“It’s a huge rush. I love the training, the dedication, and the fight is just icing on the cake.”
Patrick “The Bison” Bierschwale
Interview and Photos by: Richard Burmaster
Patrick Bierschwale is one of those guys who never seems to stop smiling. He has great reasons to constantly smile. An amazingly supportive and beautiful wife, two precious daughters, a deep faith in Jesus and a three fight win streak in MMA that includes the Young Guns 185lb title. While training he never seems to lose that smile, even during the intense sessions his teammates and himself go through at Westside MMA.
Patrick is one of those guys who you hit and he just steps back smiles at you and presses forward again. Patrick is doing what he loves and is having a great time doing it. Heading into this interview Patrick did not know who he would be fighting on January 30th at the Lonestar Beatdown at the Arena Theater in Houston Texas, but there were a couple of things that he did know. He knew he would have to go up a weight class (to 205lbs) so that he could fight on the January 30th card, and he knew that no matter who was put in the cage across from him, he would smile and get ready to do what he loves.
I was able to sit down with Patrick before his latest training session.
TCD.net: How did you get started in MMA?
Patrick: I started back in high school in the late 90’s. I trained with a guy named James Cooper in Houston. We primarily trained for football but we also did boxing, kickboxing, and grappling to supplement that training and I just fell in love with it. I loved the training and being able to get in there and punch and kick somebody. It was like football that I could do everyday since football was only during certain seasons. I started watching UFC’s, and this is back when you could still head butt. I was a fan from the beginning. Then, I hurt my knees in high school, and I decided not to play football in college. I went to college, and I got fat, lazy, and drank too much. I had way too much fun. I graduated and got a job in the real world, but I was still partying and living a very destructive lifestyle. I got married and reached a point where I had to clean my life up. I got right with Jesus, got clean and sober. I looked around and realized I was fat and out of shape. (Laughs) About that time, my wife and I decided we wanted to have kids, and then found out we couldn’t have kids. After that we started the adoption process and adopted our first daughter a year later. That’s when I really noticed I was fat and lazy. We went to the movies, and I noticed an ad for the school. I went in the next day and signed up, and I have been here ever since. I have been there two and half years now.
TCD.net: What made you stay here at Westside MMA?
Patrick: I stayed here because of the coaching staff and my training partners. Maybe I think I am special, but they take an interest in my training and my skills. The coaches do it with every student here. They individualize it to what you need for your game. They make it specific to your Jiu Jitsu, kickboxing, to whatever works for you. They don’t just teach a cookie cutter class. They show you a move then they show you how it works for your game. I feel the specialized instruction is important as well as my training partners. We push each other to the limits every single day. I wouldn’t like it if it was a bunch of wimps lying around, but these guys here are not. We all know we are a bunch of tough guys, and we always want to be tougher than the next guy. Terrance, Kenny, Craig, Brandon, and I are always rolling and pushing each other constantly because we all want to be the best. I’m not going to skip a day of training because I don’t want my training partner to get better than me that day. That’s why I come every day. I don’t want to get passed up.
TCD.net: What is your favorite class here at Westside MMA?
Patrick: When I started it was kickboxing because that’s what I focused on back in high school. I actually just attended the kickboxing classes the first six months or so because I didn’t want to buy a gi! I was kind of cheap. (Laughs) I started taking the no-gi classes, and it didn’t take one or two classes before I fell in love with no-gi. Then, finally coach told me I really needed to train with the gi as well, so I could get more technical. I cleared the purchase with the wife and bought a gi. Now I love it all. Some days I really love kickboxing, some days jiu jitsu, some days I really love the cage drills, and others I really enjoy the cardio. I don’t really have a favorite any more. My favorite is MMA. Just put it all together.
TCD.net: How many kids do you have?
Patrick: We have two little girls. Both of them were adopted, so GO ADOPTION!
TCD.net: How hard is it for you to work full time, be a father too two little girls, and participate in MMA?
Patrick: It gets very hectic at times especially when I have fights coming up. My wife is amazing. She is wonderful to me. I love her, and she is BEAUTIFUL .She is very supportive, and I try not to take advantage. Over the summer, a four month stretch where it was MMA fights, Kickboxing match, grappling tourney over and over. I was beat up and worn out and she was worn out as well. We decided to take some time off and cut back on my training schedule. It’s a work in progress, a give and take. I need to support her, and she supports me, and I love her to death for it. When I’m home, I spend time with her and the kids. I’m not off watching tv and ignoring them. I love spending time with my family. Work is very supportive. I try to come in early and then come in and train on my work break. Obviously, work does come first.
TCD.net: How did it feel to win the Chin Woo championships in San Shou kickboxing?
