Mark Coleman – The Hammer’s Ultimate Fighter 19 Weekly Q&A Episodes 8 and 9
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 8 and 9:
1. What did you think about Dana White basically telling the fighters that they needed to finish the fights or Fuck Off?
Mark Coleman – Well Dana White is the boss and the President of the UFC and if that was something that he had said to me, I would have taken him seriously. Obviously a lot of these guys are out there trying to use strategy and all though it may seem to some that they just didn’t care, that wasn’t the case. At practice these guys are busting their asses but then after all the talking and the lights come on and they are supposed to perform, it has a tendency to get to a lot of people and we are seeing that so far on the show. They seem to be fighting not to lose, instead of fighting to win and Dana White is sick and disgusted and who can blame him. As a coach though, it is not as bad in my eyes because I want our team to win this competition but at the same time, these guys need to realize that if they want another shot in future at the UFC, they are going to have to take some chances and show some aggression and some sense of urgency during the fights. That is what Dana was pointing out and watching the fights for second time on TV I realize why he was so upset. Of course we want our guys to win but you get paid to perform. The winning is very important but at the same time these guys have to show some urgency. So far there has been no action, a lot of hugging, a lot of talking and up to this point I haven’t seen anyone willing to take chances, turn it up and take home the crown. To finish your question, it is not just the fighters but the ineptitude of the referees to stand these guys up and demand some action.
2. Why was Mike King arguing with you about taking Eddie Gordon down and do you think it cost him the fight?
Mark Coleman – I think what you saw had more to do with the editing of the show, there really wasn’t any argument. Mike King is a very good wrestler and he was the only guy on our team with any real wrestling experience. On top of that he was a big, strong guy who had to cut twenty-some pounds to make weight. We as coaches just felt that Gordon had a lot of power in his punches and so I wanted him to look for an early and easy takedown. I am not saying he couldn’t hold his own against Gordon his feet but BJ Penn, Jason Parillo and the other coaches felt that Gordon had knockout power. So I was going with what they said and I talked to him about what I thought he should consider and I very much considered that he should take Gordon down. I wanted him to take him down, score some points and hopefully land some ground ‘n pound. It is much easier to take a guy down in the early stages of the fight because he is dry and so that was what I was suggesting but Mike got hurt early in show. He separated his ribs, I don’t know how bad because I am not a doctor but once that happened he was kind of on his own schedule at practice. You can’t force a guy that is injured to workout in a way (wrestling) that may further damage his ribs. I think that lack of wrestling practice showed out there in the fight and he had to rely on his stand-up and I think he did a damn good job. Gordon won the stand-up though and it may have had something to do with the eye poke in the second round because up until that point I thought Mike was winning. As far as the “argument” goes, there wasn’t one. I was offering up a suggestion and he chose a different one. Did it cost him the fight? I don’t think we will ever know. Too many other factors were involved but once again the fighter with the advantage (Gordon) never really showed any urgency and Mike King sucked it up and fought through an injury or two.
3. Mr. Coleman. I have a question regarding the Coaches Challenge. Do you think that you could beat coach Hackleman or any of the other coaches in that kayak race?
Mark Coleman – Before I answer your question, let me tell you that the show producers had to do a lot of editing because that was a long race that BJ Penn and Frankie Edgar had. Everyone wants to talk about the lack of intensity in the fights so far, well these two guys brought it at the kayak race. It doesn’t matter if it is in the cage or in a boat, those two guys want to win. Not only for themselves but for the extra cash their fighters would get if they won. It was really cool to watch them go at it and after an exhausting race, our man BJ Penn took home the gold. Ok back to your question. The whole kayak situation didn’t look all that fun to me and quite honestly they may have had to send out the Coast Guard if I raced one of those. I would have probably tipped the thing and landed on my head. I haven’t turned down too many challenges in my life though (people always want to arm wrestle me, which I have sworn off because you can really injure yourself and you could also lose to any size guy), so had I been called in as back-up I would have jumped in that kayak and gave it a try. Hackleman is also from Hawaii like BJ so he probably knows how to skim across the top like BJ and I would probably be digging in like Edgar was. So I would imagine Hackleman would just be waiting for The Hammer to gas out and then he would paddle right by me with a big smile on his face waving his black toe nails at me.
