MMA and gaming are a great compliment to each other, especially considering that so much of the sport is available online and via many modes of streaming, including from gaming consoles. Several of the community's athletes are also seriously into the game scene, even taking their favorite pastime to streaming sites.
Twitch is the site du jour for gaming activities, and with a little charm, charisma and intelligence, streaming on Twitch can be very lucrative. UFC flyweight champion, Demetrious Johnson routinely streams there, along with other notable names of the sport. Recently, the Three Amigos Podcast caught up with Mighty Mouse, who discussed the details of his gaming proclivities and his plans for the future after he winds his fighting career down.
Growing Up Gaming
I always loved playing video games. It was something my mom did, and my sister played as well. I grew up with a single mom, two brothers and a sister, and after school we would play outside then go home for dinner and play videogames together. It's something I enjoy doing and it's also cheap entertainment compared to a movie or paying for cable. You pay $50 one time for a game and you can play it as many times as you want.
Super Contra was the game I fell in love with. I played and beat that game with my mom. You have power-ups that go by on the stream, and me and my mom would call dibs on certain power ups. My mom loved the spread ball power up, and sometimes to fuck with her, when she called spread ball, I would just take it. She would get so pissed off and bitter about it because i stole her spread ball.
When I was in high school, Diablo II was pretty big, as was StarCraft: Brood War. I played a little Counter-Strike 1.3 or 1.6 as well. I also played plenty of games on console, because they were so accessible for me and my friends. Any time we wanted to play Diablo II or StarCraft, we had to go to a gaming center where they had high-end computers, because back then, computers were pretty expensive, especially if you were in high school.
I would have to say fantasy RPG and MMOs are my favorite type of games. I love Dark Souls II. That game is so hard and unforgiving; if you beat that game, you have true skills. I'm a fan of first person shooters, and games like Destiny that combine first person shooter with massively multiplayer online features, but fantasy RPGs are my favorite.
EA UFC 2
I played the beta for multiple hours, and it's an awesome game. I believe for gamers who play a wide range of fighting games, like Street Fighter and Killer Instinct, there is going to be a huge learning curve. When I play I find myself having trouble holding back to save my stamina. I'm more worried about my stamina than what my opponent is going to do. I'm horrible at that because I'm a man who just goes balls-to-the-wall for the kill. I spend so long like, ‘Why am I tired!?' Every time I'd lose it was to CM Punk. I think he's OP, man! He beat the hell out of me because I didn't know how to manage my stamina bar.
I think they got the game pretty spot on. If there was one thing I would change it's just the stamina system. I come from the old-school where it's about skill, technique, judging range and learning the enemies patterns. In this games you have to worry about the opponent's stamina, my stamina, and a whole bunch of other stuff. It's a huge learning curve for me because I'm used to, ‘Round 1. Fight!' Now I have to learn to manage my stamina bar, but I get enough of that shit from Dark Souls.
Benefits of Gaming
Gaming helps me calm my mind. It's like it stimulates my brain in a different way. It has been a very long time since I've watched TV; I have to watch entire series, but it's hard for me to sit down and just watch something on TV like Ellen DeGeneres or anything like that.
When I play videogames I feel like my mind is getting tested, and when I stream I'm reading a lot. I hate reading unless I see a good article on mixed martial arts, or somebody bitching or talking shit about somebody, I might read that. Gaming helps me read more, and it also helps me relax my mind.
Streaming as a Post-Fighting Career
I heard you could watch people play videogames, and that's how I discovered Twitch. This is when I had Tyren, who is now two and a half years old. I would rock him to sleep at night, and he would take a while, so I downloaded the Twitch app to watch. I saw guys playing games I grew up with like Mega Man X and Zelda: Ocarina of Time. So after some time I started streaming some games on my PS4. I'd have like two viewers in there as I played Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn.
Next thing you know, my wife was like, ‘You should get into it baby, what do you want to do after you're done fighting? Why don't you try streaming?' Then Twitch reached out to me and told me everything I needed to get to be a serious streamer. All of the credit goes to my wife, she's the one who suggested I do it. I decided if I was going to do it, I had to be 100% in. I didn't want to do it half-assed and try to stream from my PS4 or Xbox One, so I bought a computer and she was all in, so I was like, ‘Let's do it.'
Since I've started streaming I spend at least 15 hours a week playing games, maybe more. My brain needs to be stimulated. I look at streaming like a side project, and I take my side projects and my jobs very seriously.
Streaming on Twitch isn't just about playing videogames, it's about building a community amongst your fans. Right now most of my community is MMA fans, but I'm hoping to break down that barrier and attract the gaming community. I don't just play first person shooters, I don't just play the UFC game, I play Bloodborne, Dark Souls, Overwatch, Diablo, StarCraft.
You have to think about what you're going to do after your career. I've always thought about going back to work at a warehouse or whatever I need to do to make ends meet, but now streaming and video gaming is just kicking off. All I care about is the next game coming out next month. I'm still fighting, I'm in the prime of my career and train my ass off every single day, but I'm starting my second career now. Why not? I'm building my viewership and community now, so when I'm 38 years old and I'm done fighting I can have streaming as my main source of income, hopefully.
Playing Against Rampage
There are other fighters who stream, like Max Holloway, Angela Hill and Rampage Jackson. Rampage and I kind of have a little duel going on. He likes to play Rainbow Six: Siege and every once in a while Team Rampage will play Mighty Squad and we'll double stream it and have a good time.
If you go by kills, I'm better than Rampage. I'm a beast, just to be honest. If you go with who has a higher rank and puts more time in, Rampage is better. It's one of his favorite games and he plays it a lot. It's not a Rambo style game, you board up a room and camp and wait for someone to come, then you shoot them.
The last time a game got my heart rate up was playing Rainbow Six against Rampage. I was actually sweating. My wife was watching, asking why I was so tense. I was like, ‘Because I'm playing against Rampage with Mighty Squad! Reputations are on the line, baby!'
There's some trash talk when I play Rampage, I'll see him and be like, ‘I see his black ass!' and it goes back and forth. It's good times, and it's good for our communities as well.
You can catch more of this excellent interview here or via the embedded player below. Rico's interview begins at the 18:45 mark of the audio. Make sure you follow Rico via Twitter, @MightyMouseUFC or Twitch, @mightymouseufc125.
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