Situated next to Pancho Villa Mexican Restaurant, in the quaint Long Island city of Huntington, N.Y., stands the family-owned independent book store, Book Revue. The book store is notorious for hosting celebrity authors ... and last night was no exception.
The man of the hour was Forrest Griffin, who is launching a 12-day, five-city tour in support of the release of his new book "Got Fight? The 50 Zen Principles of Hand-to-Face Combat."
Forrest had the crowd of nearly 100 slightly starstruck fans in stitches from the opening comment on. As the crowd applauded the former light heavyweight champion quipped, "Calm down, it's not going to be that good. Take some of those claps back."
Forrest enjoyed himself, and the microphone, too much as he answered audience questions with his normal blend of biting sarcasm, self deprecating humor and down-to-earth personality.
The political science major delivered lines like:
"I have had many prostitutes tell me that, if you don't know what were talking about you really don't want to, If I start singing some Guns 'N Roses don't be alarmed, they make me fight good people unfortunately ... I'd rather fight you guys out there, I am an Olympic-level mall walker ... it took the place of wresting in high school, any sport where putting your finger on another man's anus is legal is not a sport I want to engage in, my penis isn't that small ... I'm not that insecure about things, I've made hundreds of dollars doing this, literally, hundreds of dollars and obviously your boyfriend doesn't beat you and if he doesn't hit you hard enough."
(For Forest's sake and mine, all quotes will not be taken out of context).
In addition to displaying real stand up comic talent, Griffin showed why he is not only a great fighter, but a real person.
"There are two things I want to be able to know when I walk into a fight, or with anything in life. And I'm not Superman, I'm not even that great at fighting. Those two things are: I have done everything in my power to prepare for this and I will not quit, no matter what."
After that, Forrest got back to business by calling out such MMA stalwarts as Bob Costas, Bill O' Reilly and Bill Maher along with the kid that repeatedly beat him up in high school. For the record, Forrest said he looks forward to another fight with "Rampage."
When asked what he thought about Shogun getting the next title shot, Forrest joked, "Good for him. I would rather fight him than Machida. Maybe the 2005 version of Shogun shows up, does some crazy spin kicks, and wins. We'll see."
When asked about what Dana White said to him in regard to his upcoming fight with Anderson Silva, and Silva's last two tepid performances, Forrest delivered.
"Dana proposed the fight to me and I said, 'I am not just going to rush in there, I saw what happened to Chris Leben when he did that. I am going to fight a smart fight. Dana said, 'even when you fight a smart fight, its a fight. That's what was said on the topic.
Other than that, they wanted a big slow guy to follow Anderson Silva around and make him look good. They're like Forrest is a big slow guy and he takes a beating well. Seriously though, for 100 G's, what are you going to say, no? Of course I will fight the guy, it's only 15 minutes. What's the worst that could happen?
I asked myself that same question when, prior to the audience Q & A, this "journalist" got to go backstage where the true debauchery happens, and talk with the man himself. I got to talk to Forrest about "the devil in the pocket protector," Machida: the theory squasher, and what the post-MMA version of Forrest will do.
Check it out.
Brian Oswald (MMAmania.com): Forrest, how are you doing today?
Forrest Griffin: Was that question part of the interview? Let me get back to you on that one.
Brian Oswald (MMAmania.com): You excited about this book review and talking to all your fans out there?
Forrest Griffin: Yeah, I am relatively excited, should be good. Most of these people haven't read or seen the book yet so it might not be what some of them think it is.
Brian Oswald (MMAmania.com): Do you think some of them might take everything you say in the book seriously?
Forrest Griffin: I don't think that is possible. You would have to be born with a gene that doesn't allow you to recognize sarcasm if you take anything I say seriously. Original thought is hard. I prefer you stick to that. It made me very popular in high school and so I stuck with it. It even seems to be working well now, unfortunately. I am not sure what that says about our society, actually it says nothing good about our society.
Brian Oswald (MMAmania.com): Did your sarcasm lead to some of the fights you got into in high school?
Forrest Griffin: Not really, but sure. Yeah, that would be a good segue if it had.
Brian Oswald (MMAmania.com): In the book you tell the story about "the devil with the pocket protector," about a 120-pound nerd who yelled at you, "I am ready to die" when defending himself in a fight against your 250-pound football bullies. What that moment instrumental in solidifying your "never-say-die" mentality or did it predate that frontal lobe experience?
Forrest Griffin: Coolest story I possess. The mentality is something I probably had for whatever reason, but seeing in effect in that kid was life changing. It is one of my favorite stories in the book, that was such a cool thing for me. It happened about 12 years ago, but that is what it is about man - to see such toughness from someone so small was great.
Brian Oswald (MMAmania.com): Another interesting point in your book was when you talked about being a fighter vs. a mixed marital artist. You said fighters actually fight and mixed martial artists would rather talk about fighting. I was curious about your thoughts on that with Machida's recent success.
Forrest Griffin: He kind of blew my theory to shit. I will have to come up with a counter theory to my original theory. You know most of what I say is wrong, and if it is not wrong now, it will be proven wrong later. But I said it so I must have believed it. Screw Machida, he is definitely an outlier.
Brian Oswald (MMAmania.com): You have mentioned that the talent in the sport is passing by fighters at a rapid rate. Do you see yourself having a career in comedy, acting or writing more books after your MMA career is done with?
Forrest Griffin: I do actually enjoy the process of putting my thoughts down on paper and having people actually read them. That is flattering that people would give up twenty bucks to read what my dumb ass thinks. It is pretty cool and fun to think about stuff a little deeper. As far as future plans: I am going to get old and die. I plan on sitting in a nursing home with all the money I made.
Brian Oswald (MMAmania.com): That's all Ive got for now Forrest.
Forrest Griffin: Well that's good, that's all I've got, too. Lets get out of here.