Archive for the Genesis FIGHTS Category

Verbal Sparring: Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson (AMC Pankration)

Posted in Genesis FIGHTS, Interviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 24, 2009 by jaytan716

If you do a YouTube search for Demetrius Johnson, you’ll see footage of him wrestling Alan Calahan at the USA Wrestling National Junior Duals.  You’ll also find a highlight reel from his college basketball days with the Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) Mastodons.  And you’ll find his “I’ve Got My Strength Back” sermon, based on the story of Samson and Delilah.

None of these are the Genesis FIGHTS / AX Fighting / Rumble on the Ridge bantamweight MMA champion Demetrious Johnson.  With an ‘o.’

Demetrious 'Mighty Mouse' Johnson, with his girlfriend, Destiny, after another victory.

Demetrious 'Mighty Mouse' Johnson, with his girlfriend, Destiny, after another victory.

Known to his friends simply as “DJ,” Johnson is another young star on the rise from the Pacific Northwest.  As the reigning 135 lb. king of three different fight promotions, Johnson has a legitimate claim to be the toughest bantamweight fighter in the Pacific Northwest.

In January, Johnson broke his hand in a match where he claimed his Rumble on the Ridge 135 lb. MMA title.  At the time of the first part of this interview, he was waiting for medical clearance to begin sparring.  He has since been cleared to train and is preparing for a match at Genesis FIGHTS’ next event, “Rise of Kings, Emperors of MMA,” which takes place on June 27th at the Shoreline Community College.

In a two-part phone interview, Johnson offered insight and reflection on his passion for running, how it translates to fighting, and of course how he deals with being “the smallest guy on the scene.”

JT:  Tell us a little bit about your high school wrestling background.  Have you been wrestling all your life?

DJ:  No, I started wrestling in eighth grade and I did very well in that season.  I only lost one match the whole season, and then I took first in districts, which is the highest level you could get in middle school.  After that I went to high school and my freshman year, I got tore up.  Just mop the mat with me.  Sitting there with a black eye, bloody lip. And it was because I weighed 109 lbs. and I was wrestling 118.  I didn’t want to wrestle JV [Junior Varsity] 112, because I couldn’t beat the 112-pounder, but I could beat the 118-pounder.  So I wrestled my whole high school freshman year at 118, and got beat up, didn’t go nowhere.  My sophomore year, I started peaking a little bit. . . I took fifth [place] in state.  And then my junior year, I dominated and I took second in state.  And my senior year, I was supposed to take the whole state tournament and everything.  Went undefeated throughout the whole tournament season, and then I lost in the third round, to the semi-finals, to get to the finals, to a kid from Sedro-Woolley.  He pinned me.

JT:  That must have been a hard pill to swallow.

DJ:  No, I wasn’t that – I think we were both good.  I think I was better than him, but the whole season, I never fought off my back.  I’d never been taken down the whole entire season of wrestling, and I’m about to go against a freshman that has a very decent record, that’s wrestled all throughout the state and all this other stuff.  And then when I went against him, he took me down. . . And once he got me there, it was like “oh my God, I’ve never been here before.  How do I fight out of it?” . . . Because I had no idea how to fight from there.  It basically broke me, mentally.

I got up and approached my coach and he was like “well, oh well!”

And that’s just like MMA.  If you don’t train your ground game, when you fall to the ground with the guy, the first thing in your mind is “oh shit, I’m on the ground.  What do I do?” . . . And I told myself from then on there, if there’s anything I can do [to keep from] losing, I will do everything in my power not to lose. . . Because I’m not going to repeat that.  I’ve already had my loss, in my career, and as an amateur, I want to go through this circuit as 14-0.

JT:  After wrestling your senior year, you ended up at Vision Quest.  Were you just looking for a workout or how did that pique your interest?

DJ:  Well, I got into MMA right after high school. . . I never knew about MMA until right after the first “Ultimate Fighter” came on. . . I saw how they were training hard.  I said “damn, they’re kicking the bag, [they’ve got] tough bodies.  I think I’m gonna try it.”

So I walked into a gym, Vision Quest, which I no longer go to . . . I’ve always been working out at Vision Quest, ever since they opened. . . since my junior year.  My wrestling coach thought it would be good for me, because there’s a lot more wrestlers that go there.. . . And I just started punching the bag, kicking it.  And (former IFL / UFC fighter) Reese Andy looked at me, he said “hey, can you kick?”  I was like “yeah.”  He said “can you punch?”  I started punching.  He goes “you wanna do MMA?”  I was like “I’ll learn.”  And he set me up with AMC when the classes were at Vision Quest.  And I’ve been with AMC since then.

JT:  Was it the glitz and glamour that got you [interested], or did you know you were looking for release for your sense of competition after wrestling?

DJ:  I’d say competition.  I wanted to keep on competing.  I didn’t want to stop doing a sport and being fat and lazy on the couch.  And go to my 10-year high school reunion and be like “hey guys, I gained 80 pounds, and I’m fat.”

JT:  Was college in the decks for you, or were you going to work a scholarship for wrestling?

DJ:  I did have a couple of scholarship offers for wrestling, but I didn’t want to leave my family behind and go off and do my own thing. . . If I wanted to go to college and wrestle, I would have to go out of state.  One college that I went to was Southern Oregon Community College, but they didn’t have dorm rooms, so I’d have to rent an apartment out there and work out there and I didn’t want to do that.

So I went to Pierce College and I was working a job there too and working out part-time.  Just lifting, trying to get bigger, since I didn’t have to stay at 118 pounds in high school.  I didn’t take any scholarship offers.  I don’t regret or anything, because I’m in a better place now [with fighting than wrestling].

JT:  If I remember correctly, you spend part of your time at AMC South and part of your time at Kirkland, right?

DJ:  Yeah, usually . . . what people don’t understand – there’s AMC Kirkland and there’s AMC South, which is AMC Pacific.  When I train, basically, my instructor, my teacher, was Steve Skidds and Luke Pitman.  And basically Drew [Brokenshire], Taurean [Washington], Brian [Roberge], us little core guys, we basically taught ourselves – not to fight, but that’s what training was like.

Usually, when I go up there on Saturdays, I try to get beat up a lot.  From Caros [Fodor], Trevor, Daniel [Eng], Matt [Hume] – basically, the big dogs, up there.  Because that’s the best thing you can do.  I think you learn from getting beat up. . . I was up there a few weeks ago and I was getting my hard sparring round in.  Me and Caros were just banging away.  Here I am, 140 lbs., and he’s a 180-pounder.  And we’re just going at it.  And after the fight was done, I asked Matt “tell me what I did wrong.”  And he just told me everything that I did wrong.  And I understood him.  That’s why I like going up there on Saturdays, up in Kirkland.  So I get beat up, basically.

'DJ' and Drew Brokenshire, in the midst of high-impact lightsaber training.  Note the raised platform for high-altitude conditioning.

'DJ' and Drew Brokenshire, in the midst of high-impact lightsaber training. Note the raised platform for high-altitude conditioning.

JT:  I talked with Drew and he said the same thing.  That you guys drill with each other and beat each other up as the team down south, and then go on Saturdays and test your skills [in Kirkland].

DJ:  Yeah, and it’s funny, because you’ll see me and Drew – we’re main training partners.  I like him to hold mitts for me, because he holds them just perfect, the way I like it.  And same as for him for me.  When we fight, we fight a little bit similar; we have the same pressure, but he’s more stand-up, and he’s developing his ground game.  But me, I like to pressure in fights.  I used to be slick fighter, like “I’ll fight you when I want to fight you.”  So we’re both trying to get adaptable to our styles.

JT:  Am I right in remembering, you guys have a 10-pound difference?

DJ:  Yeah, there’s a 10-pound difference, but when he’s not cutting weight, there’s a 30-pound difference.  If I walk around, on a good day, at 144-145.

JT:  So you keep it down and he does the whole Ricky Fatton [Hatton] thing.

DJ:  You could say that, but [laughs] he walks around like 167, which is really good, and I walk around 140.  And I’ve cut down to 125.  I’ve fought twice at 125, but Matt wants me at 135, just to get used to the weight class up there.

JT:  Tell me your thoughts about being a part of AMC and training under Matt.

DJ:  It’s awesome.  It doesn’t get better than this.  One thing that I love about AMC is that there’s always somebody that can beat you up.  And what I mean by that is an instructor – I really don’t get a chance to spar Matt, Trevor, or Daniel, or Brad [Kurtson] as much as I wish I could, but I know that if I go up there and I’m like “shit, I want to spar,” if they want to, I know they’ll just mop me up.  Even though I mop all my opponents up.

JT:  There’s always somebody higher on the totem pole, right?

DJ:  Yeah, there’s always someone higher on the scale.  Granted, they’re not my same weight, but I’ve been dealing with that my whole life and that’s just what [propels] me.  Five-four, 145 pounds.  There’s just not a lot of guys around here that weigh that much and are at my skill level.

JT:  How long have you been training at AMC?

DJ:  I’d say I’ve been training MMA, like, four years now.

JT:  And coupled with wrestling training, which certainly is no joke either. . .

