MMA Storytime: The Legend of Kadillac Marshbanks

In my last article, I devoted a lot of real estate to one of the most unique human beings I have ever encountered, Lloyd “Kadillac” Marshbanks.

If you thought Kadillac leading the U.S. to a come-from-behind victory against a Finnish dude with “White Power” tattooed on his back was a wild story, then buckle up and get ready for this shit.

The story I am about to tell is 100% true. And while Kadillac is the main character, the story I am about to tell is pretty much four stories in one with plenty of sub plots. But the crux of the story is Lloyd fighting in Bulgaria under extreme duress.

First, I need to give you some background on Lloyd. Lloyd is 5’8” but fights at 248 lbs. Originally from a poor area in Chicago, he moved to San Diego as a teen and took up football and wrestling as a way to occupy his time in a new environment that was completely different than the one he had grown up in. A nephew of former NFL great Rev. Roosevelt Greer, Lloyd was blessed with some athletic gifts and became a standout on both the football and wrestling teams. Lloyd became so good at wrestling that he was an All-American in high school.

After school, Lloyd eventually got involved with MMA. With his strong wrestling skills, Lloyd picked up the jiu-jitsu game quick and is one of the best heavyweight submission guys out there. His submissions are so respected on the West Coast that he has trouble getting fights. Lloyd doesn’t have a manager so nobody has ever tried to build his record because no one has a vested financial interest in him. In fact, a lot of promoters have tried to use him as a way to build another fighter’s record. But when they ask around and are told how dangerous he is on the ground, the promoter will think of a reason for the fight to fall a part. Kadillac was actually picked to be one of Kimbo Slice’s early opponents in EliteXC. However, Terry Trebilcock was working for EliteXC after the company had purchased King of the Cage. Terry had promoted Kadillac and when he found out what EliteXC was planning to do, he allegedly called Gary Shaw and told him that if EliteXC put Kimbo in the same cage with Kadillac that Kadillac would tap him in under a minute.

Living in California, where MMA wasn’t regulated until 2006, Lloyd partook in non-sanctioned fights since MMA was not legal in the State at the time he started competing. Some of the non-sanctioned fighters were organized events while other bouts took place at backyard BBQs. According to Lloyd, the backyard BBQ fights weren’t like the fights Kimbo Slice was involved with on YouTube because the guys he fought actually trained and real martial arts techniques were used in the fights.

It was at one of these backyard BBQs in which Lloyd earned the nicknamed “Kadillac.” At these fights, gambling often took place. One time, Lloyd won a fight and afterward the fallen opponent confessed that he couldn’t provide the purse that had been agreed upon before the fight. Realizing he wasn’t going to get blood from a stone, Lloyd accepted an alternate form of payment. Having seen a ’72 Cadillac parked in the guy’s driveway that had caught his eye, Lloyd inquired about the car. After a brief discussion, Lloyd drove home the proud owner of a not so brand new 1972 Caddy. And thus, the legend of Lloyd “Kadillac” Marshbanks was born.

In addition to having fought in California before MMA was legal, other unsanctioned fights involving Lloyd have taken place in Peru, Argentina, Mexico (he’s a megastar in Tijuana), Costa Rica, and several other countries. No disrespect to Shonie Carter, but Lloyd Marshbanks is the real “Mr. International” in my book.

All of Lloyd’s non-U.S. fights were legit bouts. Listed as 19-11 on Sherdog, Lloyd claims he really is 49-11 because many of his fights took place in unregulated areas. Kadillac’s record has been a great source of debate. Some believe the record is legit while others have some questions. I consider Lloyd a friend so I don’t ask any questions. If he tells me something is good, I believe him. Whatever you want to believe is up to you.

I first met Lloyd this past March during an M-1 Challenge event held in Bourgas, Bulgaria. My trip to Bulgaria is another story into itself and instead of telling it another time, I am going to tell it to you now because it only adds to the ending. As such, this is the part of the story where I introduce a subplot.

I had started working for M-1 in November of ’08 and was afforded an amazing opportunity to travel to my first event in January of ’09 to Amsterdam for the M-1 Challenge finals. I’ve got some great stories about Amsterdam, such as my trip to the Banana Bar with Team England but you’re going to have to buy the book to hear about that one.

