EJ Brooks’ planned prelims fight at WSOF 33 this weekend was scrapped yesterday after a replacement opponent couldn’t be found in time, “typical,” he tells FO, before revealing one or two other insightful tales about his life as a mixed martial artist.
When did you first hear the news your fight was off?
“I first got word from my manager. He told me my opponent had gotten hurt last minute. But if you want to be real about it, I don’t think he got hurt at all. After looking at his record online and seeing all the bums he has fought I knew he didn’t want to take a hard fight. Needless to say, I wasn’t surprised that he pulled out. I was more surprised he even agreed to the fight in the first place.”
WSOF initially reported that a last minute replacement was being sought. What happened?
“WSOF tried to find a suitable replacement last minute but my manager told me the one guy who could be a good replacement couldn’t take the fight because he was under contract with another promotion. That promotion wasn’t willing to release him to fight. So just like that, I was out of a big fight. The story of my life!”
What is the best thing nobody knows about you?
“I own Michael Chandler. I have the stats to prove it. I have been beating him since high school.”
As you navigate your way through your career, what is the best advice you could give to a younger you?
“Don’t wrestle at the University of Missouri. Wrestle at the University of Nebraska so that you don’t get screwed.”
Who are some of the people that inspire you most in life?
“My friends and family. My mom is my biggest fan. When I got done with college wrestling I was still a young man. I was 23 years old. Tyron Woodley actually got me into MMA. He told me, ‘Hey, you are young and a stud athlete you can make a lot of money in this. Don’t waste your talents.’”
What is your best memory from your very first fight?
“My first pro fight. I came back to win a fight that I was losing. I got a standing ovation in Atlanta from the hometown crowd of my opponent. I literally almost got knocked out three or four times and came back to win.”
As a former wrestler, what is the best thing about MMA compared to other sports?
“People don’t realize how technical it is. There are so many disciplines in MMA that you have to be good at to be successful. Also, MMA brings a lot of cultures together. From Karate to boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai, it’s just beautiful.”
What feels best, a knockout or submission victory?
“There is just something about a guy saying, ‘I give up.’ I get so much satisfaction out of someone willingly giving up, so I would say a submission. People can always say you got lucky and knocked someone out but they can’t say you got lucky and submitted someone.
You have a 9-5 pro record. So with those mixed results who has been your best opponent?
“The best guy I ever fought was the guy from my pro debut (Eric Kriegermeier). I feel like I won at least two of the fights that I lost during a three fight losing streak awhile back (losses to Darrell Horcher and Johnny Case). Eric was the best opponent I have fought.”
How do you get in the zone or fight ready leading up to the fight?
“My music. I always make a special playlist before the fight. I always make two playlists, the weight cut playlist and then I have the pre-fight playlist. I listen to a lot of hip hop that gets me bouncing and then I’m ready to go. I actually walked out to LL Cool J in the past. I listen to a lot of his stuff.”
What was your best job before becoming a fighter?
“I would say working in Education. I work with special needs children. I am in the special education department here at the school. I enjoy giving back. I enjoy children. It’s sad because I know I might have to give it up to fully devote myself to MMA. I’m waiting on getting that big fight to do it. I will probably then move down to Coconut Creek, Florida to American Top Team.”
What is the best lesson life has handed you to this point?
“You can’t cut corners. The times I have been successful it’s because I worked hard to get it. I didn’t cheat or play around. The only times I missed weight for a fight it’s because I was trying to cut corners or try something new. There is no other way to do it than work it off. Every time I have ever got anything in life it’s because I worked hard for it. I didn’t try to cheat to get it.”