Following a heavyweight title loss to Mike Hayes’ at Cage Warriors Fighting Championships Fight Night 4 event in Dubai, Andreas ‘Big Daddy’ Kraniotakes took the time to speak about his loss, his goals, his career so far and fulfilling a childhood dream.
Hey Andreas, Firstly I’d like to offer my commiserations to you for your recent loss.
You know how it is. You live you learn… But thank you!
I watched your fight, like many others, by streaming online from MMAJunkie.com. What do you feel went wrong in the match and where will you go from here?
What went wrong is pretty plain and simple: I gassed. The preparation for the fight wasn’t what it supposed to be. I hate excuses, so I’m just keeping it simple by saying a lot of (bad) things came together that day.
Where will I go from here?
Well, as always when we lose fights in MMA: To the back of the line!
Mike Hayes fought a good fight and got the finish. Is there anything you would like to say to Mike Hayes and would you like to face him again?
He did a great job. Just like me, he took the fight on short notice and he finished the best heavyweight in the Cage Warriors rooster. So he deserves to be the champion. But this is the first time in my career I really would love to have a rematch. I think that Mike and I are both exciting fighters and so another bout between the two of us would make perfect sense. But first I have to position myself in that spot again though and get some wins in.
As I have said, the event was shown on MMAJunkie, How much do you feel MMAJunkie has helped and could continue to help promotions such as Cage Warriors by showing the cards live online?
I think the experience of watching fights live makes a huge difference compared to taped bouts. Just by the way my fans approach me differently, when the fight is streamed is amazing. So I think MMA Junkie is helping out a lot! MMA is the sport of the Internet and so putting it up on one of the major news sites just makes perfect sense!
You were only twelve I believe when you first started training in Judo, was this something that you wanted to do or was it pushed upon you?
Well, I always wanted to be successful in sports. Unfortunately I had no talent whatsoever for anything I tried in my youth. But that changed immediately when I stepped on a judo mat for the first time. Finally I showed some talent and so I stayed true to combat sports.
You became very successful in judo winning the Rheinland-Pfalz Judo Championships on several occasions as well as winning the Southern German Judo Championships and placing fifth in the German Judo Championships. Why didn’t you proceed with your judo career and what rank do you hold?
I’m a brown belt in judo. I stopped competing when I was getting my high school degree. The training and learning didn’t go together very well. And I didn’t want to go to the tournaments and loose to someone that I knew I would be able to beat if I trained right. Then when I picked up sports again, I tried out Kickboxing and other full contact sports. I never found the time for straight judo training again. Maybe I’m going to start it again soon.
What made you want to transition from judo and get into the MMA business?
It was the question “what if”. I always wondered what would happen if the guy could punch, kick or do whatever is taught in other combat sports. MMA presents the ultimate answer to that question. So the transition only was a matter of time!
What was your first venture into MMA?
I attended some mixed fighting event and wanted to get on the mat right away. It was a private event. The people organising it didn’t want any audience because they were afraid some competitors might die. Well, nobody died and I loved the idea.
Were you hooked immediately?
Yes, I was crazy about getting on the mat. I needed to ask my mom for permission and then I started my career.
MMA has in the past been described famously as “Human Cockfighting” with the general thought in mainstream media as fighters being thugs and bullies. How do you feel about this considering you are a well educated man who works with children with learning disorders and do you feel the public views are changing towards the sport?
I’m dedicating my life to educate the public in Germany. They still think we are animals. But I hope, that when they see me and hear me talk, that that might change their view on our sport. If I end my career and the next generation of German fighters will be able to make a living out of being a professional MMA athlete. That would be my dream!
Do you hold any ranks or belts in any other discipline other than judo?
Even though I tried out a lot of martial arts, I was never too crazy about belts or graduations. The only thing worth mentioning is my BJJ blue belt that Dean Lister and his team from Victory MMA San Diego gave me last year.
You appeared in the video game “EA Sports MMA” in 2010. Can you tell us how it felt to be on the game and have millions of fans using you as a playable character?
That was childhood dreams come true! I’m a gamer. When I was young I was addicted to beat ‘em up games like Mortal Combat and Street Fighter. I always wished to be a part of it one day. But I never thought that dream would come true so early!
What are your short term and long term goals for your career?
Short term I want to get back into title contention and get that belt around Mike Hayes’ waist. Long term I want to establish myself as one of Europe’s top competitors and continue working as an ambassador of our sport.