Above image photographed by Erica Fortes at The Submission Factory (Los Angeles).

This month in juxtaposing MMA and Muay Thai in the states,  I speak with a fight promoter and a group of combat sports practitioners in my first ever group discussion.

Podcast total duration: 1:07:25

Episode Part One

In the first half of this episode I connected with the man behind Defiant Gym and Defiant Promotions, Daniel Gutierrez.

I’d been chasing Daniel Gutierrez around since I first shot a Defiant fight show last year at the Sportsman’s Lodge in Studio City, CA.  I hadn’t actually met Daniel in the flesh when we conducted the interview for this podcast but I was lucky enough to run into him at the WCK Cali 20 fight event here in LA on April 29, 2017.  Gutierrez is a total character and as a former promoter myself I can tell that he’s the real deal holyfield when it comes to what sort of person you must be to be a successful promoter.  No that’s not a loaded comment or some special code message, just my opinion and as such you can take it or leave it. 🙂

Daniel and I get into the differences between the two worlds, the specifics around organizing fights, dealing with CSAC, match-making, amateurs versus pro fighters and what the fight game looks like from his perspective.  Gutierrez also provides an in-depth look into his massive three-day WBC-sanctioned muay thai tournament to take place in Tacoma, Washington at the end of this month.  The WBC even crafted his tourny a custom green belt!  So check out the conversation and get on over to the Defiant website and sign up to compete in this very interesting tournament.

Daniel Gutierrez is a former Muay Thai fighter, gym owner and fight promoter who organizes MMA fights in the cage and muay thai fights in the ring.

Episode Part Two

In the second half of the episode I sat down with The Shack System head coach Phillip Jesse and a group of combat sports athletes and enthusiasts in the welcoming atmosphere of The Submission Factory gym in Los Angeles.

The Submission Factory played host to an Iron Eagle striking seminar that included one of my favorite American Nak Muays Nick “The Golden Boy” Chasteen.  I was delighted when Chasteen and Marna from Iron Eagle invited me out to cover the seminar, but little did I know that the visit would ultimately give way to a round table discussion on none other than this month’s podcast topic “MMA versus Muay Thai in America”.

The Shack System students “Cricket”, Jesse “The Mantis” Velasquez and Albert Fuentes were eager to share their thoughts and opinions on the topic as well as their individual findings along their respective martial arts training paths.  We were blessed to have a female voice join in the conversation when photographer, actor and muay thai student Erica Fortes joined the conversation to share her views and findings from a woman’s perspective.  Erica echoed one of my own initial sentiments regarding the culture around MMA being more male-dominant and chauvinistic than what I had experienced in muay thai circles at that time.  With that said, we all agree that women are a dominant force across all combat sports and the fact that they are “women” has no bearing on how exciting, technical and effective their fights are in either the MMA cage or the muay thai ring.  The superstar female athletes shine just as brightly as any male counterpart.  From Ronda Rousey and Tiffany Van Soest to Coner McGregor and Anderson Silva, combat cares not about race, sex, or any other aspect not relevant to the act of combat.  Can you fight and are you exciting inside and outside of the ring or cage?  If so, then combat sports will love you and so will the millions of fans who love combat sports.

Phillip Jesse aka: “Rusty Shackelford” is the brain and the heart behind The Shack System training center in Azuza, California.

Submission Factory training area. photograph by Erica Fortes (@ericafortes007)
(L-R) Charles Little of Teep This and Coach Rusty of The Shack System. Photograph by Erica Fortes (@ericafortes007)

Catch up with Coach Rusty and his students at The Shack System out in Azuza CA.  After meeting and connecting with these open-hearted combat sports artisans I am confident that a day of training with them is bound to yield plenty of sweat, lots of strikes and takedowns and even more laughter!  Follow Erica Fortes and her creative offerings and if you’re looking to get down where she trains, it’s at none other than one of THE best gyms in all the land Muay Thai Gym America with the incomparable coach David Huey and Kru Santi Sakkomkai. Live well, laugh often, love much and train hard.  Sawadee krap.

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