So my first trip was Amsterdam which was amazing and my second trip for M-1 was Bulgaria. Quite a dichotomy to say the least. Prior to the Bulgaria trip, M-1 had hired a Kansas City-based promoter by the name of Joe Kelly. I was aware of Joe’s sterling reputation in the industry because he had started promoting shows at the age of 23 and had a great track record as being one of the few honest promoters in the game.

Jerry Millen, one of my best friends in the industry who got me my gig with M-1 (the Jerry Millen I know away from the camera is different than the Jerry Millen the public knows), had known for quite some time that my long-term goal was to work in talent relations. He told me that if I wanted to be a matchmaker, Joe was someone I needed to make a favorable impression with.

Joe is the most organized promoter I have ever worked with and had obtained the flight manifests from the M-1 office in Holland so he could see when everyone was getting in. He saw that we were both scheduled to arrive for a layover in Frankfurt, Germany at the same time and called and said we should meet up because our remaining travel legs were in sync at that point. Traveling overseas can be long and arduous so any time you can pick up a traveling buddy or two, that’s always a huge plus.

Both our flights arrived late and I was completely unaware how busy the Frankfurt Airport is. It is essentially the O’Haire Airport of Europe as many flights connect out of there. We met briefly at the Admirals Club and we then left soon after to get on a flight that would take us to the capital city of Bulgaria, Sofia.

We were already behind schedule at this point since our flights were late and we walked into the security area to be greeted by the longest security line that I had ever seen. Knowing we were late, I pulled a dick move and started moving to the front of the line because we were already on a 16 hour travel day at that point. For us, a missed connection could mean we might get to Bourgas a complete day late, which wouldn’t have been good for Joe since it was his first official event as M-1’s Vice President of Live Events.

Joe and I both went through separate security checkpoints but as fate would have it, we were both taken off to the side and had our bags searched. The whole process took about 20 minutes each which was 20 minutes neither of us had to spare. Why were we pulled aside? Probably for no other reason outside of the fact that we were American and they just wanted to give us a hard time. It wasn’t until my M-1 trips that I would learn just how strong anti-American sentiment is when it comes to certain parts of the world.

We finally got through security and ran to our gate. We had 30 minutes before takeoff and I assured Joe that we were going to be fine. Famous last words. At a lot of European airports, they have what are known as “bus gates.” A bus gate is a gate that you go to in which there is no plane in sight. You hop on a bus that seemingly drives you miles and miles until you get to your plane. Little did I know that at a bus gate you had to be there no later than 40 minutes before your flight, otherwise, you weren’t getting onto the plane. My heart sank when the cold hearted bitch gleefully informed us Yanks that we had missed the bus by ten minutes and that we were screwed.

Joe and I went to the counter for our airline and waited in yet another huge line. We explained to the sales rep that both our flights came in late and that we were held up in security and missed our flight as a result. She took pity on us and issued us both new tickets with no questions asked. Phew. Life was good again and even though we were taking a later flight, we were still going to get to Sofia in time to make our connecting flight.

Or so I thought.

Joe and I sat down and got some water and while we were talking, we both realized that our luggage might be getting to Sofia before we would. The last thing you want to do is lose your luggage overseas but I told Joe we should just leave well enough alone and that our luggage would probably be waiting for us in Sofia. Joe needed to wear a suit the night of the fight and didn’t want to risk it. He wanted to know the whereabouts of his luggage and whether it had made it onto the flight we were supposed to be on or if it was rotting away in some luggage storage area. So we got back in line.

It was the biggest mistake ever.

We waited in line again and Joe pointed out a clerk that he felt looked friendly because she was the only one who appeared to be under the age of 40. We walked up to her and explained our situation. She asked us if we had American passports which really didn’t seem like a relevant question to me but we told her, yes, we were Americans. She said she couldn’t tell us about our luggage unless we presented our boarding passes. Seemed like a logical request. We handed them over and she made the biggest grimace ever and in an evil tone said “Who gave you these boarding pass!?” We were like “Uh, someone who isn’t here right now, why?” We were informed that our flights, even though they were delayed, had arrived 90 minutes before our connection which was plenty of time to make our connection.

