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Dana White

VERBAL TAP (Episode 88) with Mik Milman


VERBAL TAP (Episode 88) with Mik Milman

[buzzsprout episode='201359' player='true'] Mik Milman

Raf's Recollection | Not gonna lie, I'm a little jealous of Mik Milman's photography skills.

As an avid photography enthusiast, I spend a great deal of my spare time researching different photographers and trends within the field.  Which is why it came as a nice surprise when I found there was a photographer taking the time to capture the essence of everyday jiu-jitsu practitioners.

That's right, not the guys you see standing on podiums or shouting out their twenty thousand sponsors.  Nor the guys selling you DVDs, telling you what you need to know about jiu-jitsu.  Not even the people trying to make names for themselves showing you a cool move on YouTube.

In fact, Mik (pronounced "Mick") none of that really seems to matter all that much to Mik Milman.  For him, there's a way bigger interest in the psychology behind why people step foot on a mat.

Mik's passion project, People Who Train, is a photography-based narrative BJJ endeavor that seeks to find out the psychology behind why ordinary people step on the mats.

And the results, thus far, have been fascinating.

Panel Group ShotI first caught wind of the projects a couple months ago and was intrigued by the quality of the photos.  In each of Mik's still frames you truly get a representation of each interview subject's soul.  And while I've never rolled with any of the people in the photos or heard a single word about their story beforehand, the photos give a great peek into the role jiu-jitsu plays in their life.

NextIt's even more awesome when you see the photos juxtaposed with some of the short narratives that give you a little more insight into these folks' everyday lives.

On the podcast [his appearance starts at the 58:30 mark], Mik describes his process (all the way from the photography sessions, the type of people's he's interested in photographing, and the unexpected narratives that have propelled him to do even more for the BJJ community).

If you're interested in being one of the folks featured in this project (seriously, don't be shy.  We all have cool stories that deserve to be featured), be sure to check out People Who Train and hit up

You can also check out Mik's work on Instagram (@retrograding) and give him a like on Facebook.

But Wait, There's More

We talk about Dana White's latest PR fail, some stupid parents on a dumb reality show force their kids to do jiu-jitsu and are pretty extreme about it, the devastation of UFC 177, and Todd Levin [21:11] returns to find out if he beat Kevin on our last installment of "Over/Under Kevin" (spoiler alert, of course he did).

So take a load off and kick back as we help you unwind and make sense of this crazy week in BJJ and MMA.  And don't forget to follow us on our social media stuff as well.

Facebook: /VerbalTapCast

Twitter: @VerbalTapCast

Instagram: @VerbalTapCast

Vine: @VerbalTapCast

Oh yeah, one more thing.  We've got our new Around the Mat episodes coming out (we filmed one episode per Metamoris 4 match).  Check our our first installment right here!


VERBAL TAP (Episode 45) with Josh Hill and Julianna Pena

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VERBAL TAP (Episode 45) with Josh Hill and Julianna Pena


[buzzsprout episode='126277' player='true']

Raf's Recollection | Take it easy on Kev this week, gang.  It's been a rough couple of days.

When we finished recording the podcast on Sunday, Kev and I had what we considered to be one of our best episodes.  In fact, Kevin was so pleased with the way things were turning out during the editing phase, he actually sent me several texts just to say how awesome the episode was.

Of course, we didn't know this at the time, but that euphoric sentiment would turn out to be the kiss of death.

Just moments after putting the final touches on the podcast (and right as he was uploading it to our site), Kevin happened to notice that his audio went missing.  Something happened during the conversation process that eliminated a significant portion of Kevin's vocal track.

Now, while the thought of having a Kevin-less podcast is something that sounds fantastic in theory, just think about how crazy I would have come off.  Oh sure, my voice would make it seem like I was in the middle of a conversation with someone else, but the large chunks of radio silence from Kevin would have made me sound downright insane.

