Brad Robinson and Alan Wong have been confirmed as the new live commentary team for Full Metal Dojo (FMD) in 2018, as Thailand’s leading MMA promotion teams up with FOX Sports Asia to deliver FMD events live to MMA fans across Asia. ‘FMD16: Big Trouble in Little Bangkok’ will be live on March 16, 2018.
Brad Robinson is also the co-founder of the Ritual Gym chain in Singapore, and a former MMA fighter and Cinemax TV presenter. We caught up with the Oklahoma native to discuss his commentary role at Full Metal Dojo alongside Asia’s Got Talent and MTV Asia star Alan Wong.
“It honestly couldn’t be better a better fit,” Brad told us. “Not only have Alan and I been close friends since he first moved to Singapore, he’s also a real professional. He takes his work very seriously and it shows.
“I’ve been friends with the Full Metal Dojo guys for a very long time now, long before FMD was a thing, long before FMD President, Jon Nutt was on the MMA radar. These guys did this before there was any money in it – they’ve always done it with the best intentions and for the love of the game. The team running FMD are fight fans who wanted to carve out a little piece of the industry and try something new, something more fun. They’ve given so many fighters a great platform to showcase their talent, and introduced an entire country to a new version of combat sports. They take absolutely no credit because they are classy like that, but they’re the real deal and Alan and I feel incredibly thankful to be along for the ride with them.”
Photo credit: Insanity Nightclub
Robinson commentated alongside some big names at FMD last year, including former UFC fighters and notorious wild men Jason ‘Mayhem’ Miller and Brian ‘Bad Boy’ Ebersole. “They were plenty of fun to work with, and both are extremely funny and unpredictable,” he told us. “That being said, there are levels to being unpredictable and Brian is a strong purple belt at best. Mayhem, on the other hand is basically the Rickson Gracie of being unpredictable. Oss!”
Full Metal Dojo events are known for their heavily stylised movie-style production and party vibe, being held in nightclubs. What’s it like being their live? “Well, if you’ve seen classic 1980’s action movie, ‘The Running Man’, add more violence and alcohol and that should get you close to the experience,” Robinson explained. “If you haven’t seen ‘The Running Man’, you should stop reading this and get your life in order.”
Full Metal Dojo will now be available to watch live on FOX Sports Asia in 2018. Robinson enthused, “It’s exciting to see Full Metal Dojo on such a premium platform, and frankly the product is so good that all of us who’ve been fans feel that we’ve been in on a secret for a couple of years now. If you’re a fan of mixed martial arts, you cannot help but be a fan of Full Metal Dojo. I love the fact that all these fighters are getting to showcase their talent on Fox Sports Asia as well. Some of the regular names in Full Metal Dojo are going to become regular names in bigger shows. Get in now so that you can be all hipster and claim that you knew Tharoth ‘Little Frog’ Sam or Thanongsaklek ‘Top Noi’ TigerMuayThai before they land a big movie role. Well, before Little Frog lands yet another big movie role.”
Photo credit: SingaporeMaven
Having witnessed its growth first-hand, we asked Brad about his views on the Mixed Martial Arts scene in Southeast Asia in 2018. “Well, in 2003 I moved to Asia and nobody knew what MMA was. There were no gyms, no UFC on TV, not an Affliction shirt in sight. In 2012 I fought a pro fight in a bar in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. The cage was the size of a phone booth and 7-8 staff were having to hold the fence together whenever we’d be fighting against it. It had come a long way from when I first arrived but it was really just fights for fighters and a few hardcore fans. Now it’s incredible, there are MMA gyms everywhere, fights on TV all the time and major promotions doing shows all over the region. I watched some One Championship fights on the inflight entertainment system on Singapore Airlines last month – think about that.”
Robinson co-founded Ritual Gym in his adopted home of Singapore in 2013. Robinson told us about the concept of the gym, based on 30-minute, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). “Ritual is my main gig and it has been an incredible journey. My friend Ian Tan and I started it and had no idea it would become what it is today. Our ‘30 minute gym’ concept made sense to us, and the science backed it up, but I sure didn’t expect to be running a global fitness brand. We have 3 facilities in Singapore now, and through our franchise offering we have gyms currently under construction on 5 continents. Stop me now before I go into full sales pitch mode.”
Photo credit: Ritual Gym
Brad Robinson is also famous for his incredible backstory. Ten years ago he was 150kg corporate executive working in Malaysia. How did he go from there to a 84kg Middleweight pro MMA fighter just five years later?
“I became obsessed is the short answer. Not the normal ‘I need to run 5k every day because I’m obsessed’ sort of obsessed. I became the sort of obsessed that ruins relationships and completely dominates your life. I started competing later in life than all of my training partners, so I woke up daily panicking because my opponents all had several years more training than I did.”
It’s been a while since his last MMA fight, losing to former Malaysian Invasion champion Agilan ‘Alligator’ Thani in 2016, who would go on to face former Olympic wrestler, Ben Askren for the One Championship Welterweight belt. Will we see Brad ‘The Vanilla Gorilla’ Robinson in the cage again?
“First off, I’m not one to make excuses, ever. That being said, I took that fight on 10 days’ notice, and wasn’t in the best of shape at the time. Plus, my hair was too long (I was in a man bun phase) and my dog had eaten my game-plan the night before the fight” he joked.
“I’ve taken a long time off and it’s been great. I had a half a dozen nagging injuries that I just lived with that have finally healed up, and stepping back for a while has made me really appreciate the arts in martial arts a bit more than when every moment feels like it’s do or die. As far as getting back in the cage again, I don’t feel like combat sports are something you should dabble in, and I’m finding a great deal of enjoyment in describing the beauty of a well-timed head-kick to MMA fans, as opposed eating them in front of a large crowd.
“That being said I really miss competing. There’s just nothing in life you can do that will test you more than that walk to the cage or ring. It’s the purest, most distilled version of me that has ever existed, and I do miss it. With enough notice and for the right match-up (i.e. not Agilan Thani,) I could probably get down with some sort of a super fight. Holla!”
FOX Sports Asia is the home of the UFC in Asia. We asked Robinson what UFC fights he was looking forward to this year. “Tony Ferguson vs Khabib Nurmagomedov is making me lose sleep and I do think that Demetrius Johnson vs T.J Dillashaw needs to happen as soon as possible. It would be nice to see that Conor McGregor fella do the fighting thing again, maybe, if he wants to – you know only if he’s really feeling it.”
You can catch Brad Robinson and Alan Wong at ‘FMD16: Big Trouble in Little Bangkok’ live on FOX Sports Asia on March 16, 2018.
Photo credit: SingaporeMaven