Interview With Mixed Martial Artist Thomas Kenney by Ben Tatar of CriticalBench.com
CRITICAL BENCH: Can you tell us about yourself?
Thomas Kenney: My name is Thomas Kenney and I'm a pretty simple person. Training is my full time job. I work at the dojo where I train at ( DeLaO Jiu-Jitsu ) and my sponsors have me work for them when they have events.
CRITICAL BENCH: Before you were a full contact fighter what was your life like?
Thomas Kenney: I had a couple of different jobs. First I did Valet Parking and then I started to bounce at a couple of clubs in my area so that I could focus most of my time on training.
CRITICAL BENCH: how do you train? Do you train mostly like a heavy powerlifter or do you train mostly with reps and endurance?
Thomas Kenney: I go to the gym and mostly do a lot of reps and keep my training simple. I mostly weight train when I don't have a fight scheduled and then when I have something signed I taper off the weights and do push-ups, sit-ups and pull-ups.
CRITICAL BENCH: What does it take to be an MMA fighter?
It takes a lot of sacrifices. If anyone says it doesn't then they're not very successful. Fighting isn't like a 9 to 5 job! You have to realize that your opponent is trying to kill you and you can't take that lightly. It takes HEART, DETERMINATION and the NEVER SAY DIE ATTITUDE. You have to be willing to take a beating and fight on.
CRITICAL BENCH: Tell me 10 things that separates great fighters from ok fighters?
1: YOUR TEAM .If you dont have a team that supports you your in trouble.
3: Support outside of your team
4: Work Ethics
5: Training Partners
7: Will to Win. Don't just be happy with fighting
8: Having cornermen that know what to do. Don't just have your friends working your corner
9: Faith. I always have God to help me through the tough times
10: FAMILY. Without my family and their support I wouldn't be here they're my biggest fans and biggest supporters
CRITCAL BENCH: So far what have been the 3 defining moments in your career?
The 1ST is about 4 years ago I fought in Western Canada's Toughest and Knocked Out Craig Sloan in 45sec. I thought that it wouldn't get any better than that it was great
2ND was June 12TH 2004 I fought Jorge Pereirra ( 4TH degree BB under Rickson Gracie ) at King of the Cage on PPV and I laid him out 3 different times and won a unanimous decision
But the one fight that meant the most to me was on Dec 2ND 2005 at King of the Cage against Shawn Bias. Shawn fought my instructor back in August of 2005 and beat him. I was so upset that my instructor lost that I got the promoters for the event and said that I wanted to fight Shawn and I didn't care what weight I had to get to. I was 195lbs when I talked to the promoter and by weigh-ins I was 153lbs. The fight was back and fourth for the 1ST round so going into the 2ND I knew that I had to turn it up. Well I got caught with a good right hand and went down but when I hit the ground Shawn came right after me and fell into a perfect head and arm choke from half guard and I won that fight at 23 sec into the 2ND round and in the process I put Shawn to sleep but not on purpose that's just how tight the choke was. So I was able to get a little REDEMPTION for my instructor and my team.
CRITICAL BENCH: Excellent. Tell us some more of your favorite moments on the road to being a great fighter?
Some of my favorite moments have to be fighting in Canada. I have so many funny stories with my trainer and teammate Ron Turner that its hard to give one example but one of my first fights under John DeLaO was up in Canada it was in between rounds and John was giving me instructions on what to do as I'm standing there with my mouth wide open waiting for him to give me some water and he looks at me and says "What do you want" my reply was " Give me some F....ING WATER" then he shoots the water all over my face and almost makes me choke on it. I make fun of him all the time for that.
CRITICAL BENCH: what was your most powerful moment ever in a fight?
Most powerful moment in a fight has to be when I fought Jorge Pereirra I hit him with a straight right hand, dropped him and I stood over him and told him to get back up and then I did it again. I remember the crowd going crazy.
CRITICAL BENCH: Do you have any funny/ interesting stories that occur day to day?
