Todd sang the National Anthem opening up the 2nd Las Vegas Grapplers Quest and did a damn good job at it too! So ok it’s a bit late but here is part 2 of the Grapplers Quest West interviews. Relax the last one is coming provided I can type fast enough! This one is a guy that opened up the tournament with a song! Todd sang the National Anthem opening up the 2nd Las Vegas Grapplers Quest and did a damn good job at it too! He was entered into the 8-man tournament against guys like Javier Vazquez, David Terrell and Bobby Southworth just to name a few of them. Todd is from the East Coast and is one of those guys you read about but don’t see too much of him for some strange reason! Well I have plans in changing that! So here is the interview so enjoy!
SP: Todd, tell me how you feel about the tournament and the way it is going and lets talk about your fights!
TM: I think the tournament is going really well and there are a lot of great competitors here. I’m disappointed that I didn’t win but you are always disappointed when you don’t win right! Brian, Brian is a good guy and I’m glad to be out here and be a part of it.
SP: The first match you had against Justin Ellison was just a takedown clinic what were you using to do this and was that the plan going in.
TM: The first one I used was a short arm drag to an inside trip and I didn’t want to use my best takedowns incase the people that I compete against go against are also good on their feet so for that reason I held back a little bit.
SP: Yeah that was very impressive! Ok so lets talk about your background now that we have touched on your wrestling skills.
TM: I started wrestling in eighth grade and now my older brother wrestled so that was how I got into it. I won the state championships my senior year wont he all-star and went into some freestyle wrestling. I quit all that for about thee years then a friend introduced me to Jiu Jitsu, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and I just fell in love with it! I thought it was a great sport and I have been training for four and a half years! I have trained at the Yamasaki Academy for most of that time and just recently I am breaking off with my friend Mike Moses and we are training at Linx academy in Rockfield Maryland.
SP: So actually runs the Linx Academy then.
TM: Mike Moses does. He is a phenomenal athlete in his own right. He has won multiple Thai Boxing championships and he is a full instructor in Thai Boxing. He has won the Pan Americans twice and he is a brown belt in BJJ. He is just a very talented guy.
SP: That name sounds familiar and I don’t know why I think it was Pan Americans and that’s where I heard of him.
TM: Yeah that and he was offered a fight in the UFC but he had an eye injury and he has a fake lens but other than that I would put him in there against anybody, Pulver, BJ Penn anyone he is just phenomenal but he cant get clearance to fight anymore. So now things have changed he is more in the instructor mode now.
SP: Well that can be a good thing being an instructor can be very fulfilling. Well now what brought you out here to the West Coast to compete?
TM: Well the $1,000.00 didn’t bring me out here but what did bring me out here is the relationship with Brian Cimins and Grapplers Quest. I compete in a lot of his events and I think they are geared so wrestlers can do well and because he doesn’t allow people to sit and just scoot in which is just frustrating and in BJJ where they can sit and just scoot in on you. In the grapplers Quest events they HAVE to look for a takedown! I like playing the takedown game not that I am afraid of my groundwork but you know wick to what you are good at. So these rules here have been very conducive to me being successful.
SP: What is your future then or what is your next step are you looking at MMA or anything of that nature?
TM: I don’t know if I am going to go into NHB or not. I have been thinking about it but I do have a desire to step in there and see if I can do it. You know step in there with another man and just do it. To me that is appealing but do I have an aspiration of being the UFC champion? No not really, not really! I have been working a lot with Tribe Fightwear who is my sponsor and they were the ones that brought me out here to this event and Chris Savarese who owns it. I just work with him and see what tournaments he has going and go to the west coast and I am definitely going to the Pan Americans. I want to try to win the worlds brown belt division this year because I am going to get my Black Belt this year PROBABLEY. So that means its Margarida and all of them guys at the worlds that I am going against and that becomes your full time occupation and unless you are training five hours a day your not going to beat those guys you cannot do it after training three or four days a week. So that is my goals win the Pan Americans and then try to win the Brown Belt World Championship.
