Interview with Ian 'The Machine' Freeman
Welcome to the first in a series of SFUK interviews. There's been a lot of publicity on the net from Travis Fulton and his claims that his match with Ian Freeman was a 'No Contest'. Here for the first time, Ian Freeman gets to talk about his side to the story. Enjoy !
Interview by Editor @ SFUK
SFUK: Ian. Lets cut straight to the chase. Give us your side of events surrounding the Millennium Brawl controversy.
IF: As far as I am concerned the fight was won fair and square. The fight started with Travis making a shoot and I sprawled giving him a knee to his stomach. He couldnt take me down with the shoot, so he tried to clinch every time. Travis stated in an interview that he took me to the ground 15 times. Obviously the guy cannot count because it was only three times and the referee pulling the ropes and making me catapult off them helped two of those. I was in no trouble what so ever from Travis when he got me to the side mount. I was relaxed and waiting for him to make a move so I could counter it. He did however get on my mount once, that was in the first minute of the fight, but he no sooner mounted me I got him off in seconds an put him in my guard. The fight finished with me taking him down and striking from his guard. He took over twenty headshots and luckily for him the ref stood us up. It was at this point Travis refused to carry on fighting, he was hurt!
SFUK: I hear that Travis has been calling the decision a No Contest on various forums and magazines. What do you have to say in response to that?
IF: Yes, its a shame he has to make excuses and not face defeat like a man. I had the utmost respect for Travis and it was an honour to fight him. I have been informed by HooknShoot, the guys who sent Travis over here, that it is common practice not to count fights onto your scorecard if the fighter who beat you has no name. So basically Im an unknown from England who beat him.
SFUK: What would you like to say to Travis if you had a chance to do so in front of the fight fans?
IF: I would ask him for a rematch in front of his own crowd with his own referee. At the end of the day a fight is a fight, if Travis was that much better than me he should have finished me in he first round with the mounted position. Win or lose next time, hell know he has been in a fight. I dont want to take anything away from Travis, we all know hes a world class fighter, I just think he shouldnt have taken anything away from me.
SFUK: I think we all agree now that the fight was a win for The Machine. With that in mind, what do you honestly think of the refereeing in that fight?
IF: As in most fights the referee always gets the blame if you lose. The event was the first of its kind in the UK. An American Vale Tudo champion fighting in our country for the first time. So can you imagine how the ref was feeling? Saying that Travis and I were told by the ref at the beginning of the fight that lack of action on the ground would result in us being stood up. The ref believed that Travis was not working on the ground. I just wish the ref had left Travis on the ground because I was comfortable and in no danger. The only criticism I can add is the ref pulling on the ropes and making me get taken down. Apart from that the outcome of the fight would still remain the same referee or not.
SFUK: What do you think of the level of Vale Tudo refereeing youve seen in the UK overall thus far?
IF: We we need to look at is who is refereeing? You see a lot of refs who are boxers of kick boxers and not into MMA. As you know MMA is a lot more complex and you need a lot more experience if you are to referee a match.
SFUK: Bearing in mind that MMA refereeing Europe-wide is, to say the least, inconsistent how would you improve the standard in this country to bring it in line with the States, Brazil and Japan?
IF: What we need is an official MMA referee class, exam or course. We need to get in touch with the US and ask if a qualified ref will instruct one of our refs. Our ref can then in turn teach a course to amateur MMA referees in this country giving them professional status to referee bouts such as the Millennium Brawl. No certificate, no refereeing.
SFUK: If you could implement one (and one only) rule that you would like to see adhered to throughout all UK MMA competition, what would it be?
IF: As I have explained, have all referees qualified so that the referees decision is final, no matter what the outcome.
SFUK: Tell us how youd like to see yourself within the world of both UK and international MMA in 2 years time.
IF: Obviously I would like to see myself as the Number One Total Fighter, but I only take each fight as it comes. Realistically see myself as a pioneer to the sport, i.e. getting the sport recognised as a sport and not barbaric as it is portrayed. I would like to be responsible for professional fighters getting paid the money they deserve and bring us up to par with other countries. Basically putting the wrongs to right and not doing it for my own profit as so many seem to do.
SFUK: How and when did you get into the martial arts, Ian? (The magazine question) Give us a potted history if you will.
IF: I got into martial arts from a boxing background. Id been boxing for about ten years and I used to rely on my hand speed and knockout punch to get me by. But as we know that doesnt last forever so I looked around at different styles of martial arts and found Ju Jitsu. Although there are various styles, I myself do Goshin Ryu Ju Jitsu, which is a self-defence/Brazilian style Ju Jitsu. I have been doing martial arts for just over two years and competing for only 8 months. Ive trained with some of the best fighters in the world such as Marco Ruas, Renzo Gracie, Carly Gracie, John Machado and Mauricio Gomes.
SFUK: What made you turn your back on traditional martial arts and pursue the mixed martial arts and cross training?
IF: Lets take boxing. I use boxing as an example because it is a sport I use and recommend, but it is all done on your feet. I thought to myself, what would I do if I fell or was taken to the ground. I would panic. So I made myself look for a mixed martial art that catered for both standing skills and ground skills. So now, no matter where or what the situation, I know I can fight.
SFUK: Tell us about your ambition to go to the States and train with the Lions Den?
