I managed to catch up with fan favourite and one of the most active and talent mixed martial artist on the scene, Jack Mason. We spoke about how he juggles the many aspects to his life and also some specifics about this camp. Little hint; he doesn't sound happy!! https://soundcloud.com/johngooden-1/cageside-podcast-6-bonus
Filtering by Tag: Cage Warriors
Ahead of Cage Warriors 57 at Liverpool's Echo Arena, I caught up with some of the fighters:I found out about Dan Rushworth's love for golf (1.25 to 27.17) Mr Social Media, Leeroy Barnes and I spoke about his new motivation and aspirations (27.15 to 1.08.00) WolverDean Reilly or is it Hurricane Dean Reilly? We talked mental preparations and renewed love for fighting (1.08.00 to 1.47.00) International star Ronnie 'Iron' Mann talked about his career highlights and getting the job done on Saturday (1.47.00...)
Let me know your thoughts and who you'd like me to speak with next time.
New edition of my podcast is here!! This time around we have a feature: Wharton's Watch. Brad Wharton picks 3 topics which we tear into; Alex Reid, SAFE MMA and TUF Smashes. In between all that I enjoyed a fascinating conversation with Cage Warriors 2 time champ Paul McVeigh and Denniston Mad Max Sutherland opened up about his personal battles both inside and outside the cage. Let me know your thoughts on here or twitter @johngoodenuk
Or, download here!
0-19 Wharton's Watch: Alex Reid
19-50 Paul McVeigh
50- 65 Wharton's Watch: SAFE MMA
110- Wharton's Watch: TUF Smashes
October has been a roller coaster ride for me with beautiful highs, moments of frustration and absolute confusion, but Gooden's glass likes to be half full and October has been marked with a whacking great big tick! On a personal level I feel I have moved forward with my ambitions in MMA by getting together a podcast and consolidating relationships within the sport. Bigger still, the introduction of SAFE MMA is such positive progression for UK MMA and to be involved fills me with pride and purpose. I will be blogging about SAFE MMA after the launch on November 1st.
Just as an aside, as I write this I am being slightly put off by a middle aged lady sitting opposite me on the train that has rocked up and is currently using the table as a beauty salon. That's ok as it actually smells pretty good, but she has definitely over done it on the moisturiser and has been rubbing her wrinkly face since we left Newport...we are now in Bristol and she still looks like a clown. Whatsmore, the excess cream is being worked at so furiously that the back of my ipad is starting to resemble a plasterer's radio!
Anyways, so about my (very raw) podcast; its nearly cost me a PC and a door after repeatedly crashing and thus creating an inner rage that hasn't consumed me since Willy B clocked me in the back of the head with a rock hit by a hurling stick- upon reflection great tekkers, but you don't shoot your pals in the back ;o). After failed attempts to upload to soundcloud, youtube etc, I managed to get episode 1 uploaded via videopress on this here site. I have plans to educate myself in better ways of delivering this so thats its downloadable, so bear with me! I'd like to think my podcast is a little bit different to the others out there as it quite simply stitches together interviews that I would normally conduct with fighters, coaches, promoters, referees, managers etc. I hope it will give access to these people to help with honest insights into the true lives of these individuals. Thanks to all those that have lent their time to feature. I am now set for episode 4 with the first 3 covering Shock n Awe 12, Rosi Sexton's VADA experience and Cage Warriors 49.
Shock n Awe 12 then. I loved working with the whole crew at this show. From everything around the show and man love with Gareth Johnson, commentating with Ben Cartlidge, the fighters, Addicted MMA, Ricky Wright, Little Red, David Swann, the guys at Boom Boom productions and of course Brian Adams- that straight talking big hunk of a man! Consistent with my misdemeanour trends I arrived at Portsmouth and realised I had no belt for my trousers. This might not seem too terrible to most, but I have a ridiculous ape-like structure with short legs, massive arse and no waist. I therefore end up buying 36 inch trousers that require a handful of material to be lost around the waist. My successful Paul Chek/ wholefoods diet has accentuated this and I could be seen mostly walking around the venue like a yoot wearing his strides around his arse or generally holding up my trousers with a hand constantly in my pocket which always arouses suspicions when you are in the company of beautiful rings girls!! The biggest problem was the worry of being mid flow of a post fight interview, celebrating with a fighter fresh from a hard fought victory only for me take a breath between questions and causing a trouser slippage to reveal my milky white pins to a sell out crowd! Thankfully my worst fears were never realised and David Swanny Swann came to the rescue after the show by lending me a spare belt. Now thats an organised man right there- cheers buddy!
