Jim Alers Interview

Jim Alers

This Friday, almost exactly a year to the day after we watched him win the Cage Warriors Featherweight title at CWFC 53 in Glasgow, Orlando’s Jim ‘the Beast’ Alers makes his long awaited UFC debut at Fight Night 40 in Abu Dhabi, facing Iraqi by way of Germany’s Alan Omer.

Jim’s willingness to give us an interview back then, combined with his skills in the cage and genuine personality has made him one of our favourite fighters.

Since winning the CWFC title, Alers made two successful defences of the belt, decisioning giant Swede Martin Svensson and submitting Scotland’s own Graham Turner (yeah, we must like him if we’re still fans after he tapped one of our beloved Ninjas) to hold on to the belt and more than earn his crack at the UFC.

Jim enters the UFC with a 12-1 professional record and riding an eight fight win streak, with only one of his thirteen fights going the distance. Let’s see what he’s got to say…

After a vocal social media campaign and a successful run in Cage Warriors, you are finally in the UFC – what does that mean to you?

The feeling is quite indescribable. How many people can say that they have reached one of their life long goals in life. I have put countless hours into making it to the big show and now that I am here. I am here to stay.

Does it make any difference that you are debuting in Abu Dhabi, rather than the card a week later in your home town, Orlando?

It does not make a difference at all I have told others that I feel maybe me fighting in Abu Dhabi is for the best. My last five fights have been out of the country so maybe fighting at home will be a bit overwhelming for my UFC debut. I hope to eventually get the chance to fight at home but right now Abu Dhabi is going to be just fine.

Your opponent, Alan Omer is also making his UFC debut and like yourself has most of his wins by submission – do you see this being a primarily grappling based match?

There is a good chance that the fight will end up on the ground but if it does I am hoping that it stays exciting. I’m going to be going for the kill the whole time either on the feet or on the ground.

We saw you win the Cage Warriors championship in Glasgow last year which is a long way from Florida. Did you enjoy your time with the promotion, despite the long flights?

I am going to miss everyone over at Cage Warriors I loved every minute that I was with the promotion. It was a blessing to be able to fly around the world, do what I love and get the international recognition I needed to get noticed by the UFC.

You were twice supposed to face Conor McGregor in Cage Warriors – is he an opponent you’d like to face now that you are both in the UFC?

If that is a fight that the fans still would want to see then I will be happy to slam him to the mat and choke him out. 🙂

Who has been your most challenging opponent and who would you most like to fight in future?

My most challenging opponent had to be Freddy Assuncao (whom Jim defeated by submission in the second round at Art of Fighting 6 in Florida back in November 2009.) I remember him coming at me with all sorts of kicks and being rocked by a superman punch. He is having a great career with me being his only loss.

I haven’t really thought about fighting anyone in particular in the UFC I just wanted to show that I belong here and will beat anyone they put in front of me. If I had to choose though it will be that cocky Irish Guy for sure.

Tell us a story from your fight related travels.

After fighting in Jordan I decided to take a trip to Lebanon with my coach for a few days. I am the type of guy who tries all sorts of new things to eat. Well I ate and ate all sorts of new and exotic foods in Lebanon and felt fine but I think once I tried the minced raw lamb my stomach said enough is enough. Lets just say I was in the bathroom for many hours after that.

What’s the last song you listened to?

That Happy song by Pharrel

What’s the monkey hat all about?

The monkey hat is who I am. I’m wild and crazy. I like to think I have ape strength. I started wearing it in the beginning of my win streak and just kept going with it

Give us a life lesson in only five words.

Live Life To The Fullest

Last of all, a quick shout out to your sponsors, team etc.

I’d like to thank my team Tough As Nails MMA for pushing me everyday. Many other people outside my team has helped me get ready as well but just to many to name. I want to thank you though. Also a big shout out to my sponsors.

We’d like to thank Jim for taking the time to speak to us and we wish him the best of luck in his fight on Saturday and fixture career.

#FearTheMonkeyHat #BeastMode

UFC Fight Night 40 will be via the UFC Fight Pass service.


Allan Love Interview


In which we talk about boy bands, gluttony, socialism, hardcore punk  and title aspirations with Scotland’s top Middleweight.

With fellow Griphouse fighters Robert Whiteford and Joanne Calderwood getting called up to the UFC as well as Steven Ray and Graham Turner fighting for the Cage Warriors world title, teammate Allan ‘No’ Love looks to grab some spotlight for himself as he faces France’s Norman Paraisy on this weekend’s CWFC Fight Night 10 card in Jordan.

