John Gooden

Presenter. Commentator. Writer

John Gooden is an international presenter, sports commentator, voice over artist and writer

Going home to Bahrain

Travelling to Bahrain came as a real surprise.  Cage Warriors were originally scheduled to go to Qatar if I remember rightly, which looked very cool, but this changed and Manama was set. I had previously hinted to the CW man in the Middle East that we should go to Bahrain as its where my gran is from.  In fact she only recently passed away and visiting her homeland really did stir some emotions.  Much like most of the CW trips I would be there for 2 nights and returning home so there was no time to visit what family we have left.  That aside, it was very cool (and surreal) to stay in my gran’s country.  Actually, cool is not the word…its very hot…too hot.  I think it was 45 degree the day before we landed and we were filming outside in the high 30s.  There was also this incredible sand storm that resembled fog in the UK, but dry and, well…hot!

The first day I was there we were out filming the VTs and I did the interviewing.  I had spoken and met a few of the guys before.  One guy I had chatted to via the various social media was Jay Mortimore, but I’d never had the pleasure of meeting him.  What a top man!  We travelled back to the UK together and had a bit of a giggle with his coach and all round good guy, Dave Matthews.  I’ll get a little ahead of myself and mention Jay’s unfortunate loss to ‘Mothers Milk’.  Now I’ve come under criticism both from inside and outside the CW camp for using this term, but it’s what my coach Dave Lee uses to describe the smothering technique Jay suffered.  After having recently watched an Erik Paulson documentary, I can see it’s a technique he uses, but I’m not sure if he describes it the same way.  Anywho, it caused a little stir and to Jay I’m sorry for that as I understand he took some stick.

Another standout point for me was my various conversations with Jim Alers and his coach Hank Porcher.  Firstly, Jim is a bad-ass MMA fighter with the best personality.  The kind of personality that I love to see in this sport and one that I think we need to take the sport mainstream.  He’s a primary school teacher with a big smile and a kids sense of fashion- on his way to the venue to fight, he dressed in a comedy hat, Simpsons pyjamas and possible some comfy bedtime footwear.  He was so respectful and humble taking time out for anyone that spoke with him whilst also being just as interested in other people.  His coach Hank is a crazy, alligator hunting, wrestling expert who very kindly sent me a full description of the various forms of US wrestling and the different levels e.g. all American, div 1 etc (I’ll post that for all to see).  It’s meeting guys like this that really encourages me.

 

I now feel bad for not mentioning all the other fighters- shout out to Big Daddy Mike Ling who is a gent outside the cage and a warriors inside; Gael Grimaud and Anthony Rea with whom I exercised my French language skills; Matteus Lahdesmaki who tried his very best with limited English (crazy little dude…wish we spoke the same language as I reckon he’s a real laugh) and of course Jesse JT Money.

Now, it wasn’t so much myself who suffered an incident, but more those around me.  To protect identities, I will not name anyone apart from JT Money and Mitch the producer.  After the show, things got a little messy.  Due to the flight home being early hours, it’s not worth the risk in going to sleep in case you don’t hear the alarm, so that’s my excuse to have a beer!  About 10 of us ended up in a very suspect bar, with some of us being very drunk.  I don’t really get ‘drunk’, so watching the shenanigans was entertaining.  JT Money tried his best with his poetry and general tomfoolery, whilst another unnamed party pulled a very sly ol’ trick to make a swift exit.  Beyond this someone missed the plane home even after I persuaded them to stick with me in the lobby so to not miss the coach, and someone else was never really physically present even on the plane home after JT (no) Money had cleared them out and clearly aided their over-indulgence.  I never saw Producer Mitch return and hope he’s ok!!!