DJ:  Oh now, so then you’re going back to wrestling.  So you got four years of MMA.  I started [wrestling] when I was in eighth grade – so about nine years total.

JT:  So that said, I would think by now you’ve developed your own kind of training philosophy or style.  What’s your outlook on training?  How do you approach it?

DJ:  Okay, so, it’s like, I think you train hard and the fight’s easy.  You train like a champion, you fight like a champion.  You train like shit, you fight like shit.  With us being down at AMC Pacific, where it’s just us little core guys, we have to learn to train ourselves hard, because we all don’t live by each other.  Like I’m in University Place, Drew lives in Piala, Taurean lives in Covington.  So does Brian.  And Steve – he’s an Alaska Airlines pilot.  So when we train, we’re not always together.

I don’t need a coach behind me, yelling at me, like “run your sprints.  Do this, do that.”  That actually irritates me a little bit.  I went to college and I could have finished school and got my higher education and went off and done something else, but I decided that I wanted to fight.  And I know what fighting comes with.  And it’s a job to be in top shape when you fight . . . You don’t need to babysit me.  But sometimes I feel that guys are in a world where they need babysistters.  Even pro guys.  If you don’t tell them what to do, they’re just going to sit at home like “oh, I’ll wait until the next time I’m fighting and not do whatever I gotta do.”

JT:  You’re really a self-started and you have to kind of make your own training and regiment, really.

DJ:  As a regimen, Steve Skidds tells me what my lifting should be and what I should be eating and stuff, but as for somebody calling me, waking me up out of bed, and telling me to go to the gym, I don’t need it, and that’s how it’s been my whole life, ever since I was in elementary running.

JT:  What pro fighters has Matt brought in that you’ve trained with?

DJ:  I’ve trained with Rich [Franklin] and Chris Leben.  I got to wrestle with Jens Pulver.

Rich was pretty fun.  He’s a lot heavier.  I was trying to keep up with my pace and try to choke him out.  When I trained with Chris Leben, I didn’t roll with him, but doing stand-up with him, it was a little bit difficult with him, because it was when I was first starting, so I really didn’t understand the southpaw position, but. But he’s beef.  He’s huge.

JT:  Was it difficult to get over the size difference there?

DJ:  No, I’ve been dealing with that my whole life.

JT:  Tell me about that part, always being the smaller guy.  Did you deal with bullying as a kid?

DJ:  When I was growing up, I didn’t really get bullied, but I was an easy target.  So everybody makes fun of me.  When I was in elementary, it wasn’t as bad.  Then when I got to middle school, I had a temper and I was one of those bad kids who stayed out late at night and did bad things.  Just to prove that – you make fun of me at all, ‘cuz I’ll beat you up.  Then, when I got into eighth grade, when I started learning, when I started maturing, nobody messed with me.  When I got physical, in ninth grade, the seniors, nobody messed with me.  They make fun of me, because I was short and I had big ears.  Like a mouse.  But nobody really picked on me at all.  Just being the smaller guy in the room, when I got ahold of them, I could wrestle them and they’re like “oh, you’re a small guy, but you’re not weak like a small person.”

JT:  When did you get blessed with the Mighty Mouse nickname?

DJ:  [Laughs] That came, probably, during when I had been training with Skidds and those guys. . . I’m the smallest guy at my gym right now, besides Scott McDonald, who is one of the new guys.  So I’ll roll with Brian, Taurean, Skidds, Drew, and I’ll give them fits.  . . . And so Skidds gave me the nickname “Mighty Mouse” because I’m small, but I always bring the fight.  I’m always gonna be there, wherever you’re gonna be at.  I’m not just gonna keep it on my feet, because I’m better than you, but I’ll beat you to the ground and submit you even though that’s your aim.  And so he nicknamed me “Mighty Mouse.”  And the way my ears are too, and my structure.

JT:  I was gonna say, it really fits in there.  The whole thing about good things coming in small packages, right?

DJ:  Yeah [laughs].

JT:  For you, what’s the toughest thing about fighting?

     Casualty of War - Johnson broke his hand while en route to winning his third 135 lb. MMA championship.

Casualty of War - Johnson broke his hand while en route to winning his third 135 lb. MMA championship.

DJ:  Honestly, I love training hard, I love running, I love lifting hard.  I’d say the toughest thing about fighting is the sparring hard. . . Because when you spar, you get hurt, you get bruises, and you can potentially tear something.  Or anything.  But people believe that you need to spar hard to get in good shape.  And I totally disagree with that, because yes, people say that I’m a freak when it comes to cardio, but I can tell you that I don’t spar hard when I get ready for a fight, because you get hurt that way.

When I jump in the ring and I have to fight, I know that I gotta be in perfect condition, and I gotta make sure I train my body to be ready for that aggravating throwing and to work hard and not [get] tired when I throw hard.  And some people don’t train their minds to do that. . . My training is very strict.  I know what I need to do to get ready for a fight, and it’s the same thing what I did for wrestling. . . I [want] to make sure my whole body’s recovered, and make sure, when I fight, I’m at 110%.  Not with all the aches and bruises.  Because you don’t want to walk into a fight with aches and bruises.

Now, when I train, I take care of my body.  I pop my fish oil and my multivitamin.  I make sure I wrap my hands.   I wear kneepads.  I wear shinpads.  Because if I get hurt in practice, let’s say I break my hand in practice. . . That’s a huge setback, because now I gotta have surgery.  There’s another 40 G’s down the drain, because of surgery.  And now that’s the main rule.  When me and Drew spar now, we spar hard, but we spar with our heads.  We don’t try to hurt each other and break our legs.

This body has to last me until I’m 39 or 38, because this is my career.  I stopped going to school, and if I don’t make it like this, it’s gonna be McDonald’s or Jack-in-the-Box, and I don’t want to go to any one of those.

JT:  Well, they also got Dick’s Burgers up there on Broadway too.

DJ:  [Laughs] Dick’s Burger are not a go either.

JT:  I guess that kinda answers my next question.  If you had to make a living outside of fighting, what would it be?

DJ:  If I was to do something, it [would] be in the athletic department.  That would probably have to be it.  Honestly, I would like to be a high school coach, probably wrestling or cross country.

JT:  Is running or fighting more your passion?  Do you still have that same passion for running?

DJ:  Oh no, it really hasn’t taken away from running, because I use most of my running for my training for MMA . . . I used to run half-marathons and street races and stuff. . . Fighting – I look at it as my hobby and it’s my job.  So I take it very seriously.

I ran ever since I was little, and in second grade, I ran [in a group] called track club.  Nobody coached you how to do it; nobody [said] you shouldn’t do it.  You basically go out on the track and you run the whole recess.  So while people were on the swings swinging or playing the monkey bars, I was running laps.  Constantly.  Every recess, for five years.  Every school year.  At the end of the year, the goal [was] to get 100 miles.  At each 25-mile mark, you get something.  25 miles you get something, 50 miles you get something, 75 miles, I remember you get a big pizza party, and 100 miles, you get a medal.  My last year, I had like 117 miles at the end of the year.  So I beat my old personal record. . . And that became a passion for me when I got out of high school.

My mindset in running, it kinda rolls over to MMA for where I go in a long run or I’m running sprints for MMA training.  My technique comes back in running, and it’s like “oh man, I’m so glad that I love running, or this would be a pain in my ass.”

JT:  As a fan of MMA, who are some of your favorite fighters, or some of the best matches you’ve seen?

DJ:  My favorite fighter, hands down, would be Thiago “Pitbull” Alves.  I think his last fight with Josh Koscheck was really good.  How he didn’t get taken down at all, and he controlled the center of the ring. He had a pretty good game plan.  Rampage, he’s another one of my favorite fighters, just because of his attitude.  He keeps it real when he’s fighting. . . He has his fun.  He enjoys his life.  George St-Pierre, he’s one of my favorites too.  He’s more of a game-planner, but at that level, the UFC competition, you have to have a game plan.  You just can’t go in there and try to fight your way like that.

JT:  Who do you like in St-Pierre vs. Alves?  You looking forward to that fight?

DJ:  If I had to put down $100, I’m gonna pick Alves.  And the reason why is because Thiago Alves is a bigger guy and I think he’s gonna come up with a good game plan against Georges St-Pierre.  Because Georges St-Pierre does have a weak chin.  It’s been exposed.  Thiago Alves has real good power in both hands and his knees and in his kicks.

JT:  Run me through your fight career, as far as matches goes. I believe your AMC site said you were 8-0 in MMA and 4-0 in Muay Thai?  When was your first match?

DJ:  It would have to be Brawl at the Mall III, so that was back in 2006. . .

Yeah, I remember how they went.  The first match was mixed martial arts against Oren Ulrich.  After that I did a kickboxing fight against Mike Richardson.  And the reason I did that was because Matt was like “okay, we know you can wrestle, but we gotta work on your stand-up.”  I did that one.  And then my third fight – it was actually a forfeit, so I don’t count that.  It was against Michael Aries, and I remember him showing up nine pounds overweight.  I said I’d still fight him, but he didn’t want to fight.  I think my next fight was at AX [Fighting], at 125 pounds. And this was when I first tried out 125 pounds.  I knocked out my opponent, Brandon Fields in 17 seconds.

