„For champions to have open doors to the UFC,“ wishes Petr Kareš

Czech organisation the XFN is undoubtedly one of the drivers of the Czech-Slovak martial arts scene. Thanks to the XFN, public awareness of MMA, kickboxing and other disciplines has been increased. In its background stands the tough promoter Petr Kareš, who is responsible for the successful rise of this brand. What are Kareš´s ambitions in this project? What are they going to surprise us with next year? How has this job changed his life? Are we going to see him again standing in the ring?

I was wondering what was the first impulse for you to start organising gala evenings under the XFN?

I missed a professional sports organisation for MMA. A group of people who professionally engage in and do this sport for a living, and that is the XFN today.

How many people approximately are involved in such an average gala evening?

The number of event team members varies depending on the event size. For example, in the O2 arena it exceeds 200. At the average evenings, there are around 100 people working on it. The core XFN team consists of 10 members.

The XFN has managed to organise extremely successful events, over which the gala evening in the O2 arena stands out. Do you consider this to be the biggest success of the organisation?

So far yes, no one believed in us, but we did it and it was a big thing for the whole Czech-Slovak MMA scene.

Was there nervousness prevailing in you about an event of such dimensions? After all, in our area it was the biggest event of its kind.

I was not nervous, I believed our XFN team as well as myself. My job is to keep things during the event under control, or at least to look like that. : -)

What are the plans of the XFN for the year 2018?

In 2018 we want to become number one also in the Slovak MMA and to enter Germany and Poland.

Is the XFN coming to Slovakia a new challenge for you?

Certainly yes! Slovakia is a bit further in MMA than the Czech Republic. It is already a well-known sport, particularly thanks to the reality show Oktagon. It is a little more complex market than the Czech one – yes, it is a new challenge.

Where would you like to get the organisation to be able to say: “Yes, I have achieved what I wanted to.”?

I would be satisfied if the XFN became the central-european entrance gateway to the UFC. So that the XFN champions have the open door to the UFC without having to do anything else.

How do you perceive the competition in the form of the Oktagon gala evenings?

I do not perceive it as a competition. Oktagon interferes with a different segment of spectators than the XFN. The finale of the Oktagon challenge would be the match on the prelims in the XFN. It is not an expression of disrespect, it is a reality today.

Many promising promoters have problems with bureaucracy in the form of different clerks. Has the XFN project met with such inconveniences?

The XFN is a company, which brings its responsibilities. We take these responsibilities very seriously and every XFN fighter will confirm how tiresome in enforcing all the medical, accounting and sport documents we are.

How long did it take to build the XFN into the shape, in which we can see the organisation now?

We have been building the XFN for three years, but we have been collecting the know-how to do that for 10 years.

How does the arrangement of matches for fighters go? Is it necessary to be prudent?

The XFN consists of both current and former fighters. We know the environment of this sport well and we know there is no reason to be prudent, but rather to show the fighters that we have a real interest in them based on mutually beneficial cooperation. We want our fighters to feel good not only in the fight, but for the whole time of our cooperation. The fighters are our stars and we want to behave to them accordingly and I believe that we do. If you want to know the XFN or any other MMA organisation, always ask the fighters first.

The choice of a venue is important too. The XFN is going to take place in several cities in Czech Republic and Slovakia. How does this venue selection work?

Choosing a venue is very important, we are still learning this art, and while we are often the first to organize such event at the particular place, we always try to judge the venue very carefully.

What does your normal day look like? Are you able to find some time for yourself too?

Certainly yes. I think it is the basis of every success. In my life there are times, when I must work very long and hard, but there are also days, that I only devote to myself and to my loved ones.

What do you do in your free time?

I still fight, so I predominantly train and prepare for the fights. Apart from that, to my free time interests belong food, vine and travelling.

Has your work affected you in your personal life too? Has it made you a different person to one you were before?

This is a question rather for my close ones, but from what I have noticed, most of them understand that work is an important part of my life and they give me space.  I´ve got this great luck to be able to do what I enjoy for a living. Martial arts are my life. I have worked in both amateur and professional sports, I fight, I have trained, coached and at the very beginning I was only good for carrying towels and being a nourishment for the more experienced fighters at the trainings. I have evolved and got far in the combat sports – that must affect you.

We have heard that Petr Kareš is planning to return to the competition. Are these speculations true?

Petr Kareš hasn´t left the ring yet. : -) Last year I qualified for the World Games and this year I have already made one match. I enjoy fighting very much and I would like to continue.

A duel between Marpo and Rytmus is also waiting for the organization this year. Do you expect a big promo of the martial arts from that?

Yes, there has already been a great interest in this match from the general public today. I believe that the XFN can use this interest for every Czech-Slovak fighter, so that this sport will belong to the most watched ones in our countries in the future.

Before that, you gave a chance to Filip Grznár too, abroad the fights among famous personalities are very popular. Does the XFN want to take such direction also in the future?

