Rattling the Cage Podcast #5: Dennis Bermudez Talks Retirement, Thiago Alves Talks Hometown Fight

Saturday, February 16th, 2019 by Tony Reid

Perennial UFC contender Dennis Bermudez joins the show to talk about his recent decision to retire after his win at UFC Brooklyn. We talk about the decision to retire, his trials and tribulations leading up to the fight and his innermost thoughts during the fight.

UFC welterweight star Thiago Alves joins the show to talk about his recent controversial win at UFC Fortaleza. We discuss his triumphant return home, the fight itself and his thoughts on the sport not being a young man’s game.

Rattling the Cage Podcast #4: Eddie Alvarez, Monetary Value of UFC Belt and Champ-Champs

Saturday, February 16th, 2019 by Tony Reid

Former Bellator Lightweight champion, UFC Lightweight champion and current ONE Championship title contender Eddie Alvarez joins the show to talk about his landmark free agent signing, avoiding manufactured MMA drama and just focusing on the fight itself.

Tony and John talk about the monetary value of a UFC belt, the potentially decreasing value of being a champ-champ and much more!

Rattling the Cage Podcast #3: Curtis Blaydes, Liam McGeary and Quizzes

Saturday, January 12th, 2019 by Tony Reid

Rattling the Cage Podcast #3: Curtis Blaydes, Liam McGeary and Quizzes
UFC Heavyweight contender Curtis Blaydes joins us to talk about his comeback after dropping his most recent fight to Francis Ngannou at UFC Fight Night Blaydes vs. Ngannou 2 in November. We discuss his issues with Derrick Lewis, his lack of promotion and his desire to get back in the Octagon and get back on the winning track.

Former Bellator Light Heavyweight champion Liam McGeary joins the show. We discuss his impressive TKO win over King Mo Lawal at Bellator 235 in December in Hawaii, his newfound training facility and more .
Also on today’s show…

We recap Jon Jones’ dominant victory over Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 232, Amanda Nunes throwing her name in the G.O.A.T hat and Polyana Viana beating down a would be attacker.

Vo has one of his famous quizzes for Tony to take.

That and much more!

Rattling the Cage Podcast #2: Tim Boetsch Talks Thriving Business, Hot Topics and Retirement

Monday, December 24th, 2018 by Tony Reid

Rattling the Cage Podcast #2: Tim Boetsch Talks Thriving Business, MMA Hot Topics and Potential MMA Retirement

Longtime UFC light heavyweight and middleweight contender Tim “The Barbarian” Boetsch was in studio to discuss his thriving Pelican’s Snoball Business, his passion for competitive Bar-B-Que, his potential retirement from the sport and much, much more.

Gripedo Official Sponsor of First Rattling the Cage Podcast

Monday, December 17th, 2018 by Tony Reid

Not only are we incredibly excited to be launching the Rattling the Cage podcast this week, we are just as excited to announce our first sponsor, Gripedo.

Please support those that support us. Visit the website and pick up one of the coolest and most effective grip strength training devices on the market today. You will be impressed by the results and versatility of the device.

Tell them we sent ya!



New Rattling the Cage with Tony Reid Podcast Launches With Demetrious Johnson and Ben Askren

Sunday, December 16th, 2018 by Tony Reid

Check out our very first podcast in our new home! (8daws/Stone State Entertainment Chad Evans)

We wanted to launch the show in style and I think we did just that.

Former UFC flyweight king, pound-for-pound all-time great and new ONE Championship fighter Demetrious Johnson joined us to talk about the historic trade from his perspective, his UFC championship reign and his future with ONE Championship.

Former Bellator and ONE Championship welterweight king, the still undefeated Ben Askren joined us to talk about the trade from his perspective, his physical and mental prime and who he has his sights set on in the UFC.

All this and much, much more. You know John Vovakes had to talk about something interesting.

The RTC Pod is available on our YouTube page. Please like, share, subscribe and all that good stuff.

We will be on iTunes, SoundCloud and all other platforms very soon!

A special thanks to the good folks at Gripedo support! Check them out at www.gripedo.com and tell them we sent ya!

My Time in the Poconos with Renan Barao

Saturday, July 23rd, 2016 by Tony Reid

Former UFC bantamweight champion Renan Barao, a man still considered one of the pound for pound best in the sport, walks the streets of a small town in Northeastern Pennsylvania in near anonymity.

He made the long trip from his home in Brazil to the Keystone State to support teammate and lifelong friend Claudia Gadelha in her new business venture in the well-known vacation region of the Pocono Mountains. The Claudia Gadelha MMA and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy opened its doors less than a year ago and has already taken the area by storm, so such so that the owners are in the process of purchasing a second location.

“I am really happy for Claudia. Now she gets to show her hard work to everybody.” Barao said.

13716024_10154261282845586_8987722125902418816_nMany topics arise when speaking to the shy and soft-spoken Barao at AC’s, a 50’s and 60’s themed diner, found in the same complex as the gym itself. Barao seems to be enjoying himself after A.J. Hiller, the owner and operator of the gym and restaurant, hands Renan a cup full of tokens to try his hand at the wide array of games in the diner’s game room.

Barao, speaking just a few short days after Gadelha’s tough loss to bitter rival Joanna Jedrzejczyk in the main event of the TUF 23 Finale, still has the fight on his mind.

It has been said, behind the scenes, that Claudia may have done too much training leading up to the fight, even to the point of over- training the day of the fight. Her fight camp was exceptionally long, nearly twice as long as most fight camps. The challenger sparred for an unusually long period of time in the moments leading up to the title fight that night. All of these factors can easily lead to an over-trained, underperforming fighter, which is what the world saw that night during International Fight Week.

