by: Jack Bratcher
I want to introduce you to a young man who is making waves in the Mixed Martial Arts world in more ways than one. Billy “24-7” MacDonald is one of the hardcore crew over at Tagg Radio. Just like myself and everyone else associated with ProMMA.info, you can find Billy hanging out in the Combat Chat at Tagg Radio. The Combat Chat is a gathering spot for socializing and networking within the MMA community while at the same time we get to listen to the best MMA radio programming available.
I wanted to do this interview with Billy not only because he is an up-and-coming fighter about to make his pro debut but he also has a fighter management company called Sponsor Fighters and can help other fighters in MMA make those contacts and help build the relationships needed to have a successful career in Mixed Martial Arts. He is becoming an important figure within the MMA community and if you don’t already know him, let me introduce to you to the very driven, Billy “24-7” MacDonald.
ProMMA: Hey Billy, how’s it going man. I”ve been wanting to talk with you for quite some time and now that I have the opportunity I would like to pick your brain a little.
Billy: No worries. It’s a bit crazy for me right now, with having to balance training, work, and working on finishing my website.
ProMMA: Let’s start from the beginning; can you let everyone know who you are and where you’re from? If I was a teenage girl in a chatroom I would type this to you right now: “A-S-L?”
Billy: Well, my name is Billy “24/7” MacDonald and I’m from Azle, Texas which is just outside of Dallas/ Fort Worth. And after looking up chat room definitions on Google I will add that I am 30 years old and obviously I’m a guy…….. Lol.. ( I didn’t have to look this one up! )
ProMMA: You seem to be involved in the sport of Mixed Martial Arts in so many ways, it’s almost hard to know where to start but let’s start with this….how did you first get involved with Mixed Martial Arts? Were you a fighter first or a fan first?
Billy: Oh, I was definately a fan first. Not just for mma, but for all martial arts in general. My grandmother was a black belt in judo and would teach us stuff out in the yard when we visited. I would watch Bruce Lee movies all the time too. That being said, I grew up in a small town and the nearest school was about a 30 to 40 minute drive. I got my license not too long after UFC 1 and that pretty much sealed it for me. Both of my parents were disabled by that time and I chose to help them out and work to help pay bills instead of driving to train every night. Then in ’96 I graduated from high school. I moved to Fort Worth and after seeing Royce Gracie dominate the way he did and I started to search out a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu school in my area. I finally found one and went to check it out. The instructor was a then unknown Travis Lutter. I went back a couple more times before deciding that it was the school for me and literally the week that I was going to take my paycheck and pay for my first month of training, my grandmother was diagnosed with very advanced breast cancer and heart issues. So again, my family comes first and I took care of her while starting my freshman year in college. Anyways, before I get too far into my life story, (I know, I know. Too late. Hahahaha.) Almost ten years to the month of when I first walked into it, I started training at Travis Lutter’s place. I was there for almost a year. Although I do train in primarily muay thai, jiu jitsu, and boxing, I am actually looking at a new system called Goju jitsu. Now that’s not to be confused with Gozejitsu (which I am still waiting to be awarded my black belt in) but instead in combines Goju Ryu Karate and mma training together and still awards belts like other traditional martial arts.
ProMMA: Could you tell us a little about your competition so far. How many amateur fights have you had and when are you planning to turn pro?
Billy: 4-0 mma and 3-0 boxing ( Boxing was while I was in college.)
My record right now is all amateur, since I don’t make my pro debut until later this year.
ProMMA: When exactly will you turn pro?
Billy: My pro debut is scheduled for November 1st in Tulsa, Oklahoma at Elite Combat League’s Battle for a Cause.
ProMMA: Do you know who your opponent will be?
Billy: I am fighting Mike Webb from Miletich Fighting Systems’ Tulsa camp. I am preparing myself to fight the home town hero and be boo’ed heavily. Lol.
ProMMA: Who are some of the guys you train with down there in Texas and could you tell us about your main camp?