The XFN is primarily a sports organisation, but it is also an organisation, which promoted a small and publicly not very well-known sport when it started. However, the time changes and we change with it, at the same time I think that famous personalities fights belong to that business and will belong to it further. Yes, we are going to take this direction too.

Petr, thank you for the interview and I wish a lot of success to the whole XFN and all the people involved. Finally, there is a space to tell something to the readers and fans, if you would like to.

Thank you! And yes, I would like to. What happens when you miss an empty goal? When you don´t hit the basket or when you run to the final line as the last one? And what happens when a fighter makes a similar mistake in the ring or in the octagon? Martial arts as well as the fighters are exceptional. Keep watching and supporting them, because they deserve your support for their courage more than any other sportsmen.

Source of the photos: Facebook Petr Kareš, CzechFighters.cz, Lenka Bartáková, archive of Patrik Kincl, XFN

The King of the North Jan Malach: “I am going to give MMA the maximum until it goes!“

He calls himself the King of the North, however, we know him more as a great fighter, who is not discouraged by any failure. We are talking about Jan Malach, who is soon going to introduce himself at the Oktagon tournament in Ostrava. Can the King of the North go back to his throne? What are his sports ambitions? Why did he prefer MMA to box and kickbox? How can he cope with demanding weight loss?

Hello Jan, how does the preparation for the Oktagon tournament continue?

Hi, I feel wonderful. I have just returned from the SBG Dublin, where we were almost with the full Reinders team and I have already been ready for the match for some time. The most important thing now is not to get hurt or sick.

There is going to be a domestic fighter Jan Široký standing against you. How do you perceive this opponent? Is it going to be a challenging duel?

I prepare conscientiously for every match and I do not distinguish between the competitor with lower and higher quality. I always put everything into the preparation. I cannot say whether it is going to be a challenging duel. Of course, we have some scenarios with the trainer, according to which we would like the match to go but it is a fight and anything unexpected can happen during it. I think, however, I am trained enough for nothing to surprise me. I can fully show my abilities and draw the match to a winning end by that. By the way, I almost haven´t noticed the opponent during my whole career, and only after I found out that I am going to have a match with him, I watched few of his fights.

You were preparing for the match overseas too. Did you find the ideal conditions there?  Sparrings with the fighters from the UFC are certainly helpful.

I was preparing for a lot of fights in California and I can calmly say that Czech/Slovak MMA is not bad at all. We have a stand-up here, I dare to say it is on a high level and there are a lot of good fighters here too. I can see two fundamental differences in the preparation, whether in the USA or the SBG, compared to our countries. First one is undoubtedly wrestling, which we miss here, and it is necessary to go and train abroad. Overall, I can see wrestling as the best preparation for the MMA. Wrestling makes you a hard athletic machine. I am not saying though, that every fighter must break through it in the MMA. Well, the second difference is, in my opinion, sparring. Full equipment – protectors, helmet, 16oz and bigger gloves and one just goes full power. And wrestlers sparring? Nobody cares, for instance, that suplex is quite a dangerous throw, they simply go on in the pace of the match. This gives you a lot and it perfectly simulates the conditions, which are then present in the match.

What are these guys like in the gym? Do you support each other too or do they not care about the other fighters?

All the fighters in the gym, whether it is the ex-champion of the UFC Dominik Cruz or the champion of the Bellator Darrion Caldwell, act to everyone who is in the professional team as if they were at the same level and they are not afraid to share their knowledge and experience. When I think about it, this is probably one of the main reasons why I am coming back.

Could you see yourself in the UFC once? Is it your goal?

My goal is the UFC, or alternatively the Bellator. I could do a number of different jobs and have a 10-times easier life than I have now. But that´s not for me and I am going to give MMA the maximum until it goes and my health lets me do that.

What did you work on most in America? Are we going to see the result of the quality training already in Ostrava?

As I have already said, I worked mainly on wrestling and certain ground techniques. The result is progressive, I already know the people in the USA and I know what to expect from each one of them. I didn´t know anyone in the SBG though and based on the sparrings, I am satisfied with my progress in wrestling. I don´t think that Široký will surpass me in this category.

We know that you used to do cross-country skiing in youth. Why did you give up this sport?

I liked doing it as a child and a teenager later. But fighting is in my blood and I have always been dragged into the combat sports. Even if I played hockey, for example, and had millions of dollars, I wouldn´t feel complete anyway. I need to be able to fight and get better at it. I would have started with boxing much earlier if there had been the conditions for that in Liberec. Luckily, Martin Berka opened the BC Liberec and I could finally go to martial arts, for what I am grateful to him until now.

It has been pretty cold last days, are you going to do cross-country skiing now too?

For cross-country skis or snowboard, I have no time nor mood at all. When I am off, I want to regenerate fully.

You did classic box and kickbox, but you ended up doing MMA. What interests you about this industry?

I found it a top form of fight and I didn´t want to stay behind or be limited by my fighting style. I probably just wanted to know as much as I could. Furthermore, I have always seen a bigger future in MMA than in boxing or kickboxing.

