ROBERT DEVANE APPLIES TO THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER.
Many people will be familiar with the successful reality T.V. show that enlists 16 MMA fighters and puts them into a house together where they train and compete until one of them is awarded a lucrative UFC contract from MMA mogul Dana White. The Ultimate FighterTM is auditioning for its ninth series and Martial Arts Incorporated’s very own Robert ‘The Man’ Devane has sent in his application. I catch up with Robert in between his training sessions to find out the story.
DEREK: Congratulations on your video application to The Ultimate FighterTM. How did this come about?
THE MAN: Thank you. I’ve always kept my own personal goals to myself but I didn’t this time for a couple of reasons. This is my third application to the UFC and I want to make sure that it gets noticed plus I hope that MAI and everyone involved will get something out of the fact that I have applied.
DEREK: You should have a good chance of getting picked?
THE MAN: Well, I don’t know what weight fighters they are looking for and much to my disappointment I was away on holidays when they held try-outs in London. As I don’t have a professional MMA record, I’m sure that this will go against me but I’m hoping they will see all the Martial Arts experience I do have and give me a chance. You don’t know until you give it a go.
DEREK: Why the fighting name change?
THE MAN: I’ve been ‘The Executioner’ for the past 15 years and that suited that era and what I was doing at the time. I’m pushing forward in a different direction and I think it’s time for a change. Right from when I was a kid I was called ‘The Man Devane’ and it’s funny because I always resisted it. Now I think it fits perfectly and it helps people to correctly pronounce my surname (laughs).
DEREK: How did you get into MMA?
THE MAN: Well, MMA has been around even before it was known as MMA. When I was a kid we would always spar within the rules of the system we were studying at the time but then when the instructor wasn’t looking, we’d try all of the stuff we weren’t supposed to! We’d just call it ‘no rules’ sparring and make it up as we went along. I’m sure this type of thing happened in nearly every club around the world which is probably why so many people are into MMA.
DEREK: What does your training consist of?
THE MAN: At the moment I try to train twice a day, 6 days a week: Running, weight lifting, bag work, pad work, grappling, sparring and drilling techniques. It’s great to have something to train for as it really increases your motivation.
DEREK: How do you get the time to train that much and run two professional Martial Arts studios?
THE MAN: MAI was set up 8 years ago and for a good few of those years I had to concentrate on building it up. I still trained a lot but didn’t get the chance to compete as much as I would have liked. Now I have a lot of help from all the great MAI instructors and even though I am still very busy, I have a little more time to pursue my other goals.
DEREK: I’d imagine there would be a lot of critics. How do you deal with them?
THE MAN: All competitive fighting can attract a lot of ego and everyone has their opinion. I try to get on with my life and not pay attention. ‘Haters’ can actually help fuel your fire. A lot of people worry too much about what others think and if I had done that then I probably wouldn’t have sent in the application to the UFC.
DEREK: Thanks a lot for your time. The very best of luck with your application. Please keep us posted. Any closing words?
THE MAN: Can I just say a big thank you to all of the instructors and members of MAI who helped me with this application and who help me train. There are a lot of talented people within MAI and I can’t wait to watch and help them to shine.