|Punching And Bonding|
TJ De Santis
"Do you want a punch in the face?" Gewik asks me? When approached with this question I really have no idea how to answer this. Gegard jokingly yells at his older brother, "Come on Gewik, you've only known this guy a few days." Gewick faints a punch and we all laugh.
The Mousasi's are very playful. As we are out longer we all get more comfortable with one another. The comrodority of this trip will be missed once it's all over.
|A New World|
Max was in awe as he walked into the Strikeforce event on Saturday night having no idea where he was going to be sitting. He motioned towards the upper deck escalator before realizing that his seats would be leading him downstairs as opposed to upstairs. It was clear that Max would’ve been completely satisfied sitting in the upper deck seats of the arena, but tonight Max was being thrown into a whole new world. Before long, Max found himself sitting several rows back from center stage where he ran into a former sparring partner and good friend King Mo. Max asked King Mo how his knee was doing and then the two exchanged some other wishful sentiments before finding their seats for the incredible evening of fights.
|Travel, Rest and Fights|
The twelve hour flight from Holland was exhausting for Gegard Mousasi and his brother Gewik, and their first request was to get some food before resting up for the Strikeforce night of fights. Gegard headed down to Original Joe’s Italian Restaurant with his brother before being pulled into several interviews halfway to the restaurant. Finally, after finishing up the interviews, the Mousasi brothers enjoyed an incredible Italian meal that included a 30oz steak. There was nothing left on that plate but fat and gristle.
|Martyniouk Sees His Future|
TJ De Santis
Few experiences are more unique than sitting next to a fighter during a live MMA event. That’s what I had the pleasure of doing on Saturday night in San Jose during Strikeforce’s “Diaz vs Noons 2” card, as Max “Payne” Martyniouk and I sat 10 rows back from the cage.
“I never have attended a major MMA show before, because I like to think positive,” says Martyniouk. “I have always envisioned myself fighting for Strikeforce. I didn’t want my first experience at the show being one I remember from the upper deck.”
“Being in the [Sherdog fighter exchange] program, I know that I am going to get my shot. I feel like I am part of this event.”
Many fighters get amped up during live shows. Their movements and body language generally indicate that they want to climb inside whatever cage or ring they’re looking at and go a few rounds themselves.
However, the Estonian-born Martyniouk is composed throughout the evening’s fights. As he studies the action, it’s clear that the fighter they call “Payne” is here as a student of the game before anything else.
“I do take mental notes and critique other fighters, especially the ones in my own weight division.”
“I told everyone I knew that I would be fighting in Strikeforce before the year is over,” adds the lightweight. The look in Martyniouk’s eyes tells me all I need to know: he feels he’s seeing his future playing out in front of him.
|Max Gets The Call|
TJ De Santis
Max Martyniouk was sound asleep when he heard his phone ring. Like most calls in the middle of the night, he let it go to voicemail. However, something got the better of the young fighter, causing him to get out of bed and check the message that had just been left.
“Max, call Steve right now,” said his co-manager, Vitaliy. “It's an emergency.”
Alarmed, Martyniouk called his other manager, Steve Bash. Less than three hours later, Max was on a plane bound for San Jose to enroll in the Sherdog MMA fighter exchange program.
“I believe in everything happening for a reason,” says the lightweight. “I am a huge believer in laws of attraction."
In the coming weeks, Martyniouk will have the chance to train in southern California with some of the best fighters in the world -- a chance he says he won’t squander.
“I am going to do everything I can to make the best of this opportunity. There are no second thoughts on my mind about this. Nothing was going to keep me from getting on that plane.”
|Max Martyniouk - Bio|
TJ De Santis
For Max “Payne” Martyniouk fighting has always just been a part of life. His father who was a pro boxed and kickboxer opened up his son’s eyes to the combat arts at an early age. It wasn’t long before Max was hitting the pads and opponents just like his father. Martyniouk took boxing and kickboxing early but has since focused his aspirations on becoming a mixed martial artist.
The 26 year old Estonia born fighter trains with M-1 Global. “Payne” jumped at the opportunity to enroll in The Sherdog MMA Exchange program immediately when it was presented to him.
When asked what he would like to get out of this unique program the lightweight said, “I’m an athlete, but there is always room for improvement.” Martyniouk also says he is interested in learning how a professional fighter acts on and off of the mat.
Fluent in English and Russian Max cites his role models in MMA as Gegard Mousasi and “The Last Emprorer” Fedor Emelianenko.