Match Making With Brian Adams
After a bit more networking and a bunch of harassment on our part, we were told we could come along to the next show, and we were given some rather tasty cage side seats. I remember turning to my head editor about four fights into the show and mouthed the word 'WOW' at him, he responded with a nod and then turned directly back to the action. The speed this show was running at was roughly Mach 3. But it wasn't just the production; it was also the match-ups. Fight after fight was a tightly wound, fiercely contested war. The winners either found their way to victory via a moment of sheer class or through simply outworking their opponent in some exhausting displays of determination. We had found a little bit of MMA heaven, and amazingly it had its home in the Naval city of Portsmouth.
As we left the show that evening it was all we could talk about. Now that's not unusual after a good night of fights but our chatter went on until 4am. "What the hell just happened?" I woke the next morning and instantly got back on the blower to my editor, we needed more Shock N Awe, we needed to see if that was a one off. So a few months later we were once again on our way home after a night of fights held by the Shock N Awe crew. And guess what? It was even better than the last time.
Again we asked: 'Why is this show so awesome?' Obviously the sharp production is a massive plus, the fan friendly lay out is also a bonus and the passion of the Shock N Awe audience is something to behold. But no, at the end of the day it came down to the fighters and the way they were matched up.
And that brings us to Brian Adams, sometimes known as 'The Jedi', or simply ' Big Bri' to others. Brian is now regarded as one of the best match makers on these shores, as well as one of the most productive MMA coaches available in the UK. Let's speak to him shall we?
Addicted: So Brian, first things; first congratulations on setting up another stacked card and especially as there was quite a few fighter pull-outs due to injury on the road to this show. It must have been frustrating, but how good does it now feel looking at the final card?
Brian: Thanks, it`s appreciated. The card has had a crazy amount of pull out`s, injuries and very likely a bottle out or two leading up to today. It`s been the worst month I`ve had, but to be sat here with the card we have now makes me very happy.
Addicted: What fights are you especially looking out for on July 14th?
Brian: The two title fights sell themselves really, I`m not going to talk about them because they will be fantastic. I`m really looking forward to the following four, for various reasons.
1) Colin Howells vs Fred Harrington. These both want the win badly and have talked a lot on the internet so it`ll be interesting to see who can really walk the walk. Someone will be taking their first loss, but whoever wins will have earned it.
2) Luke Killick vs Kieren Rice. Luke is making his Pro debut after going 5.0.0 (Semi Pro) against very tough opposition, he`s literally like the terminator. Kieran is a BJJ purple belt and Blackbelt in Judo and Kickboxing who is 2.0.0. Pro. That will be a war.
3) Matt Hughes vs Benny Carr. Matt is 5.1.0. and Benny is 3.0.0. and both guys are complete studs. I think Benny has the size and striking advantage but Matt is the strongest fighter I`ve ever seen who always comes to fight.
4) Gareth Millar vs Manuel Pais. Gareth had a fantastic fight on the last SnA as did Manuel, both come from awesome gyms with quality coaches and are unbeaten. Someone`s '0' has to go!
Addicted: It's very exciting what you and Gareth Johnson have achieved down in the South with Shock N Awe. The growth of the promotion has been rapid and you have set yourselves massive precedents with regards to high standards. So what is your secret to maintaining this level of quality and what tips are you prepared to give other promoters that are looking to provide as high a quality of show as Shock N Awe?
Brian: Well having a great team around you is the key to be honest, my business partner Gareth Johnson is OCD when it comes to the planning of the event, he deals with so many problems finding solutions and this pretty much frees me to work on the SnA fight card. Some would say he`s a bit like rain man but not me, I know he`s that way because of his Turkish roots. Ok he`s not Turkish but when you see him next think about it and tell me he hasn`t got a bit of it in him!
Addicted: You have shown a lot of skill at finding new talent and future stars of the MMA scene, who do you recommend the fans keep an eye on at Shock N Awe 11?
Brian: I have some personal preferences but Brett "Lil Ninja" Caswell 1.0.0. is going to really turn some heads. This kid has elite level Judo, he is the cream of the crop in the UK and once his all-around game catches up he will turn into a real force at flyweight. He has a tough fight in Ben Harrison from Pheonix MMA. Ben's had 10 fights and will be a real test for Brett right now. Expect big things in two years time from him.
Addicted: You have also shown a mean streak when it comes to matching your own Gym01 students up against top fighters and notoriously tough studs. Is this down to your faith in your training and the skills of your fighters? Or do you really enjoy seeing them taking a good beating?
