Editors Note: Mike Reilly is the owner and head instructor of the MMA gym Team Bison, located in St. Paul, Minnesota. Team Bison is home to many of the Twin Cities’ top fighters, including Brett Rogers and Kelly Kobold. Reilly has agreed to join FiveOuncesofPain.com as an occasional contributor in order to provide our readers with an inside perspective of a respected MMA trainer.
When you come to L.A. you expect to see fake, shallow and hollow. You expect tourist traps, seedy scenes born of shattered dreams. You expect the people to be phony, smarmy sycophants. If this is what we expected to see; we were sorely disappointed.
For Brett Rogers and myself, Los Angeles truly was a city of angels.
We took the week long trip away from our home camp to shake up our routine, sharpen our focus, and of course to meet with some press to Promote the Nov 7 Strikeforce event on CBS. It was a leap of faith. We had never met our hosts face to face, the people we would train with, or the press with whom Brett would be sharing his story.
What we found is L.A. was a city with their arms and hearts open to us. Remetee, partially owned by All Star Baseball Player Ryan Braun, was our host for the week. They made sure our every need was met and met in style. Brett is the only MMA fighter to wear the Remetee brand more generally found on top named boxers and other sport’s stand outs, and they made sure to give us a taste of the life enjoyed by stand outs in other sports.
At the same time we got to experience one thing that has always made MMA such an amazing sport. MMA fighters, coaches and gyms almost universally keep an open door for other fighters. We got the opportunity to train at Throwdown Elite in San Diego, with Josh Barnett at CSW, at Black House, Bas Rutten’s gym, Lotar, Millinia MMA, Gold’s Gym and of course Affliction. Every place we went, coaches and fellow fighters went out of their way to help us, share their thoughts on the fight and wish us well. While so many people were kind and helpful to us I really want to point out Chase Gromley, Emanuel Newton and John Marsh. Despite Chase having a huge fight of his own at UFC Oct 24th he went way out of his way to train with us at 4 different gyms. One of his coaches, John Marsh; likewise went miles out of his way to work with us. We like Emanuel Newton. Honestly, L.A. hospitality put Minnesota nice to shame.
Likewise the press that we worked with out there was great. Adam Carolla, The crew from the Daily show, Skinny Mag, SI, HD Net and many others. I was especially touched by Josh Gross article about Brett “defying the odds.” Josh has reported on Brett’s fights long before anyone knew who Brett was. Josh Gross is not know for soft or sentimental reporting. Not one who easily rallies for the underdog. While the tone of Josh’s article remains neutral; one can not help but to appreciate the emotional power of the story unfolding. Likewise Ester Lin and Casey took a day with us on Redondo Beach. Ester and Casey are fantastically talented artists and equally delightful company. All in all the Press has been great. Everyone has been highly respectful of our training needs while trying to get their stories.
Most of all we have to thank our sponsors Remetee and Throwdown who took such amazing care of us while in the city. Our Driver, Remi Martinez of Executive Limo Service got us through the traffic, to three dozen locations on time every time and in style. They set us up with clothing, Affliction, TLFI, Remetee and Sinful for our wives so we can always be stylish.
Getting ready to fight the number one guy on the planet is a tremendous amount of work. It is difficult, challenging and at time daunting. However we are enjoying the journey and grateful for all the new friends we have made.