Anthony Birchak is extremely new to the sport of Mixed Martial Arts. Having his first fight in 2009, he quickly rose to local stardom with four straight victories, finishing all four of his opponents. When Bellator held their 41st event in Arizona, Birchak was asked to compete on the undercard. The victory propelled him to a fight for Rage in the Cage and then a fight in Brazil. Now, BAMMA USA has called on him to fight for their show on March 16 in southern California. MMA Recap caught up with Birchak to discuss his career, traveling, his family and more.
What got you into fighting?
Well I have been wrestling since I was five. I did free-style Greco. I was Greco All American and national champ. I started wrestling at Tema Collage and saw that Tema had a pedigree of wrestlers; Drew Fickett, James Terry, Jamie Varner, Jesse Forbes, Efrain Escudero. I think that like eight of the ten guys on our wrestling team went to the big show and I was like, these guys do what I do and I have been wrestling a lot longer than they have. I jumped on the bandwagon and about 2008 I started training with Fickett for jiu jitsu. I had my first fight in 2009. I told my brother and my mom that I wanted to be able to say I have the experience of doing it one time. Next thing I know I got the bug and I haven’t been able to quit.
Looking over your career you have fought for a number of organizations, which one so far was your favorite to fight for?
Hands down Bellator. They had everything popping and locking. All these other shows there’s always a hiccup. There wasn’t any issue with Bellator. I was really impressed with the way that Rebney handled everything and even the guys under him were professional and had everything going real fast. I was blown away. I knew that was the kind of organization I wanted to be a part of.
You have a win at Bellator 41 over Tyler Bialecki. Was this a fight to earn a multi-fight Bellator contract?
When I took that fight Sherdog had me as a 4-0 pro, and another site had me at 3-0. At the time I was 3-0 and he was 7-3. I was kind of intimidated cause he had a lot more time than I did. To say that, that fight should have earned me a multi fight contract, no I don’t. I think I should have fought one or two more times on the undercard and I would love to do the tournament. When we talked about it, I told them that right now I was working two jobs and I was bar tending and got my son. I have child support and I am just not in the spot mentally to make that type of commitment to be that high of a fighter where I could just quit everything and focus on the tournament. Right now, I am ready and if they asked me to be apart of the tournament I would sign easy.
You recently suffered your first loss at Amazon Forest Combat to George Clay, how’d that fight play out and what you were able to take away from that loss?
The entire experience was kind of a nightmare. Drew approached me with this thing and it is not to talk bad at all about my management or Jason. The whole process of getting to Brazil was a f***ing nightmare. I had to pay $2,000 to get my passport released because of Arizona child support laws. They wouldn’t let me leave the country without first paying my rears. Thank God I have the angel of the aunt that I do who fronted me the money. I went to the state and gave them the money. I begged and pleaded with my baby’s momma to tell the state I was going down for work. I said I would pay her off and then some. It was just a headache.
I didn’t get my passport until the day before I got on the plane to go to Brazil. So not only was I not focused on purely training, I had a great camp don’t get me wrong. But my mind wasn’t strictly in the gym. I am talking to Chambers who is this guy I met through Drew. We formally hadn’t met yet. We had talked on the phone. Drew came to me and was like this is an opportunity. Sign this contract and use this agency that I am with. You are family, we are going to stay in the same family. I took Drew’s word for it. I signed the papers. Like I said, the passport was an absolute nightmare.
We get to Brazil and the entire weigh-in was great. Come fight time I felt focused, like I was supposed to be there. As soon as I walked out and heard those 15,000 people screaming I knew I was supposed to be there. There was no jitters, nothing. Maybe that was the bad part. Usually I go out into the fight and am a little nervous. This time I went out and knew what I wanted to do and how I wanted to execute it. I stepped into the cage and I threw a couple combos. He kicked me. Now when I re-watch the film I know there were some things I should have done. I went for a real stupid short choke submission and I should have defended the takedown. When a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt gets your back in Brazil, count your blessings if you get him off your back once. I let the guy have my back twice. He ended up getting a choke and I had said to myself that if he got it I was going to go to sleep. But it was straight up on the esophagus and I was forced to tap.
After my first amateur loss I went on a six-fight win streak and I changed my game up. I realized that I am decent at what I do as a fighter and could be great. Now with my first loss as a pro, I am changing my game once again. The entire thing is that Ed West, George Roop, Chris Cariaso, all those guys have been my training partners. They are all putting their little spins on my technique. I am teaching them wrestling, they are teaching me how to strike properly. I want to thank Ed West for all his improvements. I feel super confident. I am going into this fight with Chad George and I feel well rounded.
You are fighting on March 16 for BAMMA USA against Chad George. What are your thoughts on him? He has you on the experience edge with nearly three times the number of fights you have had. Does that come into your game planning at all when you fight a guy like that?
The guy has more experience for sure and it is just going to be like another day at the office for him. But this is still something I am really fresh at. I could quit tomorrow and it would be like it was something I just gave up on or I could keep going. I know more about Scott Jorgensen (who George fought) because he was a PAC 10 wrestler. He’s an amazing wrestler. I think what he did to George is what I am going to do. It’s what I plan to do. I am going to come out and strike with him and as soon as he shoots I plan to take his neck and choke him out. We are taught to take the neck, take the back and that’s the gameplan.
Where are you training out of?
I was with Fickett at his Team Scrub which is like his hillbilly training outside his house. He’s got some tires and free weights. He turned his little carport into a wrestling room. But now I am full time since the fight in Brazil at Apex Mixed Martial Arts. We have George Roop, Ed West, Chris Cariso, and a lot of hungry fighters. It’s been a good spot for me.
What are your goals for 2012?
I would like to be in the UFC. That’s the cap on anyone’s career. I want to win another region world championship and move up to the big show. I want to put a real roof over my son’s head and that’s it.
What do you like to do when you aren’t training?
I don’t really not train. My downtime I take my kid to Peter Piper a lot. I spend time with my boy and he gives me a lot of insight on myself. Being a young father has been really awakening. Anytime I spend with him is well cherished.
How old is he?
He will be four in March. The s**t that comes out of his mouth is amazing. I think one, two, and four are the greatest stages. Cause one they are walking around, two the terrible two’s weren’t really there. He was pretty chill. Then at four, the things that come out of his mouth amaze me. His concept of everything is mind blowing.
What’s your favorite breakfast cereal?
Off brand breakfast cereal called Oh’s. It would scratch the roof of your mouth. But it was the most tasty thing. It was like an O like a Cherrio, but inside it has like three little round balls that are different colors. It’s the one I always go back to. It’s hard to find in Tuscan. I think there’s like one or two off market stores. Anytime my mom finds it she buys like six or seven boxes.
Where can the fans find you at?
Find me on twitter @abirchakmma, Facebook I have a fan page under Anthony Birchak. And also on neverscaredmma. They have some stuff on me.
Any sponsors or people you want to thank?
Drew Ficket he’s the one that got me into this, my brothers, my mother, Jaco has been a huge help, my girlfriend Mercedes White. She hustles harder than anyone I know. She’s been getting me sponsors here and there and media blasts me. She has her own media company called Luta Elite.