Bas Rutten: Living Mixed Martial Arts Part I
By Dave Carpinello
In a PunchDrunkGamer exclusive, Dave Carpinello had a chance to talk with MMA Legend and the host of HDNet’s Inside MMA; Bas Rutten about his training, Kimbo Slice and the world of mixed martial arts.
PDG: Thanks for taking the time today. How is training going?
Bas: My personal training has been…what can I tell you? Amazing. I started training about a month ago and of course I am doing the Bas Rutten MMA workout. Ask anyone who has done the work out and they will tell you it is tough. What can I say though? It is going great. Yesterday I did 10 rounds of that workout and after that I sparred six rounds with Kimbo. That was the first time I had sparred like that since my last fight. After that I rolled for about 20 minutes and when I was done I was still ready to go.
PDG: So you’re working out pretty hard. Is there any chance that you will have a comeback fight this year?
Bas: No, I am not going to come back. My knees just can’t take it anymore and I want to concentrate on getting Kimbo ready for his fight next month and the fights that will follow that one.
PDG: Speaking of Kimbo; his fight with Tank Abbott is about a month away. How is he progressing in his training?
Bas: He’s doing great, he is really moving along and like I said before, he really hits hard. I think once he starts connecting with those punches his opponent is going to start thinking “oh crap, what did I get myself into?”. He is also not afraid to get hit hard which is really good. He listens really well to the instructions that he is given and that is going to help him.
PDG: Are you surprised that his third fight is against Tank? Some would say that he is a little beyond his prime.
Bas: Well his first fight only lasted a little over a minute and then his second fight against Bo Cantrell wasn’t really a fight because it only lasted 19 seconds. So we really didn’t learn very much from those two fights and I want him to fight a tough guy. Tank is definitely a tough guy and maybe he’s going to want people to know that he is still around and he will train hard for this fight. If he doesn’t train hard he’s going to be in a lot of trouble. I want Kimbo’s opponent to make this fight longer than the previous two. I shouldn’t say it but I want him to get hit but not too hard [laughs].
If he sticks with the game plan then we will get a better idea of where he is at. We need to get him some opponents that are going to put up resistance. We will take it from there and then build him up to better opponents. Some people want to rush it and have him fight Fedor but there is too big of a difference in experience. I mean Fedor has something like 24 fights and then all of his Sambo matches. Right now I just need to get him used to fighting in the cage. Kimbo has four fights this year and if he stays injury free and keeps progressing, then I have no problem putting him up against a top 10 fighter.
PDG: Since you brought up Fedor Emelianenko. Do you still rank him #1 in the world?
Bas: It is difficult because he doesn’t fight the guys, right? The last real fighter that he fought was Matt Lindlind and he was like 30 pounds lighter. Matt did a really good against him but Fedor held onto the ropes and Matt couldn’t take him down. Matt is a little devil and cut him with the first punch he threw. In order for Fedor to stay at the top he is going to have to start fighting the top competition.
PDG: You mean other than guys like Hong Man Choi?
Bas: [Laughs] Yes what was that? He tried to take him down and the guy just fell on his chest. Then as soon as the fight was on the ground you could quit watching because it was only going to be a matter of seconds before the fight was over. Tall guys like that are easier to submit because long limbs are easier to catch for submissions. Tall fighters also leave a lot of space around their bodies which makes it easier for their opponent to escape. You could have knee barred that guy on his arm.
PDG: One of the other fighters that you have trained, Chris Horodecki; Suffered his first loss on New Year’s Eve in the IFL Grand Prix. How is he doing and when is he going to fight again?
Bas: I am not sure when his next fight is but he has some work to do. Up till now his success was based on technique and in that fight he was overpowered. He needs to get stronger so I’m pretty sure he is going to be hitting the weights. He may only be 20 years old but his mindset going into his fights is amazing so I don’t expect him to be punch-shy when he steps into the ring again. He is still very early in his career and I expect him to make a very strong comeback.