From your point of view, a successful period was approximately three years ago, when you won several fights in the cage.  Now you are coming to Ostrava after two losses. Is there a tremendous desire to break the negative series?

I only had one bad year, and it was 2017.  I had two defeats in a row, which were losses with high-quality rivals and I am not ashamed at all. I would feel worse if I hadn´t gone into the fights and had backed off.

Your last and an extremely good opponent was Jaroslav “Jubox“ Pokorný. How do you retrospect your match? What would your attitude towards a possible revenge be like?

I do not perceive it badly, I see it as an experience. Jubox is the best competitor I could have ever fought with here. Despite the match being hyped up, we have good relations with Jarda and he was simply more prepared.

This match was followed by an injury. Is such a pause always a mental burden?

It was certainly not pleasant. I had been training and I felt like fighting a lot after the unsuccessful match with Jubox.

You call yourself the King of the North – when was this nickname created? Does it refer to your birthplace?

Yes, it does refer to Liberec. More than half of it has nothing to do with MMA. I am at home in Liberec, I know everyone here and I feel like nothing can happen to me here. That´s why I´m the King of the North.

Do you consider yourself a local patriot who is proud of his city then?

I am proud of my city. On the other hand, I do not force it on anyone.

In many people, this nickname rather evokes the north of Europe. Do you have any relationship with the northern countries? Would you go there on holiday?

It has nothing to do with it. I like California, the sun, the heat, and perhaps I feel the best in Palm Springs, which is in the desert.

As I have already mentioned traveling, where would you like to look next?

I have been wherever I have always wanted to go several times. In this respect, I am a satisfied person.

What does the King of the North do in his free time? Are you able to find some time for yourself?

I don´t have much free time, I always do something. I train two times per day and additionally, I still make money somehow. The people, who don´t like me because they think I get some dizzying amounts from sponsors, are crazy. In case anybody was bothered by how I live, they should think of themselves and wonder whether they really use every day for a hundred percent.

In general, the sport is financially underestimated under our conditions. Are you currently doing only MMA for a living?

I am not, as I have already answered above. The money from sponsors helps me cover the preparation as well as the money from matches does.

What about you and your regimen? Did you have to lose a lot of kilograms in the last weeks before a match? How do you handle these situations?

I like food, but I have discipline too. I have weight problems because even when I was 16, I didn´t fight under 80 kg, the 70 is not too natural for the body. I stay disciplined and strong, but the last kilograms don´t taste good in the sauna to anybody for sure.

What is your status now before the match with Široký? Is it going to be such a drastic weight loss again?

It is not so drastic, I just don´t like doing the last kilos near 70,3. I have some health problems, which doesn´t fully correspond with the weight loss. I keep my weight low and I get better in it every time. I will certainly make the weight.

“Making weight“ is stressful and can result in a variety of incidents as in the case of Jan Janka recently. What do you think of this episode?

Janka didn´t make weight and acted unsportsmanlike. If I didn´t make weight by as much as he did, I would be angry with myself and I would not jump all over anyone for sure. I don´t personally know Janka, but I found him a reasonable person who just made a mistake.

I am interested in your view of the Czech-Slovak scene. Are there champions, who have the quality to pursue in the best MMA organisations after the example of Vémola or Végha?

Definitely yes. I don´t want to write it here in detail, but for example, names like Muradov or Deák come to my mind after the last weekend. And if Jubox defeats Buchinger, it will certainly be him too.

The organisations like Oktagon and XFN make the public more aware of MMA. Do you enjoy this martial arts boom?

I do, and I like it. The most difficult sport in the world deserves the attention of media.

What are your future sports plans?

I want to win and stay fit until it is possible.

Thank you for the interview, what would you address your fans in the end?

Thank you to all the people who support me in both the good and the bad times and believe that I really appreciate it. I am constantly working on myself and getting better, my time is yet to come. Finally, I would like to thank my sponsors and my close friends Mlýn Perner, Geoprint s.r.o., Alimax group, Kings barbers as well as my coach Andre Reinders.

Source of the photos: Facebook Jan Malach, CzechFighters.cz, Oktagon

“CrossFit is my lifestyle,“ talented Slovak athlete Nina Ladvenicová says

Nina Ladvenicová is a great hope for Slovak sport. By her fifteens, she has already hit the mark many times and she definitely doesn´t plan to slow down! Last year she even succeeded in the famous CrossFit Games overseas. Is it a future champion growing under the leadership of Radovan Erent in the gym Different Athletics in Trnava? In an interesting interview, Nina revealed to us how she gets on with the trainer Erent and what her ambitions are!

Hello Nina, to begin with, you can introduce yourself to us.

Hi! I am Nina, a fifteen-year-old girl from Trnava, who has loved sport since she was little! Last 3 years I have been doing CrossFit and last year I managed to get to CrossFit Games as the first Slovak girl.

At such a young age, you have already succeeded tremendously. Where do you see your strong side?

I had been practicing sports gymnastics since four. I stopped when I was twelve after I had become the Slovak champion. The gymnastics exercises with my own weight, such as pull-ups, push-ups, hand walking and many others, are my strength.