“With Claudia’s fight she was just tired. She was gassed out. It was just way too much training. The first round was hers but that’s just the way it goes sometimes.” Barao said.

Gadelha dropped the champion in the first round and pulled Jedrzejczyk into deep waters early in the contest but by the third round the champion had regained control of the fight from the wavering hands of the exhausted challenger. Joanna Champion used her vicious Muay Thai striking game to bloody and batter the Gadelha and in the end Jedrzejczyk retained the UFC women’s strawweight title, kept her unblemished record intact and moved to 2-0 against her most heated rival.

The former UFC bantamweight king has had his fair share of obstacles to overcome and setbacks inside and outside of the Octagon in recent years. After a nine plus year, 32 fight unbeaten streak, Barao has now dropped three of his last four fights inside the Octagon.

In one of the greatest upsets the sport has ever seen, Barao’s unblemished streak came to a shocking end when he dropped the bantamweight title in just his second defense in devastating fashion to T.J. Dillashaw at UFC 173 via TKO late in the fifth round of the fight. In a surprising development, the world saw the wresting heavy game that T.J. Dillashaw showcases shift gears, change the gameplan and outstrike the champion throughout the fight. Dillashaw eventually finished Barao with a headkick followed by a few well-placed punches.

An immediate rematch was scheduled to take place at UFC 177 in August of that year but it was not meant to be as Barao was hospitalized the day of weigh ins after becoming ill during the weight cutting process. Barao was cutting weight in the hotel room bathtub when he stood up, lost consciousness and fell and hit his head. He was released from the hospital shortly thereafter but the writing was on the wall. This weight cut was becoming too much for the former champion to endure.

“The cut to 135 was breaking me. It was just too much.” Barao said. “That’s why I decided to move up to 145. When it came time to cut the weight. That was the most difficult time, just knowing that I had to cut back down. That weighed on me mentally and affected my mental health.”

13707685_10154261227385586_5802773160148850872_nAfter picking up a much needed win against Mitch Gagnon Barao was awarded a rematch with Dillashaw for a chance to regain the title. The former champion came up short again, getting stopped in the rematch to Dillashaw at UFC Fight Night Dillashaw vs. Barao 2. A decision was made. It was time to move up a weight class and join the UFC’s featherweight division.

He was welcomed to the deep division by perennial contender Jeremey Stephens at UFC Fight Night 88 in May. Stephens has some of the heaviest hands and most vicious striking in the division. After a back and forth “Fight of the Night” scrap, Stephens emerged the victor on the judge’s scorecards. Barao felt he had done enough to win the fight and refuses to be discouraged by the outcome.

“My previous fight against Jeremy Stephens was probably the hardest I have been hit in a fight.” Barao said. “The result is the result but I feel like I won that fight. I am just chasing after it now. I am ready to get back in there.”

Our Weekend at The MMA Classic Fan Expo in Syracuse, NY

Saturday, October 10th, 2015 by Tony Reid


My wife and I hit the road in the pouring rain in the early morning hours of Saturday October 3rd and headed north toward the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse New York for the MMA Classic Fan Expo. Being such a huge fan and supporter of the early days of the UFC and MMA I was extremely excited to meet so many legends and pioneers of early NHB.


As soon as we hit the parking lot and the building I couldn’t help but notice the size of the venue. It was a very large building with more than 50 vendor tables, a food court, other large rooms for activities and nearly half of it was sectioned off for the big MMA event to be held on Saturday night.


I started to make my rounds and I was like a kid in a candy store. I spoke to the show’s coordinator and MMA Signatures founder A.J. Hiller first. We had spoken in the past and he helped me secure a number of legends who appeared on my ESPN Radio show in the weeks leading up to the event. The first pioneer I ran into was none other than UFC co-founder Art Davie himself. We have spoken on the phone for interviews numerous times but finally meeting him in person and showing him our cover story in Fighters Only (of which I brought a few issues along with me) from a few months back was really special. He was really impressed with the quality of the magazine and we paged through it and he seemed to really enjoy the piece and his pictures! We talked about the major motion picture that will be made of his book “Is This Legal?” He also shared with me that just moments prior he spoke to UFC 1 veteran Gerard Gordeau for the first time in TWENTY years.

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As a kid of the 80’s and early 90’s I was really happy to see The King of the Four Rounders retired boxer, kickboxer and MMA fighter Butterbean. We met The King of the Four Rounders and he could not have been any nicer. I sat and chatted with him at his booth (on his bench) about all kinds of good stuff. He shared war stories with me about leg kicks he took during his career, back room bonuses and other great secrets and stories. We actually saw him at dinner later that night. We were waiting for nearly an hour Bean walks in with his wife and gets seated immediately, even though we had been waiting. I joked “Oh I see how it is…” he laughed and said no but he told me but the next day when I saw him he that he did indeed pull the Butterbean string! We was a joy to talk to over the course of the weekend.


We happened to bump into the first women’s UFC strawweight champion in history Carla Esparza. She was super sweet and as nice as could be. We tried to hook up for an interview a few times over the course of the weekend but it just didn’t work out.


We met and got to spend some time with Big Daddy Gary Goodridge. Watching him compete back in the day he was always one of those guys that seemed larger than life to me. I had him on my radio show in the weeks leading up to the expo which was actually the first time I had ever talked to him. In person he was a super, super nice dude who always had a smile on his face. He saw each other in passing numerous times around the expo and he mentioned all throughout the weekend that the good looking couple was there, meaning Michelle and I…mostly Michelle I assume. At one point we stopped to talk for a few minutes and he even gave us some marriage advice.


