Interview: Marcus “The Barber” Dupar

I will fight until I am 70, if I can.

Marcus “The Barber” Dupar

Interview by: Barry Laminack

If you have never heard of the man known as “The Barber”, allow me to introduce you to Marcus Dupar. He’s a success story about a guy who has made something of himself and turned his life around. I’ve had the pleasure to get to know him over the last 2 years and you won’t find a nicer guy in Houston MMA. I sat down with Marcus to talk with him about his fight on IMKF and his first pro fight against the very tough Steve Peterson. (Yes, I did get a haircut after the interview!)

TCD: Talk a little bit about your background and how you got involved in MMA here in Houston.

Marcus: Well, I started off with Rocky Long back about 3 years ago over at Cardio Boxing Gym. My strength was stand up. I have no background in martial arts at all. No Karate, no boxing, nothing.

He was my main trainer who showed me everything I know, up until the point when I went to Gracie Barra about a year ago.

TCD: With no background in martial arts, what made you go to a boxing gym and sign up?

Marcus: What’s crazy is I saw Gracie Barra back when I started training, and I thought that the number I was calling actually was Gracie Barra, but it was actually Rocky Long’s gym. He told me to come in, train and see how I like it and we would go from there.

At the time, I didn’t know anything about Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. All I knew was just MMA and cage fighting. When I went there it was predominantly boxing and I was a boxing fan growing up in the 90’s so I felt it was a decent fit.

TCD: I was a big boxing fan myself. Who was your favorite boxer in the 90’s?

Marcus: I would have to say first it was Tyson. After he fell off, I really like Lennox Lewis. I felt like the heavy weights dominated the 90’s.

TCD: Is he your favorite boxer of all time as well?

Marcus: No, I would say Manny Paqcuiao.

TCD: So are you still a boxing fan?

Marcus: No, not any more.

TCD: So what turned you off from the sport?

Marcus: It turned into sparring matches and the Pay-Per_Views just arent’ the same anymore.

TCD: So now you are at Gracie Barra The Woodlands. How did that happen?

Marcus: After my first pro loss, due to an arm bar, I said that it was time for a change, so I joined Gracie Barra The Woodlands. I have my blue belt now and I feel more confident on the ground. I’ll be damned if I’ll get caught in another arm bar again.

TCD: How long did it take you to get your blue belt?

Marcus: I had my first pro fight back in August of last year and I would say I started about a month or two after that fight. I got my blue belt about 2 months ago. I was going every day, five days a week. Sometimes I would do 2-a-days.

I was progressing pretty well. When I first got there it was gi, so white belts where tapping me out every day. I progressed pretty well and I feel more confident now.

TCD: You mentioned that you started with Rocky Long. Do you still train with him or strictly with Gracie Barra?

Marcus: Mostly with Gracie Barra, but I have trained with Rocky some in the past couple of months with Rocky Long.  We did some conditioning and we went over to 4oz. and sparred.  But not really though, my home is at Gracie Barra.  I love Gracie Barra, we are a family.  They have some great guys there, it’s like a brotherhood.   I feel like if I stay there my game can go to higher level than it is now.  Because I have seen it progress in the past year, greatly.

TCD: Obviously Gracie Barra is a great BJJ school, but they great strikers out there like Matt Wald and Alex Morono, are those guys helping you?  And how much involvement do you have with Chad Robichaux and Todd Moore and some of the other guys associated with the gym?

Marcus: With Todd, not so much, I have gone over to Magnolia a few times.  It’s not that I don’t like him or his training, it really has to do with the time to get over there.  As far as Matt Wald and Alex Morono I train with them on a day-to-day basis.  Now we have Michael Corely over there, he’s a phenomenal striker.  As far as striking I have worked with Luis Wood back when I first started training.  He helped me out a lot with my stand up.

TCD: Are you able to train with Chad Robichaux at all, because I know he is closer to your size,.

Marcus: I don’t train with him much, I train some no gi with him, and some sparring.  I like to roll with him because he is a more experienced black belt.  I think he has a lot to offer.  I like going against guys my size to simulate guys I will be going up against.  Going against bigger guys is hard…(laughs) it’s very hard.

TCD: What do you know about your opponent?

Marcus: Chris Smith, he actually out of my hometown

TCD: So your fight changed again?

Marcus: Yeah it changed, twice now.  The first time, I don’t remember the guys name.  The second guy is out of Dallas, Rafael, he’s a pro boxer.  And now they changed him because he had some kind of disc problem, I don’t really know.  Now it’s Chris Smith, he is from Alexander, Louisiana, my hometown.  I don’t know the guy but it is going to be pretty interesting.  He’s 8 and 2 as an amateur, this will be his pro debut.  So he has almost twice as many fights as I have, almost twice as many wins as I have, but I’m a competitive person.  I love challenges.  From the video I have seen on him he’s very aggressive.  But like I said over the past year my game has evolved.  You know I’m not going to let the cat out of the bag, but it’s going to be pretty interesting, it’s going to be a good fight.  Probably fight of the night.

