Everybody Has a Game Plan ‘Til You Get Hit: The Anthony Macias Interview
Part One of Three: From Kickboxing to The Ultimate Fighting Championship
By: William Colosimo
Former kickboxer Anthony “Maddog” Macias began his no holds barred (NHB) fighting career in the early days of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). After his stint with that organization, among other accomplishments Anthony competed in and won several eight-man NHB tournaments- each one requiring him to defeat three men, sometimes much heavier- in one night. This interview provides a closer look behind the scenes of the early days of mixed martial arts (MMA) in the United States, whether it be in the UFC or other NHB/MMA organizations.
William Colosimo: To start- are there any early fights, say from 1997 and before, that aren’t on your Sherdog.com record?
Anthony Macias: Oh, man. Well yeah, they have those things called smokers back in the day. We’d just go to gyms, and Buddy Albin, the little weasel he was, manager (laughter), always managed to find a fight every couple months. Plus, I was doing a lot of kickboxing with Buddy, so that’s where it all originated.
WC: The smokers you’re talking about though, this wasn’t so much NHB; this was kickboxing?
AM: No, it was more NHB. Like I did one in Atlanta one time for… who was that? Oleg Taktarov fought Renzo Gracie.
WC: Yes, at MARS (Martial Arts Reality Superfighting).
AM: MARS, that was it, yeah. They did a couple smokers before MARS to see who all they wanted to get into the tournament, and the whole package that they had. ‘Cause they had a little thing before that. It wasn’t the pay-per-view (PPV) event. They had another tournament that was like a smaller group of guys, or lower tier guys. (Editor’s Note: Earlier that night of 11/22/96 right before the PPV event aired)
WC: I think Mark Hanssen won that eight-man tournament that was never on PPV. From Pat Miletich’s team, I believe.
AM: Yeah, I think so.
WC: And so, were you part of that event?
AM: I was part of that. I’m almost positive it was Amir (Rahnavardi) that got me. The damn guy got me in a leg lock (laughter). I had him in an ankle crank, and I made the rookie mistake of crossing my legs. Caught me with it underneath. Grabbed my heel, and pushed my shin against my calf and… yup. Good guy though. Yeah, there were a lot of people in that tournament. I mean, there was so much stuff before Sherdog was even created, man- you know once UFC started in ’93, there was just… mayhem (laughter).
WC: When you fought Amir- was that the quarter or semi-finals for your tournament?
AM: Oh… that was the first- I think it was a sixteen-man tournament. It was either eight or sixteen. I guess something had happened with Amir, and they wanted me to fight Gene Lydick again (Editor’s Note: They had previously fought in the International Fighting Championship [IFC] 2, on 8/23/96). But, here was kinda my thing- they wanted me to fight him, but they didn’t want to pay me the win money for the other fight- which I didn’t win, but they were wanting me to advance. So, I told them I wanted some compensation for fighting again.
WC: So, then you couldn’t come to an agreement and you didn’t go into the next round.
AM: Correct. Against Gene Lydick- which I had already beaten.
WC: Okay. I remember that from an early IFC, I think.
AM: Yeah, correct.
WC: On the UFC 4 PPV Bruce Beck introduced you as having a 31 and 1 kickboxing record, and said you were a two time high school wrestling champ in Oklahoma. Was the UFC pretty accurate with that stuff?
AM: No, no, man. I took second in state one year, my very first year I wrestled in… I think it was ninth grade (laughter). That was Buddy Albin fluffing the whole… now though, the kickboxing– yeah I had… hell, I probably had 40, at least 30 kickboxing fights by then. I started back in ’84, kickboxing.
WC: So that would have made you somewhere around 13, 14 years old?
AM: 14, 15. Yup. Started taekwondo when I was 10 years old.
WC: Buddy Albin- how did you meet him? You said he was your kickboxing manager?
AM: Yeah, that’s how I met him- through some fights up here in Oklahoma. Let’s see… I just went to go watch a fight, and one of the guys backed out, and I took a fight, and won it, and that’s kinda how it started. I’d already had a couple kickboxing fights before him, up in Bartlesville (Oklahoma), and here and there through just little gyms, and smoker type crap. But I was a kid, so I don’t… that was (laughter) 30-some years ago, dude.
WC: So how did you first hear about the UFC, and did you go to any of those first three UFC shows?
AM: Yeah, I went to UFC 2.
WC: Number 2, okay. So did you see 1 and then thought you had to go check it out live for 2?
AM: Yup. Did that, and then, let’s see- I did the application, I think it was through Black Belt Magazine and Buddy Albin. And, I got picked. I’ve still got the acceptance letter from W.O.W. (War of the Worlds) Promotions. I still have it in a frame.
WC: I heard that you might have gotten in because- correct me if I’m wrong- Buddy Albin was somewhat the local promoter for UFC 4. So you kind of had an “in” on that card. Is that how you got on there?
AM: I don’t know. I don’t know what strings Buddy pulled as a manager or whatever he was doing, but I just know that I got my acceptance letter and I was ecstatic, so- I wasn’t gonna question it. Then of course, I get Dan Severn in the draw.
WC: That was a raw deal. When you went to UFC 2- did you meet Ken Shamrock or any Lion’s Den guys there?
AM: No. I was just in the crowd, man. Just watching the fights, dude.
WC: Okay. Then when you saw UFC 1 through 3, what were your thoughts in general on the show, and how did you think you stacked up compared to what you were seeing in those early events?