PDG: The next IFL event is slated for February 29; are you training any of the fighters that will be fighting in that event?
Bas: No, I have had to step back from that for now because my schedule is very busy. I am spending most of my free time training Kimbo because I really like the guy. Then next week Duane Ludwig is going to be coming here to train on the same schedule as Kimbo so that we don’t really have to change anything. Randy Khatami is the boxing coach at my gym. So I train Kimbo in the morning and then he takes him in the afternoon so that I can have my afternoons free to work on other projects.
PDG: You sound very busy; are you enjoying your time on HDNet’s Inside MMA?
Bas: It’s great; they asked me to be Bas. There is no acting involved so I just have to be me and there is nothing easier than being yourself. Otherwise, they put you on leashes and tell you that “you can’t do this, you can’t do that”, that is very difficult for me to abide by. The show told me I could do whatever I wanted to do and I love it. We tape it on Wednesdays and tomorrow we are going to have Chuck Liddell on the show.
PDG: What did you think of the WCO having to cancel its event this past Saturday in San Diego?
Bas: It was really bad for the fighters. Joe Riggs has a new baby and a mortgage to pay; for a guy to train for two months or however much time they put into it and get there and not have a fight and only get 20% of the purse. It is just not a good thing and it is too bad that happened.
PDG: I also saw that you are doing some self defense articles in USA Weekend Magazine. Is that something that you will do on a regular basis?
Bas: I think it is something that we will do a couple of more times and it is great to be able to provide people with some knowledge of what they can do if they are in a life-threatening situation. I enjoy doing it and I have received many e-mails from people that have benefited from my self defense teachings. The DVD is doing really good and there’s actually a good story about it. I was sitting in the airport waiting for my flight and I saw five guys staring at me for a while. When they got up and started walking towards me I stood up and said to myself “Fuck It”. When we met everything was good as it ended up being five Air Marshals and they had a copy of my DVD and wanted me to sign it. So that was pretty cool.
PDG: All right, one more question and I’ll let you go. What are your picks for this weekends UFC event in England?
Joe Stevenson vs. BJ Penn:
Bas: BJ Penn is one of those guys they can do almost anything. He is so talented but sometimes he loses steam and Stevenson will definitely be in shape. This is a big fight for Joe and I think he will have a little trouble taking Penn to the ground because he is so frickin flexible. Hopefully, Joe can take him to the ground and do something with it. The more well rounded fighter in this match is BJ if he comes in shape. Although, Joe is short and compact and knows how to stay out of submissions and has good ground and pound. This is a very difficult fight to call and I know both fighters very well so I am not going to give a prediction on this one.
Fabricio Werdum vs. Gabriel Gonzaga:
Bas: This is a difficult one to call. If this fight goes to the ground I think that Gonzaga has the skills to compete with that really good jui-jitsu that Werdum brings. When Gonzaga was fighting Mirko “Cro-Cop” Filipovic he showed some really good elbows on the ground. On the feet Gonzaga is also very dangerous as he also showed against CC. Strength and technique wise I would have to say that Gonzaga can pull this one off.
PDG: Is there anything else upcoming that you would like to tell your fans about?
Bas: There is a new product coming out soon that I will be endorsing but I can’t go into a lot of details now. You will be able to put it in your living room, your bedroom, your garage and the gym. You can pretty much beat the crap out of it and it has a great design. We have a prototype of it at my gym and I have been trying it out for the last week. It is almost like punching a real person and it definitely adds to your workout. It is not like a punching bag and you need to take it to a whole new level when using this product. It involves using your defensive and offensive skills. You can use body shots, liver and spleen shots and straight punches to the body. The beauty of it is that with this new training product you have to aim your punches to score. Since I first looked at it they have made some changes and I wouldn’t be endorsing this product if it wasn’t Bas Rutten approved.
PDG: Thanks again Bas and take care.
Bas: Thank you and party on!!
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