Monday, October 19, 2015

10 Questions With Mark Cherico


I should have got around to this interview/article awhile back. I have been a fan of Mark Cherico for a long time. I have been telling people that the Central/Western Pennsylvania MMA scene is strong... and Mark is one of the main reasons this is true. The "Pride of Bloomfield" was 9 - 0 as an amateur(holding titles with 4 promotions)  before turning pro. He is currently 8 - 1 as a professional with one title. Cherico will be fighting this weekend for Gladiators of the cage against Nate Landwehr for the GOTC Featherweight title. According to Tapology, Mark is ranked #3 for Pennsylvania Featherweights (#4 for Bantamweights) and #7 for US Northeast Featherweights. (#5 for Bantamweights)

I have known about Mark since 2011 when he fought at NAAFS Rock N Rumble 5 as an amateur. I haven't had the pleasure of seeing him fight live, but thanks to StandThemUp & NAAFSTV on YouTube I have been able to follow his fight career.

For a long time I have been saying that Mark would definitely be one of the Pennsylvania fighters to make it to the UFC, but sadly that doesn't seem to be in Mark's future... because recently Cherico announced on his Facebook page that this fight at GOTC 19 will be his last fight. I understand his reasoning, but (in my opinion) this is a shame, because Mark is someone I believe has the ability to compete with the very best fighters the UFC has on its current roster at either Bantamweight (135 lbs) or Featherweight. (145 lbs)

But before he says a final goodbye to fighting, you have one last opportunity to see this exciting fighter in action. If you are anywhere near Pittsburgh this weekend, I highly suggest you get out to Cheswick, PA for the fights, but if you can't be there live you can watch the live stream at Gladiators Of The Cage 

 While I will be sad to not see mark be an active part of the Pennsylvania MMA scene, I wish him the very best in whatever he chooses to do next. Recently I had the privilege of asking Mark a few questions... here is 10 Questions With mark Cherico.

1. Tell us a little about yourself:

My name is Mark Cherico. I am 29 years young. I fight in the featherweight division (145), I held 4 amateur titles for (Brawlroom, Rocktagon, Cage of Chaos & NAAFS) & also currently hold 1 but hopefully soon to be 2 Pro Titles. Currently The PinnacleFC Featherweight Champion. I'm from Pittsburgh's Lil Italy aka Bloomfield. I represent Fight Club Pittsburgh & Pridelands Pittsburgh.

2. How did you get started in MMA?

I started MMA just by chance. I had been watching it online for quite sometime when one day I was sitting on my porch and a neighbor Mike Colamarino walked by and he had a gear bag with him. We got to talking & he told me he trained in MMA. I asked him to work with me so we started that night. After a few weeks with him in my garage he sent me to train under Donnie Kaecher at PTT Fight Team. From there I trained and started to take fights.

3. What do you feel your strengths are as a fighter? 

I feel my biggest strength is that I'm always looking to improve. I'm never satisfied with my skill set so I never rest on my laurels. I'm always trying to improve every facet of my game.

4. Of all the fights you have had, which was your favorite and why? 

I would have to say my fight with Donnie Walker was my favorite. I think it was my best performance of my career and it will always stick with me because it was a dominate victory and really opened my eyes to how good I could be.

5. Is there a fight that you wish you could do again and is there someone you wish you could have fought? 

Yeah the main one would be my only loss (Brian Kelleher). I've been trying to get it but it appears he's not gonna oblige. I really wish I would have never agreed to a fight at 135. It was just too much for my body. I think 145 is the lowest I should ever fight.

6. Who are some of your role models? 

I would have to say the biggest role model in my life would be my mom. My dad passed away from cancer when I was young and she raised not only myself but my little brother & sister. She always worked so hard to make sure we always had everything we could ever want growing up. As for a role model in mma not really anyone. I don't feel like I should look up to someone who I hope to one day surpass.

7. You have said that this upcoming fight will be your last. Can you explain this decision and what led you to decide this will be your final fight? 

I think it's time. The last few fight camps have taken a toll on my body. I think this year really showed that as I've had a lot of injuries. My family also played a huge role in my decision. I want to spend more time at home with my wife and daughter.

8. What do you think your legacy will be in MMA as a fighter? 

I don't know. I hope it's that I was a hell of a fighter and entertainer.

9. What would you like top accomplish in your post-fight career? 

I want to get my black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

10. Is there anyone you would like to thank? 

I wanna thank my wife for always supporting me, my management team at Guardian, my training partners (Wilkins, Worthy, Burdette, Grossman, Hier, Patton, Philly Chris, Chaka, Mazzotta, Holt & everybody else who helped me this camp.) and my coaches ( Lou Jitsu, & Bob Meese). Also like to thank all my sponsors for supporting me during my career.
 Mark's Links:

Some photos courtesy of Christopher Nolan's

Mark talking about the upcoming fight at GOTC 19

 Mark on GOTC MMA Talk

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Lessons To Learn From McGeary Vs Ortiz

Re-watching the main event from last night & recalling the McGregor Vs Mendes main event fight gives me two conclusions.

1. Just because it looks like someone is winning the fight doesn't mean they are actually winning the fight.

2. Wrestling isn't as important as people would like us to think in comparison to other forms of grappling.

Now before you wrestling advocates go off on me, I didn't say wrestling isn't important at all.  I am saying that if you have a "wrestling only" approach to grappling you are doing yourself a dis-service.

Wrestling has shown to be a positive for MMA fighters in terms of conditioning & discipline. However fighters who depend too heavily on wrestling (or wrestling alone) find themselves at a huge disadvantage over more well-rounded MMA fighters who have a balanced grappling arsenal.

In last night's fight Tito Ortiz seemed to have an easy time getting Liam McGeary to the mat. It was a sloppy (telegraphed) takedown but Tito did manage to get Liam on his butt & then on his back.

I'm sure Tito supporters will say that the inverted triangle submission "came out of nowhere" and that Tito was "winning the fight until he wasn't" but neither of those are true.

Just like with Conor the McGregor/Mendes fight, Liam remained calm while on his back & was dealing with the attempted ground & pound of his opponent.

And just like with Mendes, Ortiz was thinking he was winning the fight, but this proved to be a false sense of security that was exploited by the fighter on his back that eventually resulted in a win for the non-wrestler.

If you were paying attention, Liam was attempting submissions almost the entire time Tito was on top of him. There were a few moments where Tito did have control of McGeary's hand/wrist, but
because Tito was so focused on GnP he wasn't realizing how he was putting himself into dangerous positions.

Commentator Jimmy Smith recognized that Liam was working for a chance to launch a good submission, and almost as soon as you hear Smith say the phrase "inverted triangle" Ortiz was tapping from that exact technique.

It wasn't a case of "bad luck" for Tito or a "good luck" situation for Liam... what happened last night was a case of preparing for a bad situation & executing the remedy for being put on your back.