TCD: So we are going to a different fighter than we did when you faught against Steve Peterson?

Marcus: Totally different, I was a little nervous.  I was a little inexperienced when it came to him.  I took that fight after a10 month lay off from fighting.  So I think now your going to see some fireworks, you going to see a very good fight.  Fight of the night candidate all day.  The fans are going to get their moneys worth.

TCD: You talk about the lay off, it’s been since August of last year.  Are you nervous there is going to be cage rust?

Marcus: Not nervous, most fighters are going to have anxiety.  But I’m not nervous, like I said I have been with Gracie Barra for almost a year now and being around those guys has built my confidence.  Building my self-esteem up, them telling me where I am and what I do/don’t need to work on.  I’m not nervous at all, I’m anxious.  The only thing I’m nervous about is cutting this weight down (laughs).

TCD: Has the diet been tough for you?

Marcus: Yeah it’s been tough.

TCD: What do you walk around at?

Marcus: I walk around about 145lbs to 150lbs.  So this will be my biggest cut.  I ‘m going to start cutting about 6 days out.  Professor Robichaux has me on a strict diet.  So I feel good.

TCD: Any predictions for the fight?

Marcus: I would love for it to end in the first round, with some explosive fire works.  Like I said this guy is tough, but I don’t see my self losing, I have too much to lose right now.  I cannot go 0-2.

TCD: What does 0-2 do to you?

Marcus: It’s failure…I train my butt off.  Legacy is the top promotion in Houston and nobody wants an 0-2 fighter, unless I’m gong to be a replacement fight or target practice for someone.

TCD: You have an interesting nickname?  What’s the story behind it?

Marcus: A lot of people don’t know it got into a lot of trouble when I was 16.  I am from Louisiana and I ended up getting into a bunch of trouble.  I ended up doing 5 years in the DOC.  That’s where I learned the trade to cut hair.  Comb and razor, if you’re in the DOC and you cut hair you know “comb and razor.”  I’d charge like $2,  bar of soap and a cup of soup for a hair cut.  At 16 years old I had no job…I had nothing.  Cutting hair was my trade, it was my skill, it was my moneymaker.   When I got out my mom told me to go to school and become a hair stylist.  I have been doing it now for about 4 years.  That’s really how I got my name.  Everybody at the gym, wanted me to go with me to go with “hot sauce” as a nickname but it didn’t fit. I like Clay Guida; he is the “Carpenter.”  I wanted a nickname that wasn’t crazy, something that would show who I was and where I came from.

TCD: You kind of answered my other question about your time incarcerated.  Talk to me a little about that?

Marcus: Yeah…I really don’t let that out too much because people have a negative image of people who have been incarcerated.

TCD: You have a great job…you’re being productive in MMA.  It’s almost something you would want to tell people because you are proof that anyone can turn their life around.

Marcus: It is possible, but there are struggles.  For instance, here in Houston it’s difficult to get a place to stay as a convicted felon.  It’s very sad, we have a lot of convicted felons out here.  They say that 80% to 85% go back to prison within the first year or two.  THAT’S NOT ME, as you can see.  It possible for guys to get out there and to turn their life around, it’s takes a little bit of patience. With some determination and will power they can do it.  I am one of Houston’s success stories that can happen.

TCD: We know other guys in the sport that have a similar story, they have done time prison or county jail.  But MMA was a way for them to turn part of their life around.  Obviously having a career had really helped you the most, but it’s great people will get to read this story and know that it is possible.

Marcus: It is thank you.

TCD: Before we end, I want to ask you about James Grats.  There has been a lot of talk about him because of Puro Combate.  You have fought for him before.  Did you have any reservations when he called you this time around?

Marcus: No. Out of the blue he called me one day and told me they had some stuff going on and he asked if wanted to fight for him.  I said yeah, let me talk to my coach and trainer and see what they say. before I make the decision, there is a system when it comes to MMA.  I am not afraid to fight anyone, anywhere, and anytime.  I don’t have any problem with him.  He paid me my money the last time I fought.  To me he is a great guy.  He makes sure I’m on top of my paperwork, he makes sure things are done.  I have nothing bad to say about him.

TCD: Anything else I missed?

Marcus: It’s going to be a great fight, expect fireworks.  It’s going to be great fighting on the same card as Rocky Long.  It would be great if we both can come of there victorious.  I still look up to him as a mentor and talk to him from time to time.

TCD: Anyone you want to thank or shout out to?

Marcus: I want to thank the guy who started me in MMA, even though I’m not training with him anymore, Rocky Long.  He started me in this sport, without him I wouldn’t be fighting right now.  Chad Robichaux, he is a great BJJ instructor.  Professor Achino, Alex Gotay, Alex Morono, Matthew Wald, and Chase.  I want to thank all the guys at Gracie.  My family they support me, they don’t really like the fact that I’m fighting, but they support me and that makes me happy.