Highlights of the show were being cageside to commentate Luke Dalmedo's fight. I've trained with Luke since he was 15 and its great to see him realise his talent in cage competition. Well done bro! Also seeing Jack Mason and Mike Ling turn a corner in their careers was great particularly after spectating their fights from close quarters at Cage Warriors and obviously being a big fan of theirs. I'd also like to shout out Sam Ford and Jack Currell, 2 young semi pro fights who have bright futures ahead. It was a great contest!
Another memorable moment was being heckled as I entered the cage to interview UFC fighter Phil Harris and TUF contestant Brad Scott. As I stepped onto the Shock N Awe apron, wearing my light grey shoes with contrasting brown soles, tweed style jacket, bow tie and slightly fierce quiff I'm happy to say I was greeted by what I can only assume is a fan by a loud cry of 'GAY'. Brilliant! It put a bigger skip in my step as I pranced to my position in front of the camera.
Onwards to Cage Warriors. Another podcast and a speed typing exercise explaining and defending SAFE MMA. The Welsh MMA fans seemed really excited to be hosting CW which is such a great feeling for anyone associated with the promotion. We are all so committed to doing the very best job that we can for the good of the show and positive reaction like that is great for the team. St Davids Hall is a great venue right in the heart of the shopping district in Cardiff. The layout is also really good for MMA and the noise in the hall was excellent when the Welsh fighters appeared to start their ring walk. In all, it wasn't the best night in terms of results for the Welsh contingent and perhaps a little bit of the gloss was taken off of Tim Newman's win with the arguments over the tap. There was much debate over the tap and its terrible for all concerned when a situation like this arises. Lots of angles have been examined from different cameras and Marc Goddard got it right. I have so much respect and admiration for Greg Loughran and I eagerly await his return. Congrats to Tim, I know that this win will mean so much to him.
I'll probably get told off for mentioning this, but its pretty damn obvious if you listen to the commentary...I have no desire to be an MMA judge. I'm not actually in the greatest position to analyse a fight around the MMA scoring system. I personally have to consider certain production items, read notes, listen to my producer and work commentary with my partner. Scoring at the same time is just too difficult. You of course get a flavour from the fight, but that isn't how the 10 point must system works.
On a lighter note and a bit of gossip. I was amused to be told that a flamboyant member of the Cage Warriors crew had a suspicious incident with a glitter bath bomb that caused their Davina McCalls to sparkle like a bit of camp disco furniture. It is not, however, the same team member that enlisted the help of Brooke and her make up. Just sayin! Oh and a big shout out to the 30 or so handsome bow tie wearing fellas that were staying at the same hotel. Its a movement y'know!? Respect ;o)!
The morning after the show there was an alarming complaint surrounding the suspicion of performance enhancing drugs. The complaint was lodged by the Cardiff Central pigeons about their winged counter parts, the sea gulls. The pigeons can get near to the rich picking of the platform food. In fact, even I had politely ask Mr C Gull if i could squeeze past at the top of the platform stairs. WTF are those guys on? I know one thing, Halloween is fricking scary in Cardiff with those raptors on the loose trick or treating!
That's October done. I'm keen to see what happens to the UK and European rankings next week. Thanks for reading.
Oh and for those worried about the lady opposite me on the train, she managed to lose the cream in a couple of her chins and did a much better job with the lippy. Beautiful.
[wpvideo 60pMHjuO] DOWNLOAD HERE: https://soundcloud.com/johngooden-1/cageside-3-podcast-with-john
With Cage Warriors in Cardiff this weekend I speak with main event fighter Cathal Pendred. I quiz Tillery Combat’s Richard Shaky Shore about his coaching methods and his young fighters appearing on the card. Following this is a chat with fighter manager Gary Cross of G4 MMA who have signed a number of Welsh prospects including Tim Newman. And lastly, Wales' own Ricky Wright gives me his thoughts on Cage Warriors visiting Cardiff and the Welsh fighters that will be making a statement.
