‘Oh Africa Brave Africa’. It was… a laugh riot.
Famed boxing trainer Freddie Roach recently appeared on MMAJunkie.com Radio, and he delivered the goods. Sure, he touched on Amir Kahn’s upcoming fight, Pacquiao, and certain MMA fighters, but none of that matters. Freddie Roach almost ate a man’s eye in a street fight. Not only did he do this, but he talks about it with the gleeful amusement more befitting a child recalling his favorite prank than a grown man describing how he used his teeth to transform another human being into an unwilling cyclops.
The conversation begins with Roach discussing Amir Khan’s fight against Danny Garcia, but quickly veers into MMA. At one point, Roach claims that one of the reasons that boxing has fallen behind MMA in terms of pay-per-view numbers is that “[boxing has] promoters that don’t like each other, and they bring their personal life into boxing.” Fortunately, MMA hasn’t had to suffer overly emotional promoters who hold grudges, so it’s still in good shape. Then Roach hits on a number of topics, including…
Lingering MMA-Boxing enmity: “I have boxing people that don’t like that I like MMA. And it’s like ‘they’re against us.’ And I said there’s room for everybody. A good fight’s a good fight. I don’t care what you call it. You know, I like good fights.”
Anderson Silva: “My good friend Anderson Silva, of course, he had a great fight the other night. They’re saying there’s a little controversy about the knee, that it was a little bit high and went to the chin… I talked to the commissioner Keith Kizer about it, he says ‘we have tape, it’s clean and they’ll be no change in the outcome.’ And Anderson’s one of the best guys I’ve trained, just as far as knowing timing and distance, he’s really, really good.”
GSP: “Right now, I’ve been working with GSP quite a bit. And he’s just like, he’s a great guy and he wants to learn. He’s the type of guy, you show him a move and the next day he comes back and he’s got it down pretty good. And I asked him ‘how long did you spend in the mirror practicing that?’ And he’s that type of guy, he goes back to his hotel room, in front of that mirror working on it. He’s just a great guy to work with.”
BJ Penn: “Penn was one of the best strikers I’ve ever trained. I think at that time he was maybe the best striker. He could really punch. I really liked working with him, and one thing about working with the UFC fighters or the MMA fighters is they have a lot of respect. They come to my gym and they bow and they’re very respectful.”
Tito Ortiz: “I trained Tito for a while also. But the thing about training Tito, though, is that he wanted to go to the ground right away. ‘Cause that was his thing. He didn’t like the standup as much as the other guys I had trained. He wanted to get me on the floor as soon as possible… Even on the mitts, he’d throw a combination and shoot for the takedown.”
Finally, Roach mentioned a street fight in passing. Curious, host George Garcia pressed him for more details. Roach then proceeded to explain how he ended up biting a dude’s eyeball out of its socket.
“I was leaving a club, and I was going out with this girl. She was a Penthouse Playmate and she was real pretty. She was a pretty girl, but she had a drug problem and so forth. So I really don’t know why this fight happened, but two cars, one cuts in front of me, one gets behind me, three guys jump out. I should have probably stayed in the car, but it’s not like me to stay in the car. I get out, the guy’s yelling at me in a foreign language, getting really aggressive, so I dropped him, and then I jumped on him, and then the other two guys thought I was a football and they kicked the shit out of me with their boots on. So then, I gotta do something drastic here, so then I took the guy and I bit his eyeball out. I had eyelashes in between my teeth. It worked though, ‘cause they swung a knife at my back and cut my shirt right in half but didn’t scratch me. And then they went to hit me again with it, and Mike Andolini [approximate guess of this dude’s name] I was giving a ride home that night, he grabs the knife, twists it out of the guy’s hand and threw it in someone’s yard. I had to take him to the hospital to get stitched up. I had 25 major contusions on my head, broken head, broken shoulder, they messed me up pretty good.”
Just, wow. I mean, Freddie and I must have a different concept of efficacy – I’m not entirely sure having someone swing a knife at you is proof that biting a man’s eye out “worked,” but to each his own. At any rate, this has to rank in the top five street fight stories in MMA lore, alongside Bas Rutten fending off Swedish bouncers and Lee Murray landing a Tekken combo and then curb-stomping Tito’s cranium. Even if, you know, this one doesn’t concern an MMA fighter. Whatever, no one’s a fan of technicalities. And as for the question everyone is asking; did he spit the eyeball out? “Oh yeah, blood was gushing. It was great.”
“It was great.” Don’t fuck with Freddie Roach.