You gained the 6th place at the prestigious competition CrossFit Games in summer. How did you perceive such a great competition?

It was an unbelievable success as CrossFit Games is the biggest CrossFit competition possible. It is something like the world championship. Hard work did really pay off and I qualified there from the second place. It was incredible! I have never experienced a better organised and such a super competition. I acquired a lot of experience and eventually I took a nice sixth place. This year, I am going to try to qualify again. I still stay in the 14 to 15-year-old category, which is going to be an advantage for me in comparison to last year, when I competed as a 14-year-old against the 15-year-olds.

Is the successful performance at CrossFit Games the most valuable success in your career?

Certainly yes! I don´t want to rest on my laurels though. This year is going to be very demanding for me but I am going to chase after my goals.

CrossFit Games were held in the USA, is competing overseas on a different level than in Europe? Are the differences still so significant?

The organisation was without a single mistake, everything went as planned in minutes and there were absolutely no misunderstandings or chaos. CrossFit Games cannot be compared to any other competition. However, there are some quality competitions in Europe too.

Do you have ambitions to do sports fully abroad, like some successful sportsmen do?

I enjoy traveling a lot and I am tempted by discovering new countries, so I do not deny moving abroad.

Have you been a sport-type person since you were little? Weren´t you tempted by different sports?

I have lived with sports since I was little. I was doing gymnastics for 7 years. Later I tried badminton, softball, fitness… but eventually, I found CrossFit! And it was my best decision!

CrossFit is still just a side sport in Slovakia. How did you come across it?

After I ended doing gymnastics I was trying various sports and also classic exercising in the gym, but I didn´t enjoy it much. CrossFit was brought to me by my mum, who knew that this was just what I would like. At first, I was quite scared to exercise. All around me, there were dumbbells ringing, people screaming and geeing themselves up. I didn´t understand it much then, haha. In the beginning, I went to group training, which I didn´t enjoy a lot. Later I started to exercise individually with my trainer Radovan Erent. The frequency of training was growing, and I enjoyed it more and more. In spring 2016 I went to my very first competition in Nové Zámky. I was under stress and terribly scared. As a thirteen-year-old girl, I competed in a category with eighteen-year-old girls. After demanding competition workouts, I managed to win!

We know that you train in Different Athletics gym in Trnava. Do Radovan Erent with Ina Mruškovičová create ideal conditions for you?

Of course! Different Athletics is like my temporary home, haha. I spend there a lot of time. I train both in the mornings and afternoons. In Different Athletics, I even have “CrossKids“ two times a week – a training for kids up to 6 years. I teach them the basic exercises, we play various games, do obstacle racing… Radovan really is the best trainer and he teaches me loads of new things. I gain a lot of new experience for my future with him.

What is the atmosphere in the gym like before a major competition?

The tension predominates over the enthusiasm. However, everyone supports me and keeps their fingers crossed for me. It is amazing! We are one big family there and we all support and gee each other up. At home, my parents are my biggest support. They have been supporting me in everything I do since I was little, and I am extremely thankful for that.

Is Radovan strict with you? Do you find it convenient when a trainer has got a control over you?

We get on well with Radovan, we spend a lot of time together and that’s why we have a friendly relationship. But of course, he is able to show his strict side too, especially before an important competition.

What does your training look like? Do you have to practice daily to keep yourself in TOP form?

I usually train around 7 times a week. Two days a week I have two-phase ones and another two days I am completely free when I have time to rest. I regularly go to the sauna, for massage and visit physiotherapist. In the mornings I work mainly with the dumbbells. I work on the exercise technique, power, and weightlifting. The afternoon training tends to be focused on endurance and it consists of a lot of gymnastics exercises. We assimilate the training program to the preparations for competitions.

As we have already sketched the goals, what would you like to achieve in CrossFit?

I would certainly like to enter all CrossFit Games in teens category. That means one more time in 14 to15-year-old category and two times in 16 to 17-year-old category.

Do you like training others too? Would you like to pass on the experience gained from your coaches once?

My dream is to become a trainer and to open my own gym, where I would use my experience and success. I am still learning and gaining new experience though.

You are still just 15. What about you and school? Do you consider some backup plan besides sports?

I currently attend a private vocational high school in Bratislava, my specialization is namely nutrition and sport. Until now, I have been able to combine the school and sports. I have straight ones (straight As in Czech educational system).

It is certainly challenging to do sports and to handle all your responsibilities at the same time. Has CrossFit taken away from you some time for other activities?

When I am not in the gym, I rest, or I enjoy relaxing at home.

What do you like doing in your free time?

I usually spend my free time with the family or I go out with my friends. For example, I like going to the cinema.

What about your diet? Do you have to pay extra attention to what you eat because of sports?

I have a modified diet. I don´t eat sweets, white bread, dumpling or similar ones at all. Sundays are my cheat days, which means I can eat everything. I take saccharides mainly from rice and potatoes and I eat a lot of meat, vegetables, and fruit.

