Mark Coleman – The Hammer’s Ultimate Fighter 19 Weekly Q&A Episode 4
By Dave Carpinello
One of mixed martial arts true pioneers, UFC Hall of Famer and legend, Mark “The Hammer” Coleman is a member of Team Penn’s coaching staff on The Ultimate Fighter 19 Team Edgar vs. Team Penn. “The Godfather of Ground ‘n Pound” first arrived in the UFC back in 1996, winning his first two tournaments in dominating fashion, including a win over Don Frye at UFC 10, and becoming the first UFC Heavyweight Champion after submitting UFC Superfight Champion Dan Severn with a neck crank submission at UFC 12. The PRIDE 2000 Grand Prix Open-weight Tournament Champion retired in 2013 with notable wins over Shogun Rua, Dan Severn, Stephan Bonnar, Dan Frye (2x) and Igor Vovchanchyn. Prior to starting his mixed martial arts career, Coleman was a decorated wrestler having competed in the Olympics, FILA World Freestyle Wrestling Championships, Pan American Championships and was the 1988 NCAA Division I Champion. Mark will be giving his answers to your questions weekly every Monday throughout the season!
Here are some of your questions and The Hammer’s answers from TUF 19 Episode 4:
1. Have you ever seen a group of fighters with worse Cauliflower ear than this group of guys? Daniel Spohn in particular looked as if he was Mike Tyson’s lunch.
Mark Coleman – I guess I am at the point that I don’t zoom-in on people’s ears anymore because I am so used to seeing it in my lifetime. But I do take a glance every now and then when they are really bad and that is when I am thankful that I don’t have one that bad. My Cauliflower ear, in my opinion, is the perfect tattoo because I only have it on one ear and it is not very swollen at all. It is more flat, like a nice tattoo but yes some of these guys have some nasty Cauliflower ears. Fortunately, when they do retire, hopefully they have enough money saved up and they can get the Cauliflower surgery to make it look like they have a normal ear. Some people quite frankly just don’t give a shit how their ears look. That is what they say anyway but deep down I think they look at it and try not to think about it. To be honest, all a real bad Cauliflower ear shows is that fighter has put in a lot of work. To get ears that look that those guys you have got to put in a hellava lot of training, so on the flip-side you gotta to be a little bit proud of it. As far as have I seen worse, I have seen a lot of Cauliflower ears in my time but as far as one group of guys, I don’t know if anything beats them.
2. After Tim Williams lost, BJ Penn said “Perhaps those grueling training sessions had something to do with it”. How would you compare the workouts on the show to the one’s you went through back in the day?
Mark Coleman – I would say that they were very similar to what I went through with the exception of the amount of “real” wrestling that we were drilling in the practices. The one thing that wrestling does to your body is that you pay the price for it a day or two later. So you have to strategically plan when to work that into training and you could see it because the next day after we did wrestling training in practice, those guys would avoid me like the plague and they really didn’t want to talk to me. So I knew it was working. I know the fans don’t want to hear it but boring wrestling basically won us the first two fights. I want to see exciting fights just like the next person but sometimes you have to result to Plan B and if you are trying to advance to the finals of a tournament sometimes you need a little strategy. If the referee lets you get away with it then you have to use it. Overall though I was very impressed with the intensity of the workouts our team had. Once BJ Penn gave me free voice at the practices I was able to get the intensity to an even higher level by yelling at the guys something along the lines of “This level of training is not going to win any of you the championship”. I told them they were going to need each other to be champions but that didn’t mean they had to hold back during training, other than making sure no one got injured by some crazy throw (the Irish guy) where bodies were colliding. For example, I think I told the guys that if someone throws up that is fine but try to hold it down because that is good protein. That is how high I wanted to see the level of intensity at the practices and by the end of the first day of training our team achieved that.
3. Throughout your career and I am sure I have heard you say it on the show, “Put in your work”. Does that really always work?
Mark Coleman – I will give you one perfect example. Matt Brown! One of my all-time favorite UFC fighters. Let me get this out, congrats to him and this guy deserves a title shot. I think he has shown signs of brilliancy in the Octagon and he has come so far, he wasn’t a mediocre fighter by any means but he does have 11 losses and I don’t know how he got 11 losses but he is on a seven fight win streak and in his last fight this past weekend I was a little concerned after he took those liver shots early on. But he stayed patient and I think Erick Silva went for the kill when then were on the ground with the submission attempt. But then they stood up after a long battle on the ground and Brown started firing off shots and Silva couldn’t handle it. Those elbows that Brown was throwing (almost like he was throwing jabs) reminded me of Jon “Bones” Jones a little bit. I think he is a badass, I love him and he is a perfect example of putting in your work. So there you go!
