Mark Coleman – The Hammer’s Ultimate Fighter 19 Weekly Q&A Episode 5
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 5:
1. What did you think about the changes to your team’s training sessions following Tim Williams’ loss?
Mark Coleman – I thought that the first two weeks of training were exactly what the Team Penn fighters needed. It was a grind, it was intense and it was hard. If the guys would have stuck with what we asked of them, which was two times a day, I think they would have been fine. They all came into this competition in shape but we took them to a different level. On a level that I am sure Frankie Edgar was taking his guys to also and I think he had a strict program that his fighters were following up to this point. With our guys we were always asking them how they felt, what they wanted to do and if they needed some time off. I don’t think we were riding them too hard but the guys that went home and did extra work, well that is where the communication was lacking and it made it difficult on us coaches. Some guys needed days off, some guys didn’t need time off and most of the time the guys that needed a day off didn’t take them and the guys that didn’t need a day off took them. I am still having some issues with the whole over-training aspect. I understand that as a fighter you need to peak at the right time but in this situation no one knew exactly when they were going to fight. I believe one of the biggest things about fighting is believing in your conditioning and going into a fight without the fear of getting tired because fear makes a coward out of anyone. It was a hard job coaching these guys with limited knowledge of them as fighters and the lack of communication. After watching the episode, I can tell you that I didn’t appreciate the red team ripping our work ethic. I don’t blame them but at the same time, maybe our guys did need a day off. Did the changes in our practices help or hurt the team? Well you will have to watch the rest of the episodes for that answer.
2. What did you think about some of the guys (ex: Mike King) dressing up as a women for Halloween and have you ever dressed up as a woman?
Mark Coleman – Personally no, I haven’t done that myself. One year though a while back, I was going to go trick or treating with my kids wearing a wrestling singlet, elbow pads, wrestling shoes and knee pads but I just couldn’t pull it off. It would have been funny but if I tried that now, as they are much older, it would probably be the most embarrassing day of their lives. Dressing up like a girl though? I don’t know, everybody is different. I guess if the guys wanted to do that and bill the costumes to The Ultimate Fighter, then I guess that was their choice. Everybody is entitled to their opinions on the subject and I think you saw on the episode as a couple of the blue team guys weighed in on it. Like Anton Berzin, the Russian, he couldn’t figure out what the hell they were doing. Being stuck in that house, isolated from the outside world for six weeks, some people just needed a distraction and it obviously wasn’t anything new for Mike King since he stated that he does that every Halloween. Too each his own but they did carve some nice pumpkins (those were the Irish guys and they take Halloween very seriously) and I get a kick out of carving pumpkins myself. I am not a good artist but I don’t need any of that sketching on the pumpkin. I just get a big pumpkin and carve what I can, I think they needed some bigger pumpkins.
3. What did you think about Roger Zapata saying that “wrestling is simple”?
Mark Coleman – It really, really surprised me to hear that because Zapata is a great guy but to be honest his weakest part of his game was his wrestling. Only one guy on our team had high school wrestling experience, so he wasn’t the only one struggling with wrestling. There was some real, basic, simple stuff in regards to wrestling that these guys didn’t know when they got to the house and Zapata was one of them. He was not that hard to take down but he definitely improved up to this point in the season compared to where he was when he got there. It would suck if he had that attitude towards wrestling but maybe he was just playing games with the head’s of the red team fighters. I pushed wrestling very hard at practice and Zapata even put on the wrestling shoes a couple of times. So I would be surprised if he really felt that way because to be honest, if I had to give him a straight wrestling grade, it would white belt. In saying that though, he was one of the toughest white belt wrestlers I have ever met. The other team though, had five college wrestlers and so I am sure it upset a few of them and you saw Team Edgar’s Corey Anderson’s answer when he fought Josh Clark. You can never say wrestling too many times in an MMA gym and maybe that was annoying Zapata because that was the weakest part of his game when he got there but as far as what was really going on, well you will find out this week when he fights Ian Stephens.
