Rob Kaman – ‘The Dutchman’ Shoots on Combat Sports
By Dave Carpinello
‘Mr. Low – Kick’ recently took some time to speak with PDG about his career, K-1, modern day mixed martial arts, training fighters and what the future holds for the former World Champion Kick-boxer.
PDG: Since you retired from fighting, what has life been like for the ‘Dutchman’?
Kaman: I just moved from California to Miami, Florida. I am planning on working with the UFC heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and eventually open up a couple of gyms down here. I am also looking into opening up a restaurant and lounge. My son and I are just really enjoying Miami, the people here are more real and less plastic than in California. I’m also working with Heath Herring for his upcoming fight with Brock Lesnar. The planned in the near future is to also have a type of beginner kick-boxing training available on DVD or over the Internet.
PDG: Besides Herring and Noguira, what other fighters are you working with?
Kaman: I am probably going to be working with Anderson Silva depending on whether or not he trains here in Miami or stays in Brazil.
PDG: Tell me a little bit more about this online training project you are working on.
Kaman: It is a basic training course for beginners that they can start at home. I will provide them with the knowledge that they will need before they go to a gym. A lot of men and women have the desire to do some type of self-defense training and/or kick-boxing but right now there isn’t really an introductory tool to get them comfortable with it, so that they will feel comfortable when they go to the gym. I want to focus on that and make it available either online, DVD or infomercial.
PDG: What are your thoughts on Herring’s upcoming fight with Lesnar?
Kaman: The plan will be to keep the fight standing but we will definitely be working on grappling and wrestling. It is going to be a really good fight.
PDG: What differences do you see in K-1 now as opposed to when you were still competing?
Kaman: I don’t follow it much anymore, it has become a bit of a circus as far as I am concerned. There is a group of fighters that they just use over and over and over again. There is not a lot of differences but like I said, I’m 100% committed to the people that I train and other than that I don’t pay much attention to it. Don’t get wrong… I love K-1 and it will always be a part of my life.
PDG: Since you’re more involved in MMA now; what do you think tonight’s EliteXC-CBS fights?
Kaman: I just talked to Kimbo [Slice] and Bas Rutten. I haven’t really looked at the whole card yet but the Kimbo fight should be a very good one to watch. I think it is a big step for the sport being on network TV. I only hope that the organizations will be able to pay the fighters better going forward. I get sick of hearing the UFC talk about how they are a $2 billion company and yet they still pay their fighters like Shit.
PDG: At UFC 84 last weekend, the fighter salaries totaled over $1 million.
Kaman: Yeah, and you know how much the UFC made last weekend? It is ridiculous that the fighters go in there and risk everything and get paid shit. You have Dana White and his Ferrari’s and his bullshit. He doesn’t even know what training and fighting is, I hate that. In the end, the fighters are the ones that make the show and so if you’re going to brag about your position, than you should treat the fighters better. Dana White is nothing but bullshit.
PDG: The Ultimate Fighter show is giving fighters a chance to earn their way into the UFC. So you must like the show since it gives fighters opportunities that they may not have otherwise.
Kaman: They asked me to be on that show twice. Yes, it’s a great opportunity for the fighters and it gives MMA a lot of exposure to the fans.
PDG: Away from fighting, you’ve been in a couple of different movies; are you working on any new projects?
Kaman: I am writing some new scripts right now.
PDG: You have worked with Don “the Dragon” Wilson, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Billy Banks and Dennis Rodman. Which one of the four would be the best fighter in the real world?
Kaman: For sure it would have to be Don Wilson. Billy Banks did some things with tae-bo but that is about it and Dennis Rodman is not even a fighter….he is not a fighter all, in fact I don’t know what he is. Don is definitely the one that would have a realistic chance at being successful.
PDG: You didn’t mention anything about Van Damme.
Kaman: [laughs] I have no comment on that one.
PDG: One of your past opponents from K-1; Rick Roufus; recently made the switch from kick-boxing to MMA. What do you think of his chances of being successful making the transition at this stage in his career?
Kaman: He is a really good stand-up fighter, not so much a natural kick-boxer. It is really going to depend on how his grappling skills. I think he will do reasonably well but he will never be able to take on the big guys in the sport. I could be wrong though.
PDG: What was the greatest fight of your career?
Kaman: The fight with Ernesto Hoost because it was more of a chess match. He was considered one of the best fighters of his time and I beat him when I was widely considered the underdog in the fight. That was a memorable fight for everyone and I was able to knock him out in the fifth round.
PDG: Most kick-boxing fans think that is the best fight ever fought in Holland.
Kaman: I would have to agree. It was a beautiful match, very technical and the fans really appreciated the performance by both of us. The whole flight was back and forth until the knockout.
PDG: When you were fighting, did you ever see any evidence of corruption in K-1?
Kaman: I don’t know for sure… that is why I tried to KO all of my opponents, because then there is no question. [laughs] You don’t have to worry about any corruption if the fight doesn’t go to a decision.
PDG: I am going to give you three fighters’ names; give me your thoughts on each one.
Kaman: I don’t know, the way he was fighting in Japan before he came to the UFC was very….I don’t want to accuse him of anything but he was obviously a very different fighter and person. He was a completely different guy when he fought in the UFC. He was not half of the fighter that I saw before and when he fought Cheick Kongo, he looked nothing like he did in Japan. Either he is just not motivated anymore or maybe there are some other reasons for the decline in his performance.
Kaman: What is there to say about this guy? He is a great fighter, tall and he has great length – reach that empower him against most of his opponents. His size and fighting style makes him a very hard opponent for anyone, I have not seen all of his fights but he is hard-core.
Kaman: I love the man as a person, he is a great guy and a real good fighter. But his disadvantage has always been his size, he has very little reach and so he is forced to always come in to his opponent to look for strikes. His weight and his size don’t match, so he takes a lot of punishment in fights trying to get inside, but like I said he is a great guy and he is one of the better fighters out there.
PDG: Where do you see yourself at in five years?
Kaman: I’ll probably still be connected to mixed martial arts in some form or another. I’m really hoping on opening a couple of gyms – studios to teach men, women and children self-defense.
PDG: What have you changed about your life since you retired?
Kaman: I have changed my outlook on life, I now love and respect others and so it is hard sometimes still working in the fight business. When I’m training people, sometimes I still go back to that killer mode and it bothers me….that is not how I want to live my life now. That is the way it is though, to be the best you have to have that instinct inside of you and be able to use that in your training and in your fights. When I am training fighters I go into that mode because I want them to be in that state of mind, so that they are prepared when they step into the ring or cage.
PDG: Do you mean like a ‘Bloodlust’?
Kaman: Exactly. In order to be successful you cannot lovingly beat the shit out of somebody. You have to be vicious and use some of that animal instinct when you fight. That is the only way I know how do it – 100% and vicious. So eventually I will have to walk away because I have different values in my life now than I did 10-15 years ago.
PDG: You can’t be a fighter forever.
Kaman: Maybe I will teach some dances in the future.
PDG: Thanks a lot for your time.
Kaman: Thank you.
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