Interview With the Fallen Angel, Dominique Robinson Interviewed by Ben Tatar of CriticalBench.com - May 2008
Today Critical Bench presents you with full contact fighter Dominique Robinson AKA the Fallen Angel! Dominique has lived a very unique life and today you will all get to meet the extremely interesting man behind the fighter! Let's meet him.
CRITICAL BENCH: Dominique, tell Critical Bench readers about yourself!
FA: My name is Dominique Robinson and my family are originally a bunch of Creole folk from the South (New Orleans and North Carolina mainly). I'm 26yrs old, a Pisces, and despite what people think I'm a laidback, intellectual, read and write chill kind of guy livin in East Oakland! Yay, Area California.
CRITICAL BENCH: when did you get started in the MMA? Who got you started and where did you train?
FA: I started fighting in 2006 and training a little while before that. The first gym I was at was AKA (American Kickboxing Academy) in San Jose, Ca and when Frank Shamrock left there I left with him only for him to leave his new place and I left with him again. After awhile Frank the fighter replaced Frank the person and we had a falling out. So, I left and went to Dave Velasquez's gym which didn't work out and now I'm at the Nick Diaz branch of Cesar Gracie's team. All this time, even now, I pretty much have managed myself, tried to find my own sponsors which is hard because no one wants to help the new comers, they only want to help those who have "made it," so I trained myself. I have had a little help along the way from Rob Cole, Bob Cook, Andy Fong, Frank Shamrock, and Dave Velasquez...but you know how it goes at big gyms the people who bring in all the money get all the help, same thing with the managers! I have had managers and I didn't get much time with them compared to bigger fighters so i would always find my own fights and train myself...my kickboxing coach Yonas has been the only one who has always been there for me and besides that I have learned from getting beat up...Cesar's team has been helpful to for the short time I have been with them.
CRITICAL BENCH: Outside of training how did you get interested in MMA training? Tell us about your fighting background before you were a pro MMA fighter!
FA: Bro I didn't do much. I was like a lot of little kids watching Bruce Lee, Van Damme, and a s**t load of WWF. I used to go into different martial arts gyms and try stuff out but my family didn't have a lot of money so I would always have to quit. I met a guy in San Francisco that owns team USA though and he would let me train kickboxing sometimes in exchange for cleaning the gym..I'm grateful to him till this day.
CRITICAL BENCH: It seems like you made the best of every situation and no matter how tough it seemed, you always have found a way to come out on top. You definitely have a warrior spirit. In regards to dealing with a full contact fight, tell us about having a warrior spirit and what goes through your mind when you are fighting!
FA: On my chest I have a tattoo that says "Mushin" which translates to "no mind". It comes from China but the Japanese samurai adopted the ideology of it. Basically it is telling you to clear your mind and focus on nothing but what is in front of you...Basically your enemy, without these distractions your offensive and defensive abilities should raise to their maximum. Unfortunately my mind is always full of something! LOL! Before a fight I'm always thinking I'm gonna get my head f**kin knocked off and lose and everyone will be disappointed in me for letting them down, but once I get in the cage everything is fine. I'm a thinking kind of fighter and adapt as the fight goes along and I listen very well to my corner men and my opponent's corner men....I'm very relaxed once the fight actually starts.
CRITICAL BENCH: Do you have any favorite tales that you would like to share with us today in regards to your MMA journey?
FA: MY favorite tales are when I accepted a fight with "Krazy Horse" Charles Bennett's friend Jeff Ramputi on 20hrs notice, a weight class up, WITH a cracked ulna and I ended up winning a decision.
However, my personal favorite is a kid named "Iron Monkey" Zachariah Yngojo. This guy tried to hit on the gal who does my website over myspace, and she kindly turned him down, so he calls her a bi**h and all these others things and talks crap about me. I talk to him on myspace and ask him why he would talk s**t to a girl and he starts to threaten me with all this shooting me s**t and gang getting his cousins s**t so right then and there I knew he was a coward to not handle his own business and need weapons. Almost a year later I ended up finding out he had no opponent and threw myself in the mix. During weigh-ins, it's funny you think someone talking all that would mug u down ya know? But he avoided looking at me the whole time. During the fight he landed one punch and I just mauled the dude in my thai clinch....it looked like when animals attack vol 4. lmao!
CRITICAL BENCH: INTENSEEEEEE! Do you have any really funny fight stories to share?
Falling Angel Highlight Video
FA: Yes, when I fought a match in Texas. It was like my second or third fight and I was even more nervous back then than I get now. I remember the guy threw this huge overhand right at me and I shot in and farted as I did so. When I completed the takedown the guy and I just started laughing right there on the ground...I was embarrassed to say the least.
CRITICAL BENCH: have there been any moments in your fighting career that have really changed you?