I won the Axe [title] first, then the Genesis Muay Thai title.  Then I defended the Axe title.  And then I fought for the Genesis [MMA] title.  And then I fought for the Rumble on the Ridge title.  And [that’s] all four belts that I have now.

JT:  Did you defend the AX title at all?

DJ:  Yeah, I defended it against Jorge Garza, and I armbarred him in the second round.  Because after I fought a kickboxing match, against Scott McDonald, I broke my rib.  And when I came back, Matt told me “You’re already exciting to fight.  You go out there and you bang, but now you have to start finishing people.” So right after Matt said that, I started finishing people in MMA.  I armbarred Jorge Garza.  And that was the first fight that I finished somebody.  After Matt said that comment to me.

JT:  So you’ve fought steadily four times each year, since your debut.  You’ve been busy, man.

Sometimes I’ll fight more in a year, and take it less [next] year.  But if you do a ratio, yeah, it’s like four times each year.

You’ve gotta stay busy.  Because I’m the type of person that, if I’m not hurt or not strapped for cash or anything, I just keep on training. . . Because I want to get to the next level where I’m fighting overseas or anything.  I basically told Matt “what do I need to do to get to Shooto,” and he said “you need to do this and this and this.”  And so far I’ve kept on doing that.

JT:  What’s the next milestone for you?

DJ:  My next goal is to become pro and fight overseas in Shooto.

JT:  Thus far, what has been your best and worst memory of your fight career?

DJ:  Probably when Drew lost his belt to John “Prince” Albert.  Even though it had nothing to do with me, that’s probably my worst memory.  And the reason why I would say [that] is because John came in, and we didn’t overlook him, but the way he came in, and he did everything right; it’s like, that pisses me off because Drew should have been there.  And yes, things happen and stuff, but that’s my worst thing. . . because they never got a chance to fight.  Just like Caros and Taurean.  Caros beat Taurean twice with the same move, and the same sequence.  Guillotine.  But they never got a chance to fight.  Those are my worst memories – Drew losing his belt to John “Prince” Albert and Taurean losing to Caros.

JT:  What about good memories?

DJ:  My best one was probably when I defended my belt at AX and I armbarred [Jorge Garza].  And the reason why that’s probably my best memory is because of two reasons – one, that’s when Matt was saying “in order for you get to that next step, you need to start finishing people.”  And what did I do?  I finished that person.

And the second one was, that whole week, Skidds – we’re working on armbar from side control with the knee ride.  Over and over and over.  And once the chance popped up, I did everything perfect. Pushed the head down, circled around, armbarred him, pulled through, sat on my butt.  Had to break the lock, so I hammerfisted him in the face.  Once he let go, pop the hands up, and finished the armbar.  And then me and Steve had a big hug.  We were like “oh yeah, that’s what we worked on, baby.”  And it was just perfect.  Because we worked it and I wasn’t tired at all.  I could have fought somebody else that night, because I was in such good shape.

Even when flanked by his girlfriend and best friend, 'Mighty Mouse' is still all business.

Even when flanked by his girlfriend and best friend, 'Mighty Mouse' is still all business.

JT:  Tell me about your downtime.  What do you like to do when you’re trying to step away from the pressure of training and the ring?

DJ:  All I do is I come home and I chill with my girlfriend Destiny.  I like to dance a lot. . . Now that me and my girlfriend have calmed down, we don’t really go out.  But if I ever get a chance to go to an after party and dance, best believe I’ll be on the floor cutting some rug.

When she’s not here, I’m usually playing video games or working out.  And the video games I play are fighting games.  And zombie games too.

JT:  What’s worse – the 28 Days Later zombies or the remake Dawn of the Dead ones?

DJ:  I’m liking the Resident Evil zombies.  I know now, in Resident Evil 4 and 5, they’re not really zombies.  They’re the Lost Project, which is a whole different story.  But I like the whole background, how it’s a bioweapon.

JT:  How many zombies does it take to succumb Matt Hume?  How many before they turn him into a zombie?

DJ:  I’d have to say 24.

JT:  How about Matt Hume and Resident Evil zombies?

DJ:  That’s a good one.   If Matt Hume has the virus that Albert Wurtzker has, I think Matt Hume would destroy anybody in the zombie world.

JT:  Who do you think would win in a match between Matt Hume and the cartoon Mighty Mouse?

DJ:  Umm, Matt Hume. . . I think he’ll take his back and choke him out.

Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson is scheduled to fight at the next Genesis FIGHTS event, “Rise of Kings, Emperors of MMA,” on June 27th, at the Shoreline Community College.

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Verbal Sparring: Drew “The Eternal Fire” Brokenshire (Genesis FIGHTS)

Posted in Genesis FIGHTS, Interviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 21, 2009 by jaytan716

Drew Brokenshire (center right), with his team.

Drew Brokenshire (center right), with his team.

“The Eternal Fire” may seem like an unusual nickname for a fighter, but for Drew Brokenshire, it actually fits quite well.  With his red locks of hair that reflect the “fire” to his appearance, Brokenshire commented that “the Eternal” mirrors my passion and work ethic.  Moreover, that term indicates a sense of continued lineage, particularly fitting for a young man who looks to take his family name to the next level in MMA.

As the youngest of four boys, Drew Brokenshire had no dearth of male family members to look up to.  All three of his brothers were wrestlers, so it came as no surprise that “Drewdown,” as his friends know him, would follow in his brothers’ footsteps.  But competition has a way of showcasing those with a natural talent, and in the three years since his transition from collegiate wrestling to MMA, the youngest Brokenshire has risen to the top.

Splitting his time between AMC Kirkland and AMC Pacific, Brokenshire is a former Genesis FIGHTS featherweight champion and Rumble on the Ridge II Superfight champion.  Having lost his featherweight title earlier this year to John “Prince” Albert, Brokenshire is driven to turn things around, rebuild a series of wins, and reclaim his championship belt.

In this round of Verbal Sparring, Brokenshire broke down the role that wrestling and fighting plays in his family, his transition from one discipline to another, and which mutants Matt Hume would fare better against – the X-Men or Ninja Turtles.

JT:  Tell me what you can about your background and how you got into MMA.

DB:  Basically, I started wrestling in high school.  Before that, I did baseball and stuff.  My brothers were really into wrestling when they were little, so finally I got hooked into it in high school.  It was a lot of fun for me.  I had my oldest brother, Bobby, coaching me, and I had a good time with that.   I was never that good at wrestling, but I developed a good work ethic there, and I enjoyed it.

After high school, I wrestled a little bit up at Highland Community College, and while I was training for college wrestling, I got hooked up with AMC, Steve Skidds, and everybody at the [Pacific] gym, working out for wrestling.  That was because my brother Bobby Brokenshire was fighting.

JT:  How many brothers do you have?

DB:  I have three older brothers.  One passed away five or six years ago.  And I have one younger sister. . . My brother Bobby has wrestled his whole life.  He’s still coaching high school wrestling now.

JT:  What was it like growing up with three older brothers?  Were you the one that constantly got picked on and was the takedown dummy?

DB:  I don’t think we wrestled too much, but I definitely got picked on a bit. . . Me and my brother Jesse, who’s the one right above me in age, probably got the worst of it from our two older brothers.  But it was never too extreme; we never got into too many fights or anything.

JT:  Do you remember when you first match was, or how soon after you started training?

DB:  It’s kinda a cloudy area, because I don’t really remember how long I was helping other guys train.  Basically, when my brother started doing a little bit of the grappling, ‘cause I was already at the gym wrestling and whatnot.  So I’d be kind of the wrestling dummy, and just worked with those guys.  Of course. . . I kinda got caught up into it.  So I started learning as I was helping them, even though I wasn’t really planning on fighting anytime soon.  It was probably six months or something before my first fight.

JT:  Did you feel game-ready?  Was it a different kind of nervousness?  Or the same, for that matter?

DB:  Before the fight, I was supremely confident.  When I found out who I was going to me matched with, which was somebody who worked out at the same gym where we were at; we hadn’t really gone with each other with anything, but I knew enough about him where I was pretty confident.  And I ended up actually losing the fight to him by decision.  But the first fight, there wasn’t too much nervousness, because I knew my opponent and it wasn’t too big a deal.  There were definitely first fight nerves in the ring, where I just wasn’t thinking, basically.  The main thing in the first fight is to do what you trained over and over again.  So basically, a jab-cross over and over and over again, and that was about it.

JT:  You’re training out of AMC Pacific.  Do you go to the Kirkland gym as well?

DB:  I go up there usually on Saturdays.  They have the fighter training there.  I usually leave my house around 11am, and get up there about 12.  And then there’s about an hour where I just do my own thing with whoever’s there.  Get ready for fighter training and do that there.

JT:  What’s your philosophy to training?  You’ve had a long time, certainly, to develop a certain mentality for it.

DB:  Really, it’s just, with AMC, there’s just so many good coaches. I’m never afraid to ask a question and I just take all their opinions to heart.  We’ve got Matt Hume, Trevor Smith, Steve Skidds, Luke Pitman.  All these guys help me tremendously in every way.  A lot of what I do, I just ask them what I should work on and they give me one or two things and I just work on those. . . A week or two down the road, I ask them again, and we go from there.

