A glimpse inside the weird, wonderful world of Bob 'The Beast' Sapp


I saw today Bloody Elbow published an interview with Bob Sapp which reminded me that I had an even more interesting interview with 'The Beast' from back in February which I decided at the time was too long and complicated to attempt to make into a coherent article

Here, in all it's glory, is the complete transcript of my interview with Sapp. My personal highlight is him expounding on his theory that doing any sort of actual training for a fight is a complete waste of time. I warn you now the entire thing is 2628 words long which might well be some sort of MMA Mania record.

In his own words...

The beast was definitely slithering around a bit for about a year to a year and a half, it was almost ten losses in a row so to be able to have a victory in Dubai that momentum carries on to something great, being able to step into the ring with somebody like Royce Gracie is an honour and it’s an honour to be able to enter into Indonesia, the beast saga continues and we’ve seen the beast slither around a bit, let's change the definition of the beast for 2012.

From the fans standpoint they show a tremendous amount of appreciation getting behind the beast which means that everyone who watches or enjoys my career or hears of my career because I have such a big mouth they know that my single fight season record among the ones that make it to the newspaper and the ones that never do. Well he’s fighting more than even these fighters we’re talking about so you’re looking at 10 fights,12 fights and the fighters you’re comparing me to have three to two or the ones they are comparing me to have stopped fighting period and I’m pretty sure once you stop fighting your record will never change so K-1 they are gone, the majority of the K1 fighters are gone.

I'm a great fan and I love taking a look at somebody like Sammy Schiltz, he's incredible but where am I going to take a look at him? That's the former champion or whatever so for someone I think the challenge of having such a hard schedule to do the Hollywood movies, to do the television shows, to do the products to do the pro wrestling to do all the charitable work whether it’s working with children with autism which I did in Dubai or whether it’s delivering 26 tonnes to the people of Japan right afterwards or if its keeping a fight schedule even whether I’m injured or anything to step into the ring the fans appreciate it and of course the fighters appreciate it and many people forget ok if Bob was to step away and say what let him get some rest because a lot of these fights sometimes I’m doing within six hours of each other say let him get to rest but then there’s no television card, the television card will simply pull it and then there are no fighters fighting so they do sometimes come into the locker room and say 'nowhere close to your best work at all, sucks but we do appreciate you coming out here and so do the fans and everyone else’ and they show that if you follow me on camera when I do lose, I always say to the winner 'he won he was a great champion.’

The sport of fighting consists of merely waking up and going to the gym and training for that fight and going home and going to sleep, that would be the sport of fighting. I do the sport of MMA, or the sport entertainment of MMA and that consists of what we call business and in business we need to make a profit for me to continue on.

I'm in what’s called the fighting business and business is about salary, success and salary and the measure of improvement is cash so in order for me to improve, have I been improving year round, yes, I still average over 150,000 USD a month doing what I’m doing and yes its true we currently have five, the main event tickets all around the world is Bob Sapp.

My next fight will be Amsterdam on the 26th, we have Feb 2nd Dubai, Feb 11th MMA, feb 13th-feb 15th we have pro wrestling, charitable work and doing my companies and businesses such as saying hello and appearances in Japan that lasts me until the 21st on the 21st I have to get on a plane and go to Amsterdam where I will be training for my kickboxing fight on the 26th afterwards I will get on a plane to Italy to go and train with my new trainer Roberto I will then go to India on March 5th, I will fight on March 11th in India, after March 11st I will go to Japan and from 13th to roughly the 15th for some more pro wrestling and some promotions, I travel to the US where I will do Journey Quest 2 which is a comedy role playing game then I will go back to Japan conclude my work in Japan and after that of course I’m getting ready for my next fight which is Croatia and we just recently entered into negotiations for Serbia so my day off is in June, meanwhile I also have to do my contract negotiations for animal planet for my reality show and launch four companies which they want me to launch in Japan. The beast takes on many forms.

I think when you are saying ‘bob this is a fight’ which I have proven winning or losing I will continue to improve in the fight business but you are thinking listen you can really get back on track regarding this weakness that you have shown let’s see how much you have improved from the weaknesses of 2011, lets step into the ring and get it going.

For me there is no downside there can only be upside so now that allows me to have the freedoms to expand much more and to hit it hard, well how hard? We start training here Jakarta is a unique place with the traffic with the gyms being roughly two hours away so because of my restrictions with the media and whatever else I have to get in the gym, I was in there from 11 o clock at night until 2am and I’ve done that for every day here and that’s how much I put into training and doing these things and this is for several reasons of course this wonderful great schedule I have and I actually get to step in there versus Gracie and it is a legendary match and it’s great and I’m really looking forward to it.

Yes (I think I can knock Gracie out) the beast is revitalized, rejuvenated, the beast saga continues how is it going to continue? Well there’s no way there’s going to be a submission on my part, I assure you of that one so let’s see what happens. His submissions, for somebody taking down his submissions of the choke, his submissions of the triangle and what we say when we wrap the legs round somebody or whatever. He’s great, the name Gracie has been passed throughout history a legacy of success, toughness, endurance and someone that has absolutely revolutionized and really marketed the sport tremendously and it’s an honour to get in the ring with Rolles Gracie and you can see there’s an aura about him just with him walking he knows what he’s doing and he’s incredible.

