers do actually fight, where as WFS just talk about it (if you don’t know what a WFS is- please read part one of this blog). Think of CFS as a slightly upgraded version of a WFS.
As much as it pains me to say this, and it does have to be said, they have to be given a bit of respect. Say what you will about them, they do get in there and fight. Whether they fight with Skill and flair or in a panicky, clumsy unabashed, wind-milling sort of way is another matter but they do get in there to fight, which in it’s self is a hard thing to do.
I think CFS first starts occurring when said fighter, after training a while, fancies getting in the ring/cage and pitting his skills in the Ultimate Arena of Manliness… The MMA Cage, which lets face it, is not only scary but possibly damaging, not only to their health but also to their the ego. To protect the latter, which in males can be a noticeably fragile and delicate thing (if you don’t believe me ask any female who knows you). I believe you build up a kind of fortress to protect this delicate and valuable of instruments.
I consider myself a very realistic person who can see things for what they are, however I remember way back when I first started MMA, Rolling, Sparring etc. I had only been ‘training’ For a couple of weeks and then happened to watched the likes of Nog and Fedor ( on you guessed it.. DVD’S)  and I remember thinking  “yeah ok I get it they’re better than me, but I’m not a million miles away”…  Oh Dear!!! How very wrong I was!   I remember my first ever fight, I thought to myself ” let’s just get in there and see if I can do this”. I remember that in the fight I was slipping, fainting, pitting together a few combos, I was pretty much  nailing it… I won…  I was excited!!.. I then watched the DVD  back and I’ll never forget the shock I got from what I saw. Instead of a light footed better looking version of Van Damme, I was watching what seemed to be a confused tired person,  falling at my opponent with all the grace and skill of a drunken bear on ice skates.. I was truly shocked at what I saw and I really do consider myself to be well grounded. After I saw this I WOKE UP and realised this MMA thing wasn’t quite as easy as I had thought it to be..
Some people (CFS sufferers) never ‘wake up’… They never take off the Rose tinted glasses and see themselves subjectively. Maybe that’s because if they did take off the shades of rosiness they would realise they are at a much lesser level in MMA than they think they are and the already scary world of this Sport somehow gets that much more scarier. So they keep those tinted glasses firmly in place, as it keeps the ego safe and warm, large and intact.
This is where it gets complicated. Every fighter has, and HAS to have an element of CFS because you have to believe you CAN win and in some cases you’re out gunned, out matched and all you have is that belief.. You can be anything you want to be if you believe it in your head, and you need to believe in yourself when you do MMA or any sport, but what i’m trying to show in my first fight example is don’t let that positive mental outlook turn into Self denial and a general unhealthy belief that your the seconding coming of Chuck Norris!
Now as much as i can understand a lot of things, one thing i don’t understand and puzzles me most is Something you might recognise and Is what i consider to be one of the most spine tinglingly cringe worthy things CFS Sufferers do,  They push the boundaries of absurdness by not only slagging off other fighters, but incredibly, much better fighters than themselves! It’s all tied in with them being disillusioned.. In one case  that comes to mind, A sufferer of CFS (who shall remain faceless) started commenting that Alistair Overeem’s stand up was overrated, this was after he (Alistair) had won the K1 HW Tournament!! At the time  the deluded CFS sufferer in question had only a handful of Wins.  He is so far removed from reality at this point, that when i see comments like this, it makes my soul cringe for them.
 Another story I have to share with you, and I swear every word is god’s honest truth, was when the world’s worst ever CFS sufferer that has surely existed (he was almost flat lining due to being riddled with the disease so bad), managed to corner me and explain to me, in great worrying detail, that he genuinely thought he was the re-incarnation of Bruce Lee. Upon hearing this I literally spat my protein shake out and went to congratulate him on making me laugh, however there was no congratulations to be had, as all that met me was the steely eyed glare of insanity. The CFS sufferer in question, didn’t even blink or react and just continued with his diatribe of nonsense. This sufferer was the king, no god, of all CFS sufferers, your more common a garden sufferer’s however, are like the  the David Brents (lead role- in the UK version of ‘The Office’) of the MMA world.
So what the solution? The solution my friends is REALITY and trying to keep those with CFS in it.. but this in it self is a  difficult issue. If someone would have opened my eyes and given me a dose of reality back when I started MMA ten years ago, I’d have never of stepped in the cage. You don’t want to shock the system with to much reality  all in one go, you need to drip feed it to them to enable them to consume the reality without it destroying the ‘ego’ which is one of their most valuable assets at this early point in their MMA career…. So then i hear you ask, if the ego is so valuable early on in said fighters career… why risk saying anything at all?? Because, if you drip feed them that ‘real shit’ in tiny bite sized chunks, when reality comes knocking, and it will, in the form of a 8oz glove to the face!!  If the steps i have listed have been followed, the sufferer of CFS will have a shorter distance to fall from, hence making it easier to get back on the saddle so to speak .  It’s fine being 3-0 against part time fighters, but as you keep fighting and progressing in the sport which is surely the aim, your opponents will get better and if you’re suffering from full blown CFS, the ass whipping that you receive will come as a nasty shock.
Speaking as i have to a vast array of people about this disease and the carriers of it. I’ve noticed that usually people are split into into two camps.
The first camp will take the more sympathetic view towards CFS sufferers -highlighting the points about it being a scary thing to step in the cage- and that all of the bullshit that is churned out by them is simply that, bullshit that the CFS sufferer uses to  cushion his ego. Then there’s the camp that has no sympathy for them what so ever and figures that they’re beyond help and the vast majority of CFS sufferers coincidently also have a nasty case of arsehole-ightis, so they sit back and enjoy watching the CFS sufferers painful fall from grace.
Which camp do i fall in to?? Well although i see great points in both side of the arguments (and no it’s not just because i wrote them both) i don’t fall in either as i view WFS and CFS as sick people with disease like symptoms more serious than any flu. So when i witness these unfortunate mortals, i feel genuinely sorry for them… Just like i would for any sick person and i wish them well from afar, because all though WFS or CFS isn’t contagious.. it is painful for you to be around.
Thanks for reading. My next blog will be out on Friday and every following Friday there after the next topic i’m tackling is what place if any does Traditional Martial Art’s have in MMA
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