Love (11-4) comes into this fight on a 4-0 streak with the victories earned across Europe and with all his victories coming via stoppage and his losses coming to some of the continent’s best, he is undoubtedly an exciting high quality fighter.

Paraisy (13-3-2) is arguably the biggest name Love has faced to date and currently sits on a four fight unbeaten streak where he has notably ground out contentious results against more aggressive fighters like Chris Fields and Leeroy Barnes.

With the winner of the fight surely in the hunt for the vacant Cage Warriors title, we caught up with Allan for some pre-fight anecdotes.

– This weekend you return to Cage Warriors after two years with a 4-0 streak behind you. Are you gunning for the title?

Well a win here certainly puts me in contention, I think having most of those wins on other promotions probably hurts my claims for a title shot but you never know. They’ve signed a few 2 good Middleweights in the last few weeks so you’ve got to think that the winner of Marshman and Azaitar will be looking for a shot as will Faycal Hucin and Jack Hermasson so there’s plenty of people after that title.

– You’ve fought in five countries in your last six fights. Please share a story from your fight travels.

Last fight I had in Belarus, we got to Minsk Airport and got through customs etc. and were sitting waiting in the lobby to get picked up. Nothing happened for quite some time and we made friends with a Belgian guy and his corner man who was fighting on the show as well. Sitting about for about an hour at this point and Garry Christie who’s cornering me notices that a large group of girls in their early 20’s have assembled and are holding a sign with the word “BLUE” on it. He remarked it’d be funny if it was for the forgotten early 00’s boy band Blue. Then we saw the weird portrait of a man kissing a baby that they had which Gaz reliably informed me was of Lee from Blue and they also had a Union flag there as well.
We thought it was worth a picture as no one would believe a throng of women are there for the arrival of a piss poor decade old British boy band in Minsk. Subtlety was never our strong point and we got rumbled taking the picture. Luckily this struck up conversation with the girls who were a friendly bunch for a group excited about the visit of Blue and gave us all a chocolate bar, I was waiting to make weight so it wasn’t ideal but the thought was appreciated. Anyway, our lift didn’t turn up for another hour and when he did he spoke no English so one of the girls acted as a translator.
Then the driver took us to his car, only English he spoke was to say “Russian Mafia” and pointed to some tattoos on his knuckles then put us in the car, stuck a porno on in an in car DVD player then left for another half hour.
Those things don’t happen on Cage Warriors shows, which is a good thing really. But when things run smoothly and on time there tends to be less funny stories.

– Before your current win streak you went through a 1-4 slump in 2010-11. What made the difference in your fortunes?

Rub of the green, I’m a better fighter now than I was then but I think the difference has just been a bit of luck in certain fights. When I wasn’t getting it I went 1-4 and now I’m getting I’m 4-0. Just little things like opponents not capitalising on your mistakes or you not landing quit as cleanly. Those sort of things

– Your opponent on Saturday is France’s Norman Paraisy, who has recently made a habit of stealing decisions from more openly aggressive fighters. How do you see yourself sealing the victory?

I wouldn’t say he stole any decisions, they were all good calls from the judges but I take your point he has done what he has to win and not looked spectacular in doing so. In football they say that’s the sign of a championship winning side, but this isn’t football. I’ve got 11 wins all by stoppage and my plan to seal the victory is to take it out of the judges hands.

– Recent months have been great for the Dinky Ninjas, what do you attribute the team’s success to?

It’s a cheesy answer but hard work and good coaching is key to everything we do. There’s no egos, everyone gets on with it and does the work, everyone is there to help each other out and with a big talent pool like we have it’s hard not to get results in that environment.

– With the UFC pencilled in to hold their first Scottish show next year, could you see yourself appearing on the card?

The UFC have been talking about a Scottish show for years and it’s not happened so I’m not holding my breath. As for appearing on it, if I keep winning then I don’t see why not. If I don’t then I won’t. Just need to keep on performing and finishing fights and everything else should take care of itself.

– What’s the last song you listened to?

Checked my phone and apparently it was First Blood covering Just Look Around by Sick Of It All. I’m happy with that.

– If you could get away with anything for 24 hours, what would you do?

Well since I’m now deep in to a weight cut it would certainly to eat several greasy and dirty meals and have about 8 pints of wanky poser beers, that or undertake a massive re-distribution of wealth throughout world society to create a socialist utopia, ending poverty, hunger and war. One of those options.