We explained the huge line at security and the fact that we were pulled aside. She didn’t give a flying fuck. She said that we shouldn’t have been given new tickets and that if we wanted to fly to Sofia, we would have to buy new tickets. Joe just shook his head and said “Okay, thanks. Just hand me back my boarding pass.” She looked at us and said, “Oh, you want your boarding passes? No problem.” She then pulled out a huge ink stamper and slammed it down on each one of our tickets. She handed them back with a smile and said “Here you go sirs.” I took one glance at my freshly stamped ticket only to see the word “VOID” in huge block letters and purple ink on my ticket.

Joe and I were in shock and disbelief. We couldn’t believe what had just happened. Naturally, we began to protest and tried to reason with her. We were American and it didn’t matter. We asked to speak to a supervisor and was told “That will not be possible.” We told her we were going to Bulgaria for work purposes and that if we didn’t get there in time, both of us could be fired. Her response was that she could help us book new tickets but that the total cost for both of us to get a new flight would be 1,000 Euros.

Holy shit. 1,000 Euros!? That would essentially mean we were going to work the trip for free. We debated and debated and the woman informed us, “Look gentleman, you shouldn’t have been issued new boarding passes. Your only choice is to buy new boarding passes and catch the last remaining flight of the day to Sofia or wait and fly out tomorrow and still have to buy new boarding passes.”

We could have just changed our return flights for a nominal fee and gone home but we would have both been fired for not showing up on the job site. We didn’t have a choice. Looking to make a good impression on my new boss, I decided to pay for both tickets on my credit card with the plan to dispute the charge as soon as I got back to Philadelphia.

After our gentle raping, we got on a flight to Sofia that Dean Cain just happened to be on it. Dean Cain!? He looked pretty dreamy so suddenly the notion of just having been raped for over 1,000 Euros didn’t seem like such a bad proposition after all. But old Superman was flying first class while Joe and I flew coach so we only got a brief look at him. To this day, I have no idea why Dean Cain was on the same flight as me to Sofia, Bulgaria but I can assure you that it was definitely Dean Cain.

While I know M-1’s public perception isn’t the best, I enjoyed my time working for the company and I made some good friends there and learned a lot. I will always appreciate the fact that they gave me an opportunity to see the world and experience a lot of new things. And in this situation, they treated us very well. Once we got to Sofia, Joe was actually paged on the PA system. We were told to call the office. We called and Ineke, the office manager, frantically asked us “Are you guys okay? We saw online that you missed your flight to Sofia.” Being American and traveling overseas isn’t always as safe as you might think and M-1 was genuinely concerned that something might have happened. As an aside, my credit card company refused to take the charge of the new tickets off my card so M-1 refunded me my money with no questions asked.

Bulgaria was especially dangerous. In Bulgaria, the American Dream does not exist. I am a big believer in Democracy but as a former political science student, I know that the transition from a communist economy to a free market economy was not a smooth one for many Eastern Bloc nations. Our system of government isn’t always the best fit for certain countries. I think Bulgaria might be one of those countries. Not only does the American Dream not exist but I am not so sure the Bulgarian Dream even exists. The reality is that wealth in Bulgaria is really only attained through birthright or by illegitimate means. One of the illegitimate ways to accrue wealth in Bulgaria is by kidnapping unsuspecting foreigners. I knew to be on my toes but I wasn’t really aware just how dangerous things were.

We got our connection from Sofia to a second Bulgarian city that I cannot think of at the moment. It was from this second city where we were to be driven to Bourgas, the sight of the event. When we arrived, we were greeted by two large Bulgarian men with a sign that said “M-1″. They were very nice guys and Joe and I chatted with them for a while. But after a 26-hour travel day at that point, I wanted to eat and go to sleep so I kindly asked the two men if we could be on our way. Their response was “Oh, we aren’t the driver. He is on his way.” Perplexed, I asked “Well, then who are you guys?” The one man responded “Oh, we’re here to make sure you are picked up by the right driver.”

Wow. We had our own security detail. This was nuts! If my wife knew about this she’d shit a brick and she’d never let me travel again. This was one secret I knew I had to keep from her. On one hand you could say the company I worked for put me in danger. But the reality is, any time you leave the U.S. and go to a country where Americans aren’t respected, you assume a certain amount of risk. It’s just the way it is and I am thankful M-1 took the needed precautions to make sure we were safe and were concerned enough to page us at an airport to make sure we were okay.

