Ever wanted to smack Toronto glam rocker and MuchMusic personality Robin Black in the mouth? One guy will get that chance when Black makes his professional MMA debut at Freedom Fights in Hull, Quebec, July 26. The self-described “most hated mixed martial artist in Canada who’s never fought” took time out of one of his five-hour daily training sessions to answer a few questions.
How did you get into MMA?
Some kids were Star Trek nerds or Dungeons & Dragons nerds. I was a martial arts nerd. When I saw the UFC I was hooked. For the last 18 months, my career has been put on hold for one purpose – this fight. I train every day, I diet, I don’t party. And then I’ll get in a ring in front of 4,000 people who all know that the weird blue-haired guy is having his first fight.
It has all the things that other martial arts do – training the body and mind – but it’s also the biggest test of human potential on the planet, the biggest test of your ability to perform under pressure, to go against all the instincts we as evolved animals have to flee danger. People see it like street fighting, with two guys hitting each other until they bleed. But the moves are so athletic and as complicated and beautiful to watch as running a pattern in football or a breakaway in hockey.
Troy Mealing traps Black in a rear-naked choke.
Are you nervous about fighting?
Fighting will be pretty much like performing onstage. Everyone has paid to see you. The pressure is on. This isn’t unfamiliar territory. MMA fighters, they’re fucking rock stars.
Any concern you only got the fight because of your rock star status?
I knew there would be an upside and a downside to my job, being on television and a singer in a rock band. Nobody judges an 0-0 plumber who decides he’s going to fight. Everybody judges an 0-0 weirdo from MuchMusic. If I see some guy who I perceive doesn’t belong in my favourite sport, I’d judge him and hate him, too. I think it’s unfair, but at the same time I’m going to get paid more for my first fight, get promoted better, have an easier time finding sponsors.
There are people who would love nothing better than to see me get my ass kicked. Even if I win, and win convincingly, they’ll say I had a shitty opponent or give some other reason I won. I spent 10 years trying to get people to notice me and my band. Now I just want to quietly fit in and be a fighter.
If you had to choose, music or MMA?
Having just trained and being full of endorphins, I say I would never give up MMA. But having walked offstage after playing in front of thousands of people crazy for my music, I’d have a hard time giving that up. I can play music for the rest of my life. I can only fight for a couple of years.
When do you play next?
I fight on July 26, and on July 28 I’m on a plane to England to begin a 12-date tour. Hopefully, my face won’t be all fucked up. And I’ll let myself drink beer and eat junk food for those two weeks on tour before coming back. Before that, I’ll play some warm-up gigs (like at the Tattoo Rock Parlour, June 5).