– Convince our readers to check out your match in only three words.

Nothing better on.

– Last of all, a shout out to you team, sponsors, friends…

Shout out to the DNFT for being the best team you could ask for and to Intenseti Fighter Management and Cage Warriors for hooking this fight up.

We’d like to thank Allan for taking the time to speak to us and we wish him all the best in his fight this weekend.

Please check www.cagewarriors.com for details on how to view  Cage Warriors Fight Night 10 wherever you are.

Brandon ‘Hot Rod’ Hempleman Interview

In ten days time, Brandon ‘Hot Rod’ Hempleman (9-1) faces Marlon Moraes on the main card of World Series of Fighting 4 in what is arguably the biggest match of his young career to date.

We’ll be perfectly honest and say we hadn’t heard of him before his headlining victory over Paul McVeign at Cage Warriors 50 in December, but he impressed us with that performance and when it transpired that he’d be facing one of the best Bantamweights outside the UFC in his next fight, an interview was something we had to shoot for.

It turns out that Brandon is a top guy as well as a hell of a fighter and he got back to us with some interesting answers, so here they are…

First of all, tell us how you got into Martial Arts in the first place?

My father got me into it. He was always going to Judo, Jiu Jitsu, Tai Kung Fu and other martial arts when I was young. He had my brother, sister, and I training and sparring in the basement from as early on as I remember. When I was around the age of 5 my mother talked him in to putting us kids in gymnastics at a local gym in order to further our athleticism and fighting abilities. Gymnastics and trampoline and tumbling eventually took over as the number one hobby for us kids and I took that sport about as far as I could from my small gym in Idaho. But fighting was never far from my mind. My little brother, who was 17 at the time, and I got into a fight when I was around 19. It was more of a wrestling match than anything, but it was way more competitive than I would have liked. I started BJJ the very next week. Unfortunately he started a short time later as well. The battle continues.

We last saw you at Cage Warriors 50, defeating hometown fighter Paul McVeigh in Glasgow. What was it like to make your first appearance out of the US with such a prestigious organisation and in such a high profile, pressure match?

It was an awesome experience. A huge rush and an honor. I have a ton of respect for Paul, and Cage Warriors is by far the biggest as well as the most hospitable organization I have fought for thus far. Scotland is beautiful and I am definitely going back some day for a backpacking trip around the countryside.

Your next fight at WSOF 4 will be broadcast live on network TV in the States and online to a worldwide audience and is very much your biggest fight to date. How does that feel?

Your opponent, Marlon Moraes recent defeated Tyson Nam in a bout widely considered to be between the two best Bantamweights not on the UFC roster. Do you think a win here could put you on the UFC’s radar?

Im pretty sure that Ive already been on their radar. I was in the final 17 of the males for this season of TUF and liked my chances of winning the show. I was cut a week before the fight in to the house due to some legal issues from my past. I was told that FOX had an issue and may have been worried about control issues as well as media portrayal. I had a felony drug charge from when I was 17 as well as being arrested for battery on law enforcment a few years ago. There was a fight outside of a bar between a female friend of mine and another gentleman. I wasnt involved but was standing too close. I was grabbed from behind without notice and instinct took over. It ended up being a misdemeanor but still reflects poorly on my character. Im still pretty bitter about the whole thing but am working through it. I am now more motivated than ever to prove myself as not only a good fighter but a good person. On a side note, I do believe that Moraes is one of the best and that Nam is good but majorly over-hyped. He beat Eduardo Dantas because “Dudu” wasnt showing him any respect and got caught. Can happen to anyone. One of my training partners Jesse Brock dominated Tyson for the Sport Fight Bantamweight Title in 2011, 50-43 on the scorecards.

Moraes is a well rounded and experienced fighter – do you have any special plans for facing him?

I do. He is very good and big for a bantamweight. I think his size may work to my benefit. I see some holes in his game and have been training my ass off to exploit them. I guess we’ll have to see if I’m right.

More than half of your wins are via submission. Is that your favourite way to end a fight or would you like a few more KOs on there?

Im no slouch on the ground but consider myself a striker by choice. In none of my submission wins did I instigate taking it to the ground. Some more KO’s would be nice but Ill take whatever Im given. My goal is to become a high rate fight finisher and fan favorite.

If you could face any fighter, past or present, who would it be?

