(Props to @mackdamenacemma.)
Mackens Semerzier is on the fast track to super stardom. In less than five months, “Mack Da Menace” made the jump from regional shows like Elite Fighting Challenge to submitting top-ranked featherweight Wagnney Fabiano in World Extreme Cagefighting.
While most fighters would still be riding the high, Semerzier has kept his ego in check by comparing the fight to a test drive. “It’s like getting that new car, man. Like I don’t really drive a Lamborghini or a Ferrari, but I like to sit in one of those muthafuckas to see how I ride,” the 29-year-old said. “You ride it for a little bit, then you get out and go to the next one.”
“The next one” is Deividas Taurosevicius, an IFL standout who also won his WEC debut. It will certainly be a scrap, but Mack has been scrappin’ his entire life.
Semerzier grew up in Florida’s treacherous Miami-Dade County, the same crime-ridden area that produced hip-hop superstars Rick Ross and Flo Rida as well as a slew of high-profile athletes. Semerzier’s uncle was a state champion wrestler and Mack was a menace on the mat in his own right, placing sixth in the state and second in a national competiton.
He initially planned to continue wrestling at Waubonsee Community College in Aurora, Illinois, but wasn’t really into academics. Then a TV commercial for the Marine Corps. caught the young man’s eye and college plans fell by the wayside.
“When I was kid, I wanted to do three things: [be] a bodybuilder, a karate master and a soldier. And it was just a dream,” he recalls. “I never shot a gun before, and I was like, ‘Man, this stuff is so cool. It be real cool to do this,’ and I took a chance at it. I really didn’t wanna be normal. It didn’t appeal to me – regular stuff that people do. Like some people just work just to work. They go to work and can’t wait to get off. They have no interest in their job and I didn’t wanna be apart of that, man.”
Semerzier enlisted in August of 1999 and had his eyes opened to a world he never cared to know about.
“The only time I went out of Miami is to go to West Palm Beach to see my mom’s cousin and then the wrestling camps, and we used to go to Central Florida or watch nationals at Disney World. That was the only time I left,” he admits. “I wasn’t a world traveling person, nor did I think about it. I didn’t really care. I didn’t care what people did in Europe. I didn’t care what people did in the Philippines. I could care less. And then I start traveling and seeing stuff, and I thought it was the coolest thing!”
His squad was also one of the first to head into the Middle East for Operation Iraqi Freedom in March 2003. Just before they shipped off, however, the Marine Corps instituted a martial arts program and soldiers, like Semerzier, learned how to apply submissions like guillotine chokes.
Once Semerzier returned to America, he re-located to Chesapeake, Virginia to train and help prepare amateurs for their upcoming bouts. In 2007, Semerzier’s tour ended and instead of re-enlisting, the fighter took an offer from Frank Cucci, owner of Linxx Academy in Virginia Beach, to teach at his gym. He gladly accepted. “I started doing that and I was making good money doing that,” said Semerzier. “It allowed me an opportunity to train a lot, and I started training.”
With his solid wrestling base and stand up skills that made him a Virginia Golden Gloves Champion, Semerzier added Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu into the mix. Semerzier used those submission and knockout skills to rack up four straight victories. Then he got the call to fight BJJ wiz Wagnney Fabiano in October and beat him at his own game.
“That was a guy I looked up to – no shit,” Semerzier explains. “I was looking at Wagnney Fabiano and [current WEC Featherweight Champion] Jose Aldo fights back in 2006, so I was fan of these guys way before I even started my career! So to beat that guy is like, ‘Wow.’ But that’s in the past now.”
Right now, the future points to Deividas Taurosevicius. If Mackens wins, he may be heading back to the computer to watch more video on Aldo.