By the time the driver had arrived, Team USA East had arrived as well and was waiting for the van with us. The team included Renato Migliaccio, a black belt in Judo and BJJ from Brazil who spoke great English and was living in the U.S.; Steve Carl, a former Army Sgt. fighting out of Iowa who had a 9-1 record; Herbert Goodman, a former NFL running back who I was quite familiar with from my days of covering the NFL; Chuck Grigsby, a WEC vet who I remembered seeing take on Mark Munoz and who was like seven feet tall; Kadillac; and the team manager, Reed Wallace of White Chocolate Management.

Joe and I introduced ourselves and we all began trading our traveling war stories. Steve Carl’s took the cake. When he arrived in Sofia and got his luggage, he said he saw a guy with a sign that said “M-1″ and the man instructed him to come with him and that his taxi would take him to Bourgas. Steve started to walk off with him before Kadillac began to yell and called him back. Apparently he said, “Steve, what are you doing? We’re flying to Bourgas. Not driving.” Steve told him the guy knew they were fighters and was waiting for them. Being a world traveler, Kadillac knew better and told him they needed to get on the plane.

When we got to our hotel in Bourgas, we asked some people about what had happened to Steve and who the guy was and how he knew there would be fighters from M-1 arriving in Sofia en route to Bourgas. The hotel clerk said he couldn’t be certain but said that what likely happened was that some guy read a newspaper article about the event and that the guy read that Americans were going to be arriving in Sofia and potentially was looking to kidnap a few. Do I know that to be fact? No. But I do know that M-1 confirmed that they had never arranged for a driver to greet any of us in Sofia.

We had all been told that it would be a 30 minute ride from the airport to our hotel in Bourgas. Well, apparently a major road had been closed and we had to take the “scenic” route. Our 30 minute ride turned into a 90 minute odessey up the most winding road I have ever been on. We all rode on one of those party bus type vans and I really think this van was a party bus. It had Christmas lights inside and the driver blasted the radio and we were subjected to some strange Euro house music during our ride there.

Our driver was in a hurry and was doing somewhere between 90-100 miles on a one lane road through the woods that kept winding one way and going the other. It felt like the bus was going to tip several times and I had remembered that Cliff Burton from Metallica had died in Europe on a tour bus that had tipped. I really feared for my life at that point but when we went through a stretch of a wooded area and the trip kept going on and on, I wasn’t the only one who was worried.

Someone from the back of the party bus yelled “Yo, I saw a scene like this in the Sopranos one time when they said they were going somewhere but they just went deep into the woods so they could get whacked.” I saw that episode where Sylvio whacked Adriana and man, it did kind of feel that way.

The ride was so crazy that a lot of us became nauseous. Steve Carl blurted out “Well, I don’t think I am going to have to cut weight tomorrow.” I started laughing and looked back at him only to see that he wasn’t joking and that his face had turned green.

Eventually we had made it. It was around midnight but it felt like 6 a.m. to me. I couldn’t remember the last time I had eaten. M-1 had given us meal vouchers and arranged a set up where we could go to a local restaurant in town and eat for free. However, the driver told us that the place had closed for the evening. I can’t remember a time that I was more hungry. Luckily, there was a McDonald’s across the street.

Now, I hate fast food. If I do eat fast food, I can sometimes tolerate Wendy’s if I am really hungry and there is no choice. But I always have hated McDonald’s. I don’t let my wife or son eat there in my presence because just the smell of the food makes me sick. But desperate times call for desperate measures and if I was going to have to order a Happy Meal just to take the edge off my appetite, then I’d eat everything that came in the box including the toy.

This was a 24 hour McDonald’s and it had a huge elevated sign that was in neon, much like the McDonald’s in downtown Vegas. In a lot of countries I’ve gone to, English is spoken prevalently but Bulgaria wasn’t one of those countries. Thankfully, Reed Wallace spoke Russian and while it’s not the same as Bulgarian, the dialect was similar enough that he could get our order in.

At this point though it was so late that you could only order from the drive-through. We had no car so we walked up to the drive-through window. At this point, it was like 10 degrees out. Kadillac was with us in a t-shirt and shorts. I was dressed warmly but freezing my ass off and he didn’t show any signs of being affected by the cold. Kadillac was a tough dude.