Billy: Honestly, I have been bouncing around from gym to gym recently. That being said I am going back to training full time at L.A. Boxing of Fort Worth until a friend of mine opens his gym that he is working on. At that time, I have a group of fighters that we have recruited from all over Texas that will be coming in to be a part of my new team Devastation Incorporated. My main instructor is Johnny Bedford who is an absolute stud at 145 lbs. He is one of the few fighters to make it all the way through the IFL draft process last year and until they decided on the format change he was to be the starting 145 fighter for Ken Shamrock’s Lions team. Oh and we have “Handsome” Matt Wiman down here with us now. He’s coming off of his UFC Fight of the Night and his wedding so congrats go out to Matt all around. And I can’t wait to get in there and train along side him. Aside from that I hope to work on my wrestling with my buddy Justin ” The Viking ” Wren who is a 5 time All-American and 2-time National Champion amateur wrestler and my boxing with Warren “Baby Dynamite” Stewart, who is going to come up from Austin and help me get ready for my fight. He’s a former Golden Gloves champion and another very solid fighter at 145.
ProMMA: Who has inspired you along the way or had a big influence on your MMA career?
Billy: This is actually a hard question for me. I find inspiration from so many things, not just for mma, but for all life in general. I guess I would have to say my grandmother for teaching me my first moves, Bruce Lee for keeping me intrigued during the time that I wasn’t able to train, and Randy Couture for showing me that 30 isn’t too late to live my dream.
ProMMA: Now, not only are you a fighter but you also have a fighter management company; is that correct?
Billy: Yeah that’s correct. We only manage a couple guys right now, but our website (www.sponsor-fighters.com) is more to help other fighters, sponsors, match makers all come together. It is still under construction, but we decided to go ahead and make it available to view while we are getting it done to generate some interest in it.
ProMMA: I was checking out your website, Sponsor Fighters, and it looks like you are involved with some very well known professional fighters. Could you tell us about Sponsor Fighters, what fighters you are working with right now and what your company is all about?
Billy: Again, it is more about helping the guys that are newer to the business find sponsors and fights. That being said, my plan with the website was to call some of the more well known fighters that I have met along the way and get them on there as well. I figured that getting some more well known names on there would get some of the newer fighters (myself included) more exposure. We went from only 10 or so fighters to start to over 100 which is why we are so far behind on finishing the website. Some of the names that we have on there right now include, former UFC fighters Pete Spratt and Duane “Bang” Ludwig, WEC fighters Leonard Garcia, Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, Nick ” The Ghost” Gonzalez whom you can see on World Combat League on Versus, Art of War vererans Justin Wren and Warren Stewart, HD Net veteran and a guy who made it through the IFL draft Johnny Bedford and me. Those are the profiles that we have up and are finishing right now. Some of the others that we will have up soon (once the contracts are finished) include fighters from Dream, Elite XC, WEC, and the UFC. And they include current and former champions from a couple of those organzations. Trust me, you won’t even believe who we’ve got coming up.
ProMMA: I heard Joe “Daddy” Stevenson give you a shout out on Tagg Radio the other day, what is your connection with Joe?
Billy: I met Joe back in January at an event I was covering for TAGG Radio in Oklahoma City. He is one of the coolest fighters that I’ve met. I’ve met alot of the more well known fighters thanks in part to TAGG Radio, and Joe has been by far one of the most accomodating and friendliest.
ProMMA: How did you get the nickname “24-7?”
Billy: Hahahahaha! This is a long story. Basically it all boils down to I was down to go out and party 24/7 . I also had a girlfriend that put that nickname to the test as well, but this is a family friendly website so we’ll save that for another time. Lol.
ProMMA: What can we expect out of Billly MacDonald in the future?
Billy? I have so many projects that I have been working on recently it’s hard to know where to start. I am working on a book that chronicles how mma has changed my life for the better, and just like everyone else in the industry we have a TV show that we are pitching that we will hold off discussing until it gets picked up, and you will see my name keep growing in this industry. And you can quote me on that one.
ProMMA: In closing, is there anyone you want to thank? Any thoughts or words of wisdom for the masses?
Billy: First off I would like to thank you for the interview. And Goze, George, and Trigg over at TAGG Radio, my business partners for putting up with me and holding the forts down. I would also like to thank my sponsors, Derek Jaeger and the Pimpit Fight Team, Buffalo Wild Wings, Reality Records and Dan-O at Quixx Clothing. I would also like to thank the band Hedkase for doing my entrance music. They can be checked out at www.myspace.com/hedkase. Also everyone at Team Money Shot without them I don’t think this would be possible. Lol.
ProMMA: Thanks alot Billy for taking the time to speak with us at Pro MMA. I’ll see ya in the TAGG Combat Chat.
Billy: No problem and thank you again.
And for everyone else check out www.sponsor-fighters.com and you will soon be able to donate money to fighters to help them continue their dream and keep growing this sport that we all love.
And check out www.taggradio.com Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m pst.