How long are you planning on staying in Peru?
Indefinitely. I do not have plans to leave anytime soon. I love my life here and am just starting to feel like it’s home. When I initially set out, I sold it to my parents and other concerned parties as a one year deal, but it is definitely more open-ended at this point.
Do you eventually plan on fighting in a big promotion like the UFC or Bellator?
Absolutely. That is the goal. That is the dream. I think I have to win a few more fights before they start paying attention to me. However, with my wrestling pedigree and marketable backstory, I don’t see any reason why I couldn’t now. So if you know anyone, please pass my name along.
How is your Spanish coming along?
I have been down here almost six months now. When I arrived I barely spoke any Spanish. I had taken classes for a few years in high school, but that was more than 10 years ago. So I had to relearn most from scratch.
I speak it every single day and most of my friends here don’t speak any English. I have learned a ton and am very conversational at this point. I am far from fluent, but there is rarely a time when I cannot communicate with someone when I want to. If I don’t know a word or a phrase, I can ask them to explain it and usually I understand.
I did this commercial for my chiropractor recently. I still sound awkward and even pronounced my own name phonetically for some reason. I think in a month or two I should be able to do interviews in Spanish.
Why did you pick Peru? Aren’t there better places to train in the US?
I picked Peru because I wanted to live in a different country and my friend Ben already lived here. I am lucky that the training situation is perfect for me. The coaches are incredibly supportive and really want us to succeed. Just last night, I spent almost two hours hitting pads with Ivan, a Peruvian MMA legend. It would be very tough to get that caliber of one-on-one attention in the US. The Pitbull Martial Arts Center is a one-stop shop for all different styles of fighting. The training partners I have here are amazing. They push me in the room every single day.
Additionally, it makes a lot of sense financially. I trained in NYC for a few months before I came down here. I went to Renzo Gracie Academy for jiu jitsu ($230/month) and Church Street for boxing/Muay Thai ($130/month). Now, I get paid to train.
The cost of living is insanely cheap down here. Sometimes I get an egg sandwich for breakfast from the cart on the corner by my house – it costs 35 cents. I get my hair cut for 2-3 dollars. I take a 30 minute cab ride to and from practice every day and it costs me three dollars each way. I pay $180/month in rent, including utilities. That would barely even cover my cable bill in New York.
Will you ever go back to working on Wall Street?
I don’t know. I haven’t ruled that out as something down the line, but I don’t see myself going back anytime soon. Where I’m at in my life right now, I think that it would be nearly impossible to get me to sit in a chair for 12 hours a day. That could change, I just don’t know. That is assuming anyone would even have me, but I’m not losing any sleep over it either way.
Why do you write?
I find writing to be incredibly cathartic. Even though I haven’t posted a lot on this blog lately, I still write every single morning. I try to write 500 – 1,000 words each day. I find the act of putting my thoughts down on paper to be enlightening. At times, it can be a little nerve-racking posting my thoughts for the world to see and judge, but I find that to be instructive as well. If you’re not writing for an audience, you’re not playing for keeps. I always find it better to be in the ring grinding it out than sitting in the stands watching.
I also wanted a way for my family and friends to follow my adventures. I have found it to be rewarding beyond my expectations. One of my best friends from elementary school moved back to England 15 years ago and we hadn’t kept in touch at all. He just emailed me the other day saying that he stumbled upon my blog and was curious about my fighting. I have dozens of stories like that and I hope to have many more. So please reach out and say hi.
Feel free to ask any other questions you may have in the comments below and I will try to answer them as best as possible.