There were six of us and we ordered everything on the menu three times over. It might have been the biggest order in the history of McDonald’s. By this point a line of cars was behind us and a bunch of angry Bulgarians were yelling at us. They looked pretty pissed off. Thankfully, I was with a group of fighters.

We got our order and Reed must have spoke Bulgarian well because we got everything we had ordered. That doesn’t happen in the States. But this was no ordinary McDonald’s. This McDonald’s was actually pretty good. My hamburger actually looked like a hamburger. The meat patty actually extended beyond the circumference of the bun. It was like a higher end McDonald’s. In later trips I would come to learn that the non-U.S. McDonald’s had a much higher quality of food than what we get here in the States.

I ate and went back to the hotel. My journey to Bourgas had been a crazy trip. So crazy that I felt I needed to call Dave Andrest, the CTO of FiveOuncesOfPain.com and Combat Sports Media what had happened. Through Combat Sports Media, Dave worked for M-1 as their Internet streaming specialist. He was leaving a day later than Joe and I. Dave is a nervous traveler to begin with but I felt I needed to tell him what to expect. Once at the hotel I called him via Skype and explained things to him. I got him worried but I still thought he believed I was embellishing things. When he arrived at the hotel the next day he looked at me and said “You know, I really thought you were exaggerating but things were even worse than you described.”

So now that you’ve read about my trip from hell, let’s get back to the legend of Kadillac.

Joe, Dave, me, and the rest of the M-1 crew worked diligently to get the event set up. Joost Raimond, the COO of the company, and Jerry Millen, who handles all of the television production, were not at the event. That meant even more responsibility for Joe in his first event as the Vice President of Live Events. My normal function was PR but Joe essentially allowed me to be an assistant site promoter on the trip so I got to serve in a lot of roles I had never served in before.

Things went smoothly and the show began. MMA is new to Bulgaria and at first, the crowd had no idea what they were watching. Wrestling is big over in Bulgaria and interestingly enough, the crowd only got excited once a fight went to the ground. It was like the opposite of an American crowd and it was pretty surreal yet cool to see at the same time. As the show went on, the Bulgarians caught on quick and started to respond to the standup exchanges pretty well.

But while things began smoothly they didn’t stay that way. On my way to the back I ran into Reed Wallace. Reed looked pretty distressed and he asked me if I knew where Joe was. I said I hadn’t seen him but that he might be back in the production truck. Reed said “Look, we’ve got a major problem with Kadillac. He might not fight tonight.” I was like “What!?”

You see, the M-1 Challenge shows are a cool live event but their primary purpose is to serve as a TV taping. We taped three head-to-head best-of-five country vs. country matchups with 15 fights in all on each show. Each show produced three television episodes. On TV, the show is edited down to an hour and presented as a best-of-five contest and edited like a TV show with a beginning, middle, and an end. The whole storyline of the TV show is which country is going to win the best of five series. Having a team gain a win via forfeit kind of kills the integrity of the show. It would be like watching a cop drama and instead of the bad guy getting fingered and arrested, he just turns himself in. Kind of anti-climatic.

So when I heard we might lose a fight, I became panicked as well. I asked Reed what was going on and he told me that Kadillac used a public bathroom instead of the one in the locker room because someone was in it. And that while coming back from the bathroom to the locker room he was approached by two large Bulgarian men who spoke broken English. I wasn’t there but the way the story was explained to me was that they told Kadillac that “Your American teammates are okay to fight. But you? If you fight tonight, it will be very bad for you.”

At first Kadillac laughed, thinking they were joking. But he said they looked pretty menacing and he said they reiterated to him that he better not win. Essentially, these two men had cornered Kadillac and threatened his life. Is that an over-reaction? Perhaps. But we are talking about Bulgaria, not the U.S. If someone threatened to kill me in Philadelphia, I would laugh and blow them off because that kind of talk happens all the time. But I know Philly and I don’t know Bulgaria. These guys apparently meant business and needless to say, Kadillac was pretty rattled. He had fought in enough foreign countries to know that sometimes people bet on their friends against a foreigner and they do everything they can to make sure they don’t lose money. Not to mention, the Americans were not well liked in Bulgaria and it was Team USA East vs. Team Bulgaria. The crowd booed the Americans pretty enthusiastically, as if the cold war was still going on.

