Q&A With General Manager Mike Bodziach
We sat down with Emerald Smoke’s General Manager, Mike Bodziach. We wanted to learn a little more about him, why he joined Emerald Smoke and simply to find out what makes him tick. He had some interesting things to say!
Q: What made you decide to become a fighter?
A: I’ve been a competitive athlete since the age of six when I started playing football and then later, baseball. I’ve always loved it. But after college, there weren’t a lot of options for competitive sports. So when MMA started to become mainstream, I was curious. I wanted to test myself. At the time, I had no idea how much it involved!
Q: What was it like stepping into the cage for the first time? Especially against top world fighter Dan Hornbuckle!
A: It was the first professional fight for both of us — and the most intimidating experience I’ve ever had. The minute I stepped into the cage, I forgot everything I’ve ever learned. I got my ass kicked!
Q: Do you remember what you thought stepping out of that fight?
A: Nothing. I was knocked out. I have no recollection whatsoever. I came to in the locker room. But once I did, I realized that if I was really going to do this, I had to train seriously.
Q: What would you change in your fight plan had you known then what you know today?
A: I would’ve been a lot more patient. MMA fighting is a lot less rock ‘em-sock ‘em than it is a human chess match. You’re not swinging for the faces like it’s a bar fight.
Q: Who’s your all-time favorite fighter?
A: Mike Bodziach! And Brock Lesnar.
Q: What is your favorite entrance song?
A: “Breathe” by the rapper Fabolous.
Q: How did you start training other people?
A: I was a personal trainer and noticed a lot of people were incorporating MMA in their workouts. I already knew that I had taken my own training to the next level with MMA, so it was a no-brainer. From a workout perspective, there’s nothing like it. It burns a ton of calories. It’s phenomenal for your core, shoulders and legs. From a mental standpoint, it increases your confidence. You know that you can handle yourself. God forbid anything should happen to you, but if it does, you know that you can defend yourself. That gives you a kind of self-assurance that nothing else does.
This is when I really fell in love with the sport. Teaching it to beginners, you start to really fine tune your understanding and technique. I was just so into those sessions. I realized then how passionate I was.
Q: What advice would you give other fighters getting started?
A: Commit yourself 110%. Because I guarantee you the other guy has. If you are underprepared, you’ll get your ass kicked — as I’ve demonstrated!
Q: Do you encourage people to train in MMA even if they aren’t interested in fighting?
A: I’d recommend it to anyone. If you’re looking to be fit and look good there’s no better workout. Most people try it once and are hooked. Of the people I train, none of them are stepping into the cage or any kind of fight situation. They’re simply learning the techniques and reaping enormous physical benefits. To say nothing of the mental benefits. It’s therapeutic to hit things!
Q: What are you most excited about with the launch of Emerald Smoke?
A: I’m most excited to share my passion and love for MMA with people who aren’t as informed about it as I am.
Q: What is the one thing you want people to know about MMA?
A: That it’s for everybody.
Q: In 10 words or less, what is “Beast Mode”?
A: The intense state of mind you need to compete. I stole it from an NFL player.