Mark Coleman – The Hammer’s Ultimate Fighter 19 Weekly Q&A Episodes 10 and 11
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 throughout the season!
Here are some of your questions and The Hammer’s answers from TUF 19 Episodes 10 and 11:
1. Following his lackluster win over Chris Fields and relentless shit talk prior to the fight, Matt Van Buren had plenty of excuses back at the house for why their fight sucked; what did you think of all of his excuses?
Mark Coleman – Well, I am not surprised because that is the way a lot of fighter’s minds work these days. They try to talk themselves into what they are going to do in the fight and he was certainly trying to convince himself that he was going to knock Fields out. There is a big difference though between pre-fight trash talk, practice and then when you are under the lights, in front of Dana White and your coaches and it’s your turn to try and advance to the next round. Winning is important and as a coach and I wanted my guys to win, no matter what it took. But regardless of what team a guy is on, if you are going to run your mouth before the fight, you need to back it up. This fight though had a lot of no action and clinching. Van Buren got a victory under his belt and then what you saw at the house afterwards was him talking more of “The Real Life” and not as tough and rough as he sounded the first few weeks. You can’t judge a fighter on one fight, yeah he won it but he didn’t knock anyone out nor did he really impress anybody. What’s next for “Gutter”? Daniel Spohn. So tune in this week and find out.
2. Mr. Coleman. I would like to call my segment/question for you “Drunks”. What did you think about naked fighters getting into bed with each other, the fireside chats and Tim Williams “let’s get busy” chants?
Mark Coleman – What did the Hammer think? Ok, let’s break it down. Naked is questionable. If I was Cathal Pendred I probably wouldn’t have been so calm but he was half a sleep. I wake up pretty quick though if someone jumps into my bed naked. Hector wasn’t exactly naked but he did jump into bed with Cathal. I guess that is what alcohol does to some people but I don’t understand why he would get in bed with a guy who needs his rest for his upcoming fight. I got a kick out of Fields coming in there (he really was becoming a team leader) and getting him the fuck out of there. These guys had business to take of the next day, so stay the fuck out of their rooms. But hey it is the TUF house and sometimes in that house you have to deal with a lot of outside noise and distractions. As far as the “fireside chats” go, this was the first time these guys really dipped into the booze stock at the house. From what I understand they finished of a couple of bottles of Jack Daniels and every beer that was available. So when you go hard after taking several weeks off the sauce you are probably going to do some things that will be questioned the next morning. Most times you wake up like Tim Williams did saying that he had a bad night. Williams was one of the hardest workers during the day at practice and it seemed with his “let’s get busy” chants that he was ready to go all-night also. I think he meant either drinking or fighting, I don’t think it mattered to him at that point. The emotions seemed to swing back and forth that night. Those slaps from Hector were all it needed to turn ugly really quick but for the most part the guys kept it fun and part of that may have been them thinking of getting the boot from the show if a fight happens in the house. I did though get a call from Dana White the next day and he wasn’t happy about a lot of shit that happened at the house that night. So I did have to have a chat with the fellas, I was on the other side of the stick for once, and I told them that some times you have to pay the price to play and suffer some consequences when you choose to drink. Maybe they did and maybe they didn’t but I put them through one hell of a workout the next day!
3. Did you and the other coaches go to UFC 167: St-Pierre vs. Hendricks with the fighters?
Mark Coleman – I was doing that stuff I mentioned earlier this season for the UFC 20th Anniversary and the UFC always gives me great seats for the shows. I was sitting down there cageside, it was great and don’t get me wrong, I like sitting in the front row. They had to keep those guys away from everyone else so I think they were sitting up in a box and it would have been neat to sit up there and interact with them but I am not one that is going to complain about free tickets to the show.
4. What was your breakdown of Cathal Pendred versus Eddie Gordon and did you agree with Dana White when he said he thought that Cathal should have won that fight by decision?
