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Exclusive Interview with Matt “The Immortal” Brown

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Very few fighters personify their respective nicknames better than Mark “The Hammer” Coleman, Kevin “The Monster” Randleman (RIP) or Matt “The Immortal” Brown. Maybe it’s an Ohio thing. As it pertains to Matt Brown, being called Immortal represents much more than a catchy pseudonym. It is a philosophy, an unwavering dedication and a way of life for a fearless warrior; one who is willing to purge himself in the fire just to drag someone through the flames along with him.

Judging strictly from his cage performances, the title “Immortal” seems to spawn from his fighting style and resume. Consider his UFC Fight Night main event 2 years ago against Erick Silva as one example. Rocked by a nasty body shot that would have finished most men, Brown rallied through the barrage of punches that followed and was somehow able to weather the storm, pushing an intense pace and stopping Silva in the 3rd round via TKO. The Fight of the Night performance was easily one of the best fights in UFC history; not just in the welterweight division – in the entire history of the sport!

Even in defeat Matt Brown has shown glimpses of immortality, such as hard fought decision losses against current Welterweight champion, Robbie Lawler and former champion Johny Hendricks, neither of whom were able to lay the Immortal One to rest. Yes indeed, he often looks immortal inside the octagon; but it goes much deeper than that.

Outside the octagon, he is a survivor of a near-death drug overdose and an active shooter situation that left 4 people dead and 7 others wounded. Matt Brown is also one of the few people in this business to defy impossible odds; not only by staying relevant for well over a decade, but also for reinventing himself in recent history, earning high esteem in the deep waters of the UFC Welterweight division, where he’s currently ranked #8

On May 14,  Brown heads to Brazil for the first time, where he will take on #6 ranked Demian Maia. He has only fought overseas once, in Manchester, England when he faced James Wilks, earning a 3rd round TKO at UFC 105. Unfortunately, the impressive win was followed by a 3-fight skid; but Matt Brown’s immortality prevailed again and the UFC retained the high-intensity fan-favorite. Brown found redemption with an 8-1 run in the UFC in which he KO’d veteran Mike Swick along with 5 other opponents and also earned a lopsided decision over #2 ranked Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson en route to a 7-fight win streak.

Brown spoke with MMA Latest ahead of his UFC 198 bout with Maia and talked fight preparation, mental toughness, physical fitness, and his favorite music: heavy metal!

[writer note: The transcript below has been edited for clarity and concision-RJE]


Thank you for meeting with me. Let’s get right down to business. How are you feeling ahead of your fight coming up?

 I feel real good, everything’s coming together. All the timing is lining up for the weight, the cardio, everything, so..I couldn’t be happier.

Me and @trentsherrill filming prep for #ufc198 #hardbeinghard #waitforit @ufc @musclepharm

A video posted by Matthew Brown (@iamtheimmortal) on

 

What is it going to be like fighting overseas? This is only your second time fighting outside of the U.S. if I’m not mistaken. Fighting in Brazil is going to be insane, no?

Yeah, this is only the second time I’ve had to use my passport to fight. For me, it’s the same thing really; no matter where I go. It’s a hotel, an arena, and a cage. It’s not a vacation, you know what I mean? So, it’s the same thing. Now, this one is a soccer stadium, I guess it’s a little different in that sense.

 

It’s certainly worthy of a soccer stadium, it’s a phenomenal card. I think UFC 198 is actually better than UFC 200’s card, in my opinion. It’s headlined by Fabricio Werdum and Stipe Miocic for the Heavyweight title. Anderson Silva is fighting on the card, Vitor is taking on Jacare. It’s just an amazing card. How excited are you to be fighting on it?

 I couldn’t agree more. I’m pumped, man. I missed UFC 100, they didn’t put me on that. It’s looking like I’m not going to be on UFC 200. When I look back, I can say I was on some of the biggest cards, though. I was on UFC 189 when Conor (McGregor) fought (Chad) Mendes. Now I’m on 198, which I think is better than 200. I mean we’ve got the Heavyweight Championship of the world on our card. That’s what people like, the biggest and strongest guys in the world. When you look at it like that, we’ve got the premiere fight card of the year.

 

Earlier you said that this fight is no different, but there’s some travel involved. How much time will you take to acclimate to the environment in Brazil? Don’t you need to arrive earlier to get settled and fulfill all the media interview obligations?

For this one, it’s a pretty close time zone, it’s only a 3-hour difference. There’s really no need for me to get there too early. I just have to overcome a really long flight. In terms of the media and everything, it ain’t no fun, and fight week happens to be one of the times when you do the most media. But, this ain’t my first rodeo. I’ve done it lots of times and I’m used to that. It doesn’t really bother me, it kind of helps me get into that zone. It used to kind of aggravate me, but now it’s so engrained into my routine that it’s actually an opportunity to use it to my advantage. A lot of the interviews are the same questions, so I use it to generate positive communication and say the things that I need to be telling myself.

