Fallon Fox will be making her pro debut on Thursday, May 17th at King of the Cage against Elisha Helsper. She trains out of the Midwest Training Center and is one of the most promising up and coming women’s fighters in the midwest. MMARecap caught up with Fox to talk about her career, moving to pro and more.
How are things going tonight? Going pretty good.
You are making your pro debut against Elisha Helsper at King of the Cage in Idaho. What do you know about her? I know that she has some pretty decent standup. Mostly from Tae Kwon Do and Muay Thai. I am not so sure about her ground work. That’s all I know from what I have heard and seen.
She seems to take a fight every couple of years. Her last fight was against Zoila Gurgel. Do you think there will be an issue of ring rust for her? Probably, but from what I have seen she has been doing some competitive combative work. I guess we will find out.
You are turning pro, what led to the decision to turn pro? All of my three amateur fights I have had ended fairly quickly. Under a minute fifteen seconds for each one I do believe. I am not getting too much competition and I want to up the level.
You fought at 145, won a title, you fought at 140 and won a title, now this fight is at 135. Talk to us about the decision to drop down to this weight class. There’s a lot more competition in 135 than 145. The numbers seem to be dwindling for 145. And 135 is also in Strikeforce.
I know you are extremely decorated in jiu jitsu and have been training it for years. Where did you train at before you switched to MTC? I started out at Champion Jiu Jitsu. I trained there for about 2-2.5 years, training every day. I didn’t have to work too much at that point. I trained and competed, trained and competed.
What lead to you transitioning from doing just jiu jitsu to becoming an mma fighter? That was my ultimate goal; to become an mma fighter. Ever since I saw Megumi Fuji like four years ago and I was really inspired. She’s an idol of mine. Never met her, but I like her ground work. I knew I wanted to have a strong ground background.
I have to commend you in that you took your time learning the aspects of the sport to make yourself a better fighter. Thanks.
You won Naga, so what was that like? That was awesome. I got my win for the belt, mostly through takedowns. But I felt really good and haven’t competed in jiu jitsu since then as I have been focusing on the mma aspect of the sport.
You are MTC which has a great base of fighters such as Will Brooks, Dan Stittgen, what’s it like training with these guys who have come up through the gym? All of them are awesome. There’s a couple of women there as well, Mary Skoniecna is the female I train with for standup. The rest of the guys are really good on the ground. Dennis works with me a lot on my ground game. Alex Trujilo is my main coach and hearing his voice while I am in the cage and training helps out a lot. I always get lots of help from the guys?
Any sponsors or people you want to thank? Bodylock, they have some great designs. Alex Trujilo, Joe Smith, Mary Skoniecna, everyone I train with, my girlfriend Kathryn Sanborn, my daughter for putting up with my mood swings and you guys at MMARecap.
Ramy Daoud - photo by Tracy Lee For Combat Lifestyle
After taking several years off of fighting, Ramy Daoud will be returning to action on Friday, April 13th. He trains at the Midwest Training Center in Schaumburg, Illinois and has regained his passion for the sport of mixed martial arts. While his opponent is 0-5, Daoud says that he is treating him like he is 5-0.
How’s everything going today? Everything is going great. It’s an honor to talk to you. I really like MMARecap and thanks for having me on.
You go into the gym day in and day out and put in the hard work and at the end of the day get paid to beat someone up for money. You train at MTC, which is known as a fighters gym, but there’s both fighters and non-fighters who train there. What’s the training schedule like for you with this training camp? At MTC we are lucky enough to have the fighters be separated from the regular classes. That way we get a lot of attention on what we need to be working on; be it striking, wrestling, or ground game. Two times a day we have fighter training. We have a set schedule and every week we know exactly what we will be working on. One day we could be doing conditioning in the morning, and wrestle live at night. We get in two times a day, for an hour and half, two hours a session and then the fighters are also welcomed to join the regular classes. Some fighters do take advantage of these classes to sharpen up their skills either on the feet or on the ground.
Let’s talk about your fight against Johnny Coleman. Is this fight going to be contested at 135 or 145? This fight is going to be at 135. It’s going to be one of my last fights at 35 before I make the transition to 125. Alex, my coach, said that if I am going to make a run at something I would have fight at 125. I walk around at about 140. I am not going to be cutting too much weight for this fight which is good because I love to eat and drink water. I know some fighters can go for a while without eating, especially those who come from a wrestling background. But I never came from a place with cutting weight and it is a new thing for me to learn and master. I want to do it correctly.
Your opponent is 0-5 and most people would think this is a gimmie fight as your record is 2-0, but on the same token you haven’t fought since 2008. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it is a gimmie fight by any means, looking at the names Coleman has fought. What are your thoughts on him? That is something I did consider right away. I feel like I have a lot of pressure on myself. I haven’t fought in a long time. I do need a fight that isn’t a gimmie a fight, but more like a warm up fight. Coleman has been much more active than myself. I am trying to train as hard as possible and training for him like he is a big contender. That way I won’t psych myself out or convince myself that I already have the fight in the bag. Not fighting for years, there’s a lot of pressure. Everyone expects me to beat him. I am not treating him like he’s 0-5, I am treating him like he’s 5-0. As you know once you are in the cage, that record means nothing.
