Name: Jerome Wilson
Record: 21-9, pro and amateur
Weight Class: 154-185
What is your martial arts background? Have you ever competed in combat sports before?
I started training in Muay Thai in 1999 when I was attending seminary school in Richmond, VA. 3 months later, I placed 3rd in the International Sanshou Competiton. I also took karate classes here and there.
What's your fighting style (ground and pound, wrestling, striker)?
Mainly Muay Thai, boxing, and American style kickboxing. And I also have a black belt in karate, I always forget that.
Where do you see yourself going in MMA (casual, fitness, fun, professional)?
I definitely have another 4-5 years, and I want stay professional.
When did you start training fighters in MMA?
I started training fighters in early 2000s. I also used to be a trainer for a gym chain in the DC area and started training fighters there as well.
When and why did you start a gym?
February 18 makes one year. I love fighting and I feel the DC area doesn't have fighting schools. They teach a discipline and give you a certification. They don't train much or go around fighting. There are no high caliber fighters. In real Muay Thai, there are no belts or levels. Just fight application. They don't fight to look cute.
How do you balance gym life and personal life?
It's very difficult balancing life. I fight and my wife fights, plus we have 2 kids. So on Sundays, I shut down the gym to spend time with my family.
(Me: Kru Phil Nurse does something similar. He closes the gym and stays at him on Sunday. Found that out when I went there in November.
Jerome: Oh really, I fought one of his guys way back when. It was in the Excalibur Extreme Fight Challenge in 2003, fighter's name was Gary.)
When is your next fight?
I'm hoping to fight between May and June and get 2 fights in this year. I would also like to fight in Glory (Kickboxing).
Who has your toughest opponent been so far?
Myself. When I started fighting in 1999, the professional and amateur division wasn't clear. You had pros and amateurs fighting each other, and there weren't many rules. It was like the Wild West in Muay Thai in 99. I remember there was a tournament, and I fought three times in two days. There was this one guy named Sherman that I fought, and he really beat me up and he was smiling while beating me up. And I realized that this is life, and you fight yourself. You only fight yourself.
How do you prepare for a fight? How do you prepare your fighters for a fight?
My greatest gift is that not one of my fighters fights the same. Every fighter is going to give you a different style. They fight to their personality. Whoever is on the inside will come out. They say that I have ice water in my veins, I'm very calm and collected. I tell my fighters to fight to their strength. The other thing is that my fighters are composed and very relaxed, that's the only thing that is similar. We do a lot of sparring. And also, there is no such thing as a black belt in Muay Thai. That's called "I have a superiority complex."
Why do you get in the ring as opposed to just training?
I'm a fighter. A lot of guys do it for the fame and glory. I do it because I love it. I love to hit people. It's just what I am. I don't have to think about it. I love hitting people and being hit.
How do you feel about MMA today? Do you think it is becoming more popular? Less popular? Too saturated?
I think it's cool. I do wish these guys and girls in MMA would fight in Muay Thai and boxing. I think 2 years and going pro isn't enough time. You need 2-3 solid years to get your foundation. You see the Ultimate Fighter, and these fighters really need more time than that. Nowadays people want to bypass ABC to get to D. They're obsessed with getting in the cage and throwing down and they think they're tough.
Who is your favorite fighter in the major organizations (UFC, WSOF, Bellator, etc.) and why?
Rob Kamen, he's a Muay Thai fighter. He's the greatest kick boxer ever and I actually got to me him when I got to chance to fight for XFA Alliance. It was one of the best moments of my life and I would love to train under him.
Do you have a favorite fighter from the DMV area?
Not really, outside of boxing, not really. There is this one guy, Mike Easton and that's all. When you talk to you talk about MMA and kickboxing in DC, you talk about Mike. He's the only one who deserves love and respect. I haven't fought since 2008, so I can't name myself since that would be a chump move.
Do you think the DMV area is underrepresented in the MMA Community? If yes, how are you trying to change this? And how can the DMV MMA community change this?
Of course it is, and they don't do fucking shit and you can quote me on that.
What is the gym atmosphere like?
We have a lot fun. There is a no ego rule. No one is better than anyone. Do we have our inner beefs, yeah of course, we're like a family. But we're ride or die. We're known as the pretty boys since whenever our fighters like to coordinates their colors are fight days.
What advice would you give fighters?
Learn how to appreciate what you do. You're only about 2% of the population that is does this. If you don't get in the cage, you don't have the room to say anything. We're rare. It doesn't matter to me if you win or lose. As long as they did their best, then I'm happy. Winning is great, but you don't learn anything. Losing is inevitable, it happens. But it's the furthest thing from my mind, I focus on being the best I can be. Even if I don't get a championship, I'm still one the craziest guys out there.
If Bruce Lee or Muhammad Ali were in their prime and training in MMA, do you think they would be great or nothing special in the cage?
They have what most fighters don't. They have heart. They were visionaries. Bruce Lee took a curriculum and said I don't give a shit. He took the best of every martial art and did his own thing. Muhammed Ali had showmanship. He made shit talking into an art and he could back it up. He is the greatest boxer and one the greatest martial artists.
*DCBFIT is no longer owned by Jerome; the gym is under new management