MMA in the DMV: DCBFit - Brooks

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Name: Brooks
Record: 1-0 *
Weight Class: 184-205
Age: 26
* At the time of the interview, Brooks was 0-0 but won his first amateur fight on February 8 in the WKA: CSC 38

What is your martial arts background? Have you ever competed in combat sports before? 
I grew up in Ohio and it is one of the top five wrestling states. From 8th grade to college, I was wrestling.

Why did you start training in MMA?
I started with Jerome in June of 2013. I was looking for a way to get back in shape. I was going out a lot and getting up there in weight. I tried Crossfit, HIT, WOD (workout of the day), but it wasn't fulfilling and it always sizzled out. It just wasn't as satisfying as wrestling.

What's your fighting style (ground and pound, wrestling, striker)?
Ground and pound. I'm not a very clean striker due to my wrestling background. Because of my background, I'm all forward, all pressure all the time. I push the pace. It's not a commonplace here, so it throws other fighters' speed off.

Where do you see yourself going in MMA (casual, fitness, fun, professional)?
Amateur to keep in shape and have fun. I'm not blind to the fact that only a small percentage of fighters make it, and fighters don't make that much compared to other sports. So I definitely have a day job.

When is your next fight?
February 8

How do you prepare for a fight (what is your diet? How do you train? How do you mentally prepare)?
There's a lot of training for fights. A lot more cardio and I work on technique. I work on building up synapses to fire off at the right time, basically building up muscle memory. The more you think, the less reaction time.

Does cutting weight affect your strength and stamina the day of the fight?
I walk around at 205/210 and I'm only about 5lbs away from my fight weight, so it's a bit different. I've been cutting weight since high school, and it can be very dangerous. I was lucky enough to have a couch that knew about nutrition. You eat nutritionally dense food so that you slim down over time. A lot of people don't realize that water weighs a lot. Someone sees a 40oz bottle of water and I see 1.5lbs.

Who has your toughest opponent been so far?
I've only fought in this gym and I haven't had my first fight yet, so no one yet.

Why do you get in the ring as opposed to just training?
As a wrestler and because of my background, I like the competition. I don't care about the fans or the money. Coming from wrestling, which isn't as popular in North America, I just didn't go into it for that. It's just purely competition. I just want to get in the ring and see whose the better man.

How do you feel about MMA today? Do you think it is becoming more popular? Less popular? Too saturated?
I think MMA is going in the right direction. You can't talk about MMA without talking about the UFC. They got it off its feet and cleaned it up. So they made it well known in North America. They really helped to fix the reputation. If it weren't for them, I wouldn't be doing this. It will go as far as people want it to.

Who is your favorite fighter in the major organizations (UFC, WSOF, Bellator, etc.) and why?
Randy Couture; he had a wrestling and boxing background. He's one of the first UFC champs, and one of the first to hold two belts. He had an amazing career up into his 30s and 40s. He was a very smart fighter.

Do you have a favorite fighter from the DMV area?
N/A

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?
I couldn't tell you.

What is the gym atmosphere like?
Amazing. Absolutely amazing. Coming from my background, wrestling is tight knit. It's not as popular, so you don't have a lot of fans, you have your team and your parents. I did Crossfit and did gyms, but hadn't felt that sense of community, and I hadn't felt that in a long time. There's also a lot of different style fighters. Jerome is talented so he can mimic any style. A lot of people can fill the void; you have so many different fighters and different styles, so you don't just get one style.

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?
Bruce Lee would get it. Muhammed Ali wouldn't want to because he knew what he was good at. Not that he wouldn't do good but he just gravitated towards boxing. He was an amazing athlete and I definitely think he would knock people out. And most definitely if he trained in it. Bruce Lee was an all around amazing fighter and the first one to break the techniques and styles down.

MMA in the DMV: DCBFit - James Kellaris

Friday, February 14, 2014

MMA in the DMV: DCBFit - James Kellaris

Name: James Kellaris
Record: 2-0
Weight Class: 175
Age: 34 

What is your martial arts background? Have you ever competed in combat sports before?
 I've been doing martial arts since I was a little kid. I did traditional Kung Fu at first, then I got into Jeet Kune Do. I took a few years off, met Jerome, and I started doing boxing and Muay Thai. Even though I did martial arts before, I hadn't competed in combat sports before.

What's your fighting style (ground and pound, wrestling, striker)? 
Mainly Muay Thai and kickboxing. I don't do MMA and I don't do jujitsu. Kickboxing allows me to use my boxing which is my speciality. I think kickboxing is fast pace and more entertaining for the average viewer and allows me to use my boxing which is my speciality.

Where do you see yourself going in MMA (casual, fitness, fun, professional)?
I've been doing martial arts for my whole life. I will be doing it until I die. Because of the UFC, people see it and think that a guy goes into a gym and starts doing MMA. I started in the 90s and I come from that era. When I started, I never expected to go professional. I've known about a lot of these martial arts for a long time; the first time I heard of Muay Thai was in 93. I do this casually, but I like to test myself once a year. Given my age, the other guys are more important. I see myself as more of a support role and helping them train and go pro. Training

When is your next fight? 
February 8, World Kickboxing Association: CSC 38.

How do you prepare for a fight (what is your diet? How do you train? How do you mentally prepare)?
I train everyday regardless of if I have a fight. When I am preparing for a fight, I train twice a day, increase my anaerobic activity, and I eat healthy every day, but eat really healthy. I cut alcohol out and get 9 hours of sleep. The big difference is that my sparring regimen goes up. I do 30 rounds of sparring a week when normally it's 15-20. The key to success is making sure that very little changes. Some guys like to go completely off their training regimen, but I don't do that.

