Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Mark Wallace AKA Wally Boy Wonder Interview
Photo Credit: Hex Linc Photos
If you have ever been to an NAAFS event, you have surely seen Mark Wallace, better known as Wally Boy Wonder walking around and working. But you may not be aware of who he is or what he is doing. He is actually a big reason the event is able to be run as smoothly as it is. Myself, when I arrive early to cover the events, I am able to see him and the crew working hard to set everything up, making sure everything is ready. He has been with NAAFS from the beginning and is one of the reasons you are able to enjoy great events month after month when you attend and NAAFS event. He also is working on betting movies budgeted and has a music career as well, all things you will get to read about in this interview.
Q: Let's start with NAAFS. How did you get involved with them?
A: Through Jake Digman. I worked with him at Akron City Hospital. He asked if I would be interested in volunteering at Fight Night in the Flats 1 and I said "yeah I'll give it a try as long as I can work the VIP section". I didn't know anything about it, I just didn't wanna be out there in the crowd. I worked the VIP section and volunteered for three years for them. Then Greg put me on the work-force.
Q: So in the beginning you weren't doing anything like what you do now?
A: No, not at all. I just came and helped set up the event and made sure everyone in the VIP section was supposed to be there. It was tough because it was the first one and not everyone up there had credentials. I found out this is this fighter and this is that fighter and became familiar with the faces. Basically I did a good job and Greg (Kalikas) invited me back. I wasn't setting up the events like I do now.
Q: Looking back at those early events, would you have ever imagined it growing like it has?
A: Not at all. Greg didn't even know my first name the first year I was there. I was just helping out. I felt I was involved in something that would grow. It wasn't until Greg explained to me what his vision was that I truly understood giving a platform for the amateur fighters to come up and sharpen their tools. Through the years I saw it was more than that, it was a platform to make it to the next big show, not only sharpen their tools, but with our television contract, they can sharpen their tools getting sponsors and working on interviews and all that other stuff.
Q: A lot of people see you at events but may not know what it is you do, can you explain what you do at the events?
A: Basically I am the first person to get there and see what needs done, set up the event, the cage needs to be up at a certain time, video production, sound production, seats need to be numbered before we open the doors, everything has to be orderly before the doors open. A lot of times we are rushing because we have limited staff available. We always find a way to get it done. Basically everything you see when you walk into the event was done by my guys and me, Roger, Brian, Mike Moran, and a few other guys.
Q: After you get everything set up and people are coming in, do you ever just stand back amazed at how much just a couple people where able to do?
A: Oh yeah, for sure. Even after a hundred and twenty events I am always in amazement that we were able to get it done on time, before doors open. That's is just being able to have trust in each other, know that if something needs done it will get done. After I change my shirt, it is usually soaked in sweat from setting up. After I change my shirt I sit back in amazement that this is what they get to enjoy the rest of the night.
Q: When the fights are going on, is there ever a situation where their is a specific fight or fighter where you wish you could just sit back and watch?
A: Yeah there is. Since 2005 I have gotten to become friends with a bunch of fighters. In our league friends fight friends and it makes it very difficult to sit and watch because I would like them both to achieve a win. There are some fights I watched, Daniel Strauss, it was the last fight of the night and everyone was behaving, and Jason Dent and Chris Lozano was another one. Every once in awhile I will watch and see them perform their craft and be in amazement that this is why they make it to the next level and achieve success. You get the enjoyment of watching them grow into great fighters.
Q: Looking back, is there any memory that you would say is the one that stands out?
A: Last year, the night before Rock-N-Rumble losing my dad. Being able to come the next day and get it set up, I didn't stay the whole event, but I was able to get it done and everyone enjoyed themselves and I got to go home and spend time with my family. As far as the good, I enjoyed co-promoting with Bellator. I thought that was a great relationship. It felt like we were starting to get our name known. Venturing to other states was huge to. Going to West Virginia and seeing how the crowd reacted to our show.
Q: I want to talk about your music as well, what got you interested in that?
A: Basically, I was always a writer, writing poetry. I figured if I could do that, then I could put it to music. I have always been interested in music and rhyming. I would go to street battles as a seventeen year old pale white kid and realized I was pretty good at it. Wanting people to be proud of me in some way and it was a release, negative and positive energy put into one form and creating something out of nothing. A lot of people don't realize I use a lot of low-end base. Growing up in a deaf family, a lot of the deaf still listen to music and have big speakers in their car, so I like to use low-end base so they can feel the rhythm.
Q: Is there anyone musically who has influenced you?
A: Oh yeah, for sure. Wu-Tang is huge when it comes to hip hop. I always liked Jim Morrison, I liked his lyrics, he got me started writing. The Def Tones, basically a lot of people influenced me. Anywhere from Phil Collins to the rest. Growing up, my mom always collected a lot of albums. Growing up in the eighties, a lot of music from that era.
Q: Are there any set goals you have with the music?
A: I think I am gonna put out one more album. I put out an album with the band I was with Dog vs Cat, then I did two full-length Wally Boy Wonder Albums, then an EP called Monster Mayhem based on the Universal monsters. I will put out one more album. I never did this for financial gain, I put a lot of money into it. It is just for personal therapy. Something I enjoyed to do. I got signed to a label a couple times and they let me do whatever I felt, didn't try and mold me, gave me opinions but never changed who I am. Screen writing is the long-term goal for me.
Q: Where are you at as far as the movies?
A: Basically when I finish a screen-play, I send it to my buddies in California, Studio Zero Productions, Johnathon Carmichael and Mike Wilkinson, they did the Joe Heiland documentary I directed. They get it in the hands of people who do it for a living. They send back their info and I re-write till they have a solid script. I have two scripts that are getting budgeted, how much it will cost to be made and they find investors. Basically I have two getting budgeted and am working on two more right now.
Q: Is it hard to balance all that with trying to raise children?
A: For sure! I am a father first. I have to make sure is good at the house. My wife works night and I work days at the hospital. She gives me the ability to do things and sits back and waits for her turn. She has things she would like to do, but she knows when it comes to these things, it is not just personal therapy, it makes me a better man in the house. She does a lot of sacrificing. I have OCD and ADD and I put them together and get it done.
Q: Anything I missed that you want to talk about?
A: The graphic design I do for the fighters is cool. I started dabbling in some design and did logos for people and shirts and it is cool to see them wearing them.
Q: Anyone you want to thank?
A: I would like to thank everyone who behaves themselves at the shows, Greg for giving me the opportunity and to bring in my cousin Troy, Steve and my good friend Roger and his good fried Brian, Mike Moran who has become a good friend, Jeff, we have built a tight-knit group outside the fight. They aren't co-workers, we have become friends. Yourself, coming to the events super early wearing your Denver Broncos hat haha.