It was an absolute honor to finally meet and sit down with the man that owns the first win in UFC history Mr. Gerard Gordeau. He told me (among many other things) that this was the first time he has talked to Art Davie since he fought in the UFC over twenty years ago. He has not been stateside since UFC 2 where he trained and cornered Remco Pardoel. We sat outside and spoke for nearly an hour on topics from the UFC not wanting him to be a part of the recent anniversary festivities to how much he hates the current Zuffa brass. I would have to assume that I conducted the first interview with him in the States in the last twenty plus years. He has some stories as he smoked, and smoked and smoked some more. The look in his eyes, even during the interview process is that of an assassin. I mean that in the nicest possible way.

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Another UFC 1 pioneer that I had interviewed and spoke to a number of times but had yet to meet in person was Art Jimmerson. It was great to meet up with him. He actually took pictures of us and posted all over social media, wearing his one big red glove, of course. The glove has really grown in size over the years. In an interesting side note he actually had a copy of the Fighters Only issue in which our interview appeared right there at his table. We caught up, shared some laughs and had a great convo.


I spoke to pioneer Pat Smith for my upcoming book and he really shared some crazy stories for the early days, including a few about Tank Abbott (imagine that), hotel fights, blood, guts and more. He is still an active competitor and is fighting for a championship in a smaller organization very soon.


I also ran into the largest athlete in the world Emanuel Yarbrough and sat and spoke to him at length. He also shared some great stories about his experience in the UFC, his fight with Keith Hackney and so much more and as an added bonus he used the word loquacious numerous times during our interview, which I enjoyed greatly.


Another one of the early NHB and UFC pioneers that looked (at the time) like he would literally eat your face off is Paul Varelans. But I shouldn’t have judged “The Polar Bear” book by its cover. Paul is a great interview and great guy to convesate with. He was very open and honest. He’s been off the grid for years now, just recently coming back on the scene. He said that in coming back he realized that he was missed and that there was even a market for his signature because there were literally none on the market. He suffered from depression after the way his time and end of the run with the UFC shook out. He is getting things back in order and he’s actually working on a standup comedy routine. He shared a few jokes with us and he was pretty funny. I hope it works out for him.


The one and only, “The Beast” Dan Severn was the man of the weekend. There was a very cool Dean Martin style roast of the beast. I was lucky enough to attend and watch roast master Jonas Barnes, MMA legends Enson Inoue, Paul Varelans, Brian Ebersole and Don Frye roast some beast. Frye came to the stage carrying a six pack and proceeded to roast the roast master, Severn and anyone else he felt like ripping, all in good Frye fun, of course.


As I just mentioned the man of all men Don Frye was in attendance all weekend. Let’s just say Don Frye was being Don Frye all weekend and I enjoyed every second of it.


The longest line of the weekend award goes to “The Godfather of Ground and Pound” Mark Coleman. He had a steady line of fans at his table all weekend long. We had the chance to catch up for a few minutes as well.


How could I forget to mention UFC/MMA Collectibles? There was a sports cards table set up by Dave Sadler and company. Anyone that know me know how much I was involved in the sports collectibles market for most of my life. I had to buy a few packs. It’s my addiction that I kicked cold turkey but every time I walked by the table that weekend it was like the drug dealer on the corner and I was the crackhead.





What was quite possibly the highlight of the weekend for me was attending the UFC 1 Viewing Party. The entire inaugural UFC event was shown in a private viewing party in which numerous UFC 1 competitors where there to watch with the rest of us. From co-founder Art Davie to competitors Gerard Gordeau, Zane Frazier, Art Jimmerson and Pat Smith, watching that landmark event with those guys present was something very special. There was loud cheering from the fighters, some acting as cheerleaders for the others and overall a great sense of camaraderie thought out the viewing party and the weekend as a whole. There was so much history and so many memoires were in one place at one time. No matter the financial outcome of the expo to pull off what was pulled off, having so many legends in one place at the same time, in itself, made this a truly a special weekend that I won’t soon forget.

My Time at The 7th Annual World MMA Awards and UFC 183 In Las Vegas

Friday, February 20th, 2015 by Tony Reid

After my radio show Tuesday evening I headed home to put the finishing touches on our travel plans (mostly luggage) and got ready for the following morning. We left cold and snowy Central Pennsylvania Wednesday morning and drove to Baltimore for a direct flight out of BWI to Sin City to partake in a five day stretch of awesomeness of red carpets and face punching. We got to the airport and bumped into a few friends that were also heading out to Las Vegas for the big fight weekend. Tim Boetsch’s wife Jade and the crew of our good friends were flying on the same flight as we were. Of course Jade was making the trip to see her husband compete at UFC 183.

After the cross country flight we touched down in Sin City shortly after 4pm Wednesday afternoon Pacific Time. After flying all day we just grabbed our bags, a rental car and headed to the time share we were staying at for the duration of our trip. We chose to stay off the strip this time around. It was a great choice because they place was beautiful. We ate some bad food and I tried to connect with everyone I planned on catching up with while in town. From scheduling meeting and interview times with trainers, coaches and fighters to securing tickets for the same people for the World MMA Awards, Wednesday evening was just about firming up plans. With one exception…

The UFC 183 Silva vs. Diaz card was going down at the MGM. There is nothing like being in Las Vegas during a big fight week. The excitement in the air, the ridiculous level of elite fighters mulling around and the lights and sounds of normal Vegas just add to the fun. I could do without the cigarette smoke and five year old kids being dragged through the casinos though.

