A Lazy Interview - Andy the Mixed Martial Artist

This week I talk to an old friend, Andy, who has been spending his time beating people up. As a guy that has little knowledge of the UFC and MMA in general I found this to be very interesting and hope you do to. So with out further ado, here is Andy, the mixed martial artist.

1) Who are you and what do you do?

Andrew Kloot, I am about to have my first ameture MMA bout. Mixed martial arts is fighting with 4 ounce gloves in a ring or a cage with very limited rules. I train in kickboxing, Brazillian Jiu jistu, and wrestling.

2) How and/or why did you get into Mixed Martial Arts?

When I first went to Mount Royal University I joined a kickboxing class that was offered through the school. The UFC was just starting to take off and it always interested me as something I would like to try. The kickboxing class was very introductory but I enjoyed it which helped me decided that Martial arts was something I wanted to persue. Eventually the MMA club started at Mount Royal so I joined that and learnt some very basic jui juitsu. I knew that if I ever wanted to compete that I would have to seek out more formal training. I was pointed to BDB Martial Arts by members of the MMA Club. After completing a week free trial offered by BDB I knew that I wanted to continue training there. BDB has moved and is now Champions Creed. I do it because of the challenge. It is also a great work out and is normally quite fun.

3) How long have you been at it?

I have been training seriously at BDB for about 15 months. I normall do two 2 hour sessions 4-5 days a week.

4) You're at a party, you want to impress people. What is your favorite story to tell?

I dont like to bring up the fact that I fight when I meet people because people tend to judge fighters based on Hollywood or what kind of people they assume would be the fighting type. Most people think of fighters as agressive thugs but in reality the people I train with are some of the friendliest guys I know and most of them are quite inteligent too.

5) What has been the biggest hurdle or hardest thing for you to over come?

The hardest part about training now is that because I'm training for a fight I cant really skip practices. 4 hours a day of training takes a huge toll on my body and also my social life. I get done training at 10pm most nights and every muscle in my body is aching, Then you wake up the next morning and you're stiff as hell and it becomes extremely difficult to drag your ass back to practice. The other hurdle to get over is being a beginner. When I first came to the gym people would just mop the floor with me and you feel helpless against it. It's easy to become discouraged at the beginning, but once you get a bit of experience and tecnique it gets much better and now I am one of the guys who gets to beat on the noobs! haha.

6) What is the most rewarding aspect of MMA?

The biggest rewards are the comradarie with training partners, confidence and results in both increased skill (I have been pretty succesfull in bjj and kick boxing tournaments) and body (I look goooood!)

7) What is the worst experience you've had?

My worst experiences have been injuries. I have suffered a broken nose and a cut above my eye which needed 7 stiches. Those are my worst ones but I get lots of bumps and bruises every week.

8) You mentioned about your training, but what about a fight day? Take us through that.

Fight day is difficult. People think all there is to fighting is the time spent in the ring but trust me the whole fight experience includes a lot more than that. From the moment you wake up you embark on an emotional roller coaster that lasts until you sleep again that night. Its impossible to describe the feelings almost like trying to describe what being high is like to someone that has never smoked pot. You go through stages of confidence to wanting to puke with fear. Yes there are some people who don't get nervous, but those are the rare freaks and most of the toughest guys in the world get not only nervous but scared before a fight. How could you not? You're stepping into a ring, where there is no place to run or hide, with a highly trained man who is about to do anything in his power to hurt you. You dont know what you're up against, and even when you do know you're the better fighter you know that anything can happen in the ring and that is a scary thought. I was not afraid of getting hurt, to be honest I've been punched several times and have even bumped heads hard enough to need 4 stiches and didnt even feel it because the adrenaline was pumping so hard. It is simply a fear of failing. Friends and family are going to find out what happened, and no one wants to be the guy who lost the fight.

These feeling are all part of the ride and there are very few things in the world that will make you feel that way. Facing these demons is as hard of a fight as anyone across from you in the ring might be. That is why fighters respect each other, because they know what you have go though. This all probably sounds
terrible but its one of the main reasons people do it. After facing those fears things like a job interview or talking to girl, things that might scare other people, become pretty minor. Plus there is the excitement and the adrenaline that you just cant get from anything else. 

All these feelings come in waves that get bigger and bigger as the fight get closer, even as you're walking to the ring, right up until the bell rings. 

Before any of the fights start all the fighters are called to a meeting. More strange feelings are felt when you're getting lectured on rules and what not while sitting in a room with a guy you know you are going to have to fight in a little while.

Warm up is tougher than people might think too. Its more than just stretching out like in most sports. My coaches make me hit pads and shadow box to the point of exaustion where I thought I would be too tired to fight. This sounds counter intuitive but they do it because you have to hit that innitial wall that comes with the nerves and push through it so that you dont hit it during the fight.

Eventually your name is called and you walk out to the ring while hundreds of people are watching and screaming. You climb into the ring and when the bell goes all those nerves and feelings are gone and the only thought in your mind is "GO".

9) I hear cutting weight for weigh ins can be quite crueling. What is the process before and after a weigh in?

There are different methods for cutting weight and the one my coach told me to use fucking sucked. Weigh in was on Friday and I started the process on Wednesday. I started by cutting out food, all I was allowed to consume was this fruit drink that has 0% sodium (because sodium retains water which makes cutting more difficult) and water. I had to drink about 3 extra litres of water a day which makes you piss annoyingly often. This process makes your body expel as much water as it can so that when you start the actual cut it is much easier. After spending 2 days purging my body of food you cut out water about 24 hours before the weigh in and then start to cut. Basically you dehydrate yourself by either sitting in a sauna or sitting for as long as you can in a hot bath with Epsom salts which causes you to sweat. I used the bath and in all I had to do about 3, 25 min. sessions to sweat out the 10 pounds of water I needed to cut. It's hard to describe how awful cutting weight like this is. You have to force yourself to stay in the tub even though you are on the verge of passing out because you are so thirsty and the water feels like its cooking you slowly. Once you reach the right weight you have to remain without drinking until after your weigh in which are usually the night before the fight. Once you have weighed you can start drinking and eating again but you are not in the clear yet. The human body can only absorb about 1/4 of a litre every 15 mins, so because of this you have to make sure that you are not drinking more than that because basically you will get the shits. So after going 24 hours without liquids and 48 hours without food you have to tease your body with little sips and resist your body's screaming urge to just pound whatever liquid is in front of you.

10) Any last words or anything you want to plug? Advice for those interested in MMA. Websites you want to promote? When/where your next fight is if anyone is interested in watching?

MMA is definately not for everyone, but it is an experience you will never forget or simulate. Fighting is human nature and one of our most basic instincts and after you take a few punches and realise you are not made of glass you start to really get to know yourself and what you are capable of. 

Bonus: You are stuck on an island, you find a magic lamp and get 3 wishes. What are they? 

I would simply wish to experience everything the earth and life has to offer. The good and the bad.

Thanks Andy
I was lucky enough to catch Andy with these questions when he was fresh off his first MMA fight (a few weeks ago). Coming out victorious in under 2 minute in the first round with a triangle choke hold.
Well done Andy!