On June 24th at Madison Square Garden, Mixed Martial Arts promotion, Bellator MMA make company history by holding their first card at the world-famous venue. New York finally lifted the ban on the sport which has allowed MMA to be seen at MSG. The event is the debut of MMA legend and icon Fedor Emlianenko appearing under the Bellator banner, who faces Matt Mitrione. There’s a grudge match, that’s been waiting to happen for many years between the Bad Guy Chael Sonnen, and Brazilian legend Wanderleii Silva.
Moshville Times reached out to metal lover and part of MMA royalty, Ryan Couture. Ryan makes his return to the cage at this historic event on the 24th June at Madison Square Garden. The fighter/trainer from Xtreme Couture, faces Haim Gozali. Ryan’s kindly taken some time to answer our questions about MMA and his love of music.
What made you decide to have a career in Mixed Martial Arts?
I had always been a fan of the sport and loved training so I decided I should try out an amateur fight just to see if I had what it takes. Once I had that first experience, I was hooked and knew it was what I wanted to do with my life.
You’re on the Bellator roster, so when and who will you be fighting next? Bellator have been making movements to these shores. Would you try to get to fight in the UK? If so, who would be your ideal opponent?
I’ll be taking on Haim Gozali on June 24th at Madison Square Garden. It’s been exciting to see Bellator growing and branching out into new markets. I’d absolutely love to fight in the UK some day.
What’s the best advice you ever received and who was it from?
My wife’s suggestion to deal with social media trolls by sending them pictures of cute kittens has brought me a lot of joy over the years.
Mixed Martial Arts has exploded over the past few years. Do you think it’s currently at its peak, or do you feel it’ll still continue to grow?
It feels to me like the sport is settling in as an established part of the mainstream now so I think the explosive growth we’ve seen in recent years will start to slow down. It will be interesting to see how the industry continues to refine and restructure itself with promotions like Bellator carving out a bigger and bigger place in the market and giving a good alternative to the UFC for both fans and fighters.
Training in your sport must be brutal, can you explain what one of your training days involves?
The typical training day varies considerably depending on how far out I am from a fight but it’s always a juggling act trying to fit in strength & conditioning, kickboxing, wrestling and jiu-jitsu. In a given day, I’ll have either a morning technique session or strength workout and then afternoon drilling and hard sparring or grappling rounds. With so much to fit in, scheduling proper recovery time is hugely important to avoid running myself into the ground.
Which MMA fight do you believe is the best fight of all time?
I’m not sure I could pick a favourite but I think the most important fight of all time (and one of the most entertaining) was Bonner vs Griffin 1. It came at such a pivotal time and really laid the foundation for a lot of the growth that we’ve seen since.
Who in your gym would you recommend MMA fans to keep an eye out for?
We’ve got a ton of really solid up-and-comers here at Xtreme Couture. Kevin Lee is about to fight in his first headliner and he is the real deal. Look for him to be contending for the title within the next couple of years. We also have Noad Lahat making waves in the Bellator featherweight division and Gil Guardado, Boston Salmon and Dan Ige who are all on track to break through to the next level soon.
Now, let’s get on to music. Which track or album do you put on, on the way to the gym?
Lately, Run the Jewels has been my go-to. Legend Has It and Nobody Speak (with DJ Shadow) are both sure things to put me in the right frame of mind for a good training session.
What was the first gig you ever went to, the most recent one and a band you’d love to see but haven’t been able to catch live?
I’m not totally sure it was my first but the earliest gig I remember seeing was the Presidents of the United States of America and the Posies at the Mercer Arena in Seattle. Most recently, I saw my good friends in the Big Friendly Corporation give a stellar performance at their record release party here in Vegas. I’ve been lucky enough to see most of my favourites already but a few that come to mind that I still haven’t caught are The Mars Volta, System of a Down and Every Time I Die (though I’ll get to check them off the list in July).
How do you choose your walk out track, when heading to the cage?
For the past few years, I’ve been using “Electric Worry” by Clutch but I think I may change it up for this next fight. Before I settled on E.W., I used to make a playlist as soon as the fight was signed of songs that I thought would fit the mood and then trim it down over the course of training camp until I’d come to a decision. [you can see the video below]
In your opinion, what is the best album ever released and why?
My all-time favorite record is Aenima by Tool. I’ve been hooked since I first heard it at age 15 and still have to listen to it all the way through any time I put it on.
Tell me a fascinating fact about you that your fans may not know?
I’ve never been in a fight outside of sanctioned MMA bouts and am generally very averse to any sort of confrontation. It often leads me to wonder how I ever ended up on this career path.
If you had a chance to put together your own ‘super group’, who would be in it?
I don’t think I could build a band I’d like better than Tool. All four of those guys are exceptional at what they do and work so well together.
Do you own a record that you wouldn’t like to admit you have?
Now that everything is included in a streaming service subscription, the guilty pleasures don’t feel quite so guilty. I probably do have quite a few on disc that I bought back in the day that I’d be ashamed of now. I think I probably have the first Evanescence record in a box in storage somewhere and I’m mortified to admit it.
What plans can we expect from you in 2017?
Expect me to get back on the winning track in June and start to build a new streak before the year is done. In between, I’ll definitely be catching a few shows.