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Din Thomas On His Recent Foray Into Stand Up Comedy and Tyron Woodley’s Fight Camp

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UFC old guardsman, Ultimate Fighter alumni and MMA coach at American Top Team are just few job titles owned by veteran mixed martial artist Din Thomas. Not only did he follow in the footsteps of so many who came before him, retiring from MMA to become a teacher, coach and mentor to young fighters, the elder statesmen has also been venturing off the beaten path of a traditional post-fight existence. Thomas been dabbling with improv acting and sports broadcasting for several years; but just within the last 12 months, podcasting and even stand-up comedy have been added to his lengthy resumé.

 

The modern landscape of self-promotion proves difficult for fans to navigate at the current saturation level. With the staggering number of active or retired fighters, coaches, analysts and referees who have their own internet, satellite or terrestrial radio show, one can get lost trying to keep track of it all. Beyond those mediums, the amount of podcasts that exist are more abundant than all of the other platforms combined.

It seems Tyron Woodley and Din Thomas have figured out a way to carve out a niche for themselves within the overpopulated quasi-radio market.

“Tyron (Woodley) and I have been together for quite some time and we talked about doing a podcast for a long time. We just never really pulled the trigger on it; which is weird for a guy like Tyron, because he’s such a hustler,” Din Thomas told MMA Latest News.

 

“One day we just decided we’re just going to go on ahead and do it. We needed to come up with a name and I gotta (sic) give a shout out to Jessica Eye who helped develop the name for us.”

 

The name is certainly a memorable one. Do a quick iTunes search for “The Morning Wood Show with Deez Nuts” and it will stand out among the crowd..no pun intended. Do not get it twisted though, Din Thomas primarily wears his coaching and mentoring hat at the moment, because his broadcast partner just happens to be on deck for a shot at the UFC Welterweight title against Robbie Lawler on July 30th.

 

“He’s in a really good place. Probably the best place I’ve ever seen him mentally”, Din Thomas said of his protégé “Just really positive and cerebral about his approach and I’m really confident going into this fight that he’s gonna (sic) do his thing.”

 

Tyron Woodley was named challenger for the Welterweight Title after an October 2015 bout with former champion Johny Hendricks was scrapped due to a botched weight-cut that hospitalized “Bigg Rigg”. But the often murky 170lb title picture quickly became a rollercoaster of emotions for Woodley, as he saw the possible match-up with Robbie Lawler all but dissolve before his eyes.

 

First, Carlos Condit lost a close decision against Lawler, prompting legions of fans to call for a rematch. That was soon forgotten, however, when Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson made Johny Hendricks look like a pedestrian in a spectacular first round stoppage. Even “what-if” situations formed roadblocks when talk of a GSP return clouded the airwaves. Conor McGregor even entered the discussion when he was set to fight for the lightweight belt. Exhausted yet? Imagine what was going through the mind of Tyron Woodley and his team.

 

“If there is such a thing as ‘divine intervention’ then this was a prime example of it. In my opinion, I never thought that they would give Tyron this fight. Because I felt like, he has been on the shelf waiting for a fight, any fight. I said ‘if they wanted to make this match they would’ve made the match before’.”

 

Robbie Lawler employs a strategy that is anything but a secret; yet and still, few people have been able to do anything about it and none have done so during his championship reign. This is what makes him dangerous. He hits like a truck and can defend takedowns with the best; everyone knows it but no one can stop it. The UFC Welterweight Champion is indeed a formidable enigma, one who is extremely difficult to strategize against.

 

“In a broad spectrum, he comes out and does the very predictable thing. He gets in your face and he throws bombs. And he’s a tough guy. He doesn’t run and he’s always dangerous,” said Thomas.

 

Sure, Din Thomas has dedicated his full attention to Woodley’s fight preparation, but the work-hard play-hard balance is in full effect. A jack-of-all-trades these days, Din has branched out from quick witted radio style banter and taken his humor to the stage, as he recently made his debut in stand up comedy.

 

“I’ve been terrified of doing stand up. I mean, I’ve been doing improv in front of crowds for the last 4 or 5 years. But it always terrified me to try and look out at a crowd and make them laugh,” Thomas shared with MMA Latest “And, I got this opportunity, filming Looking For a Fight with Dana and Matt Serra.”

 

What Thomas refers to is a comedy show in early June that was called All Star Comedy: UFC Edition in which he and Matt Serra shared the stage with the likes of veteran stand-up comics Adam Hunter, Bryan Callen and the great David Spade. The show took place at the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles and excerpts from it will be featured on UFC’s YouTube show, “Lookin’ For a Fight”.

 

“I was pretty successful. I mean, it could’ve been beginner’s luck. That’s why I’m doing it again in Vegas on July 7th.” [LA Comedy Club, Stratosphere Hotel at 8PM. Click HERE for tickets ] “I’ll be opening for the great Adam Hunter.”

 

Din is a big proponent of encouraging fighters to follow his example and that of his peer Matt Serra who has also taken to podcasting, TV and stand up comedy in his post-fight career.

