Brandon Thomas is best known as the vocalist of Bleed The Dream and his metal upstart Phantom Communique, but what few know about this singer with a “giant Italian nose” is that he’s been hooked on MMA since the sport’s inception. Aside from having a man crush on Georges St-Pierre, the 30-year-old possesses a boxing background and is currently learning jiu-jitsu. Those skills come in handy when people act a little too crazy at the bar.
FIGHT! Magazine: Tell us a little bit about your boxing background.
Brandon Thomas: My dad was a biker and we grew up in the city [Baltimore, Md.-ed.]. White kids were a minority and I never really had much of a problem. But when I started getting a little older … kids can be cruel and shit happens. My dad was like, “You gotta learn how to fucking take care of yourself,” so I took a couple of boxing lessons. As I got older – right when I was 12, 13 – I started developing this giant Italian nose and I didn’t really like getting hit in the face anymore. I had my nose broken five times. I started getting into music and girls, [so] I left it behind and started getting into a completely different scene – went to art school and all that shit. But I’ve always been that kid who is into sports [and] hangs out with all the art kids. All my art friends and music friends don’t watch football. The guy I live with, when I watch the [MMA] events, gets grossed out.
FIGHT!: When did jiu-jitsu enter the mix?
Thomas: I was home for nine months last year. There were a couple of things that happened to the [Phantom Communique] record and it got pushed back, or whatever. So I went home and this kid that I been friends with for a while started rolling with a couple of dudes at the gym. I went in and learned a couple of things, and that’s the thing: I respect the sport and fighters way too much, [so] I would never say I’m a martial artist. I’m about as huge a spectator as it gets and as a student, I love the art and love what it is. Jiu-jitsu is probably my favorite because, like I said, when I was younger, I got tired of getting hit in the face. I love the fact that jiu-jitsu could be implemented on the street. I worked security at a bar/pool hall in Burbank, Calif., and the jiu-jitsu stuff is just the most applicable to real life situations. When shit gets out of hand, I know how to throw my arms around somebody’s neck and drag them to the ground. It helps. It definitely helps.
FIGHT!: You’ve attended a few MMA events. What was the last one you went to?
Thomas: It was Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz II because of this rich chick I know – I was dating her and her family knows a bunch of people. MMA lives in Vegas and this family all lives in Vegas, so we got to go to a few events. It was cool because we were close enough to dig in and get into it. But I’m not gonna lie: I like watching it on TV because I get every fucking angle and I don’t miss anything.
FIGHT!: So if the UFC held a show in Baltimore, would you go or watch it on TV?
Thomas: Fuck yeah! I’d fly home for sure! I’d like to see a light heavyweight and or a welterweight title fight in Baltimore. Those are my two favorite weight divisions and my two favorite belts. I love GSP. The guy is just fucking unstoppable. I don’t care – call me a poseur or whatever the fuck. Everyone wants to hate on the UFC champions, [but] I love GSP. I think he is a bad ass and I’d love to see him fight in my hometown.
FIGHT!: What is it about the welterweights and light heavyweights that intrigue you the most?
Thomas: I think it’s the most, like, “real” weight divisions. Of course there are giants like Brock Lesnar who walk around at 300 pounds and could still run faster than a running back, but most dudes walk around 155 and 200 pounds. It’s fun to see the bigger guys go down to 205 and get all fucking dehydrated and not work it out, and then you see guys like Rashad Evans and [Lyoto] Machida, who are smaller dudes. They’re not that big. Rashad could probably go to 185 if he wanted too. It’s like the “normal guys” weight divisions. I dig that.