Sunday, March 11, 2012

Mark Cherico Interview

Mark Cherico came to the NAAFS with a lot of hype. He had already began to make a name for himself fighting elsewhere. He has more than lived up to the hype with some impressive wins, including winning the NAAFS Amateur series Featherweight title win a 3rd round stoppage of Russ Brletrick. Cherico is now preparing for his pro debut at the end of April. From his flashy entrances, to his exciting fighting style, to his entertaining post fight interviews, you can be sure, if Mark Cherico is on the card, you are going to enjoy yourself.

Q: Can you start out talking about how you gt started in the sport?
A: A neighbor actually got me started in my garage, just hitting mitts and everything. I was progressing along pretty fast so he sent me to a friend of his named Donnie who was a 9-1 professional. I trained with him close to four years before I made the switch to Fight Club Pittsburgh.

Q: You are known for your ring entrances and charisma and stuff. Is that something you put a lot of thought into?
A: No its just me having fun. When I first started training it wasn't to fight, it was just cause I really enjoyed watching it. I didn't really consider fighting. It just became so much fun. When the lights go on and I hear the cheering, its just me having fun.

Q: Along those lines, I think a big part of someone becoming more marketable is understanding the entertainment aspect of the sport. Would you agree and do you think its helped get your name out there?
A: Yeah I think before I fought in the NAAFS I was known more for the flashiness and charisma. Then beating (Francis) Healy, (Mike) Putnam, and winning the national title got my name out there for fighting. You want to do both, you want to put on great fights, but you also want to entertain the fans inside and outside of the cage. So the entrances help, the fighting helps, and then the interviews help. If you have all those, its like fighting, you wanna be well rounded, so you wanna be well rounded and be more marketable and people pay to see you.

Q: When you do fight for NAAFS, you are often coming to Cleveland, but you travel well. You have a big support system who comes to watch. How much does that help you?
A: Its awesome. I love the "Cherico" chant anywhere in the fight. It gets me motivated. Some people get nervous having their friends and family there, but I am always around my friends and family, so its nothing to be nervous about. Its entertaining my friends like I would any other night.

Q: You were fighting with Rocktagon and came over to the NAAFS. Was there a specific reason?
A: Yeah, I am really good friends with one of the promoters, Brian. He had a falling out with them and it kinda made me sour on them after I heard a lot of things. The best fighters are in NAAFS, so it makes sense, to be one of the best, you gotta fight the best.

Q: Having fought for NAAFS a few times, how happy are you with the decision?
A: I am extremely happy, I wouldn't change it for anything. The last two fights, the venues were great, and Greg (Kalikas) and Nichole (Long) and the people at NAAFs are good people and great to fight for.

Q: Your last fight you won the Amateur Featherweight title beating Russ Brletrick. What did the title mean to you?
A: The title is really cool. I fought four or five times that year to get there. Between all the hardships and switching camps and not training like I should have been, and him calling me out, the title was a great cap to the year.

Q: With him calling you out, how satisfying is it to not only beat but finish someone who calls you out?
A: Extremely satisfying. I actually had the cahnce to roll with him two weeks before his semi-finals fight. We were just grappling and I dd extremely well and just that was satisfying. When I got offered the fight, the chance to do that in front of everyone, added to the fire and I was really emotional and fired up.

Q: You are getting ready for your pro debut correct?
A: Yeah April 27th in Morgantown.

Q: What part of the pro rules are you most excited about?
A: The five minute rounds. I am excited to do the five minute round thing. People question my cardio because I was ending fights so quick. My cardio has always been great and now working with Umberger Performance my cardio is insane, my recovery is amazing. I cant wait to show that off. Elbows on the ground will be a nice little touch to set up my submissions.

Q: Is there anything with training you have changed to adapt to pro rules?
A: Just being aware of head kicks and knees to the head. Those are two things I think people neglect early on. I don't wanna walk out there and get caught with a head kick.

Q: Being undefeated and becoming a big name, does it put a target on your head. People thinking a win over you makes a name for themselves?
A: Yeah, I think a lot of guys look at it like that. Guys with good records who don't get the attention because they don't have the charisma or are quiet. They look at calling me out and fighting me, win or lose, their name is out there cause there will be a lot of publicity. An easy way to the top. But its fine, keeps me on my toes.

Q: When I interviewed Greg Kalikas, I asked him as a fan what fight does he want to see. He said you against Wes Hanson. For the guy in charge to single you out, does that mean anything to you?
A: Yeah its really cool. Especially with a guy like Wes who is doing well for himself. For the guy who runs NAAFS to pick me out of all the fighters is really cool. I read that interview and it was cool to see.

Q: Do you have any long term goals. Maybe UFC or Bellator?
A: I'm just out here having fun. Fighting is fun to me, and till its not fun I am gonna keep fighting. If that leads me to the UFC or Bellator, that's awesome, but as long as I am having fun, I don't care.

Q: Anyone you want to thank or mention?
A: I gotta thank my sponsors, Thick as Thieves, Intimidation Clothing, SDC Nutrition, Fight Club Pittsburgh and Umberger Performance.

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