4. So it seems that the UFC is featuring the Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) couch this season on TUF; Do you think the fighter interviews on the couch would be better if they were eating chicken while on the KFC couch?
Mark Coleman – I like this question and if it was allowed and KFC liked it, I would sit there holding me a whole chicken in my hand to make them happy and make the segment a little more exciting. So hell yeah they should be eating some fried chicken while doing the interviews. Maybe take a big bite to make it look like you are loving it but then spit it out after the filming stops (or swallow one bite, it won’t kill you that bad). KFC is delicious food but let’s face it, is it a healthy food for a fighter in training? I don’t think I need to explain that one. It is probably no more dangerous than Aspartame but is it a healthy training food? Since I can’t give any spoilers, stay tuned to see if “The Hammer” gets the opportunity to sit on the KFC couch with a bucket or two!
5. Did BJ Penn, the other coaches or you have any concerns about the health of Tim Williams head (brain aneurysm) going into his fight?
Mark Coleman – Me and Tim became really good friends during that six weeks of filming the show but we really didn’t talk about it because it didn’t seem like he really wanted to revisit that stuff from his past. So it wasn’t a subject that we talked about much because fighters just move on, they don’t want to talk about past injuries and he didn’t want to talk about his brain aneurysm with me. It was in the past and worrying about shit that happened in the past wasn’t going to help him win any fights in the house. I really didn’t even know most of his past until I saw it on the show and when I did, yeah I cringed a little bit, I don’t know a lot about brain aneurysms but it doesn’t sound good to me. So hopefully he is OK and obviously he got clearance to fight so that is how I look at it know. If a doctor clears a fighter then he is good to go. That was the least of my concerns with him. There is an old saying that maybe a fighter left a little too much in gym and that was my concern with Tim. He was a relentless worker in the gym and we couldn’t get him to slow down. I think he may have been training too hard leading to his fight with Dhiego Lima.
6. What was your take on the third fight of the season that featured Team Edgar’s Dhiego Lima and Team Penn’s Tim Williams?
Mark Coleman – That was two of the biggest fighters matched up and a possible finals match-up. I thought it was a great first round for Tim, he was fighting a brilliant fight against Lima, who is a big, super tough guy. Then came the Wrestling! I don’t think Lima knew a lot of wrestling but when he was training with Frankie Edgar and his team mates they showed him how to sprawl. So then in the fight, he sprawled when Tim went for that takedown in the middle of the cage (double leg takedowns are not advised in the middle of the cage), got back control and that was it. After the fight I went up to Lima and asked him where he learned that, he said “The Sprawl?” and I said yes and he said “Pat Walsh”. One of Edgar’s coaches. Up to that point though, I thought Tim Williams was fighting a great fight. You have to give Dhiego Lima credit though, that was two really good fighters going at it and that fight was a crushing blow to our team’s momentum. Can we bounce back? Tune in this week to find out.
7. What was with all of “Oh lay oh lay oh lay oh lay” shit coming from your team?
Mark Coleman – To be honest, you may catch me on camera saying “Oh Lay” just because I felt that I was part of the team and at first I thought I was OK with it but then I was like isn’t this some chant for the Irish? So if the Irish guys were fighting then fine but then I saw that it was bothering the hell out of the Red Team. My personal opinion was that I really didn’t dig it but as part of the Blue Team I partuke in it a little bit but I wasn’t screaming it. And you found out really quick how to shut a “Oh lay oh lay oh lay oh lay” chant down when Lima choked out Tim. That is why I wasn’t a big fan of it, because when they shut it down that means your team just lost a fight. One that Tim was winning by the way! I did learn something from that fight though from BJ Penn, I always thought the hardest worker won the fight but he told me that if the hardest worker always won the fight, there would be a lot of champions! The longer you sharpen a knife without using it, the weaker it becomes.
Don’t miss this week’s all new episode, Wednesday on FOX Sports 1! – The Hammer
Send in your questions following this week’s episode. You can submit your questions for Mark by sending them to email@example.com or you can post them below and “The Hammer” will answer them each week following the next show on FOX Sports 1!