SP: Well from watching you tonight I can say they are defiantly within your reach! You got skills man. They were putting you in the finals of this tournament. What was the hook up with Tribe and Chris?
TM: Funny story! Last year I was at a Grapplers Quest event and I won the most technical fighter award. So I got like a trophy and a shirt. A tribe shirt and it was a really cool Tribe shirt! So I was like where did you get that shirt? Like three months later I was in a tournament and I won my division and so I went up to the Tribe guys, who was Chris and his partner at the time, and told them hey I would like to buy some of your stuff, some of your shirts! So they gave me a card and I thought cool I will check em out on the Internet. Well after that I fought a Black Belt in the open division and I beat him in this four man or super tournament that they had that I qualified for by winning my division and my tournament. So then after that he called me and said “Hey, I will do ya better than that how bout I sponsor you.” I think I was the first person that he ever sponsored since his company was just getting together. After that we have been friends for about a year and a half he takes good care of me!
SP: This kind of surprised me that this was the first time you met Jamie Cruz! Yet you guys have been in the same tourneys together justâ€¦
TM: Well Nakapan (Who I will be doing an interview with later!) Nakapan is my training buddy. We have been together since the get go! Jamie I had heard of and he hung out with Chris a lot but he and I had never gotten together, I think I had seen him at other tournaments and stuff but we never exchanged words. He is a very talented grappler and a nice guy as well!
SP: It’s hard to find guys that click in a small group like this. I thought you guys had known each other forever when I saw you talking about him sleeping all the time! (That is the one thing I didn’t cover in his interview! Jamie Cruz can sleep through train wrecks and nuclear explosions I have seen it myself!) Lets talk about one other thing you sung the National Anthem prior to the tournament! (Which was awesome by the way) That something you want to pursue?
TM: Yeah! Singing is actually my passion and writing music so I have been sick so I had to sing an octave lower than what I normally do and I think I did it. I had forgotten that I was going to do it till Brian told me I was going to do it. When I get back from this tournament next week I am going to be stepping into the studio to record a couple of demos for this songwriter that I actually just stared working with and I am working on my own style of music kind of a Lenny Kravits style that motivates me.
SP: Is this something everyone knows about you or nobody knows about you?
TM: Its something that I have sat on for a long time and when I was eighteen I had other thing and now I am twenty five and I thought I am just going to do it and if I suck then I will just stop! As long as I am getting some positive feed back and people want me to sing their stuff and I can sing my stuff and write my music I am just going to see how far I can go kind of like my Jiu Jitsu I will just keep working at it and see what happens.
SP: Do you thing that wrestlers have changed up the Jiu Jitsu game?
TM: Leg locks! Leg locks have changed Jiu Jitsu! Wrestlers have changed Jiu Jitsu and Jiu Jitsu is constantly evolving and that is the cool thing about it when leg locks came you just didn’t leave your feet out there for your opponent to play with them. You play with your feet on the mat you come up to address them if you were on the bottom and from the top it gave you a hundred more ways to attack and to pass the guard. The wrestlers coming in a taking you down and making you address the game on your feet! You can’t just reach out and grab somebody anymore so I think those two things are the biggest components of change in Jiu Jitsu!
SP: Somebody that doesn’t know anything about our sport what would be the first thing you would tell them to open up to our sport?
TM: Well the first thing is I wouldn’t try to make is sound graphic. I tell em its like wrestling and then go into it after that. This is something have to experience and then and only then will they either love it or not! You never see part time Jiu Jitsu enthusiasts. It’s like with wrestling! When you go check out the Olympics especially the wrestlers they are bar none the best athletes out there! I don’t care what sport you are in! They put it on the line and you have to respect them for that. I think that is the best sport in the world. Yes I am a bit biased but hey! (Laughing)
SP: Todd thanks for talking with me and I really appreciate you talking with me and I wish you the best of luck with your singing career!
TM: Thank you Scott.