· Mike Brown ~ Just To Say I Did It
Eight short years ago Mike Thomas Brown and his former college roommate, Gunnar Olson, stumbled upon a post on the Underground looking for fighters to fill out a Boston area fight card. Gunnar told Brown, “Hey look. They need fighters in Boston. Let’s do it!!!” Brown, who was already making a name for himself in other arenas decided to go ahead with his buddy. “I was doing the grappling tournaments, but I was a huge MMA fan. I did it just to say I did it.” No one could have expected or predicted what has happened since then. Brown has amassed twenty victories and only four defeats in his mixed martial arts career. The only four losses coming at the hands of some of the sports most highly regarded fighters, and at a weight class higher than Brown naturally competes at. And the victories? He’s had plenty of big wins, but none greater, or more memorable than his last. In that battle Mike Brown would capture the World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) Featherweight Championship by knocking out highly favored champion Urijah Faber in the first round.
Since winning the title, the accolades have been pouring in for the native of Maine. He is considered the #1 ranked featherweight by most experts. Has been featured in many magazines. Even his fellow fighters are singing his praises. UFC veteran Din Thomas recently told me, “Hell, I don’t think I can beat Mike Brown and we train together”. But how does Brown feel about all of this attention following his championship victory? “I get a recognized a little more, and do a lot more interviews. Nothing has really compared to the feeling of winning that title. I’m not a guy who celebrates much or gets excited when I win, but after that win I was high for like two months. I think the closest I ever felt like that before was winning a High School Wrestling State Title.” And the title belt is never far away either, “I do keep it in the trunk of my car sometimes, in case I feel the need to break it out at some random party,” he said. Brown is hoping that he can keep that title tucked away in his trunk for a little while longer."
In the meantime, Mike is headed back into the gym to begin training for his next fight. On March 1, 2009 he faces a very dangerous Leonard ‘Bad Boy’ Garcia. The fight marks Brown’s first WEC title defense. He would have this to say about getting ready for Garcia, “Training is great. I'm doing an eight week camp for this fight. I’ll have to cut about twenty pounds. The rib is healed 100%. Things are great.” What is he expecting from his opponent, and will he have a unique strategy? “Leonard has good punching power and good BJJ, but no new wrinkles in my game; only in my face. I am 33. Just good defense. Punch hard. If we go to the ground, try to be on top” At any age, the savvy veteran knows better than to look past anyone. “One fight at a time. Leonard is no joke.” Brown may not be thinking beyond his fight with Garcia, but he thinks others likely are. “I’m sure WEC is thinking a Faber rematch. Probably after the Garcia fight; I’m assuming. But I have Leonard and he has Jens Pulver to worry about first.” Staying on the subject of rematches, Brown would say that he doesn’t feel a sense of urgency to defend his new #1 world ranking by avenging his earlier losses. “There are so many great guys out there to fight. I don’t feel it’s necessary for rematches. But, if I were offered a rematch with any of those guys I would take the fight.”
“I wrestled in high school and a little in college. Then I watched the UFC and fell in love. I started training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in 1995.” Brown would tell me. So how exactly does a college wrestler competing primarily in grappling tournaments, go from answering an online ad for fighters, to holding one of the most prestigious titles in the business? He would give all the credit to his teammates and training partners at American Top Team. “We have an amazing team. The best in the world. When you see your training partners doing well you realize what we, as a team, are capable of. Some of the big fights that have boosted morale have been: JZ winning back to back K1 tournaments; Pitbull over Hughes, Karo and Koscheck. Kang going 23 fights with out a loss; Aurelio submitting Gomi.” The champion would continue to provide evidence that ATT is responsible for making champions across the sport, “We have a guy in the top ten in every weight class. Me at 145; JZ Cavalcante at 155; Thiago ‘Pitbull’ Alves at 170; Jorge Santiago, Wilson Gouveia, and Denis Kang at 185: Thiago Silva at 205, Antonio ‘Pezao’ Silva and Jeff Monson at heavyweight. And be on the lookout for Chris Manuel, Ben Askren, and Marcelo Garcia. This is a stacked line up and I’m missing about 25 other world-class fighters on that list.” And as for teammate Din Thomas’ earlier proclamation, Brown would state, “That’s a nice compliment to hear coming from a great fighter like Dinyero. I think right now I have the WEC belt so I am #1 in the world. The fight game is crazy though you never know when you’re gonna get knocked off. I just hope to hold on to the #1 spot as long as possible. Din will do big things at 145. I’m just glad he’s on my team.”
Brown is also very quick to point out just how valuable his friends are to him, “I made some great lifelong friends at Norwich University. Gunnar Olson, Chad Sinclair, Bob Ulrich, Mike Wernert, and Keith Parent.” Along with hanging out with those friends, Mike enjoys getting away from all the seriousness and brutality of the fight game. “I love to laugh. I watch every comedy that comes out. We go to a lot of comedy clubs. My favorite comedy this past year was definitely Step Brothers.” Between all the laughing, all the training, all the highs of winning championships, and all the accolades, Mike Thomas Brown can certainly say “I did it.”**
Mike Thomas Brown would like to thank the following sponsors and people for their continued support: Tapout, Champion Nutrion, MMAOverload, all my ATT brothers,. Liborio, Coach Howard, Ouali Mohammed, Gholar, Dan Lambert, Puma, Yves Edwards, Jenni, Paul Fenton, Rich Vogal, Bruce Carlton, ‘Big’ Mike Emmons, Clarence, Brooki, ATL Daggers, Levy, Comeau, Benji, and all my friends and family who have kept me motivated.
by J. Andrew Yount