RITC Champion Andy Montana Interview

 

 

Thefightgame.tv had a chance to speak with Arizona's Rage in the Cage 6' 1", 240 lb. heavyweight

champion Andy Montana a couple of weeks back. We apologize for taking so long to post it.  Andy came

across as a great ambassador of martial arts and a great person to speak with.

  

TFG.tv: Hey Andy, how did you get started in martial arts?

 

AM: Itís kind of funny because, I'd say, it was about three years ago now, weíre at this local club here in

Phoenix called club Rio and there started this one (fighting event), when they first started to come out here

in Phoenix anyway, and they were looking for fighters. Kind of one of those deals where I just said oh, Iíll do

it.  And set all of my paperwork and waivers, this and that...and I had a wrestling background in high school,

wrestled for Casa Grand high school here and graduated in í94...already had like a wrestling background

anyway and went in there and took the guy down and just pretty much put a head lock on him at the time

and and I didnít know anything, no submission moves or nothing (chuckling). I just ended up winning that

one. That was probably three or four years ago. And then two years ago, my trainer now , Matt Asher, he

opened up a gym here in Casa Grand, and I was introduced to him and I told him about my little fight that I

had and he wanted to know if I wanted to do it full time or try it out and keep training stuff and I said, yeah,

sure. So, thatís where I first got started. Then in November of 2000 is when I had my first official cage fight 

in Phoenix at Rage in the Cage against a guy named Heath Perry out of Phoenix and I beat him with a

keylock in the first round. Thatís how I got started.

 

TFG.tv:  Do you study a traditional martial art like tae kwon do, kung fu or karate, Jiu-jitsu or are you

sticking with the mixed martial arts - just cross training all over the place?

 

AM: Just cross training right now. Mostly what I do is, we practice our muay thai and boxing and jiu-jitsu. I

coach wrestling at the high school here in Casa Grand still. And so I roll around with the guys there with

wrestling. Mostly...what we do now is mostly Muay Thai or stand-up and then jiu-jitsu on the ground. I pretty

much go through everything.  

 

TFG.tv: So you made the transition into MMA, so now what's it like for you to fight in the cage in front of all

the people?

 

AM: Now...in my first couple of fights, I was nervous. Now when I get in there, itís nothing... itís like

stepping on a wrestling mat and stuff just like in high school. Get in the cage and  the butterflies are gone, 

just get in there, do what I need to do and take care of business and shake the guys hand when weíre done.

So now, itís Ölately...Iíve been fighting a lot of tougher guys now than when I first stared out. I fought...my

first one was Travis Wiuff from Minnesota that was in March of last year and I lost a decision to him and

going into that fight, all I heard was Travis Wiuff, Travis Wiuff, Travis Wiuff, heís a big guy. Heís this and that,

whatever, but when I fought him, heís just like any other guy...like I've fought. And you know, to me, at that

time, I was at that level...I felt I was already at that level. I still got things I need to work on and stuff. But at

that time, after I lost the decision, you know, the guy had been knocking people out,  this and that, it was a

close decision...I felt I won but it went the other way and from then on, my confidence was real high. And I

ended up winning a couple other fights after that. Then I fought Aaron Brinke out of San Diego and I beat

him...we went...it was a toe-to-toe war... the first round and I pretty much dominated the whole first round on

him and then I beat him in the second round with an arm bar. So that... ever since then, people look at me

more. My name is out there more. And just from those two big fights, kind of help me out I think.

 

TFG.tv: So being champ really put your name out there?

 

AM: Yeah  

 

 

TFG.tv: So whatís it like being champ? Do people treat you differently now that you got the title?

  

AM: Yeah, itís a lot different now. I mean, now, that way I look at it, is that I made it to the top and I had to

fight everybody to get where I am now, and now, everyone wants a shot at me so I got to train harder, keep

working hard, everything else, more than what I use to... because everybody is coming after me now. And

here in my home town, all the fighters are well known and you know, it helps out, you know. Iím Native

American (Tohono OíOdham), so a lot of Native American people down on the reservations look up to me

and I like that a lot, and I want to try to bring it back to them just, you know,  hold conferences, hold camp,

just speak to the youth. Mostly, thatís really what I want to do. But yeah, it has its benefit. And you know, it

has its down too. So...

 

TFG.tv: Because everyone wants a piece of you.

 

AM: (Chuckling) yeah, everyone wants me.

 

TFG.tv: What's your training regime like today?

 

AM: Like now, in the mornings, Iíll go lift weights. Iíll do all my weightlifting and stuff,  then Iíll do my cardio.

Usually run about two miles a day. And do everything...lifting, shoulders, chest, biís, triís, everything...In the

afternoon, I go to the gym about 4:30(pm) and start focus reps, working our boxing,  kickboxing, just mostly

focus reps,  for about five rounds each, each fighter and after that, weíll do our grappling. We'll drill our holds

and then weíll grapple live, and then weíll do wrestling takedowns, and then weíll go back to the heavy bags,

and do about five rounds on those. And then after that, pretty much whatever else we need to work on. So,

itís pretty much all day.

  

TFG.tv: Now that youíre Rage in the Cage champ, do you aspire to go to PRIDE?

