MMA trainer, UFC technical advisor and freshly minted actor, Mark DellaGrotte, discusses Here Comes The Boom, and Mayhem Miller's recent publicity antics.
Here Comes The Boom, the MMA themed comedy from Adam Sandler's Happy Madison production company, starring Kevin James, finally hit theaters on Friday. Fans have had their interest piqued due to several MMA personalities taking roles in the film. It's opened in the Top 5 and has grossed a respectable $12M, despite having to compete with powerhouse films like Argo and Taken 2. One of the sport's notable trainers, Mark DellaGrotte, who started catching our attention a few years ago for his work with talented athletes, Kenny Florian and Marcus Davis, has a substantial role in the movie. We recently had the chance to talk to Mark, and got his take on working closely with Kevin James and on co-star, Jason Miller's recent publicity antics.
Training camp for the movie
Getting Kevin ready for this movie, and then everybody on board this project was getting ready, too, well, we were all in training. We had a whole staff of nutritionists, we were all drinking green shakes and putting in time and work. We all wanted to look good for the movie, especially Kevin. It was about a year of training camp, just to get this thing done.
I've worked with Mike Goldberg for a long time. A lot of people give him a hard time. Guys lkike him and Rogan are in a position where they have a bullseye on their back. I know a lot of people on the internet give Mike a lot of heat about his knowledge or lack thereof, but that's nonsense. He been around the sport forever and has called more than 100 shows. More importantly, over the last five or six years, he's been getting down with his training. He works with me, Ricky Lundell and several other guys. He knows what he's doing.
The one thing that I really picked up in Thailand, it was not only how to perform the art of Muay Thai, but how to replicate their methods of training that they use. The way that they hold pads, the combinations, and how to become a better teacher, as well as a practitioner, so I appreciate anybody that gives me credit when it comes to holding the pads. I think it's one of my specialties. A lot of trainers aren't as hands on as I am. I glove up with every one of my fighters, still to this day, as old as I am (he's 38). I still get in there. I take my lumps, I give my lumps, and I think that's why I have the respect of the fighters that I train.
Filling the shoes of Eddie Bravo
A lot of people don't realize that I'm still at every UFC. I replaced Eddie Bravo. He wanted to hang it up. We actually had a role reversal. He was doing the technical advising, in the ear of Joe and Mike, talking to them, and filling in the gaps to help educate the newer fans. Eddie sat with me and said, 'Man, I want to get back to coaching.' He wanted what I was doing. I said to him, 'Eddie, to tell you the truth, I need a break from coaching.' So he got back to training fighters, and I took over his job. I like to bust his balls and say that I'm the new improved, and with a tighter body, Eddie Bravo [laughs]. I'm working behind the scenes, and it's amazing to see what goes into getting that show to your TV. I got my hands dirty, I got my bloody elbows, I did all that. It's like, what can I do now to contribute to the sport? So, I'm now working the production side of things, and I'm having a great time doing it.
I don't see why people get confused. If you had a name like Mayhem, and you didn't act up, it wouldn't make sense. He's Jason 'Mayhem' Miller, and let me tell you something, that's not an act. He's really like that. Great kid, great heart, beautiful human being, but it is what it is. That's him. He gets a little out of control sometimes. Everybody does. We're all crazy, and we all do stupid things at times.
I think, deep down inside, Jason is a great kid. He's made huge contributions to the sport, so how about we forget for a second, him messing up and doing the wrong thing, and remember how long he's been around, and give the guy a little room and a little slack, because he deserves it. He put a lot of hard work and dedication into building himself and his career. He never faked the funk or tried to be somebody he wasn't. I think a lot of people do that, and want to have the image of being the perfect person, but that's not how they really are. They close the door and they party like rock stars, then, when they open it again, they're good two shoes. I think Mayhem keeps it real, and people should respect him for that, and for what he's accomplished in the sport.
You wanna talk about comedy ... he kept the ball rolling. I was exhausted, just hanging out with Bas for 12 hours at a time. There was no off switch on that guy. Non stop comedy and no stop antics. Jokes, pranks, everything.Then I've got Henry Winkler on the other side of me, and we're working a corner, and it's just surreal. It couldn't have been a better experience.
You can follow Mark via his Twitter account, @MarkDellaGrotte
Here's the trailer for Here Comes The Boom
HERE COMES THE BOOM - Official Trailer - In theaters 10/12 (via SonyPictures)