Joe looks hard as nails. Shaved head. Beard. Tattoos. He reminds me of my heavy metal mates. I read in some articles about him being an MMA fan and thought he’d been training for ages.
Q. Many people will view your enthusiasm and experience of MMA as being helpful, if not crucial to your ability to take Gelman down… how important do you think it was?
A. Remember, I’m just an MMA fan. At the time, my only “training” was watching it on TV. I’ve since started taking private lessons from the greatest striking coach in the world, Keith Trimble at Bellmore Kickboxing & MMA, but at the time, nada.
Q. Oh cool… I thought you’d done some training… that’s even more amazing… who’s your favourite fighter? I’m a total Tank Abbott fan… then Lesnar… since they’re gone… I guess more of a John Jones.
A. My first favourite fighter was Dan “The Beast” Severn. [Pause for a second…I fucking love Dan “The Beast” Severn, fucking legend]. My all-time favourite is “The Dean of Mean” Keith Jardine. [Oh my god!! He’s fucking awesome too!!]. I love guys like Matt Serra, Jens Pulver, Chuck Liddell, Rashad Evans & Eddie Alvarez. Plus, training on Long Island, even as little as I do, you get to know many of the kick-ass crop of talent developing here like Gian Villante, Costa Phillipou, Ryan Laflare, Al Iaquinta, Eddie Gordon, Dennis Bermudez and of course the champ, Chris Wiedman. I know I’m leaving guys out & I apologise to them.
Fuck me… no training… I can look like a meat-head to some people, but to be honest, I don’t reckon I’m hard. I’m soft. Especially when there’s a killer in front of me. A killer trying his hardest to kill me, in a confined space, with no escape. When faced with that, I’m more than soft. I’m angel feathers washed in Comfort Pure and dried with pixie kisses. I’ll be as soft as you fucking like. I’m a goner.
At least that’s what I reckon. I could do what Joe did and fight him, suffer the stabbings and miraculously live. Except I’ll do my very best to never find out if that’s possible, and therefore will (hopefully) never know. So I’m fascinated in what makes a man not piss his pants and surrender.
Q. Did you recognise him? Did you have any prior knowledge about him or what he had done?
A. Not at all. He was just another face in the crowd. I wasn’t aware of his “exploits” until I was at the hospital.
Q. Wow… so just some crazy-ass big Eastern European dude that appeared to have flipped out on the train?
A. I prefer to think of him as a spoiled little boy who got upset when he was told “no”.
Q. Do you remember forming a strategy before engaging or did you simply go for it?
A. My only strategy was “don’t die”. I just went for his legs to try and get him down. I shot too high & it was more like a football tackle. The result was what I wanted, but it was ugly as hell.
Q. I’ve got a mental image of E Honda from Street Fighter doing his charging head-butt…
A. Ha ha, sorry bro, I don’t know Street Fighter (laughs).