TR Foley's MMA Articles

September 2013 // Features
Pat Curran – Kill Switch

Bellator Featherweight Champion Pat Curran knows when to turn on the crazy. Pat Curran climbs down from the front seat of his Ford F-150 wearing a blue tee shirt that reads “EAT SLEEP TRAIN REPEAT!” The Bellator Featherweight Champion has just finished a 90-minute grappling session at Team Curran MMA in Crystal Lake, IL, and [...]

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August 2013 // MMA Life
Oil Wars – The Misunderstood World of Turkish Oil Wrestling

Turkish oil wrestlers are supposed to have triangular backs, somewhat-fleshy midsections, and bulging biceps. Ali Gurbuz has 10 percent body fat, stands 6-feet-5-inches tall, and has comparatively thin arms. In terms of tradition, the two-time Kirkpinar Oil Wrestling Champion should have the physique of Dan Henderson. Instead, he looks more like an olive-skinned Alexander Gustafsson. [...]

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July 2013 // MMA Life
Into the African Sands – Wrestling in Chad

FIGHT! Magazine’s nomadic journalist T.R. Foley follows his passion for wrestling to the center of Africa and into the sand pits of Chad. Photography By T.R. Foley On February 12, 2013, the executive board of the International Olympic Committee voted to eliminate wrestling from the 2020 Olympic program. However, the executive board allowed for FILA, [...]

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July 2013 // MMA Life
Rob Riggle – Comedian and Former Marine Brings the Funny

Comedians have an attachment to mixed martial arts. Listen to even a few hours of Jay Mohr’s cosmically popular podcast Mohr Stories, and you’ll hear comedian after comedian talk about their affection for the world’s fastest growing sport. Opie and Anthony, Jim Norton, Bob Kelly, and preeminent comedic MMA nut Joe Rogan all share a [...]

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March 2013 // Last Call
3 Days in March

For more than a century, the Division I NCAA wrestling tournament was an obscure athletic event celebrated by a small group of American wrestling fans. Today, with the growth of social media and MMA, the event draws a worldwide viewership and rakes in the dough. Before 2006, there were only two ways a wrestling fan [...]

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February 2013 // Names in the Game
The Professor is The Madman

To teach a champion, you have to understand his influences. For Georges St-Pierre, no mortal is more instructive than the brilliant mind of John Danaher. Inside a windowless, underground office at the Renzo Gracie Academy in New York City, John Danaher is sitting behind a computer, pondering an article he’s just read on the Internet. [...]

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January 2013 // Features
The Business of Being Blackzilian

The newest MMA powerhouse is home to some of the UFC’s biggest superstars and a business first manager who built the team with a little bit of risk and a lot of trust. UFC lightweight Abel Trujillo sits against the padded blue walls of the JACO Hybrid Training Center, mulling the job he’s done wrapping [...]

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January 2013 // MMA Life
Putting the Wheels in Motion

For many mixed martial artists, grinding gears on a bike is lessening the grind in the cage. The career of a mixed martial artist is defined by contact and how much of it the body can en- dure. Whether a fighter is being punched in the face, defending a leg lock, or sprawling to avoid [...]

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February 2009 // MMA Life
The Juice is Loose

When he isn’t acting, Sons of Anarchy star Theo Rossi trains jiu-jitsu with Royce Gracie and prepares his California home for the apocalypse. But the Staten Island-native isn’t just about armbars and automatic weapons—he’s also director of a non-profit aimed at helping the victims of Superstorm Sandy. The night before Superstorm San- dy surged over [...]

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November 2012 // Features
Welcome to the Hotel California

Black House is one of the most recognizable gyms in MMA, but a day spent at their L.A. location showed that the team’s practice space is more than just offices and heavy bags Guilherme Trindade emerges from a lofted room in the rear of the Black House Gym. He’s a tall fighter, weighing about 180 [...]

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October 2012 // Features
The Unforgiven

Undefeated Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Champion Daniel Cormier has proven to be a quick study in the cage, but can he wrestle free from his past while fighting for his future? Daniel Cormier’s frustration is booming across the racquetball court that’s been converted into a boxing facility at American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, CA. [...]

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September 2012 // Features
The New Phalanx

Some of MMA’s most talented fighters are training under the guidance of Milwaukee-bred, Spartan-obsessed Duke Roufus. The small, yellow sign welcoming fighters to Roufusport in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, sits beneath the awning of the TCF Regional Bank drive-thru. The sign can’t be seen from the road, and because the gym sits in the basement of the [...]

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August 2012 // Quick Hits
5 Minutes With Chris Weidman

You’re coming off a big TKO of Mark Munoz. How’s life been since the fight? I went out to Long Island a few days after I got home to celebrate with friends, and it all kinda struck me just how crazy everything has gotten. I’ve been coming to these clubs my whole life and nobody [...]