Just like with the McGregor/Mendes fight.Chad was thinking that all he needed was a takedown or two and some GnP to win the fight. But that gameplan goes to "poop" if the opponent can withstand punches, or even get back to their feet.

Conor took everything Chad tried to land & then after getting back to his feet McGregor used his superior striking to end the fight.

Ronda Rousey has shown that Judo can be used to not only negate other forms of grappling (such as BJJ and Wrestling) but can be superior to them.

Tito (like Chad) was counting on a "wrestling first" gameplan being all that was necessary to win. That may have worked back when Tito was UFC Light heavyweight Champion... but in this modern era of MMA it is not enough.

Most (successful) fighters have at least a basic understanding of wrestling in addition to other forms of grappling and various styles of striking. The fighters at the top have a well-rounded arsenal of attacks - even if many of the champions in the top promotions have a wrestling background.

The two fights I mentioned show that getting too secure with just one style can lower your chances of success. Just because something used to work in the past doesn't mean it will always work.

Chad Mendes has time to develop a more well-rounded fight attack, but I believe Tito Ortiz is out of time. He is on the wrong side of 40 and last night was his 31st fight. His glory days are in the past, and he should be thinking of what to do after fighting instead of trying to prolong his career beyond his abilities to compete at the top tier of fighting.

Fighting isn't about luck, it's about hard work & preparation... but even that can't keep you competitive forever. Everything has its time. Nobody stays undefeated forever - just like nobody stays champion (or on top) forever.

Tito Ortiz is a victim of age & a narrow approach to his craft. Chad Mendes doesn't have to suffer that fate... just like other fighters don't have to. The lesson to learn from Ortiz Vs McGeary is to prepare for any opponent, and give yourself the best chance for success by having a well-rounded gameplan.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Nick Diaz Is Not A Victim

The Nick Diaz "situation" and fighter/public reaction is just crazy. People are being ridiculous. Joe Rogan is wrong, Diaz is not a "victim" of NSAC overreach. He is a grown man who made a choice, and his choice had consequences.

Diaz was suspended for five years by the NSAC because of his positive drug test for marijuana following his fight with Anderson Silva at UFC 183. People are overreacting, because they are looking at the punishment out of context.

This was not the first time Diaz tested positive for a banned substance, it was his THIRD time failing a drug test. If he had been given 5 years for a first offense of the banned substance aspect of the rules/regulations people outrage would be justified. But this is his third offense, and Diaz should be grateful that his failed test happened BEFORE the new rules took effect, or Diaz might have been suspended for more than five years.

Several fighters have come to the defense of Diaz. Some say they will no longerfight in Nevada as long as the NSAC has Diaz under suspension. I believe this is just talk, and that if the UFC books them for a fight in Nevada they will accept. To pass on any fight the promotion offers is basically job suicide. The UFC isn't going to tolerate anyone protesting in this manner, even if it is thier "stars".

UFC exec (and former Middleweight champion) Matt Hughes called Diaz a "punk" and UFC Heavyweight Matt Mitrione responded to this in not a positive way. I say this is also not smart. Dana White has shown that he isn't very receptive of people who criticize the promotion of its policies.

It doesn't matter that some states allow the use of marijuana for medically approved reasons, including the state of California where Diaz lives. It is illegal on a Federal level, and (more importantly) it is on the banned substances list. Several legal substances are on that list, so even if all 50 states allow the use of marijuana as loing as it is on the banned substances you can't use it if you choose to make a living as a professional fighter. It is that simple.

Diaz knew that marijuana is not allowed, and he chose to use it anyway. The punishment is justified under the current rules/regulations. PERIOD.

Ronda Rousey went on record saying that she feels no state athletic commission should test for marijuana. And while she is allowed to have that opinion she is wrong because not only state athletic commissions but other governing bodies (such as the International Olympic Committee) have stated marijuana is on the banned substances list. I realize that marijuana isn't a "[erformance enhancing drug" in the same category as HGH, TRT or steroids, but it does have positive benefits under certain circumstances. Diaz allegedly uses it to deal with anxiety, so in this instance it does enhance his performance compared to how he would perform without using marijuana. USADA & WADA tests for marijuana, and if caught a competitor deserves to be punished just as if they got caught testing positive for steroids, HGH or TRT.

Joe Rogan (a well-known stoner & marijuana advocate) says the NSAC screwed Diaz over, but he is wrong. I reassert the point that Diaz knew that the use of marijuana is not allowed, and still he chose to use that banned substance. If anyone "screwed" Diaz it is he himself, not the NSAC. He knew the rules and he chose to ignore them - and it cost him $165,000 and 5 years of his competition career.

While Matt Hughes was a bit insensitive by calling Diaz a "punk" the over-all idea that Diaz is to blame for his cuurrent situation not the NSAC is true.

Several thousand people signed an online petition for the White House to get involved. Reportedly 25,500 people signed the petition in the first two days. Usually the White House requires 100,000 signatures before someone from the Obama Administration looks over the petition... but I feel that in this situation even 200,000 signatures (or more) isn't going to make the Obama Administration come to Nick's defense. As mentioned above, marijuana is still illegal at the Federal level... and I don't see the laws getting changed just so one mixed martial arts fighter can get back to fighting after being suspended for five years for his third offense.

People need to be realistic. Regardless of how you feel about marijuana being illegal at the federal level, or how sports governing bodies classify the drug... it is currently not allowed if you wish to get paid to be a fighter/competitor. You either follow the rules or accept the consequences of you get caught. It is that simple.

If you disagree with the classification of marijuana in sports and in general you should work towards changing the laws/rules/regulations as the system allows. Signing an online petition is a symbolic gesture that won't gets the results you desire. And even if the rules change in the near future, Diaz most likely will have to serve a large portion of his suspension before he can request for the NSAC to reduce/remove his suspension.

Bottom line: Nick Diaz is not a victim. He's an adult who made a decision knowing what the consequences would be if he got caught using a banned substance. He made a choice, and now he needs to take responsibility for his actions and accept the consequences like an adult.

I wish him well, but I can't respect him being a crybaby after he did what he did. I always enjoyed seeing him fight, but he has always been his own worst enemy.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Miesha Tate's Fatal Flaw

Re-watching the rematch between Ronda Rousey​ & Miesha Tate​ and I realize that either Miesha's delusional thinking attracts like-minded people, or she got that way because her cornermen are out of their minds giving her unrealistic advice.

Recently Daniel Cormier​ said that Bryan Caraway​ has a "great grasp of MMA" but you can't tell that by what he was telling Tate in between rounds.

After Miesha got lit up by Ronda (and taken town twice with Judo throws) Caraway was yelling "She's already breaking... she's already breaking!" which was crazy if you look at what actually happened. Maybe that was why Tate started Round 2 smiling, because she believed what she was being told.

Then after 4 more Judo throw takedowns (contrary to what Joe Rogan​ says in the post fight commentary it wasn't "the same throw over & over" Ronda used 4 different throws in this fight) and Ronda dominating the striking Tate's corner told her she was "out-striking" Rousey and that "she used up everything she has, she's done!" and if you look at the fight metrics that was not true about Miesha out-striking Ronda, let alone that Ronda was gassed out.