FA: I would have to say when I fought Jeff Ramputi with a cracked arm. I was so used to relying on my right hands power that when I couldn't really use it it made me have to really think of how to pull off a win by decision, as usually I try and finish fights but it taught me a lot. Also when I fought Iure Silva Leal in Mexico. That guy was a weight class up from me, a blackbelt in jujitsu, and had cross trained with Chute Boxe. He had me in all kinda bad spots and in the end the cheating ref and time keeper caused my downfall. Before me he had finished all the people in his weight in the first round, but here I come a lil guy who basically trains himself and we brawl it out the whole time. After the fight he told me he knew what happened with the ref and time keeper and that I was his toughest fight ever. The adversity I went through in that fight...I learned a lot about myself...till this day he's the only one who has hurt me in a match as well.
CRITICAL BENCH: overall would you say your essence is mostly good or evil? How would you describe yourself?
FA: I would say Earth is really Hell and I'm an Angel stuck here....think about it, how do you think an Angel gets treated in Hell? I don't know man but I have helped people in some many ways throughout my life, sacrificing the LITTLE bit that I have and they have all turned their backs on me and betrayed me in some form or another. I remember as a kid I used to watch my grandma (my mom's mom) take care of her kids, her kids kids, and her kids kids kids, and sacrifice her own goals and dreams to help them with their problems through life (and trust me there were many) and in the end they would all not have anything good to say about her and she was the worst person in the world to them...ironic isnt it? Well to cut to the chase I would say I'm mainly good with evil spirits haunting me
CRITICAL BENCH: Interesting. Definitely sounds like a "Fallen Angel." A lot of people would like to be more hardcore and gutsy like you. What is your advice for the sissies of the world and how to make fearful people brave?
FA: LOL I don't know where u heard I'm brave from! I'm a punk....naw I'm not really full of bravado or anything I just think about what and who matters to me ya know? The few people I do have in my life I care for a lot since they have not turned on me and when it comes to them and getting enough money to take care of them I'd fight the Devil you know? So I would say focus on what you care for and your courage will come from there....and don't mix it up with pride!
CRITICAL BENCH: You talk 150% from the heart, love it! Tell us about some of the things you have done in fighting that you are proud of?
FA: Well unfortunately trying to fight, get sponsors, so I can have money to train, and find fights myself! I haven't gotten the opportunity to do a lot that I'm proud of yet and beat some of these guys getting all this attention I believe I can beat...I wont say "know" because you never know in life. The one thing I am proud of is I've been in there with Bob Cook, Frank Shamrock, Frank Trigg, Jon Fitch, Urijah Faber, Quinton jackson, Brandon Vera, Josh Thomson, and so many other fighters who have trained something when they were younger AND have people training them, and here I am doing 90 percent of it on my own and I have always more than held my own in the gym.
CRITICAL BENCH: tell us about your workout routine, diet, and supplements? How do you train to be a fighter?
FA: I have good genetics as to where I'm wired strong naturally and have really good stamina naturally. I don't like to rest on my laurels so to speak and be naturally talented and not work hard like a lot of fighters do because hard work can surpass natural talent. I split my days between Kings Boxing Gym in Oakland and Torres Pacific Coast Martial Arts in Stockton. When I have a fight coming up I do double days at those places at least 2x a week. I never run and prefer to get my cardio from actually DOING what I'm going to be doing when i fight...and I've never gotten tired so it works for me :)
My diet is basically no salt, no sugar, no juice, no whites, little beef, no pork, and I eat as much as I want. When it comes to supplements I've tried em all man and in the end the NOT expensive ones work best (fish oil, multi vitamin, and glutamine) are my staples.
CRITICAL BENCH: what are the best and worst things about being a fighter?
FA: The best is that, since society is backward and pays entertainers more than people who actually DO things that "matter" in society more money, I can use that to hopefully work myself to a spot of making enuff money to take care of my family, friends, build schools in the neighborhood and give back that way...I would also like to travel and see new cultures and help there some. Also winning is like the best head you've ever gotten in your life lol! The downside is when you lose you feel like you've let the world down and also when you're "up and coming" no one wants to help you unless your like Casey Olsen or someone like that who knows big time people in the sport from previous things he's done in life, besides that people only help the "already made it" people ya know? Translation: it doesn't matter what you know, it matters who you know, it doesnt matter what you're gonna do it matters what you've done.
CRITICAL BENCH: How much do you bench press?
FA: Funny thing man is I don't really use weights for anything but my traps and biceps. Anyone who trains with me though will tell you I'm a beast and my strength rarely fades over time.
CRITICAL BENCH: What is the best advice you were ever told and what was the worst?
FA: Best advice I was ever told for life has to be from my ex gal Trina...It's simple really "Everyone has their day". She's been through a lot of sh**y people and sh**y things in life that people shouldn't have to go through and just brushes it off and isn't vengeful or anything and just says "everyone has their day" the good and the bad people. For fighting the best advice I ever got was from Frank Shamrock and he said "In this game everything you do is a number and you have to push your body to hold the highest total number you can" its very complicated so i cant explain it all here but he taught me everything I know about the game mentally. Bad advice.....drink, smoke, do drugs...from just about every male and female I've come across in life.