0 - 21 Cathal Pendred
21 - 47 Richard Shaky Shore
47-1.04 Gary Cross
1.04 - 1.25 Ricky Wright
In the second edition of the Cageside podcast I speak with Rosi Sexton, who learned that her tournament final opponent, Shiela Gaff has been forced to withdraw from the contest.Any conversation with Rosi is always fascinating and in this podcast she speaks about performance enhancing drugs, the testing processes, her feelings about rescheduling a fight with Gaff, fight camp sacrifices and the future.
I must thank Rosi for her time and I hope this podcast helps spread awareness about PEDs and how the sport can move forward in ridding their usage.
[wpvideo qXMnVLva] Well has taken about 15 attempts through various different means to get this out, but we're finally there. Apologies to the guys who featured and were waiting ton hear it back and to Shock n Awe as it would've complimented the show's build up. However, the wider idea of this podcast is to bring you live recordings of fighters, coaches, referees, promoters and many other interesting people from the world of mixed martial arts, so all is still relevant. Episode 1 focuses around top UK show Shock n Awe and welcomes Addicted MMA's Ben Farrelly (1-33), promoter and coach Brian Adams (33-1.04) along with fighters Phil Else (1.04-1.33), Luke 'El Nino' Dalmedo (1.33-1.51) and Alexei 'Boom' Roberts (1.51-2.3).
Ben speaks about Addicted MMA and his take on the SnA card
Brian Adams talk frankly about the South coast scene, Phil Harris at the UFC and his motivation behind SnA
Phil Else gives a very honest account of his worrying injury and how he has prepared for SnA
Luke Dalmedo talks us through his training and his regrets about the aftermath of the Callum Jones fight
Alexei will entertain you with his fine way with words, his confidence and his admiration for his coach. Enjoy and let me know your thoughts Thanks, John
I've always maintained that getting positive recognition for your work is the biggest compliment. For the 2nd year running I have been nominated in the 'Best Commentator' category, which is amazing. All the others will be embarking on their respective self promotion campaigns, so why should I be any different!! So please support my cause so that I can put an award next to my Bronze swimming badge from 1988 and my 3rd place in go karting from Prague. Thanks so much #kissesforvotes ;0)
This show was going to be different for me and for the viewers, as a new production company was responsible for the broadcast. As presenter and commentator, I can’t deny that I was a little nervous, after all producers have their own ideas and I needed to make sure I met expectations. Those nerves however quickly turned to excitement as the new producer, Ian, went out of his way to communicate with me his new vision and way of delivering the show. Couple this with the new Cage Warriors roaming team of Brad Wharton and Tommy Lakes and this show was set to be stacked with the usual action…and lots more! Whilst preparing research I had also managed to help my good friend and coach, Max (Denniston Sutherland) get onto the Cage Warriors bill. How cool would this be; commentating one of your coach’s fights? I was to later learn it can also make you feel quite sick! check out my interview with Max http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5VxF7Rzg_o
On the Saturday I felt unusually relaxed before a CW show. This was surprising given the new dynamics etc, but I was happy for it. Being too nervous is energy sapping and when the main event is after 10pm, there’s no room for slacking! I had managed to get hold of most of the fighters and I particularly enjoyed new introductions like Hardiman, Pariente and Danny Roberts…he signs off his emails Hot Choc- gotta love that! I’ve had quite a few conversations this year about getting across the individual fighter’s message and building characters. I heard an interview with the WWE’s Jim Ross which spoke about how they managed to become mainstream and a lot is spoken about entertainment. When you add to this the real people behind the fighter, Joe Public can relate, follow and support. Cage Warriors recognise this and are trying to get this across. I think Kris Edwards is a really good example of someone with bags of talent and potential, but also is a young dad working a shift job trying to realise his dream. Some will relate to that and those that perhaps don’t can respect that.