Brian: I don`t believe in giving guys easy fights. It helps I know that the guys we produce are ready for the levels they are fighting. At Gym01 it normally takes a couple of years training before you can make the grade that we think is acceptable to then start fighting. At the end of the day you can`t play at fighting, if the student isn`t ready he just needs to work harder until he is. Another thing is because I`m the promoter, I need to make sure the fights are even and fair. I`ve seen lots of "big" shows padding their ticket sellers records. Ultimately they need to be challenged. If a fighter's fans know that their mate is going to get a bum they will stop coming and when that fighter steps up he`ll get eaten by a real monster who can really fight. The simple fact of the matter is this, if you are on a Shock N Awe card you will be getting a tough match, just being on the card makes you a bad ass in my opinion.
Addicted: A number of your students have been snapped up by Cage Warriors, this must be very bittersweet for you because obviously it's nice to see them going places, but at the same time you're losing them from fighting on Shock N Awe. This now also seems to be the issue with 'The Power Weasel', does any frustration come with this?
Brian: UK MMA doesn`t have the money in it that the fighter`s deserve, this is a fact. Seeing my guy`s move onto a massive event like Cage Warriors is great for me as both a coach and a promoter, it shows I`m doing something right in both professions. All of the guys that are now on the Cage Warriors show were my best ticket sellers but when they first fought they weren`t. Having tough entertaining fights is what built them up to their fans and made them very good fighters also.
In my opinion Cage Warriors are the best event in Europe, if not outside of America. An event like Cage Warriors is so professional, I get along with the team they have there very well and watching the way they run their events has inspired us at SnA to be as good as we can be. Regarding the fighters from Gym01 that fight on CW, just being on that show will give them the chance to change their lives so good luck to them.
Addicted: I know you're not the type of fella that likes to spend time dwelling on things, and the moment Shock N Awe 11 is over you will be thinking about the next show, but how long will you give yourself off from match making before you start cracking on with it again?
Brian: I`ve already started, I`m hoping to have 3 title fights and I really want to get Neggy (Nathan Beer) to defend his title, so watch this space.
Addicted: Of course you have a new larger venue with The Earl Mountbatten Centre being the location for Shock N Awe 11! What do you think it will bring to the show?
Brian: The Mountbatten Centre is a superb venue, with tiered seating all around, there isn't a bad view in the house. I`m expecting 1400 screaming fans which should make the atmosphere electric.
Addicted: With the South Coast scene blowing up so much recently and loads more talent suddenly on display are you hoping that match making will become a bit easier than it has been in the past?
Brian: I`d like to say yes but to be honest there are sometimes a lot of politics between some of the local gyms that make matching fighters difficult. Sure nobody wants to lose but there is a point when tough fights make sense. I don`t doubt it`s the same everywhere though.
Addicted: Thinking back to your time on the pro fighting circuit, did you ever foresee yourself taking this role as coach and promoter in the future and the impact that you would have?
Brian: Not really as a promoter but I knew I`d be coaching for sure. I was never as committed a fighter as a Tom Watson, John Hathaway or Mark Adams so I knew that career path wasn`t for me. Those guys showed me that to be the best I`d need to be like them and deep down I knew I wasn`t. Also I like food and beer too much.
The promoting only happened because locally to me at the time we had no good shows to fight on, the promoters were only out to line their own pockets and were mismatching my guys just to get them matched, so I decided enough was enough and the rest is history.
Addicted: So any nice surprises coming for the fans in the future?
Brian: Both myself and Gareth are working hard to grow SnA, I`m not one to release stuff that`s not locked down but I can promise you that every event we do will be bigger and better than the last one. We`ve managed to do that for the past 10 shows, there`s no reason why we can`t for the next 10.
Addicted: Thank you Brian, are there any shout outs you would like to give?
Brian: I`d like to thank my missus Vickie, she puts up with a lot and really supports me in everything I do. Also my other missus Gareth, without him I`d have to visit strip clubs and brothels to get my kicks.
Addicted: And of course it's time for our signature question. Outside of MMA what is Brian Adams addicted to?
Brian:I`m addicted to winning, luckily we`re getting very good at it so I get my kicks regularly!
Shock N Awe 11 goes down on July 14th and a few tickets are still available to purchase here http://www.shocknawe.co.uk/
image 1 and 2 are by the Boogeyman.
image 3 and 4 are by Little Red Creative.
Published by Boogeyman - Wed, 27 Jun 2012 12:01