View Full Version : Mark Coleman Interview

08-09-2004, 06:42
Just a night before getting ready to fly to Japan in order to do a pro wrestling show for Pride's Hustle promotion plus be featured in a seminar in a ten day stint in that country, Mark Coleman discussed with MMAChronicle.com his current contract status with Pride, pro wrestling compared to mixed martial arts, his future in MMA, and Kevin Randleman among other topics.

JW: What's your current contract status with Pride?

MC: I have two fights left and my pro wrestling deal still left.

JW: Has your next opponent been discussed yet? Any date for another MMA match in Pride?

MC: I may be fighting October 31st. I don't know my opponent yet. There's been names mentioned. It may be Mirko Cro Cop. It'll be a big name. They've got an event there that could be real big with the title defense and the Fedor and Nogueira match if they do that, and then my match. I'd rather be in the main event, but I'll probably be fighting in October.

JW: Have any plans for your career after your current deal with Pride expires?

MC: As far as I've seen, they're the best organization in the world. I hope to fight two more times, win both of them, and I'll either be the champion or be in line for a championship fight. That's the way I look at it. I'm looking to keep getting better. I'd like to get another belt. I'm just like everybody else, I want to be the best and I want to get a belt, and hopefully be around as long as my body will hold up, because right now I'm fortunate that I'm healthy for the first time in awhile. I had my neck surgery and my neck's been doing pretty good and I'm excited to see how I can do without a major injury like that. I fought for three years with a herniated disc and it wasn't too much fun, so I'm interested in seeing what I can do. And then we see what [Randy] Couture does, and you see what Couture did the other night [against Vitor Belfort] and that was very inspirational and motivational to me. I'm getting up there, but really [age] is just a number. I just have to put in the work. I still have the best takedown in the business, and of course I certainly need to improve on the jiu jitsu, and one of these days I'm going to get with someone really good and I'll learn it. It hasn't happened, but when it does, I'll be a player again.

JW: I interviewed Couture, and he told me that as he's gotten older, he's gotten better because he's gotten smarter.

MC: Right, well that's Couture. Couture's been in a good situation and I'm happy for him. It seems to me like his personal life is good, and everything seems to be going pretty well in his life and he's able to train, and like I said if you're able to train then age is just a number. If you don't have distractions and are able to put in the time, then there's no reason why you can't improve, Couture and myself. The only thing I'm a black belt in is wrestling. It's the only thing I'm even close to being a black belt. So in all the other [fighting styles] I can improve. I'm definitely not saying that I'm not feeling the age and I certainly wouldn't mind being ten years younger, but I've got to work with what I've got and Couture said it best, and we do have to be smarter in the way we train and the way we fight and we've got to avoid the injuries because they don't heal as fast, and they come a little easier so you gotta be smarter.

JW: You've been doing pro wrestling with Hustle for a few months now, and for your experience level you seem to be a natural at it. What's your experience in pro wrestling been like?

MC: I appreciate the compliment my friend. I don't consider myself a natural. At first I did, but lately it seems to be getting harder every time because just with anything else the pressure gets bigger. I'm finding out really how difficult pro wrestling is physically and mentally on the body. I looked forward to it and I looked at it as something that I would do when I was finished fighting. I never thought it would be easy, that's for sure, but now that I've got to do it... I've heard the stories that it was more dangerous than fighting, and so far from what I've seen that tends to be the case. It's a very rough sport, a very rough whatever you want to call it. It's very physically draining and mentally demanding. I hope you're right, and I hope things are going well for me. They seem to be. Like anything, it seems that you can get cut at any minute, so I don't get my hopes up too high. The show Hustle, Hustle seems to be taking off across the country, and it seems to me it has the chance of becoming a big powerhouse player over there in pro wrestling. Hopefully my character is strong, and it stays in there. I'm just a piece of the puzzle, like in Pride. They have many stars in their organization too. So hopefully I can just stay in there and make some money.

JW: If the opportunity arose, would you be interested in doing pro wrestling for WWE?

MC: Obviously, I would have to look at the offer. It would be interesting, it would be a dream come true. Hopefully it would be lucrative and successful, and hopefully I won't make a fool of myself. But from what I've learned in Japan, I'm only doing shows once a month, and I just did a three day tour in Japan and that's where I learned how difficult that sport really is. The other guys had to go on for sixteen more days. Fortunately, I was done with the tour, and I got to come home and start training for a fight. They go day in and day out in the United States and it's even worse from what I understand. They work extremely hard there all the time. Right now, I have a five and a six and a half year old daughter, and I don't like missing out on their life, but it's a decision I would have to make because you have pay the bills. Spending time with my daughters is really the highlight of my life. There's nothing better than spending time with my children. My oldest one is in gymnastics, and she's moving up real fast, so I'm excited to see what she can do. And she watches pro wrestling tapes and she's a natural too. I hope I can get her in a ring over there in Japan, because she's got some patented moves she's been working on [laughs].

JW: What do you think is more important for a fighter, to be a great fighter or to be a great personality?

MC: You've got to be a great fighter, and then the personality falls into place. You can alter your personality a little bit, and many, many fighters have and it's worked well for them. But the bottom line is, you gotta win, and winning takes care of everything. It helps for yourself and it helps for the promoters to be flashy, and everyone has a different personality and everyone has a different character, so there's room for a little bit of everything. What people really want to see is someone get in there and go for the kill. That's what fans really want to see. If you do that, then they're not really all that disappointed. In the States, you have to win. In Japan, if you perform well and you've got a good name and you do that then they want you. They want to see knockouts and finishes.

JW: What are your thoughts on Randleman's loss to Waterman?

MC: I ran the fight over in my mind, and there wasn't much strategy involved other than what was there. The guy is so big and so strong, there wasn't much Kevin could do. He had to take him down, and if you make any kind of mistake at all then the guy is going to reverse you and you're in trouble. For seven minutes Kevin played the card the only way he could. People have to understand that Waterman is 270 pounds of steel muscle. You make a mistake, you get reversed. That's definitely not Kevin's best place to be, on his back. Kevin's another one of those guys who's built his name, he's earned his name, and he deserves the position he's got, so he'll be around a long time. You've just got to improve, come back, and win the next one. A lot of people don't get this opportunity. A lot of people need to win to be brought back. I'm really amazed that I'm still in this business, and I'm thankful for that. I planned on it and I hoped for it, and it's a dream come true, and I love doing this and I love all the people I meet, and to me it's the greatest sport in the world. If you look at Kevin, it's been amazing what he has been able to do weighing 215 pounds. If he puts it all together, he has the chance to be incredible.

JW: What do you think it will take for mixed martial arts or the UFC specifically to become mainstream and popular with the general public in North America?

MC: Hell, you're asking the wrong person on that one. I don't know how to answer that question. Whatever I would say probably has been said by some other person. So I'm not going to try and answer that. When it happens it looks like it'll probably be past my time. I want to stay involved. I think they're doing it right in Japan. They've got the media behind them. Maybe that's your answer right there, getting the media involved. They had the [Pride] Grand Prix on front covers over in Japan, and there's four fight magazines that come out that are half an inch thick.

JW: You've been around in mixed martial arts for a long time now...

MC: Injuries don't as heal as fast now, and if you're asking what's in the future for me, I don't know right now, I'm just trying to get to October healthy, and I've got to put it together.