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VERBAL TAP (Episode 98) with Mac Danzig


VERBAL TAP (Episode 98) with Mac Danzig

[buzzsprout episode='222389' player='true'] MacDanzig_HeadshotRaf's Recollection | I'll never forget the time I discovered Mac Danzig and I had a mutual set of friends.  Years ago I discovered that Mac and I were only a couple degrees of separation away from each other all thanks to my best friend Bobby.

And when you're in good with my long-time best friend (and future best man at my wedding) and his family, in my book, it means you've already been vetted and that you're good people.

Before I had a podcast, or even really knew I'd take up jiu-jitsu, I was just a UFC fan who enjoyed Mac's work in the Octagon.  Perhaps it's my knowledge of how reality shows work and get spliced together, but even when I sat at home watching his time on The Ultimate Fighter I always thought he got a bum wrap on the way he was depicted. It's not entirely surprising, it's just the nature of the beast known as reality TV.

But as someone who doesn't tend to get caught up in that sort of thing (even then), I just knew I liked his fighting style and thought he had a promising future (in retrospect, I can see that I have a long history of rooting for the jiu-jitsu guys).  Naturally, I was stoked to see him go on to win the show and have a solid run in the UFC.

After years of hearing great things about him and the way he teaches from our mutual friends, I was pleasantly surprised a few months ago when I heard he was holding a Striking for Submissions seminar down here in LA.  I packed up the gym bag and made it down.

Before the seminar, I got the chance to meet and exchange pleasantries.  We talked about our mutual connections and BS-ed about a number of MMA and BJJ topics, all the while Mac lived up to all of the great qualities our mutual friends had come to say about him.

By the time we got around to the seminar and I saw him demonstrate his first BJJ transition, I realized something I had long since forgotten: Mac was one of the first people I watched and learned how to do jiu-jitsu technique from.

While I had watched a number of fights before his tenure on The Ultimate Fighter, I never really paid attention to the science of it all.  For whatever reason, his style just clicked with me and, while I may not have understood the exact reasoning behind every grip or underhook, I remember finding myself interested in the craft and wanting to learn how to break it all down.

And on this day, on these mats, there he was telling me to stop doing the technique so wrong and try to get it right for a change.

He didn't actually say that, but you're all familiar with how I roll by now.

Nonetheless, it was just a cool moment in my training journey and all the more reason his appearance on the show was so cool for me personally.

On the podcast this week, Mac (37:20) drops in to provide a little more insight about the actual production of The Ultimate Fighter, the awesome connection he has to the world of animation, his interest in photography, what its like to transition out of fighting, and even describes what it's like to be on the other side of the cage as a referee.

It's a fantastic first conversation with a guy who's been a friend of podcast long before we even had him on.  We look forward to having him back on some time soon.

In the meantime, check out his work at

As an avid photography fan, I'm not one to put over work if I don't find it really good.  But his stuff is awesome and I strong encourage you all to give it a gander.

But Wait, There's More!

Our pal, Alex Perez returns on this week's podcast to find out if he beat Kevin in our UFC 180 edition of Over/Under Kevin

In addition to finding out the results, Alex helps us recap all of the awesome (that sick main event), the disgusting (Ultimate Fighters taking a #2 in the cage), and the really disgusting (the worst PSA for Cauliflower ears ever) things that made one of the shortest UFC PPV's in recent memory a fun and unpredictable night of fights.


Metamoris 5: The Game Show

Because no Metamoris card is complete without at least three match-up changes, we had to get creative with our latest Around the Mat preview series.  We always like to record these things a week out of the show as to try and get you a preview that's the most up-to-date possible, but when the news hit that Kevin "KO" Casey was out of his match-up (prompting the BJJ equivalent of American Idol to take place) as I was editing the latest installment of our Metamoris Preview Series, I had to do something.

This was that something.

The following is a sneak preview of our show that's coming out a little later tonight.  Hope you all enjoy it!