Just to give you an idea of how the podcast would have sounded without Kevin, please consider the following visual metaphor on the right hand side here.

Anyway, Kev took the day to get his head together and we (somehow) managed to slab together a podcast for your listening pleasure.

In fact, I don't know if it's a testament to his talent or a slight on the production value we normally carry on this dog and pony show, but you can hardly tell there were any major audio problems in this podcast (and if you do, keep it to yourself, please. No one likes a show-off).

Nonetheless, should you feel so inclined, send Kev a nice message (@PhillipsKevin1 on the Twitter) to let him know his efforts are appreciated.  We'll go back to treating him like shit next week.

The Gentleman

While I don't have the kind of extreme beef that Dana White does with "The Gentleman," Josh Hill, I do give him a little bit of grief on the podcast.  It has nothing to do with his (ironically stated) struggle of growing up "really, really ridiculously good looking" or even the fact that he has a truly impressive grappling record of 36-1 (North American Grappling Association).

It has more to do with the fact that he's so damn polite.

It's almost upsetting.

While Dana's spared no expense telling us what a "one trick pony" Josh Hill is throughout the season, I wasn't very surprised when the extremely well-mannered Canadian did the extremely well-mannered Canadian thing of not talking shit about Dana White (the nerve of this guy!).

But that doesn't stop me from trying to prod.  And I'd even like to think we got him to have a couple moments of (dare I say?) "edge" during our interview, where we also ask about his MMA journey, his family's roots in pro wrestling, and his fight against former-opponent-turned pal, Mike Wootten.

We even issue a challenge for the next time he comes on the podcast.  Let's see if he's got the stuff to prove us wrong.

The Vixen

I suppose we could have subtitled this podcast "The Gentleman and The Vixen" (I swear this wasn't by design, I'm only stupidly realizing this now), but we also get the chance to talk with the "Venezuelan Vixen," Julianna Pena.

As one of the first TUF cast members to fight (and therefore share their narrative), we've arguably gotten to know more about Julianna than most of her fellow cast members this season.  We certainly touch on topics like the letters she wrote to her teammates, how it felt to be portrayed as the underdog, and even got to ask if she felt her housemate makeovers paid off.

However, I'll put this out there right here and now:  One of our questions brings out one of the most unexpected stories Kev and I have ever heard on the podcast.  It's a story that not only helps identify what makes Julianna so mentally and physically tough, but also gives you an idea of why she fights.  It's an awesome story and, frankly, I'm happy she was willing to share it with us.

Additionally, if you happen to be in the Spokane, Washington area, be sure to support Julianna's team at Northern Quest Resort and Casino's "Conquest of the Cage," as both her brother-in-law and her training partner Elizabeth Phillips will be fighting in the co-main event.  Tickets for that fight can be found right here.

Machida and MunozOdds and Ends

Among some of the Odds and Ends topics that make it onto the podcast this go round include: Which UFC Fighter would make a great WWE Superstar, how good of a public speaker is Dana White, and why we can't stop talking about Lyoto Machida's scarf.

All this and more on this week's podcast!

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VERBAL TAP (Episode 28): UFC 161 Review

Raf's Recollection | Hard to believe, but it's been three months since the podcast has just been a conversation piece between me and Kevin (three months to the day if you want to be precise).

Granted, over the course of the past few months, we've had the good fortune of guest stars dropping in and out of the podcast (not that we're complaining).

And before you ask, no, we are not short on guests.  We have some interviews planned over the next few weeks—with maybe a surprise or two thrown in for good measure—and we'll be announcing some big stuff very soon.

On this occasion, however, Kev and I made the decision to take the show back to its roots: him and I yelling belligerently at one another.  At the end of the day, this show lives and breathes off the conversation of two idiots who love the shit out of MMA, so we hope you enjoy this throwback episode.

In this installment, we talk about UFC 161 and explain why you didn't see the worst card of the year... but also why you were miles away from the best card the UFC had to offer this year.