We hit the MGM to get our schedule in motion late Wednesday night and as we were hanging out with the Octagon caged MGM lion my wife spotted UFC Flyweight Champion and possibly the best pound for pound fighter on the planet Demetrious Johnson and his wife Destiny. We had planned on meeting up at some point over the weekend so there was no better time than now. DJ and Destiny were literally just getting to the hotel, bags in tow. DJ went to grab the hotel key and invited us up to the room to talk right there on the spot. We initially struggled to find the room and eventually headed up to the cardio wing of the MGM, an interesting and ironic name that was not lost on us. We had a great interview and more so a conversation in which Demetrious Johnson showed he is as exciting outside the cage as he is inside it. I know that’s really saying something but its 100% true. I hope to show that side of him in the material I gathered that day. His wife even went so far to say that people think he has the personality of a coffee mug and that the thought couldn’t be further from the truth. Some of those mugs have pretty funny sayings on them. I digress. We wrapped it up with the UFC Flyweight Champion of the world, saying our thank yous and goodbyes and made it back to the casino floor of the MGM.


For those of you that are unaware, the hub, and the hot spot for fighter spotting for the hardcore fan is the fountain area by the hotel elevators in the MGM. Clearly the fighters all must walk by that area to get to the elevators at some point throughout the day. In our comings and goings we saw a few autograph seekers hanging out there, pretty much, the entre five day stretch we were in town. I hope they at least stopped to eat and sleep at some point.

Thursday began with an in room tux fitting for the follow days Fighters Only World MMA Awards. We hit the MGM for an “Ultimate Media Day” open to media and MMA fans alike. On the way we made a must stop pit stop at The Las Vegas Fight Shop in Planet Hollywood on the strip. I love the place because there is so much, almost too much MMA goodness per square foot. For the record I didn’t not purchase an $80 t-shirt, for anyone that is curious.

The Ultimate Media day might have been ultimate for media and the fans in the front row of the hall but for anyone else it was elbows to assholes. I was on the fan side of the fence and decided I would be better suited to reach out to the fighters I had planned on talking to instead of wading through hundreds of people. I reached out to Jimy Hettes who was lounging up in his room with his team playing cards. He invited us to come up and hang out. We did an impromptu interview in the middle of Jimy’s card game. The whole crew of guys were fun and great to talk to and it was good to talk to a guy who could understand our struggle of cold and snow back in PA.

Although it looks like we are going a mile a minute and its non-stop action when we are on a trip like this, truth be told there is a lot of downtime, a lot of hits and just as many misses as far as meeting up, scheduling interviews and even something as simple as stopping to talk for a few minutes.


Friday was a day that was all about getting ready for the evenings red carpet, pre party, awards ceremony and after party for the 7th Annual World MMA Awards. My wife went to great lengths to prepare for a walk on the red carpet and she did not disappoint. She was the most beautiful person in the building that night. We picked up our tickets earlier in the day and prepared for a great night. We got dressed to the nines and headed over to the Venetian, where the event was being held. We were actually the first to hit the red carpet that night. As you can imagine it was a star studded affair from MMA luminaries to celebrities striking a pose on the carpet from Randy Couture to TV stars such as Joe Fatone and MMA personalities. We met up with Mike Beltran immediately after exiting the red carpet. He was nominated for Referee of the Year. He was one of the nicest and most genuine people I have met in the sport. We introduced each other to our wives and talked for a few minutes.

We hang around and took it all in for a few minutes, running into Fighters Only President and CEO Rob Hewitt, among others as we made our way back toward the theatre and the VIP cocktail pre show party. There were two levels to the pre party festivities. The top level was VIP but the lower level was VVIP. Before I was told that I didn’t know something like that existed. For what’s its worth we were in the real VIP party last year and had the time of our lives. We were told there were a few minor glitches in the ticket making and organizing process this year. We were not in the VVIP. The horror! We went to the regular old VIP party and struck up conversation with a number of awesome people, including again, Mike Beltran and another referee of the year nominee Jason Herzog. We chatted it up with them for a good while. I decided to head back down toward the lobby and in doing so I bumped in to Ryan Kiser who was an absolute pleasure to deal with all weekend. He was handling a good bit of the event coordination, if you will. Michelle approached him on a few occasions and he was more than helpful and great to talk to. I saw Ryan as I was heading down the steps as I passed the aforementioned VVIP section. He asked me why we weren’t in there and I said I wasn’t sure. He led us by hand into the VVIP party.


The first person I saw when I got in the room standing to my right was none other than Jose Canseco. Are you kidding me? I knew this was where I needed to be! I politely asked for a picture (contrary to popular belief I don’t ask for many, if any pictures.) He obliged and we began to make our way around the room. It was a who’s who of MMA luminaries. One right after the next. The best part about it was finally seeing people I talk to all year in person. It’s like seeing a long lost friend. From talking to the Askrens (Ben and Amy) to meeting Michael Chandler and his wife and more than I can mention here. We spoke to Chris Beal, who was up for Knockout of the Year at the awards show.  I met Michael Bisping for the first time after all these years. I finally ran into Emanuel Newton after all of our conversations and interactions this year. Bruce Buffer was chilling at the bar with Arianny Celeste. My wife had to go meet Joey Fatone who was at the bar. I met Mr. Fatone but as a grown ass man didn’t want to ask for a picture with him. I did tell him how much I enjoyed his bit on a recent episode of Impractical Jokers, which I think got the biggest reaction out of him all night. He was genuinely excited to talk about the show and his appearance. She also had a nice conversation with former Bellator ring card girl Jade Bryce. Kevin Randleman and crew were in the house. We spoke to all-time great and MMA icon Randy Couture for a minute. It was just a great, great time. It was one of those kinds of parties.