JT:  How was the transition, of going from wrestling to MMA, for you?

DB:  It was good because with wrestling, I wasn’t very good.  I really enjoyed the striking aspect of mixed martial arts, and it’s just a lot more fun to me, to be able to do everything.  Grappling and striking.  So it was just a breath of fresh air, after doing wrestling, which I wasn’t very good at, to something that I feel I can be great at.

JT:  Walk me through when you won the title.  Around when that was and what that felt like to you, beforehand and after.

DB:  That was February of 2008. . . It felt great.  I knew Jesse [Davis] was a tough opponent.  He actually fought my brother Bobby and beat him by decision before we had fought, so there was a little extra there to save the family name and not let him be the Brokenshire Killer or something.  He trains up at AMC and he had a couple of fights under his belt. . . So it was a great feeling to be able to go out there and give the display that I did.  Especially after the fight I had before that, which was against JJ Lopez, and I got TKO’ed.  It was a good way to bounce back.

JT:  Did the loss to John Albert sting a lot?  Certainly that’s not how you anticipated the match going down.  Do you have other thoughts on the match, looking back?

DB:  Definitely.  I think it was a great experience for me, because the mistakes I made in there, and the kind of mental errors that I made right off the bat, were something that you can’t experience in the gym. . . . It definitely hurt, but I knew, as soon as I stepped out of the ring, after losing, everything that I’d done wrong.  And I identified it then, so it was good in one way.  Of course it sucked in a lot of [other ways].

JT:  What do you like to do in the downtime?  How do you decompress from the training and fighting?

DB:  Geez!  I mean, there really isn’t too much decompression time.  Right now I just hang out with my girlfriend when I’m not at the gym and stuff.  Other than that, I’m just working and working out.  That’s pretty much it.

That’s one thing that is great about mixed martial arts for me, is that it’s kind of my decompression and it’s truly fun for me.  So it’s not that hard for me to go out there and work hard.  My best friends are my training partners.  It’s where I like to be.  It’s not like work for me.  It’s just I go to hang out with my friends and have a good time.

JT:  I saw the tribute to your brother, Keith, on your MySpace page.  I’m curious to hear about your relationship with your brothers.  What’s that like, having all those guys behind you?

"The Eternal Fire," with his youngest fan.

"The Eternal Fire," with his youngest fan.

DB:  As far as my family life goes, I was raised up in a great home.  We had five kids and my parents.  They’re always supportive of everything. . . Anything that any of the kids ever needed, my parents are always more than willing to give. . . It’s definitely great to fight and have my family in the stands and stuff, and to come home and say “good job” or “get ‘em next time” if I lost, or anything like that.

JT:  Do you think a lot about your brother when you go into the ring?  Do you use him as a motivation or inspiration for victory?

DB:  At times.  I try not to dwell on it too much, but I definitely feel like he’s always looking out for me.  I definitely wish that he was around to see what I’ve done.  He came to a couple of my wrestling matches back in the day, and I’d won.  Like I said before, I was never that great at wrestling.  It would be great to have him know that I’m actually better than average at something, and I think I’m better than average at fighting.

JT:  I’d say so!  The fan following and the matches that I saw – you had a fantastic slugfest with Anton Tsiberkin there, and fans were eating that up.  Certainly your performance against Butch McGavern didn’t look too shabby either. . . Did Keith wrestle when he was alive?

DB:  Yeah, when he was younger, like junior wrestling.  He didn’t continue it through middle school or high school.

JT:  Do you and Bobby have your own side competitions on who’s training harder or who’s got the better win streak going?

DB:  Probably an unspoken one, I’m sure.  We always give each other crap.  He had fought Zach Mukai for the title and lost, and I came up later and beat Jesse for it, so I have that up on him for awhile.  And then I lost to John Albert and I’d hear about that all the time.  There’s always that little rivalry going on.

JT:  Talk to me about you as a fan of MMA.  Who are some of your favorite fighters or best matches that you’ve seen?

DB:  I love watching all of it, really.  Anybody that goes out there and just really goes for the finish, and pushes it to the limit, I can respect.  Spencer Fisher, I’ve actually sparred with him a little bit, so I love watching him fight, because he’s always so aggressive and never stops coming forward.  So he’s real exciting to watch.  Anybody with that kind of style.  Anderson Silva and most of his fights, when he’s just coming forward and just destroying people. . . Anybody that really just has that kind of ruthless offense to where they don’t stop and they aren’t worried about what their opponents are doing. . . I love watching stuff like that.  Or even just the slugfest wars.  Those are always exciting as well.

DB:  You’ve got guys like Randy Couture, who are really fun to watch.  Because he’s an older guy who always comes back to show these young guys up. . . People think, after 40, guys are done. . . I’m really just excited to see Matt Hume hopefully get back in the ring.  That’ll be an exciting thing to see.

JT:  Do you guys put pressure on him and try to rib him about making a comeback?

DB:  Well, it’s not really a ribbing.  It’s more like “please, Matt, get back in there so we can watch you fight.”  But that’s not a guy we really put a lot of pressure on.  He kinda intimidates most of us, so we kinda try not to put pressure too much.

JT:  What’s it like training under Matt?

DB:  It’s awesome.  Because you just know there’s no ceiling on where you can go.  And with all his connections and everything, I feel like I’m in the best place that I could possibly be as an amateur fighter coming up.  I know that I’m getting better constantly, and it’s through his system and all the trainers at AMC.

JT:  Describe his coaching style, in your words.  How he motivates you, the good and the bad, the scary and the inspiring.

DB:  Well, the real thing is just, you roll with him or spar with him or whatever and you just see how effortless it is for him to just pick you apart if he wants to.  And yet, anything that you ask and he’s always got an answer.  And he hardly has to think about it. He’s just got so much knowledge, it’s great to know he’s on my side [laughs].

JT:  What’s your best and your worst memory, of your career, so far?

DB:  It’s probably all the same one – my fight with JJ Lopez.  It was a real slugfest and I had to dig deep.  I was pretty sick that night . . . but we ended up just going back and forth.  And I thought it was a great fight, in watching it.  And just hearing the crowd and all that was a pretty awesome experience.  To have everybody on their feet and all that.  But at the same time, I lost a fight, so. . . It’s one of those things where you show a lot, but in the end, it wasn’t quite enough.  So I guess it was a double-edged sword where it was great, but at the same time, it sucked.

JT:  It seems to be a common mantra in MMA where some of your best memories or best lessons are learned when you lose.  You grow more through that than through the wins.

DB:  Definitely.  I mean, I lost my first two fights.  I was kinda glad to get them right off the bat.  Learn from them then, rather than have a ten-fight win streak and have two in a row.  Definitely learned a ton from my losses.  I do my best to learn from my wins and my losses, but definitely, you learn quite a bit more when you’re losing.

JT:  Were you facing some confidence issues, or were you having second thoughts, with those two losses?  Were you thinking “maybe this isn’t for me?”

DB:  No, definitely not.  My first fight, I lost a controversial decision, and my second fight, I just was making some mistakes, mainly on the ground.  Just going for things that weren’t working, and I just kept going for them . . . Right after the fight, I was really disappointed and upset.  But after talking with my coaches and understanding everything that I did do wrong, it’s just one of those things where you just gotta work harder and learn from your mistakes.  That’s one of the fun things for me, is seeing what my mistakes are and just being able to keep learning.

JT:  So you lost your first two matches and then you came back and won two matches and then the JJ Lopez fight?

DB:  Yeah, I lost my first two, then I fought Ken Daviscourt, won by TKO.  I fought Josh Chinchen on the first Genesis card, won by TKO, and I fought JJ and lost by TKO.

JT:  What goals do you have, within and without fighting?  Is this the thing you want to make your life, or are you seeing how far you can take it?

DB:  I definitely want to make a living by fighting.  I want to become a professional and make it to the top level, even be a world champion some day.  Right now, I’m just taking the steps that Matt and my coaches think I need to make to do that, which is to keep improving and fighting.  Also, on the side, I’ve been going to school. I’ve pretty much finished with my Associate’s Degree.  I want to go to a four-year school . . And probably get a degree in nutrition or something along those lines.  Personal training.  Something to keep me in the gym, because I’m truly happy in the gym, whether it be working with other guys or training myself.  Definitely the kind of core of my life right now, and it’s where I want to be.

JT:  Being in a place like AMC, where you train with local guys, but then you see these guys from the big leagues come in – names like Rich Franklin, Jens Pulver, and Spencer Fisher – what’s it like getting to work out with these guys?

DB:  Being able to talk to them and train with them is cool.  They’re just guys, like everybody else.  As far as how AMC trains and everything, it’s amazing.  The first time I sparred Jens and Spencer, I was expecting to just go in there and get dominated, but I went in there and was able to hold my own.  And it’s just a good feeling to know that the gap between amateur and professional really isn’t that large.  The ladder to your goal isn’t as big as I once thought it was.