Right now I would have to say Marlon Moraes.

Like us, you’ve got quite a few tattoos – do you think that people with ink are often stereotyped in a negative way?

Somewhat. Its not too bad though. Society is changing.

What would you say to any kids considering taking up martial arts?

Its not about hurting people or being a “tough guy.” Its about testing yourself and opening your mind. Self expression. Fighting is art.

Convince us to tune into your fight at WSOF in only five words…

There will be blood! Only needed 4

Last of all, a shout out to your team, sponsors etc.

Big thanks to my teams and gyms. Sklavos MMA, E2 Elite Training and Performance, The Combat Asylum, and Combat Fitness. And my sponsors for helping me keep my health and my head above water. HIT Supplements, Patino Diet, Training Mask, Lexani, Virus Action Sports Performance, RBP, Boise Bass and Tint, Amrap Nutrition, Lenny and Larrys, and GRiT Mouthguards.

As usual, we’d like to thank Brandon for taking the time to speak to us and we’d urge you to give him a follow on Twitter @BHempleman check out his website www.BrandonHempleman.com and most of all watch his fight at WSOF 4 (please check out www.WSOF.com for viewing details where you are.)

Rob McCrum – Matchmaker Interview

One of the (few) awesome individuals to get back to our request for an insight into the mind and experiences of the matchmaker was Rob McCrum, matchmaker for Scottish Fighting Challenge as well as being a regular referee, organiser of this year’s BJJ Scottish Nationals, main man of Kilmarnock’s Lycans MMA team and a wee bit hilarious on twitter – give him a follow @StaffieBJJS for regular amusement.

Anyways, lets see what he had to say…

How did you become a matchmaker?

I kind of fell into it by accident. I was asked to help out on the 2nd SFC I think, checking wraps etc and ended up helping out getting a few short notice replacements due to pull outs. I had loads of guys contact detail through fighting and running my team. I then worked on the later shows and moved on to work with Vision as the official matchmaker. Now i’m one of the owners of SFC as well as the matchmaker.

What do you consider the biggest challenge of matchmaking?

People. Hahaha.
It can be a very frustrating job. I guess a lot of people would say pull outs but that doesn’t really bother me. Shit happens, I suppose being an ex fighter makes me more understanding.
What I can’t get is people going on about their records and ranking at Amateur level. Thats just mental. I get it for pros who may be close to getting their big break. Delusional pros are also a nightmare. Guys asking me to help them pad their records etc can fuck off.
You can have 2 guys wanting a fight, put them together and it’s 50/50 who will win. That has the makings of a great fight on the show but guaranteed 1 of the guys doesn’t want a 50/50 fight. He’s looking for a fight more in his favour. Thats frustrating. Some guys are just studs and will fight anyone, they’re a matchmakers dream.

What makes good matchmaking in your eyes?

Obviously having an eye for good fights, Its not all about matching weights and records, sometimes guys records can look bad, but you need to look who they have fought, same with say a 10-0 guy, he might have fought nobody.
So knowing the scene is very important, watching guys on other shows, speaking to coaches, managers, judges, listening to fans and media. Your basically looking to give the customer what they want.

Which fight card that you’ve booked are you most proud of?

Probably the Vision shows at the Kelvin Hall, (can’t separate them) big shows with a decent budget to play with and great fights. Quite a few of those guys that fought on them will end up on the biggest stage.

5. If you could book one fight, from the whole history of MMA, taking away money, managers, injuries and having a handy time machine… what would it be?

Sakuraba v Rickson

6. What’s the best story you’ve got from being a matchmaker? You can change the names to protect the guilty if you like…

So much unbelievable stuff goes on. Its hard to pick one without this turning into a novel. One very average pro asked me to match him with a guy who was somthing like 4-32. I asked him why he would even want that? His reply was “because Dana told me to” and he was 100% serious hahaha. Some people are mental.

As usual, we’d like to thank Rob for taking the time to speak to us, and we’d urge you to take advantage of his hard work in booking the next SFC show, SFC 7: Tear Up which takes place in the Albert Halls, Stirling on September 1st by purchasing some tickets which are available here.

Alternatively, if you’re a fan or practitioner of grappling, the BJJ Scottish Winter Nationals have been announced for 19th October (NoGi) and 7th December (Gi) at Glasgow Caledonian University. We’ll keep you posted as and when tickets for competitors and spectators go in sale.