CRITICAL BENCH: What injuries have you had to experience before and what adversities have you had to overcome? How did you make it through them and what is your advice for anyone going through a physical or emotional traumatic event right now?
FA: I've had a crack in my Ulna, cracked fibula, and tore something in my trap and tricep region that has been a detriment to my fighting and trained all these years now and I'm just now able to afford a MRI to find out what is wrong with it and to get it fixed...all my fights and training has basically been with one arm my whole lil career and trust me it's be painful almost everyday. I would tell them to keep on trucking and also if your body tells you you're tired, you're tired and just stop till it tells you you can go again. If you don't stop your body will cause an injury and stop for you.
CRITICAL BENCH: What are your future goals?
FA: My future goals are to try and beat all the people I think i can beat lol, open a couple of school's this gives me an opportunity to give back in the sense of a lot of these "bad" kids just don't have anything to do! No family, no discipline, no drive. Everyone knows a good team is like a family and teaches all these things so hopefully my school would give back in that way and also, have you ever met a person who really IS looking for a job but cant find one? I could give those people a job and the schools would ensure endless revenue coming in for my family and friends. I would want to travel and help people to as well as see new things. Oh and also i want to do like play by play or something like that...NO ONE knows more about mma than me! All the people, the fans and promoters jock now i knew about when no one cared about them and I was the only one saying their names. I own ufc, pride, dreams, inoki boom ba ye, shooto, pancrase, rings, deep, meca, I own it all man...am I talkin too much? lol I would also like to meet and train with Josh Barnett, Anderson Silva, Matt Hume, Kid Yamamoto, and REALLY train with the new Quinton, JZ Calvancante, and Bas Rutten...those are my idols man, and I would like to fight in Japan.
CRITICAL BENCH: What are your five favorite weapons when it comes to fighting?
FA: I guess all the things underutilized in MMA. Body shots, leg kicks, thai clinch, knees, and talking in the ring...the mental break down of opponents.
CRITICAL BENCH: How do you see the future of MMA?
FA: Man it's going to be the biggest thing ever! Look how fast it has grown all ready. I hope Dana White starts paying even more...shiii how much they make! And he lets fighters pursue other endeavors of theirs so he doesn't lose everyone...like Anderson ill be gone soon if he doesn't get his boxing match. Be loyal and good to everyone and it'll come back to you! Ironic me of all people said that huh? mr, betrayed by all lol!
CRITICAL BENCH: If you could fight at wrestlemania and challenge 3 people, in a full contact fight who would you choose and why?
FA: Hulk Hogan, Jake "The Snake" Roberts, and The Rock. Hogan cuz he is a legend, Jake Roberts cuz the DDT was always my favorite move in street fights when I was a kid, and The Rock so we could see who has more charisma.
CRITICAL BENCH: What do you like doing away from fighting?
FA: Traveling when I can save up the money to do so, reading, writing, and watching movies...i own literally over 3500 man. I'm laid back.
CRITICAL BENCH: Do you have any sponsors? Tell us about them!
FA: Yea I have acaiberrycompany, Fokai who always hooks up cool shirts, Unbreakablemouthpieces who keeps my pretty teeth in with custom mouthpieces ya heard!, Ronald P Ybarra chiropractic, jospeh wilson photography that my pops, my boy sketch at ink junkezz hooks up my tattoos and he's a good friend...believed in me from the beginning, score clinic, bay-usa.com who keeps ya boy fresh in some new kicks like oh boy!, Dr. Robert Marlowe with smallie chiropractic who is also a teammate and friend of minez, Reena Lynn who is a hot up and coming singer in the yay area and also does my website, my girl Jen who is a good friend I can always talk to and helps me with training expenses, my ex trina who has been there through it all trust me i could go on and on, and madbeatings.com and my boy mar who makes my signature clothes and believes in me a lot. Wanna tell em all thanx. Shiiii now if I could get some sponsors to help me with training money each month it'll be all good...you see has is like 100 dollors a gallon right lol! we arent rich in Oakland.
CRITICAL BENCH: What does your family think about you fighting?
FA: I'm not really close to my family so I don't know what they think and I could care less really...I'm my own man and I walk my own path....oooo that sounded japanese anime black samurai like huh?
CRITICAL BENCH: What is your advice for someone who would like to be a fighter?
FA: Find a good team, with good trainers, good training partners, that is family like and actually gives a damn about each other and then train ya a** off and don't give up!
CRITICAL BENCH: it has been an honor interviewing you today!! Keep on destroying your opponents and we at Critical Bench wish you the best with everything. In closing is there anyone who you would like to thank?
FA: All my sponsors, my mom for being my mom and dad growing up...I know she did her best, and my own website www.therealfallenangel.com make sure you get a shirt from there dammit!
"Fallen Angel" Dominique Robinson on Inside MMA, HDNet