THE 2ND COMING OF SIR WITNEY

 

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Some men become fighters due to their athletic abilities; others become fighters because of their genetic make-up. Andrew Witney falls into the latter category.

Hailing out of Springfield Missouri, this young barrel-chested fighter has been knocking out and submitting the competition since 2012.

As of right now, Andrew holds a respectable record of 15 wins and 6 loses. His loses have come at the hand of top 5 fighters, but like all great competitors, Andrew has learned from his setbacks and has made some adjustments to his game. Nothing and nobody will derail him.

Today, the young martial artist trains 5 to 6 hours a day, 6 days a week. No stones are left unturned. He is primed and ready to take over the 135 lbs division.

Peep the deposition below and keep an eye out for this young, hungry fighter.

 

Andrew Witney’s next fight is on May 26 in North Carolina under the 864 banner.

 

MUAY THAI ADDICT

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Muay Thai Addict (MTA) is a U.S apparel  company dedicated to the art of 8 limbs. In addition to delivering high quality Muay Thai shorts, T-shirts, and fight gear to the populace, MTA outfits the whole Lion Fight Promotion and Triumphant Combat Sports roster.  The apparel company also sponsors the top fighters in the country. Today we talk with the founder of Muay Thai Addict, Shannon Sagan, to find out what the company is up to and the status of Muay Thai in the USA.

 

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MTA sponsored fighter Asa ten Pow, Shannon Sagan, and myself at FKA gym in West Palm Beach Florida

 

How did you get involved in Muay Thai? I was tired of working out at a traditional gym, mostly by myself and was always interested in martial arts, just never had the courage to go until a friend brought me to a class.

How long has MTA has been in business? Officially since 2010 but I really did not get things going until 2011

Why did it take you a year to get things started? I was trying to get my manufacturers in place, quality control and testing of products, learning about the business and the sport in general, and working my full-time job as a lawyer.

Why did you get into the Muay Thai apparel business? I purchased my first 2 pairs of shorts when I started training and they took forever to get to me, did not fit well (I had to cut the waist band rings to make them fit better), no local stores around that had a decent selection.  Did some research online and realized that everyone was accepting that they had to order their shorts overseas and I could not believe there were very few options for people to purchase shorts in North America.

How do you manage your training, your day job and running MTA? For a long time it was hectic.  In addition to my full-time job I also became a single father.  Sometimes I got burned out from doing so much but every now and then a quick vacation to reboot and refocus helped.  For years I would work my day job M-Th, and sometimes spend a majority of my Fridays working MTA. At night I would handle all MTA emails that came in.  Since then, we have developed a good team to handle many of those tasks and my partner has been focused on the growth of the company. Just in time too because my other business has been taking off and needing my attention lately.   

What’s the best part of your job? Best part of my job is meeting people in this industry who have become some of my closest friends.  Hearing compliments from friends, fans, customers about our products, whether it is the nice comfortable non restricting waist bands that we are famously known for, to customer service, to creating innovative products that people in Muay Thai have not seen before.  I also enjoyed traveling all over the country for events and visiting cities I would probably have not visited had I not been involved in MTA.

Which fighters do you sponsor?  A lot to be honest.  Our first fighter ever was Pro fighter Asa Ten Pow, who was with me and MTA team since almost the beginning.  We constantly work with Donald Cerrone, the Shevchenko sisters just to name a few.  We work with a lot of the top gyms in North America providing custom products and sponsorships.  We also make sure to help out amateur athletes around North America. We are not interested in their fight record versus their passion for the sport and for our company.  

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The champ Antonina Schevchenko at Lion Fight 33 rocking some MTA gear.

 

What do you look for in a fighter in order to sponsor them?  That is a hard question.  There is not one particular thing that we are looking for, in my opinion.  Sometimes we have established long time relationships with fighters and it develops into a sponsorship because they truly love our products and company.  If it is an MMA fighter, we do like fighters that have Muay Thai backgrounds (like Cerrone and Shevchenko’s) because they understand the sport and culture of Muay Thai.  I also like to know what they are doing to try to grow and promote the sport (it is still small in North America). Obviously being a loyal fan of our company and products helps.  We are constantly changing our sponsorship packages and criteria though.
What do you think is the state of MT in America?  Growing, although at a slow and steady pace.  However, as the UFC expands, I believe all martial arts will grow as well, especially Muay Thai. Many Muay Thai fans are not big UFC/MMA fans but right now that is the company that is taking combat sports to the next level and getting it in front of a larger audience.  I cannot tell you how many people I have met that have never seen a single MT fight and when they attend one of the live Pro events or a National amateur tournament, are completely amazed.
Who is an upcoming fighter we should keep our eyes on?  There are lots of up and coming fighters in my opinion.  Summer Bronco of East Coast Muay Thai is barely a teenager and has an amazing record.  Coral Carnicella from Florida Kickboxing Academy has really taken it to the next level ever since losing in an IKF tournament a few years ago.  She puts in 6 days a week, 2 times a day ever since. Her mental and physical strength is on another level and it is the reason why she is winning all of the major national tournaments like IKF, TBA, WKA.  
How and who decides which design to use on the shorts and t-shirts?  Haha, we have no real system for that.  There are a few of us on the team so most of the time it’s a vote.  We also like to ask our customers, fans, and fighters for their opinions.  Sometimes we put a vote out on social media to see what fans think.