 

AM: Yeah, I really want to. I heard that Japan people are very, very excited people about the fights that they 

have over there. It could be anything going on, just the attendance, the way they cheer the fighters on, they

treat them like idols over there so I really like PRIDE a lot.  The UFC is different, because you go into

different towns, so itís the kind of crowds you get. You pretty much get the same crowd. But I like JapanÖ

 

TFG.tv: Yeah, in Japan itís accepted - they can get 70,000 people in the SuperdomeÖYou would be in the

heavyweight division, you would be going up against the big boys.

 

AM: Yeah (chuckling), yeah, and I just watched the last PRIDE and it had a couple of the big boys on there

and yeah, there is some great competition right there.

 

TFG.tv: Speaking of the big boys, you must be familiar now with (Mike) Tyson signing with K-1... does it

kind of get you angry that somebody like Bob Sapp, who by his own admission, isnít that technical and

isnít that great, gets all this attention but yet all the guys who are working their butts off here is the states 

who are the champs just donít get the recognition.?

 

AM: No, no, I know that, they justÖI donít know. I just think it starts with the physique. A lot of it is who

you know, and thatís how they get in.

 

TFG.tv: Do you think Tyson is going to do alright?

 

AM: Yeah, if he doesnít bite anyone's ear off, heíll be alright...

 

TFG.tv: (laughing)

 

AM: (Chuckling) ...if he keeps his head low. I mean, I think he should enter MMA...I mean, heís was a real

good boxer back in his day, and after he lost his titles, he kind of went down hill from there. I think he needs

something new to get into where he can be involve. Thereís a lot more... other rules where he plays a role,

 and I think he would fit in more.  

 

 

TFG.tv: Is there anybody you would like to fight?

 

AM: Iíd really like to fight anybody...anybody, just to keep my name out there. I mean, I like tough

competition. I like training hard for tough competitions. It keeps me motivated...and pretty much anybody

now.

 

TFG.tv: Any chance we would see you out here in California like at a King of the Cage or Gladiator

Challenge?

 

AM: Yeah...yeah, I would like to go to King of the Cage. I had the opportunity to go but they had already

found a replacement. I was going to fight Scary Jerry...when he recently fought...I think it was August 2nd. I

think thatís when it was. It was sometime in August.  But they had already filled that spot in. And I was

looking forward to fighting him because Iíve heard of him too, heís been around.

 

TFG.tv: Yeah, he just fought in the IFC. He did pretty well by all accounts but gassed out against Ron

Waterman.

 

AM: Yeah... if I do go (to King of the Cage), Iíd like to fight Wade Shipp. I heard about Wade Shipp. Heís

doing pretty good over there.

 

TFG.tv: Hereís one for you, if you were put in charge of all MMA, outside of legalizing it, what would you

change to make it better?

 

AM:  Here in Arizona, the rules are different...versus outside that state of Arizona. They got no knees to the

head, no knees to the body on the ground, open hand on the ground, if your standing, thereís closed fist to

the head, no knees to the head, knees to the body. There's a bunch of rules...I think to make it a true... Iím

not really to fond of the vale tudo events but I mean, here in Arizona, itís not a true MMA sport because you

have all these rules. I think in Arizona, I probably change it to make it, you know,  full contact,  you know,

UFC type, King of the Cage rules just in Arizona. Outside of Arizona, I would just try to promote that the

sport isnít what it sounds like. Iíd just promote it as, you know,  an MMA event. Itís not two people going in

there to kill each other or break their necks, arms, this or that or whatever. Iíd just try to promote it more

where itís a style, itís an event, itís a sport.

 

TFG.tv: Itís a lot safer than football.

 

AM: Yeah... yeah, but mostly thatís what I do. I mostly promote the safety of it. Get in more detail of it. And

just treat it like a true sport.

 

TFG.tv: Did you go down to Mexico and fight in Combate Extremo?

 

AM: Yeah, well, I was scheduled to fight but...he was fighter from Amarillo. He backed-out because he

wanted more money to fight me because they back tracked who I was, this and that and whatever, they

said, well, if Iím going to fight him, pay me a little bit more, and they didn't want to pay, so he just

backed-out, he never showed, so I didnít get to fight. Three of my teammates went, and they fought. I was

looking forward to that. Because of the rules and stuff. You know, I practice everything, my elbows and

knees and everything else too. So I wanted to see how I could do, you know, in a full contact UFC type

rules but I didnít get that chance. I went to Indiana in May and they have the same type rules, I guess they

are not governed by commissions or anything and they have UFC type rules there. I was suppose to fight

Brian VanderWal from Ohio and he backed out last minute too so I never got to fight over there either. So

thatís one of the things that have been happening to me lately. I'll go somewhere and somebody will back

out. I donít know what it is. Even here, a couple of times its happened. They "no show" or they back-out,

thatís getting irritating too.  

 

  

TFG.tv: Any props to anybody?

 

AM: Yeah, my managers, John Brotralli and Adolph Sanchez, theyíre the ones doing all the dirty work

for me, just handling all my phone calls, my sponsors, everything, this, that, whatever. My sponsors are

Machine Tool Calibration Co. here in Casa Grand, I got Red Bull energy drink, and 103.9FM Edge to

sponsor me.

 

TFG.tv: Any thing you want them to know about Andy Montana who may have never seen Rage in the

Cage:?

 

AM: If they want to get to know me a bit better, just visit my website: www.andymont.com.  Just look out for

me because Iím coming.

 

TFG.tv: Weíll Andy, we appreciate your time.

 

AM: No problem

 

Thefightgame.tv would once again like to thank Andy for his time and the use of his pictures.

 

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(9/30/03)