"I look forward to another great MMA TRIALS events NOV 24th. Visit www.torontobjj.com for more information. "
BALEIA-Claude last year you organized the first ever MMA trials for Ontario Canada, how did the event go and what came from it?
CLAUDE-The event was great in my eyes, it achieved all I had planned for in that the local fighter who otherwise would have no opportunity locally to be discovered, would be put in touch directly with promoter and reputable managers to further their careers. Even those just looking to gauge their abilities found it helpful to check out the level of those being signed to contracts, and perhaps most importantly to get some face-time with the promoters. So they are more than just a name in an email when they do contact them in regards to looking to fight.
BALEIA-Tell the OTM readers about the upcoming MMA Trials?
CLAUDE-In a nutshell its is a FREE opportunity for athletes to be scouted by promoters in person while performing different drills.
BALEIA-Why should anyone who wants to fight MMA go to these trials? And what sort of things are going to differ from last years?
CLAUDE-Given up until now Ontario, had no mixed martial arts events taking place (Rumble on the Rez is now taking place at 6 nations Native Reserve) the trials were a great opportunity for athletes to show non local promoters/sponsors what they can actually do.
The benefit for promoters is clearly that they get to gauge the abilities of these athletes they otherwise would have never seen before a dollar is spent on them, or a potential mismatch occurs.
BALEIA-Hows the health and when can we see you back in the ring?
CLAUDE-Everything is going great on my end, back training close to 100 percent, but given the amount of business I have on the go right now I don’t see myself competing in mma until late winter or spring 2008.
BALEIA-Where are you currently training?
CLAUDE-I've always been a big fan of the idea of specialization so I mix my training up location wise for separate skills. Boxing, Muay Thai, BJJ and Wrestling. Given I am just training to increase my knowledge, I am primarily working with my Muay Thai coach ROMAN, who give his level is someone Canada will soon be hearing a lot about. Training Jiu-jitsu at Toronto BJJ and teaching at Elite Training Centre
BALEIA-What’s the word on your new academy?
CLAUDE-Currently working out of 2 squash courts but as the word on the street says there is a new location in the works. While not the biggest "4000 square feet or so" it will be spectacular given the structure. Martial arts classes for the martial artists, and real fight training in a variety of systems for people serious about performing on the professional level. Between the coaching staff, I am putting together and amenities of the actual facility the academy is showing up to be something special. You can follow the progress at www.mississaugaelite,con
BALEIA-IFL? Are you still with IFL and if not why?
CLAUDE-I am not currently under contract with any organization. FREE AGENT currently fielding a few offers to see what’s the best move go forward. With so many changes in MMA taking place right now, it is difficult to tell how things will unfold. IFL was great as an organization but due to my injury I wasn’t able to fulfill my entire contract with them.
BALEIA-You being a veteran of both the grappling game and MMA, what is your opinion of the recent explosion of MMA across Canada? New fight clubs, new promotions, new clothing lines.......??
CLAUDE-haha.. Now you got me started......as with anything it has its up and downs. As someone practicing MMA and Jiu-Jitsu, since way before it was popular here, it is nice to see I was right about the potential of the sport I committed my life to but on the other side of things, the emergence of IMPOSTERS is beyond insane.
Strikes me kind of like the Ninja craze of the 80's. Everyone and their mother knows a buddy who is going to the UFC LOL. I support everyone getting involved, but the dangerous part is the emergence of these over night MMA experts teaching what equates to garbage as these seriously dedicated kids follow them and get hurt/burnt out or just discouraged. MMA is just what the name says a mixture of martial arts, so the best bet for people looking to train is to seek an instructor with some pedigree in martial arts. Not a self styled expert teaching things out of magazines and videos without ever having put in the real work themselves and instead purchasing certifications at weekend seminars.
BALEIA-What’s your BJJ situation and can will we ever see you on the mats competing again? Possible rematch with yours truly?!?!?!?!?!
CLAUDE-BJJ is lovely right now learning a lot and evolving my game for both the art of jiu-jitsu and mixed martial arts. I don’t really care much about sub grappling but I will compete in the gi most likely at pan ams in 2008.. In terms of rematching you our last match, it was a win for me with a score of 28-2 I think you should just leave the rematch idea alone :)
But in all seriousness thanks for the support to everyone helping to grow the sport of mma and martial arts in general and I look forward to another great MMA TRIALS events NOV 24th. Visit www.torontobjj.com for more information.