by D.J. Morrissey
D.J. Morrissey: What is the WFC?
Andromania: The WFC is essentially the World Fight Club, we are the world fight club for so many reasons. We incorporate all styles of fighting such as boxing, wrestling, kickboxing MMA, professional wrestling, jiu-jitsu. Where else can you find all of these different styles of fighting under one roof, on one card, for one ticket? That is essentially the idea of what we are trying to brand as combat entertainment and that is basically the WFC.
D.J. Morrissey: Why did you start the WFC?
A: The WFC began as a hobby with two or three other friends got together about 10 years ago after realizing the price to continue training in any dojo or gym was extremely expensive. We realized that as much as we would like to continue practicing martial arts we couldn’t afford to train in a traditional setting, so we decided that we would train to together, find an open park on a Sunday afternoon, do some training, some sparring, and basically just keep ourselves in shape. As it grew and more people started to come down and they were better at different things and we would have classes together. Some guys were better at boxing, wrestling and various martial arts. Different guys came down with different styles and we would train each other it became a giant network for martial arts. We would train with each, teach different exercises, keep each other in shape and have a great time doing it. The first 2-3 years it was all about coming down and getting a good workout. After a while we started doing our training sessions at our old high schools on days that weren’t busy and eventually we started gathering crowds. As we began to practice regularly every Sunday, people caught wind that these guys were competing against each other in martial arts matches every Sunday. As we continued to do it more and more, we began to develop a fan base. We had a little bit of a crowd, people cheering for us and it got us thinking, got us a little excited. People would stop in their cars and come over to watch and we got to thinking; what was just a simple hobby to us was entertaining to others. We started thinking, hey what can we do, we are skilled, we are in shape and we like the fact that we can entertain people with our martial arts. We said you know what, why not have some sort of competition so at that point we created the first championship, When the WFC started I was the guy that pretty much got everyone together, called everyone up, made sure everyone had transportation and basically ran the show. Since I had the most amount of experience out of everyone I was assumed to be the number 1 guy. I had guys with 3, 4, 5 years of experience in martial arts, and at that point in time I had about 12 years of experience, so being the most skilled I won the most matches. People would look to me for training not only because of my experience in martial arts, but my background in personal training. I would make sure people were eating right, working out the right way so that they could build themselves and progress. So after a building our crowd and having a group of guys who were committed, we decided that we needed some sort of ranking system or title and we created the WFC championship; one single title which would represent the best fighter of all the styles whether it be boxing, wrestling or jiu-jitsu. We began to have tournaments every week and we would crown a champion. The title might have changed hands every week, but fortunately for me I became champion and stayed champion and in the ten years of WFC I have only lost my title 3 times. Having the most experience and being champion it became an ego thing for me as well. I wanted to remain the number 1 guy, walk in the champ and walk out the champ. After about another three years we decided to organize and host a show. We realized that whether we were at a park, an old high school or a friend’s house, people would come by to watch us. In October, 2006 the WFC had its first show, the King of New York Tournament. Everyone came in with a clean slate and we actually created a new title that night called the Submission King Championship. I wanted to walk out of there with not only my WFC title but the Submission King belt as well but unfortunately I didn’t win that belt and the person who won that belt still holds it until this day. We knew at that point that we were on to something and wanted to make history in combat entertainment so we decided to develop a full season of matches. On April, 20th, 2007, WFC Live was born, we built the website, we developed characters, Andromania was born and we decided to run with the ball. We had a great year in 2007, our very first show was our biggest show to date but unfortunately the cops came and actually liked what we were doing and wanted to stay but because we weren’t very professional at that point in time and people were competing in street clothes they shut us down. They thought it was just some brawl at first but then they say the cameras and the lighting and everybody having a good time but they still had to shut us down. After that we decided to take it one step further and at the next show, we had a keg, barbeque, a DJ, everything to keep our fans entertained. It became a party that you wanted to say that you went to. You wanted to be able to say that you went to a WFC show. You could go to a keg party, a friends BBQ but where else could you get all of it combined with the combat entertainment of the WF They thought it was just some brawl at first but then they say the cameras and the lighting and everybody having a good time but they still had to shut us down. After that we decided to take it one step further and at the next show, we had a keg, barbeque, a DJ, everything to keep our fans entertained. It became a party that you wanted to say that you went to. You wanted to be able to say that you went to a WFC show. You could go to a keg party, a friends BBQ but where else could you get all of it combined with the combat entertainment of the WFC. You can say to yourself, oh I went to a UFC match, oh I went to a boxing match, oh I went to a professional wrestling match; but where else can you go and pay one price and see MMA, pro wrestling, jiu-jitsu, boxing, kickboxing, submission wrestling. No one else has it, nobody else is doing it except the WFC – World Fight Club – which has grown from a hobby into one of the most recognized underground fight clubs around. We have our videos on our youtube.com channel, receive emails from people around the world who love what we are doing and we have surpassed any expectations we had for ourselves when we started. We are always looking to take it one step further and in 2011 we plan on doing that with our website wfclive.com and with our shows.
