Andy Jardine Iron Man UK Promoter & Trainer
This interview was conducted on the 11th september 2000.
Andy Jardine, major UK MMA promoter talks to SFUKING, shortly after the incredible Iron Man UK submission grappling tournament.
SFUKING: Congratulations on a good show, Andy. The event has been said to have included the highest standard of international submission wrestlers as yet seen in this country. How did you manage to get so many fighters from so many countries together under one roof?
Andy Jardine: I tried to cover the event from all different angles,Combat magazine, flyers and posters and via SFUK on the internet.
SFUKING: It must have been a tall order. Tell us about some of the difficulties you experienced during both the preparation and execution of the competition.
Andy Jardine: The flyers and posters cost a lot of money, I also design them myself. Then there is the postage costs, I send them out to all different gyms that have an interest in MMA in between sending out info packs on the comp, preparing the rules, application forms prior to to comp takes alot of time as well as alot of Ink and printer paper, I had to buy a new printer as well, as the other one packed up.
Then there is the Belts which take about 5 days to make one. I also do these myself. The medals have to be ordered and picked up, the foreign fighters have to picked up from the airport, I had a driver pick up the Brazillians and Swedish fighters from Stansted, another driver picked up more Swedish fighters from heathrow, and I also picked up 2 other Swedish fighters from the Airport. Then they all had to be put up for the night which I had arranged in advance, as well as this I was answering peoples questions by e-mail and phone.There is loads more,but it's boring to talk about.
SFUKING:What was your favourite fight of the day and why?
Andy Jardine: There was'nt just one fight, I really enjoyed watching the Greek guy Panos and all of Leigh Remidios's fights, but I really enjoyed Danny Batton's fights.
SFUKING: Can you tell the SFUK readers a bit about the drug testing which took place on the day? Despite some very mild criticism there has been nothing but praise what seems to be considered a step in the right direction for the MMA community. What prompted you to introduce testing to the competition?
Andy Jardine: As the event was held at what is considered a national judo centre, and some of the judo guys were a bit hesitant about such an event taking place there, I thought that I would do things by the book, also with prize money involved people cheat to win. I explained this to the fighters on the day of the event and told them if anyone wanted to pull out, they could and get a full refund.
SFUKING: How well did you think the British competitors did against such a strong line-up of Brazilian, Swedish and French fighters?
Andy Jardine: I thought that the british fighters did extremely well as I was confident of this. If I didn't feel that the british guys were on par with International fighters it would be pointless putting on any events.
SFUKING: Will you let us know which fighters at the Iron Man stood out to you as particularly impressive on the day?
Andy Jardine: What really impresses me the most about a fighter when I first meet them is if they are humble and polite. This combined with fighting ability I would have to choose Rickard Andersson, Christian Sandberg, Josh Gavin, Kamal Lock, Mark Wier, James Zikic and Alex Reid.
SFUKING: How do you think your fighters faired?
Andy Jardine: I thought my light weight fighters did'nt do bad as they both weighed in at around 60kg and have only been grappling for seven months. I thought Rickey, who's already WAKO pro british champion at 17 yrs old did well not to be submitted by Leighton Hill. All in all I am pleased they competed and don't moan and groan if they loose, they come back again next time more learned.
SFUKING: To date youve trained some well known MMA fighters in the UK including Dexter Casey, Danny Brennan and Alex Reid amongst others. Whove you currently got working with you and do you have any new faces we should expect to see on the circuit soon?
Andy Jardine: I have got a guy called Wade Vincent who I have known and trained with for about ten years, he is awsome, but I can't get him to fight. I have also got a heavy weight Kickboxer who might be fighting in the K1 this year, he is thinking about maybe doing the Vale Tudo.
SFUKING:Youve promoted quite a few MMA events in and around the London area now. What was the first show you promoted and how long ago was that? What other events have you hosted since then?
Andy Jardine: The first show that I ever did was in 1995 which was just a Kickboxing event, then I did a show with a guy called Mickey Burnes. It was a anything goes show with a one ten minute round but no one knew much about submissions, so it just turned out to be a Kickboxing fight, apart from Lee Hasdell's fight in which he won via arm bar, but all of the spectators looked confused so I went back to the kickboxing events.
Then a few years later I heard about the Samurai events that Lee was hosting with huge success so I decided to give it another go starting with a few small events down my club and then the show at volts, called Extreme combat, a few small ones in between, then Millennium Brawl.
SFUKING: How did you get started promoting mixed martial arts events?
Andy Jardine:I have always cross trained since the age of six, and I used to compete alot, but I was treated badly on a number of occations and decided to put on my own events.
SFUKING: What first got you interested and how did you come to practise martial arts in the first place?
