UFC welterweight Max Griffin is gearing up for a main card matchup with ‘Platinum’ Mike Perry at UFC on FOX 28 in Orlando, Florida on February 24, 2018. Griffin is coming off of a Fight of the Night winning performance with Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos in Brazil this past October, and used the bonus money to quit his full-time job to focus more on his professional MMA career.
With more time on his hands, and with the planets aligning just right, Griffin was able to answer another one of life’s callings in the form motivational speaking. He recently spoke to a group school children in his area, where he looked to encourage them to chase their dreams, overcome obstacles, and to never give up.
It appears that Griffin is firing on all cylinders, and before his FOX fight with Perry. He took the time to talk to Bloody Elbow about how the matchup even came to be, gave us his best Mick Maynard impersonation, and admitted to being moved to tears after by the opportunity to speak to kids.
Saturday’s UFC on FOX 28 main card will air live on FOX at 8:00 P.M. ET with the prelims starting at 5:00 P.M. ET on the same channel. The exclusive Fight Pass prelims will begin at 4:00 P.M. ET.
- What’s this I see on your social media about you giving back by going and talking to school kids?
“It’s my new thing, bro. It’s one of my new life callings. I’ve always been interested. If you look at like the motivational speakers on YouTube, and those motivational videos like Les Brown, E.T. and the Hip Hop Preacher, all that stuff. That stuff touches me. Seriously, I used to drive to work and like tear up listening to those videos about being the best and doing all you can.”
- How did this even become a thing?
“I had the opportunity, a friend of mine at NorCal MMA, he’s actually a teacher at a elementary school, and he’s been asking me and we’ve been bouncing it around like, ‘yeah, I’ll do it. Well, what day?’ We finally nailed down a day, and it ended up being yesterday.”
- Being more nervous speaking in front of a crowd than fighting in front of one:
“I was nervous. I was more nervous for that then I was my fight, man. My fight was whatever. That’s another day at the office, to go talk to a few hundred fifth and sixth graders about following your dreams and having discipline and going all out. It was so fruitful, man. Like literally when I did it, I was like, this is juice. This is like heart food.”
- Offering up more than fighting:
“So now, I mean I’ve always wanted to do it but now I’m going to start doing it flat out. I have too much to offer other than fighting. Fighting is like a piece of it, but if I can go around, I mean I got 4 or 5 or 6 different people that are like, ‘hey, come to my school too in the area.’ I’m going to start doing it and learning more about it, as far as being a better speaker and just learning different things. I’m going to take it serious and start helping the community and helping these kids, man. There’s too much bullshit going on these days, you know, and I’m living proof that you can still have some shit going on and be successful.”
- What sort of feeling did that experience bring you?
“I’m telling you, it felt, dude. When I was tearing up in the car when I was done, I was like, ‘oh my God, that was like beyond great.’ That’s like one of the best things I’ve ever done. Like flat out Top-5. I don’t know. It was like having a kid kind of thing, because I have a son, but just to see how they were affected and they were lit up.”
Check out Max “Pain” Griffin giving back to the community:
Today was one of the best days of my life. To speak to these kids.... from my heart. Was simply amazing. I think I found another life calling. Can’t wait to use my influence and share my story. Follow your dreams. Anything is possible. #motivation #dreams #yesyoucan pic.twitter.com/vB2ufleMTd— Max Griffin (@maxPAINmma) February 15, 2018
- The last time we saw you in the Octagon, you went to war with Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos, earning Fight of the Night honors. Despite dropping the decision, what are your thoughts on the fight?
“Hell of a fight. I trained my balls off for that fight. I was winning the fight before I got hurt. You know, I made a mistake and then almost died standing up. I kept it together; I kept throwing. I was hurt; I was on Bambi legs, man, and still tried to kill the guy when I was hurt, and that’s what kept me in the fight. That’s what the referee said after the fight. He was like, ‘the only reason I didn’t stop it is because you were still trying to throw. You could have backed up and tried to recover, but you just kept throwing’”
- Yeah, you actually almost punched the ref there at the end of the 1st round:
“Haha, yeah my coach, after the round my coach grabbed me like, ‘son, you’re F’ed up right now.’ I was like, ‘[head wobbles] shit, I know, but I’m good, I’m good, I’m good.’ Came out next round and dropped him.”
- In your best Mick Maynard impersonation, how stoked were you to receive that FOTN bonus?
“I saw Mick Maynard in there and I was like, ‘How’d you... how... thank you!’ I almost kissed the guy. I was like, ‘Who picks it? Who picks the bonus?’ He was like, ‘[Mick Maynard accent] Me, Dana, the owners, Sean Shelby we were all on a call, and no brainer. It was a no brainer you got that Fight Night bonus. No brainer. No brainer, you showed your heart. Can’t wait to see you again and we loved it. We absolutely loved it, Max. We loved it!’”
- Now, you’re headed to Orlando, Florida, to face Mike Perry at UFC on FOX 28. How did this fight with Perry come to be?
“I’ve known Mike for a while. We met on [UFC] 202. We both got signed on 202. That was both of our UFC debuts; I fought Colby Covington, he fought Dong Hyun Kim, or some Asian dude.”
- The “Stun Gun”, not the “Maestro.”
“Yeah, “Stun Gun.” He beat one of them, and he did good. We were cool at that fight like, ‘cool man, good job.’ Then, I ran into him in Mexico City. I want to say Alex Nicholson was fighting Sam Alvey, and Mike came to corner him. So, I see him randomly again like, ‘oh, what’s up bro blah blah blah?’ So we’ve been cool, and then I seen him at the retreat. We linked up, played cornhole, was hitting the power pads together and all this shit, having fun. We ran into Sean Shelby and was like, ‘Hey man, we’re going to fight. Me and Mike need to fight. We’re both up and comers, we’re both bangers, we need to fight.’
- How glad are you to be fighting on the ‘Big’ FOX main card?
“I want to give a shout out, God, man. Life’s crazy how you’re somewhere and then you’re somewhere else. To get these fights, I work my ass off, man. I feel like the owners like me. To get the bonus, that was a life changer for me. Just what it’s turning into, I’m telling people I’m fighting on FOX. They’re like, ‘FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports 2?’ I’m like, ‘no, like Simpsons, like FOX 40, like FOX, like rabbit ears dude.’ It’s just such a blessing.”
- What’s your official prediction for Perry?
“I’m going to catch him. I’m going to catch him in the 1st, and if not, then I’ll catch him in the 2nd. He’ll probably shoot in and I’ll submit him.”
Watch Max “Pain” Griffin war it out with “Platinum” Mike Perry this Saturday, February 24th. Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for all of your UFC event coverage including interviews, play-by-play, highlights, and more!