Interview With Ultimate Fighter Tracy Taylor by Ben Tatar of CriticalBench.com
Tracy Taylor is the owner of btftruma.com and one hell of an awesome full contact fighter! He's a fighter who has tons of wisdom and he's a very inspiring individual. He also has a very interesting story to tell. We were fortunate to interview Tracy. This interview with Tracy Taylor will make all stronger in some way.
1) CRITICAL BENCH: Tracy, How did it all begin? What motivated you to become a full contact fighter?
Tracy: I remember watching the 1st UFC in college at one of my teammate's apartments. This lil guy in a GI was kicking kulo something fierce. We just kept ppv'ing them when they came on and I became more intoxicated by the show. I had a wrestling background so the grappling aspect really intrigued me! So did the mystery of the Gracie family.
Then years later I moved to St Louis , I was at the gym working out and as I left I saw a sign in the same complex that read Gracie jiu Jitsu. I remembered that name and I knew that was that family that did that crazy $h*t. So I stopped by the next time I was at the gym. After stopping by my life was never the same! I had no idea where I was at or who the guys were on those mats, all I knew that I WAS HOME!! People were yelping and tapping out! It was Rodrgo Vaghi's academy, Rickson number one guy prize pupil. Little did I know that one day he would be my best friend and my son's godfather.
2) CRITICAL BENCH: What was the craziest thing that you have ever experienced in a fight?
Wow craziest thing. I fought a guy here in St Louis who was a former wrestling All American and National Champ in college. He was a tough guy! Well I had heard rumors that he had planned to knock me out and all this talk was going on (I'm not a big talker, I tend to stay out off all that) so Rodrigo and I put together a simple plan. Punish him for 3 rounds. So that is what I did. Then come the 3rd round and he didn't sit in the chair or stand in the corner, he laid there while his corner screamed at him to get up. He ended up giving me his neck so I finished the fight right at the beginning of that round. A few weeks later he came to train w/ me, and I thought that spoke volumes of him! We are friends now and I'm glad we had the opportunity to train together.
3) CRITICAL BENCH: What fights will you remember the most?
When I fought in Jersey in Sportfight. I went down there alone and when I say alone I mean alone. I warmed myself up, attempted to tape my own hands, and squeezed my hands in my gloves while using my teeth. And I walked out to someone elses fight music while they announced someone else's name. Then I went out and I kicked my opponents ass. I learned a lot from that trip. I learned that the fight is in YOU and only you. It doesn't matter who knows you and who doesn't. It's the 2 people in the ring that matter. What's that saying, vinni, viddi, vicci (sp?) or something like that. I came I saw I conquered!!
4) CRITICAL BENCH: Who was your toughest opponent ever?
Toughest opponent ever has to be Rodrigo and Saulo Ribeiro. Granted we were only training, but they are amazing. I am very fortunate to have those opportunities!! I can only hope that one day I can achieve a tenth of what they have achieved. These guys are "old school" they are both fruit from the seed of the original tree!! You kidding me!
5) CRITICAL BENCH: What is your mental training like before a fight? And tell us what is going through your mind when you are fighting in the most extreme sport in the world?
My mental training involves seeing the fight over and over before the actual fight. I believe in taking mental reps . I put myself in horrible situations and finding answers for those situations. After you have played the fight out so many times you have answers for everything not to mention the minute muscle reactions from seeing it so many times in your head. These assist you in responding that much quicker. As far as what goes thru my mind. I think I'm prepared, I'm casca, and I'm trained. What we do is nothing compared to what my mother has gone through fighting cancer. I put it into perspective. She's fighting and some and I, but she's the champ! I wear a band on my wrist that I got for her, myself and my dad, it says "I am strong." That's what pushes me through the rounds, the training, and the cutting weight more than anything. I never take that band off!
6) CRITICAL BENCH: Tell us about your weight training routine, diet and cardio before a fight?
Cardio cardio cardio. I run like a mad man. I try to alternate between 5-10 miles and I do 12-15 110 yard sprints. I run Goal post to goal post baby. I try to keep the sprints under 16 seconds. My diet consist of low carbs, very lean red meats, lots of chicken w/ flax sees oil, and anything green-especially spinach salads w/ low fat dressing. I stay away from complex sugars (except STARBUCKS-everyone has a weakness) and corn. When it comes to weights as of right now I get too big to easily. I plan to drop down to 185. During my last fight I was at 195 so I will get there. For now I just have to go herchel walker style and depend on the push ups and set ups.
7) CRITICAL BENCH: What was the coolest thing that you ever did while you were training?
I'm not certain about coolest, but I love being a big guy who moves like a 135 pounder. That's cool! Especially when you're well conditioned, strong, and quick-its gonna be a long day. At the same time I train w/ a ton of great guys who are tough and technical. We all get put back in our place, all of us! I have also had some great opportunities come to me due to fighting and and bjj. I have lucked into modeling, sponsorships such as GAMENESS, GRAPPLERS QUEST, MIDAS, and, DOC'S HARLEY-DAVIDSON.I started my owl line of clothing, BLUNTFORCE TRAUMA FIGHTWEAR (web site should be up this week, you can find more info about me or my clothing@ BFTrauma.com),
I try to do a lot of local fund raisers. This week I will appear at the Monarch restaurant raising donations for The St Louis Crisis Nursery http://www.crisisnurserykids.com/annual_events.htm , and I just wrapped up filming on a movie for the Sundance film festival w/ Jimmy McKinney and Justin Tatum (local basketball celebs). it's called Streetballers. Check it out in about 6-7 months. Myself and teammate Mike Rogers (KOTC) opened the movie w/ a bad ass, no Hollywood effects, fight sequence that we put together. Every punch looks real cause it is real, I've got the sore jaw to prove it. We wanted to stay true to our community. Give out people what they know a fight really is and give em what they really wanted to see in a fight scene (StreetBallers the movie, like everything else in the world check it out on MYSPACE-STREETBALLERS THE MOVIE and check my out on MS as well either my real name or Tyler Durden-bradd pitt from fight club ).