The fight card for SFC 7 currently stands like this, but I’m reliably informed that a few more tasty bouts are still to be added to the bill.

SFC 7: Tear Up
1st September, Albert Halls, Stirling


Shaun Taylor (Lycans) v Graham Armstrong (Mataleon) WW

Jamie Nolan (Mataleon) v Alan Philpott (Next Gen N Ireland) FW

Brian Hyslop (DNFT) v Andy Young (Next Gen N Ireland) flyW

Graham Black (Lycans) v Paul Patrick (Shooters) 73kg B class


Barry McHugh (DNFT/Griphouse) v John Black (SCS) 70kgs

Gordon Price (Lycans) v Keiran Conner (Spartans) 73kgs

Peter Mcafferty (Chimera) v Rafal Zelazny (Integrity) 62kgs

Dave Mcgowan (Viper) v Dave Mcdonald (SHS) 70kgs

Scott Malone (Shooters) v Mark Andrews (Nxt Gen N Ireland ) 62kgs

Ross Black (Lycans) v Tambo Law (SMAC) 77kgs

Chris Morton v Dean Kryton 77kgs

Craig Stewart (Grip) v Ross Cooper (Team Parente) 95kgs

Owen Longrigg (Lycans) v Jack Demarco (Team Parente) 70kgs

Matchmaker Interview – Scott Cutbirth, Resurrection Fighting Alliance

As I said yesterday, I’m fascinated by the folks who actually make the matches and I’ve tried to get a few to share their thoughts with us.

First to get back to me was Scott Cutbirth, matchmaker for the Resurrection Fighting Alliance, former home of UFC stars James Krause, Tim Elliot and Brandon Thatch and current stomping ground of rising star Sergio Pettis amongst others.

RFA has become one of the most compelling promotions in the States, providing quality cards loaded with up & comers, sprinkled through with some better known names and has the stated aim of developing talent capable of thriving in the deeper waters of the UFC.

Such perspective seems to be rare in MMA and we were very interested to hear Scott’s responses…

1. How did you become a matchmaker?

Wayne Harriman, who started the RFA, is based in Las Vegas and has excellent connections but none in the Midwest. Knowing that the first few shows would be in the Midwest, he asked a fighter who was training in his gym from the Midwest (Tyler Perry) if he knew anyone. Next thing I know, Wayne calls me and asks if I can fly to Vegas and meet with him the next day. We sat in his office the entire day and planned the first show.

2. What do you consider the biggest challenge of matchmaking?

I’d say the biggest challenge is being prepared for the last minute back out. I try to formulate backup options to every fight. Every fight I make is made with future implications, if this fighter wins, I want to make this fight next. Sometimes you have to change all that to make something work last minute.

3. What makes good matchmaking in your eyes?

Understanding how a fighter reacts to what another fighter offers. Knowing their mental makeup, being a fan, fans want excitement and action. And most importantly, never making a fight you honestly don’t believe is 50/50. Its not just about making fights, its about making something you can enjoy.

4. Which fight card that you’ve booked are you most proud of?

RFA 9 on August 16th in LA honestly is shaping up to be the most competitive from top to bottom. Not one fight on that card can I sit here and say I think so and so is a favorite. So Im most proud of the next one I do, if I’m not, that means I’m not trying to improve on the time before. I always want to do better.

5. If you could book one fight, from the whole history of MMA, taking away money, managers, injuries and having a handy time machine… what would it be?

I think the traditional fan would always point to some sort of super fight, but for me I cant look at the past…so I look at the here and now. I look at a guy like Cub Swanson, who is innovative, not afraid to try things and is always looking to finish against Frankie Edgar in a 5 round fight. Frankie has a wrestling background to take it to the ground but I don’t suspect he would. You will see two guys bring it non stop for 25 mins with some flash, some heated exchanges, some great scrambles. To me, that is a fight that will have the fans on their feet the whole fight and will see two guys walking away with $50,000 FOTN bonuses.

6. RFA have the stated mission of being a bridge between the regional scene and the UFC, do you specifically book talent like Sergio Pettis or James Krause with an eye on preparing them for the big shows?

Prepare was the key word in that. This sport is evolving everyday, the thought process of “lets just get to 6,7,8-0 and get to the UFC” is dumb. Any manager that says, ‘don’t take that fight, its too risky, your too close to the UFC, lets get an easier fight’ should be fired on the spot.