The proof that Tate's corner was wrong about Ronda's cardio or being "done" was how quickly Ronda was able to get Miesha on the Octagon floor and secure the armbar submission win.

If you look at the fight metrics for the entire fight, Ronda had more total strikes, more significant strikes, more takedowns/knockdowns, more submission attempts, and more time controlling Miesha on the mat.

In no category did Tate has a positive advantage over Rousey. And if you look at the faces of both fighters after the fight at the post-fight press conference Miesha looks like she was in a bad car wreck while Ronda looked fresh and ready to fight again.

Ronda took several up-kicks to the face as well as some unblocked punches, yet at no time was she in serious danger of being knocked out.

And if you needed more proof that Tate wasn't having a realistic view of her performance, listen to the post-fight interview with Rogan where she tried to discredit Ronda's beating of her by saying "she worked on her right SOME" and that "she was the better fighter TONIGHT" - which means she didn't believe what she was saying, but she said it so people didn't think badly of her.

In the post-fight press conference she expands on those concepts & says Ronda allows Miesha to realize how strong she really is... when she should have been seeing it as proof of how mismatched these fighters were/are.

That delusional thinking from Tate is why she thinks she has a chance against Ronda. Miesha's flawed thinking that her wrestling can not only negate Ronda's Judo, but that it can defeat her... when in reality Ronda was using Miesha's over-use of wrestling to her advantage by the MANY Judo techniques she used to take Tate down at will.

Until/unless Tate get realistic in how far apart her & Ronda really are talent-wise she has NO CHANCE of seriously challenging the champion.

Miesha thinks she took Ronda farther than anyone else has... when in truth she SURVIVED longer than anyone else did. Round 1 could have been a 10 -8 round for Rousey... Round 2 definitely was a 10 - 8 in my opinion. It is possible that Miesha was down 20 - 16 going into that 3rd round when her corner was having her think that she might actually be ahead in scoring and in place to win the fight.

Bottom line, as long as Tate thinks the way she does she won't be able to identify all the things she does wrong when fighting Ronda. The sloppy technique that she can get away with when fighting other opponents doesn't work when she is in the Octagon with the most dominant fighter/champion the UFC has.

Even if Miesha is correct in thinking she is the next best fighter after Ronda, that doesn't mean she is in Ronda's league.

Saturday night after Ronda KO'd Bethe Correia in 34 seconds Miesha tweeted "I guarantee that she won't do that to me" - which shows that she still isn't looking at Rousey realistically, especially based on the previous times they faced each other. This is part of why Miesha won't win if she can't be realistic in how she matches up against Rousey.

Miesha would be better off getting rid of the people who can't be HONEST with her and how well/badly she is doing so that she can improve what is wrong and try to get better.

That is her only hope because Tate's time is running out. She is not going to get a 4th chance at Ronda... so this next title shot needs to be done PERFECTLY or it will be a wasted effort.

Miesha needs to realize that it doesn't matter that she is working hard because Ronda is also working hard. The difference is that Ronda isn't just training to be the best in the world on her best day... she is training to be the best in the world on her worst day. Tate needs to understand that Ronda is training so that even if her opponent does everything perfectly, it isn't going to be good enough for them to defeat her.

That is a near impossible thing to overcome. Not totally impossible... but a major hurdle for Tate is this delusional thinking when it comes to her & Ronda.

I wish her the best... but I think her trying to rush this third chance at Ronda will only end with Tate losing to Rousey... again.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Keeping It Short Is Ronda's Best Bet At UFC 190

While Ronda says she wants to punish Bethe Correia tomorrow night I don't think she is going to extend the fight to do that. It's not the smart thing to do & Ronda is a very smart fighter.

Sure it is personal, but the gameplan in Ronda's best interest is to finish the fight as quickly as possible because every second she extends the fight is another second that Correia could pull off an upset.

Bethe is coming in as a HUGE underdog, but that doesn't mean she can't win.

Chael Sonnen has said this is the toughest fight for Ronda Rousey​ because it is in Brazil (even if he admits he hates when people say that about every fight Ronda has) but I disagree.

Ronda CHOSE for this fight to be in Brazil. She didn't have to do that. And while Chael is right that (normally) Brazil is a HUGE advantage for Brazilians because the fans get behind their fighters... this is not necessarily the case for this fight.

Rousey has been very well received by the Brazilian crowd. People were crying when they saw her & one young fan even ran out during the open workout to hug Ronda.

While it is true that Bethe "Pitbull" Correia​ will have her supporters, it is quite possible that Rousey will have more support in Brazil for this fight.

So while I normally agree with Chael Sonnen​ I disagree with him that this fight being in Brazil is a disadvantage for the champion.

I predict that it will be a short but exciting fight & that Ronda will do what she has always done - find what needs to be done & do it to win the fight.

I also predict that Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos​ attending the fights will get more attention than the actual main event will because of how Ronda will quickly defeat this previously undefeated opponent.

I have gone on record that I feel Dana White​ will book Cyborg Vs. Ronda for #UFC200, and that #UFC190 will be the beginning of that hypetrain.

I am looking forward to this event as a whole, but it is possible that after all the build-up the main event can seem anti-climactic if Rousey once again proves that she is far beyond her competition in the division.

So many exciting match-ups for tomorrow nights fight card. SEVEN fights on the PPV and 4 more for the televised prelims according to the current Wikipedia info for this event. That is about as many fights as a regular UFC fight card... but this event also has 2 UFC Fight Pass​ prelims making it 13 total fights for a very STACKED fight card!

There are so many amazing match-ups, but I predict that the women will steal the show! Ronda Vs. Bethe is exciting, but I am equally excited to see two of the very best Strawweights in the world do battle! Seeing Jessica Aguilar make her UFC debut against a very tough Cláudia Gadelha is going to be a "Fight of the Night"  contender for sure!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Why I Knew Werdum Would Win At UFC 188

Today on The Dammage Report​ #FightNightRecap #UFC188 edition I explained what I meant when I said I "had a feeling" that Fabricio Werdum​ would beat Cain Velasquez​.

If you saw my posts just prior to the PPV portion of the fight card beginning I explained a little about what it was that caused me to come to the conclusion I did. Between last night & on the show earlier today I briefly explained why the altitude was the major factor why I knew Cain wouldn't win... here is a more detailed post letting you know why this was the reason Werdum won the fight.

Almost any other location for this fight most likely means Cain wins the fight... but because UFC 188 was in Mexico City (at 7,900ft above sea level) what normally is Cain's advantage becomes a fatal flaw in his game-plan.

Cain has been the best Heavyweight in MMA for the past 5 years because of his HUGE advantage in cardio. This allows him to have a furious pace & high output of strikers - even for a fight going the full 5 rounds. Opponents just can't match his pace or output, especially over a five round 25 minute fight.