10961801_10152999529335586_851800836_nSo after enjoying ourselves immensely we made our way to the beautiful Venetian Theatre for the actual awards show. We entered and as I handed my ticket to the usher we made our way down, down, down to our seats. We were seated fourth row from the stage, center stage. I had to ask Ariel Helwani to stand up so I could get to my seat. I actually sat right next to him. We were surrounded by the who’s who in the MMA and entertainment industry. It was an amazing and humbling experience. The show was fantastic. Like I have said many times before it’s like the Oscars of MMA. Black tie, red carpet all class all the way. There is nothing else remotely close to it in our industry and I was happy to be a small part of it.

After the awards show all of these amazing people are filing out of the building at the same time. I congratulated Duane Bang Ludwig on his second consecutive award for Coach of the Year. I also congratulated T.J. Dillashaw on an amazing year. I bumped into UFC Welterweight Champion Robbie Lawler just a few moments after he won Fighter of the Year. We agreed to meet the next morning for a quick interview for the magazine.

Saturday morning I met up with Robbie Lawler in the food court of the Venetian for a quick interview. Later in the morning we took the rental car out to Xtreme Couture to meet up with Ryan Couture and the rest of the team. I had a great conversation with Ryan, make that an interview that will be in print in the near future. He is such a fun person to talk to, interview or otherwise. He said to make sure I stop back and take a private lesson as he would turn me into a bunch of knots. I’m sure I will be back and I’m as equally sure he will tie me into a knot.

Saturday night, of course was the actual face punching night of UFC 183. You didn’t read this to hear the results of the fight card. We had a great time watching the fights even if they didn’t play out like many of us had hoped. After the event we met PRIDE icon and MMA Legend Mauricio Shogun Rua and Anthony Johnson, among others.

That pretty much wraps up my little blog of my time in Las Vegas. I hope to get back soon and have another blog as fun and entertaining for everyone to read.

My Time on Set with Daniel Cormier and the CF Athletic Team Commercial Shoot

Saturday, November 15th, 2014 by Tony Reid

It was a late start for us as we hit the road headed for Columbus, OH Wednesday afternoon. We made it to our lovely room at the Red Roof Inn and got settled. A few hours later we went to Yogi’s a favorite spot of the man behind Cage Fighter, CF Athletic and the founder of MMA Elite, Michael DiSabato. We had great conversation there for a few hours, talking about the sport of wrestling, the pimps and prostitutes of the NCAA, some of the down and dirty secrets of the wrestling world and so much more. Mike D. is a whirling dervish, a ball of excitement, energy and attitude. If he is one thing it’s passionate about wrestling and changing the sport for the better. If you talk to him for more than five minutes that enthusiasm and passion has to rub off on you. You may not agree with his delivery but it is nearly impossible to argue with the message.


Thursday morning we met in the parking lot of Hilliard Davidson High School in Dublin. It is a very nice town outside of Columbus. There was an early morning session with Angelo DiSabato, Michael’s nephew as the star of the show, wrestling and grappling with another unnamed wrestler for specific shots for the upcoming commercial. The production level was first class, top notch all the way. I felt like I was on the set of a Nike or Under Armour commercial. There was a large crew filming as well as a few separate photographers capturing images as well. The day went great and a lot of powerful images were captured for the commercial for the upcoming release of CF Athletic’s first wrestling shoe.


We were invited to dinner at Michael’s beautiful house in a wonderful neighborhood later that evening. The dinner, baked ziti, was cooked by a friend of the family and probably the best I have ever had. I had a great time meeting and getting to know Michael’s family. We came to find out that DC’s flight was delayed and now he wouldn’t be in town until Friday morning and we would begin shooting bright and early.

After flying cross country on a plane held together by tape, after numerous delays and a late baby sitter. Cormier and his fiancé made it to Columbus, (more specifically the suburb of Dublin) Ohio for the CF Athletic photo and commercial shoot for the launch of the new wrestling shoe and clothing line again at Hilliard Davidson High School.

He was there bright and early, shortly after 7am on a very chilly day, with little to no sleep. We were outside near the track and field area and he was carrying logs, flipping tires, shadow boxing, doing dips, running and everything else you could imagine in nearly freezing weather with numerous videographers and cameramen making request after request and wardrobe change after wardrobe change, which he did all with a smile on his face and a quick witted joke or aside, even joking to the photographer to hurry up and take the picture because he had to suck in his gut and could only do it for so long. Mike D. joked that we were doing an interview for a cover story for FO and DC in all seriousness said “I was just on the cover last month, right?” He said that it wouldn’t be necessary to have another cover that a feature would do just fine. He also made it known that he saw the issue the following month and that Jon Jones was the cover boy of that particular issue.


He was wearing his brand new orange and black signature CF Athletic wrestling shoe. He joked that the shoes need to be redesigned because his actual signature on the shoe was too small. Mike D. assured him the signature was not too small…and also that the shoes would not be redesigned. As he was repeatedly pulling compression shirts and windbreakers over his head and switching out board shorts, track suits and all kinds of other great CF gear DC made note at one point during the wardrobe change that so many guys at light heavyweight, including Jon Jones, are skinny. DC will never be confused with a skinny guy. He is thick, he looks like a throwback to an old 1970’s fullback in the NFL. I stood next to him for most of the day and on a good day I’m 5’10”. DC is no taller than me. He’s an absolute tank of a man. And every ounce of that tank is utilized and used to demolish whoever is standing across from him in an Octagon or on a wrestling mat.