What do you consider as the most important thing to succeed? Is it just about the hard work in the gym or also the way of thinking?

It is a combination of hard work and a good mindset. You will not achieve a good performance without a positive mind. Without it, you wouldn´t even push yourself to train.

You are only at the beginning of your career, who helps you keep your future resolution the most?

My parents and Radovan. My whole family could always see some potential in me and they still made me go after my dreams and the best success. Always when I didn´t feel like that, wasn´t in the mood or I simply just didn´t want to, they told me not to give up. I have my ups & downs too and it is just them who believe in me and support me continually. Radovan always helps me mentally. He is my mental coach too and he understands me a lot. He always puts me back “together”, when I don´t have the mood to exercise and I have a crisis.

Could you imagine your life without CrossFit?

I have tried thinking about what my life would look like without sports many times. CrossFit and sports, in general, are my lifestyle and I cannot even imagine it being different.

What are your plans for this competition season?

At present, I focus on the difficult qualification for CrossFit Games. If I proceed, I will compare my abilities with the final twenty girls from all over the world from the 1st to 4th August in Madison, Wisconsin. After Games last year, I took a break from exercising. I would like to participate in a home competition this autumn.

Thank you for the interview, we are going to keep our fingers crossed for you in your next career. What would you like to tell your fans in the end?

I would like to thank you all for the great support and for trusting me. All your messages on the social media or in person motivate me incredibly and move me forward. Thanks to you I can see there is some sense in what I do. My huge thank you belongs to you!

Source of photos: CrossFit Games, Štefan Drgoň, CrossFitGames.com, Nina Ladvenicová´s archive, Colliery Made Games

„The basics drilling should not be omitted either,“ Viktor Pešta says

This time, we invited for an interview one of the most observed Czech-Slovak fighters, who is going to introduce himself on 2nd March 2018 at Fights Nights Global 84. His opponent is still unknown. Viktor Pešta disclosed to us no more about the fight, but he talked about the life in Florida, about his preparation for training and we also asked him about his life chapter at the UFC.

Hello Viktor, how is the life in Florida going? Are you currently under full training load?

Hello, yes, I am preparing for a fight. I cannot reveal any details for now, but I think it will be official soon.

What does a common Viktor Pešta´s day look like? Are you fully devoted to sports?

Well if it is before a fight, it really is predominantly about training, sleep, and food. When it is after a fight, I like to do other activities too. I am a member of the Rosenthal association, which spreads cultural affairs in our region. I like to spend some time in nature and with my friends. And I like horse-riding too.

One can enjoy various beauties while traveling overseas. Have you had some time to see any interesting places?

Not too much, when I am here, I mostly train. I have traveled to some places as part of the fights, of course. After the last fight in Arizona, me and Jirka Paluska, we were driving for about a week through the southwest of the USA. Otherwise, there was not much.

Do you meet Czechs and Slovaks too? Is it nice to hear the mother tongue, when you live out of the Czech Republic long-term?

In America, not at all. But at the same time, I always keep in contact with the people at home, so it is not that I don´t hear the mother tongue at all.

You got various nicknames in America because you smile little. The Americans are known for their openness, always bifarious mood and of course smile. What do you think about that?

I don´t care about that everlasting smiling. Why would I smile, when I am in a bad mood? I don´t like a disguise and this is a disguise.

Have you found an ideal training environment?

An ideal environment is nowhere, everything has its pros and cons. I am satisfied with the training. I feel like I am getting better and that´s the most important. Moreover, I am on a team with top-class guys, whose presence motivates me and moves me forward.

How big is the MMA fighters community there? What is the attitude towards the MMA fighters in Florida?

I train in Hard Knocks 365, which is a team that was created after a break-down of Blackzilians. I can´t say that fighters have their community here. Except for those who I train with, I don´t see any other fighters here. And what is the attitude towards us? I think it is quite nice because we are kind of handsome.

Who is the training the best with? I mean, you can see that you are getting better with them.

There is a difference between who it is the best with and who I am getting better with the most. They are two completely different things. My most favourite training partners will probably be Volkan Oezdemir, Steve Mowry, and Linton Vassell.

Is there anyone who you don´t like to train with because of hard sparing, for example?

Not many, there are people who go into that very hard, but it makes me work harder and get better, so I can´t say that I don´t like training with them. A typical example was Anthony Johnson, but he is not fighting anymore.

Do you still learn new things or you rather drill what you know and what is verified?

One must do both. If we don´t learn anything new, we can hardly move forward, but the basics drilling should not be omitted either.

Do you currently have any stable coach who knows your fighting style well and as a result of that can prepare you for the fights systematically?

I can´t say that I have one stable coach, I cooperate with many coaches.

Karlos Vémola, Viktor Pešta and Lucie Pudilová, that´s the three names from the Czech Republic, who have got to the most prestigious organisation UFC. Are you proud of that?

I am not proud, I still feel that my peak is far ahead and I don´t want to be satisfied with the fact that I was in the UFC. Many challenges are lying in front of me and it is too soon to evaluate my career.

