One of my sponsors had approached me to help a college student and friend of his to do a interview for an assignment he needed and it got me thinking that I don’t really share too much of my personal life or myself for that matter with anyone. So I figured this is a great chance for me to start to get used to opening up and letting people get to know me. Check out the interview below and feel free to comment.
Q: First off I’d like you to describe life before your MMA career briefly. What were your living conditions like growing up? What forms of education have you accomplished?
A: I was born and lived in Park Slope Brooklyn where I lived for four years. Both my parents were struggling to make money,so we lived in my grandparents house in an upstairs apartment. My parents were both accountants and eventually started there own company and when we had enough money we moved out to Long Island. I lived in Deer Park,NY til I was 17 yrs old. I graduated High School and attended Stony Brook University for Athletic Training and that led me to BJJ and eventually MMA. My parents got divorced when I was 10 years old and I think that had a big impact on my life in every aspect.
Q:What was you first exposure towards combat sports (Note: If you started in a combat sport other than MMA please describe this)?
A: When my parents got divorced I started to do Tae Kwon Do to release some frustration, and I always had an anger problem growing up so that seemed to help with it. I got my black belt at 12, but stopped with martial arts until college.
Q:What made you decide that you wanted to participate in a combat sport?
A: When I was a kid I loved playing sports, but I had a serious anger issue so my parents figured why not put me in a contact sport that wasn’t football since my mom hated that. Also I was always fascinated with Bruce Lee and my grandfather always had me watch Chuck Norris movies and shows. So I started to enjoy combative styled sports at a young age.
Q: What was your first experience of being good or achieving success at it?
A: When I got my black belt at 12yrs old I took 2nd place at a junior Olympic tournament for Tae Kwon Do.
Q:What fighting and (or) training experience taught you the most?
A: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has gave me the best perspective on fighting and caused me to re-evaluate what I thought I knew about fighting. BJJ is all about the smaller guy winning and using leverage instead of strength.
Q:Who influenced you the most in MMA?
A: My first BJJ instructor Mike “Mikey Triangles” Sandford who is a skilled BJJ Fighter, and my first mma coach Eric Uresk who is a Pro MMA Fighter and at the time was a fighter out of Xtreme Coutures Camp and is currently training at ALLIANCE in California.
Q:Who influenced you most outside the sport?
A: My mom has definitely been the strongest influence in my life.
Q:What do you say to the people who think MMA should not be a legal sport?
A: I first ask them why, because if you really watch the sport its not the blood sport that is depicted by most politicians. Also I would say go to a gym and watch them train and interact with one another, people have the misconception that fighters are juiced up meat heads that want to just hurt one another. On the contrary most fighters even myself don’t like confrontation unless in the ring or cage.
Q:What have you accomplished in MMA?
A: I have won the North American Grappling Association North Eastern Championship at my weight and skill level, taken 3rd at the Las Vegas Cup No GI OPEN at my weight and skill level. Currently undefeated in Muay Thai and MMA 3-0 officially (4-0 unofficially)
Q:What do you hope to accomplish in the future?
A: I want to become a pro muay thai, submission and mma fighter and hold championships in each specific sport as well as be an ambassador for the sport and create a fighters union to protect the fighters that don’t make the kind of money they deserve.
Q: I’d like for you to describe to me your training procedure before a fight please, when and where do you start training?
A: Well I like to keep myself close to fight shape year round so that preparing for a fight isn’t as challenging, but currently I am training At Vamos MMA on Long Island,NY. I usually like to have a solid 8-12 week period set up before a fight to really focus my training specifically for that fight. I will incorporate, striking, grappling, conditioning, and weight training to be in the best shape and the most prepared I can be.
Q:How much time do you put in every week when you are preparing for a fight?
A: I will spend a solid 2-4 hours a day training, and usually an hour or two with recovery techniques to stay fresh and able to go hard again the next day so total at the end of a week preparing for a fight I’ll put in a solid 30-40 hours between training sessions, lifting, cardio, stretching, ice baths, and recovery treatments.
Q: How much do you research your opponents before a fight with them?
A: I try to find out as much as possible on my opponent as early as possible but sometimes it is difficult as a amateur fighter to know a lot about my opponent, my main concern though is making sure I am doing everything to make myself the best fighter I can be for the fight and making my opponent deal with my strengths, if I can get them to adapt to me the fight is already won in my mind.
Q: Describe your training partners, maybe some bonds you have formed with some of them.
A: The guys down at Vamos MMA are top notch, I couldn’t ask for a better core group of coaches and training partners. I feel that even though I am in the cage alone at the fight, it is really the people that I train with on a daily basis that make me the fighter I am. It really is a team sport with out proper coaching and training partners to push me I cannot be a better fighter. Honestly my team is like my family because the core group of guys all train together so frequently that I see most of them more then my friends and family during training camps. Like I said before fighters are surprisingly relaxed people and actually quit intellectual we just like to compete in a combat sport.
Q: How strict are you about diet before a fight?
A: I am extremely strict with my diets, because the last thing you want to do is come in over weight for a fight and have all your training go to waste because your not on weight.
Q: How much weight do you have to cut before a fight and how do you cut it?
A: I will lose around 10lbs for a fight but the week of I try not to lose more then 2-3 lbs because I have to weigh in just hours before my fight. Professionals have a slight advantage that they can weigh in the day before and rehydrate and fuel up a full 24 hours before they fight. I will usually switch over to a pure liquid diet 48 hours before a fight to clean out my system of any waste, and eat clean the entire 8-12 week camp I am training.
Q:Describe what’s going through your head before a fight as you are walking into the cage.
A: I am really not thinking of anything specific besides trying to focus the energy that I feel into the task at hand. Right before I fight though I think that this guy is going to try and hurt me, hurt my family, and I have to protect them in and that usually gets me in the right mind set.
Q: Can you describe any moments you have had in a fight, and (or) training that you were in a very tough situation, or were facing adversity. How did you overcome it?
A: Honestly I have a lot of moments where I ask why am I doing this because the training can get very taxing on my mind and body, but every-time once I can push through that wall I know why I do it because I love the challenge it presents. One specific time i remember sparring my coach and him catching me clean and cutting me open, I finished training and thought if I can make it through that I can handle whatever is going to get thrown at me.
Q:Finally, why are you a fighter?
A: I actually don’t know how to answer this question, I think its something you are born to want to do. I can’t give a definite reason why. But I can say I love the mental and physical challenge that fighting presents. I don’t look at myself as a fighter I consider myself a Martial Artist.
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