 

“Shout out to Matt for that. Matt deserves it. He was born for it and he’s built for entertainment,” Thomas said of his former octagon foe. “One thing that fighters have to understand is that your fight career is short, you have to do other things, because your fight career is not going to last forever.”

 

Thomas speaks as a man who knows that expectations versus reality eventually reveal unforeseen challenges to fighters when it comes time to hang up the gloves, often before they are ready and willing.

 

“You have to be able to set yourself apart; use your notoriety to catapult into other areas. If you’re not doing that and you think your fight career is going to last a long time, you got another thing coming,” Din advises the younger generation, “I’m hoping that people can hear my message on this. Sometimes I have to tell guys, and I have to be honest. I say ‘look, you might want to start looking at other job opportunities or go back to school.”

 

“And I gotta give some props to Tecia Torres, who’s one of my higher profile fighters, and she’s still in school trying to get her Master’s. Not that she’s developing a ‘fall back plan’ this is a ‘when it’s over plan’.”

 

Din Thomas certainly knows how to stay busy in the fight game after-life. He is more prominent and perhaps more renowned than ever before, especially among the younger generation. He is undoubtedly hoping to paint his masterpiece on the 30th of July, as coaching Tyron “The Chosen One” Woodley to a world title will be one of the greatest accomplishments that Din Thomas or any coach could ever strive to achieve.

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Bellator

Michael Page Not Focusing on Opponent Ahead of Boxing Debut

Harry Davies

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MMA Latest spoke to Bellator’s Michael ‘Venom’ Page, as he makes his boxing debut this Friday at the Hayemaker Ringstar Fight Night.

Page (12-0 MMA) is renowned for his entertaining fight style inside the cage, with most of his knockout and submission victories ending up in highlight reels online, that almost always go viral.

‘MVP’ was supposed to make his boxing debut on the undercard of David Haye vs Tony Bellew in March of this year, but due to ongoing negotiations with Bellator, his debut was delayed. Shortly after Page signed with Haye’s promotion “Hayemaker Ringstar.”

Q: So, Michael, we’re about five days out now from your big boxing debut, and still we have no name of an opponent? Can you break the big news, who will you be fighting next week?

I honestly couldn’t even tell you his name right now! I know I’ve got an opponent, but I haven’t even looked at him because it has changed so many times. I don’t like to pay too much attention to it, because it’s added stress. For me it’s just a case of turning up, and firing punches at whoever is across the ring.

Q: Is this fight 10 or 12 rounds? Given a standard boxing fight is a lot longer than your typical 15-minute MMA bout, has there been an emphasis on cardiovascular work in your training camp?

Depending on the opponent, I think it’s 6-rounds. The preparation has been different, I’m having to stress out my shoulders and core a lot. The kicking distance as well is very different, getting used to having people a bit closer. I’m getting used to the corners of the ring, I’ve done it before but not to this extent so I am familiar of it, but my body wasn’t really used to it.

Q: So, is this kind of like a one fight deal for Haye’s Ringstar promotion? Regardless of this fight’s outcome, will you return to MMA?

Not at all, I’m taking it seriously. Otherwise, I would have just had a super fight against a big name like McGregor did. This is why I can’t just jump into a 12 round fight, I need to adjust my body and get it prepared for boxing.

There’s no future plans yet, I’d like to have an MMA fight again before the end of this year, as I haven’t fought this whole year, but another opportunity for boxing may come up and I might get a chance to jump on that, so it depends.

Q: Were you frustrated that Bellator booked Paul Daley vs. Lorenz Larkin, and if you could send a message to Daley right now what would it be?

I have no interest in him anymore. It feels so pathetic and unnecessary now. I don’t think he deserved that fight with Larkin right after the shocking display he put on in Wembley against Rory MacDonald. But good on him he beat Larkin, however he calls me out immediately after then goes on to say he’s past that fight, it just doesn’t make sense.

Credit – michaelpagemvp – Instagram

Q: A statement we hear a lot is “MVP is the only guy outside the UFC that I want in the UFC” People criticise the talent in Bellator and say you’re fighting nobodies, what do you say back to them?

The amount of times you hear “you shouldn’t fight this person, you should have fought that person.” Everyone’s got an idea of what the correct steps someone should make are, but at the end of the day it’s their career. People are so fickle and easy to forget. If you are a fan of somebody, just be a fan of them regardless of win or loss.

Q: I’ve got to ask about how things are with Bellator, because from the outside looking in it’s quite unclear. How is it relationship at the moment?

Yeah I get on with most of the guys, it’s like a small family. I’ve still got a couple of fights left with them, they’re growing very well, the only problem is I feel like they’re focusing a bit too much on ex UFC fighters. For me it says you’re classing yourself as second best. Bellator generate some amazing superstars and young talent, they should continue to promote them.

You can watch ‘MVP’ make his boxing debut this Friday night, as the Hayemaker Ringstar Fight Night will air at 21:00PM on Dave.