4. Can you give us a breakdown of Team Edgar’s Corey Anderson versus Team Penn’s Josh Clark?
Mark Coleman – I got a lot of respect for both fighters but Corey Anderson is out there six months off the wrestling mat and into the cage. So I liked that, kind of like me but I had like one month from the mat to the cage. Regardless, six months is not a lot of time and to be the first pick for Frankie Edgar, they must have seen a lot in this guy. To be picked number is impressive. Corey is a big, strong wrestler and once again that was not Josh’s strong suit. Josh has great stand-up, he is a good boxer and he hits hard and he has a lot of heart. I am sure he was the underdog on paper going into this fight but he went out there and did the best that he could and I am going to give Corey a lot of credit here because he did stand and trade with Josh quite a bit and I thought he did a pretty good job for only having trained MMA for six months. Josh couldn’t stop Corey’s wrestling or the damage from the GnP and that is what ultimately won the fight. Josh fought till the end and I don’t think he was over-trained, I think he was good to go that night and I think he performed very well. He just got beat by a very tough guy.
5. You seem to spend a lot of time at the TUF house and in past seasons there was always a lot of drinking, people getting smashed and so on. So far this season we have seen none of that. Where is the alcohol?
Mark Coleman – Yeah I made it over to the TUF house about twice a week. I enjoyed hanging out with the guys and they seemed to like it when I was there, the red team and the blue team, talking and getting to know the guys. I am finding out a lot more about them as I watch each show though. I hope to see some of these guys fighting in the UFC one day because it always nice watching someone fight on TV that you know a little bit about. As far as “Where is the Alcohol?” goes, there was 16 guys in the house, each on a mission to be a champion and even when the first few fighters had already lost (that is when the temptation of booze creeps in), everyone up to this point was still trying to impress the boss, Dana White. I was asked by a few who had lost so far if I would have a beer with them and I can proudly say I said no. If they wanted a beer that was their choice though and we will see if booze has a role to play in this season like it has in most of the other ones. Booze can be fun but you will have to pay for it the next day and even sometimes the same day.
Bonus Question – I know this has nothing to do with TUF 19 but what did you think of “King Mo” Lawal calling Bellator MMA President Bjorn Rebney a “Dick Rider” after losing to “Rampage” Jackson this past weekend?
Mark Coleman – As a fighter who was well known for losing my emotions I can see where King Mo was coming from. He was very emotional, he thought he won that fight, his corner was telling him that he won and that is as devastating as it gets, losing a fight you thought you won. I have seen some hyped fights in my day but I know both of these guys pretty good and this fight wasn’t hype. It was very legitimate hate that had been building for years. I was fortunate to be at some autograph signings over the years where Quinton and King Mo were at the same booth and yes it was always a very funny back and forth between the two but each of them were taking it very personally. I am sure both guys felt disrespected and after that fight King Mo’s emotions probably got the best of him because I am thinking that if he could take that back that he would. I have definitely been in that situation where I have said things that I probably shouldn’t have and his words of choice may be how he feels but I don’t think his boss had anything to do with the decision. Dana White gets blamed way too much for decisions and he has made it clear plenty of times that he doesn’t have any control over who wins or losses and I am sure it is the same for Rebney. I don’t know all of the circumstances but if he wants to put this behind him he should probably just apologize and hopefully that is enough to move on. If he stands behind the comments than so be it and if he regrets it, let’s move on. I love both those guys (King Mo and Quinton) and I wouldn’t have wanted to have been a judge in that fight. I will say this though, that fight felt like it should have been a five round fight. After all the hate, hype and everything else that went into that fight I was definitely expecting a more exciting fight. I thought the fight was less than exciting and I will stand by that. On a closing note, you definitely wouldn’t want to call Dana White a “Dick Rider” because if by some slim chance you still had a job you would be facing some stiff competition for the rest of your UFC career.
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!