A lot of people perceive you leaving the UFC as a step back, however you claim the opposite. Do you currently have any contract with anybody? Aren´t there promoters from the Bellator, for example, around you all the time?

It is not true that I claim the opposite. It definitely is a step back, but I might have needed such a step back because I skipped a few steps on my way to the UFC. I have a contract with the Fight Nights.

How do you retrospectively perceive your performance in the UFC?

Well, I was certainly not as successful as I had imagined there. On the other side, I was a little unlucky with the opponents. All of those who defeated me are in the world´s top 15. No other Czech guy has fought against such quality men (maybe except for Jirka Procházka and his fight with King Mo). People can see my losses but they don´t realise how quality guys they were.

We are interested in you coping with them announcing you that you were going to finish. Did it sign under your self-trust?

It is clear that it is a bitter pill, but I am a big boy so I could put up with that. A person who caves in after the first failure should not do this sport.

What did the UFC give you? Is it mainly the experience?

Of course, the experience is irreplaceable. Except for that, I met a lot of interesting people, I got to a first-class training and in general, I got to know the world of the top MMA a little.

Do you believe that you could come back again? Is it even your goal or do you consider it as a closed chapter?

Of course, I want to come back. As I have said, I think that my top is far ahead. I got to the UFC after five years of training. It is clear that I still have some space to get better and to come back.

If a contract from the UFC landed on your table now, would you sign it?

I wouldn´t even be allowed to sign it now, because I am signed under the Fight Nights Global.

As one of few, you have a unique opportunity to compare the conditions in the Czech Republic and Slovakia with the overseas ones. Is it like, as one says, “chalk and cheese”?

It is not about the conditions, but rather about the approach. The fighters in America are more go-getting and strong-minded. In our countries, everybody only complains that there are bad conditions, but they do nothing about it themselves or they do not move elsewhere. In the USA, it is common that somebody moves a thousand kilometers because of training even if they are amateurs. Our fighters are very lazy.

Is that why you decided to move to America? For the purpose of moving forward?

Of course. I am definitely not here because of the sun and beach like some people think.

Was the project “Let me be your sparringpartner“ created before you found out that you would go to the UFC or after that? How did you even think of something like that?

We had started to work on that approximately a year before I got to the UFC. I wanted to train in the USA and I didn´t know how to get to a top team so I tried this.

We have mentioned that you are only the third Czech man in the UFC. Who could be the forth?

Probably Jirka Procházka is on the best way. But I heard he doesn´t want to, so I don´t know.

Do you watch the situation on our home MMA scene too? One challenge after the other, what´s your opinion on that?

To be honest I do not watch it much. Home “celebrities” pretend to be McGregor, but it seems to me that it doesn´t work out for them. I am more interested in the world scene.

As we are talking about that, what do you think about the McGregor´s so-called „postponing the necessary“? Do you think that the fight between him and Khabib is ever going to take place?

Well, it is not clear for now whether Connor is even coming back. I think he doesn´t want to do the fight much.

Do you think that our boys are able to cope with the pressure made by the immediate transmission to the UFC or Bellator? Isn´t it more appropriate to adapt to the foreign environment in some less watched organisation?

Well, of course, our boys would like to fight only at home because it´s more comfortable but if they want to be competitive in the world, they must travel abroad. It relates to the fact that our fighters are lazy.

Are you the trash talk type, or do your actions from the fights speak for you?

I haven´t made any trash talks yet. It seems like it belongs to that, but only on the highest level. When the domestic little stars try to copy that, it appeals rather funny.

How do your preparations for the fights differ from the preparations at home? Do you feel like they focus on other things in America? Do you have any diet specialist, for example, assigned to you, or do you solve these things on your own?

I take care of my diet rather on my own. Taking into account that I don´t lose weight, it is not the essential topic for me. If I am interested in something or I need some advice, I can always turn to my team diet advisor Doug Kalman. When I am at home, I am helped by Pavel Macek. The difference is mainly in the level of the training itself. When there are 20 guys from the UFC or Bellator on the mattress, it is clear that one learns something.

Have you thought about fighting in the Czech Republic again?

I would have no problem fighting there again, but there would have to be a good offer, which is unfortunately not the case now.

We noticed you at the XFN 3 event last year. How do you perceive the expand of this organization on the home scene?

Well it seems that they are doing well, the gala in O2 Arena was very successful, I think. On the other side, it is early to assess and the XFN haven´t raised their own fighters by now. Anyway, I wish them to be thriving.

You were a commentator at the XFN 6 last time, how does it feel to comment the impenetrable fights in the actual time? Is it like in the cage, where you have to react immediately?

I enjoy commentating and it is harder than it might seem at first sight. But it is impossible to compare it to a fight at all, that is a completely different thing.

Does there have to be any harmony between two commentators, or is it more like “each for self”?  

Well, that´s clear, if we were interrupting each other and each would say their own things, no one would be very happy to listen to that. We, as commentators, must cooperate. It is better for me with certain people and worse with others. And I think that a spectator can notice that.