Kevin also tries to force his love for the NBA into a PODCAST ABOUT MMA!!!  So we find a way to justify it with a ridiculous story (and dramatization) of Chael Sonnen's encounter with King James that has to be heard to be believed.

IMAG1422And now if I can take a moment to be so selfish...

Although I got the opportunity to shout out the good folks at Valley Martial Arts Center and Dream BJJ on podcast, I just wanted to take a second to congratulate the good folks at VMAC and Dream BJJ for coming together to put on a superb tournament experience.

Dream BJJ organizer, Sean Maghami, puts together a mean tournament and, as my first BJJ tournament experience (well, second if you count Metamoris), I was thoroughly impressed by his attention-to-detail and the relative ease displayed as tournament director when any problem came up.  His organization seems truly committed to giving a great BJJ experience for all and I think he helped to bring a great positive energy to the training facility that we call home.  It truly felt good to see so many people in the building competing and having a good time.  It's what the sport should be like and I was glad to provide whatever help I could there.

And to the good folks at VMAC: Way to represent the dojo, both on-and-off the mats.  Up front, I had the pleasure of interacting with a lot of competitors from other schools who nothing but compliments about VMAC, our staff, and the caliber of our competitors.  Watching you all compete was a thrill, my hat's off to the entire team, and I'm pretty proud of the entire gang.

That'll do it for my recap this week.  Don't forget to check out my jokes about Fight Master and this week's Bellator fights, as we are definitely talking about that and much, much more next week!


VERBAL TAP (Episode 22) with Adam Cella


VERBAL TAP (Episode 22) with Adam Cella

NOTE: For whatever reason the Skype/Podcast Editing Gods were against us this week, so be sure to listen to this Podcast on your headphones.  And be forewarned the transitions may be a little loud. 

Kevin's Description: Raf and Kevin celebrate Cinco De Mayo with Professional Fighter Adam Cella from The Ultimate Fighter Season 17! They also talk a little Jon Jones, UFC 159 Payouts, Tito Ortiz vs. Jon Jones, Anderson Silva vs. Jon Jones, and finally end with your questions from twitter! Visit right now and get daily MMA coverage!

Raf’s Recollection : The first thing that strikes you about Adam Cella (aside from those dashing baby blues) is the fact that the man tells a mean story.

There's an inherent politeness to the timber of his voice that makes the punchlines to his stories both hilarious and friendly at the same time.

That's a rare gift.  So that even when he's having a little bit of fun at the expense of his close friends from the show, it's never mean spirited.  It's similar to that of a little brother playfully ribbing their older brothers—and really makes it easy to see why he was so popular within the house.

On the latest podcast, we get Cella to open up about some of the lighter moments in The Ultimate Fighter—including a few choice gems about roommates, cut scenes from the house, and maybe even an impression of a certain fellow cast member who may or may not have celebrated their 30th birthday this weekend (we apologize in advance Mr. The Menace; Happy Birthday!).

Among some of the other topics we touch upon with Mr. Cella in this interview: which current UFC fighter is afraid of spiders, what the future holds in store for the TUF vet, and what does Cella have to say to all of those who thought Jon Jones let him tap him out with this guillotine.

We hope you'll join us for some fun on the podcast and then drop us a note in our comment section.  And after that shoot our friend Mr. Cella a nice note over on his Twitter at (@AdamCellaMMA) to let him know what you thought!


VERBAL TAP (Episode 17) with Luke Barnatt and Bubba McDaniel


VERBAL TAP (Episode 17) with Luke Barnatt and Bubba McDaniel

Kevin's Description: Title says it all folks! Raf Esparza's one minute review of The Ultimate Fighter has Bubba "the Menace" McDaniel and Luke "BIgSlow" Barnatt stopping by for some great perspective on Mike Tyson's most recent visit to the house, the crazy round of quarterfinal fights, and so much more! Tune in, you won't want to miss out on this one!