8) CRITICAL BENCH: What has been your most powerful and emotional moment to date?
I would say the day I got my blue belt. Getting that belt from Rodrigo Vaghi is something that not many have done. The test is bananas kid! I will never have a fight as hard as that test. People contact Ridrigo to take the test w/ him and he tells them to contact his Master and do it w/ him because they will never pass his test. After that I would have to say the day i got "the mark of the beast" tattooed on my arm. It's a tat about 12 of us in the world share to show brotherhood and solidarity. I use it as a logo in some of my fightwear.
9) CRITICAL BENCH: Tell us about your family and what it was like being raised with them?
I have the most amazing supportive family bro. The thing that I'm most thankful for are the idea's of being self dependent and educated. My parents made sure that above anything I completed my education (I have a BS in Psychology and a MS in Sports management). As my dad said, "now you can do whatever you want to do in life and no one can ever take this away from you!" we moved a lot growing up so all we had was each other. We all learned a lot of tolerance for others and humanity. I love individuality and multiculturalism. I was born in Oklahoma, call Chicago my home town ( I also have an older brother who lives there), I live in St. Louis right now and I really enjoy it and I love North Carolina as well), and my parents currently live in Dallas. I had an amazing childhood and I have seen every side of life that there is to see which molder me into a very unique individual to say the least. Here's something that a lot of people don't know and let me preface it 1st, I could have had a scholarship offers for college in 3 sports (D-1) football, wrestling, and track and I am the worst athlete in my family. Amazes me to no end!! Someone is always there to put you in your place!!!!
10) CRITICAL BENCH: who do you think is the greatest fighter that ever lived?
Greatest fighter ever, Joe Louis wasn't' he like 172 yrs old when he defended his title? Kidding. Growing up I was always compared to 2 fighters and in my opinion they were the 2 greatest boxers of all time. Cassuis Clay (his momma called him Clay I am gonna call him Clay) and Tyson. Of course I mean the old Tyson. The thing is my perspective and paradigm of fighting, like many others, has been changed. So now I would say grand master helio and rickson. I know i know people are going to say rickson, rickson? yeah rickson bitches! for his time he had all he had to have. we will say the same in 15 years of todays fighters. My favorite fighter right now though is Wabderlei, love that crazy guy. He's a nut and fights w/ reckless abandon.
11) CRITICAL BENCH: what would you like to tell the beginner who wants to be the next World's best?
This one is easy because I tell guys all the time. Be the best 1st time fighter to ever step into the ring. This sets the precedents for your career. I fought a guy who was 5-0 my 1st fight. I smashed him cause I was prepared. I had great coaches and teammates getting me there. In my mind it wasn't' about me it was about my community and my belief in jiu jitsu. How do you defeat a way of life or concept? You can't it will always survive regardless the setback.
12) CRITICAL BENCH: What is the best advice that a teacher has given you, and what is the worst advice a teacher has ever given you?
The best and worst advice I ever received was from the same coach in high school and came in the same statement. He told me not to associate w/ certain people because they were not going anywhere and that I was. Believe me I was no better than them in my mind, but the truth is we aren't all the same but we all have the same potential to achieve. It's just up to us. I believed and they didn't. Maybe they had no one around to tell them they could be anything.
13) CRITICAL BENCH: Who is your biggest mentor?
I have several.
-My father-a black man and still a president of At&T. Plus he has more integrity than anyone I know.
-College defensive coach. He was NUTS but I respect him and most importantly I EARNED his respect. I learned that you will not get me! Not today, not tomorrow, and not ever! Why...cause I've been there and I'm not afraid to go back. I will be prepared and trained. There is tough and trained when it comes to fighters, I am both.
-Rodrigo Vaghi. Come train w/ us and you will find out the true essence of casca! Also he's not been just a great example of a master or training partner, but a man foremost.
14) CRITICAL BENCH: What are your future goals?
To keep leaving jiu jitsu as a way of life... explore my NEOsims (jiu jitsu discoveries). I want to continue to fight in both mma and bjj/submission tournaments. I hate when people start mma and never compete in bjj tourneys because now they are afraid of what it would look like if they lose. Lay it on the line and do it, that is what it is about. I would also like to open a school one day and represent a few fighters as well. I may as well use my degree at some point.
15) How do you see the future of full contact fighting?
Great question. I don't see any reason that it can't become like the NFL or the NBA (in time and on a smaller scale to begin w/). I think that a few of the organizations are on to something w/ the team concept. There will be a draft one day and you will see recruiting to academies much like you see in college programs. We will see benefit packages and retirement programs happen. BUT it will take the fighters to do it, just like any Union. If we don't make it mandatory for promoters to take care of our medicals prefight than it will never happen. If we don't make them take care of us post fight it will never happen. There should also be a minimum pay scale for a fighter regardless the organization depending on the number of fights you've had in your career. The future of fighting will be up to us the participants and the fans, more than anyone else. We have to make out our own future.
I want to close and say keep supporting your local fighters!