Patrick: That was awesome. I went to the Chin Woo with no expectations. I just wanted to fight. I was very nervous. It’s not a big crowd like MMA, and it was held in a convention center ballroom. My first fight I was nervous. I knew my standup was good, but I wasn’t sure how good. I TKOed my opponent in about a minute. I hit him as hard as I could. I kicked him, and the ref called it. My next fight was about 10 minutes later against a real tough guy from Dallas out of Octagon MMA. We went three rounds. He won the first round with a takedown because in San Shou the takedowns are worth more points than strikes. I decided he wasn’t going to get any more takedowns after that. We went three rounds, and I won the decision. I had a five minute rest then the finals began. My opponent didn’t even have a semi-finals match as his opponent pulled out due to injury. He only had to go one round to get to the finals. I had to go four. I was exhausted from the three round wars, I had just endured five minutes earlier. I was so tired that when I caught a couple of his kicks I actually fell over from catching his kicks, so he got those points. I adjusted my strategy and in the second and third rounds I just pummeled him. I earned the decision. I had fought seven rounds within 30 minutes. It took me a week to recover from that.
TCD.net: What is the difference between San Shou and Muay Thai?
Patrick: There are no elbows in San Shou, and takedowns are allowed. It’s like kickboxing with takedowns and throws. Once you go to the ground they stand you back up, but you gain points for the takedown.
TCD.net: How did it feel to win the Young Guns 185lb title?
Patrick: Man that was awesome. I didn’t know it was going to be a title fight till the day of the weigh ins. Saul wasn’t sure if it was going to be a title fight till then since there were some issues finding an opponent. Saul told me the day of the weigh-ins that I deserved it, and that he was making it a title fight. I didn’t have any anticipation leading up to it, but once I knew it was for a title my mindset changed. We were the 14th fight of the night that night, so it was a long night. The guy I fought was tough. I took him down in all three rounds, and finally, I mounted him in the third round. He turned over and gave me his back. I flattened him out, and I went Matt Hughes style landing big shots till the ref called it off. All I could think about was give me that belt. I knew all my Westside people were up in the stands, so I held it up, and they just started cheering. That was really cool. I wore that belt for three days.
TCD.net: Your next fight is at 205lbs instead of your normal 185lbs, why the move?
Patrick: Well, I’m not a 205er. I’m a middleweight, but I was originally set to fight Robert Yamashita who is a stud. He has a lot of jiu jitsu credentials and really good standup. I was really excited to test my skills against him because he is a really tough guy. I think he had some work problems where he couldn’t get off to train, so he wasn’t able to take this fight. Mick tried to find me another middleweight to fight, but couldn’t find anyone. Then Mick called me and said he had a 205lber, and asked if I wanted to do it. At first, I thought that was a lot of weight, but I just want to fight. I normally walk around 195lbs, so if he is not some huge 205lber that’s fine by me.
TCD.net: There seems to be a lack of 185lbers here in Houston. Why is that?
Patrick: It seems like everyone is either 205 and doesn’t like to cut down or they walk around close to 185lbs and cut down to 170lbs. It’s definitely easier to find fights at 170lbs or 205lbs. Off the top of my head I can only think of Terrance Ferguson, Andre Craig, John Malbrough, and Charley Witbeck as some of the few Houston middleweights. I’m sure there are, but those are the ones I can think of.
TCD.net: How would you like to go against Andrew Craig for his LSB 185lb Title?
Patrick: I would love to fight Andrew; he is a heck of a guy. He has solid jiu jitsu and solid striking. It would be a heck of a fight. Maybe we will have that chance, or maybe not. I know we both want to go pro quickly.
TCD.net: What are your goals when you turn pro?
Patrick: I want to fight as long as my body lets me. If it starts to become a hassle to where I don’t enjoy it then I’m not going to do it anymore. As long as I love it and have the support of my family then I am here unless God calls me in a different direction.
TCD.net: Why do you fight?
Patrick: That’s a good question. I think I do it for the rush. I’m the kind of guy that has to work out for something; I won’t just work out to be in shape. Growing up I worked out for football. Then when I stopped playing football, I stopped working out, and I became a blob. As long as I am training for something, it keeps me eating healthy and working out. It’s a huge rush. I love the training, the dedication, and the fight is just icing on the cake.
TCD.net: Anything you would like to say to your unnamed opponent?
Patrick: Thank you for taking the fight. I was training hard when I thought my fight was going to be pulled, so thank you for taking it. Let’s have a good clean fight, and I hope no one gets hurt.
TCD.net: How do you see this fight ending?
Patrick: I see it ending with a victory. That’s the point right? Fight to win; I have a decision and a TKO. I don’t have a submission, so that would be cool, but it doesn’t matter to me.
TCD.net: Any motto’s you live by?
Patrick: I love Jesus man. I put Jesus first, and everything else just follows. When I start living for me, that’s when I screwed up my life. That and my wife is usually right. [Laughs]
TCD.net: Anyone you would like to thank?
Patrick: I have to thank Jesus because without him I am nothing. I have to thank my wife. She is wonderful and beautiful; I love her. I want to thank all my family they are very supportive. I especially want to thank my coaches here, Paul Thomas, Chris Mango, Brandon Mullins, Alex Cisne and Kenny Burke. I want to thank my training partners Craig Gardner, Terrance Ferguson, and Ryan Sheehan. I couldn’t do it without them.
TCD.net: Your training partner Craig Gardner has the persona The Gentleman Mauler. Is this going to be the new fad here at Westside MMA?
Patrick: That’s Craig being Craig. For each fight he takes on a new persona. The Gentleman Mauler is by far his best. Besides if I grow a mustache my wife won’t kiss me, so I will not be growing a mustache.