I recently had the great honor of speaking to one of the icons and forefathers of modern day mixed martial arts. His first fight in the UFC took place just after the Zuffa takeover and he remained a staple within that organization for years.
His last fight was at Cage Rage 24 in December 2007 in England. Following that bout, he took a break from professional competition and his presence has been noticeably missing from the international MMA scene since.
At 37 years of age he has spent the last year running his gym and imparting his vast wisdom and knowledge to the next generation of mixed martial artists. However, he made it clear to me that he is not retired and 2009 could very well be the return of the King.
Ladies and gentleman I give to you none other than the King of Rock & Rumble himself, Elvis Sinosic; show respect.
PRO MMA: Thanks for taking the time to speak with me Elvis. Are you still in Australia and what in the world have you been up to?
ELVIS: Hey there. Always a pleasure to let everyone know what I am up to. I am still living here in Australia, can’t think of a better place to be. Over the last year I have been focussing on my business, Sinosic Perosh Martial Arts (www.spma.net.au), and my students.
PRO MMA: Are you married or have any kids?
ELVIS: Sadly no, at this point I am still unmarried and without kids, though I do have a beautiful girlfriend.
PRO MMA: Your first appearance with the UFC was at UFC 30 when you fought and beat Jeremy Horn. That was in 2001 but you had been fighting years before that. How did you get your start in MMA?
ELVIS: I got the MMA bug when I first saw UFC 2 with Royce Gracie. I decided then that I wanted to try it but to be honest I never thought it would go past that. Then I had my first fight on March 22nd 1997 and it hasn’t been the same since.
PRO MMA: Now you came into the UFC just about a month after Zuffa purchased them correct? How did that happen for you; how did you get involved with the UFC?
ELVIS: That’s right, I fought in UFC 30, Zuffa’s first show. I got into the show when Jeremy Horn’s opponent pulled out due to injury two weeks before the fight. This was a title contender match up where the winner would go on to face Tito for the belt. They were left without a suitable opponent. I had a history as I had fought Frank Shamrock and lost a decision. Jeremy had previously been submitted by Frank. So there was a good tie in. So they offered me the fight and the rest is history as they say.
PRO MMA: You have fought many of the toughest men in the world: Frank Shamrock, Jeremy Horn, Forrest Griffin, Evan Tanner, Michael Bisping, Renato Sobral. Out of everyone you fought who was your toughest fight and who do you have the most respect for?
ELVIS: You know that is one of the toughest questions. How do you rate toughness for a fight? A quick finish? A long draw out match with lots of punishment? I definitely don’t know. They were all tough, they were all great fighters and I respect every one of them. They share the passion for what I do. They step in there and put it on the line every time.
PRO MMA: Do you still keep up with the UFC and what’s going on with MMA in the U.S. and around the world? If so, what do you think of the current state of MMA as compared to when you started. How has it changed?
ELVIS: Yeah, as I’ve said many times before, I am a fan as well as a fighter. When I’m not fighting or training for a fight, I’m trying to keep up with what is going on, watching shows, reading results. MMA is in a difficult stage at the moment. The UFC is sky rocketing. The other orgs are fighting for their position as the sport of MMA expands and the exposure grows. It has been sad to see some of those organisations fold. Hopefully the ones remaining will stay strong and continue to survive and grow. I’m a big fan of the UFC, but I also believe that there should be other MMA organizations out there as well. I think more MMA is a good thing. Competition creates a better product. I think the biggest problem is some of the organizations are trying to do too much too soon. They are trying to compete with the UFC without doing what the UFC has done to get there. Establish a strong support base of fans; establish a recognised brand and product.
PRO MMA: When is the last time you spoke with Dana White? What is your opinion of him, was he cool with you? Do you have fond memories of that portion of your life looking back?
ELVIS: The last time I spoke with Dana was when I fought in Manchester in the UK. Dana has always been cool with me. I like Dana. Heck I like the entire staff of the UFC and have always gotten on well with them. I’ve gotten some great memories thanks to the UFC and I’ve done some things that very few people will ever do as well. I think I’m pretty lucky in that regard.
PRO MMA: Who are some other Australians who have been in the UFC. How is the MMA scene in your country? Is it legal where you live and are there lots of shows?
ELVIS: Actually, I am the first Australian to fight in the UFC, win in the UFC and get a title shot in the UFC. BUT there have been quite a few other Australians who have fought in the UFC; Chris Haseman, Anthony Perosh, Soa Palalei, Brad Morris and George Sotiropolous (of TUF fame). The MMA scene here in Australia is doing ok. It is legal over here. The main showing doing strongly is the CFC (www.cfcworld.com.au), there are other shows out there Warriors Realm, Xplosion, KOTC, Fightworld but most have been quiet lately. I have also noticed that a lot of Kickboxing promoters are now also holding MMA matches on their Kickboxing shows.
PRO MMA: Have you retired from professional MMA competition or may we see the “King of Rock and Rubmle” back in the U.S. again some day fighting? Do you ever have that desire to get back in the cage?
ELVIS: No I have not retired. I was hoping to fight this year, but due to a lot of the upheaval with MMA I have been unable to secure a match overseas. I did have a match lined up for November, but due to the international financial situation they were unable to afford the air fares to get me over. Hopefully early next year I’ll step back in again to compete.
PRO MMA: We have a lot of ams and up and coming fighters who visit the site, do you have any advice you can give these new cats and the up and comers getting into MMA?
ELVIS: MMA is tough. Make sure you train hard. The one thing that I really think is important is this… “You can never be too fit to fight”. If you think you’re fit, you’re not, go and train harder.
PRO MMA: Would you like to say anthing to your fans out there who miss seeing “the King”? Any final words?
ELVIS: I want to thank all my fans for their continued support. It is with your support and encouragement that I will continue to drive forward. Keep an eye out for me as I will be back! I want to thank my family, friends and students for their support. I couldn’t do it without all of you. I want to thank my sponsors, Fairtex, Atama Australia and Lojak Fightwear. Your support allows me to do what I want to do. Thank you.