When we mention your beginnings with the combat sports, which memory appears to you first?

Probably my first MMA training in Příbram. The coach Jirka Vesecký was talking about the UFC and that there are the best of the best fighters. I heard about it for the first time then, but it was clear to me immediately that I want to get there.

Have you always leaned towards these sports? Weren´t you tempted by the ball games or hockey more as a young boy?

Not much, I didn´t do sports in my childhood at all, because I was not led to it. I am not even interested in other than combat sports now. I simply just don´t enjoy watching somebody rush after a ball.

What do you consider being your biggest advantage in comparison to other fighters?

I wouldn´t say that I have some talent. If I am better than some people, it is because I am giving it more.

You defeated a Belarussian fighter Alexej Kudin in your last fight in Russia. Could you evaluate this fight for us? Did the win over this quality guy motivate you?

The fight worked out as planned. The fact, that I managed to defeat such quality fighter so smoothly confirmed that I have the ability to compare with the world´s top. I just have to continue winning now and the opportunity is certainly going to come.

What do you like to commemorate in terms of your career and by contrast, what would you like to forget?

I don´t want to forget anything, even the unfavourable moments gave me something and I am glad that I can learn from them. The best moment for me was probably the win at the UFC in Stockholm with the presence of 30 000 spectators and where the betters gave me no odds for winning.

What do you wish for your future in the sports and personal life?

To win the championships at the Fight Nights Global, to come back to the UFC, and to win the championships at the UFC. In this order.


Patrik Kincl: „I want to help build the Czech-Slovak MMA scene.“

Patrik Kincl is a convivialist and an MMA fighter. Every time he writes something or shares something, he entertains not only his fans, but he also attracts the haters, who wouldn´t be very happy to stay closed in a cage with him. Patrik accepted the interview in a very approachable way. If you want to know what we asked him about, read further.

Hi Patrik, what has your beginning of 2018 been like so far? Have you already broken all your resolutions?

The new year hasn´t started very well. One day before Christmas I renewed my injury from the fight and the leg got inflamed, so I enjoyed the holidays with antibiotics in combination with unrestrained gluttony.

Describe for our readers what your common day looks like.

My day starts normally with something waking me up. The alarm, the dog or my bladder. When it is the alarm, I start complaining and then I open Facebook. When it is the bladder, I start complaining, then I walk to the loo, try to relieve myself and check Facebook at the same time (due to the timesaving). It is not perfect yet, so I must usually clean it afterward (and that destroys my timesaving). Next, it comes to breakfast. I eat protein + fat. Mostly it is eggs with a little cheese and avocado. Then I pack for training, in case I didn´t pack in the evening – which is 99,9% of cases. I take Mr. Wild (dog) and I go for training, where I am trained in strength and fitness by Petr Schlegel, the prominent Czech CrossFit man, and a coach. After that, there is further walking Mr. Wild and lunch. I fill the time until the evening training with private training, studying the rival, making up the training and so on. The evening training is MMA. We try to train in a complex way, but always with some focus – stand-up, wrestling, G&P or grappling. After the training, there is walking the dog, dinner and evening rest. In the meantime, I must refer to the constant checking of social networks. It reminds me that I wanted to limit that as one of my new year resolutions. But I forgot to, so hopefully next year.

How is your unlucky injury?

It happened as I was doing the low kick and hit my rival´s knee. I got sewed in the changing room but as it was deep and I didn´t have inner stitches, it broke again after 14 days during training, so I went for sewing again one day before the Christmas day. Unfortunately, I caught the inflammation and as a result of that, the healing process was prolonged.

Is it possible to see you at the XFN gala evenings?

I will not show up at the XFN 7 in Pardubice (March 3rd), but in the first half of the year, I would like to demonstrate my Voodoo in the Czech Republic.

Why did you decide for the XFN?

My agreement with the ACB was officially over. There was a discussion on its prolongation but at the same time, I had few meetings with the XFN administrators.  I believed that something big was going to evolve, something that could get the Czech-Slovak MMA closer to the world. I wanted to be a part of it and help set it in motion. I am glad that I was not wrong, and I think that the O2 Arena being sold out is a beginning of all of it. The ACB would like to have me back and it is true that I have an unfinished championship path there, so maybe, I will show up there first. Anyway, I am not going to sign a long-term contract, because I have common plans with the XFN.

Would it be possible to alternate ACB and XFN in your case?

We are currently negotiating about it with ACB. They are very interested to cooperate with me so they will hopefully meet my requirements. The agreement they have sent me doesn´t prohibit that, but I would like to have it clearly written that I can.

Have you thought about the UFC too?

I would definitely like to fight in the UFC, but everything has its time. Now I want to help build the Czech-Slovak MMA scene and it is hard while being abroad. I would like to take part in home events too which would not be allowed by the UFC. But of course, if Dan White called me now, I wouldn´t reject him. The ideal image is to alternate the ACB and the XFN and to become the champion of both organisations. To plant a tree. To sign the contract with the UFC and to end the career in the UFC and to do coaching. However, man proposes…

At what age would you like to stop fighting and just do coaching?