Normally it is a "pick your poison" situation when you fight Velasquez... do you get taken out by his standing attack, or do you lose because of his wrestling takedowns & ground-and-pound - but last night wasn't a normal situation.

Cain trains in San Jose, CA - which is at sea level. Almost ever other location for UFC events is at or near sea level, so Cain has a distinct advantage. But Mexico City is not sea level... so the "gas tank" that Cain normally has is essentially negated when you fight more than a mile above his normal training elevation.

But that is just one aspect of why Cain wasn't going to win the fight. The other reason why he lost was because his coach (Javier Mendez) either completely failed to realize how the severe elevation would effect Cain's performance, or he was so confident that Cain would be able to do what he has always been able to do (because of the advantage of his cardio) that Mendez didn't even consider having a "back-up plan" to deal with any negative effects the severe elevation might have on Velasquez's performance in Mexico City.

The reason I blame Javier Mendez​ is because of how late in the training camp they chose to have Cain arrive in Mexico City to prepare for the fight.

Is it no secret that the way to deal with fighting at an elevation like 7,900ft is to acclimate your fighter to that elevation by arriving on location as far in advance before fight night as possible.

If you look back you will see that I locked in my pick for Werdum a week before UFC 188 was to happen... this was not by accident. I already knew that Werdum had been in Mexico City for several weeks (almost 2 months) to fully acclimate to the elevation and to maximize his performance potential.

In contrast to Werdum arriving way early the Velasquez camp didn't arrive in Mexico until the week before the fight. While this might seem like enough time to overcome the difference in altitude between San Jose & Mexico City, it wasn't.

The reason it wasn't enough time was because Mendez didn't change the game-plan that Cain usually has for his fights. But the combination of high pace and high output at high altitude without proper/full preparation was destined to end exactly the way it did last night.

I was posting how I felt the experience of Werdum would be an advantage for him... and it seems like he was being the smarter fighter last night.

While his coach was screaming at him for more action - even at the pace this fight had - Fabricio seemed to be pacing himself, and if he was doing this intentionally it was exactly the right thing to do.

Cain started off with some success, as was to be expected. He was fresh & had tons of energy... and he scored some solid strikes for the first minute. But as that first round continued with Cain keeping with the "fast pace, high output" game-plan his strength & power were quickly decreasing.

Halfway through that first round it was clear that while Cain was slowing down, Werdum wasn't looking tired at all. And as the second round was progressing it should have been come clear to Mendez that they needed to come up with something else because going with the usual game-plan wasn't going to work this time.

But Mendez wasn't giving Cain good advice - and in between rounds 2 & 3 he told Cain that he wanted Velasquez to take the fight to the ground. Why Javier thought it was a good idea for Cain to willingly take the fight where Werdum has a huge advantage because of his BJJ skills is a mystery.

Had Cain been at full strength it might have been OK, but Mendez should have seen that his fighter was basically just going through the motions as the second round was ending. Cain had almost zero power in his punches & kicks, and if he did manage to get a takedown he couldn't keep Werdum at a disadvantageous position.

Give Cain credit for not giving up. His will was trying to keep him going, but his body was failing him in that effort. You could see as the 3rd round began that it was only a matter of time before Fabricio was going to win the fight... it wasn't IF it was WHEN and HOW.

Werdum remained calm & executed his game-plan perfectly. He was picking Cain apart and he seemed to have full strength while Velasquez was getting wobbled with every significant strike exchange.

Even when Cain landed a high kick (that would normally rock his opponent) it had almost no effect on Werdum, except in Rogan's mind. Joe was screaming as if Velasquez has snatched victory from the edge of defeat... but really it was the beginning of the end for Cain.

Velasquez was grasping at anything that might pull out the win for him, and rushing in for a weak takedown ended up being Werdum securing the guillotine, and Velasquez went form having a glimmer of hope to needing to tapout because Fabricio locked in the choke & won the fight.

My "feeling" was that after finding out how late Cain arrived in Mexico City I expected that he would quickly run out of power/strength but that he would still keep trying to win the way he usually does. I knew that if they still went with the "fast pace/high output" game-plan all Fabricio had to do was weather the attack until the high altitude sapped everything from Velasquez and it was a matter of time before Werdum would find an opening to finish the fight.

It should have been something that Javier Mendez should have expected, and could have worked to avoid... but he was over-confident in Cain's ability or some similar reasoning, and because Mendez didn't even consider that Werdum COULD win the fight, he didn't properly prepare Cain for any possibility - and that resulted in Cain not having every opportunity to win.

The moment I saw Cain first slowing down I knew it was over. He was basically spent by the end of the 2nd round... and he had nothing to offer as a serious attack for the 3rd round. And because it wasn't going to get better for him as the fight progressed, the best Velasquez could have hoped for was a quicker ending that didn't mean he would take too much damage.

That might not seem like the "best" thing for Cain, but it is. It would mean that he might not have a long recover period (or lengthy mandatory medical suspension) and Velasquez might be able to return to the Octagon soon & hopefully get back to a title shot sooner rather than later. (which would be the case if the fight had lasted longer and/or Cain had taken more damage)

Usually Dana White​ likes automatic rematches when the champ loses... but I don't think he's going to do that in this situation. It is more likely that instead of Werdum/Velasquez II I think the UFC might book the rematch between the champ & the #1 contender in the UFC rankings (as of fight time last night) Junior dos Santos.

This is a possibility because JDS defeated Werdum when they fought... but more likely is that we will see Werdum, Vs. Stipe Miocic​ because that is the fight most fans probably want to see next.

Last night was a great fight to unify the UFC Heavyweight title... and I look forward to a rematch between Cain & Fabricio.

I stand by my assessment that if this fight happened anywhere else except where it did (and maybe Denver and Albuquerque) Cain would probably win, but it most likely goes the distance. I also stand by my assessment that Cain probably wins 3 times out of 4... and because of a combination of the Altitude & Mendez not fully preparing Cain for this fight in this city it could only end with Werdum winning.

That is why I knew who would win... and so many people either didn't see what I saw, or weren't open to the possibilities I knew were not unreasonable, given the circumstances.

Cain is still bad-ass... but last night wasn't going to be his night. But it didn't have to be that way if his coach had not been blinded with overconfidence. Hopefully Javier Mendez learns from this huge mistake he made at the expense of his fighter.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Chris Weidman on Garbage Time

Chris Weidman was on this week's episode of "Garbage Time with Katie Nolan" and he had some interesting things to say. Katie asked him about his upcoming title defense against Vitor Belfort at UFC 187 this Saturday, as well as other topics such as his nickname, the system of numbering UFC events, cutting weight, and other subjects. As we find out in this interview, both Katie and Chris graduated from Hofstra University. I feel this was an excellent interview with Chris Weidman, and I learned some things about him that I didn't know before this interview.

Nolan began the interview by asking Weidman about Belfort failing 2 drug tests. His response was: "I can't control what he's taking. I just know that there's an insecurity there obviously that he's trying to fill a void. And I'm going to find that insecurity when I'm in the cage with him and I'm going to beat him up."

