The Man Behind The Men

A long time ago I was fortunate enough to meet my next guest in a very different setting in a night-club in I was managing in Auckland City.

At 1st glance, I didn’t know what sort of man I was meeting or what he was about, but he had a huge strength that was almost palpable. What followed was a short and sweet conversation with a truly enlightened and determined individual with incredibly good manners and brimming with self-respect and the respect for others that helps people go a long way.

Now, in a different life, I catch up with the same man.

Older, wiser and arguably happier.

The Man Behind The Men.

Credit: Ermehn

#TheUW – Thanks heaps for agreeing to sit down with me, appreciate it bro. Tell everyone at home something about yourself that they probably won’t know.

Thank you for having me on here bro, I don’t get many requests for interviews on the fight stuff that I do, it’s more HIPHOP and Police interviews [laughs].

An Interview with Ermehn and TV3’s Guyon Espiner regarding MMA

Ok something that the people wouldn’t know about me is that I like to keep busy as! I’m a full time dad, I run a Security crew at FOX GROUP Associates Ltd that looks after King in the Ring, Super 8 and a lot of the local Muay Thai and NZ boxing shows. On top of that I run Hibiscus Coast Mixed Martial Arts Thai Kickboxing gym in Orewa, and I also Promote fight shows here in Auckland like BATTLE ON THE COAST, The Aotearoa Mixed Martial Arts Expo and Netbrawlers.

Credit: Netbrawlers Fight Night

Credit: Netbrawlers Fight Night

I’ve done and been involved in few fight shows this year and few others that are in the pipeline. Lots of these shows I work together with different People in the fight game. In every show I have different business partners, there’s always someone in the front or in the back of these shows.  I help to promote, it’s never just me and now days I try to stay in the back of it if I can.

Credit: HBCMMA

What I’m about these days is MAKE SHIT HAPPEN! that’s my motto on my wall

Why that motto’ its because of all the 2 face promoters that talk shit, make promises, full of build ups, who will come at you like a Uso and then next minute turn into John Key and goes all ‘kefs’ [laughs]

Anyway, what can you do but forgive these types of bros and keep calm.

#TheUW – Ok, so you’re a very busy man, one that a lot of people would have met/seen before in a lot of different scenarios. Tell anyone who may not know who you are, a little bit about yourself and what you’re about!

Family use to be like 10% to me and now its 100% and you don’t have to be blood to be my family just loyal, trusting and invite me over for a feed and let me buy you a beer [laughs]!

Credit: AMMAE

#TheUW – You’ve got a huge event coming up very shortly – The Aotearoa Mixed Martial Arts Expo! Tell us a little about the event, it’s history and what to expect on the day.

Ok, so The Aotearoa Mixed Martial Arts Expo, yep, it’s back this year and will be back every year!

We’re making it annual and [spreading it] over two days with more people coming on board to make this happen, it’s awesome! This show is run by family and will stay that way. The Expo is a family gathering of fight gyms, fight fans and the fighters themselves!

It’s a day where all the different styles can come celebrate, share, learn and meet people. This is about bringing us all [together], it doesn’t matter if your into Boxing. MMA, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, JUDO, Karate, Weapons, Muay Thai or Kickboxing! It’s all going on!!

Credit: NZ Grappler Gi Nationals

There will be fights during the day with a boxing ring all set up. We’ve got NZ Grappler, Olympic Wrestling, Kickboxing fights, loads of demos of Taekwondo, Capoeira , Krav Maga, you can also buy all your and training fight gear there on the day with a lot of gyms and fight-industry people holding stalls.

Credit: UFC Fan Expo 2014

We have NZ BOXER one of our major Sponsors’ with deals galore on the day’ as well as our local fight champions like Ev Ting, Dan Hooker,  Israel Adesanya, James Te Huna, Dylan Andrews, Faith Van Duin, Kate Aroa (Da Silva) and more!

Credit: UFC Fight Pass

On the day we going to be doing a live call to MARK HUNT in Mexico on the day and everyone will do a massive haka for him too! We also got the Sky Arenas Mahindra SUPER 8 fighters coming in along with the DUCO fighters, it’s going to go off you don’t want to miss it!

Credit: Mahindra Super 8

#TheUW – I was lucky enough to be up in Silverdale covering the fights for HBCMMA’s Battle On The Coast 4. That was an awesome night with a few stars on the scene. How important do you think it is for that grass-roots MMA to get more exposure and I guess the respect that fighters and promoters deserve?

Yeah it was cool for you to come to last battle on the coast bro’ yes Grassroots MMA and kickboxing and boxing is the backbone and heart of the fight game here in NZ and without it we wouldn’t have big shows like King in the RING, DUCO Boxing, SUPER 8, Shruiken MMA Shows, Hammer Head MMA Shows, Strikeforce MMA shows hell we wouldn’t even have an Aotearoa Mixed Martial Arts Expo!