JT:  It’s gotta be a good confidence booster.  I would think it also helps your skills, in that, for example, a coach was telling me how one of the tougher things can be to have that confidence to let your hands go sometimes.  But to feel like you can handle it against a Rich or Spencer, somebody, it gives you that confidence to let your hands go, and then your hands go.

DB & DJ - Two brothers from another mother.

DB & DJ - Two brothers from another mother.

DB:  I think it definitely plays a part.  When you go in there and you’re like ‘wow, I’m pretty good.  I can hang in there with these guys,’ yeah, it definitely does help with the whole confidence thing.

One thing with me and DJ [Demetrious Johnson], who’s my main training partner, we’ve never had a problem with letting our hands loose and stuff.  I think part of that is some of the mantra that Matt and Trevor and everybody has kind of instilled in us, which is ‘don’t worry about what your opponent’s gonna do to you.  Just worry about what you’re gonna do to them.’  Because if you’re doing what you want to do to them, they’re not going to be able to do what they want to do to you.  So I’ve never had a problem letting my hands go.

JT:  That’s another good question to ask.  Besides DJ, who are some of the other guys that really push you?  Your core team of guys that help you improve?

DB:  Basically, we have a group of guys down here at AMC South.  We’ve got Taurean Washington, Brian Roberge – they’re both amateur title holders now.  They both fight at 175 lbs.  They’re two top-ranked guys in Genesis FIGHTS, and those are two of my main training partners as well.  And Steve Skidds is our head coach down here.  And he of course pushes us and teaches us constantly as well.  Also [Luke] Pitman, who’s just coming off of a knee injury himself.  In the beginning, he was one of my core guys that really helped me with my basics and my base for fighting.

Between Taurean, Brian, DJ, Steve, and my brother Bobby, they’re basically the main core down here, and those are the guys I work with the most often.

JT:  Is there anything else about Drew Brokenshire that we should know about?

DB:  I’m a fan of superheroes.  I’m an Eagle Scout.

JT:  Are you a big comic book fan?

DB:  I don’t have a ton of comic books, but I definitely have been a fan of X-Men and everything.  Since I was little, I had all the action figures and played X-Men with my friends in the backyard.  We had a trampoline.  We were always on that playing around.  Any kind of superhero type stuff.  Ninja Turtles.  Anything like that.  You’ll probably see me wearing the shirts all the time.

JT:  Who wins in a match between Matt Hume and Wolverine?

DB:  I don’t know.  I gotta give it to Wolverine, because he’s got the rejuvenation powers.  Even if Matt beats his ass, he’s gonna keep coming.  Unfortunately, Matt doesn’t quite have his healing powers up to that rate yet.  Although he is a freak of nature.

JT:  And Matt doesn’t have the adamantium steel for the striking.  He doesn’t have those claws, so he’s really gotta work on the knockout.

DB:  Yeah, exactly.  The adamantium claws and skeleton is gonna hurt Matt’s chance of breaking his arm.

JT:  Wolverine’s gonna cause more cuts, certainly, above the eyes . . . what about which Ninja Turtle is gonna give Matt more a run for his money.

DB:  I don’t know.  I think Ninja Turtles would be in trouble against Matt.  I don’t think they can handle Matt.

Following this interview, Drew recently fought Colby Hoffman at Brian Johnston’s NW Fight Challenge VII.  He defeated Hoffman with by rear naked choke submission in the second round, becoming the new 145 lb. USAMMA champion.

Verbal Sparring: Caros Fodor (AMC Pankration)

Posted in Genesis FIGHTS, Interviews with tags , , , , , , , , on March 15, 2009 by jaytan716

Caros Fodor with Trevor Jackson (left) and Matt Hume (right)

Caros Fodor with Trevor Jackson (left) and Matt Hume (right)

Life rarely turns out how we envision it to be. Whether we achieve our goals sooner or bigger than we anticipate, or if we lose direction, wind up in a different world, and fill our lives with people, places, and priorities that we never thought possible, more often than not, we realize “this is how it was supposed to turn out.

Caros Fodor was not a wayward soul who spent time looking for his direction in life. He identified his vision of it at a young age, committed to a life in the military, and pursued it. When he discovered that it wasn’t all it’s cracked up to be, Caros found himself another path. Ironically enough, he found it in mixed martial arts, a sport known, ironically enough, for giving direction and purpose to wayward, angry, confused young men who never had the discipline or dedication that Caros demonstrated in his adolescence.

Going a few rounds of verbal sparring with me, Caros talked about growing up as part of a “team” of adoptees, the disillusionment about life in the military, and how mixed martial arts has given him direction and a clearer definition of self.

JT: Tell us a little bit about where you’re from and your martial arts background.

CF: I’m from Shoreline, WA, just north of Seattle. I wrestled just my senior year, JV. It was pretty much pointless. I didn’t really even do anything. I just did it for the exercise before I went to boot camp.

JT: Did you know you were going into the army?

CF: Yeah, when I was twelve years old, I signed up with this auxiliary military group and I made up my mind that I was going to do the whole military route. When I turned 17, my mother signed for me to go in underage, and I went into boot camp about six days after high school graduation. I did the reserves to help pay for college and stuff like that. But then, while I was in boot camp, 9/11 happened.

JT: So you knew you were going to be a military man since age 12?

CF: Yeah, I was planning on making a career out of it until I got in and went overseas into the war and stuff. I was in it for six years and it really wasn’t what I wanted to do.

JT: Can you talk us through the formative years? I’m really curious, because making a decision like that at such a young age is somewhat unusual.

CF: Me and all my brothers and my sister were all adopted. It was just my mother. There was no father figure. So I went into a military group and a lot of my peers . . . they were all going straight from high school into the military. Everybody I looked up to was doing it; and ever since I was younger, watching RAMBO and stuff, it was what I was into. So I just made up my mind really young that that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to be a sniper and wanted to be a drill instructor. I was planning on making a career out of it, until I got in and saw what it was really like. It’s still great. It just wasn’t for me.

JT: How many brothers and sisters do you have?

CF: Adopted, I have two brothers and one sister. And then, biologically, I have two sisters and one brother.

JT: What was that like growing up?

CF: It was pretty cool. . . The home I was adopted into was a foster home for autistic kids. My biological sister is autistic. My real mother [had me with my father, who is Caribbean]. Her parents are extremely racist, from Nebraska. So instead of dealing with that, she put me up for adoption. She knew my adopted mom through my sister, so I kinda went over to that side. But growing up, they kept me around my blood brother too. We were like best friends, and then around age 10, they told us that we were brothers, not just friends from the neighborhood. So that was pretty cool. We’re still pretty close. . . I see them for the holidays and stuff too.

JT: If you can, tell us more about your relationship with [adopted brother and Alderwood MMA fighter Ben Fodor].

CF: Growing up, me and Ben were just totally opposite people. We absolutely hated each other. We could not even be in the same room. We went after each other and got into fights. . . My mom would always cry trying to separate us. I was bigger, but genetically, he was just a specimen of life. He’s really big, so it was a fair fight then.

It wasn’t until I left for the war that we even actually said goodbye to each other. I came back and we were still not close at all, until I started competing in MMA. He came to my first fight and six months after that, he was training at a separate school. Because we couldn’t be together in the same school. So he started training in Charlie’s Combat Club, and he started fighting. . . [now] he’s at Alderwood MMA. And through MMA we’ve developed a relationship now. We’re definitely closer than we ever have been in the past.

JT: When he went to your first match, was he rooting against you?

CF: I don’t know. Secretly, I’m sure he was [laughs].

JT: Was boot camp as hard as you envisioned it to be?

CF: Physically, it was really hard, but mentally, the hardest thing for me was being away from my family. First time being far away from home. . . I was 17; I was the youngest marine, like, three years in a row in my platoon. . . That was more challenging than the actual physical and mental drain down there.

JT: And you were in Iraq?

CF: I was there for the invasion. They called and I got sent over to Kuwait in February of 2003. We invaded, I believe, March 19th. Then I came home about a month after we took Baghdad.

JT: You didn’t have to go back and do other tours?

CF: No, I was actually very lucky to only have to do one tour over there. . . I came back in the summer of 2003. That’s actually how this whole MMA thing started. Growing up, from one year old to 19, I had never once been in a physical fight ever in my life. And I came home from the war and I was all pissed off. I was drinking a lot and, just, being this shithead for quite awhile. And then, from June of 2003, when I came home, until about September of 2004, I had been in 20 street fights. Just in that one period. We had this kind of crew that we were running with, and we would all just get obliteratingly drunk. And we used to do the stupidest things ever, like going to frat parties and picking fights.

That went on for quite awhile, until January of 2005. I remember there was like eight of us, from the little crew we had. Because we were fighting so much, we were like “well, maybe we should start learning how to fight for real, so we can finish these fights quicker, instead of having them drag out.” And that’s how we ended up at AMC.

I’m sure [Matt Hume] will remember when . . . because we all came in together. We all sat up in the loft and he walked up. In reality, we were just a bunch of punks trying to figure out how to end the street fights quicker, but it just took a couple months of being around them and a lot of it changed. Matt and Trevor [Jackson] were just really good influences in my life. And I saw how responsible men are actually supposed to act. I’d gotten into thinking that I wanted to compete and I started.