AM: Oh , man (laughter). You know, that’s a tough question. I mean, the show was great, completely, the whole shebang there. I thought that was just awesome . As far as stacking up against all the other fighters, of course back then- you think you’re invincible and you’re ready to fight anybody. Like Dan , I’ve met him right in the middle and started throwing, but- that did no damage (laughter). You know?
WC: What made you decide to make the jump to NHB from kickboxing?
AM: Oh… you know that was the next step off of… ’cause see, here in Oklahoma they wouldn’t allow you to do elbows to the head or the body. So you could throw knees to the body and the head, and leg kicks and all that- but you couldn’t do elbows. For me, that was the next progression of fighting , I guess.
WC: So in the kickboxing league you were in, you were able to throw kicks to the lower body?
AM: I was, yeah. Well Buddy Albin, I don’t know how much this is true – but I have world titles or belts from Buddy Albin that have the WKA (World Kickboxing Association) and the WKKC (World Karate and Kickboxing Council) on the title, so I’ve won a couple of Muay Thai world titles through those two organizations. I don’t know if you remember them or if they’re even still around.
WC: The “Maddog” nickname, where did that one come from?
AM: (Laughter) You know, I don’t know. Growing up, I was always like “quick kick.” ‘Cause I had fast feet. And people, once I started fighting- people just got “Maddog,” and it stuck.
WC: You already answered my question on if you had any matches before UFC 4- sounds like those smokers at the gyms though. The smokers that you were talking about, were those before UFC 4?
AM: Yeah, all those. Well- are you talking about NHB or kickboxing?
WC: The NHB ones.
AM: No, that all started after– it was after like 5. After UFC 5 was when all the… I guess everybody was like, “Okay. It’s gonna be here to stay,” and people started getting into it. And like now, there’s so many organizations, just everywhere- it’s crazy.
WC: How much notice did you have when you got your acceptance letter? How long before UFC 4 did you know you were in that show?
AM: Maybe a month and a half. I’ll tell you right now, I had pictures of two people- ’cause Buddy gave me a folder of all the people that were in the tournament. And there were two pictures that I had pulled out separately and put ’em on the mirror. And one of them was Royce Gracie, and one of them was Dan Severn. I said I did not wanna fight either one of them (laughter) right off the bat. I mean, Royce, you just… that would have been an interesting fight- he would have gotten hold of me of course. My submission knowledge at that point in the game was very, very limited, so…
WC: I remember back then very clearly, he had that air of invincibility. But that was my next question, you just kind of went right into it. Before UFC 4, what kind of experience did you have with submission? Any judo training, anything like that?
AM: I did some judo with some guys up here. Let’s see, Sensei Pat Burris, he had a gym up here. I’ve been there a couple times, but it was nothing steady- no submission. Back then I was focused on my Muay Thai, my striking game. I didn’t… it was the whole thing- remember? It was karate vs taekwondo, vs jiu-jitsu vs you know… so, (laughter) I was in there to be the Muay Thai guy, not really focused on the submission as much. I had a little bit of wrestling background, but that was it.
WC: Okay. So basically, your training for UFC 4 would have mostly been Thai boxing- that’s what you were sparring.
AM: Yeah, Thai boxing, a little bit of… I tried to do some NHB with, hell- anybody that would show up at the gym, dude. We had these little bitty ass gloves. Me and my wife, about, back in… ’96, we went to Century Martial Arts- ’cause I’ve known Mike Dillard a long time, since I was a little kid. Went up there and said “Hey, we’re trying to make these gloves- is there anything you could do?” We went back in the factory and he’s like, “I don’t know, I don’t know if we could try to do that,” or something like that. And that was back in ’96. I’m thinking, “Damn it, I wish we would’ve stuck with it with him,” (laughter) ’cause now they’re everywhere, man.
WC: Absolutely, that would have been a great investment. You were saying when you were training for UFC 4, you would get whoever would come in to the gym. Did you have any kind of a steady regimen or steady training partners for that show?
AM: I had a couple of guys that did kickboxing with me and had a little bit of knowledge, but nothing to the effect of what the sport’s become.
WC: Did you know Guy Mezger before UFC 4?
AM: Yeah, I’d known him. He’d come up and done some kickboxing with Buddy Albin, and I had known him a little while.
WC: Okay. Ken had told me that you had trained a little bit with the Lion’s Den back then. I didn’t know if you got introduced to him through Guy.
AM: Yeah, that’s who it was. It was down there in Dallas. After UFC 4, me and my wife moved to Dallas. Down there where Buddy Albin was and where the gyms were. Trying to stay in the game, man.
WC: Then at UFC 4, they said you were 25 years old, and they had your height at 5’10”. Was the age and the height accurate?
WC: The weight seems like it might have been a little high; they had you at 190. Was that-
AM: (Laughter) I was 160 pounds.
WC: 160, okay. I’ve heard from a few fighters that back then, you would just tell them whatever weight you wanted to. They never…
AM: Yeah. You know what? Man, even now, there were, hell, five years ago, six years ago, may have been longer- I fought Chad Cook, and I couldn’t make the weight. I was underweight for the 205, I was under 190. I put ankle weights on, and a 10-pound weight in my pants- and weighed in. Because the commission was there- and still is- in Louisiana, I had to be within that certain amount of weight to fight him.
WC: Holy Cow.
AM: I arm barred him in like twelve seconds.
WC: For UFC 6 also, because we’re on the topic, were you about 160 at that point too?
AM: I was bulking up a little bit. I was probably about 170.