In the world of professional athletics, popularity is almost always a doubleedged sword. When the athlete in question wins, it’s party time—booze and strippers for everyone. But when that same competitor loses, cue the boobirds and finger-pointers. In most cases, even the most ardent supporters are quick to abandon ship.
And then there’s mixed martial arts, the almost-in-the-pro-sports-popularity equation. MMA fans—especially those who follow the alpha dog UFC—are smart, savvy, and, above all else, they get it. For these fans, it’s not so much about wins and losses—it’s about effort. These fans respect fighters who bring it—blood, sweat, tears, heart, soul, muscle, and bone—until the lights go out or the ref steps in. It’s that hell-or-high-water, take-no-prisoners attitude of the fighters, combined with the undying devotion and understanding of the fan base, that makes MMA the most exciting, intoxicating, and fastest growing sport on the planet.
It’s that exact sentiment that makes Forrest Griffin one of MMA’s most beloved fighters. In addition to his congenial “aw shucks” demeanor and goofball persona, Forrest seems to channel the soul of a gladiator. Simply put, the guy is always ready and willing to throw down. From his epic showdown with Stephan Bonnar during the finale of the inaugural The Ultimate Fighter where he emerged victorious, to a knockout loss at the hands of Anderson Silva, to his upcoming main event rematch with Tito Ortiz, Forrest Griffin isn’t the unknown integer in some crazy theoretical physics conundrum— he’s as reliable as a sawed-off, double-barrel shotgun at a poker game.
However, Forrest is more than just a cage fighter. In fact, considering his body of work, you could easily make a case that Forrest has added the title of “Renaissance Man” to his ever growing resume of accomplishments. For example, he’s been: a television actor (Forrest played MMA champion Mike Kona on an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit appropriately titled Fight); a feature-film thespian (Forrest plays Gregor Popoff in the upcoming Warren Sonoda-helmed feature Unrivaled); a best-selling author (Got Fight?: The 50 Zen Principles of Hand-to-Face Combat, co-written with Erich Krauss, ascended as high as #8 on the New York Times’ Best Seller List); a video game character (in addition to being a playable character, Forrest is also the cover athlete on American and European versions of THQ’s UFC 2009 Undisputed for PlayStation and Xbox); an MMA instructor/coach (Forrest coached Amir Sadollah to victory during TUF 7; a UFC Light Heavyweight Champion; and most recently, perhaps his greatest role/challenge of all— Forrest is trying his hand at being a husband. Yes, Forrest has done it all.
THE ANSWERS YOU WANT
But rather than droning on and continuing to kiss Forrest’s ass, I thought I’d open up the Q & A to Forrest’s legion of fans around the country. I put out feelers on a slew of MMA-specific forums, and these are the questions you wanted answered.
Melinda, a self-proclaimed survivalist from somewhere in the Midwest, asks: What are your thoughts on the world ending in 2012, and what are you going to do if society breaks down?
FORREST: Funny you should ask, Melinda. My mom is a lunatic and has had dreams about the Apocalypse. In her dreams, I’m one of the leaders of the survivors—sort of a John Connor-type—and it’s my job to create a new civilization. But not just anybody can join my posse. Nobody rides for free. You’ve got to have skills and bring something necessary to the table. Otherwise, you’re on your own.
Alfonzo, from Northern California, a fellow martial artist and longtime UFC fan asks: What are your thoughts on steroids in mixed martial arts and professional sports?
FORREST: Honestly, I don’t think steroids are a problem in MMA, especially the UFC. The UFC has steroid tests that every fighter must take, and, if you fail, there are consequences. Personally, I’m glad to get tested. However, if I knew there was something out there that could make me better or give me an advantage and [key point here] it was allowed, I’d certainly consider taking it.
James, age 9, from Pennsylvania, asks: What’s your favorite cupcake?
FORREST: That’s easy — tropical German chocolate with coconut and pineapple on top. It’s so good it’ll make your dick hard. Hell, James, it’ll knock you right into puberty!
Cindy, from South Florida, who claims to be Forrest’s biggest fan (and has imagined herself with Mr. Griffin in more than a few, shall we say, interesting positions, asks: When it comes to sex, are you the aggressor, or do you prefer a woman to be the more dominant partner?
FORREST: Cindy, I’m married now, and I don’t like to discuss anything that involves my family. So, respectfully, mind your own business.
Frank, 16, from Seattle, Washington, who aspires to be a professional mixed martial artist, asks: With such big money out there for bonuses if you get Fight of the Night, Submission of the Night, or Knockout of the Night, does that ever change your approach to a fight?
FORREST: Frank, I fight to win. When I’m in the cage, money is never a factor. I’m not picky. I’ll take a win any way it comes. If I happen to earn extra bucks for my performance, so be it
Santos, from New Haven, Connecticut, asks: You’ve had a couple losses recently. Do you think the competition has gotten tougher in the UFC? Are there fewer tomato cans?
FORREST: Let me tell you, there are NO tomato cans in the UFC. Everyone can fight. The next big name could come from anywhere, in any division. These guys have skills, and they’re constantly training and getting better all the time.
Kim, a marketing major from Arkansas, asks: If you were offered a lot of money to endorse a product that went against your morals or beliefs, would you do it anyway?
FORREST: How much money are we talking about? Well, a while ago I endorsed beer [Mickey’s]. And I use beer, so that was easy. The way I see it, I only have about five years left in the sport and taking care of my family is the most important thing in the world to me. So, if the money is right, sure, I’d do it. But then again, I’m an evil son of a bitch.
Jolene, a nudist from Central Florida, asks: If a major MMA event was being held at a nudist colony and you were offered a sizable fee to take part—but you had to fight in the nude—would you?
FORREST: As it is, I don’t like rolling around with sweaty dudes. I didn’t like wrestling in high school when you had to wear those one-piece jump suits. But in MMA, where you can wear those longer board shorts, I was like ‘cool.’ But fighting and wrestling in the nude, bumping junk with another guy, that’s not what I’m about. Nudists, no offense, that’s not really an audience I’m trying to reach.
Bill, a gun collector from Texas, asks: Rumor has it you’re into guns. What’s the next weapon on your wish list?
FORREST: Definitely an H&K USP .45 with night sights and a tactical flashlight attachment.
Myron, from Los Angeles, asks: What kind of whip are you rolling these days?
FORREST: The wife drives the Range Rover I got for coaching TUF 7. So, I usually drive the Scion I won on TUF 1 or a cool pink and grey moped with a basket on it.
Gary, from Toronto, Canada, asks: There’s been a lot of smack talk about you after some of your losses. Doe
s the negative commentary ever get to you?
FORREST: That’s the way of the world, Gary. But I never let outside influences affect how I feel about myself or about my performance. As long as I do the best I can, that’s all that really matters. If people close to me are saying things, people whose opinions and input I respect—guys from my corner, people I train with, my wife—that’s different, but the rest, I don’t take to heart.