As we walked back indoors for the next session of the commercial shoot DC’s wife showed us all her very nice engagement ring. She mentioned that recently she lost a diamond out of the ring as she was cleaning and doing laundry. She told her soon to be husband the bad news but he took it in stride, knowing the issue would be covered by insurance. A tell that story to tell this one…As we made it indoors we had some down time and I had a nice conversation with DC and I was struck by how mindful he is that this ride doesn’t last forever. “This thing (MMA) will end for me as fast as it stared and I will be back to my regular life and no one will care (about me).” When speaking about Jon Jones he states “I think Jon got too much too soon, he was too young. He was a college dropout. All of a sudden you have everyone telling you that you are the greatest thing since sliced bread… and I’m sure he never dreamed he would be in the position he is in today. Look at guys like LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. They have been groomed from a very young age on how to handle success and attention as they grow and mature. Jon didn’t have anything like that. On top of that I think he is just a weird individual. If you talk to him outside of an interview setting for a few minutes you see how weird he can be. I have known him to go to nice, high end clubs in gym shorts and people let him in! He’s Jon Jones!” I gathered that with all Daniel has been through in his life he feels like he is more mature and much more-well positioned to take the belt and the responsibilities that come with it early next year. He is taking this ride in stride as well.

I showed him pictures of the recent interviews we have done with him for FO and the Latin American version of the magazine. He was very excited to get copies of each, which I promised him. “There was a time when we would try to keep all of the magazines I was on or in. It got to the point where it was too much and too fast to keep up.”

It was great watching him interact will all of the CF guys in attendance. He was goofing around like the guys were all back in high school or college locker room again. He made sure to tell Mike D. that he had gained a lot of weight since he saw him last and he was cracking jokes with all of the filming crew in attendance.


Once the on the mat filming stared DC flat out put on a show. He was shadow wrestling to start to the point if working up a sweat. A wrestler near his size was brought in to go live with him to film segments of the commercial. DC was executing takedowns and throws at will and right on cue, in the direction of the cameras just as he was directed. On the set we would stop every so often to check out the recently captured footage, at one point DC’s wife caught a glimpse and her reaction to the slow-mo shots was great. She mentioned how Cormier wants to show their son exactly what daddy does and also how Daniel is already teaching him certain wrestling techniques.

As there was a short break in the action when the guys went to get lunch, we were sitting by the set and DC began talking about his children and raising them in sunny California and how tough and hard kids can be in Louisiana. He said he would much rather raise his kids in California and give them a better upbringing than he had rather than raise them in the more rough area and neighborhoods he grew up in, saying that the kids down south are pretty hard. He mentioned details of his ambitions to further his media career after his fighting career is over. He is one of the few mixed martial artists that realize this ride of being an active fighter is extremely short and he is getting his ducks in a row for his post-fight life.

DC headed into the weight room for the next round of the photo shoot but more importantly, maybe, he was hoping to get a legit workout in. He went hard and again didn’t disappoint. He was doing some bench press work, curls, 21’s, squats, medicine ball pushups and anything else that he could manage with the space allotted and with so many people in attendance in the weight room. He was literally dripping with sweat by the time the workout was over. He made sure to make it a point that he wanted a rematch with Mike D.’s son in a previous football video game that DC lost. He wanted to guys to go buy the new UFC game so he could play with the kids and get his revenge later that day.

We broke for lunch and the man himself the Godfather of Ground and Pound, UFC Hall of Famer Mark Coleman made an appearance for a later scheduled interview with me. Mark was very talkative and even went so far to pose with the kids that approached him for pictures and he made sure to show them how to properly do the all-important post weigh in stare down.

Then we headed upstairs to the mat room for another round of the photo shoot. After spending most of the day with DC I could see he was dragging. He said that last Red Bull didn’t do the trick. He was running on fumes. He swung ropes, ran at a camera as if he was executing a takedown and a number of other shots and poses. Toward the end of the shoot Mark Coleman began yelling words of encouragement to DC, and make no mistake about it, he was the only person in the room that had the right to do so.

After the session Coleman and Cormier sat with me for more than 30 minutes to talk about a wide array of topics. Even after that interview DC sat with me for another 20 minutes to do a follow up of sorts. I couldn’t help but be impressed with how professional he was in every way throughout the entire day. I must have tanked him ten times and hugged him a few more as we parted ways for the day.


From there we went indoors and he spent at least an hour (probably two) wrestling hard while putting on a great show for all in attendance. He was just as entertaining off the mats while interacting the friends, crew members and fans. I think it was about this time when he first stopped for as much as a drink of water all morning.

Then we went into the weight room where he got a legitimate workout in all while being photographed and recorded for the commercial. His workout was inspiring and left the adults and especially the young men in the room in awe.

We stopped for a quick bite to eat and then right back at it. We went upstairs to the wrestling room and DC proceeded to run, jump, swing ropes and do everything else that was asked of him. It was clear after spending most of the day with him that he was running on empty but he didn’t show it or slow down for a minute.

After that session, by then he was going on, I don’t know how long with no sleep, he sat down for an interview with Mark Coleman and myself. After that 30 minute session he sat with me as long as I needed him to for another interview.

I must have thanked him ten times because I could see how much he needed food and sleep but he fulfilled his obligations and carried himself in a manner that calling him a professional would be an understatement.

So often we hear all the negative stories and the negative side of athletes and sports so I feel like I needed to share this positive story of a guy who deserves your applause. Nothing but respect for DC.

tarted bright and early in nearly freezing weather throwing logs, flipping tires, running, shadowboxing, doing dips and anything else a number of cameramen and photographers asked him to do all while doing a number of wardrobe changes.I’m pretty sure he would never share this story or say this himself so I will. After a few delays and a baby sitter back out, Daniel Cormier flew cross country on a plane that was basically held together with masking tape, arrived a day later than expected and with little to no sleep got out to an early morning photo shoot and grinded through an entire days work with a smile on his face, great stories, quick wit and a level of professionalism that you had to appreciate.