When Katie pointed out that she felt Chris's nickname "The All-American" was 'so boring' he agreed and then responded: "I denounced my nickname literally like three years ago. There was another guy named the All-American [referring to former Marine/UFC fighter now commentator, Brian Stann] and he won a fight. He was like a war hero and stuff like that, so I'm like I'm no longer All-American, that's his name, I'm done. And then people just didn't pay attention to me, the just keep calling me All-American."

Nolan had asked Weidman how much he weighed at the moment and he jokingly responded that you don't ask fighters that question, before saying "I weigh, I'm pretty light right now. I'm 205." Then Katie asked him: "How do you lose 20 lbs in one week?" so he could get down to Middleweight limit of 185 lbs and Chris replied: "It's complicated... basically you do no sodium, so you don't retain the water. And then you drink lots of water, it flushes out your system. Then 24 hours before you actually make the weight just do a bunch of sauna workouts, running, and just kind of sweat it out. I'll end up cutting about 10lbs in 24 hours is what it usually comes down to, which is not that bad." When Nolan said: "That's insane." Weidman replied: "I've done 32 lbs in ten days." Nolan said again: "That's insane." and Weidman told her: "I almost died, I don't recommend it."

Then Katie asked Chris: "So it's hard for you to be 185, what is your food weakness? If you were on death row and you got to choose your last meal - entree, desert, and beverage - what would it be?" and he replied: "I'm going pizza and bagels. Together, I have to do it together... maybe bagel bites, but big bagels. For desert, chocolate. Just a brownie with vanilla ice cream and hot fudge & peanut butter somewhere on there. Beverage, am I getting put to death? If I'm getting put to death then I'm going to need something that's strong. I'll go with, just because I'm from Long Island a Long Island Iced Tea."

Katie moved on to a game she called "Punch, Drunk, Love" where she names three people and Chris has to say who he wants to punch, who he'd want to get drunk with, and which person he loves. The first set of options were - Ronda Rousey; The Rock [referring to Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson]; and Floyd Mayweather. After Katie cleared up that 'Love' didn't mean making love with that person, but 'Oh, I love...' Chris went with: "Drunk, The Rock; Punch, Floyd Mayweather; and Love, Ronda Rousey." The next set of options were - Kanye West; Justin Bieber; and Miley Cyrus. Chris went with: "Justin Bieber is getting punched. First time I saw him walk out with Floyd Mayweather for his boxing fight I was like 'That dude needs to get punched'. Miley Cyrus; Love, and Kanye West; I guess we're going to get drunk, Kanye West." before joking: "I knind of want to punch them all."

Nolan advised Weidman to go hit the sauna because he had some weight to cut, and to wrap up the segment Katie offered some luck to Chris with the old actors saying of 'break a leg", which is an obvious reference to the main event of UFC 168 where former UFC Middleweight champion Anderson Silva broke his leg in a rematch with Chris in December of 2013. (Weidman had knocked out Silva to become the UFC's Middleweight champion a few months prior at UFC 161.)

As mentioned earlier, both Katie and Chris went to Hofstra University in the Hempstead Village section of Long Island, New York. Chris earned All-American wrestling honors twice at Nassau Community College before transferring to Hofstra. He became the first junior college wrestler in history to be a NYS Collegiate Champion. At Hofstra, he became a two-time Division I All-American, placing 3rd at the NCAA tournament his senior year. Weidman graduated from Hofstra University with a bachelor's degree in Psychology. During the interview Chris says he "graduated a couple of times" but his Wikipedia page & UFC profile only mention the bachelor's degree in Psychology. Katie Nolan graduated from Hofstra in 2009 with a B.A. in Public Relations. Before hosting "Garbage Time" Nolan was a 'digital correspondent' for the former Fox Sports 1 show "Crowd Goes Wild" and hosts a web series on called "No Filter with Katie Nolan".

"Garbage Time with Katie Nolan" is a weekly 30 minute show airing on Fox Sports 1 at 9:30PM Eastern. I am a big fan of Katie Nolan because I like the way she brings he unique perspective as a sports fan to not only her weekly show "Garbage Time", but on all of her appearance on the Fox Sports family of channels & shows as well as what she posts on the Fox Sports website and her YouTube channel.

I find it refreshing to have a "fan's view" on the current events in sports, and I would rather see a show like "Garbage Time" over the 'sports news' shows with their 'cookie-cutter' format, because you can see former athletes and commentators with a background in communications or journalism talking about sports from a predictable (meaning BORING) perspective on any of several channels devoted to sports all hours of the day to the point where things blur together and you can't tell who is who, or even what show you are watching.

Give me a show with someone like Katie's anytime. I can appreciate a fresh approach to a tired format, and I enjoy how she will ask the 'unexpected' questions rather than see a guest answer the same questions that get asked 100 times on every other show. Thinking "out of the box" is one of the main reasons I make sure that Sunday night at 9:30PM I am tuned to Fox Sports 1 for "Garbage Time with Katie Nolan".

You can find past episodes of "Garbage Time" at Katie's YouTube channel - 

 The Chris Weidman episode can also be seen at this link:

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Why The MMA Unified Rules Need Updated

UFC 182's main event between Jon Jones & Daniel Cormier is a perfect example of why the Unified Rules for MMA need to be updated.

I believe that this fight shows why some rules need to be more clearly defined, and why some rules need to be added.

I am specifically talking about what is considered an illegal action, and what should be done when a fighter engages in illegal action.

Several times during the fight Jon Jones was breaking clearly the rules. Some of these incidents were seen by referee Herb Dean, some weren't. Many were seen & commented on by Joe Rogan - much of the time Rogan was speaking of illegal actions by Jones in a positive way, as if he was doing something right when the rules clearly say he wasn't.

Fort he purposes of this article I will reference two webpages on the rules. One is the Wikipedia page on the unified rules ( and the other specifically references the California rules. (  I realize the event took place in Nevada & not California... but the rules generally cross over among states once implemented.

Violating one or two of these rules might not matter, but when you repeated violate the rules it has a cumulative effect that can negate the legitimate actions of a fighter. At the very least, engaging in illegal activity (or "dirty tactics" not technically against the rules) can alter the overall outcome of a fight.

Some of the infractions I witnessed by Jones for this fight were:

Eye poke
Grabbing the opponent's glove
Strike to the throat/neck
Strikes to the knee
Reaching inside an opponent's glove
Grabbing the fence
Flagrant disregard of the referee's instructions

The main tactic that I feel drastically effected the outcome of this fight is the way Jones repeatedly used the "oblique kick". I stopped counting after 25, but I can say that only 3 (or less) actually landed on the thigh... the rest were clearly attacking the knee, which is illegal.

Another major offense was how Jones repeatedly grabbed Cormier's gloves. Sometimes he was inserting his fingers inside Cormier's gloves, sometimes he was grabbing the gloves (not the wrist) and more than once it either prevented Cormier from doing anything, or it helped Jones engage in other illegal actions and/or "dirty tactics".