4. Who has the scarier set of teeth, JAWS or Chris Fields?
Mark Coleman – I have got to laugh at this question because my girlfriend is big into teeth and a lot of times we have been trying to figure out who her favorite fighter was on the show and I don’t know if Fields was ever in the running. She does like guys who are over 6’1” and so I have to wear these risers in my shoes just to make the cut. Fields is 6’4″ so he had that going for him but I hate to say it but hopefully he can win a few fights and maybe get some caps on those. Let us be clear though, your teeth have nothing to do with your ability to win fights (just ask Mike Tyson) and Fields is a very talented fighter. That being said, I am going to go with Fields for my answer.
5. After watching the first nine episodes on TV, what do you think of all of the personal attacks that the fighters are throwing at each other in the TUF house?
Mark Coleman – I fully expected feuds between the fighters to start early on in the show but after the first few episodes it seemed like everyone for the most part were buddies but I think they were all just being polite. Now finally with all of the controversial decisions and other stuff going on people are starting to open more and let their true feelings out. I guess there is nothing wrong with it but if you are going to constantly talk shit you need to back it up. If you are going to run your mouth like that, get out there under the lights and do what you said you were going to do. Some people choose to run their mouths and some people choose to be silent and deadly. Up to this point in the show I fully expected more trash talk, more exciting fights and more urgency. Will we get it this week? Watch the damn show and find out!
6. Hey Mark, I just watched the last episode with the segment on Harley Davidson Vegas; were you there?
Mark Coleman – I wish I was able to go to that, it would have been very cool and the guys got a lot of sweet gear from there. That was at the same time that the UFC was celebrating it’s 20th Anniversary so I had prior commitments with the UFC. That would have been pretty neat though because I definitely like things with power. I used to ride back in my teenage days but as anyone who knows me would tell you, I like to go full throttle all the time. I had a friend that I used to ride with and he got into a pretty serious accident, he was very lucky to have lived and after that I decided to stay off bikes for the most part. It was a tough decision but could you imagine how hard it would be to obey speed limits like 25 MPH on a badass Harley Davidson. A lot of times though, the biker isn’t the problem, it is the other cars around them. Bikes are awesome and you get a lot of freedom riding them but if you can’t follow the rules like myself, stay off them.
7. What were your thoughts and overall reaction to the Matt Van Buren versus Chris Fields fight?
Mark Coleman – Well Gutter versus Fields really falls under the category of we have seen that before and talked about that type of fight before. That was a fight between two guys who really liked to run their respective mouths, they didn’t like each other, it was well known and they both said what they were going to do in the fight. But yeah I was just waiting for one of them (hopefully our guy Fields) to push it to that next level and yet they spent more time against the cage doing next to nothing. That fight had potential for a great knockout that would have made Dana White stand up and finally give a little clap but once again there was no urgency. We will see what happens with all of these guys in the semi-finals because you can’t judge a fighter by just one fight.
8. When they announced the semi-final fights, what match-up were you looking forward to the most?
Mark Coleman – All four, especially our guys Daniel Spohn, Roger Zapata and Cathal Pendred!
Bonus Question #1: Since you were down in Las Vegas for six weeks or so; did you run into any of your old Hammer House stable mates like Phil Baroni, Kevin Randleman or Wes Sims?
Mark Coleman – Well Sims doesn’t live in Vegas, so that is a no. I went down there and decided to put 100% of my focus on coaching these guys for six weeks and I really didn’t do anything else while I was in Vegas. At the same time I was trying to rehab my hip and get myself back into shape. I’ll be honest with you. After day one I came back to the apartment that they had for me and I felt like I was 70 years old. My body was definitely aching sore with just the little bit of work that I was getting in training the guys. I did get a chance to have dinner with Baroni a couple of times and it was nice to see him. Randleman has a lot of his own stuff going on down there and so I didn’t see him. I was just lying low, sticking with the coaches and the fighters on my team. Six weeks went by fast and I was trying to concentrate on being the best coach for the team that I could.
Bonus Question #2: What did you think of Chael Sonnen failing a recent drug test after he ripped Wanderlei Silva for “running away from a drug test” and then him retiring from the UFC?
Mark Coleman – Well I don’t have all of the facts but maybe Silva should have just taken the test – PASS or FAIL. I don’t think that Chael has ever denied that he used Testosterone Replacement Therapy or TRT but he took his test like he should have. He failed it and he came out and spoke about how he didn’t think he could go without it and that he couldn’t fight without it and that he wanted to have a family and he was worried about the medical concerns. I was disappointed because I like to watch Chael fight, I love the way he is able to hype a fight and other fighters should learn from him (not the TRT stuff) how to give a compelling interview that starts a fight. He made some good money fighting, was in a few main events and now he has turned himself into one heck of sportscaster and I would expect he will have a good post-fight future.
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!