Every MMA fan has a favorite fighter. Every fan has a favorite fight, a favorite live event, a favorite memory of the sport we love. However, the dynamic between the media and the sports personalities often takes this a step further. Every person that reports on MMA that I know can speak to memories of covering local and national shows, building friendships with fighters, trainers, and gym owners.
Many of the reporters I know can speak to celebrating with their favorite fighters in the good times and sympathizing with them in the bad, feeling the emotions of the victories and the defeats because they know the hard work and long hours that the fighters have put in. One of the fighters that I have covered since the beginning of my time covering MMA, and one on whom I have reported extensively since then is Chad Hinton. Hinton makes his debut with the Bellator Fighting Championships this Thursday, April 8 in the promotion’s second season lightweight tourney versus former UFC fighter Roger Huerta.
Hinton is not only an excellent fighter, but an exemplary MMA figure. Not only a fighter, Hinton also co-owns a successful gym in the Cincinnati area where he works as a coach of the fight team, mentoring fighters as they rise in careers of their own. A family man with strong values, Hinton conducts himself with the utmost professionalism in and out of the cage. Hinton fought in the main event of the first MMA event that I ever live-blogged, and was one of the first professional fighters I ever interviewed.
Since that event in November of 2008, Hinton’s third professional fight (and third professional win), I was on hand to cover victories number four, five and six. I was welcomed into Hinton’s gym and have spent time with a number of his fighters, he is a two-time guest of The Cageside Beat, and even now, just days before his debut match with Bellator, Hinton took some time out of his busy schedule to speak with Pro MMA Now about his upcoming fight.
Pro MMA Now: Bellator made a lot of headlines last year and they seem to be growing in popularity all the time in addition to pulling in some excellent talent for the tournaments – how do you feel about the opportunity to fight for them?
Chad Hinton: I’m flattered to be one of eight lightweight fighters in the world chosen to compete in the tourney. I’ve been watching Bellator since last year and am impressed with path they have chosen. I’m absolutely excited about fighting for a great up and coming organization while they are still in their infancy.
Pro MMA Now: How are you feeling going into the fight?
Chad Hinton: I’m 100% healthy (knock on wood) and in the absolute best shape of my life.
Pro MMA Now: You’re older than a number of fighters in the game today, but you’ve reeled off six straight wins in your pro career and even at this early stage are ready to make your debut with Bellator – what do you think of your fight career so far?
Chad Hinton: I’m happy with the pattern that my career has held. Every fight has been a step up for me. Every fighter I have faced has had more experience than me. Every fighter has been progressively better than the last. I’ve finished 4 out of 6. i guess if there’s anything I wish were better it would be a 100% finishing percentage.
Pro MMA Now: Roger Huerta is likely the biggest name in the tournament this year – how do you feel about getting a match like this for your first tournament fight?
Chad Hinton: It’s like Christmas came early for me. It would have taken me 4 or 5 wins in other organizations to have the opportunity to fight a fighter of Huerta’s caliber. The way I see it is I’d have to fight him now or later anyway.
Pro MMA Now: Without asking you to give away any strategy, what have you been working on for this fight? Chad Hinton: Instinct :)
Pro MMA Now: Who will be cornering you for the fight?
Chad Hinton: Marty Slone and Dahei Haile
Pro MMA Now: In addition to training for your own fight career, you’re also co-owner of Cincy MMA & Fitness and a full-time husband and father, inaddition to handling other jobs as well – has the increased publicity of this fight made it harder for you to balance all of your responsibilities more so than with your previous fights?
Chad Hinton: Well Brian we’ve actually taken on a third partner recently, renamed and relocated the gym. For the record the new gym info is Cincy Fitness 24/7 7024 Harrison Ave. Suite 4 Cincinnati, OH 45247 (513) 827-9365 WWW.CINCYFITNESS247.COM. I’m hoping this change will lighten my load so that I can pursue my career to the fullest. Balance is a way of life for me, so it’s really nothing new.
Pro MMA Now: What do your teammates and students think of this opportunity that you’ve earned?
Chad Hinton: They’ve been supportive but have also kind of respected my position. I’ve closed my circle of training partners a little more tighter this camp and put the blinders on. The guys have respected that and kind of let me be.
Pro MMA Now: Once the weigh-ins are over, the walkouts are finished, and the cage door closes – what can fans expect to see out of Chad Hinton?
Chad Hinton: The fans will see a 110% effort as usual. I think the pace of this fight could surpass many of Huerta’s previous wars.
Pro MMA Now: Thanks for talking with me Chad – is there anyone you’d like to take a minute to thank?
Chad Hinton: It’s my pleasure as always Brian. Yes, I’d like to thanks the following: My wife Lynne and my kids Mikayla and Caylan and of course the rest of my wonderful family, my coaches and teammates, my Grandfather (God bless his wonderful soul), all of my loyal friends and supporters, Andy Limle at Cincinnati Chiropractic, Vindication clothing, Bodybuilding.com, No-Gi Industries, MMA Agents and of course Bellator Fighting Championships.
Thanks again for Chad to speaking to me – there are a lot of things that could be said at this point, but for me, it can be summed up with two words – War Hinton!
By: Brian Furby