There was definitely an air of anticipation around CWFC48. The fight card was top drawer (of course), it was a remarkable anniversary celebration and a new production team. It made you feel like something really big was about to happen. I had selected an appropriate bow tie and jacket, so all that as left was provide informative commentary! After a quick interview with Brad and Tommy it was time to go to work. It was a great show and although we had pretty significant technical problems the show looked great. Oh the joys of live TV! I managed to hold it together for Max’s fight (just) although I lost a pen whilst flailing my arms and also frightened a cameraman (yes I did, I can be scary y’know…in an unpredictable rather than intimidating sort of way). It was a really good experience working with a new crew and I look forward to getting to know them better in the future.
Now here’s something properly significant… #cwfc48 was the top trend in the UK! Above the UFC!! On a Saturday!!! This is such good news for the sport, let alone the organisation. Its evidence that the sport is growing and that UK MMA is in some way moving in the right direction. Certainly in terms of physical promotion and establishing media links, we are ticking a lot of the boxes. I reserve judgement about the way some shows go about their promotion, but that’s an aside to the point. MMA is out there, being watched, heard and read. Now it’s there, we need to make sure its positive, coherent and representing positively.
Keep stopping by over the next month as I’m hoping to bring some new stuff to this blog including more videos and my new injury blog which will detail my journey back to fitness using an American technique advocated by the awesome, Rener Gracie.
Photos by me and Dolly Clew. Poster from Cage Warriors. Check out the following clips from Brad and Tommy:
Time for the next instalment of my life, cageside! And who needs to jump on a plane when the calendar provides a show in Portsmouth and London in consecutive weeks! First up, Shock n Awe 11. I was honoured to be invited down to commentate this great South Coast show. I obviously follow the UK scene closely and have been impressed by what the SnA team have delivered. It’s run by Gareth Johnson and Brian Adams, who also own the Gym01 team. I have gotten to know Brian (or Jedi Bri to his team) mostly through Cage Warriors and he’s a man that shares many of my principles regarding UK MMA and he’s hugely passionate about his gym and his show. Looking at the card, no one can say that Gareth and Bri were paving an easy road for their fighters, in fact there were some incredibly tough tests ahead for their team. So, on July 14th I aquaplaned the motor down the M3 to get set for a 20-bout fight card.
I love meeting new people and as the ‘new guy’ I thoroughly enjoyed meeting all those involved at SnA. Special mention to David Swann, Ricky Wright and Corin from Boom (production co) who all worked doubley hard on the day, pulling together to make the show a success. Another person that made this ‘special’ for me was the one and only, Ben Cartlidge. The man who I finally got to share a commentary booth with. Despite arriving seconds before the 1st fight due to the awful weather, Ben was his usual calm, collected self. I have commentated and presented with a number of people over the years and there has to be some chemistry or what comes out of the speakers just doesn’t work- think Mark Lawrenson for the BBC covering the Euro 2012 football tournament. I am yet to hear the finished product for the SnA show, but I had a ball working with Ben. He is so full of knowledge and quick witted and I really hope that the fighters, production team and viewers feel that we enhanced the experience!
Those who follow this blog will know that this isn’t an event report, but I would like to say that the talent pool on display was DEEP! Respect needs to be given to the promoters for putting on competitive bouts and also to the fighters and their coaches for accepting them. We have a recent problem in the UK whereby certain fighters are being protected and fed easier opposition so that their records look flattering, which subsequently gets them on the radar of the big International shows and this is where they get found out. This has to stop before fight records look so misleading that the international match-makers select fewer of our athletes. Or, the fighter in question gets found out on paper and never gets those opportunities. The MMA community is becoming more transparent, so hopefully this can be flushed out and intriguing fights like the SnA main event become more common. Every fight delivered, but from memory I can give a quick reflection:
Davey Grant = future world beater
Alexei Roberts = emphatic
Karl Harrison = vicious
Luke Killick = scary
Paddy Moore = tough
Matt Hughes = star
Brett Caswell = technical
A very enjoyable night and further fuelling with a can of Monster I was back in the Shire within a couple of hours to be welcomed by a pickled wife and friends who were discussing the quality of reality TV shows TOWIE and Geordie Shore! A few hours after that and I had my Cage Warriors head on as it was a countdown to the 10th Anniversary of Cage Warriors in London!
