Rattling the Cage: An Interview with Neil Grove

Monday, October 31st, 2011 by Tony Reid

Tony Reid-Recently you had a special addition to your family. Could you talk about that great addition?

Neil Grove-Oh man! My wife and I have a little boy called Ethan. He is 3 and a half, and the funniest little character! We never thought that we would be able to love a child like him. But it doesn’t work like that! We had Calesi Alexandra Grove the 23rd September, and you just do. You manage to love the 2nd child just as much! She is gorgeous and adorable. And thank goodness she looks more like her mum.

Tony Reid– If you could choose one fight from your career that every MMA fan should see, which fight would you choose and why?

Neil Grove-My first title defense against Martin Thompson! He was tipped to join the UFC if he had won… he didn’t.

Tony Reid-Hypothetically speaking, if you could fight anyone in any weight class who would you choose to fight and why? (Maybe out of respect, or wanting to test your skills against someone in particular, or maybe someone you just don’t like)

Neil Grove-I would have loved to have fought Fedor or Tim Sylvia in their prime. Although most Americans don’t think Fedor was ever as good as claimed, he was! Tim Sylvia purely for his size!

Tony Reid-You have spent time at CSW with Erik Paulson and Josh Barnett, as well as training at Reign MMA, which houses top tier guys such as Mark Munoz and Fabricio Werdum. What was the most memorable moment from any training session you have been involved in during your career?

Neil Grove-Training at both camps has been amazing! I also sparred with Cheick Kongo at Huntington Beach Ultimate Training Center. You see these guys on TV and you read about them. All of them the best at what they are good at! I’ve never ‘measured’ myself up to any of the top fighters in MMA. I know that I could beat any of them. Even though I got caught in my last fight, we are not ‘immortal’ or ‘invincible’… we all have flaws or weaknesses. It is how you perform on the night and a lot has to do with ‘luck’ too! Training with these guys has taught me that. They are human, very nice and humble people. All of them were happy to ‘show’ me their skills and I learnt a lot from them!

Tony Reid-Doing many interviews over the course of your career you probably get asked the same questions over and over. What is the one question you have never been asked in an interview and what is the answer to that question?

Neil Grove-This one for starters! And I’m ‘sweating’ over it! The question that many are asking right now is, how much more do I want to fight or what is it I am still fighting for? The answer is simple! I want to fight to be recognized as a great KO artist! I would like to win another title. I want to make enough money to pay off my mortgage and my dream is to move to America and continue with MMA. Either open a gym or commentating for a big event!

Tony Reid-If you could fight anyone outside the world of MMA, who would you choose to pick a fight with and why?

Neil Grove-Steven Seagal. He is so much talk at the moment, I would love to see if he is as good as he says he is!

Tony Reid-Who are the people that inspire you most, personally and professionally?

Neil Grove– My wife Emalene! She has managed to run a business, pay our mortgage, look after our sun and be pregnant this year with only help from her mum and dad. I say only with their help, most married couples’ parents help. But she did this without my help… And anybody who decides to fight in MMA, late in life. I’ve met a few guys who started as late as I have, not many are successful, but had the nuts to try, rather than wonder if they could’ve…

Tony Reid– If you weren’t a professional mixed martial artist what would you be doing for a living right now? Do you still have aspirations of being a part of a commentating/ announcing team for an MMA promotion whether it be Bellator or another company?

Neil Grove-I’m a personal trainer and sports therapist. I certainly would’ve moved towards training fighters in MMA. Hell yes! Commentating is great! I would love to work for Bellator! Now with Viacom in the mix, I hope they start having similar shows to TUF and other reality shows. I could host too!

Tony Reid– Who are your favorite fighters to watch and why? Conversely, who are your least favorite fighters to watch?

Neil Grove-GSP, Eddie Alvarez, Hector Lombard, Zack Makovsky, Pat Curran, Junior Dos Santos, to mention a few. They are all brilliant at what they do and getting better as we speak!

Tony Reid-Many professional athletes have strange superstitious habits. Do you have any we should know about?

Neil Grove-I love watching a movie in the cinema the day before! It helps me relax. When I am in England, I will have Nando’s the night before, a whole chicken, grilled, medium spiced peri-peri, a tub of sweet potato mash and peri-naise.

Tony Reid- What is the most amazing thing you have seen in regards to the growth of MMA since the beginning of your career?

Neil Grove-How many more people are getting into it! My mother and father in law for instance, more of my friends are watching… It makes me happy to know that I was also a part of the growth of the fastest growing sport in the universe!

Tony Reid– You stated previously that you don’t really like to fight. You have also been quoted as saying your heart hasn’t been in it during certain fights. That is an interesting set of honest quotes coming from a professional mixed martial artist. Can you elaborate on those statements a bit?

Neil Grove– I don’t like to fight, unless it’s in a cage and for money, with rules. I love how that was misinterpreted! I don’t think anyone in MMA should be fighting if his heart isn’t in it! I believe in me and I still fight to become a champion!

Tony Reid-You have fought in both major MMA promotions in the United States in the UFC and Bellator. Can you talk about the similarities and differences in the companies?

Neil Grove-There is no comparison. They do everything differently. I will say that Bellator treats their fighters better. They pay better too! I know that Bellator is nowhere near as big as the UFC, but to me it’s been a far better experience and memorable one fighting for Bellator! I would say that they are very professional! To me, BAMMA is the closest thing, here in the UK. Steve Green and his brother are really nice guys. Thanks for the interview. I am not done yet. My body is still willing and able and my mind and heart still believes I could be the next champion for Bellator or BAMMA!