Blake Bowman was cast for season six of The Ultimate Fighter and competed as part of Team Hughes without a single professional bout under his belt. Although Blake was eliminated by Richie Hightower on the show, he made it through his fight and the whole season with an injured ACL.
The TUF 6 Finale aired in December 2007. Following the show, Blake had knee surgery and then made his professional debut headlining an event in Indiana in May 2008. It took only eight seconds for Blake’s kick to connect to the head of his opponent, knocking him out, and giving Blake his first pro victory inside the cage.
Now, a little over a year later, Blake is preparing for his fifth pro fight which takes place against Dustin West at Music City MMA in Nashville, Tenn. on July 18. PRO MMA (promma.info) caught up with Blake this week to talk about life after TUF, training with American Top Team, living with the Miller brothers, and his upcoming fight. Meet MMA’s funny man — Blake Bowman…
PRO MMA: Blake, thank you for taking the time to speak with us here at PRO MMA (promma.info). How are things with you?
BLAKE BOWMAN: Things are good enough. Thanks for asking. Could always use more money, wish I were better looking, stuff like that. But I can’t complain.
PRO MMA: You were last inside the cage back in February on the “Rumble in Race Town” card. Unfortunately, things didn’t go your way. Could you talk a little about that fight and what took place?
BLAKE BOWMAN: It was a tough fight for me. It was offered on six days notice. I basically only had time to get my weight down since I was a little chubby at the time. Of course, the notice wasn’t a real excuse, I wasn’t in bad shape or anything, just not training to fight. I wasn’t sparring at all and Ryan clipped me early. I took that fight for a paycheck basically and I fought like it. I felt like a real sell out and had to take a step back and evaluate things a little.
PRO MMA: How was the MMA / NASCAR mixture for that event; being from the South were you into it, are you a NASCAR fan?
BLAKE BOWMAN: I know traffic was bad and it was hard to get around. Other than that, the crowd wasn’t much different from any other crowd. They were actually really receptive and really seemed to appreciate the fights. Great crowd. I grew up less than an hour from Talladega myself, but have never watched a race in person or on television. Just not my thing either. I can certainly understand the excitement and why people are fans, but I don’t dig it.
PRO MMA: Now your next fight is going to be on July 18th against Dustin West on the “Music City MMA” card in Nashville. How did you get hooked up with this fight; how did it come about?
BLAKE BOWMAN: When Cole fought Junie in Nashville, Micah and I were with him. Allen Sircydd a promotional thing for his website and asked Micah and I along with Roli to do an appearance after weigh ins. Allen is serving as match maker for this card. Apparently, Jeremiah Riggs was supposed to fight Dustin but had to pull out from an injury. Not sure of the specifics. Allen called me and asked, I answered.
PRO MMA: Do you know much about your opponent, have you seen much footage on him and from what you know how do you think you match up?
BLAKE BOWMAN: Not much. I’ve seen a fight and read some reviews. Finisher, throws hard, likes to bang. I know that he moved to Vegas to train full time with a good camp. Sounds familiar. Anyone that leaves home to train is serious and should be respected. I think we’re a good match up. I read an interview where he said he was happy I was the replacement because “I like to fight” and I’m “what MMA is supposed to be about.” We can smell our own and I wouldn’t be surprised if we bloody each other up and end up friends after. I respect what I’ve seen. He’s confident in what he does and looks to end fights. Gotta like that.
PRO MMA: Who are you training with these days? Who are your main instructors?
BLAKE BOWMAN: I’m at American Top Team now. Packed up back in September and moved down here. Took a while to get situated and get a training routine. But it’s solid now. I work my jiu-jitsu with Rafael Rebello and Marcos “Parrumpinha” da Matta. Wrestling with Carmelo Marrero. My boxing coach is Howard Davis Jr., and have recently began working Muay Thai with Master Vitelmo “Katel” Kubis. It’s fun again…training I mean. It’s nice having a routine. But I probably learn more from my training partners than my coaches…just the way it works. I work with a lot of really good guys with a lot of experience. Little stuff you just pick up can’t be replaced. Also, I’m good friends with Charles McCarthy and teach at his gym on the side. I get a lot of training in with students there. It’s all about going and getting it done.
PRO MMA: Are you still living with the Miller brothers, Micah and Cole? If so, what is that dynamic like…you got three fighters there…is it wild and crazy parties with loads of women or is it a more disciplined lifestyle with protein shakes and video games and steady girlfriends?
BLAKE BOWMAN: Haha, I’m still living with them for sure. Not so much going out. We’re all surprising anti-social for the most part. But we’re all really outgoing. I think we kinda save up and let all out when one of us fights or something. Generally, we train together, eat together, train together, do our own thing, then hang out as a family at the end of the night. LOTS of video games get played in this apartment. And as for serious girlfriends…we’re all single. Not that we’re crawling in ladies..just that we’re dorks.
PRO MMA: I was saying the other day that season six was the last season of The Ultimate Fighter that I could get into. I don’t know if it’s the production or the fighters but it just seems like you guys had more personality back then, there were more “characters” on the show or something. Have you noticed anything like that or what is your opinion of how the show has gone in the last few seasons? Also, are you looking forward to TUF 10?
BLAKE BOWMAN: I haven’t watched TUF since season 5. It was a part of my life that taught me how to be a fighter, but it’s in my past. I don’t really watch TV at all, and if I do, it’s either History Channel or the Food Network. I like cooking shows and shit like that.
PRO MMA: If they had a TUF Fighters reunion show where they brought back various guys from different seasons would you do it again?
