I appear on the Fight Network show Five Rounds to discuss Anderson Silva. Scroll to 17:05 to see my segment on the show:
Many thanks to Matt Kaplowitz from TheFightNerd.com for not only doing a Q & A with me about the making of Pound for Pound: The Modern Gladiators of Mixed Martial Arts, but also in giving the book a stellar review.
I enjoyed the section on BJ Penn, as he has been part of the sport from a very early time, and became a major player quickly. Here, we learn about the meteoric rise of the Hawaiian native and get some insight on some of his biggest fights and moments in the UFC. GSP’s section is also very revealing, and shows readers the different emotional states that the current UFC welterweight champ has gone through before he became the dominant fighter he is now. Fans who have heard other fighters call St. Pierre a “mental midget” or other names will now understand just why he was insulted like that, and how he has matured and grown since then (which I found more interesting than reading about his fights). The chapter that I think all fans will love (and must read) is the part on Fedor Emelianenko, which was meticulously researched and will shock fans with some of the stories not about “The Last Emperor”, but about the final days of Pride FC. I would love to tell you more, but they would be huge spoilers, so you need to read it for yourself!
Read the entire review at TheFightNerd.com here: http://www.thefightnerd.com/pound-for-pound-the-modern-gladiators-of-mixed-martial-arts-book-review/
One of my favorite documentaries is The Smashing Machine (2002), the story of ill-fated MMA fighter Mark Kerr. The narrative traces Kerr’s career in Japan’s PRIDE Fighting Championship, where he has mixed success. Outside the ring, he struggles with an abusive co-dependent relationship, and an addiction to opiates.
Why did Kerr turn to different methods of coping with his situation? I think it comes down to fear, anxiety and pressure. The fight game exerted too much force on him, and he was bound to break apart. The opiates helped take the edge off, to numb him, and allowed him to function.
He was never really at his best when he was using drugs. They decreased his sensation of pain, but suffering can be a barometer for calibration, optimization. We know what needs to be fixed when we are in pain. Changes have to be made, and they can’t be ignored.
What is Kerr’s legacy today? The documentary tracks his self-destruction. He lost many more fights than he won after 2000, fell from relevance, and eventually faded from the MMA scene.
At one point, Kerr was selling luxury cars in Arizona. Maybe he’s better off away from the sport.
The Weekend Australian Magazine just released a gripping feature about Miro Mijatovic, former manager of PRIDE heavyweights Fedor Emelianenko and Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipović, who was taken hostage by yakuza goons (Japanese organized crime) in an attempt to extort him out of the rights to his fighters. Mijatovic is the reason why PRIDE FC, once the largest and best MMA promotion in the world, burned to the ground.
IMPRISONED in a Japanese hotel room with a Beretta 9mm pistol pressed against his temple, a grim calculus of life and death began to play out in the mind of Australian businessman Miro Mijatovic. Death, as he saw it, was a possibility but not a certainty.
“I am 6’6″ [1.98m] and I was pretty sure they were going to struggle to deal with getting a body the size of mine out of the hotel,” he recalls…
I conducted extensive interviews with Miro Mijatovic during the research for Pound for Pound: The Modern Gladiators of Mixed Martial Arts. He was a useful source of information on a number of topics, including Fedor Emelianenko and Mirko Cro Cop’s routines; the financial dealings between fighters and PRIDE; and most importantly–his role in ensuring the destruction of PRIDE FC itself.
After emerging from hiding, telling his story, and building his own love hotel management business in Japan, Mijatovic’s struggles with the yakuza are far from over. The New York Times covered the recent dealings between Mijatovic’s company Alchemy, which managed a group of hotels for CarVal that were sold to the yakuza-backed company Kato Pleasure Group.
“Our complaint to CarVal is that they ignored credible advice that they were dealing with a suspected organized crime entity,” said Miro Mijatovic, Alchemy’s chief executive.
It seems like the same issues and problems that plague the world repeat themselves over and over again. We must be diligent in listening to the right opinions and not allowing this type of corruption to eat away at the social fabric.