Pretty much all eight of my friends whom I started with quit, but I stuck with it. I’ve been there for over four years now. I think I was involved in one fight after since I’ve been there.

JT: Was there a frustration in that the armed forces wasn’t what you wanted it to be, that drove you, when you came back?

CF: I guess I had a pretty bad case of PSD [Post-traumatic Stress Disorder] after the war. I was only 19 and I was drinking more than you ever should. It was just a shitty time over there, for sure, and I was just confused in the head and taking it out. . . I was full of anger, I guess, and just got into a fight. The summer I came home, I enjoyed it quite a bit. The rush of it, and the aftermath – and with drunk people, it just spreads and it turned into bullshit.

The armed forces wasn’t . . . I’m definitely glad I did it. I learned so much about life and people and reality. I took a lot from it. It’s just that the experience over there, and the games that happen, and all the bullshit – it’s definitely not for me.

JT: I think that’s one of the big lessons in general about life: you realize that things are often 180 degrees from what you envision it to be as a kid. Loss of innocence is a son of a bitch for anybody.

CF: Absolutely. That’s totally the truth.

JT: What do you remember about those early years training and the first couple of matches?

CF: [My first opportunity to fight] was nine months into my walking into AMC. I was really nervous, because other than that one year of wrestling, I’d never really competed on a one-on-one level in front of an audience. . . And I was fighting a guy from our school. He was bigger, and I knew who he was. . . I’ve never even seen footage of it. No one recorded it. I ended up losing a split decision. And that was devastating.

But the fight was on Saturday, and I was in the gym Monday training. Matt said I could fight again on his next card. I signed up and fought against a guy who was a wrestler. He beat me in a unanimous decision. The first fight was really close. It was real controversial and I could have won. The second fight, he got me in the nose in the opening round and it just totally freaked me out. I just got my ass whooped my second fight, straight up.

And this phobia kinda started, because I’d lost my first two fights and I was really starting to think. But I was in the gym again on Monday after the fight . . . training and trying to get better. Trevor, the secondary coach, he kinda . . . took me under his wing, and started working with me. And I haven’t lost ever since he started that. . . I couldn’t ask for anything better. I’m on a seven-fight win streak.

JT: Four years of training – that’s a long time, and it’s certainly a great establishment. Tell us about the changes you’ve seen in yourselve.

CF: As a martial artist, it’s unbelievable. I’m ten times what I was in my first fight. And now Matt has all these real famous pros coming over; I’m able to test myself with them. I’m just so thankful to be able to be with Matt at AMC. To have him and Trevor as coaches, because they’re just world class. It really shows when I get to go with the pros who come in. I’m not where I want to be, but I’m definitely on the right track, I think.

JT: Matt [has always been known as] one who always let his actions speak louder than his words. It seems to be a running theme with AMC guys.

CF: Absolutely. He never talks shit ever. He’s just an animal. He runs through absolutely everybody that ever comes to the gym. It’s amazing to watch him. And he’s got answers. I’ve never seen him stumped by a question. He just flicks his finger and he has an answer right away.

We always joke that people have one thing that they’re supposed to do in life and he’s definitely found it. That’s just what he is, a fighting machine.

JT: What’s Trevor like as a coach? What’s he helped you develop in your game?

CF: He’s great too. He’s Matt’s #1 student, so he has the whole AMC style. Tutoring-wise, he’s a little different. You think of Matt like the father and Trevor like the older brother. . . Matt’s the head dog that handles all the pros. Trevor’s teaching the class and the up-and-coming amateur fighters.

JT: Kinda like Yoda and Obi-Wan Ben Kenobi maybe?

CF: Yeah, kinda. You have the master and the second master. That’s pretty much exactly how it is.

JT: What about yourself? Tell us about your own approach and philosophy to training. What’s your belief, whether it’s about visualization or a lot of guys subscribe yourself to the approach of “kill yourself in the gym so it’s easier in the ring?”

CF: Yeah, that’s pretty much the mentality I take with it. I train like how Matt has instructed us to train in the past. That’s pretty intense. In training, to make the fight easier, you sweat . . . and fight it out in the gym. I take everything extremely serious. Especially losing my first two fights, I know what defeat feels like, and I’m definitely not trying to feel that anytime soon. I put a lot of work into getting ready for a fight. . . People don’t need to sit there and tell me to do my cardio. I do it on my own just out of fear of. . . I don’t want to get tired in a fight. I like to go real hard, getting ready for a fight. I don’t want to get in a fight and get shocked, so I’m going to spar pretty hard and try to avoid injury . . . That’s pretty much Matt’s way, that’s pretty much the AMC way of training.

JT: What would you say is harder, boot camp or training for a fight?

CF: I mean, there’s different aspects. Physically, training for a fight, without a doubt. But boot camp is a little different. You have sleep deprivation and food deprivation. And then the stresses of combat and stuff. So it’s a little bit different, but truly, getting ready for a fight, like a professional should . . . training for a fight has to be by far the hardest.

JT: What about mentally?

CF: It’s almost right about the same levels, because I always get really nervous for fights. Because I know anything can happen in a fight. I trained hard and I don’t want to let people down. But compared to boot camp, it’s probably about the same.

JT: Have you gotten used to performing in front of crowds?

CF: Yeah, just about three fights ago is when, finally, for the first time, I remember going in the ring and touching gloves and actually thinking. . . about my opponent; and when a punch comes, I can start doing planned moves, instead of, before that, like my first five, I swear, it was just instinct. When you get hit, you just counter back, just out of instinct. But now, I’m to the point where, when we’re across from each other, my heart rate’s down. I remember seeing people in the crowd. I’m actually focused, and my game plan is right there. I think I’ve reached that point. I hit that about on my fifth fight, and it’s still been there ever since. So hopefully it never goes away.

JT: Would you say it helps you to enjoy the fight a little bit more?

CF: Yeah, definitely, because I’m not so wigged out. And performance-wise, it’s amazing. . . I’m able to focus; that’s just absolutely a necessity. I don’t know how I made it through my other ones without it. I think it just comes from time, being in front of an audience and just stuff like that. I’ve got it now and I don’t want to lose it.

JT: What would you say is the best and the worst memory of your fight career?

CF: The worst would be, probably, losing my second fight. Because that was an utter beating. I was held down, my face was all messed up, and I had all my family and friends there. It was my second loss in a row and everyone was telling me I shouldn’t do this sport, that it wasn’t for me, and what was I doing. That was pretty tough to get over.

If I win [my next match], that’s going to be my biggest moment, because there’s a lot riding on this fight, and I’ve been working hard. This is one of my toughest opponents, so if I win, then on March 21st, it’ll be my happiest moment.

Besides that, probably, when I beat Taurean Washington for the second time and I got my third belt. Matt and Trevor were in the ring with me and we got a picture of all three of us together with the three belts. That was probably one of my happiest moments.

JT: Tell us what you know about Blaine, and your thoughts about this match.

CF: Normally, I never try to look into it, but I broke down about a week ago and I tried finding out a lot about him. But there’s nothing really out there about him. I taped his last fight on our card out of Bellevue, so I have that footage. I think he’s 5-0; he has to be close to that. He’s a submission guy; he’s from Team Quest. Just based on his last fight, I think he thinks he has descent hands, because he wasn’t afraid to throw ‘em, but I don’t think that’s his specialty. He has a pretty good guard. He does a lot of rubber guard. . . He had at least five catches of submissions on the ground . . . So he’s definitely very flexible. Likes to use his hips and is always flinging them around, trying to catch whatever he can.

JT: What about downtime? What do you like to do when you’re away from the gym and you’re trying to decompress?

CF: I work, so my schedule is that I wake up around 7:00 in the morning. I take a lunch at 11:00. I go lift weights or I run. Do my sprints. Come back to work at 2:00. Get off at about 4:30, and I got straight to AMC. We start training at 5:00 and we get out of there about 9:00. So my only downtime is on the weekends and off-season. I’m still kinda stuck in that rut of going out, clubs and drinking. But it’s nothing like it was; my mentality is completely, just totally different than how it ever was. But I still like to go out and have a good time. Fight time, I kinda cut back on that and just hang out.

Now the [AMC team], we’ve got a pretty tight group and we see each other almost every weekend and hang out, watch fights, or talk about our up and coming fights. Stuff like that.

JT: It strikes me that AMC seems to keep tight together away from the gym, as well as inside the gym.

CF: It wasn’t like that in the beginning, but it’s turned into a real tight group. Especially since Matt’s got these cards coming. We’ve got a pretty good circle of about eight guys that really try to pull everybody in, and its turning into a really great thing.

JT: Besides Matt and Trevor, who would you say pushes you the hardest at AMC?

CF: Probably myself. There’s another trainer, Brad Kurtson, who’s absolutely amazing. He and Trevor are pretty much on the same level. When Matt’s there, even when he looks across the room and I can feel his eyes on me, I start going as hard as I can. I don’t know what it is about him but I always try to go 110% for him. But other than that, I push myself pretty hard mentally. I think I’m more judgmental on myself than most people are.