A third major offense was the way Jones repeatedly extended his arms with open palms, with the fingers aimed at Cormier's face. More than once Herb Dean warned Jones about not doing this, as seen when Jones eye poked Cormier & the action had to be stopped.

Sometimes Jones used a combination of these illegal/dirty tactics, like when he held on to Cormier's glove and kicked his knee area. Another example is when Jones went from a strike to the knee into an eye poke.

An illegal action that had an effect on the outcome was in the 5th round when Jones grabbed the fence as Cormier went for the takedown. Sure, Cormier ended up getting the takedown, but the fact that Jones grabbed the fence prevented Cormier's takedown from having maximum effect. There have been times when a takedown/slam has resulted in a fighter getting knocked out... so for Jones to grab the fence potentially saved him from losing by KO/TKO.

One illegal strike by Jones was a side kick to the throat/neck that was so obvious Joe Rogan commented about it. However, Joe failed to mention that a strike to the neck/throat is illegal... he was too busy praising Jones for the attack to actually do his job as commentator.

Speaking of that, Rogan was definitely a cheerleader for Jones through-out this fight. More than once he used spin to say a strike by Jones that actually landed on Cormier's knee landed on the thigh. Rogan also down-played the constant tactic by Jones of grabbing Cormier's gloves/hands by saying he was grabbing the wrist. Rogan even excused the way Jones constantly extended his arms with open hands that meant his fingers were potentially very close to being able to poke Cormier in the eyes.

I feel that the NSAC needs to review this fight, and have Herb Dean, Jon Jones, Daniel Cormier, and even Joe Rogan present as they explain what was done wrong, and why techniques that Jones did were illegal.

In addition to this I feel the NSAC needs to change the rules to clearly say that the "oblique kick" is illegal, regardless of whether the person is TRYING to strike the thigh or not. As I stated above, more than 25 times Jones used this technique & ONLY about 3 times did it land NOT on the knee.

Here are some screen-grabs to show a few of the times Jones engaged in either illegal actions or dirty tactics.

Jones grabbing Cormier's gloves
Jones grabbing Cormier's glove
Jones extending an open palm playing "patty-cake"
Eye poke from extending an open palm
Oblique kick to the knee
Oblique kick to the knee
Grabbing the gloves & kicking the knee
Kick to the throat/neck
Grabbing the cage

Jones may have won by unanimous decision... but these are just a few examples of why he didn't win the fight without needing to cheat.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Why Bellator Letting Rampage Jackson Go Is NOT A Mistake

I see people are saying that Bellator letting Rampage Jackson get away (and him possibly coming back to the UFC) is a mistake.

I disagree.

It became obvious that Jackson has no interest in fighting the current Light Heavyweight champion (his friend/team-mate Emmanuel Newton) so there's really no reason for Rampage to stay with Bellator. Jackson had earned a title shot when he won the LHW mini-tournament... but he chose not to take that fight.

Like I had said about Rory MacDonald going on record saying he would never fight his team-mate/mentor GSP and Daniel Cormier saying he would never fight his team-mate/friend Cain Velasquez... there's no sense in busting your ass training and fighting only to be "#2" - so something had to give.

For Cormier that meant him dropping from heavyweight down to Light Heavyweight, MacDonald got lucky when GSP retired early... for Rampage the only option for him seems to be leaving Bellator.

So I say people shouldn't be giving Bellator or Rampage a hard time for what is probably the best option of a bad situation.

Jackson isn't getting any younger, and he definitely isn't in the best shape of his career or his life... and until/unless he changes his mind on not wanting to fight a friend/team-mate leaving Bellator is the only choice left for him if he wants to be able to continue fighting.

So the smartest thing for Bellator to do is not fight to keep someone who isn't interesting in fighting for them anymore... it is letting him go wherever he can & focusing on the fighters who do want to fight for Bellator in the LHW division. No sense wasting energy on something that isn't going to work out in the long run when you can apply that effort towards things that will benefit your promotion.

If Rampage does return to the UFC (as reports are saying) I wish both him &  Bellator the best.

What Happened To Rowdy Bec Rawlings

I was distracted by the UFC fights but I wanted to say something about the #TUF20Finale after watching the prelims again earlier today.

Specifically I'm referring to Bec Rawlings.

Between the #TUF20 season, the Finale Weigh-ins & how she fought in the Finale I feel she did herself & her "brand" a lot of harm.

When she was on TUFtalk Karyn Bryant brought up her past history and asked if the way Bec had behaved during TUF20 could be described as her being a "bully". Rawlings said she didn't see it like that at all, and offered excuses (or call them reasons, depending on whether you believed her explanation or not)

Then at the Weigh-ins she showed a total lack of respect/professionalism (in my opinion) by flipping off her opponent for the face-off.

And in the fight we see Rawlings CLEARLY target the injured knee of her opponent, a knee that Bec KNEW was already damaged.

Turns out that Heather Clark won that fight... and that unfortunately only makes Bec look worse. I'm not saying that had she won everything Rawlings had done would have been "OK", I'm just pointing out that when you act like that & then lose you look very foolish.

Rawlings (The other "Rowdy" female UFC fighter besides UFC Bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey) basically played herself by her words & actions. If she were a guy people would most likely call it being a dick or a douchebag... and I honestly believe that the UFC will be less likely to book her for a fight because of the negative way she behaved recently.

It's one thing to act that way & win... but to go that route & lose cheapens your stock, and in an atmosphere where bad hype can derail your momentum it's not good for a fighter to be their own worst enemy.

Bec's actions might have put her int he same boat at Nate Diaz - who is most likely in hot water with the UFC execs from failing to meet required pre-fight obligations, walking out on an interview, complaining/talking badly about the promotion, missing weight & then losing his fight.

With more than 550 fighters on the roster fighters have it rough getting a fight... it makes ZERO sense to make that even harder by becoming "hard to want" when it comes to the promotion figuring out who to give a fight opportunity to.

In addition to all of this... I say anyone who would purposefully target an injured part of their opponent's body is not a nice person, or even a decent one.

IF anyone wants to defend that type of unprofessional (not to mention :poop: -y) behavior, don't bother. Responding to this telling me I am wrong on this specific aspect of my rant will only make me have less respect for you as a fighter as well as a person.

Don't be the fighter who is known for purposefully ending another fighter's career - and no matter how much you don't like that fighter (Or even if they are a crappy person) it's not going to make up for your :poop: -y actions.

But for someone who went through what Rawlings did to act the way she has only makes her less sympathetic - and I feel what she has said & done will probably lose her some fans.

I can say that for me, it has effected the way I view her as both a fighter & as a person. I started off TUF20 as a big fan of hers... but what I have seen of her since that first episode has resulted in me not being as much of a fan of hers as I once was.

Hopefully Bec will realize that the way she is behaving isn't in her best interest and she will go back to being the person/fighter that fans could like & respect.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Why I Believe A Lawsuit Against The UFC Is A Bad Idea

I don't think that a class action lawsuit against the UFC is going to end the way the people involved think it will.