He started bright and early in nearly freezing weather throwing logs, flipping tires, running, shadowboxing, doing dips and anything else a number of cameramen and photographers asked him to do all while doing a number of wardrobe changes.

From there we went indoors and he spent at least an hour (probably two) wrestling hard while putting on a great show for all in attendance. He was just as entertaining off the mats while interacting the friends, crew members and fans. I think it was about this time when he first stopped for as much as a drink of water all morning.

Then we went into the weight room where he got a legitimate workout in all while being photographed and recorded for the commercial. His workout was inspiring and left the adults and especially the young men in the room in awe.

We stopped for a quick bite to eat and then right back at it. We went upstairs to the wrestling room and DC proceeded to run, jump, swing ropes and do everything else that was asked of him. It was clear after spending most of the day with him that he was running on empty but he didn’t show it or slow down for a minute.

After that session, by then he was going on, I don’t know how long with no sleep, he sat down for an interview with Mark Coleman and myself. After that 30 minute session he sat with me as long as I needed him to for another interview.

I must have thanked him ten times because I could see how much he needed food and sleep but he fulfilled his obligations and carried himself in a manner that calling him a professional would be an understatement.

So often we hear all the negative stories and the negative side of athletes and sports so I feel like I needed to share this positive story of a guy who deserves your applause. Nothing but respect for DC.

Rattling the Cage Book Review: “Is This Legal? The Inside Story of the First UFC from the Man Who Created It”

Friday, August 22nd, 2014 by Tony Reid

untitled (18)As a huge fan of the early days of NHB, (pre) MMA and the UFC I was very much looking forward to reading “Is This Legal? The Inside Story of the First UFC from the Man Who Created It” by one of the founders of the UFC himself, Mr. Art Davie.

The book is a great nuts and bolts, blow by blow of the day to day trials and tribulations leading up to the historical night of November 12, 1993 when the world changed forever as UFC 1 was held in the McNichols Area in Denver Colorado. Davie shares in great detail the contract snafus, the back and forth with Semaphore Entertainment Group (SEG) and of course his ever growing relationships with Campbell McLaren, Rorion Grace and other members of the Gracie Family.

The story Davie tells is as much of an idea coming to fruition (one that just may have started when the young boxer Davie was first in a scrap and taken down by a thick necked wrestler so many years ago) through hard work, dedication and a never say die attitude.

As with any great idea comes great pushback from those with short sight and other hang-ups and many of these oppositions are detailed in the book as well, including the great pushback from members of the traditional martial arts community as they were quick to shoot down the idea of mixed fights, generally for business related reasons and egotistical concerns.

Davie takes us behind the scenes and behind closed doors as he touches on the Gracie Family beef between the eldest son Rorion and the brother who was seemingly in line to take the reins of the Gracie Family into the next generation, Rickson.  Davie sheds some light on just how much Rorion wanted to please his father and family patriarch Helio as well as honor the Gracie name, Gracie Jiu Jitsu and the Gracie Diet.

Dave also details the fighter’s colorful personalities, their actions and mindset leading up to the event. Great insights about just how batshit crazy Pat Smith really was (not surprising), how guarded the Gracie Family was of Royce leading up to the event (again not a shocker) and how much an out of shape and overweight Kevin Rosier enjoyed Snickers washed down with a Dr. Pepper as staples of his diet leading up to UFC 1.

Another great story shared in the book (and one Art had shared with me on my radio show) was that of Royce breaking down in the hours leading up to the event, right there in the center of the Octagon as Rickson cradled him and helped him through that impossible moment.

Davie details how he went from an advertising professional and a low level Gracie Jiu Jitsu student under Rorion to becoming one of his trusted partners, a confidant and co-creator of an entirely new sport, the sport of mixed martial arts in general and specifically the Ultimate Fighting Championship brand.

I may be a bit partial, as I am one who can’t get enough information on the early days of the sport but I feel that this is a great (and quick) read for the hardcore fan (as some juicy information is shared about the Gracie Family and the early pioneers of UFC 1) to the casual observer that may not be aware of much of the information Davie shares in the pages of the book. Go out and pick this book up and get schooled on the early days and origin of the sport you watch today.

My Day in Columbus with The Immortal One

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 by Tony Reid

Our trip started in eastern Pennsylvania Sunday night as we headed west slicing through West Virginia and finally to Ohio, specifically Columbus, Ohio. We made it just in time to crash for the night at the local Red Roof Inn before preparing for our full day with the Immortal one himself, Matt Brown.

We were up and out the door by 8am headed to Galloway, Ohio which is about 5 miles outside Columbus and where Matt, Colleen, Hunter and Connor Brown reside. We were greeted at the door by the kids, who informed Colleen that “Tony and a lady in a pink shirt were here.”

We were greeted by the Brown’s German Shepard Harley. It is well known that Matt is a Harley Davidson guy, even recently receiving a motorcycle of his own, and I joked that the dog Harley was big enough for the kids to have a Harley to ride around the house. Matt isn’t the only one on the house in training mode, the ten month old dog Harley is still being trained and is a big fan of sharing his enthusiasm (and fluids) with anyone that comes to visit.

As Colleen made breakfast for the kids and Matt pounded protein shakes I noticed a number of computer printouts hanging around the downstairs of the house intended to keep Matt in the right mindset and constantly focused on the task at hand. From “Fight Smart” to “Eat Clean” hanging on the cabinets in the kitchen to the picture of Robbie Lawler hanging on the back of the Brown’s front door that states “I Will Defeat Robbie Lawler on July 26th”.


