Brad Robinson will be the main event against Jun Minion at Malaysia’s Ultimate Beatdown 13 on November 30, 2013. Less that two years ago, he’d never even dreamed of stepping in a cage.
Brad “Vanilla Gorilla” Robinson is not your ordinary MMA fighter. His is a case of a chance introduction to an amateur event that wasn’t even being held in his own city, to opening a fitness gym, to becoming an entry in a middleweight tournament and the main event at a regional MMA show. Less that two years ago the transformation began taking place. Commonly known as a co-host on EPad on Max (Cinemax’s humorous previews of upcoming movies, hosted by Oli Pettigrew), his gregarious nature is an overshadowing of a deeper driven motivation. And he’s found a way to physically express that competitive nature in the cage.
Hailing out of Singapore’s Fight G, Robinson takes into consideration only his training and mindset into consideration when facing his next battle. Age, family, work are all commitments he easily takes in stride while working to achieve his goals. To find how this transformation took place, and how he holds it all together, MMA-in-ASIA spoke with Robinson ahead of his upcoming fight.
MMA-in-ASIA: How did you first get involved in MMA?
I’ve been a fan since the mid 90’s back in the States, but it was only a few years ago when the local scene started to develop that the thought of competing became a real possibility.
MMA-in-ASIA: You got your start in the White Collar MMA Championship in Hong Kong. How did you hear about Vuyisile Colossa’s event?
My mate Richard made the introduction — he’d seen me box and knew I was doing BJJ, so he made the introduction.
MMA-in-ASIA: What made you want to join it? Can you explain your feelings through the process?
There’s nothing like it – it’s really a good format to get experience, and back when I did Season 1, there was literally no amateur MMA scene anywhere in the region.
MMA-in-ASIA: Why did you turn pro?
I’m a competitor, I really do just love competing and living in this heightened state all of the time. Nothing can compare to the feelings a person goes through leading up to a fight.
MMA-in-ASIA: The reason I ask that is because you have so many other jobs: father, co-host, gym owner.
Yeah it’s a fair question. There’s a balance required, that’s for sure. I train daily if I have a fight lined up or not, but the time commitment when you have a fight around the corner is pretty intense. I’ve been really busy with opening my new gym since my last fight – which is why I was out of action for so long.
MMA-in-ASIA: What spurred you to keep going in MMA?
I put a lot of work in – I train daily, and I like seeing my evolution as a mixed martial artist, seeing it translate into an actual fight is very satisfying.
MMA-in-ASIA: What was your emotion at getting the first title shot and how did you feel when it was over?
It was awesome! Although it was an amateur fight, I learned so much about myself during that entire season. Competing in all those different disciplines, then putting it together in the finals was awesome.
MMA-in-ASIA: How do you keep centered and focused on the fight?
It’s just become a part of my lifestyle. Eat, drink coffee, work, train, sleep. It’s not hard to stay focused because I thoroughly enjoy it.
MMA-in-ASIA: What career did you give up to pursue a life in MMA/fitness (or did you)?
Prior to starting my gym Ritual and fighting pro, I did have a real job. I was GM of a regional security and surveillance company.
MMA-in-ASIA: What do you think of your opponent?
It’s his fault.
MMA-in-ASIA: That’s the first I’ve ever hear that! What specific training have you been doing to get ready for him?
Besides the usual skills training, I’ve been doing some really interesting stuff with my strength and conditioning coach, business partner in Ritual and super genius Ian Tan. He’s had a tough job of beating the gym meathead out of me, and getting me to train smarter. I’ve got the best conditioning program in the region – that’s for sure.
MMA-in-ASIA: Is it important to keep your sense of humor in the final weeks, or do you get very serious?
I really try not to be an asshole. I feel like I shouldn’t make everyone around me miserable just because I have an intense hobby like cage fighting. I try to stay relaxed and light but that does get difficult at times, especially when you’re low and carbs, nervous and cutting weight.
MMA-in-ASIA: How does your family cope?
My kids are used to daddy coming home with a black eye (daddy as an owie on his eye!) – but they don’t know what I do. They’ve seen me hit pads and think that’s pretty cool – so maybe in their heads that’s what my job is. Go to the gym and make funny noises while punching and kicking leather.
MMA-in-ASIA: Who are the other people in your support group?
I’m surrounded by some pretty amazing people. My life is awesome, I get to run Ritual with the most amazing team I’ve ever worked with.
MMA-in-ASIA: Who are you training with for the fight?
The savages at Fight G MMA Academy in Singapore. There are some extremely talented guys and gals on that fight team, they’ve all been so supportive. We really rally around whoever is fighting and try to give as much support as possible.
MMA-in-ASIA: How has the local MMA scene evolved in the last 2 years?
It’s crazy – it’s gone from this obscure thing that a handful of us did, to being damn near main stream. I saw an airplane the other day with a ONE FC logo on it! It’s come a long way.
MMA-in-ASIA: How do you plan on winning your fight?
Flying inverted platypus choke.
MMA-in-ASIA: Again, another first! What’s next after that?
I want to win this 8 man tournament in Ultimate Beatdown and become their middleweight champion, and then do my ONE FC debut.