JT: Educate us on the Pacific Northwest fight scene. MMA has been up there for a long time, obviously.

CF: There are a lot of famous fighters around. There’s Josh {Barnett}, Jeff Monson, Maurice Smith, Matt . . . There’s a bunch of sister schools who came up from Matt, who went out and started their own schools, like Charlie’s Combat Club and Aldenwood, and stuff like that.

I think the amateur circuit is really big. . . . I’ve heard of other places that don’t have that good of one and fighters are short. There’s cards going on all the time, from Spokane to Olympia. . . I can’t really say. . . because I’ve never been somewhere else to look at the fight circuit, but from what I’ve heard from other people, Seattle’s got a [comparatively] pretty big circuit.

JT: Do you think that we’re going to see an influx of that on the national and international scene pretty soon? Guys getting signed to Zuffa or over in Japan

CF: Oh God, I hope so!

JT: [Laughs] Of course. You plan on being one of them.

CF: I’m just kinda rolling with Matt. I have total faith in him. We’ve never even had a real conversation about what the plan is, but I know that whenever he decides I’m ready, hopefully it’s going to be something big. And he’s got really good connections. I know he’s got good plans.

JT: If you had to make a living where you would never throw another punch or another kick, or you couldn’t do submissions, what do you think you would do?

CF: Actually, I wanted to be a homicide detective. I applied to a couple different agencies, and I was real close, but all the stuff I did when I came back from the war, being stupid, actually disqualified me for quite awhile. I was disqualified a week before I fought Taurean the second time. Neither department was going to hire me, and they both told me to go back and straighten myself up and come back in a couple of years. And that’s when I kinda made a decision to – I was with Matt, I’m training at a great school. I’m young, have no real big injuries, and can recover, so I’ve decided to try and make a run at this and see how far I can take this. But if something happened, whatever, bodily injuries, I couldn’t fight anymore, I’d definitely want to be a homicide detective.

JT: That’s both an adamant answer and a serious job too. You don’t rest too much during life. It doesn’t sound like that’s your style.

CF: Yeah, well, we’re only here once. Again, I watched a bunch of movies when I was younger and it got me hooked. I’ve seen THE WIRE too many times.

JT: Give me some of your top movies. You’re clearly an action / Jim Belushi / Schwarzenegger kind of guy.

CF: When I was younger, MISSING IN ACTION, RAMBO, a lot of horror movies, like FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH, Freddy Krueger. Growing up as a real young kid, there was no rules as to what we could watch. So I was on those since six years old. HEAT is a big one. THE WIRE is awesome. GENERATION KILL, about the Iraq war, is great. All the great action movies.

JT: Who would win in a fight, Chuck Norris or Matt Hume?

CF: Matt Hume. No question

JT: [Laughs] For the record: “which he said with no hesitation whatsoever”. . . How would he beat him?

CF: Probably knockout with a knee to the head.

Caros Fodor squares off against Blaine MacIntosh of Team Quest on March 21st, at Genesis FIGHTS: Hostile Takeover, at the Shoreline Community College. The winner of that match will go on to fight in the lightweight Unified World Grand Prix, facing challengers from Shooto (Japan), Golden Glory (Holland), and Adrenaline MMA (Midwest U.S.).

Tickets are on sale at http://www.GenesisFights.com.

Posted in Genesis FIGHTS, Live Event Reports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 7, 2008 by jaytan716
Genesis FIGHTS: Cold War took place on December 6th, 2008, at the Bellevue Community College just outside Seattle, WA.

Genesis FIGHTS: Cold War took place on December 6th, 2008, at the Bellevue Community College just outside Seattle, WA.

The Emerald City celebrated their “season’s beatings” early, as Genesis FIGHTS held their final MMA / kickboxing event of 2008.  Entitled ‘Cold War,” the event took place at the Bellevue Community College.

Nine different fight teams participated in the night’s fight card of 15 bouts.  AMC Pankration had eight representatives on the bill, including Drew Brokenshire, Taurean Washington, and Demetrius Johnson all defending their respective featherweight, welterweight, and bantamweight titles.  In addition, the first two regional elimination matches for entry into the 155-pound Unified World Grand Prix of MMA (UWGP) took place.  The winners of those matches will square off in 2009 to determine who will be one of four participants in the UWGP.

The UWGP is a global tournament in the 155-pound weight class organized and promoted by a collective of promoters (including Genesis FIGHTS promoter Matt Hume) from North America, Asia (SHOOTO), Hawaii, and Europe (GOLDEN GLORY).  Each region is holding a four-man tournament to determine their regional representative, which will be a one-night four-man tournament to take place in 2009.  The winner of the UWGP will receive a multi-fight contract to a major MMA organization.

1. Greg “The Rage” Sage (AMC Pankration) vs. Julian Martin (Brian Johnson Kickboxing Academy), 155 lb. Novice Kickboxing

Sage was the first of eight AMC Pankration fighters on the bill tonight.  The first round saw Sage and Martin exchange kicks.  Martin, with the height advantage, largely kept Sage at bay with side and low kicks and jab combinations.  Sage was wearing a vicious red welt on his right flank.  Sage charged in at the beginning of the second round, but Martin caught him with a right cross.  Martin dropped sage by catching a right kick and tripping him over.  Sage largely tried to push the fight with charges.  In the third round, Sage picked his shots, using kicks and mid-range punches, while Martin kept his distance.  Sage did land a spinning back kick and dropped Martin with a left low kick.  Towards the end of the round, Sage charged Martin with body shots and clinched him against the ropes.  It looked like Sage had more gas in the tank.  Both fighters raise their hands in victory and share some mutual audience applause at the end of the match.

Greg Sage is awarded the match by split decision, giving AMC its first win for the night.

2. Craig Beatty (AMC Pankration) vs.  X Bowers (Brian Johnson Kickboxing Academy), 205 lb. Novice MMA

Round one was worth the price of admission alone, as Beatty & Bowers battled it out like an amateur level Griffin-Bonner.  Beatty fired the opening salvo with a right jab and Muay Thai knees.  Bowers fended the attack off with straight punches, slapping on a front headlock after Beatty slipped and fell.  They broke apart and continued to exchange hard shots, including Beatty almost taking Bower’s head off with a right hook.  The fans were into this match, including foot-stomping. Neither man was much for head defense, but both were giving it their all. In round two, Beatty took command with Muay Thai knees and body shots.  Bowers was exhausted and fell to the ground.  Beatty took the back, but Bowers rolled over and ended up on top, almost in Beatty’s guard.  Beatty is worked for an armbar from below.  Bowers threw Beatty to the side and took his back, but Beatty reversed back and got full mount.  Bowers eventually rolled over, allowing Betty to sink in the choke at 2:43 of the second round.  The crowd was ecstatic.

3. Jesse Winkler (Eastside MMA) vs. Sean Lindsey (Brian Johnson Kickboxing Academy), Heavyweight Novice MMA

Lindsey is solid and looks game, almost like a smaller version off Kryzsztof Soszynski.  The first round saw Lindsey take the clinch several times.  The first time, he took Winkler to several corners, throwing knees in between.  Winkler landed a hard right cross.  If this was Vegas, the fans would have been rabidly booing, but Seattleites know their MMA.  Lindsey slapped on a front headlock to wear Winkler down, but Winkler held on, possibly baiting Lindsay into wasting energy.  It apparently worked, as Lindsey looked tired after breaking, but he bought some time by keeping Winkler at bay with kicks.  Lindsey swung hard to finish the fight, but Winkler’s got in some lefts and rights of his own.  Early in the second round, the ref halted the action, asking a doctor to check a cut over Winkler’s left eye.  But the bleeding was too much, and as such, the doctor called off the fight.

Sean Lindsey was awarded the match at 0:20 of the second round via TKO / doctor’s stoppage.

4. Eric Kennedy (AMC Pankration) vs. Dex Montenegro (Eastside MMA), 145 lb. Novice MMA

Montenegro wore shorts with the colors of the Filipino national flag.  As this fight happened on the same night as the De la Hoya-Pacquiao fight, this didn’t seem like a coincidence.

Kennedy stunned Montenegro early and slapped on a front headlock.  Montenegro escaped and got a guillotine after Kennedy shot in.  They took it to the ground and Kennedy eventually got a rear naked choke, with accompanying body triangle, but Montenegro fought it to the end of the round.  In round two, Kennedy scored another takedown and claimed top control early.  But the referee stood them up, at which point it Montenegro fought back with explosive leg kicks and punch combinations all the way to the end of the round.

Eric Kennedy was awarded the match via unanimous decision.

5. Brian Belisle (Bonney Lake, WA) vs. Leo Hoover (Gator MMA), Heavyweight Novice MMA

From the get-go, these two behemoths wanted to throw heavy artillery.  Hoover declined the opening round knuckle bump. Twelve seconds later, Hoover’s backed up his arrogance with a striking flurry that left Belisle on the ground.  This writer barely had time to blink.

6. Jordan Mclaughlin (Eastside MMA) vs. Jory Erickson (Great Northern Fight Club), 205 lb. Novice MMA

Erickson immediately scored a takedown.  Mclaughlin briefly had Erickson’s right arm, but before you knew it, Erickson had the back with hooks in.  Mclaughlin tried to roll out of it, but ends up tapping out at the one-minute mark of the first round.