 

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These Muay Thai Addict shorts custom made for Lion Fight Promotion are sick!

There you have it. All great companies were established to solve a problem. Muay Thai Addict is no different. They saw the delays and quality issues related to Muay Thai shorts and decided to do something about it. Today, Muay Thai Addict is the premier Muay Thai apparel company in the US. Not only do they manufacture top quality shirts and shorts, they also support our beloved sport by sponsoring your favorite fighters and by pushing the culture forward.  

Whether you’re a fighter, a fan, or a gym, go to http://www.muaythaiaddict.com if you’re looking for the best quality fight gear on the market. Muay Thai Addict can also be found on Facebook, twitter, and instagram.

 

FUEL WITH PURPOSE

I am not a nutritionist. I am a 45 year-old former fighter who, like most of you, is always searching for tools and tips that will keep me young and improve my daily living. We all know that nutrition is the foundation to our performances and well being. Below are the two superfoods that have helped me tremendously. Keep in mind that we are all different and what may work for me, may not work for you.

  1. BEET JUICE

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Beetroot contain essential minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, sodium, zinc, and copper to name a few. According to a 2012 study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, consuming nitrate-rich beetroot improved running performance in healthy adults. In addition to that, in 2014, the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise discovered that beetroot juice enhanced the performance of trained cyclists. Scientists have found that beetroot can increase the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood and can reduce the amount of oxygen that muscles require in order to function optimally. This means that consuming beetroot will provide an increase in energy, performance and stamina.

Soon after reading these articles, I began juicing and downing beetroot juice before training. I immediately felt a surge of energy and endurance. From that moment on, I started limiting the caffeinated pre-workouts stimulants I was consuming and started juicing on a regular.

Juicing beetroot can be expensive and time consuming, which is why I only do it once or twice a week right before my harder training sessions. My go-to concoction is mixing beetroot, celery, apples, and ginger root.

 

  1. CHLOROPHYLL

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The benefits of eating greens are well documented. In recent years, kale, has become a favorite among athletes and health conscious hipsters. I remember listening to the Tim Ferriss Podcast when he announced that he was consuming Athletic Greens to help him perform and keep viruses at bay. I immediately went on Amazon to purchase the expensive supplement. The drink tasted awful; it reminded me of the time I threw up after drinking a shot of wheatgrass. More importantly, I did not feel any of the benefits Tim was talking about. That was the first and last time I touched the Athletic Greens powder. My other alternative was to eat more raw green veggies, which I did but I knew I didn’t have the stomach, the discipline, or the time to prepare and eat raw spinach every day. I wanted something I could easily consume on the go. I then asked myself what makes a product green? What’s the greenest of all greens? Bam! Chlorophyll.

Chlorophyll is the molecule that allows plants to photosynthesize energy from sunlight. Photosynthesis and is the basis for sustaining the life of all plants. Since animals and humans obtain their energy by eating plants, photosynthesis can be said to be the source of our life also.

A 2014 study published in Appetite Magazine  found that adding chlorophyll to the diet resulted in greater weight loss over a 12 week period. The longer the study went on, the more weight was lost compared to the control group.

After doing my little investigation, I order a bottle of Dr. Souza’s liquid Chlorophyll from Amazon. I ended up mixing a tablespoon of chlorophyll with water and instantly felt a slight but steady energy.

I now use liquid chlorophyll almost every day especially for my recovery. I typically mix a tablespoon of liquid chlorophyll with water after all my workouts. Sometimes I just down it straight. No matter how I consume it, chlorophyll always re-energizes me by giving me that second wind.

One common factor between beetroot and chlorophyll is their rich, colorful pigment. So do not be alarmed if you see a red or green tint in your stool.

 

Q.O.M.A (Part 1)

QUEENS OF MARTIAL ARTS

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It’s Women History Month and it’s time to recognize the Queens Of Martial Arts. Here they are in no particular order.

Valentina “The Bullet” Shevchenko

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Valentina “The Bullet” Shevchenko is a Russian born mix martial artist. She began training in Taekwondo at the age of 5, and had her first fight two years after that. Valentina quickly became a decorated fighter known for her accuracy and counter strikes. Shevchenko discovered Muay Thai at age 12 and immediately turned pro.

