After reading a Forbes.com profile of Tucker Max, a controversial Internet star who'd turned into an absurdly successful book author, I noticed that a very brief quote about the good qualities of MMA was almost buried into the piece. I reached out to Tucker in hopes of getting a few quick blurbs about the positive mention of MMA in a mainstream media publication and then mashing the whole thing together as a short post here on Bloody Elbow.
Tucker ruined those hopes by bouncing back and forth with me in a nearly 4500 word Q&A session, which is now the five part interview being featured here on Bloody Elbow. The back and forths that we went through showed that Max views MMA as a source of physical betterment, complex and useful techniques, great friends and astonishing personal growth - which should be surprisingly universal to combat sports followers and participants reading this.
The first part of this interview dealt with Tucker Max's discovery of Brazilian jiu jitsu, subsequent humbling and the transition into training MMA. The second gave us the surprisingly good methodology of his training with MMA hillbilly Reggie Warren and moved us to Max's present day training in Austin, Texas. The third part essentially asked Tucker why he does all of this and why he is willing to stand up on this platform and talk about MMA. At this point, I'm tossing him as many questions as I possibly can and he's fielding them with ease.
This interview is done partly in support of his latest books, Hilarity Ensues and Sloppy Seconds, yet the interview is 100% Tucker, 100% relevant to MMA and there is no advertising or review thing going on here. Max was genuinely surprised by me reaching out and by my questions and welcomed the chance to talk about something other than his debauchery. I present his answers exactly as written (minus the bleeping out of a few cuss words). The books hit stores today and can be ordered online as well.
Hit the jump for Part Four.
Ben Thapa: The average person who has heard of you probably read your stories about partying, sex and coming up with solid jokes or maybe saw the movie. Were you also brawling in the streets too? Why didn't that part make it into the books or movie?
Tucker Max: Not really. I mean, if you go to bars and parties to get into fights, you're just an idiot. I drink to have fun, not to get into fights, and I go out to meet girls, not punch dudes. I've never understood guys that go out looking for random bar fights, that's never been me. I like girls, and fighting in bars doesn't help me get girls to like me, so I don't do it.
BT: Why do you not Tweet or Facebook about it? A section of your old messageboard was once entirely devoted to MMA and spun off into its own site.
TM: Pretty simple reason: I try to keep my public writing limited to things that I think are funny and entertaining to other people. I don't write about everything in my life, in fact, I write about very little in my life that isn't related to my books. I am an entertainer, not an autobiographer, and though I love MMA, I doubt many of my fans really care that much that I train or what I think about MMA.
BT: How much do you follow MMA, boxing, submission grappling, Muay Thai or kickboxing? Are you staying up until the late hours of the night watching Japanese Shooto or the ADCCs? Regional shows? Bellator? Strikeforce? Or UFC only?
TM: No, dude. I love MMA and BJJ and all that stuff, but it doesn't occupy that much of an obsessional place in my life. I probably buy like half of the UFC pay per views, and I'll watch most of the Fight Nights and Ultimate Fighters. I do go to a lot of regional shows, because watching MMA in person is fun. I train with and know a lot of guys who are local MMA fighters, so I go watch their fights. But that's it.
BT: Is the sport in general headed towards a place that you like or would you change certain rules or attitudes if you could?
TM: Overall, I think you have to love the way MMA is headed. The skill level of the sport has evolved so f***ing rapidly, its amazing. The one thing I'd love is to see knees to a grounded opponent allowed like in Pride. At the very least this should be allowed at the top levels of the sport. I think that would make the sport not only more realistic, but more exciting.
BT: At this point, you have an insider's understanding of how movies are put together. What'd you think of Warrior, Redbelt or any of the other movies and TV shows dealing with elements of MMA that you've seen? Does Hollywood understand this sport like it occasionally gets boxing?
TM: I haven't seen Warrior, but I saw Redbelt and a few other MMA movies, and of course they're awful. Hollywood doesn't care about what we care about as MMA fans. We want it to be real. They want to sell tickets.
TM: Because Mac and Forrest are my buddies, I asked them if they wanted to be in it, they said yes, so I got them in. Pretty simple.
BT: Mac took the photo that's on the cover of your book Assholes Finish First, right?
TM: Yeah, actually he did. If you look at the photo credit on the jacket cover, it's his name.
Do you still predict or bet on MMA fights?
TM: I don't bet much on fights, but of course I try to predict them. I wouldn't say my record is that great though. I make the same mistakes that most people make; overestimating hot fighters, underestimating long terms trends, etc.
BT: What's your standpoint on the "sex before a fight" debate?
TM: I don't know, I've never had a sanctioned fight, so I don't really feel qualified to speak on that. I train with guys who get in the cage, but that is a fundamentally different thing than actually getting in the cage. I don't even call myself an MMA fighter, because I'm not. I train MMA. I f***ing hate when people who don't actually get in a cage and put themselves on the line in a real fight, talk about an MMA fight like they know what the f*** they're talking about. That's bulls***, so I won't do it.
End of Part Four
Stay tuned tomorrow as the conclusory Part Five appears.