Do you want to get to the UFC or do you want to get to the UFC and stay there? I feel what we do is not only offer a platform for these guys to get noticed, we prepare them to be successful when they get there. We are giving them the experience of a high level production, interviews, cameras, etc. But we are giving them that pressure of solid fights, making them mentally strong. The strong will survive. Look at guys like Tim Elliott and James Krause, those guys in their last two fights in the UFC have garnered 2 FOTN awards and 1 SOTN award. They went in and performed, they weren’t having first fight on the big stage jitters and I don’t expect Brandon Thatch will either.

We’d like to thanks Scott for getting back to us with such candid response, and we implore you to check out the upcoming RFA 9 show from the StubHub Centre in Los Angeles on 16th August, broadcast live on AXS TV in the States which features a main event pitting the undefeated pair of Keoni Koch and Pedro Munhoz facing off.


Robert Whiteford Interview


We have had the pleasure of interviewing a few of the members of the DNFT (Dinky Ninja Fight Team) over the past few months and are delighted to have finally got a chance to catch up with another of their top stars, Robert Whiteford.

Whiteford sports a 9-1 professional record and is currently on a 9 fight win streak, with his only loss recorded against Bobby McVitie in his pro debut back in May of 2009. That streak has led Robert to become the Vision FC Featherweight champion and saw him come within a whisker’s breadth of being selected for the UFC’s TUF: The Smashes series last year.

Unfortunately Injury has kept Whiteford out of action since the end of 2012, but he is due to step back in to the fray this coming Sunday at the Albert Halls in Stirling as he faces Paul Reed in the headline bout of SFC: Reawakening. He has also recently singed a contract with Cage Warriors which should lead to a number of exciting match-ups for the rest of the  year and beyond. Check out the video below for some of Whiteford’s highlights so far:

Robert was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule in the lead up to this weekends event in order to answer some of our questions, so without further ado, here is what he had to say:

1 – How long have you been involved in MMA, where did you start, what was your first discipline?

Playground fighting was my 1st martial art followed by judo, not entirely sure how long now but it feels like a fucking life time.

2 – What first got you into martial arts?

I was just always really looking for something to do. I like being active, so it kinda kept me out of trouble.

3 – We last saw you fight in September of 2012 when you beat Martin Svensson at Vision FC 4, picking up their Featherweight belt in the process. You were set to face Chris Fishgold at CWFC 50 but had to pull out. How frustrating has that layoff been?

You have no idea how frustrating it’s been. I enjoy fighting and training so it fucked my whole life up, especially when I don’t do anything now apart from that.

4 – You are now due to headline SFC: Reawakening on the 30th June against Paul Reed, What are your thoughts and feelings on the fight as it gets closer and what is it like fighting under the SFC banner once again?

Well it doesn’t matter really what banner it’s under, am just looking forward to getting in there and doing my thing. As for thoughts and feelings, no one plans a murder out loud!!!

5 – You have recently signed a deal with Cage Warriors and have previously spoken about your desire of fighting in the UFC, especially after being so close to appearing on TUF: The Smashes. What would you say are your career aims for the remainder of 2013 & beyond?

My aim for 2013 is to get as many fights in as possible after a slow start to the year, really looking forward to fighting on CW, the longer the UFC thing goes on the more BS I see with it, if only CW could pay the same. lol

6 – We know you’ve spent time training at Allstars gym in Sweden & American Top Team in Florida with a host of UFC fighters. What differences are there between them and your usual home with the DNFT at the Griphouse?

Huge as in the number and over all quality of guys to train with but hey you can only pee with the cock you have and the Griphouse does me just fine as well.

7 – You are clearly proud of your background in Judo, it is even reflected in your twitter handle @Flyinjudoka. With the likes of Ronda Rousey putting Judo more in the forefront of peoples minds, do you see Judo’s profile in MMA continuing to move forward?

The less people that get to know about judo the better I say, it’s a hidden deadly art that only now people are starting to see it for themselves, though a judo child is a safe child!

8 – I noticed on twitter that you agreed with Nik Lentz when he was talking about his social life disappearing due to taking so much time away from it. How do you find the balance between training and maintaining a real life?

Fuuuuuck real life! Wtf is that?

9 – What would you say to any kids considering taking up MMA?

Start judo early and 1st!!

10 – Last of all, a shout out to your sponsors, gym etc.

Shout out to all my guys and girl @dnft and the rest well I can see them all over my ass on my fight shorts! Peace!!!