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July 2012 // Features
Gold Rush

While MMA isn’t included in the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England, fight fans can still get their combat fi x by watching these six wrestlers who have the best chance of taking home U.S. gold. The American Freestyle Wrestling Team has captured an individual gold medal in every Olympics since 1972. However, with fewer [...]

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July 2012 // Names in the Game
A Warrior’s Heart

As the UFC’s only Afghan-born fighter, Siyar Bahadurzada is determined to inspire multiple nations of fans. Zuffa understands the connection between combat on the battlefield and combat in the cage, and it has heavily promoted the sacrifices made by soldiers-turned-fighters like UFC middleweight Brian Stann and Strikeforce middleweight Tim Kennedy. Both served in the U.S. [...]

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June 2012 // Features
The Bully’s Pulpit

Hector Lombard is the UFC’s newest high-profile acquisition, and the monster of the middleweights is ready to get the heads rolling and tempers flaring. The Internet knows two stories about Hector Lombard, and neither is flattering. The most famous is the Cuban-Australian’s beef with onetime training partner and Strikeforce heavyweight Josh Barnett. The other is [...]

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May 2012 // Quick Hits
5 Minutes With Clay Guida

The last time we saw you in the Octagon you were sporting a new Big Lebowski tattoo. Any new Dude-inspired artwork? No new tattoos, but I did meet the real Dude. His name is Jeff Dowd, and we met at the Palm Springs Film Festival last year. Hysterical. We sat and chatted just long enough [...]

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May 2012 // Names In The Game
Streaking To The Top

With 29 consecutive fights without a loss, UFC bantamweight Renan Barao (28-1-1) may be Brazil’s most electrifying export— that’s high praise for a fighter who shares his homeland with Anderson Silva, Jose Aldo, and Junior dos Santos. Renan Barao is enjoying one of the longest win streaks in MMA, but for the Brazilian bantamweight, winning [...]

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April 2012 // Features
Sunshine State

Breakups, injuries, and a yearlong quarrel with Jon Jones have lead Rashad Evans to change training partners, managers, and zip codes. For the former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, it may be the perfect solution for an imperfect attitude. It’s a warm night in Boca Raton, the daytime high was a single digit below 80 degrees, [...]

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March 2012 // Quick Hits
It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia

Do you know who Zach Makovsky is? Not ringing a bell? Google “Bellator Bantamweight Champion.” His mug should be front-and-center. Zach Makovsky keeps a low profile. He’s the guy who tends to his opponent after the fight instead of straddling the cage. He’s the guy who answers questions with careful consideration, while his peers unleash [...]

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March 2012 // Names in the Game
Strong Island

Former collegiate wrestler Chris Weidman has always known how to trim off a few pounds, but when UFC matchmaker Joe Silva called his Long Island home in January with the offer to fight Demian Maia in less than two weeks, he knew without looking at the scale that this would be the largest weight cut [...]

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February 2012 // Quick Hits
Eduardo Dantas Is At Home

Bellator Season 5 Bantamweight Tournament winner Eduardo Dantas survived the mean streets of his home with a passion for fighting… the right way. Look around the athletic department of a major college campus and you’re likely to see hundreds of teenagers worried about navigating the nightmare of calculus and the heartache of having to nuke [...]

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January 2012 // Quick Hits
Marked Man

Bellator Lightweight Champion Michael Chandler doesn’t walk in the counsel of his doubters—he knocks them down. Mike Chandler has two tattoos, which is a relatively small number for a championship fighter in mixed martial arts—a world stacked with bodies etched in green and black ink often swirling with conflicting emotions and ideas. Chandler is only [...]

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November 2011 // Names in the Game
Bellator’s Alexis Vila is Taking Flight

The Cuban defector from a hardscrabble background is ready to challenge all-comers. In 1997, North Carolina State assistant wrestling coach Carter Jordan was on a recruiting trip in Florida when he heard the news: Cuba’s two-time World Champion wrestler Alexis Vila had defected. Was he looking to wrestle in college? Would he be eligible? Jordan [...]

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October 2011 // Quick Hits
Crazy Like A Fox

The UFC’s recent television deal with FOX makes it the latest sports organization to be shown on broadcast television, but what does the deal mean for the UFC, the fighters, and the fans? UFC president Dana White courted FOX for nine months, and in August the work paid off as the UFC signed the largest [...]

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September 2011 // Quick Hits
The Battle of New Orleans

Haw, haw, haw—the UFC finally makes a return to “The Big Easy.” New Orleans is a pride-filled American city that is back on its feet…and that’s just where Dana White wants the fans in Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on Sept. 17 for UFC Live: Shields vs. Ellenberger. The Fans Miami. Los Angeles. Vegas. All [...]

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