We’ve all seen great fighters get caught with a haymaker or land one lucky strike. I don’t want to be one of those stories or on the receiving end. I don’t want to hear, “Oh my God did you see that guy who was 0-5 knockout the guy who was 2-0” I don’t want to be that guy.
Later on he could be a contender. There’s a famous story about a Thai boxer who lost his first 10 fights and then went on to win his next 190. He’s a legend in Thai boxing circles for that reason. I don’t want to be the guy that Coleman starts his win streak on. I am going in there to beat him quickly, efficiently, and I am taking him very seriously as an opponent.
Speaking of being efficient, what would you say is the best aspect of your game? I would have to say my strength is leg locks. I feel a lot of people aren’t very good at them, nor are they good at defending them. A lot of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu schools don’t allow you to train them until you are a purple belt level. I don’t think that is a good idea as they are a legitimate submission. Look at how Palhares is using them to great success in the UFC. I just think you need a coach who understands them and can teach them safely. To answer your question, I love submission, not just leg locks. Sakaraba is my hero and I try to follow his type of strategy which is always going for that submission. I really liken myself to the old Shoot pancrase style with a true finish.
You mentioned earlier that you haven’t fought in a while, what’s the reason that you haven’t fought since 2008? This is going to sound pretty stupid and I will get made fun of for it. When PRIDE folded, I was like a kid who wanted to be in the NBA and then all of a sudden there was no NBA. I was always a big PRIDE fan, more than the UFC. That’s obviously changed. But at the time, my dream was to fight in Japan and fight in PRIDE. It was disappointing and at the time I didn’t see myself in the UFC cause there wasn’t the lower weight classes, nor was there much interest in them. After years of training and my own MMA club, I re-found my passion. What else could I be doing other than competing in a martial arts setting and bringing pride to my family back home. I am glad I took the time off, because if I hadn’t I know it would have been more like a job, a 9-5, and I have found a new passion for the sport.
Have you been training at MTC during this time off or were you training someplace else? My first pro fight I was admittedly self-trained. My only formal training before was through Karate. The submissions and the grappling I learned on my own. I lived in Plainfield and at the time there wasn’t a legitimate mma school. So I saved up some money and bought an 8’x8’ Judo mat and invited anyone who had any wrestling, judo, or bjj experience and work with me. That is how I learned 70-80% of my techniques. I was very dedicated and took it very seriously. Then there was a Quinton Rampage seminar at the old MTC in Streamwood and I went there for that. After the seminar, Quinton told me to roll with Alex who is now the head coach of MTC. I rolled with him and he kicked my butt all over the place. He told me to come back that I had some good stuff and should come back. No one had taken an interest and it boasted my confidence. Ever since I have never left MTC and trained at another gym. I am a loyal MTC student. As of my second pro fight until now I have been there.
Are you planning on dropping gradually to 125 with catchweight fights or are you going to go straight to it? That’s something I am going to leave up to Alex and my management team MataLeon. I am going to leave the hard decisions up to them. I am very fortunate that I don’t have to make those decisions. My first amateur fight was at 155. My opponent was like 5’10” and I am 5’5”. I weighed in like 151 after eating icecream right before the weigh ins. I can’t stress enough how little I knew. Now I am going to focus on training, cleaning up my diet and I will make the drop when my coaches or management push for it.
Any sponsors or people you want to thank? I would like to thank myself for being incredibly good looking, articulate, and tall at 5’5”. All kidding aside, I would like to thank my parents who worked hard to allow me to have this life. I would also like to thank Alex the head coach at MTC for believing in me and all of my training partners for beating me up every day; Dennis Dombrow, Will Brooks, Dan Stittgen, Damian Norris, Andre Feliciano, Andrew Krzeptowski and Joe Smith. My students at Shinobe MMA who motivate me to be a better instructor. My sister who is the brains of the family. My friend George the Greek who is like a brother to me. Kyle who has helped me with doing all the business stuff, and my new management MataLeon. Also my friend Mario and you Brent for wanting to help me promote my fight. Finally the XFO for giving me a chance to come back and show everyone I am a talented fighter.
Address: 455 State Parkway, Unit 103, Schaumburg, IL 60173
Phone: (847) 310-1200
Business Hours: 12pm-9pm Monday-Friday, 10am-3pm Saturday, Closed Sunday
Classes are offered for both fighters and non-fighters. Fighter classes include wrestling, Muay Thai, jiu-jitsu, and strength and conditioning. General students can attend classes in Muay Thai and both gi and no-gi jiu jitsu.
Kids ages 10 and up are welcome.