DM: Not only are you the creator of WFC, but also a fighter, how did you get started fighting?
A: I got started fighting pretty much because I had to. I am 5’5 and growing up I was the skinny kid, the small kid, so in order to not get beat up, I had to learn how to fight. I used to be a pushover, they called me Piñata because I used to have a sweet tooth and when the kids beat me up in elementary school, candy would come flying out of my pockets. I then decided that enough was enough and had to figure out “what could I do?” I was always considered the most athletic kid who couldn’t play a sport by my friends; too small for basketball, too light for football and I couldn’t catch or throw a baseball. I always liked watching action movies, martial arts movies so I decided to take a class, and believe it or not, on my first day I got beat up by a girl. I thought that martial arts weren’t for me at that point in time and decided to just weight train and get as strong as I can. About a year later I decided to give it another try and started taking classes, really started getting into kickboxing and the rest is history. Flash-forward to today I have been training in martial arts for over 16 years. I started with Tae-kwon-doe, Snakefist kung-fu, Muay Thai kickboxing, American and Chinese boxing. In high school I learned how to wrestle. I got the inspiration from watching UFC and, specifically, Dan Severn, I didn’t understand what he was doing and it intrigued me; then I saw him beat up a Muay Thai fighter on one of the shows and I decided to learn more about it. A friend of mine asked me if I wanted to join the wrestling team and the rest is history. I attribute most of my success as a wrestler to having an understanding of Aikido and being able to use one’s opponents force against them. Wrestling then really became my passion. In 2000 after I graduated high school a friend asked me if I’d like to get back into martial arts, and at that point I began the creation of the WFC. A bunch of friends and myself (sic)started looking around for places to train and found them all very expensive so we decided to train with each other. I started to blend all of the various arts that I had trained in to become an MMA fighter. With my background in personal training and nutrition I was able to keep myself in good shape and on a regimented diet and that is basically how I began fighting. DM: How did it feel the first time you used your training in a real fight? A: I was never one into street fighting, fighting always intrigued me but I didn’t necessarily like fighting. About the 5th or 6th grade I came across somebody trying to kick my ass and it was amazing to know after that, that at least this stuff does work; I was able to defend myself. It felt great and from that point on I decided to keep on doing it.
DM: What part of your fight game needs the most improvement?
A: I would say everything. No fighter wants to feel comfortable and build habits; you don’t want to become a one trick pony. It’s important to work on everything, be open to suggestions and constructive criticism. I never think that anything I do is perfect. I’m always trying to punch faster and harder. I always try and work on everything everyday and make sure to keep my fundamentals strong both by practicing them and teaching them during classes. DM: What would you say your go to move is during a fight? A: Because I’m usually the small dog in the fight I like to use my upper body strength to create angles and get them off balance. If it’s a kickboxing match I’ll use my 1-2-3 combo. A jab, cross and then roundhouse kick to the leg to chop them down. In an MMA match I would look to start off with some strikes and then use my wrestling against my opponent. In a wrestling match I’ll get the guy on the ground as quick as possible, make them tire down by using their energy to attempt to get up and if submissions are involved I will usually go with the rear naked choke or the guillotine.
DM: What are your thoughts on the state of MMA today?
A: If I could sum it up in one word, that word would be “inflation.” Any guy who rolls on the mat for two months thinks he can get in the ring. A guy who knocked somebody out at a bar thinks he can go in there and strike. It’s really pathetic today to see such a great sport like Vale Tudo and Pancrase, real fighting become almost like a fashion show, everyone’s trying to walk down the runway strut their stuff and make a quick buck and get out. Now you got guys, it’s all about tattoos and who has the better Affliction shirt and I hate it because what happened to hip hop and professional wrestling. It’s all about their reality TV shows and promoting those fighters while real fighters can’t even get a contract. That’s why I feel this sport will go out of business eventually because it’s not quality over quantity. It’s quantity over quality right now because their aren’t very many real fighters being employed right now. The state of MMA today is actually its own worst enemy. Its own success will be its failure and I find it deplorable. That is why I hope one day my WFC can rival a company like the UFC and truly bring back the art of fighting into entertainment.
DM: What are your aspirations for the future as a fighter?
A: My aspirations as a fighter are pretty simple. Unfortunately age is a factor and I don’t foresee myself becoming a professional fighter. I want to use my fighting abilities to help further the movement that is the WFC. I will look to use my knowledge to train the fighters of tomorrow and hopefully help breed a new generation of great fighters and entertainers through my organization.
DM: What are your aspirations for WFC in the future?
A: What I want to accomplish with WFC is plain and simple. I’m looking to get out of the backyard and onto the TV. Outside of my background in fighting and training I have experience in film and I love to entertain and I want to bring the WFC into your homes to entertain you. We want to take that next step from the underground throne to the mainstream. You can check us out at wfclive.com and on our youtube page at youtube.com/wfclive.