IF: I believe the Shamrocks are two of the best all round fighters to date. They have also produced numerous champion fighters from the Lions Den. Their methods of training are very hard to say the least and I believe "The harder you train, the easier the fight" This is the motto I have always used and always stuck to!
SFUK: If you were in a pub and it all kicked off around you, who would you rather had your back: Ken Shamrock or a ladyboy with a flickknife?
IF: Neither. I would want another Ian Freeman on my back. As much as I like Ken Shamrock, I was bought up as a street fighter, so I know how to survive in a street fight. I have since turned my fighting skills to the ring and if I never fight on the streets again, it would be to soon!
SFUK: Who would you rank as your favourite MMA fighter overall?
IF: Its hard to say, there are so many top class fighters today. I especially like Don Frye because he is an all round fighter. Also Bas Rutten because hes skilled and has a heart. Ken Shamrock for all round skill and 100% training effort, but he hasnt fought recently. So for sheer power, the ground skill and determination, it has to be the powerhouse, Mark Kerr.
SFUK: Where do you prefer to keep a fight, standing or on the ground?
IF: Im pleased youve asked this question because most people think because I am a striker I want to stop on my feet. This is not the case. I take every fight on its own merits. If I fight someone who has better boxing skills than me, then Ill go to the ground, if not then Ill stay on my feet. No one has really seen my grappling skills yet because my fights havent lasted that long eventhough Ive finished four of my fights on the ground. Like Ive said, im comfortable on the ground just as much as on my feet.
SFUK: And your favourite technique or combo is?
IF: To be honest I dont have a favourite technique. I try to practice all moves and positions equally. I tend to think if you prefer a technique over another you will use it too often and become stale. Variety is the key so no one knows what is go to happen to them next.
SFUK: What percentage body fat are you carrying around and how much can you bench?
IF: Im not sure of my body fat percentage, but I try and stay in good condition all year round at about a weight of 95-100kg. My consistent bench press is 308lb for 10 reps, although I have done 396lb at 8 reps. I tend to stick to 308lb to avoid injury though.
SFUK: Travis Fulton is quoted as saying you were the hardest hitter hed ever come up against. Strictly amongst MMA fighters, whom would you least like to receive an unguarded blow to the head from?
IF: It goes without saying, Tank Abbott
SFUK: What, if anything, do you fear?
IF: Rickson Gracie once said, "A man that does not fear is a fool". So true he is, but in terms of fighting; I do not fear, I tread carefully.
SFUK: Who, if anyone, do you fear?
IF: This may sound selfish, for myself I fear no one, but for my family I fear every man. When my wife is alone at home, when my children are out playing, when im no longer here to protect them.
SFUK: What do you think of the current, somewhat negative, coverage that mixed martial arts have been receiving in the media of late? What do you think should be done to counter this populist tide of ill-informed sensationalism?
IF: As some of you know, I have just done a show on BBC TV debating the issue of total fighting. The question was "Sport or Savagery?" Having had a chance to speak to the readers on SFUK, the opinion seems to be change the name of the sport, i.e. from Total Fighting to something like Total Martial Arts. This will give a cleaner image of which the sport is and not make people immediately against It before they even watch it.
I have also offered to talk with the BMA and, or any MP who wishes to ban the sport. This way we can both sit down and work out a solution to making our sport perfectly acceptable to the public.
SFUK: Ive heard you called The Iron Ambassador of MMA. How do you intend to promote a positive image for the sport?
IF: There are many ways I intend to promote the sport. The first is that I am holding a Total fight event on Thursday 13th April 2000, so that the general public can come along and decide for themselves what they think of the sport without negative feedback from the BMA. The second is to take free self-defence Ju Jitsu classes in the North East schools. I already teach at one local school and the kids parents are all in favour of our sport. Its like everything in this world, if you know nothing about it, it is easier to ignore it, but if we educate those who ignore it, then were halfway there.
SFUK: Apart from Travis, who I know youre gunning for a rematch with, which fighter would you most like to be fixed up against in the next 12 months?
IF: I dont have anyone to mind. To be honest, if there there in the ring then I will fight them. What I would like is a top contender. Not so I can say, "Ive fought him" but purely to prove I am capable of fighting them. What I have found is that if my opponent is good, it brings the best out of me, win or lose.
SFUK: Ground and Pound, Anti-Grappling or Submissions?
IF: All three. To be a Total fighter you must know all methods of fighting. If you purely Grapple you will be Ground and Pounded. If you purely Ground and Pound you will be submitted.
SFUK: What, in your opinion, is the finest UK based, MMA, NHB and Vale Tudo internet site with forum, on the world wide web, ever? LOL
IF: It has to be SFUK. This site is happening. I personally chat with the readers and find out whats gone on and whats happening. Its more like a family affair with everyone helping each other, check it out!
SFUK: : ) Where would you be most likely to pick your latest MMA information? A magazine or the World Wide Web?
IF: Not so long ago it used to be magazines, but now it is the web. There are so many sites to visit and so much information to receive. Some better than others of course.
A word of advice, dont always believe everything you read though, I know, sometimes, the truth is not always printed!!!!
SFUK: Thanks Ian.
Ask Ian Freeman any questions at the SFUK forum
Look out for Ian "The Machine" Freemans web site at www.ianthemachine.co.uk
Ian "The Machine" Freeman is available for seminars and training sessions. Contact Ian at: firstname.lastname@example.org
SFUK wishes to thank Julian, Fightlink and Fight World @ ADCC
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