Speaking of getting into the zone with positive mental attitude, I understand that you are a dedicated student of sports psychology, any suggested readings for someone who is looking to subscribe to the ways of the cerebral assassin?

I don’t know if I’d say that I am necessarily just into sports psychology specifically, but I like to read a lot of books that can help me learn to, you know, become better overall; not necessarily just as a fighter but as a person. There’s a lot of good reading material you can find, like “The Eye of the I: From Which Nothing is Hidden” by David R Hawkins. So yeah it’s basically about self-awareness and learning how to master self-regulation just like the title says. Another one that my wife and I are getting into is called “Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender”. Again, it’s like the title says it’s about learning to let go of things in your life that are just… a waste of time and energy.

 

The UFC Welterweight Division is so stacked, especially in the top 10 where it’s always a logjam. I think that a win over Maia puts you into a title fight or a title eliminator at the very least.

Oh absolutely, there’s so many good guys, I mean you look at the top of the weight class and you can pretty much make a case for any of those guys. Like you said, it’s always a logjam because the division is so good. Even the whole top 15. They’re all dangerous, they’re all really good. But I’m not worried about any of that right now. I’m just focused on doing what I gotta (sic) do: go down there and get this win.

 

You recently relocated to the Elevation Fight Team at the Muscle Pharm academy. Is the elevation training truly an advantage? I’ve always heard conflicting opinions. How high is the elevation out there?

We’re about to find out if it’s effective or not *laughs* ..I don’t know yet, but I feel great. Everything is great, my teammates and coaches are great and yeah, the elevation is a mile..you know, it’s the “Mile High City”, but we’ll see if it has any effect. Either way, I’m ready.

 

Muscle Pharm is a long time sponsor of yours, I assume being on their fight team means that they still sponsor you in the same manner but I can’t seem to understand the ins and outs of the Reebok deal. In other words, many fighters have sponsors outside of UFC broadcasts, but select individuals are authorized to wear other logos during fights…

We can’t wear any other sponsors during fight week and obviously, we can’t wear any sponsors during the fights, we have the Reebok fight kits. A few people can wear ceratin other logos. I mean, it is what it is. I understand why they did it. It’s a business. In order to grow your business and bring this sport to the level where it needs to be at, you have to have partnerships with the big companies, so I get it, it makes sense.

 

How often do you use Muscle Pharm products? Personally, I use the Combat Protein, Recon, and I think that Muscle Pharm Assault is the best pre-workout on the market. It’s the only one that doesn’t make me feel like my heart is beating out of my chest.

Oh for sure. I use all that stuff. I mean, the protein, that’s a given. I use it daily. The recon I’ll use 2 to 3 times a day when I’m in a training camp. But they have a lot of great products I like to use too, like the BCAA. It’s really good. Also, the fish oil. Like I said, I love Muscle Pharm. I’m just really proud to be a part of this team and I’m honored to be with them. You know, Muscle Pharm is one of the few sponsors that actually stuck by the fighters when a lot of other sponsors bailed.

It’s very cool to see you and other fighters figuring out ways to build your brand and potentially monetize a product like you’re doing with your podcast, The Great MMA Debate, as well as your workout equipment. Tell me about Immortal Combat Equipment. I’m very interested in this and I love the name by the way.

 It’s called Immortal Combat Equipment and we basically took the concept of how would you work out if you had no machines or any kind of a modern workout equipment? It’s like a caveman approach. If you put us in a metal shop, we’re not building machines or ellipticals, we’re making something simple yet durable enough to get the job done. We’ve got several products in the line-up like the War Wagon and the Battle Hammer and our website will be up in the next week or two. But yeah, we’ve got those and other items for sale.

@joannajedrzejczyk loves the War Wagon too. Jus sayin @immortalcombatequip @musclepharm

A photo posted by Matthew Brown (@iamtheimmortal) on

[For more information check out @immortalcombatequip on Twitter and Instagram-RJE]

 

Jamey Jasta of Hatebreed wrote a custom walkout song for you, “I Am the Immortal”, which is also used as the intro track for your podcast. How did that come about? Did he approach you about a song idea? By the way, for any listeners who are not familiar with Jasta or Hatebreed, please purchase a Battle Hammer from Immortal Combat Equipment and bash your head with it repeatedly.