EDIT: And here's the entire full length episode for your viewing pleasure:

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VERBAL TAP (Episiode 94) with Vinny Magalhaes


VERBAL TAP (Episiode 94) with Vinny Magalhaes

[buzzsprout episode='212870' player='true'] VinnyRaf's Recollection | Vinny Magalhaes {13:29) is the MMA version of a workaholic.  It seems like every time he finishes a fight or a grappling match, he's already lining up the next fight (or two).

You might even call him a fight-aholic.  It's like the guy's addicted to competing.

Lucky for us it results in some amazing fights to watch both in the cage and on the mats.

Shortly after walking us through his sick light heavyweight title win at Titan FC 30, Vinny talks to us about his next Metamoris 5 match-up against Kevin "KO" Casey (... only to work on creating a match for himself at Metamoris 6).

That's right.  A month before Metamoris 5 even happens, Vinny's already offering himself as available and ready to fight at Metamoris 6.

But that's the spirit of the fight in Vinny.  He's a goal-oriented fighter who's not just content holding MMA gold around his waist.  It seems like he's ready to fight any time, any where, any place.

Untitled-4-620x330On this week's podcast, Vinny describes his Titan FC 30 fight camp, what his training partners think of his workaholic tendencies, and even gives us some insight into the fighter psychology that takes place inside of the cage.

Then Vinny switches gears to answer some BJJ questions, including his thoughts on Keenan Cornelius' performance at Metamoris 4, what it's like to film one of those Metamoris preview videos, and even starts walking us through some of the competitors he'd like to have a rematch with.

Also, he fields a question thrown our way from Renato Laranja and then is informed about Kevin's poor attempt to recreate Vinny's match from Metamoris 4.

So Vinny, if you're watching.  Here's the video of the terrible re-creation and I will be happy to provide you with Kevin's address once you finish watching it.

EBI Dos!

AEBI 2lso on the podcast, I talk a little bit about what it was like to watch the Eddie Bravo Invitational 2 in person.

I don't want to go too much into detail (as the show has yet to be televised and we're working on a cool side project here as part of our coverage), but it was a cool experience that was a blast to attend.

I just wanted to take a moment to thank the wonderful participants (a number of whom are friends of the podcast) who did an exceptional job that evening.  And also, my thanks to Alex Perez for the fantastic work helping us with fight coverage through the night.

Are You Going to the World Jiu-Jitsu Expo?

If so, don't be afraid to stop by and say hello.  I'll be covering the event live in Long Beach all weekend and would love to run into you guys while we're there.

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Follow us and stuff.

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Check out our latest installment of Around the Mat, where we break down the Metamoris 4 match between Dean Lister and Josh Barnett.

We love hearing what you guys have had to say about our other installments, so keep them comments and likes comin'!



VERBAL TAP (Episode 63) with Samir Chantre & Zak Maxwell

[buzzsprout episode='157255' player='true']

Raf's Recollection | Perhaps the coolest thing about this week’s podcast was gaining insight into the two very different paths of Metamoris 3 participants Samir Chantre and Zak Maxwell.

By now, many of us have seen the preview videos, we’ve heard the stories, but few of us actually know

how the Metamoris match-ups come together.  On this installment, Zak tells us the way he was approached to compete at the tournament, while Samir gives us some insight into the training practices and strategies that go into preparing for this unique 20 minute, submission style match up.

Not only that, but Samir also tells us what it’s like training with Caio Terra, what competitive activities jiu-jitsu rock stars do on their days off, and even gives us some insight on how the hell this photo came together.

This photo may also help to explain the sense of humor Samir exhibits when we ask him about the possibility of forming a tag team partnership with Clark Gracie to take on the Mendes Brothers.

Meanwhile, we talk with Zak about the awkward wording on his BJJ Heroes profile, the way he studies tape for upcoming jiu-jitsu matches, and gives us some fantastic detail about his training sessions with Royler Gracie (his wording about Royler should be put on a t-shirt and sold immediately).

And as we get closer to Metamoris 3, it’s listening stories like Samir’s and Zak’s that help us better understand the mentality of two different, but widely respected jiu-jitsu practitioners as they prepare for such a highly anticipated event.

But Wait, There’s More

Not only do we do a summary of last week’s UFC Fight Night in London, we also call upon our friend Marshal D. Carper to participate in our latest installment of Over/Under Kevin: UFC 171 edition.