I predict that the UFC won't be found guilty of anything... some people might not be happy with the pay, but if you compare pay I'm sure you will see that UFC fighters are getting paid better than what other promotions are paying. Some fighters might not like having to pay taxes on any fight bonuses (or even have to "share" it with managers/corner-men/trainers) but they can't deny being in the UFC pays better than not being in the UFC. The added revenue that will happen from the Reebok deal might take time to fully impact fighter pay... but eventually people will see more money at the end of the day from this deal than before.

BUT the downside I see from people filing a class action lawsuit will most likely will be the UFC cutting a lot of fighters from the active roster.

There are more than 550 fighters & even with all of the proposed UFC events in 2015 that is too many for the promotion to sustain & remain profitable. Whether they have to pay out any money from this lawsuit or not the logical step for self-preservation by the UFC is to get rid of fighters to minimize anyone having a legit complaint that they aren't being paid enough or treated fairly.

I sympathize with the fighters, but they need to realize that this is a business for the promotion in addition to it being a sport. It is a meritocracy not socialism... you get paid what you EARN & you shouldn't expect top dollar for low level performance.

Look at Robbie Lawler... it was reported that he made just over a MILLION DOLLARS for the fights leading up to his rematch with Johny Hendricks. Robbie put in the effort & EARNED that money, nothing was just handed to him.

Sad truth is that not everyone is going to get top dollar... the ones who perform the best deserve the bigger pay. Realistically this lawsuit should be about making sure fighters don't get underpaid... not making some fighters who under-perform get higher pay when they haven't earned it.

I know there will be people who say that I don't know hat I'm talking about (or don't qualify to express these opinions/views) because I'm not a fighter... and I'll answer that now by saying that is a BULLSHIT statement.

I repeat that I sympathize with fighters and that I'm on your side... but I don't think MMA pay should become socialism where everyone gets paid close to the same, especially when some fighters deserve more because they earned it while others don't.

Bottom line:

While this seems like a good idea, I predict that a class action lawsuit against the UFC will do more harm than good. Many fighters "on the bubble" in the UFC will end up getting cut & find themselves getting paid less by other promotions... IF they can even get fights with other promotions. The UFC might have a flawed system in terms of fighter pay, but a lawsuit isn't the right way to correct whatever flaws do exist.

I wish the fighters well, but I don't think a majority will like the end result of whatever happens from a class action lawsuit against the UFC.

Sometimes fighters don't do things in their best interest & become their own worst enemy. Nate Diaz is a prime example. He's one of the best fighters in the division (in any promotion) but he made poor choices that resulted in lower pay & less opportunities. You can't talk shit about the promotion, fail to make press appearances or other obligations to promote your fight for the promotion, come in overweight and lose your fight then expect to either not get offered less or even be cut.

Fighters need to realize what they say & do outside the cage effects what they get paid. It's not just what they do inside the cage, even if that should be most of what determines fighter pay. Someone who does everything the promotion wants/expects like Conor McGregor is going to get rewarded while someone who does everything wrong like Nate Diaz will either get punished or cut.

Sometimes it isn't fair... but life isn't fair. If you're not doing everything you possibly can to increase your chances for success/better pay you mostly have yourself to blame - not the promotion.

While I am sure the UFC could do more, fighters who complain about not getting paid more or treated well most likely aren't doing much to make the UFC want to do more for them.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The UFC Featherweight Title Picture

First off, I want to say that this post is taking nothing away from from Cub Swanson. He is a true warrior, with tons of heart.

I made a post last night about how Dustin Ortiz was very game, but he was in over his head fighting the #2 flyweight in the world. (give him a year or two to continue to develop & you might see a different result in a rematch)

I said that there was a clear difference in experience & speed between Benavidez & Ortiz last night, and that the UFC had thrown Ortiz into the deep DEEP end of the pool too soon. He rose to the occasion, but wanting to do well just wasn't enough for him.

Now I'm not saying this is the case with Cub in last night's fight... BUT, Frankie Edgar made it LOOK like Swanson was in over his head.

Cub works his ass off & earned that win streak... but (like I said about Ortiz facing Benavidez) Frankie was just the wrong fighter at the wrong time for Swanson.

Frankie seemed to have come in with a chip on his shoulder because of how the UFC & Dana White weren't mentioning him by name in terms of getting a title shot if he won like they did for Swanson.

I had gone on record saying I thought Cub could win by TKO/KO in the 2nd (even though Frankie had never been finished) but that IF CUB didn't finish it early Frankie would win the fight.

When I saw Edgar do his usual "Run to the Octagon" entrance I knew that "The Answer" was going to play spoiler to Swanson's title shot dreams.

Last night Frankie Edgar would not be denied, and it's a shame that Cub Swanson was in his way because Cub is definitely a top tier featherweight. Swanson wasn't out-classed that night... but he was out-worked.

Frankie's DOMINANT performance proves that he is legitimately in the conversation for a title shot, especially when you consider he feels (like many people do) that he won that first fight with Aldo.

The problem with Frankie getting the next title shot is that there's a long time between last night & when Jose Aldo will be ready to defend the Featherweight belt - and in between then Conor McGregor is going to fight.

We saw how Rory MacDonald missed out on his promised title shot because he had an unimpressive performance in his win... and later Robbie Lawler defeated Matt Brown in an Epic battle to move ahead of Rory in the line for a title shot against Johny Hendricks.

Is it possible that Conor could do what Lawler did and leap-frog his way to a title fight with Jose Aldo? The answer is "yes". Will some people say that it will be unfair to Frankie? That answer is also "yes".

I should mention at this point that I am a big fan of Frankie, but I am also a HUGE fan of Conor. There is no denying Frankie secured legend status with that win last night... but the Conor McGregor buzz is reaching freight-train momentum.

You have to admit Conor McGregor is a dream come true for the UFC. MMA promotions NEED stars like a Conor McGregor to thrive. When he fights the entire Republic of Ireland (and possibly even Northern Ireland) basically shuts down as they support their countryman. A promotion eats that kind of loyalty to a fighter because it translates to butts in the seats & PPV buys. For Conor's last fight (which was in Las Vegas) over 10% of the crowd attending the event flew in from Ireland just to see Conor fight. The UFC credited the success of that event to Conor & the people who supported him by either attending the event live or watching it on TV.

Even though I am on the McGregor bandwagon, I am also on record as saying that sometimes the UFC will sign the fight they can hype the most instead of matching up the best fighter with the champion to decide who really is the very best in the division at that point in time. I'm not saying that Conor isn't as deserving as Frankie if McGregor defeats Dennis Siver in January... but I'm sure there will be many who will say that, even if Conor wins very impressively.