According to my feelings, I haven´t planned it. As soon as I feel fighting will not work anymore and I feel more useful as a coach, I will put the gloves away.

What do you do to get to the UFC one day?

I am almost every day in the gym. I get at my possibilities frontier more often than is necessary (see my injury). I subordinate everything to it. When it doesn´t work out, I can still say I did the maximum for it.

What was it like to stand in front of the sold-out O2 Arena?

My first fight was in a municipal house in Nový Bor. Even though it was sold out too, it can´t be compared. If anybody had told me then that I will be fighting in full O2 Arena, I would have probably burst out laughing. (laughter)

How did the fight in Nový Bor look like?

The fight was arranged very fast and it was against a Slovak opponent. There was a seed for everything Slovak – except for money, but now you have Euro, so I wouldn´t mind it either. That was a joke – I do mind Slovak Euro too (laughter). It was around 10 years ago, so it was a very technical fight at a level. One of the first hits landed at my chin and I sat down on my bum. That shook with my boxing confidence and when I managed to get the opponent to a stranglehold, out of panic, so that the fight doesn´t get to a stand again, I put all my power into it and the opponent gave up. I could hear ringing in my ears for one more week.

What fight do you consider being the hardest in your whole MMA fighter career and why?

Thanks to a demanding preparation, every fight is hard for me, but the last time I literally reached the end of my tether, was against Sergey Khandozhk. I was totally squeezed. I had to lay down in the changing room and I couldn´t stand up for about half an hour – a beautiful feeling.

We know, what your opinion on doping in MMA is, how did you come to this conclusion?

I didn´t have to come to any conclusion. It is fraud, which is against my hair and to which I have an aversion. I don´t have experience with steroids and I will never have as part of my sports career.

Can you see any sense in taking the fight with Gábor Boráros after having defeated Mohamed Sayah?

I can see the only sense in the interest of the fans. Every live streaming I do, I have a query on Gábor. Every minute I read a comment, or I get a message whether the fight is going to take place or not. It doesn´t make any sense for me in sports, of course.

Do your fans currently challenge you to fights with anybody else than Boráros?

It´s been quite calm lately. And I have to say that I really have a lot of positive reactions from Slovak people. I will have to hate you a little, once again. (laughter)

What is your opinion on the MMA in the Czech Republic and the MMA in Slovakia?

The MMA in the Czech Republic was further. There used to be more fighters, gyms, quality gala evenings and fans. I don´t know what happened as no Czech man won in a big international organization like Slovak guys Attila Végh – Bellator, Ivan Buchinger – M-1 Global or Tomáš Deák – FNG. On the other side, three Czechs looked in the UFC (Karlos Vémola, Viktor Pesta, and Lucie Pudilová). Anyway, the situation in Slovakia, as far as I can see, has changed a lot. I can see, how many top-class equipped gyms are being created and how big the interest in the MMA is. And I like it. At least what concerns the MMA, I live in Czechoslovakia. I believe that as soon as the Slovaks are successful in foreign organizations, it will awaken the interest in the Czech Republic too and vice versa. For instance, the last fight of Tomáš Deák at Fight Night was watched by all of us in the gym and we wished him to win.

Do you train in Slovakia too?

I haven´t been there for long now, but I normally used to go to OFA Gym Bratislava. Amazingly equipped gym with a professional attitude and what is most important, there are fighters who are willing to sacrifice maximum to their career. Damn, I just bum-sucked them, so to make it right, I am going to say: Good for Slovakia. (laughter)

We saw that you proposed to your girlfriend last year.

Yes, I did. I can only say one thing: Somebody had put something to my drink.

Have you ever thought about your own reality show?

I really have not, but I am open to your ideas. (laughter)

You are known for being provocative and for moving borders of what is normal when you want, was there any situation when you told to yourself “I overstepped that”?

Almost every time. Sometimes there is a particular situation in my instastories.

Do you watch the conflict Joshua vs. Fury? It is probably a different discipline, we are just interested in what your opinion is.

What my opinion of an obese drug addicted person is? Sure, it is a little hard evaluation. He put down the king and no one can deny his achievements, but I do not approve of what he has been doing lately. It is true that I do not completely watch his case and there can be depressions, which he is said to be suffering from behind it all, and I might be doing wrong to him. Who knows…

Do you have any valuable advice for your haters?

The hating wave has recently backed up a little, so I would advise them to learn to be persistent. I know they are waiting (hidden) for my stumble, but it doesn´t have to come at all. So don´t be chickens and come on! (laughter)

What would you like to tell your fans?

Of course, thank you for your support. I must say that I really have a strong and noble fan club up to the mark. I keep my fingers crossed for them to defend me from my haters like lions. #kinclarmy !!! ASA

We are thankful to Patrik for having found time for the interview and for the future, we wish him a lot of fun with the social networks, the least number of health problems and a lot of successful fights under the XFN.

Source of photos: Facebook archive of Patrik Kincl