4 Apr 2014 06:22:24 AM
(Fickett plays Metallica’s “Unforgiven” in this recent clip from Arizona Combat Academy.)
MMA veteran Drew Fickett is well known for his UFC battle with Karo Parisyan, for handing Josh Koscheck the first loss of his career inside the Octagon, and for the struggles with addiction that temporarily derailed his career (and likely contributed to his appearance on Judge Judy for standing on the hood of a car and chipping golf balls off of it). But most people don’t know that Fickett is also a music junkie and piano buff — spending up to an hour a day tickling the black and white keys with his knotted knuckles and arthritic fingers.
Drew’s fight nickname, “Nightrider,” is somewhat of a new addition. For most of his career, Fickett held the moniker of “Master,” which is more fitting for a pianist, if only indirectly. “Master” is the English equivalent of the Spanish word “maestro,” which is often bestowed upon great composers, or other artists. Seeing as though Drew has a tattoo that reads “Hecho en Mexico” on his shoulder — though he was really born in Columbia, South Carolina — it all seems to make a bit more sense. Or at least it does by Fickett’s own logic.
I first learned of Drew’s piano prowess when he and a few other fighters from my gym were helping me move an antique piano for my wife, who has played since she was a child. After contacting a man selling the piano on Craigslist, I showed up to the guy’s house with a group of fighters to help me move it, none of whom knew a thing about the instrument, let alone how to play one, or so I thought.
I looked at the piano like a monkey staring at a computer. I checked for visible damage, hit a couple of keys, and then asked the man if he’d take $50 less than what he was asking. He said, “No.” I told him I’d take it. Drew, unhappy with my negotiating skills, as well as my inability to distinguish the musical tool from a large paperweight, chimed in.
“Tino, you don’t know how to play?” Drew asked.
“No. Not at all,” I replied.
“What the hell were you thinking buying a piano without even knowing if it works?”
Drew then walked over to the piano, pulled out the bench, and sat down in front of it. Slumped over like Schroeder from the Charlie Brown cartoons, he proceeded to blow all of our minds with the melodic sounds of songs that were unfamiliar to any of us. After about two minutes he stood up, turned around, and nonchalantly said, “A couple of keys are out of tune, but it’s a great fucking piano.”Read More DIGG THIS