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Robert for his time and wish him the best of luck for his fight on Sunday. At the time of writing the event was very close to being sold out, but if you would like to enquire about tickets then either contact EZ Sports online to check avaialability or drop into any of their branches.

If you have twitter make sure you give Robert a follow @FlyinJudoka. For further information on the SFC go to http://www.fightchallenge.net or search for them on Facebook.

Rosi Sexton Interview

Rosi Sexton Interview

On Saturday June 15th, Rosi Sexton will become the first British woman to compete in the UFC when she steps into the Octagon to face ranked Canadian fighter Alexis Davis at UFC 161 in Winnipeg.

Carrying a 12-2 record, Sexton has long been the figurehead of WMM in Britain, dominating local talent while also facing and often defeating high profile foreign stars, such as Carina Damm and Roxanne Modafferi.

Her only losses have come to the then-dominant and much larger Gina Carano 2006 and to Zoila Frausto (when then went onto win the Bellator 125lb title tournament) in 2010.

She is currently riding a three fight win streak, most recently defeating Aisling Daly by decision in June last year at Cage Warriors 47 in Dublin.

Outside the cage, Rosi is a osteopath for the Combat Sorts Clinic, holds three degrees (in osteopathy, theoretical computer science and mathematics) and is a key figure in the SAFE MMA organisation which is changing MMA in Britain for the better.

An intelligent and articulate individual, we regard Rosi as one of the best role models out there for MMA (women’s or otherwise) and we also tend to be quite interested in the regular, non MMA related things she talks about on Twitter and her blog.

As such we are very grateful that she gracefully agreed to take a few minutes from her fight camp and day job to speak to us, and here is what she had to say…

– How long have you been involved in MMA, where did you start, what was your first discipline and what compelled you to take up martial arts?

I first started training MMA in 2000, after I saw a documentary about it on TV. I’d been involved in other martial arts before that – I first started out in Taekwon-do when I was about 14. I think I was originally interested in studying martial arts for self defence, but my reasons for doing it have changed over the years. When I got involved in MMA, it was because I saw it as an interesting challenge.

– You’re the first British female to fight in the UFC. What does it mean for women in general and yourself in particular to finally make it to the biggest show?

I think it’s a huge step for women to have the opportunity to fight in the UFC. I think this has the potential to inspire a whole new generation of female fighters, and encourage women who just want to get involved in the sport.

For me, personally, it’s a privilege to have the opportunity to compete on the biggest stage, and to be involved in women’s MMA at this time in history.

– You’ve had a long and successful career, facing some of the very best in WMMA and fighting on both sides of the Atlantic. What’s your career highlight to date?

I’ve had several fights that are very memorable, for different reasons. I think my all round best performance was against Aisling Daly in my last fight. I think we brought the best out in each other.

– You fought twice for Bellator in 2009-2010. Given the recent controversies about that promotion, specifically regarding fighter relations, do you have any comment on what it’s like to be a Bellator fighter?

I can’t speak for anyone else, but my own personal relations with them were always amicable.

– You’ve fought and won six times under the Cage Warriors banner, including at their very first show back in 2002. Where do you feel that promotion sits in the global MMA picture?

I think Cagewarriors are doing great things for MMA in Europe. They are really raising the standard, both with the fights they put on and also with their professionalism. I think they are without doubt Europe’s number one MMA promotion.

– Sheila Gaff twice pulled out of scheduled CWFC fights with you, and you were very vocal about your suspicions of her pulling out to avoid VADA drug testing. Do you believe that measures such as random, out of competition drug testing should be implemented across MMA?

I don’t want to say any more about that particular situation. But yes, I believe that random, out of competition drug testing should be used in MMA. I understand that this isn’t necessarily an easy thing to implement, but I believe it’s important for fighter safety and the integrity of the sport.

– You are an osteopath by trade. How does being a medical professional sit with a career as a mixed martial artist?

The two fit together very nicely! A lot of the work I do is with fighters and other people involved in combat sports and martial arts. Because I’m well known in the area, a lot of the local clubs send me people on a regular basis. I get a lot of satisfaction from being able to help people get back to doing the sport they love. I think having a knowledge of anatomy and how the body works also helps me as a fighter.

– Alongside several medical figures and some of the most influential figures in UKMMA, you’ve been involved in the SAFE MMA initiative. Are you encouraged by how that is going?