Matt also has an interesting and unique way of getting the ever elusive goal of a perfectly clean blender. He simply adds dish soap and hot water and literally blends it. I joked that we could do a special technique section in the magazine for blender cleaning with Matt Brown.

As we hopped in Matt’s big black Jeep Wrangler to get in his first workout of the day, a 9am strength and conditioning session at the legendary Westside Barbell, Matt told me that those little notes hanging around the house keep him focused and that they act as motivational tools, whether it’s consciously or even subconsciously. Colleen joked earlier that Matt is getting tired of seeing the same old played out phrases and is tempted to change them up a bit.

Matt had been a bit under the weather and had to pull back a bit as far as training was concerned. He was in the process of bringing his trusted coaches and allies in for the camp for the biggest fight of his professional life, the five round main event of the UFC Fight Night card on July 26th in San Jose California televised live on FOX against Robbie Lawler set as a title eliminator in the welterweight division.

We hit Westside Barbell at 9am and Matt wasted very little time in getting down to business. He began with some band resisted running on a treadmill, he added a number of intense ab work, and throw in some weighted walking around the parking lot of the entire facility, and a few special techniques and an hour and a half later the Immortal’s morning session is complete.


Westside Barbell is the mecca for lifting heavy things and putting them down. They are the standard by which all others are measured in the field of power lifting. They hold countless national titles and world records, as well as housing and honing a number of high performance athletes in other sports. MMA legend Kevin Randleman spent time there and is still revered by many at the gym.

Westside Barbell is to power lifting what the UFC is to MMA, Westside is a private “Invitation Only” elite training facility in Columbus, Ohio. It was created by world-renowned power lifter Louie Simmons. Louie is one of only five power lifters to total Elite in five different powerlifting weight classes. He has been a top 10 lifter for over 30 years. For the last 37 years Simmons has totalled Elite in various power-lifting organizations. He is one of two lifters over 50 years of age to squat 920 pounds, bench 600 pounds and dead lift 722 pounds and total 2100 pounds, and was ranked 4th nationally in 2000 in the open. In other words he is a total beast. I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to speak with the icon that is Simmons, and as he stood there post workout with fresh blood on his sneakers, he raved about Brown and what he is capable of currently and in future potential.


As Matt’s training session was winding down I decided to hop in and get a crash course and some firsthand experience of what his training is all about. After a few ab exercises, a run on what Matt called a torture device and lastly a few go rounds on a device that was invented by Louie himself I found myself in the parking lot praying to all that is holy that I wouldn’t pass out in front of one of the toughest SOBs on the planet. My prayers were answered and after a cup or two of water I was good to go.

We left the gym and met up with Colleen and the boys for a much needed lunch at the local Applebee’s. It was great seeing Matt go from beast mode to daddy mode and interacting with the kids. Brown plays a fun little game with his son in which he asks the obviously cheery, happy, playful young Brown if he’s mad until well, the little one gets mad. Colleen jokes that Matt finds great pleasure in instigating the kids in this fashion and that it should be noted in the piece.

We finished lunch and Matt and I made a quick run to Lowe’s to in the attempt to find an outlet or cord that would do the trick and help to finish installing the recently purchased sauna in his basement. On the way to Lowe’s Matt made it a point to inform me that he enjoys making trips to the local Wal-Mart, which he calls the trashiest Wal-Mart on the planet, to people watch. The odds of seeing mullets and worse are very high at the Georgesville Wal-Mart in South Columbus according to the Immortal. Even during the trip to Lowe’s Matt was no nonsense. I doubt that any of the Lowe’s associates knew how close they were to greatness, or possibly death, if the part in question was not found. Luckily we got assistance from a friendly associate and headed back to the house to finish the job. This was the first time in a long time that Brown was unable to finish the job. Even the Immortal was not comfortable working with electricity, at least not outside the cage.


I did inadvertently uncover the one weakness of the seemingly weakness-free Immortal. Matt is a complete impulse shopper. He jokingly said had I not been with him for the ride to the home improvement store he could have easily spent hours and hours looking around and eventually picking up unneeded goods. The need to shop applies not only to hardware but to speakers, headphones and anything else Brown feels the need to pick up in the moment.

Speaking of finances we visited on the day that Matt opened the mail to find his bonus check from his Fight of the Year performance against Erick Silva. We were all sitting around the table as he opened it and it became obvious what was inside the envelope. I purposely looked away until he put it in my hand, and in that moment I held in my hand the biggest check I had ever seen in my life. It was still a moment of joy yet reflection and introspection, the Browns were very happy to have the money but just as quickly to note that the next check is never promised and that God forbid, this could be a check that needs to last an extended period of time if an injury or unforeseen obstacle was to present itself.

Matt has had his eye on an RV type of luxury vehicle, (somewhat) joking that he might be able to finally make that purchase a reality. It was clear that a number of ideas, thoughts and concerns were running through his mind in the hours after opening the mail that day. Brown is a very well read, introspective, thoughtful man. We talked at length about politics, religion and finances. He is a deep thinker and it was obvious that he wanted to weigh all his options, do the right thing and make the most of this money and opportunity.

As our day with the family wound down we all sat in the living room and Matt proceeded to instigate his son into one more “Are you mad?” game. This time around the younger Brown go the last word, asking in an increasingly agitated voice “Do you think you are tough?” That great comeback wasn’t lost on anyone in the room as we all broke out in laughter. Connor and Hunter Brown are probably the only two people in the world that could get away with asking that question while being in the same room as Matt Brown.