Cage Warriors 47 was always going to be massive; 2 title fights, 1 womens mma tournament fight as well as the usual top level match making. Wow! For this one, Mrs G was coming along too! I have to say at this point that my wife is not an MMA fan. She used to see me as her kind of Rocky, when I would roll home sporting all manner of bruising and swelling, but it all changed for reasons I wont go into right now. It was therefore a pretty big thing. As we were over in Dublin, she was going to pick up a travel guide and explore whatever it is ladies like to explore. Unfortunately, we were staying in a hotel in the middle of nowhere and that put paid to that plan!
After arriving at the hotel, the usual madness set in as the weigh ins were now done and I had to interview the fighters for the VTs. I actually really enjoy this part. I would have pretty much interviewed all of these guys before and this gives me an insight into their responses. There was a real variation of responses in these interviews; on the one hand you had Dave Hill dropping the 'f' bomb quite frequently and on the other David Bielkheden was pretty cagey. Sitting down with Rosi Sexton was good fun though...she's such an intelligent person and really considers every responses and certainly will not be led- I really like that.
Show morning brought about my first Irish incident just before breakfast. A couple of the crew advised me there was a short cut back to the main building through some bushes (we were quite bizarrely staying in shared houses a few minutes walk from the hotel). With time of the essence I thought I'd use this short cut, but I wished I never did. Y'see at 8am on showday I'm a little preoccupied and sensitive, so skidding on the dead corpse of a cat was not a great start. The smell will stay with me for a very long time- nasssssty! Despite this unfortunate incident I was able to hold down some food and get going on the voice overs for the VTs.
There are too many stand out points to this show, but I have to mention the 'commentary position'. Josh and I have really struggled with the commentary set ups recently. Overseas they have been a night mare and we were finally back in the neighbourhood where all would be perfect! It was so good to see we had volume controls, commentary mics, ear pieces and an english-speaking sound man who had a good sense of humour (that helps in live TV!). Things were going so well too until Cathal The Punisher Pendred started a take down from about 10m away and drove UFC vet- David Bielkheden, all the way across to our position which knocked one of the screens clean off the table! After our very nice sound man fellow put us back together we were good to go. The only thing that could upset our table for technical goodies would be me knocking over a can of Monster or fidgeting so bad I could kick a cable out of a socket. Well not quite. What could also happen is that after winning the featherweight world title, Notorious Conor McGregor could be so overcome with emotion he could climb the cage wall just above where we are sat and free fall onto our commentary set up en-route to celebrate with his loyal following. And, he did! In fact I took a head shot which knocked my cans off my head and more frustrating; my valuable caffeine based energy drink was hugely depleted after being shared across the commentary mixer! I wouldn't however change this moment for the world. What a true expression of someone's feelings after they have achieved their piece of history. And actually if Conor hadn't joined us in the commentary booth, I'm fairly confident a few of his enthusiastic supporters would have tried to get in the cage, which might not have been so cool! Congrats to Conor and DJ Linderman on their title wins, and a special mention has to go out to Aisling Daly, Rosi Sexton and Cathal Pendred who all made for an incredible night of action.
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!!!
End of February in Kiev and just a couple of days before my birthday. I'm still recovering form the strong local beers that were taken on after the show, but I think I have clarity to write a few words:
So Kiev is grey. The sky was always grey, the buildings were grey and the people were miserable. Scary looking miserable. Worse than that was the breakfast! CW match maker and Oracle of MMA, Ian Wikideania Dean warned everyone that the food was not great and he most definitely got that right with the brekkie. I couldn't sleep so I was early to breakfast. I thought I was really early as everything before me was most certainly dinner menu bites; curried stuff...everywhere and just stuff that my weak-ass stomach would not be able to deal with. They did have some cereal and fruit, so my mind was made up.