7. James Kim (Eastside MMA) vs. Tim Williams (Brian Johnson Kickboxing Academy), 165 lb. Novice Kickboxing

Lots of engaging in the middle of the ring, with Williams throwing body shots, and Kim attacking with hard kicks and headshots.  Williams covered up, but Kim’s shots still got through.  James commanded ring generalship in this round, although Williams turned the steam up in the last 10 seconds.  In round two, Williams tried to make up for it, drilling Kim with headshots and a clear head kick.  By the end of it, Kim had a wicked red welt on the right side of his stomach.  Williams continued the assault in round three, but Kim volleyed back with leg kicks, and a superman punch.  Both men gave it their all to the end, but Tim Williams was awarded the match by decision.

At this point, ring announcer Dar Johnson announced a 10-minute intermission, which the crowd actually booed.  Clearly, Seattleites like their MMA.

8. Josh Baker (AMC Pankration) vs.  Brian McGrath (Great Northern Fight Club), 185 lb. Novice MMA

The cornrowed Baker is a fan favorite from Hume’s AMC Pankration team.  He walks over to the other corner and gives double knuckle bumps, demonstrating his fan favorite style.

Baker & McGrath went through an intense feeling out period in the first round, striking hard and backing away.  McGrath tried to take advantage of Baker overextending himself, but Baker catches a kick and tripped McGrath over, falling into his guard.  McGrath muted Baker by overhooking his arms, but the hometown favorite was able to pull out of guard.  Back on their feet, Baker dropped McGrath with a left jab as McGrath kicked a body shot.  The crowd was very Japanese for this match (read “intensely quiet and respectful of the fighters’ skills).

The Even-Steven battle continued in the second round.  Baker scored a takedown and got side position briefly before, they both came to their feet and traded knees before separating.   McGrath proved to be a tough challenge for Baker, who kept distance with low kicks.  McGrath saw his low kicks and raised them with head kicks.  Another clinch saw more knee exchanges and a head kick by McGrath as they separated.  McGrath once more stunned Baker, who shot for a takedown just before the bell ended the match.

Judges gave the match to Josh Baker by split decision.  Despite some audience boos, both showed great sportsmanship.  McGrath is no sore loser.

9. Ben Fodor (Alderwood MMA) vs. Justin Nelson (Team Quest), 170 lb. A-class MMA

Seemingly taking his cues from The Rock and Big Daddy Kane, Ben Fodor is a star in the making, and he clearly knows it.

However, in round one, Fodor found himself on the defensive for much of the match.  Nelson took Fodor down twice, but the two ended back up on their feet.  Nelson had the height and reach advantage, taking Fodor down in the corner, but Fodor was able to get to his feet and push the pressure on Nelson with overhand rights.  Nelson eventually got Fodor on the ground again and trapped him in a rear naked choke, then maintaining control with full mount and ground and pound tactics.  Ending up on the feet again, Fodor was able to mar a judo takedown, but Nelson forced it and continued to rain down punches.  Fodor gave it his all to get out of it and finally got to his feet, hurling overhand rights past Nelson’s guard as the bell rang.

In the second round, Fodor used his wrestling to prevent several takedown attempts.  Nelson worked hard for the takedown, but Fodor threw him off and dropped bombs, even with Nelson halfway out of the ring.  Nelson eventually got Fodor to the ground, where Fodor went for a leglock / ankle twist.  Back on their feet, Nelson continued the takedown assault with a judo toss attempt and another single-leg.  Fodor threw a high kick, followed by a spinning backfist that missed, but which popped the crowd.  By the end of the round, Fodor was blown up, but not so much that he didn’t have energy to play to the crowd.

But that wasn’t enough for the judges, who gave the decision to Justin Nelson.  Fodor looked out of his element in defeat.  Probably because at 8-0 up to that point, he was.

10. Brian Roberge (AMC Pankration) vs. Tim Sternod (Brian Johnson Kickboxing Academy), 170 lb. A-class MMA ranking fight

Roberge and Sternod were fast and furious in this barnburner.  Despite an early time-out for an eye poke on Sternod, the match continued.  Roberge had some nice combinations, connecting often.  The crowd once again “turned Japanese” for this match.  Roberge dropped Sternod, but couldn’t pass guard, so he stacked Sternod and dropped lefts.  As Sternod tried to escape from bottom by climbing up a single, then double-leg takedown position, Roberge peppered him with rights.  Roberge was working bodyshots from side control when the bell ended.

After taking another look at Sternod’s eye, the doctor stopped the match, awarding the match to Brian Roberge.

Brian McGrath & Josh Baker are brought into the ring.  Scorecard recalculations turn Baker’s win into a draw (and AMC’s record to 4-0-1.  There was minimal rejection from the crowd, even though their hometown hero was denied his victory.

11. Blaine Macintosh (Team Quest) vs. Rico Rough (United Fight Team), 155 lb. Unified World Grand Prix match

This was the first of two UWGP qualifier matches for the night.  Rough and Macintosh traded shots early in the match, with Macintosh connecting on punches and Rough throwing low kicks.  Rough caught a midsection kick from Macintosh and tripped him for the takedown, slamming Macintosh with a powerbomb after almost getting caught in an armbar.  Macintosh continued the jiu-jitsu assault with a rubberguard and gogoplata.  Rough escaped, but was gassed enough for Macintosh to capitalize with ground-and-pound, followed by a body triangle / rear naked choke.  Rough finally tapped at 3:34 of the first round.

12. Caros Fodor (AMC Pankration) vs. Kyle Gotzman (Silverdale, WA), 155 lb. Unified World Grand prix match

Caros Fodor, adopted brother of Ben, is another AMC hometown favorite and a regional triple champion, holding two belts in Genesis FIGHTS and another title in a different promotion.  Both Fodor and Gotzman are U.S. Marines.

Fodor and Gotzman didn’t waste time in engaging right off the bat.  Fodor got the clinch and threw Muay Thai knees until scoring a takedown.  Gotzman held a tight clinch from the bottom, but Fodor eventually got side mount, then full mount, working a kimura / Americana.  Finally, Fodor spun around to catch an armbar on Gotzman, who tapped out at 2:04 of the first round.

Caros Fodor will now face Blaine Macintosh in early 2009 to determine the Genesis FIGHTS representative in the UWGP, which takes place later next year.

13. Drew Brokenshire (AMC Pankration) vs. 9-1 Butch McGavern (Victory Athletics), 145 lb. Genesis MMA Title fight

Brokenshire’s was the first of three Genesis FIGHTS title defenses for AMC for the night.

Brokenshire and McGavern traded blows from the start.  With no delay, Brokenshire tagged McGavern with a right cross to his left temple, instantly dropping his challenger.  He followed up with ground-and-pound shots until the referee pulled him off at 0:17 in the first round.

14. Taurean Washington (AMC Pankration) vs. Justin Larsson (Twin Dragons), 170 lb. Genesis MMA Title fight

With the title vacant, Washington and Larsson were both hungry to claim championship gold.    

After briefly feeling each other out, Washington and Larsson clashed with simultaneous hard rights.  Larsson clinched up and went for a takedown that almost propelled them both out of the ring.  Restarting in the middle, Washington tagged Larsson with another right that dropped Larsson like a sack of potatoes at 1:35 of the first round.  This was almost a replay of the previous match.  Larsson was out cold for several minutes, but he was eventually able to get up of his own accord.  The crowd was respectably quiet and concerned for Larson, giving him an honorable round of applause as he exits the ring.

15. Demetrious Johnson (AMC Pankration) vs. 7-3  Forest Seabourne (Victory Athletics), 135 lb. Genesis MMA Title fight

This was Johnson’s first title defense of 2008, as his previous Genesis FIGHTS matches this year were in Muay Thai (May) and boxing (February), notching up wins in both outings.    

This was fast scrap between wrestlers.  Seabourne scored a takedown early in the first round, but didn’t hold Johnson down for long.  Johnson came back with a hard right.  The two vied for control standing, ending up in whizzer position against the ropes.  Seabourne was able to throw Johnson to the ground, but couldn’t capitalize on it before Johnson got to his feet.  Johnson continues his striking with Muay Thai knees.  They finally ended up on the ground from whizzer position, with Johnson in Seabourne’s half-guard.  Johnson was able to employ some ground-and-pound rights while using his wrestling to keep Seabourne on the ground.  Seabourne eventually escaped and Johnson chased him with a high kick.  Johnson got another takedown and sunk his hooks in, tying up a rear naked choke and getting the tap at the 4:09 mark of the first round.

Although not a team tournament, AMC Pankration claimed the “Cold War” definitively, with a powerful 8-0-1 record for the night, including first-round finishes in the last four matches of the night.  Brian Roberge also had an early night, taking his match by doctor’s stoppage, while Eric Kennedy and Greg Sage went all the way to decision victories.  Craig Beatty finished his opponent midway through the second round with one of the most exciting submissions of the night.

Genesis FIGHTS next event will take place on March 21st, 2009, at the Shoreline Community College.