Normally, I surprise Kevin with the folks he takes on in this segment, but this marks the first time I was ever surprised by one of our guests who brought a guest of their own.

Marshal’s not one to take things lightly, so he definitely put in a lot of time into his picks—which is such a wonderful contrast to Kevin’s CliffNotes preparation.

You can follow Marshal at one of this twenty writing things on the internet.  Try these:

Artechoke Media

His Blog.

His Twitter.

Or you can read his book.

For the observant among you, you may notice that Marshal left a note on my copy of his book with an inscription to me.

And just because I know you're begging for it...

Here is that inscription.

Well played, Marshall.  Well played.


VERBAL TAP (Episode 24) with Rafael Lovato Jr.


VERBAL TAP (Episode 24) with Rafael Lovato Jr.


[buzzsprout episode='93633' player='true'] Raf's Recollection | In martial arts, when a Black Belt is kind enough to give you their time, you take it.  With every demonstration, every suggestion, every sparring session, they provide the kind of insight that can literally change a person’s life.

Which is why we were beyond fortunate to have Rafael Lovato Jr. stop by the podcast to give us more than an hour’s worth of his time.  Not only did the decorated American black belt talk about his own Jiu-Jitsu journey, but he also candidly discussed the struggles he’s faced over the years to achieve his dreams and "make history."

For those unfamiliar, Lovato is arguably the most successful Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competitor in America.  Should you need a reference, just watch this:

Honestly, we could have devoted an entire other podcast just to name the laundry list of accomplishments the man has achieved, but somehow Kev and I managed to cage our inner-bjj nerd tendencies to ask him about his competitive drive, how Chuck Norris changed his life (seriously, he did), and the circumstances that prompted him to make this terrifying face.

Already a gi and no gi World Champion, Lovato made history last month when he became the first non-Brazilian to win the Absolute division at the Brasileiro.

Take a moment to let that sink in.

Becoming the first American to win the open weight division in one of the most competitive Jiu-Jitsu tournaments in existence.  To put that in perspective, if the average BJJ enthusiast or practitioner (such as you or myself) won said competition, it’s very likely a majority of us would spend most of our days walking around like this.

The win in Brazil was an especially nice feather in Lovato’s cap, as it marked the realization of a dream that started nearly 15 years prior.  In the podcast, Lovato talked about attending the competitions as a kid, idolizing these giants of Jiu-Jitsu, and daring to think, “I can do that.”

There’s so much about Rafael’s journey that you don’t see on the mats.  It is especially true that behind every great accomplishment is a story that is every bit as exceptional—and to get to hear the man (who, himself, grew up without the guidance of a Black Belt during his formative years) describe it is nothing short of a treat.

If you’re even remotely interested in the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and don’t find something that connects to your own journey in this interview, I’m gonna suggest that you have someone check your pulse.  In all my years of conducting interviews, I don’t ever think I’ve been able to gain better insight into an athlete’s mindset and drive, let alone a Black Belt’s.

There’s this part toward the end of this interview where Professor Lovato responds to one of our fan questions and drops that kind of knowledge that speaks to the heart of anyone whose ever stepped foot on the mat and thought, “I can be better.”

A day after this interview, I went to train and had a spectacularly awful day of Jiu-Jitsu.  To be specific: I gassed out, I didn’t feel I performed up to my best, and I quit on myself (while I can accept wins and losses, I don’t accept quitting on myself).  When I walked out of my training sessions, I couldn’t help but keep the last part of this interview with me.

Sure, hearing the words of an accomplished Black Belt first-hand didn’t hurt, but it was the tone and conviction of a man whose own experience and hardships in Jiu-Jitsu made it near impossible to allow a sense of negativity linger on my own performances.  In fact, Lovato’s words and/or example might even make you leave a training session thinking, “Not I can be better, I will.”

Suppose that’s why it’s important to know that when a Black Belt gives you their time, you take it.  Otherwise, you might just miss out on making your own history.

EDIT: For those wondering what Lovato's Brazilian Absolute matches looked like, simply head on over to the following link to watch Lovato break down his own matches!