Since then, the Bullet has been running amok around the fighting circuits earning title after title in big organizations like K1 and IFMA. She currently has over 500 fights and has defeated the top female fighters in the world. Some of her victims include, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Julianna Pena, and Holly Holm.

Today, Valentina is the # contender in the UFC 125 lbs flyweight division. She is constantly sharpening her striking skills and is always adding new weapons to her ground game. In addition to hand to hand combat, Valentina is also very skilled with the Gat. Her IG page (bulletvalentina) is filled with videos and photos of her popping off her pistol on the range.

Shevchenko is an accomplished and  complete martial artist. She is a Queen Of Martial Arts.

YOUR FAVORITE RAPPER’S FAVORITE RAPPER

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The first time I heard the name Westside Gunn and Conway The Machine was on the Combat Jack Podcast. The host of the popular podcast kept praising these two rappers from Buffalo labeling them the hardest MCs out. It wasn’t until my cousin came down from New York that I really got familiar. It was a rare cold night in Miami. We were heading to Art Basel when my cousin popped a CD in the whip. The song Jimmy Hart came on and that was all she wrote. I was hooked.
(Westside Gunn; Jimmy Hart)

For the past six years, Westside Gunn and his brother Conway The Machine have been building a cult following by becoming the flyest duo in rap since Rae and Ghost. The siblings  have been flooding the internet with a litany of hard ass mixtapes such as Gunn’s Hitler Wears Hermes series, and Conway’s Rejects On Steroids.

In 2016, Westside Gunn unleashed his critically acclaimed debut album Flygod. The industry quickly took notice. Eminem promptly sign the siblings’ Griselda Records Label to his own Shady imprint.

LYRICS AND DELIVERY

What separates these two MCs from your average rapper is their flow and word play. These dudes are taking that b-boy shit to another level reminiscent of Nas, Mobb Deep, and Wu.

“Designer clothes to body most

The Mazy flow

This is verbal intercourse Nas and Ghost

Fire coming out the nozzle from every shot I throw

I got shot right after that

Bodies started dropping tho”

(Westside Gunn & Conway; Robert Horry)

The poetry is potent and loaded with high fashion designer references, and mafioso gun-talk. The flows are flawless, these cats make the street life sound like something worth aspiring to. Bricks are broken down, pistols are popped, and haters are bodied on the mean streets of Buffalo.

 

THE SOUND

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The bulk of Westside Gunn and Conway’s music is crafted by Buffalo-based producer Daringer. The beats are stripped down and uncanny. The loops are slowed down as if they were dipped in lean. Drums are often muted letting the sinister melodies do all the clapping. But don’t let the simplicity fool you. Daringer manages to move the needle. This producer is taking the genre to the next level. It’s really refreshing to hear his less-is-more approach in the midst of all the 808 infused trap music. In a recent interview, the producer stated “ I’m kind of doing it the throwback way, more simplistic. You’re not hearing me play all sorts of instruments on top of it, or adding synths” (http://nahright.com/2016/09/15/in-the-lab-with-daringer/). Daringer names DJ premier, Alchemist, and the RZA as his influences so you know his coming from a good place.

(Westside Gunn; Medusa Plate)

It’s fair to say that we can expect more heat from these boys from Buffalo now that their label, Griselda Records has been picked by Eminem’s Shady Records and Interscope Records. Hopefully, the Universal Music Group doesn’t try to water down these artists with pop features and glossy production.

The Youngest In Charge

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In 2015, a friend of mine told me he has training with a new Muay Thai instructor called Asa. According to my boy, Asa was the real deal, a martial artist who stressed technique and tradition, a proven fighter who was destroying the competition. I was skeptical when I heard this because I knew that authentic Muay Thai Boxing was and still is hard to find in Florida.

Nevertheless, Asa Ten Pow kept popping up in my social media peripheral vision. It didn’t take long before I double clicked on one of his links and got caught up in his dynamic highlight reel. The footage was incredible! The technique and swagger were on point.

A few months later my friend invited me to Asa’s gym called FKA (Florida Kickboxing Academy).

Asa and I literally kicked it off the moment I stepped onto his mats. After training with him and witnessing his come-up, I felt compelled to expose this Muay Thai phenom not only for his own accomplishments, but also for the success of the other fighters that he is currently developing and training.

This past January I had the privilege to have a sit down with the boss and pick his brain.

Below is a clip of Asa and I talking about training, leadership, visualization and much more.

 

Asa will be stepping back into the ring  on the Triumphant Combat card, which will take place on February 25th at the Oakland Marriott City Center in Oakland California.

PBS.