I think it’s made fantastic progress. There were naturally some teething problems in the beginning, but things have been ironed out and improved and more promotions are signing up to get involved. I’m really positive about it – I think it’s a great thing for UK MMA.

– Do you think MMA would benefit from a unified global governing body, such as the IOC or FIFA and do you believe such a thing is possible in the short to medium term?

Yes, I do. I don’t think it’s going to happen overnight, but I’m optimistic that we’ll get there eventually.

– On Twitter, you are very vocal about many issues, ranging from government policy to religion but unlike many on social media, you always remain respectful and informed. How important is it that people discuss ideas in civilised terms?

I think trying to discuss anything in uncivilised terms is pointless! Nobody learns anything from a shouting match.

– So far, your interactions with your next opponent Alexis Davis, have likewise been very civilised with the closest thing to ‘proper’ trash talk, coming via your self deprecating translation of one of her interviews in your blog. You’ve also asked if there should be a ‘technical trash talk committee.’ Do you think the trash talk of fighters like Chael Sonnen or the Diaz brothers goes too far?

I think MMA needs different characters. If we were all the same, it would be boring. Fighters like Sonnen generate a lot of interest – love him or hate him, people care, because he’s a big character.

For me, I think it’s important to stay true to myself. I’m never going to be a Sonnen or a Rousey – that’s not my style. I don’t think the way other people go about things is wrong – it’s just a question of personality.

– You are competing at a higher weight class than usual for your next match. How does that affect your fight camp, and do you think size will be a disadvantage in the bout?

As far as training goes, it’s been fantastic, because I’ve actually been able to eat properly to fuel my training sessions. That’s made a big difference!

As for the fight itself – we’re going to have to wait and see. There’s no doubt that I’m at the small end of the division, but on the positive side, it means I’m not going to be drained from a weight cut.

– Both yourself & Davis are known as very technical fighters with the majority of your wins by submission. How do you see the fight playing out?

I honestly don’t know. There’s a few different ways this fight could go – I’m looking forward to finding out!

– There have been several cases in recent weeks of managers and journalists trying to exploit or making unprofessional approaches to female fighters. In your view, how widespread is this issue and has it improved or worsened with the increased profile of WMMA.

It’s hard to say how widespread this sort of thing is. I think it’s important for fighters in general to be cautious about who they choose to deal with – it’s easy to get taken advantage of. Not everyone who’s involved in MMA is there for the right reasons. I’m fortunate to have a great group of people looking after me, who I can completely trust. I think that’s really important for anyone in this sport.

– Recently, you tweeted that a local karate dojo had been at your door trying to recruit you. Is it more funny, or frustrating that your relative star power in MMA doesn’t transfer over to the mainstream, even related combat sports in your local area?

I just found the situation amusing. To be honest, I’ve no particular desire to be famous. It’s nice to be appreciated by people within the sport for what I do, but I don’t envy celebrities with all the attention they get. If anything, I often feel a bit awkward when people randomly recognise me.

– What would you say to any kids considering taking up MMA?

The only good reason to get involved in MMA is because you love the sport. Never do it for money, or attention, or to prove something to other people. Surround yourself with good people who will give you good advice, even if it’s not what you want to hear, and work hard.

Last of all, a shout out to your sponsors, gym etc.

I train at Next Generation Liverpool. Paul Rimmer is the evil genius behind all this, and I also work with Peter Irving. I do my strength and conditioning at Strength and Performance gym in Stockport with Sean Keefe and Zoran Dubaic; and Steve Campbell (Stealth BJJ) helps with my jiu-jitsu.

Aynsley Fry (top notch sports osteopath) and Tim Budd from Global Therapies have been invaluable in helping to keep me in one piece during this training camp.

My official sponsors for the event are Torque MMA gear (@Torque1net), FeartheFighter.com (@Fearthefighter) and Revgear (@revgear), whose support is very much appreciated.

PhD Nutrition have looked after and supported me for the last 6 years of my career through all the ups and downs. Thanks also to funkygums gumshields.

My manager, Graham Boylan, of Intensiti Fighter Management has been fantastic, and none of this would have happened without his hard work.

(I’m sure I’ve managed to miss some people I should have mentioned, if I have – sincere apologies, please send me an angry message!)

We’d like to thank Rosi again for speaking to us, and we’d ask you all to give her a follow on Twitter @RosiSexton and her WordPress blog at http://rosisexton.wordpress.com/ It would be pretty neat if we could get #TeamRosi trending to show our support before she steps into the cage and makes history.