Private lessons are available
Contact Joe Smith for any special promotions currently running
MTC has a reputation of being a “fighters only” gym, but that is not the case. More than fifty students will show up on a given night for classes and less than a handful are actually fighters. The big thing that people will notice when they walk into the gym is the huge 1500 square foot black mat where all the classes are held. In addition to the large space for wrestling, jiu jitsu and Muay Thai classes, there are two cages and two rings. Several heavy bags, a speed track and a couple of weights and cardio machines complete the gym.
Dan Stittgen got the call he has been training for his entire career; to fight for the UFC. But it wasn’t just any fight that they wanted him to step up on short notice, it was for a fight on Superbowl Weekend’s UFC 143 card. His fight against Stephen Thompson will be streamed live on Facebook and MMA Recap’s Mike Finch caught up with him to discuss his training, his audition for The Ultimate Fighter, and his thoughts on his up coming fight.
How you doing today? Alright. Doing well sir.
You recently just auditioned for The Ultimate Fighter, can you tell us how that experience was? Everything went good. I was well received. I made it all the way to the final interview. Seems everything went well you know.
The only man to beat you got injured and now you are stepping in to take his place It got rotated around a few times. They needed somebody to step up and I did.
How did they contact you? They just gave me a call and offered me a fight and a contract. They said they would have given me time to get ready and given me a later fight, but it is such a good venue in Mandalay Bay and a big card I had to do it. I jumped right on.
Have you taken fights before on such short notice and how will this effect your training? I’ve taken fights on short notice before. As far as training, we just turned up the intensity and crammed as much in as we could with the amount of time that we have. We’ve upped the sleep hours and kept an extra eye on my nutrition, things like that.
You are fighting Stephen Thompson and he is primarily a kick boxer and you are a more of a submission guy. Is it just clear that the game plan will be to take him down and submit him or are you looking to test it out on the feet? Realistically I don’t go into the fight with any game plan. I am trained to look for openings and capitalize on mistakes and opportunities. If any mistake presents itself I will be there to capitalize. I don’t fight to win any one particular way, I just train to win.
Why’d you chose the Midwest Training Center for your training? Prior to me training at MTC I was training in the basement of a church. It’s all been conceived here. Coach Alex has taken me and has done a wonderful job. I don’t feel that I need to go anywhere else. I have all the wrestling, submission, kick boxing here. We do it all.
What can we expect at the coming UFC here? Destruction.
Another amateur mixed martial arts event has been announced. Bodylock will be presenting Winter Brawl on Saturday, February 18th. The night of amateur mma will take place at the Melrose Park Civic Center. Tickets for the event are extremely cheap starting at just $20 a ticket.
Notable amateur fighters scheduled to partake on the card include Nic Thompson, Dustin Stusse, Kevin Switalla, Greyson Plate, Damien Norris, Pat O’Connor and Sam Horowitz.
Tickets are available at Midwest Training Center, Gilbert Grappling and Patriot Boxing and Fitness Systems.
Melrose Park Civic Center is located at 1000 N 25th Ave, Melrose Park, IL.
The injury bug has struck yet again at UFC 143, but that has proven to be a good thing for Midwest Training Center’s Dan Stittgen. Stittgen will be stepping up on short notice for Justin Edwards who became injured while training.
Stittgen will face UFC newcomer Stephen Thompson on the night’s preliminary card. Thompson trains out of Pitch Black MMA in South Carolina and is decorated kickboxer. He is undefeated in his mixed martial arts career, having won his last two fights by unanimous decision.
Stittgen meanwhile is riding a three-fight win streak into his UFC debut. He his a submission specialist having won five of his last fights by way of submission. His only loss in his career, ironically comes from the person he his replacing at UFC 143; Justin Edwards.
Stittgen trains out of Midwest Training Center, just outside of Chicago. MTC played home to Clay Guida for the majority of his career until he Guida moved to Greg Jackson’s. MTC is home to current UFC fighter Mike Lullo, and has several promising up-and-comers in Will Brooks and Dennis Dombrow.
UFC 143 takes place on Saturday, February 4th at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event will be headlined by Carlos Condit and Nick Diaz fighting for the interim welterweight title.
UFC veteran Thales Leites (14-3) has now signed to Canadian MMA organization Maximum Fighting Championship. MFC promoter Mark Pavelich made the announcement on TapouT Radio that Leites has signed a deal with them, and is scheduled to debut at MFC 23 on December 4th.
Mark Pavelich stated, “He lost a split decision that many people thought he won, and the UFC cut him. I think he’s mad now.
Thales Leites will enter MFC coming off back-to-back losses to Anderson Silva and Alessio Sakara. Traditionally there would be no shame in losing to either fighter, but Leites was very lackluster in both bouts. If Leites wants to get back in the good graces of mma fans, he will need to put on an exciting fight or at least a spectacular submission that the brazilian jiu jitsu black belt is known for.
Now, Leites will be apart of a stacked middleweight division that includes the likes of Jason MacDonald, Travis Lutter, Dean Lister, and Trevor Prangley.