Credit: Princesses Of Pain Champion | Kate ‘Jiu-Jitsera’ Da Silva (Aroa)

It’s very important that fighters and promoters to get the respect they’ve earned as they’re the ones putting their body on the line. Good fight promoters are a rare breed they ones who aren’t afraid to fail, take risks and make a point of difference its simple, MAKE SHIT HAPPEN!

Credit: King In The Ring

Promoters like Jason Suttie who’s a king in and out of the ring and now one of the big promoters in NZ. I’ve seen him come from the bottom to the top with a dream and now he’s doing it and doing it well! He made Shit Happen with hard work and family. Jason will always have the respect and support of grassroots fight family because he came from grassroots and puts back in grassroots, it’s good to see Duco and Sky Arena at our local fight shows supporting our fighters and buying tables and tickets Where I’ve seen other promoters who maybe never been in a ring or cage fight who are more business men making money off our fighters and don’t put a cent back into grassroots and seem like they only in it to reap what they can for and to sell tickets but that’s just part of the fight game for you
shit is real! my advice is don’t be a promoter if you don’t have thick skin and 9 lives and eyes in the back of your head coz its dog eat dog because they will stab you in the back smile in your face, bullshit you hard out, shake your hand and give a Judas hug.

Please note that there are some very good promoters out there who are really nice got big hearts and give back to our fight community they the ones I’m family with and there’s a lot more home truths on the fight game here but that’s another interview [laughs].

Credit: Rhyme “The Rage” Loto Facebook Fan Page

#TheUW – One of the prelims from that card was your boy in an awesome fight! He is a warrior, for sure (chip off the old block?) 🙂 What values do you think training and taking part in Martial Arts and combat-sports can teach our children and young people?

Yeah bro my son Rhyme has been doing Martial arts since he was 4yrs old starting from the kids classes to now the Teens class at HBCMMA’ I’m his most annoying fan and his coach.

Credit: HBCMMA

Credit: HBCMMA

Martial arts is his only sport besides Waka Ama he’s been in grappling tournaments, Kickboxing and Boxing fights, he does his Kickboxing and Stick and knife with Me, Boxing training with Lolo Heimuli of Balmoral Lee Gar and his BJJ with Matt O’Dea of Oliver MMA.

I’ve seen him grow into a strong young boy martial arts is his life he’s 9yrs old, I believe teaching our young kids martial arts is one of the best things a parent can give to their child, for me it gives me piece of mind that he can look after himself and to know when to use these skills in in self-defence, he knows what he’s capable of doing and the damage that martial arts can do, I train him and other kids to only use it only for good and not to get tempted to use it to hurt others on purpose. We train our young Jedi’s to use common sense and respect each other and encourage them to fight in kids and teens fight shows and tournaments all this helps them grow as a person to build confidence, fitness and love for the sport of martial arts.

Credit: UFC 180

#TheUW – A few weeks ago it was announced by  the UFC that current Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez has again gone down to injury and stepping in to fight for an Interim belt is New Zealand’s own ‘Super Samoan’ Mark Hunt! That’s a huge opportunity, but also a high-pressure situation with 3 weeks to go and a fight at altitude. How does taking a fight on such short notice change everything especially with a potential 25kg+ weight cut!

I think Mark will be sweet he knows how to cut weight and get fit because he’s done it before.

He’s got the right team and people around him to MAKE SHIT HAPPEN with Alex, Steve and Lolo.

I think Mark will win and we’ll show our support to him with our live call to him the day before the fight from The Aotearoa MMA Expo!

#TheUW – You recently talked about opportunity knocking for you too and you answering that call. It sounds like a lot of years of hard work are coming to fruition for you? Can you share any details as to what next year will involve for you?

I’ve signed a confidentiality agreement bro but yeah lots of hard work have paid off in what I do as a promoter’ all I can say is I’ve teamed up with another well-known promoter to bring to life an idea which will be looking at doing next year’ it’s a win-win for all our up and coming fighters here in NZ and overseas this is something that’s different and will go bigger.

#TheUW – Tell me a bit about “Coast-life” and what you guys are getting done up there at HBCMMA.

Credit: Google Images

Coast life up here is mean bro’ HBCMMA is doing real good numbers are up in our kids and teens classes and Matt O’Dea of Oliver MMA who’s BJJ brown belt is up here with us now teaching BJJ while I focus on the MMA and Kickboxing side of HBCMMA’ our club is the 1st MMA, BJJ, Stick n knife, Thai kickboxing gym to be on the Hibiscus coast from our humble beginnings of training down Stanmore bay beach and my carport we been around here training since 2006′ before then I was training at OliverMMA.

Credit: Matt O’Dea

#TheUW – Other than AMMAE, what do you have in the pipeline for the near future?

 In the Very near future like next year! I’m working with my team to promote the NZ FIGHT AWARDS 2015 which will cover, BJJ, MMA, Kickboxing and Boxing. I think that will be the biggest one for me to help make that Happen.

#TheUW – What do you think will be the highlights of AMMAE? 

Tickets available from cuz! And they can also get tickets from the fight gyms!

#TheUW – Any last words? 😀