BLAKE BOWMAN: I think I’m one of the few people that would. A lot of people still look at me like a joke from that show. It’s cool, whatever. I’m not. Maybe I was then, but I’m not now. But there’s no use trying to convince people that believe what they see on television anyway. I know what to expect and how I’d react. I”d go on the show prepared and do well I think. If it were offered, I’m pretty sure I’d jump on it.
PRO MMA: How are you as a fighter and as a person different now than when you were on the show? Where do you think you’ve improved the most as a fighter?
BLAKE BOWMAN: That show will change you a lot as a person. Some for the good, some for the bad. I grew up a lot since then. But of course, I came home from the show and went under the knife for my knee injury. I take life a little more seriously now. I feel like I have to. For whatever reason, for everyone that hates me, someone looks up to me. It’s weird, but it’s cool. As far as being a fighter..Matt Hughes and his guys showed me how to be one. Now I train like a fighter and sacrificed everything I had and everyone I knew to give this a legit shot. There is no comparison between what went on that show and I what I am now. It’s not even worth talking about it like I’m the same person.
PRO MMA: Do you have a job outside of fighting or are you able to make a living just fighting?
BLAKE BOWMAN:Like I said earlier, I teach classes at BocaMMA, which is Charles McCarthy’s ATT satellite gym. Together, I can get by. If need be, I’ll still work a door at a club or something here and there. I really don’t like the bar life though.
PRO MMA: Did you do the college thing (or are you doing)? If so, what did you study?
BLAKE BOWMAN: I did. I college hopped for a while before I went to West Georgia. I studied everything they offered, but majored in Psychology with an English minor.
PRO MMA: If you could have any occupation in the world outside of fighting, what would it be?
BLAKE BOWMAN:I’d be a radio DJ and/or own a record store. Both are dying professions, I know, but it’s what I’d do. I love music, a lot. Also, this guy on the Food Network just drives to different diners and talks about how good it is…that’d be sweet too.
PRO MMA: I still think you were one of the funniest guys to ever be on TUF and I have heard other interviews with you and you seem like a barrel of laughs. Have you ever done any stand-up comedy or ever considered it?
BLAKE BOWMAN: I was a lot funnier than what I hear they showed on television. Have I considered stand up, yeah. Once or twice. I’ve done some sketch and had more luck with that. It’s always a possibility I guess. I consider myself well versed in the art of comedy. If anyone is interested…
PRO MMA: Did you play any sports in school or do you play any now outside of MMA?
BLAKE BOWMAN: Nah. In school I played baseball and was on the wrestling team but was never good at either. I wasn’t very athletic and not very competitive. I was kind of an instigator. Just enough to cause a stir but never enough to get in serious trouble. I played music and was well on my way to being a music teacher when I bailed on that idea. Big time band dork in high school. All the science teachers loved me too. Now, I goof off and do stuff for fun. Micah and I will get some basketball in or tennis…stuff like that. Beach volleyball. I’m the second worst volleyball player in the world behind Carmelo Marrero and even he aced me once. It’s just fun though…it’s not that I didn’t like sports, a lot of my friends were jocks. I just didn’t like the organization of it I think. I’ve always been an obnoxious, dork, rebel punk rock nerd. Does that make sense? If so, explain it to me.
PRO MMA: What kind of stuff are you into outside of training/fighting? What interests and entertains you?
BLAKE BOWMAN: Like I said, I really have always been into music. I listen to my iPodand jog or walk around town. Go to shows, watch concerts, whatever. Pick up games for fun. I don’t like clubs or crowds usually. I have a thing with water..not really a fear per se, but something like that. So I don’t do the usual SoFlo “beach and pool” thing. I watch BluRays, go to the library or Barnes and Noble and read stuff, play video games. There’s a movie theater next to our apartment and place that is a “family fun” center…whatever that means. They have air hockey, go karts, and a rock climbing wall. I completely OWN the rock climbing wall.
PRO MMA: Ultimately Blake, what would you like to accomplish in MMA?
BLAKE BOWMAN: I want to have a highlight video made. And when people watch that video, they say “yeah, I remember that fight…(specific part) was SICK!” I just want people to be entertained by what I do and remember and want to see it again. I don’t have a goal specific to accomplish, but I don’t ever want to look back and say, “I could have fought a little harder.” You can’t help how good, ready or whatever the other guy is…but if you could have finished, and you didn’t…that’s your wagon to pull. Basically, whether it’s WEC, DREAM, Strikeforce, UFC, whatever, I want people to see my fights and WANT to see another one.
PRO MMA: Thank you Blake for taking the time to do this. We wish you the best of luck in your upcoming fight and we will be right there to see it all live. I can’t wait. Would you like to thank anyone or send any shout-outs?
BLAKE BOWMAN: I’d like to thank my family and friends back home who stand by, especially my mom. She’s a huge supporter. Cole, Micah, Tim, Charles, everyone at BocaMMA and American Top Team. My coaches and especially Tibau, Jorge Santiago, Luigi Fioravanti, Rich Antonito and Danillo Villefort. I’ve been training with those guys a lot lately. Josh Hartnett, Primo, Puma, Liborio. CrossFit Delray Beach for helping me get into shape and my sponsors: FightDentist.com, TaporSleep fight gear for the time being. I’m looking for anyone willing to help me out, so feel free to contact me. And thanks to MusicCityMMA for giving this chance to fight a tough guy on a good show.
You can check out Blake Bowman on MySpace at www.myspace.com/bowmanb.
By: Jack Bratcher