Outside it was well below zero, but better than the -30 from the previous week. I had actually bought special boots (oh and I mean special, special looking), socks and thermal accessories. They weren't really necessary and I had thankfully kept all receipts. I had some good fun trying to get my tongue around the names on this card. I remember sitting in Comedy Paul's (show editor) hotel room trying to record the voice overs, but failing miserably. On the night it wasn't too bad, but trying to interview fighters via a translator who didn't understand ground and pound, submission or head kick in her mother tongue, made for a lengthy process. It wasn't an easy card to commentate either. I would never be disrespectful to a fighter as I feel it takes huge cahoonas to compete in MMA, but too many fighters just didn't want to engage. That left a fairly quiet crowd and Josh and I having to create some energy. The main card was a whole lot better and I think this is where i started my thing for Gym 01! James Brum and Phil Harris were fighting and were a joy to interview. Over and above that they are super talented and have become 2 of my favourite fighters in their respective divisions. Also on tour with them was Callum Jones who will be taking on my good friend Luke Dalmedo in a few weeks, so we had some fun discussing that one. The Gym 01 guys have a really good bond and that's alot to do with their coach Brian Adams who is a real entertainer.
Part 2 of 'Operation February' was a little closer to home in London. With 1 week to prepare however, that week was fraught. Amateur, semi pro or professional, I will always try my best to research each individual as they are just that. Everyone makes a sacrifice to fight so I make it my responsibility to learn about it and try to portray it in the commentary or show opener. That make for about 30 fighters to connect with as well as watching fights, writing the script for the top of the show and also the script for all the VTs that are broadcast for the main card. I'll make no secret that I check out the Big Shows in the US and get an idea of tempo and content to help write these. At about 10pm after the weigh ins we set up in the corner of the MMA Clinic where we recorded them.
I always love the London show. It gives me the chance to invite some friends along and I normally get to commentate a team mates fight. This time Shah Hussain was up against the MMA Clinic's Jacek Toczydlowski. Shah never takes an easy fight and it was tough night for him as Jacek out wrestled him and took a points victory.
I wasn't feeling great before this show...a huge argument with the wife and no bow tie around my neck wasn't the best preparation and it wasn't my finest hour. The show however, was again, excellent. It had knock outs, high level submissions and text book wrestling...what more could you ask for?!
I was really pleased I dropped into the after party where I had a drink with the SBG guys following Conor McGregor's win and also some of the finest UKMMA people, where I was advised about the game, some of the people and the pitfalls of the sport- and to that person i am grateful.
2012 was always going to be an interesting year as 2011 was pretty damn special; I got married and had the most incredible day with the most amazing woman which culminated with a dreamy honeymoon; I had helped create two new business under our existing business umbrella; I had survived 6 days and nights in Vegas; planning permission had been granted on our house extension and Cage Warriors announced 17 shows in 12 months. Oh, and they were going to be aired on Sky Sports as well as other international networks! There was little time to consider 'how?' and it was time to get my head down!
February was a pretty good benchmark as we had 3 shows, 2 abroad so it was going to a tight process. The good thing was the continuity- as a presenter and commentator who has only really been active in the last few years (my earlier attempts during my young 20s aside), camera time and establishing your style is key. Whats more, developing the relationship with whomever you are working alongside is also important. Despite the fact that these exploits are currently part-time for me, I want to deliver something that looks seasoned. Having plenty of practice will help me get there, but there are obstacles!!!
My first challenge for our opening show in 2012 came to light when I checked into my room in Beirut, Lebanon. It was a fine hotel and I actually had my own room, which saved my usual room-mate, Josh Palmer, from listening to my pre-show playlist (we have slightly different tastes) and slightly frantic behaviour on show day. After throwing my (over-sized) suitcase on to the bed, it became clear I had lost the key to the new lock. This was then followed by having to search out the most sturdy tool I could find to break said lock. That sturdy tool came in the shape of a butter knife! So with tired eyes and a carpenter's precision I took to sawing the padlock off my case so that I could unzip the case free the suit and bow tie that awaited selection. Needless to say, there was a small injury, sweat, expletives and a broken zip!
Meeting the various fighters on this show was very exciting; guys like Tommy Speer, Matts Nilsson, Victor Cheng and Kyle Watson. Special mention to Tommy Speer's brother who was pure entertainment and also to Domingos Mestre for being one of the nicest guys with some great stories. One of the thigns I love about meeting people is learnging about their story of how they came to be here and Domingos had a great one.