I found Joe and told him what was going on. He went back to speak with Kadillac and came back and said “Hey, I don’t think he’s going to fight.” But we needed him to fight because the heavyweights go on last and that was essentially our main event. Furthermore, if he didn’t fight and the matchup was tied 2-2, the show would end with Bulgaria winning by way of anti-climatic forfeit. We needed Kadillac to fight.

A lot of people went back to the locker room to talk with Lloyd. Personally, if it had been me, I would have left through the back and caught a cab straight to the airport. But Kadillac wasn’t about to run off and after a personal assurance from Vadim Finkelchtein that M-1 could vouch for his security, he agreed to fight.

The fights kept going off without a hitch. USA East vs. Team Bulgaria closed the show. Bulgaria was getting strong fan support and the team looked pretty tough. The lightweight and the welterweight fighters from Bulgaria looked like they had been eating their wheaties. I mean, these cats were jacked! Renato opened the show against the lightweight and improved to 6-0 with a quick submission over the ripped Bulgarian lightweight. Steve then fought the jacked Bulgarian welterweight and put on a clinic and just tore the guy up in about three and a half minutes.

The crowd was not happy.

Herbert was next and he was dominated the entire fight by ex-UFC veteran Jordan Radev. However, with a second left in the fight, Herbert connected with a huge right cross that knocked Radev out. The referee went to cover Radev up right as the bell rang and the ref turned to the judges who ruled in favor of Radev by unanimous decision. However, M-1 officials reviewed the the footage and saw that Radev fell to the floor before the bell rang and determined that the ref intervened to protect Radev because the fight couldn’t continue. The decision was reversed and Goodman was credited with the win. Chuck Grigsby put the Americans ahead 4-0 with a decision victory.

With USA East up 4-0 it was up to Kadillac to give the team a clean sweep. You could make the case that the fight was academic at that point considering USA East had clinched a team win. But with four divisions of four teams and just three regular season meets, individual victories were a key tie-breaker. And in hindsight, the fight proved to be important because USA East ended up making the post-season despite finishing the season tied in their division with Team Finland.

While Lloyd had agreed to fight that doesn’t mean he still wasn’t rattled. Kadillac was so nervous that he came out to the stage and began to walk the catwalk on the way to the ring before he was even announced. He had totally blown his cue and when his pyro went off, he was already in the ring. He clearly wanted to get the fight over with as quickly as possible and get the hell out of dodge.

The fight began and the two fighters just stood across from one another circling each other. They kept circling and circling… and then circled some more. I think and minute and a half went by without either fighter making contact. Finally the ref stepped in and issued BOTH fighters a yellowcard. Despite the instruction from the ref, neither was willing to engage each other. The crowd was pro-Team Bulgaria and quite vocal. Lloyd would later tell me he was worried about causing a riot if he had inflicted a lot of damage on the hometown hero.

Out of nowhere, the Bulgarian threw a lazy kick that Lloyd caught. He flipped the Bulgarian who fell on his back. All the while Lloyd held the leg in his hand. The Bulgarian was against the ropes and laid out flat with Lloyd in firm grasp of his leg. The leg lock was there for the obvious taking. You could see Lloyd think about it and I could swear he looked out at the crowd before he dropped down and cinched it in. Lloyd got the tap and went back to the locker room as quickly as he could.

In the end, it worked out perfectly for Lloyd. He got the win without inflicting any serious damage on his opponent. And despite losing 5-0, Team Bulgaria took the loss well and congratulated USA East backstage. They also invited USA East to come train with them the next day. The fighters considered that a strange request and some of them thought it was some kind of set up. But Lloyd and Chuck hung out with the Bulgarians that night and they said they were rather pushy about Lloyd and Chuck training with them the next day and explaining the moves they had used to beat them.

Kadillac and Chuck were concerned but also wanted to be nice at the same time. So they rolled with them the next day and apparently proceeded to tap to any kind of resistance they had felt because they didn’t know whether they were being set up or not.. The Bulgarian fighters were shocked at how easily they were handling the American fighters after losing 5-0 just the night prior. Kadillac explained “Hey, I guess you guys just had an off night.”

In hindsight, Chuck and Kadillac weren’t in any danger at that point. I would come to learn that in Europe, MMA is still very new. In most countries, MMA instructors really aren’t true mixed martial artist but a combat sports athlete who was a standout in a specific discipline. For example, a standout wrestler who competed on an Olympic level will go straight into MMA and do some fights and then come back home and open a gym. Guys like Lloyd and Chuck who have cross-trained with well known camps in the U.S. had knowledge that European fighters craved.