Bottom line is that the UFC Featherweight division is STACKED and there are a number of legitimate contenders to challenge the champion for the title. Frankie Edgar has staked his claim on a title shot... and next will be an opportunity for Conor McGregor to make a better claim on that title shot... unless Dennis Siver also plays spoiler - which is also possible in a division as deep as this and two warriors enter a cage wearing 4oz gloves.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

10 Questions With Cody Garbrandt

10 Questions With Cody "No Love" Garbrandt

I've known about Cody Garbrandt for awhile, but where he became known to fight fans here in Central & Western Pennsylvania was because of the events leading up to him fighting Dominic Mazzotta. When Cody walked into the cage after a win by Mazzotta when Dominic was mentioning how Cody had called him out at an event for a rival Pittsburgh promotion and the two got face to face. It took some doing to get this fight to actually happen (I even wrote an article about it where I called this "The Fight That Almost Wasn't") but Garbrandt Vs. Mazzotta went down & was probably the best/most exciting fight in the Pittsburgh area. Cody won that fight, and even though there were some "extracurricular activities" that went on in the crowd after the fight due to some fans who didn't like what happened in that fight basically starting a brawl it appears that the two fighters who started off with bad blood ended with mutual respect.

Cody had been training with Fight Club Pittsburgh, but awhile back he also started training at Urijah Faber's gym with the members of Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, CA. It appears that training with elite fighters who have UFC experience as well as D1 collegiate level wrestling has taken this very talented fighter to the next level. After defeating Mazzotta back in March Garbrandt had returned to California to Team Alpha Male to prepare for his next fight - against James Porter at Pinnacle Fighting Championship's Pittsburgh Challenge Series 7 on May 24th.

Cody is definitely a fighter to watch. I'm in the process of  writing an article about fighters I expect to see in promotion like Bellator, WSOF or the UFC soon, and Cody will be in that article. Awhile back I had the honor of interviewing Cody, and I finally got it finished. I appreciate him taking time out of his busy schedule to answer questions about him both inside & outside the cage. I hope you enjoy reading his answers as much as I did learning more about Cody "No Love" Garbrandt.

1. Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Cody Garbrandt.  I'm 22 years old, and currently I am 3 - 0 as a professional. (9 - 2 including amateur fights) I have fought at Bantamweight (135lbs) and Featherweight. (145lbs) Since turning pro I have fought mostly for the Pittsburgh-based promotions Pinnacle Fighting Championships and Gladiators of the Cage.

2. How did you get started in MMA?

My mother put me and my oldest brother Zach (10 1/2 months apart in age) into wrestling because all we wanted to do was fight each other. So she thought wrestling was the closet thing to fighting, I played football & baseball and I also boxed, I loved boxing more than I did wrestling, so when I turned 18 I jumped into the cage and fell in love with that. I was constantly fighting growing up and I was heading down a bad path in life. Finding the Lord and getting started into MMA basically saved my life.

3. What gym(s) do you train at and what is it like training there?

 I train at Fight Club Pittsburgh MMA and Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, CA. I train with amazing fighters at both places.

4. What do you feel your strengths are as a fighter? What do you feel you need to work on to be a more complete fighter? 

My strengths would be my striking and grappling, Becoming a more complete fighter would mean believing in myself and putting all my skills together like I have been doing for my past two fights. I'm really starting to find myself in the cage and I'm enjoying my development as a fighter.

5. You sometimes train with Urijah Faber and Team Alpha Male. How has this helped you in fighting & what have you learned from training with such top notch fighters and having Duane Ludwig as a coach? 

I have spent my past two training camps with my new Team. It has helped tremendously learning from some of the best coaches and elite fighters in the world. I've been very blessed to have put myself in this position with hard work and dedication.

6. You recently defeated Dominic Mazzotta in what may have been the biggest MMA fight in Pittsburgh history. What did that fight mean to you? 

This fight meant a lot to me to come out and put a tough opponent away in a very hostile environment. Every fight is a step closer to my reaching my dreams.

7. After your win at Gladiators of the Cage you brought Maddux into the cage for the post-fight interview. Tell us about him & your involvement with children like him.

Maddux is a 7 year old kid who is from the same town I'm from. I got to know Maddux and his family over the past few years. He is battling leukemia, my brother called me one day and said maybe you could help this kid out I had no idea who he was so I reached out to his family and wanted to donate my next fight ticket sales to him, is how the relationship started. I met Maddux and he instantly touched my heart. We kept in touch I would visit him when I was in town we would face-time each other he would make videos and send them to me while I was training he helped me stay driven and motivated through his everyday battle and the struggles he goes through just to live life. He has shown me a lot about live and not taking anything for granted. He has a million dollar smile seeing that on his face makes my day. We walked hand in hand he lead me to my battle March 15th its a day ill never forget seeing his smile and eyes light up as he walked in the cage after my fight makes it all worth it.

8. What are your plans for the future? When will you fight again & who will it be against? 

My plans for the future in life is just to be successful and be happy I want peace in my life when my fighting career is over. My goal is to be the UFC champion I would be selling myself short if that wasn't my goal I do this to be the best. Its hard to tell where ill be at in 2-3 years life always keeps you guessing what makes the ride enjoyable. My next fight will be announced this weekend at the Pinnacle Fighting Championship show, I'm very excited for it!!

(UPDATE: The fight Cody was referencing here is against James Porter for the Pittsburgh Challenge Series 7 event going down May 24, 2014)

9. Who are some of your role models?

I have a lot of positive influences in my life my biggest Role Model is my mother she has been through hell and back and has never lost her faith and has never given up on us children. I get my toughness from her, she showed us tough love growing up and everyday I'm thankful to have her in my life. In MMA its Urijah Faber i always been a fan of his, after reading his book a few years ago and visioning myself training with him its a dream come true when he asked me to become apart of Team Alpha Male!

10. Is there anyone you'd like to thank?

My family for always supporting me in whatever I do through the ups and downs. Mick and Melissa for there help and support over the past year and half my Fight Club Pittsburgh teammates, Alpha Male teammates and coaches. My Uncle Robert Meese he is my boxing coach and has been with me since day one. My Sponsors Jeff Brown, Brenton Whitman, Heavy Hand Tattoo, Kelly's Korner, 922 Drive thru, Prime nutrition, Torque, PGH MADE, NOLAC, Quads Not INcluded, Top of the Line Barbershop, Cheerleaders Gentlemen's Club, Dennison T-shirt! Thank the Lord for blessing my life. My management team MMA inc. All my fans, everyone back home in T-county (922) thanks for all the support! 

Grabrandt facing off with Porter for PCS7
With Team Alpha Male team-mates TJ Dillashaw (l) & Urijah Faber (r)
With Team Alpha Male team-mate Joseph Benavidez
With Team Alpha Male team-mates Chris Holdsworth (l) & TJ Dillashaw (r)
With Fight Club Pittsburgh team-mate Jaime Chesney

With Team Alpha Male Head Coach Duane Ludwig

Face-off with Dominic Mazzotta
Celebrating the win with Maddix

With Maddux after the win over Dominic Mazzotta

(Some photos by Christopher Nolan - Met Con Photos - Visit