Mark Coleman – The first thing I am going to say about this fight is that both fighters went out there, they fought hard and both guys wanted to win this fight bad. A lot of guys have been questioned about their performances up to this point in the season and although it wasn’t as exciting as it could of been, both guys fought hard. There was a lot of hard wrestling in the first round, a lot of work, especially by our guy Cathal. He told me when he got on the show that he wrestles a lot like me, so we ended up calling him “The Handsome Hammer”. I didn’t understand it at first but then he explained the rugby scrum to me and it made more sense. I thought he was doing fine on his feet with Eddie Gordon in first round, we wanted him to control the center and back this guy up because Gordon didn’t like to fight that way. Cathal did a great job of that by doing what most hadn’t up until now, which was to throw three and four punch combinations. I think he won the first round but I think it may have cost Cathal a little bit because the takedowns that he also got in the first were tough, energy draining takedowns. A lot of these guys could get more takedowns without killing themselves with some extra work on their technique. In the second round, that energy drain continued as Cathal was trying to secure the win with more takedowns/attempts. Then the spinning backhand came and I think that was a huge turning point in the fight. Gordon capitalized, got the takedown and controlled most of the rest of that round. Give Gordon credit – he was able to hold him down and land some good scoring ground ‘n pound. Then in the third round, where Dana White usually says “Who the fuck wants it?”. I thought Cathal had a pretty damn good third round but he couldn’t finish on his takedowns. He held his own on his feet and I may be biased but I thought he squeaked out the victory. Obviously I was wrong but you can’t cry over that decision because that was about as close of a fight as you will see.
5. What did you think of Pat Walsh (Team Edgar) coming over to your team for extra training?
Mark Coleman – I kind of thought it may upset some of the red team but I wasn’t sure and I got a kick out of it cause I liked Pat Walsh from day one. I could see why they would be upset be he (smartly) did get a couple of extra mat sessions in as opposed to having to run. What clears him, and they don’t know this, is that Walsh wasn’t in there giving away any secrets about fighters from his team and at this point there really aren’t any secrets out there. Walsh was in there to get in extra workouts and I thought he handled the attacks well.
6. Hey Mark, what did you think of the red team bitches. Turncoats! Ricardo Almeida and the other guys bashing Walsh after they said he could go to a blue team workout.
Mark Coleman – Sometimes you make decisions quickly and I certainly hope that I wouldn’t act that way if it was one of my teammates. That was the way that Frankie and the other guys wanted to handle it, so that was their choice. I am not saying it was right or wrong but I would have handled it differently. Like I said earlier, I thought he handled the attacks well and he did what he asked his coaches he could do. Which was to get in an extra workout. Walsh is an emotional guy and I was just glad to see him get over it and fight a great fight against Corey Anderson. As a matter of fact though, now that I remember, the red team guys were asking me starting in week one to come over to their practices and jokingly asking me to switch teams. Not train a whole practice but to drill some wrestling with the guys and show them some small tricks of the trade. So before the season was over, I finally went over to one of their practices and I got challenged to a takedown/choke out match by……… Watch this week’s show!
7. I am pretty sure that I saw you in Walsh’s locker-room before his fight; did your team throw a hissy fit like his team because you had crossed over to the Dark Side?
Mark Coleman – I hung out with the red team fighters as much time as was provided and I got to know those guys very well. Too be honest Anton Berzin did ask me if I was giving away all of his secrets and just said to him what fucking secrets do you have Anton? But other than that little exchange, no one on the blue team cared that I would talk with the red team fighters. Obviously, everyone is going to handle situations differently and I for one didn’t always handle situations the right way when I was younger, so that is that.
8. Dana White always has guests at the fights on the show. Did he have any cool ones this season that you got to talk with?
Mark Coleman – Fight night is a pretty intense time and situation and my focus was 100% on the fights and our fighters. I appreciate the celebrity aspect of the fights and it can do nothing but help the sport but in that situation my mind was focused on the fights at hand.
9. What was your breakdown of the fight between Team Edgar fighters Pat Walsh and Corey Anderson?
Mark Coleman – Walsh went through some difficulties prior to the fight, handled it well and fought in one of the best fights so far this season. I think that Walsh showed a ton of heart in that fight and that made up for some his reach disadvantage but I give Corey Anderson a lot of credit. I think Corey has a chance to be really good in this sport because he just got started and he shows a lot of raw talent and ability every time in that cage. From everything I have seen, he has his life dedicated to it and a clear focus. He is clearly athletically talented and his ceiling could be the sky. The fight itself was a match-up of two closely matched wrestlers who decided to bang it out. Corey looked like he had more technique in his boxing skills but he was lacking in the head kick and leg kick department but he was able to use his reach advantage to win the fight fair and square. At the same time though, give Walsh some credit because what he was working with at the time he was able to come up with some stuff that may get him in trouble in future fights (keep your hands up Pat) but at this time it was part of his game and he was able to land a lot of punches from his hips. If Walsh had another three or four inch reach the fight outcome may have been different. It was a really good fight and I look forward to seeing Corey in the finals.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or you can post them below and “The Hammer” will answer them each week following the next show on FOX Sports 1!