*laughs* Actually I approached him. My best friend (Jeremy Loper) has a radio show (99.7 The Blitz, Columbus, OH) so he had Jamey’s contact information. He reached out and told him I was a fan, and come to find out, he’s actually a big fan of mine. I went to a show when they were in town with Black Label Society. I was like, ‘holy shit, I’m hanging out and Zakk Wylde is there and we’re all hanging out, so Jamey Jasta and I talked for a while. It’s funny you know, he actually told me later on his podcast, that he initially didn’t have the heart to tell me the UFC probably wasn’t going to let me use the walkout song. But, they eventually came around.

 

It’s the small victories that make all the difference. Anyway, Hatebreed has a new album coming out soon.

Yep, the day before my fight. I can’t wait.

 

Yeah, Friday the 13th, in May. It’s right after my birthday. Devildriver is going on tour with Hatebreed and they’ve got an album coming out the same day. I’m looking forward to seeing them when they come to San Antonio, I just saw Killswitch Engage when they were here. What else have you been listening to?

Oh man, I have to check out that new Devildriver, damn, I’m pretty much into everything by Killswitch. Love the new album. And I’ve been listening to the new Fear Factory non-stop, that’s my favorite album right now.

 

What are your favorite death metal bands? My top 2 would have to be Cannibal Corpse and Suffocation.

Yeah, same here. Those are probably my top two. Especially Cannibal. I actually got suspended from school for trying to play “Hammer Smashed Face” (by Cannibal Corpse)..well, we never ever actually got to play it. The band ended up playing a Megadeth song.

 

On December 8th, 2004 heavy metal guitar legend, “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott of Pantera, was tragically shot and killed onstage by a deranged fan. It was a show in Columbus, OH. I was chatting on Twitter a few weeks ago with (Fox Sports UFC writer) Damon Martin and he told me that you were actually at that show when it happened. That’s crazy. Sorry that you had to experience that horrifying event.

 Nah, it’s cool. I’ve talked about it before. Talking about it ain’t going to make a difference one way or the other. It doesn’t change what happened. It’s just something that happened and yeah, I was there and uh…. if anything, it taught me to always be aware and protect myself and my family. I’m a huge supporter of the 2nd amendment and I’m sure you can agree with me on that.

More than you know. …Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me on a Sunday evening in the middle of training camp. We here at MMA Latest really appreciate it.

 

UFC 198 takes place on May 14th and is available on pay-per-view and it is more than worth the $60. See below:

  • Fabrício Werdum vs Stipe Miocic
  • Ronaldo Souza vs Vitor Belfort
  • Anderson Silva vs Uriah Hall
  • Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino vs Leslie Smith
  • Maurício Rua vs Corey Anderson
  • Demian Maia vs Matt Brown

Pain and anguish are the only guarantees in this business. A born-fighter, Matt Brown is all too willing to take the death ride under the bright lights and big crowds. Driven by title aspirations, a UFC title has eluded him thus far, yet more than ever, it is well within reach. He is in his prime and has every intention to continue his forward momentum until he stakes his claim to championship gold. Regardless of whether that dream is realized, he could walk away from the sport tomorrow, but his legacy will remain truly immortal.

 

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Interviews

Exclusive: Derek Brunson: “Anderson was definitely a little lubed up”

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Derek Brunson fought Anderson Silva back in February of this year, at UFC 208. Brunson would go on to lose the fight by controversial unanimous decision. However, the controversies didn’t stop at the questionable decision, Brunson also claims Silva was greasing during the fight. The Wilmington, North Carolina native, posted about it on Twitter a few days ago:

Speaking with MMA Latest, Brunson explained why he believes Silva was greasing during the fight. “Anderson was definitely a little lubed up. Every time I grabbed him he was just slipping out of everything, and his takedown defense was really good that night. I was definitely curious to know why he was very slippery, which I definitely think he had some kind of substance on his body. He knows I’m a wrestler obviously, he’s an old, savvy veteran, so he was definitely trying to play all the rules and be very strategic, and make it harder for a wrestler to grab him.”

Brunson is set to face Lyoto Machida come October 28, when asked about whether he was worried about Machida greasing, considering Gegard Mousasi accused him of doing so in their fight, Brunson admitted he wasn’t too worried.

Well I’m not too worried, but like I said, I put it out there because I know they’re friends and I know, obviously, that’s kind of what the guys do when they know they’re fighting a wrestler. They want to lube their body up really good to make it hard to grab hold, Anderson did a great job defending my takedowns. It’s because he was all greased up so he was able to stop a lot of them. When I grab guys in the clinch, it’s very tough for them to get away and I’m pretty good with my Greco takedown. He was pretty much pulling through my clinch when I had a tight grip on him and if you have some kind of substance on your body it’s easy to pull them.”

Neither Silva nor his management have commented on the greasing allegations. Anderson Silva makes his return against Kelvin Gastelum later this year, in China. While Brunson makes his return to the Octagon on October 28th, in Brazil, where he looks to add Lyoto Machida’s name to his impressive list of victories.

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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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