Does cutting weight affect your strength and stamina the day of the fight?
I cut a normal amount. I walk around at 195. Hard work and training gets me down to my fight weight. At 34 years old, I don't like to cut 20-30 lbs. I'm confident in my power and speed. If you cut gradually, you will retain your strength and speed.

Who has your toughest opponent been so far? 
Last guy I fought, Dustin Medlin. I won the fight, but it went for all 3 rounds. I dropped him and kept dropping him, but he stayed in the fight. I thought I could put him away in the first round but I ended up tiring myself out, and he kept going all 3 rounds.

Why do you get in the ring as opposed to just training? 
I train casually but like to test myself . MMA/ DMV

How do you feel about MMA today? Do you think it is becoming more popular? Less popular? Too saturated? 
I'm not as interested in it. I watch it because I watch all combat sports, but I mainly watch kickboxing. I watch Glory World Series. I'm not a grappler so that's not as much my thing, but there is always a value in watching different forms. I think all combat sports benefit from the UFC, but many people don't know the difference between the different martial arts. If people were to watch kickboxing, I think they would like it much better.

Who is your favorite fighter in the major organizations (UFC, WSOF, Bellator, etc.) and why?
Tyrone Spong and Gokhan Saki because they are both extremely technical and they also violent in a smart way. Before and after the fight they are gentleman, and I respect that. Know when to be aggressive but also know when to turn it off.

Do you have a favorite fighter from the DMV area? 
Mark Deluca, from WKA: CSC 88 in the main event.

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? 
No, I don't think so. It's early in kickboxing, and it is starting to explode. We need about 12 months before Glory World Series is a household name. It's a bit too new.

What is the atmosphere at the gym like? 
This gym is great. We're a fight gym and we train quite a bit. We have a zero ass hole policy. If someone comes into a sparring class and goes hard and is too aggressive we make sure they don't come back again. We don't do anything bad, but we just make sure they don't come back.

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? 
I think Muhammad Ali would never do MMA, I don't think he would be interested. It's too much out of his realm. I think Bruce Lee would be the first MMA fighter. He was studying legitimate grappling. If it existed at the time he was training and alive, he would be the meanest 135 in the sport. He would be a legitimate fighter and really help to evolve it.

February Workout Schedule

Saturday, February 1, 2014

MMA in the DMV: DCBFIT - Michael Parker

MMA in the DMV: DCBFIT - Michael Parker

Name: Michael Parker
Record: 5-7
Weight Class: First started: 205, Current:185
Age: 28

What is your martial arts background? Have you ever competed in combat sports before? 
I started training with Jerome 6 years ago, before then I wasn't really doing anything. I always wanted to do it when I was little. When I first started, I was 300lbs. Now, I walk around at 200 lbs. I've been competing for 4 years, and when I'm not in the gym, I'm working at Banana Republic. One night, we had a fight night and were watching some fights, and Jerome asked me if I wanted to compete, and I said yes.

What's your fighting style (ground and pound, wrestling, striker)? 
Muay Thai and kickboxing.  I'm also known as a striker.

Where do you see yourself going in MMA (casual, fitness, fun, professional)? 
I'd like to go pro. Hopefully by the end of 2014, beginning of 2015.

When is your next fight? 
I'm in a WKA (World Kickboxing association) tournament in March.

How do you prepare for a fight (what is your diet? How do you train? How do you mentally prepare)? 
I train, workout, lift weights, and spar. I cut out fried foods and no drinking or junk food. Mentally, I know that I am going to have to go in there and do what I have to do. I know that the competitor is going in there to hurt me and I will have to do the same.

Does cutting weight affect your strength and stamina the day of the fight? 
At first, it did because I did it wrong, and I just stopped eating, and that does affect you. Now, I know how to do it the right way and it doesn't affect me.

Who has your toughest opponent been so far? 
Myself. It's a challenge going in, getting yourself ready, and doing what you have to do. The first time going in, I had nerves. When I go in now, I know I'm only competing with myself.

Why do you get in the ring as opposed to just training? 
I enjoy competing. I enjoy the sport. I enjoy getting in the ring and competing with someone. I just enjoy the competition.

How do you feel about MMA today? Do you think it is becoming more popular? Less popular? Too saturated? 
It's very popular. They've changed things for MMA everywhere. It's recognizable and everywhere. Some people like it and others don't.

Who is your favorite fighter in the major organizations (UFC, WSOF, Bellator, etc.) and why? 
I am more into kickboxing. So I love Tyrone Spong and Gokhan Saki in Glory World Series. I have others, but those are my two favorites. I also like Ramon Decker and Ernesto Houst. I like boxing too, so Mike Tyson, Sugar Ray Leonard, Muhammad Ali, Bernard Hopkins. I started watching a lot of their fights. I love seeing how things were back then and comparing them to today.
(Michael was the very first fighter I interviewed at DCBFit - and technically the first fighter I interviewed, period - so while I was waiting to interview Jerome and the other fighters, I looked up the kickboxers he mentioned. I was definitely impressed with Tyrone Spong, he's a pretty awesome fighter! I would recommend looking him up if anyone is interested.) 

Do you have a favorite fighter from the DMV area? 
Not right now.

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? 
I guess it is because no one really says anything about this area at all. No one knows about kickboxing or really any sport. When people from the area start winning, getting known, and getting in bigger organizations, that's when it will change.

What is the atmosphere at the gym like? 
It's really fun. The people who come here are great, and you enjoy everyone's company. It's a really fun atmosphere. And everyone trains together. Your teammates are there to support you, train you, and help you to be better. They really push you.

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? 
I think if they were in their prime and training in it, they would be great. They put their life into what they did, so yes. They wouldn't be unknown - they would be known everywhere.