Interview: Christian Sutton

This is something I wanted to check off my bucket list.

Christian Sutton

Interview by: AJ Hoffman

Christian Sutton has had his share of troubles finding fights since he started. After plenty of injuries, fights falling through and tests going wrong. It appears that he will finally get his chance to fight on Friday night at the House of Blues when he takes on Matt Steward of BVMMA. We had a chance to sit down and talk with the Hoger MMA fighter just before his match.

TCD: So it looks like you are actually going to fight. Talk about the struggles you have had to get back in the cage.

Sutton: It started in 2009, I fought Jermain Anugwom in March. That’s when they started all the testing and stuff like that. I was 36 at the time. In August of that year I fought in Louisiana, and I broke 3 ribs and tore some ligaments in my knee and ankle. I came back before I should and ended up being hurt more than I thought. I don’t like to take medicine, so I was trying to let it heal on it’s own. I was scheduled to fight Jermain again in College Station. We didn’t want to fight because there was nothing to prove. He had beat me, and I am not the guy who goes looking for revenge. Unfortunately we were the only 205 pounders. Either way, that fight didn’t go through because of the tests. March of this year I was supposed to fight for Garcia Promotions. I had all my tests done, but I couldn’t get ahold of the doctor who did my EEG. I was supposed to fight in April in Louisiana, and my opponent backed out on fight day. That was rough. I think all the testing they do is a bunch of crap.

TCD: Are you nervous at all that this fight is going to fall through at the last minute?

Sutton: I’m trying not to let my nerves go to crazy. Knowing my luck, I am keeping my emotions in check until Friday. Nothing against my opponent, but I won’t get excited until we are on deck. I have cut from 235 though, so we need to fight.

TCD: Do you have plans to fight pro?

Sutton: When I started I just said I wanted to be an amateur. Sam said he could make me a great pro, but right now it is just something to do. I am 38 years old, so the chances of making a career out of this are pretty far fetched.

TCD: Is it worth dealing with all of the stuff you have dealt with?

Sutton: I like to start things that I finish. This is something I wanted to check off my bucket list. I love the competition. Who knows, if I do well here and

the opportunity comes up then maybe I would consider going pro. A lot of it would have to do with what Sam thought and stuff, but of course I would need to know what he thinks. Getting paid would definitely help offset the cost of these tests. It’s about $550 for both the tests, and I had to get a second EKG the other day because mine was too old by 4 days. In the end though, I just love competing.

TCD: OK, talk a little bit about your fighting style. What can we expect to see out of you?

Sutton: No one really knows what my style is or how I fight besides my training partner. I didn’t show anything in my fight with Jermain, so it will all be kind of a surprise. I am a mixed martial artist, so I am going to come out and use mixed martial arts and do what it takes to win. I have heard from people who have trained with him what his strengths and weaknesses are. I think all he knows of me is that I fought Jermain and lost a decision. I like it that way.

TCD: How long have you been doing martial arts?

Sutton: I did some stuff when I was a kid. I used to work with Yves Edwards at Chili’s and he took me to a grappling tournament. That was kind of my introduction to the sport. I got serious when I was 34. I was working at Border’s books in the Galleria, and I told the guys I was working with that I was going to quit smoking cigarettes and start doing MMA. They laughed at me. I went to a place called Dark Gift Combat. It’s a Jeet Kun Do place. It is kind of like a Krav Maga meets MMA. It was more for street fighting than this. It was dirty fighting basically. One of the guys there told me that a guy from TUF was opening a gym. I went over to the old Miletich place. I tried out a class, and I enjoyed it. It was what I was looking for. I already knew how to street fight. That’s not what I was looking for. So I met Sam and he started convincing me to come train. Dark Gift was doing a lot of weapons and things like that, so I decided to start training with Sam. I have been here working with Sam ever since. I miss the old Miletich place. A lot of guys in this town came through Miletich. Drew Raticheck, Colin Wright. It’s a long list.

TCD: Talk about working with Sam. What do you think he offers that other guys can’t?

Sutton: My initial reason for training with Sam was that he is a great coach. Anyone who talks to Sam will tell you that he makes you feel like you have known him forever. A lot of people judge him by what he was on the show, which was a reality TV show which people don’t get. A lot of people think he is an asshole, but that is the TV Sam. He talks trash with the best of them, but he is not hurtful. He is a jovial dude. He has also fought some of the best guys in the world. He has fought Forrest Griffin, took Machida to a decision, Stephan Bonnar, a lot of people, myself included, think he beat Rashad Evans. He had UFC experience which you couldn’t really find around here at the time. I thought he was the best guy to get me started. Sam also has some great contacts. His boxing coach is Floyd Mayweather, Sr. We are getting really world class training here.

TCD: Is it tough for you to get the work you need without having a big stable of fighters at your gym?

Sutton: I have been doing this long enough to know how to put a camp together. It is weird not having Chico around. He was that guy for me that kept me from quitting when I wanted to quit. Back when Arron Barringer was here, we all pushed each other. Things change though, and you just have to adapt. There are 3 or 4 of us here now that fight, and we all know what we need to do to fight. It would be great to have Chico here, but we have some guys here who don’t fight that are better than a lot of pros. Not everyone has the desire to fight, but I feel like I have had enough guys around me to get me ready. I have learned something from everybody. There are some things I learned 4 years ago at Miletich that I still use. I am good at retaining stuff, and I keep a mental database of what I have learned from everyone I have trained with. People will see on Friday that my style is basically a mix of everyone I have worked with. Jermain has been here a lot because he was getting prepped for a fight. I have a little something from everybody. There are guys at Silverback, even though I think there is supposed to be some kind of rivalry, that I consider friends and I have learned stuff from them. I think a lot of people think that if you beat a Hoger guy you have accomplished something special. A lot of people have left because Sam is strict about the kinds of rules he puts on guys before he lets them fight, but I think the guys who stick through it are really prepared for it when the time to fight comes.

TCD: Are you hoping after this fight that you can be more active and start fighting regularly?

Sutton: I have a new EKG, but now my EEG expires next month. Those tests are expensive, and now you have to do them every 6 months. I have been lucking out and caught some breaks on not having to pay for a lot of this stuff, but it gets expensive. I am getting old, so I would like to be more active. If I ever do go pro I might have 3 or 4 years tops, so I have to get going if I am gonna do it. That’s why I respect guys like Machado, Tony, David McClung who are starting their careers so late in life. I would like to show these youngsters that us old guys can do some stuff too. They inspire me, especially Machado. Our amateur careers were pretty similar. I see what he has done and would like to be able to do some of that stuff.

TCD: Anyone you want to thank?

Sutton: Malicious Beatings, Mikaya Construction, Dr. Jim Weller, Sam Hoger of course and everyone at Hoger MMA, Erica Dugger. Also, IDGAS, Inc.