Sometimes things just seem to fall into place here at FIGHT!. This is exactly what happened to me about a month ago when I heard the owner and editor talking about a phone call they had just received from Phil Collen, the lead guitarist from the rock band Def Leppard. The band was going to be in town and he asked if we could set up a training/sparring session with someone while he was in town. Being a huge fan of the band, it didn’t take long to talk me into “working” the event and taking some video and pictures of Phil’s training regime while on tour.
If there is one thing that we have other than a great magazine is great contacts – and let’s be honest, who wouldn’t want to hang out with the lead guitarist from Def Leppard for a day? We contacted Rory Singer, The Ultimate Fighter season three veteran and coach of Brian Bowles, the WEC Bantam weight Champion, and he agreed to train with Phil for a few hours before the concert. “He’s got some pretty good power when he was kicking the pads with the coach, some good kicks,” said Singer. “He’s in good shape and I was impressed.”
The day finally arrived and I headed out to Hardcore Gym where Rory and Phil were already hard at it. The first thing I noticed was how in-shape this 51 year old guitarist really was. He was ripped, and his strikes were crisp, but the echoes of his kicks hitting the bag were really what made your head turn. It was a lot of fun just watching how into the training Phil was. Rory went over all aspects from striking to submissions to help Phil in the short amount of time that they had.
At the end of the session, I was actually tired from dancing around the two of them trying to take video, though I am pretty sure they got the better workout. Phil was very gracious for all the training and tips he received from both Rory and Brian Bowles.
He was happy to take pictures with everyone in the gym and finally had some time to come over and introduce himself. It was very refreshing to see how someone that is basically one of the biggest rock stars ever, can be so down to earth. He has the same love for MMA as the rest of us and is one of the nicest people I have had the privilege of meeting.
After some pictures and getting to know each other a bit, he let us know that he would need to get back to the concert venue for the sound check. How long had I been waiting to hear those words?? A long time!! Phil led the way and we followed him back to Lakewood Amphitheater in Atlanta for something that I had always wanted to do – hang with the band for a day. He went through the sound check, did a few solos, showed off a little bit and did his rock and roll thing. When Phil was through, the band Poison was coming out for their sound check and he introduced me to Ricki Rocket, Poison’s drummer, and explained to me that he was a black belt and had been training for many years also. It was all pretty amazing.
It was about two hours before Phil and his band were about to take the stage. He had mentioned to me before that he would be working out again before the show! I asked him when and where he trained while on the road. He explained to me that he will basically train anywhere and anyhow possible. So, we basically invaded one of his band mate’s makeshift dressing rooms. After a few quick sweeps of the floor for any loose glass or any other sharp objects – right there in between couches and closets – Phil went at it with his personal trainer, Jean Carrillo.
A lot of strikes, and a lot of kicks. Phil is back to MMA badass again. After the striking, kicking and flying knee exhibition, Phil went straight and hit the weights. Why wouldn’t he?
After the workout, it was almost show time. I went outside the VIP hospitality area for the first time, wearing my all access pass like a badge of honor. Phil played the show flawlessly and I noticed he gave Rory and his wife that were in the crowd a little extra attention while onstage. “Hopefully I made the martial arts experience well worth it for him,” said Singer, “but I definitely thought he made that rock experience well worth it for me. It was definitely once-ina- lifetime.”
I would like to thank Phil Colin, and his trainer Jean Carrillo for making that day one of the most memorable of my life.