After the show was done, the Americans had an extra day to spend in Bourgas before we headed home. Everyone from the other countries flew out the next day so we had no security. The ten Americans who were left all hung out with each other. Dave and I were so eager to get home that we stayed up for 24 hours straight because we did not want to risk missing the bus to the airport and being stuck in Bulgaria and extra day.

That was the first time Joe and I had met Kadillac and he became an instant favorite of ours. Anyone who fights for us under the threat of bodily harm is alright in my book. That’s why when the commission in Kansas told us two days before the M-1 Challenge show at Joe’s arena this past June that Mike Ottman was off the show, Joe specifically asked Reed Wallace to get Kadillac. And when we put together the card for M-1 Breakthrough, Joe and I made sure that Lloyd was going to be on it. And while Joe and I don’t manage Lloyd, any time we hear of a good opportunity for him, we make sure to pass it on to him. As a promoter and matchamaker, you have to be loyal to a guy who has come through for us the way Kadillac has.

Despite some anxious moments, the trip was well worth it because I came away with the kind of stories that someone couldn’t even make up. And in the end, I made it home alive and in good enough condition to tell you this story.

Editor’s Note: Below is a video interview conducted with Lloyd Marshbanks in Bulgaria:

6 COMMENTS
  • Dufresne says:

    That is a wild story. One things for sure, any inkling of desire I had to travel to Bulgaria has evaporate lol.

    It’s pretty cool to see that a lot of Europe is where the US was MMAwise about 10-15 years ago. Their fighters are trained in one, maybe two, combat sports and have a strong desire to learn and develop their skills. Hopefully the European fans and fighters will continue to develop the sport and it will grow as fast over there as it has over here in the US.

    Kadillac sounds like a pretty amazing guy. I know if I was over in a foreign country and had just been threatened like some character in a movie, I would have developed some sort of stomach ailment or allergic reaction and gotten the hell out of there.

    But I guess a lot of credit goes to M1 here, they covered the security, and their word was evidently good. I’m guilty of being one of those people that looks at M1 with a lot of skepticism due to the limited amount of knowledge I have about them, but this article is really changing the way I think about them. I don’t know another company that would have reimbursed employees almost $1500 usd because of a screw up beyond their control. That’s pretty classy in my book. I’m also impressed that they thought to provide security for their employees in a foreign country, both at the airport and after the fight. I’m not completely on the M1 bandwagon, but I’m definitely off of the M1 bashing bandwagon.

    Thanks for the awesome read Sam, this is one of the reasons I love this site.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  • Rece Rock says:

    Crazy stuff… god you have had an interesting livlihood.

    The main thing i take from this story is the thought of how many other fighters are in similar situations as Kadillac is or was… and what could have been if some of these guys were groomed and managed into better positions in the fight game… guess as the sport evolves there will be more outlets for these guys to succeed and make a living and have a descent life.

    Cool story – Thanks.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  • tweeber says:

    Quite a story Sam, I can imagine it must have been frightening…

    However, being European (I’m from Amsterdam) I feel compelled to say that these kinds of situations are (luckily) exceptions in Europe.
    Western Europe (for example) is civilized and safe, arguably safer then the US.

    The fact of the matter is that in any culture you are not familiar with you will automatically feel uncomfortable or at least uneasy, just because you don’t know how things work. And rightfully so…
    People from other countries feel equally uneasy when going to the US.

    I personally had my most frightening arrival episode when I was singled out by the US immigration when travelling into Washington DC for work… still don’t know why, but I can tell you I felt very badly treated.

    I hope Sam’s story doesn’t prevent anybody from travelling abroad, because experiencing other countries and cultures gives you a much better perspective on the world’s issues…

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  • Guthookd says:

    Great story man. I hope your friend does well against Lashley. If his submissions are that great he just might win the thing.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  • Guthookd says:

    Guthookd: Great story man. I hope your friend does well against Lashley. If his submissions are that great he just might win the thing.  (Quote)

    Ooops. That’s Amriz who’s fighting Lashley. My baddddd.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  • Sam Caplan says:

    Looks like the Ambriz fight fell through. Maybe they should give Lloyd a call.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

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