Mixed Martial Arts is currently the hottest growing sport and entertainment event in the U.S. Thus we are excited to have the opportunity to interview our first MMA athlete here at The Giving Athlete!
MMA fighter Anthony Birchak is a big fan of our site. He was nice enough to spend some time answering a couple questions from one of our contributors, Max Nadelman.
Q: So starting off, how did you get involved with MMA? Were you into martial arts as a kid?
A: The only thing I’ve been doing for the last 20 some odd years is wrestling, Freestyle, Greco-Roman, and Collegiate style wrestling. Later years in wrestling put me in touch with people like Drew Fickett, Jamie Varner, Efrain Escudero, James Terry and many others who ignited my fire into the world of MMA.
Q: What other sports did you play while growing up?
A: I played pop Warner football. I played quarterback in high school for a bit, and like I mentioned dedicated my life to being a wrestler. If I was the size of the rest of the guys in my family I would’ve loved to have continued playing football. It’s a game and wrestling is a lifestyle.
Q: I know you were originally a wrestler…What was it like transitioning from wrestling to MMA fighting?
A: It was relatively simple for me. My athleticism makes it a bit easier on me to learn new and multiple disciplines. Jiu jitsu was a natural transition from there and now I focus the bulk of my training on cardio and striking to round out my overall game
Q: What’s it like being in the Octagon minutes before a fight?
A: The walkout is like tunnel vision. I have one destination and one thing on my mind! Stay sharp! The seconds after the cage door closes, I always have a thought that comes in my mind and it leaves just as quickly as it enters. “It’s way too late to say I don’t want to do this anymore” haha, but now I’m starting to control that thought and turn it into excitement.
Q: What kind of community service projects or organizations are you involved with in the community?
A: We recently did an event with Mary’s Mission in Sierra Vista, Ft Huachuca, Arizona for an at risk youth program. This program takes in kids from all over the southwest and tries to give them a strong place with good roots to grow up in. A lot of these kids are subjected to domestic violence, drug use, and gang activity. Mary’s Mission is a positive outlet and uses guests speakers from the Arizona Cardinals, the UFC along with other professional MMA guys. The purpose of getting these guys are to motivate the kids, to show them that not everyone has a good or even great upbringing, but it’s about the choices you make and the activities you choose to do to pass your time and give yourself discipline, taking advantage of the opportunities you are given and not to become a statistic. Another event that’s near to our hearts is the Candlelighters Cancer Smash For Kids which is put on by Vegas based promotion Tuff-N-Uff. My girlfriend Mercedes was supposed to be the only female fight on the card and was excited to be part that event which raised a crazy amount of money to support kids in their fight against cancers.
Q: Have you lived in Arizona your entire life? Do you feel that there is a connection between yourself and the community in Tucson?
A: Born and raised! Love Arizona! I’ve been all over and I can honestly say no other place is like the Grand Canyon State. I have so much support from my family and community here. The Arizona MMA is a tough strong rooted community. All of us are amazing athletes. This state is a hotbed for mixed martial arts and has produced some of the world’s best fighters and some of the best still to come. They say it takes a village to raise a child and I say a great community to build its champion. I am trying to be more active in my community as a whole now as a professional athlete I plan to do great things to show my thanks to Tucson and its smaller towns and cities, those who have also been my biggest supporters.
I want to thank you guys at The Giving Athlete for taking the time to speak with me and let us get the word out about the events that we would love to get more and more people involved in. If anyone has questions or wants to contribute please check us out at www.LutaEliteMMA.com, you can find links to our sponsors and affiliates. Without them a lot of this would not be possible. With that being said, I would like to thank the following:
Mercedes at Luta Elite
Sean Huff at Northside Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
Dr. Rick Kattouf with 5RoundFury.com
Jorge Navarro with Primate Media and Primate Clothing
There’s so many more but I just want to express my deepest gratitude to all of them.
You can follow Anthony Birchak on twitter:
Also don’t forget to like his facebook fan page https://www.facebook.com/AnthonyBirchak