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BAMMA

Exclusive: Alex Lohore “Didn’t Know” Who Richard Kiely Was Before BAMMA 32 Booking

Harry Davies

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We spoke to the recently crowned BAMMA welterweight champion Alex Lohore, as he prepares to defend his title against Richard Kiely at BAMMA 32 in Dublin.

Lohore (13-1) won the vacant BAMMA welterweight title last month at BAMMA 31 in London. Fighting his longtime rival Nathan Jones on the night, Lohore knocked out “Mr Bag & Tag” with a knee in the first round.

Q: Obviously the rivalry between you and Jones had been going on for years, but you finished it in brutal fashion. Did you to speak to him after the fight?

Yeah I did have a chat with him. I was telling him that it was a great fight and we should train together sometime, but he was he wasn’t really keen on it. I guess he was still a bit sore about the defeat.

Q: In the cage after your win, you called out Richard Kiely, now you’re fighting him. Are you happy you got the opponent you asked for?

Everyone keeps saying I called him out, I didn’t call him out, he called me out! I didn’t even address his name, I said ‘this Irish kid has been running his mouth we’re going to go out there and shut him up.’ I didn’t even know who he was. He’s been mentioning my name and talking a lot of rubbish on my social media disturbing me and my fans.

Q: The finish against Jones was picture perfect. From the elbow, to the right hand, to the knee, was it the best of your career?

Yeah I think it is, by far! It was perfect technique. I knew as he was going he back he would try to duck in for the takedown. Because I was throwing the head kick anyway all I needed to do was just switch it to a knee. I couldn’t ask for any better.

Q: Given it’s in Dublin and Richard is Irish, How do you feel about going into enemy territory at BAMMA 32?

That’s great, that’s why I’m doing it! I need to be comfortable in every environment, so going out there will test. I wanted to be on the Dublin card, now I can teach him a little lesson too, I can’t wait.

Q: As you know the Geordie Shore star Aaron Chalmers has brought a lot of attention to BAMMA recently, what are your thoughts on him? 

He’s good man. For someone who doesn’t come from a fighting background and does reality TV stuff, he’s doing good. How can people say he should fight someone more experienced, because he is taking  guys that are on his level and he’s doing good.

He’s helping MMA fighters because he has got a big following so more people are going to be watching MMA and learning about MMA so it’s a good thing having him on board.

BAMMA32 will take place at the 3Arena in Dublin on November 10th. Tickets are now on sale at ticketmaster.ie. The card will air live on both UNILAD’s Facebook page, and Dave.

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Bellator

Exclusive: Andrey Koreshkov eyeing fight with Rory MacDonald

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Former Bellator welterweight champion Andrey Koreshkov is coming off of an interesting past two years. In 2015 he beat current welterweight champion Douglas Lima, via a dominant unanimous decision, in order to win the welterweight title. He returned in 2016 and beat former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson via another dominant beatdown. It seemed like Koreshkov was going to be the champion for a very long time, making elite fighters look like they had no business being in the cage with him.

Koreshkov’s world came crashing down one night in Isreal. The Russian was beating Douglas Lima in a rematch, he was up 20-18 on the score-cards, and it seemed like he was going to walk away with another successful title defense. Koreshkov forced Lima’s back against the fence and started winging punches at him, Lima started to do the same as he looked to get off the fence, and then it happened, a huge left hook caught Koreshkov on the chin and it was lights-out. Lima was once again champion, and Koreshkov’s reign was cut short.

What was next for Koreshkov after losing the title? Perhaps a move to middleweight? Bellator’s middleweight division has fewer contenders than the welterweight division and could promise a quicker path to the title for the Russian. Koreshkov is a big welterweight, standing at 6’1, he certainly wouldn’t be small in the higher weight class. Speaking to MMA Latest, Koreshkov was quick to shut down the idea of moving up. “No, no, I work hard at welterweight and I’d like to stay there.”

Sticking with welterweight, Koreshkov knew it was going to be tough to get another title shot after his fight with Chidi Njokuani, but he seems to know the key to fighting for the title “It’s not about how many wins, but rather, the quality of my wins”, with that in mind, he promised the gameplan against Njokuani was to “stand and bang”. Koreshkov fulfilled his promise, against Njokuani he came out guns-blazing, giving Njokuani all he could handle on the feet before eventually taking him down and finishing him with some nasty ground and pound.

Koreshkov also got the chance to explain who he’d like to fight next, should he not get a title shot. “I don’t have any favorites, I know that there are a lot of tough fights at my weight class, but if I had to choose, I would say Rory MacDonald.” Unfortunately for Koreshkov, MacDonald is booked against his former opponent Douglas Lima, as the two are set to fight for the Bellator welterweight title in January.

A fight against MacDonald would promise fireworks as the two are known for their ruthless style. There’s a strong chance Koreshkov may get his chance against MacDonald next, as the former champion is certainly either next in line for the shot, or set to fight the loser.

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