Everyday there's a funny story where I train but here's one that I use to do on a daily basis. My instructor John would have his son Indiana Jones ( yes that's his real name ) in class (he was about 2 at the time) and I'd always go up to him and say "hey Indy go kick your dad in the junk and I'll give you a quarter" and he'd walk over to him and say " Kick you in the Junk " and get him real good that was the only way I was able to repay him for all the beatings that he gave me
CRITICAL BENCH: It's great that you have many memories while you live your dream. So , when will you be fighting next?
I'll be fighting on March 17TH St. Patrick's Day in Carson, Ca its going to be one of the first "LEGAL" shows in CA outside of an Indian Reservation so I'm pretty excited
CRITICAL BENCH: Who are you fighting next? Do you know who your opponent is?
I don't know who my opponent is the promoter is still working on that right now but he did say that I'm going to be the main event.
CRITICAL BENCH: How much does your support team help you before a fight?
A lot!! I'm pretty nervous but I have a great team that calms me down and gets me focused again then I'm ready to rock.
CRITICAL BENCH: How long do you take to prepare for a fight?
I try to do an 8 or 10 week training camp that consists of HELL. I have a great group of guys that work me out and push me to the limit on a daily basis from Boxing, Wrestling, Kickboxing and Jiu-Jitsu that way come fight time I'm ready for anything.
CRITICAL BENCH: Does your family support your fighting? Tell us what it was like being raised by your family ?
Yes, my family does! They always support my fighting, my family is great . Both my parents worked hard for everything that they have and I think that they instilled that in myself, my brother and sister. Nothing was ever given to us we had to work for it. Our whole family has a good work ethic we're all successful at what we do.
CRITICAL BENCH: What does fighting mean to you?
Fighting is everything to me. Its given me a second family. All the men and women that I train with are family to me that's how close we all are. Also fighting has given me a career
CRITICAL BENCH: Tell us something that you have accomplished that you are proud of?
The one thing that I'm proud of is teaching students and seeing them use the tools that I've given them. Just being able to sit on the side of class and watch the student's progress from using the techniques that I've shown them. That is a huge accomplishment that I've done and that I'm proud of.
CRITICAL BENCH: what are your future goals?
When I first started to fight I set a lot of goals and I've accomplished many of them but there are 2 that I still need to achieve before I'm all done. They are to fight in Japan and to have a nice shiny belt around my waist. I won a grappling championship belt about 2 years ago but I want a belt from fighting. Once I do those I think that I'll retire.
CRITICAL BENCH: who do you think is the best fighter ever and what is your favorite fight ever?
The best fighter ever has to be Matt Hughes. He started out as a pure wrestler and has evolved into a complete fighter. My favorite fight is Vanderlei vs Quentin 2. That fight had it all they were both going for the kill and it seemed that Quentin was going to pull it off but the 1ST round ended and then the 2ND round Vanderlei was brutal with those knees. That fight had everyone on their feet from start to finish.
CRITICAL BENCH: how do you see the future of full contact fighting?
The future of full contact fighting is only going to get bigger and better. The more media it gets then the bigger sponsors are going to come. Fighting is just like Nascar with all the fighters wearing the sponsors stuff. We're walking billboards and I can't wait until the corporate sponsors start to take notice and get onboard that way the fighters can start to make the money that they deserve.
CRITICAL BENCH: Thomas thanks for the magnificent interview. Is there anyone who you would like to thank ?
All the men and women at my dojo that help me train and get ready for the fights.
My family who's supported me since day one and without them I wouldn't be here.
Also a big thank you to criticalbench.com and lockflow.com for doing this interview
Go check out www.thomaskenney.com I have a HL video on there and it has pictures, write-ups and fight reviews from past events.
If anyone wants to purchase tickets to my next fight let me know I'll throw in a trading card, post card and a HighLight DVD with every ticket. I know that its not much but its a little something extra.