Andy Jardine: I was getting beaten up alot at school and decided to take up judo but they don't teach you submissions at a young age and after I threw them and held them down for as long as I could, I'd have to let them up again only to get punched and kicked. It is also not very good being on the ground when you are fighting more than one guy. So I did every striking art that was available at the time and eventually settled into a first class Kickboxing club called the Woodlands Tavern, the instructors from this club had Benny the Jet Urquedez over for a while and he is heavily into cross training.
SFUKING:Who would you rank as your strongest influences in the world of MMA?
Andy Jardine : I remember watching a video that I got from Benny the Jet called Kings of the SquareRing, which had loads of early mma's fights including one which really surprised me as I was a huge fan of Mohammid Ali, he was fighting a guy called Antonio Anoki and was in the process of being leg locked by him, fortunatly for Ali, Gene LaBelle (who was the ref) always stood them up when it got sticky. I thought this is the most awsome boxer in the world getting taken out without even a punch, but now reflecting it would be interesting to see the fight again if Ali could grapple as well.
SFUKING:Have you ever thought about fighting professionally yourself?
Andy Jardine : I was competing up until 1996 then I got caught up in a street fight, I was attacked by three guys and put two of them in intensive care. The court case went on for a year, I was put inside for six months. There was some dodginess going on, on the behalf of the police and when I got out decided to fit me up with something that I didn't do. This case went on for another year. I was looking at a stretch of seven years, on top of this they had me on the warned list for 3 months (you have to ring up every day to find out weather you are in court the next day). This case was eventually thrown out and the police got a telling off by the judge for wasting the courts time. It has only been a year and a half since then and I have been too busy promoting, training my fighters and trying to loose weight that I put on over the side effects of the anti depressents which my doctor put me on, because of the stress of the court cases. I hope to fight again but at the moment I am having the hardest fight of my life with myself.
SFUKING: If you could give any advice to fledgling promoters out there, what would it be?
Andy Jardine: Don't Knock anyone until you have tried doing a show yourself !! And don't be afraid to ask advice from other promoters. Try and stick to the same guide lines as other promoters, i.e Rules etc.
SFUKING:At one of your recent events (Fight Night) you started the ball rolling in terms of industry recognition awards. Who received them and why? Is there anyone else currently you think deserved of a similar award?
Andy Jardine : I gave an award to James Zikic for being so dedicated and also winning a major tournament abroad called Hawaii Superbrawl. I think Lee Hasdell and Fred Rado deserve awards for all of their hard work.
SFUKING: Youve had some degree of experience in bringing stateside fighters over to the UK to compete.
Andy Jardine : I thought that it would be a major step forward bringing UFC fighters over here to fight some British guys. I am going to do the same this year on Millennium Brawl 2.
SFUKING: Do you have a goal in mind for yourself in the MMA world? Where, for example, do you see yourself in five years time?
Andy Jardine : Scraping the bottom of the barrel if people don't realise that you can't pay big fight purses if the fighters don't sell any tickets as no one really knows who they are yet. I also think the fight magazines should do a little more research and plug some of the more experienced MMA fighters on their front covers etc. and not any old Tom, Dick and Harry.
SFUKING: What do you think is the future for MMA in this country?
Andy Jardine : It seems to be going along the same route as the Kickboxing assosiations that pop up every where now. One major thing that I disagree with is, contracting fighters, as these fighters who are contracted by any particular assosiation will find it increasingly differcult to get an International fight as this costs alot of money to arrange for someone else to take all the credit. After all why should anyone promote a fighter who is contracted by someone else.
SFUKING:If you could implement one change in MMA in the UK what would it be?
Andy Jardine : I think that some people should respect the guys who have been around for a while and stop calling them names like 'they are just dinosaurs'. I would'nt call my judo instructor a dinosaur, he's was the olympic coach for the womens judo team and has an OBE from the queen, he is a mountain of knowledge. Much the same can be said about alot of people, but if you have'nt been involved in Martial arts as a competitor, trainer and promoter, its hard to realise where you are going wrong.
SFUKING:How would you set about encouraging MMA towards becoming a mainstream, televised spectator sport?
Andy Jardine : I think documentries are a good step forward, I also think that the promoters in this country should pick out their best fights they have on tape, put them all on one tape, put their money together and get it shown on sky sports.
SFUKING: What are you thoughts with regards a national governing/regulatory body for our sport?
Andy Jardine : What qualifies anyone to do this? Is it because they want to be in charge? Are they already involved with the sports council in any way? Or do they want to be a free lance group (not associated with the sports council)? I think you have to get more judo guys interested in Vale Tudo so they can push it with the council as they already have an influence.
SFUKING : Thanks Andy and good luck with your future events..
Any polite questions can be put to Andy Jardine at the SFUK forum
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