Bellator fighter Brent Weedman is one of a kind.
His introductory video for the season six lightweight tournament says it all as he takes you on a tour of the tattoo on his leg which is a representation of the solar system. His passion for astronomy and the universe, is a crazy fan of Carl Sagan and the cosmos.
So of course, when Viacom came calling about a cross-promotional opportunity pairing Bellator fighters and an episode of Ink Masters on Spike TV, he gleefully accepted.
Weedman had a strong connection to Japan dating back to his father's frequent trips to the country when he was young and he wanted to put a piece of that experience into the new artwork the show would be creating for him.
The season six tournament runner up spoke with MMAmania.com during a guest appearance on The Verbal Submissionabout his experience on the show, the story behind his tattoo and of course, his kooky cohort Lloyd Woodard who joined him on the episode in this exclusive interview.
Check it out:
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): I watched the Ink Masters episode where you made your appearance. How did that get set up? Was it because you're a Bellator fighter and the promotion is moving to Spike TV next year?
Brent Weedman: Yeah, the way it was made to sound to me is that it's Viacom doing some cross-promotion. Viacom owns Bellator now and all their shows. It was really as straightforward as one of the producers for Bellator, one of the production guys gave me a call. He said, "Hey, we know you've got tattoos. We know you've spent time in Japan. Ink Masters wants to do this show and the episode they're offering to have you be on is Japanese themed. Would you be interested in doing that?"
Four days in Manhattan, free tattoos from a world class tattoo artist. I said, "Yeah" so I was pretty excited about it. It ended up being a great experience. That whole trip was awesome.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Well let's hear about it. You gave a little bit of the story on your tattoo selection for the show, I believe it's called the Daruma Doll. Can you go a little more in depth into the significance of that? I know it's something about your father bringing them back from Japan and I want to hear the full story that they couldn't tell in your snippet of TV time.
Brent Weedman: Of course. Daruma in legend, he was a real guy. Supposedly he was the guy that brought Buddhism to Japan. He has a lot of myths and stories surrounding him. One he was known for was apparently he had set in a cross-legged position in meditation for so long that he had lost use of his legs. So whenever you see him depicted in paintings or drawings or in these dolls, he's perfectly round. He kind of looks like a weeble wobble.
One of his teachings or a phrase that's associated with him is Nana Korobi Yaoki which means "If you fall down seven times, get up eight." It's Chinese and Japanese characters too and you'll see t-shirts that say it especially in the martial arts community. That's from Daruma.
The idea of the Daruma doll is it's a paper maché red doll that represents him. They have different kanji on the belly that can say different inspiring things. One of my legs says Hisshō which means "certain victory." There's a little weight in his feet so if you knock him over, he's supposed to sit right back up. That's supposed to be a representative of his never give up, fall down seven times get back up eight, indomitable spirit. So my father brought these back from Japan when he would travel and eventually I brought them home when I went. It was a lesson, a big part of my upbringing and a big part of what made me into the man I am today and I liked having it represented in tattoo artwork.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): They kind of represented you on the show as being a bit difficult in that you were very stubborn about what you wanted. You had it set in stone and she wanted a bit more leeway. How was that depicted? Was it similar to what went on when you were there?
Brent Weedman: You know reality television. I was very interested in what this experience would be like because I'll be honest with you. If you talk to the Bellator guys, they'll laugh and each will probably have a story that's like this because it's happened more than once. I would say something like, "I'm Brent Weedman. I'm a Bellator fighter" to the camera and then the producer would say, "Okay, okay, that was good. Let's shoot another one and in this one, would you be willing to say, 'I kick ass and blah blah blah,'" something totally off the wall. I would say, "Actually, I'm not comfortable saying that." One of the things they really wanted me to hype up, they wanted me to make my story was her wanting to change the tattoo.
It was not nearly as dramatic as they made it sound. The way I like to get tattoo work done is I like to go to the artist and say, "Here is the element or elements that I want in my tattoo," and then they make art. If I was an artist I would draw it but I'm not and that's why I go to them. With her, I was like, "I know this is a Japanese challenge. I want this Daruma doll and whatever accents you want to add to it, I'm into that whole aesthetic. It's your world, do what you want."
She said, "Okay. How would you feel about me just not doing the Daruma doll and then you can come to my shop at a later date and maybe then I'll just give you one for free." You saw on the show, I calmly but no-nonsense proposition for me. I come to you and say, "Ninety-nine percent of the tattoo is yours. The one percent I need is this little red dude," and you try to do something different. No go. I tried to politely as possible explain that I don't care about the challenge or the aesthetic of the doll. I just wanted it tattooed on me.
She ended up being really excited about the design. We shot on Thursday and the tattoo was done on Sunday and there were a couple days in between there and she told me she worked on it day and night and was really invested in it. She did a great job. I loved the tattoo.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Would you have felt bad if your tattoo got her eliminated?
Brent Weedman: I would have felt bad only because you saw the show. You saw that she should not have been eliminated. Not only was hers good, there were some really bad tattoos. If you guys see the show, it's not always as straightforward as a good tattoo or a bad tattoo, it's usually just that some aren't as good as the others. For my show, there were some tattoos that I thought were not good at all. I thought she did a bang-up job. She wasn't in the bottom or top, but I thought it was the best tattoo that came out that day. Granted, I'm wearing it and that's confirmation bias. Of course I'd say that.
Brent Weedman: Lloyd seemed happy with his tattoo and I guess that's the important thing. It's not my style but Lloyd's a character. Funny story about Lloyd, since there was a couple day lag, he showed up Thursday and he went over to Jersey and they gave him a tattoo in between tapings on his forearm. He had to wear a long sleeve shirt for continuity reasons because he would have had a new tattoo during the same episode that they hadn't done. He ended up getting two tattoos that weekend. Lloyd's kind of an impulsive guy. His tattoo was very much, "I don't care, you guys do what you want!" I think he was more into the experience than the actual tattoo.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You just became a father this past year. What's going to be your stance on your son getting tattoos when the time comes?
Brent Weedman: Tattoos? I'm gonna try really hard to get him off the whole, "I want a tattoo when I'm 18" because I challenge you to find somebody who got a tattoo when they turned 18 that is really happy with that tattoo right now. I waited until my late 20's before I started getting work. Hopefully I can convince him to do the same thing.
To listen to our complete conversation with Brent Weedman, click here (interview begins at 1:35:00 mark)