On Friday, October 11, 2002 Universal Combat Challenge 11 is taking place in Montreal Canada and up and coming fighter and friend of OntheMat.com Shane “The Giant Killer” Rice will make his professional MMA debut. Meet Shane Rice:
On Friday, October 11, 2002 Universal Combat Challenge 11 is taking place in Montreal Canada and up and coming fighter and friend of OntheMat.com Shane “The Giant Killer” Rice will make his professional MMA debut. Shane weighs in at a 138 pounds and hails from Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada, but spends the majority of his time in California training and actually living with the legendary Rickson Gracie. Shane started Jiu-Jitsu about six years ago, and after making quite a name for himself on the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu circuit (he took six first place showings in the span of a year) Shane earned a purple belt from Rickson himself about two years ago. He`s also been boxing since the age of 15, although Jiu-Jitsu is his primary love. Shane was originally scheduled to compete in the super light-weight division against Richard Nancoo, however when his opponent was forced to withdraw, a substitution was made in Ivan Menjivar, who fights in a weight division higher. Undaunted, Shane is confident in himself for his MMA debut, largely because of where he has been and who he is representing.
OntheMat- Let`s start off by talking about what got you started training in Jiu-Jitsu
Shane- I was in boxing for quite a few years, but then I got out of boxing but for a year, year and a half I really wasn`t doing much of anything just lifting weights and stuff like that. I missed training, trying to stay in shape I ran into some guy who did some jiu-jitsu and grappling and I started with him for about six months and then I did a seminar with Rickson Gracie in Toronto Canada. From that point on man it was just Gracie jiu-jitsu and I started traveling to seminars and going down to California to train and that was pretty much it.
OTM- What was it like training with Rickson Gracie? What did that do for you?
Shane- I guess the main thing is that because I`m a fighter and I want to be a professional fighter it is important to me that I don`t only have the greatest teacher in the world with the best knowledge and the best experience but you know that everything that Rickson shows you is from his own experience. He`s an active fighter, he always has been and he`s a great teacher. I think that that combination with his ring experience and his knowledge of jiu-jitsu is something that is very important.
OTM- You actually live with Rickson when you`re in California (Shane splits his time between Rickson`s home and the Akins brothers` home). What`s it like getting that extra attention?
Shane- Well, I wouldn`t call it so much extra attention as opposed to that Rickson and Kim (Gracie, Rickson`s wife) are wonderful people and they do what they can to help people and they help me out when I`m staying in LA. It`s just having their friendship and their guidance is really good to have. It keeps me motivated and it really makes me want to try my best to prove that Rickson`s jiu-jitsu is the best and to try my best. That`s all I can do.
OTM- You have quite a record in Sports Jiu-Jitsu. Do You still train with the gi? What are your plans there?
Shane- Yeah, I still train with a gi. To tell you the truth the gi is my favorite, I love the gi and I do plan on going to the Pan Americans this year and hopefully making a trip to the Worlds soon. But the thing is with the pro fighting, you get a little bit more exposure and it`s something else I`ve wanted to do. This opportunity kind of fell in my lap. The thing is with the gi, I`ll be able to compete well into my forties with the gi. But with the No Holds Barred your timeline is a little bit more limited so you should take advantage of it while you`re young and healthy and that`s what I plan to do.
OTM- How many MMA fights do you have so far?
Shane- To tell the truth this will be my first professional NHB fight. I`ve obviously trained NHB and I have been training NHB for quite a while now. I have amateur boxing matches and some street fights but I really don`t count those. A lot of guys like to add street fights to their record. Street fights and fighting in a ring in front of three or four thousand people is a totally different thing. So this is going to be my first professional fight.
OTM- How did you get your opportunity with the UCC (Universal Combat Challenge) for this fight?
Shane- I was actually in Montreal visiting a friend of mine for a few days and I dropped by a local jiu-jitsu school to do some training while I was in town. I rolled with a few guys who were already competing in the UCC and I did really good and they kept telling me “you should try to get a fight. You should try to get a fight,” you know. The division I`m competing in is a Canadian division, you have to be Canadian to compete in it and so I got the number of the promoter and gave him a call and we started communicating like that and now I`m here.
OTM- Do you have a favorite technique or a way you want to take the fight.
Shane- I don`t necessarily have a favor technique. I definitely want to win the match in a jiu-jitsu fashion. I don`t plan on getting in there and having a sloppy fight or a big free for all. Training with Rickson he teaches you how to be methodical and how to capitalize on your opponent`s mistakes. How to take your opponent and capitalize and what he give you and that`s what I`d like to do. And try not to take to many shots!
OTM- Is there much of a Canadian scene and how important is to you to represent Canada?
Shane- It`s getting better here in Canada. There`s not as much depth here as there is in California but it`s definitely growing with grappling and jiu-jitsu and NHB. You know, most of my friends and training partners are down in California and my jiu-jitsu family is down there. I`m not so much worried about representing Team Canada as I am in making my name in Canada first. I`m a Canadian but I want to make my name in Canada first and then down to the US and maybe one day Japan.
OTM- What do you do when you`re not training?
Shane- When I`m not training? Um, I`m really into motorcycles. I like racing bikes. I spend time with my better half (my girlfriend), and my five year old son. I love him. Besides spending time with my family, that`s pretty much it.
OTM- You`ve got the (infamous) Henry Akins (brown belt assistant instructor at Rickson`s academy) in your corner. I`ve been trying to get an interview with him forever. Got any interesting stories about him? (OntheMat has more than a few)
Shane- (Laughing) Mr. Akinsâ€¦interesting stories about Henry. I don`t know where to begin. Man, Henry is like my brother. Ever since the first day I came to LA he`s been there for me. I pretty much stay with him when I`m not at Rickson`s house and I would not be here if it wasn`t for Henry. There are a lot of people that have helped me along the way but Henry is very important to me and very important to my career and I wouldn`t have anyone else in my corner. I feel comfortable with Henry in my corner.
OTM- Assuming you win your fight, where do you see yourself going after this?
Shane- When I took this fight, because this guy is not in the super lightweight division. I actually have to go up a division to fight him. So what`s going to happen on the same card is that two super lightweight guys fighting for the belt. Whoever wins that match I`ll probably have to fight on Nov. 29 in UCC 12 for the Super lightweight Canadian Championship.
OTM-Are you getting any notoriety in your hometown yet?
Shane- This will be a good start in making my name in Canada. The thing is there are not a lot of Super Lightweights so if all things go as planned I can be the Super Lightweight Champion with only two professional fights. I would have a title but I don`t think I will have proven myself. I would have to defend that title quite a few times and then I definitely I will have credentials to start going to other places like King of The Cage or Shooto or something like that.
OTM- If someone wanted to get ahold of you, how would they do that for a fight or training?
Shane- When I`m in LA the best place to get ahold of me is the Rickson Gracie academy or hit me up at Henry`s house. When I`m in Canada you can call me at home. My phone number is 902-864-1515.
OTM- Anyone you want to dedicate your match to or sponsors you want to thank?
Shane- Yeah, there`s a lot of people I have to thank. I have so many friends that I met through jiu-jitsu. Definitely Rickson and Kim Gracie, I wouldn`t be here without them, they`ve done so much for me over the years. Henry and Matt Akins, Luis Heredia. When I`m fighting I`m definitely thinking about them and I definitely wouldn`t be here without everybody.
OTM- Finally, if you win your fight what will be your celebration?
Shane-We`re in Montreal man, there are quite a few strip clubs around here. I`m sure with Henry leading the team we`ll find something to do!
OTM- Well get a lap dance for me man! Best of luck to you Shane.
Shane- Thanks man.