The night before his big fight in UFC 63 I had an opportunity to speak with Melvin Guillard and his coach Warren Donely about their experience with Katrina and their training.The night before his big fight in UFC 63 I had an opportunity to speak with Melvin Guillard and his coach Warren Donely about their experience with Katrina and their training.
Kibun: Tell me Melvin how did Katrina affect you personally and with your training?
Melvin: In the beginning I lost everything but now I do not look at it as a sad thing but I see it as a blessing. I went to Utah and started training with Josh Burkman and now I am in affiliated with Tito Ortiz and Team Punishment. I see it as everything happens for a reason. It was sad what happen in New Orleans. Just yesterday I saw the Spike Lee version of what happened, it made me emotional but I am an emotional fighter. It helped me prepare for my battle tomorrow with Gabe Ruediger.
Kibun: So the Katrina incident gave you a lot of desire to go out there and train harder.
Melvin: Definitely, since the Katrina incident I feel that I can carry the city on my back and represent all of the people who could not evacuate in time. I feel that I am fighting for them and myself. A big part of my career is because of what has happen to me in life. I have always had a lot of up and downs, although as a kid I had a good life. After Katrina and all that has happened I want to be able to give back to the city.
Kibun: I know you have been with your trainer Warren Donely for a long time, tell me a little about the two of you.
Melvin: I had wrestled some before then quit. I came back to wrestling and Warren was coaching. I heard that he was a cage fighter so I stayed after practice with him and he would take me home and pick me up for practice. He became more like a father figure to me and he has always been with me since. Even when I won the Louisiana state title in wrestling in 2002 I felt like I could not lose in front of him. He always expected so much from me and set such high expectations. I was young at the time and did not understand why I had to wrestle him and had such a hard workout while all of the other wrestlers did not have to train so hard. After a year or two of working out with him I realize that he saw something in me that he did not see in the other fighters. He took my wrestling to another level, I stated to become a leader on the team. Warren realized that he had a diamond in the rough. Warren took a lot of his personal time out to help me. I used to stay at his house and still do for some fights. I stayed with him for a month before the Rick Davies and he helped me with the training for the fight while still teaching school. He has never taken a penny from me for his help. That tells me that he is here to help me and not in it for the money.
Kibun: Warren why don’t you tell me a little about Melvin.
Warren: Let me give you a little insight into Melvin. I taught in a program for children at risk. I used to have to get Melvin out of the pizza parlors when he was younger in order to get him to train. It was hard to keep many of the kids in wrestling, so I started fighting to keep the kids interested in training. I used this to keep Melvin on the team by showing him how many fighters came from a wrestling background and let him know if he trained he could also become a fighter. Many kids tell you they want to be a fighter and they are going to box or go to a Jiu-Jitsu school but they do not have the money, so I trained them in wrestling. Many of the kids took the repetitive drills as punishment and it took a long time to convince them that the drills are how you learn. I taught Melvin that you do not get from A to Z without going through all of the steps. In our society all you see is the highlights, the Michael Jordan’s but you do not see the work they put into getting there. Melvin was one of those kids who has put in the time he needed to in order to get here.
Kibun: Melvin the last fight you were able to knock Davies out with a right hand. Do you think that you will be able to take out Gabe just as fast?
Melvin: Well you get $15,000 bonus for the knock out of the night. You can get $15,000 also for the fight of the night. To get the fight of the night you need to drag the fight out. As Warren told me earlier you paid by the fight not by the hour. I am going in there and showcasing my skills and show Gabe that he has no tools to beat me. Tito is my new coach but in my heart there is only one coach and it will always be Warren. If Warren is in my corner there is no way I can lose. I can not lose in front of him. No one can bet me but myself.
Kibun: Josh Neer beat you with a triangle which is a Jiu-Jitsu move. How do you feel about fighting Gabe who is a Jiu-Jitsu style fighter?
Melvin: I have been working on my triangle defense. I know people will try that on me but Gabe has not felt my strength or speed. Gabe has fought Hermes Franca and other great fighters but what I have that makes me stand out from others is my natural athletic ability. I have been putting my game together. I have a good camp and good coaches and as long as I listen to them, I feel that I will be the light weight champion by next summer. That is my goal right now.
Kibun: So your prediction is a first round knockout.
Melvin: Definitely, either a knock out or stoppage from a cut to my opponent. Either way it goes he will get hurt.
Kibun: Are you staying with the UFC or are you looking to fight over seas.
Melvin: I will stay with the UFC as long as they will have me. You have to fight to stay in. I already made it past the first part of trying to get in, now I have to keep fighting and winning. If you start to lose you can be cut. I made it to the super bowl of fighting and I plan on staying there.
Kibun: Melvin, thank you for the interview.