I work on all types of positions for my standup and once I do more than just talking about what I am doing I will then show in the ring with action and I will let out a little more of the beast’s secrets but right now he’s a Gracie he’s smart so I have to take that into consideration, the gameplan is under lock and key.

Right now I am roughly at 158 kgs so that’s what you will probably see me at in the ring or maybe a little heavier give or take in Indonesia I’ve just recently had some steak and some chicken, it was great, so give or take a couple of fired chickens I think you will see me at 158

He (Gracie) is tall so he can look me eye to eye he’s definitely a tall lengthy guy, at least he appeared so today, I didn’t stare down with him or anything but he did look roughly the same height. There’s definitely no patience at all, although I do occasional tell girls that I am a doctor, I’m going for the knock out.

A win over Rolles Gracie would rank at the top if not number one in my career, it would be ‘the Gracies achievement’ because they are absolutely and that’s exactly how I will take my win with a tremendous amount of grace.The motivation I get is though the ability to get in there and to challenge myself which is why I do so many things at the same time so that is my motivation, to be challenged and this is a great challenge and I find it incredible does it matter who it is for the Gracie and for Rolles it matters a tremendous amount to me, this guy is an amazing athlete and he’s known all around the world, he has fought in the US of course he’s fought various places throughout Asia and Europe he’s an incredible guy.

I was training in Dubai because I was there for my fight, I recently arrived in Indnonesia on February 2nd and after the after party of me winning I had to get on the plane and come here to fight. You have to train as you travel, there’s no excuses and if there’s one thing I have learned over these 13 plus years it’s that the announcer is never going to announce ‘in this corner this guy has trained 15 hours, 16 days and run 55 miles’ he’s going to tell you your record so the one thing you would like to improve on. So you need to make sure you always focus on improving on fighting instead of doing something which is abstract in and of itself and someone would say ‘do you run?’ No, well the running didn’t help with the fighting, no but it helps with the conditioning. Exactly, we are fighting, we ‘aint conditioning, we are being conditioned fighters so we need to be in the terms and conditions for learning how to fight.

Just by fighting you stay in shape by fighting you are going to be training for fighting. The running? No. Does that help? Does the ladder work and doing all the footwork and that stuff help? No. I can look on youtube and see what’s that dance? That all the kids are playing that dance game on the x box or whatever. Take a look at that, I’ve seen a one legged guy jump on that and beat the game at an arcade level , one leg I’ve also seen another guy that was about 330 lbs do it and beat the other level, these guys aren’t running in the ring and they aren’t fighting. You can see Ethiopian marathon runners that will outrun anyone they aren’t getting in the ring and squabbling (?) it down you’ve got to condition yourself and get ready for fighting and how you do that and learning and looking at the best. That’s what the Gracie family is about.

It was incredible (the fight with Big Nog) just there was so many people and the powerbomb and the fact that I was able to do a lot of relaxing and moving in that ring it was incredible, everybody, people were jumping out of the helicopters with the parachutes to get to their tickets because it was so packed and those are the things you remember as well as the funny things like so many people walking on the cord that the power went out in the middle of the fight that was incredible. I told Josh Barnett, ‘did he knock me out at some point because I swear the lights went out’ and he was just cracking up and said ‘the whole lights went out in this whole place’

That gives me confidence (going almost two rounds with Big Nog) and knowledge to step into the ring for additional fights that’s the conditions of the fighting that we’re talking about, that’s the learning that were talking about, those are the things you are unable to get with just training,. You can’t make the club in the tub so you have just got to do it, these are the fighting conditions, so you ask, ‘what did you learn from Antonio Nogueira’? that’s what I learned; fighting getting in there, that’s real life. You can only do that from doing that, this is no sparring this is real get it done and let’s see what happens on February 11th.

Stepping in the ring with these great and wonderful guys gives me all the confidence in the world and all the skills and I learn from the fights and bring it into the next one. I do feel like I can fight forever but I am absolutely aware that whether I feel I can fight forever and whether I will fight forever, you know being an adult and running around and dealing with this fighting is getting used to the fact that all the time you are far from getting what you want and making the most of it whether it’s a win or a loss you must turn that into winning for you so whether I’m winning or whether I’m losing I transform this into a win for myself and that’s how we get it done.

It’s the best in the world (fighting in Asia) to be loved wherever I’m going it’s amazing and the fans have fun with It they enjoy it, in Europe they love it in Asia they love it and stepping back and having a great look at ‘hey bob now you’re in the ring against the Gracies you are able to rebound against what you had let’s see about all the trainings which open up new experiences.’

One FC is incredible so far the experience is incredible I love it here it’s a tremendous honour and when I stepped off the plane I thought this looked like the G rated version of Thailand when I’m walking outside seeing everyone the first thing I say is ‘look at all this traffic the gyms so far away’ and after I was able to settle down a little bit and take a look at it and how much the fans are dedicating themselves to this sport, we are driving and people are saying ‘come over here and grab a bite to eat’ or ‘come over here and have a drink’ it’s incredible.

This is a really incredible place because every five blocks there’s a mall and I have never seen that in my entire life. One FC have got it going. In Asia speaking of like Chinese, the number eight is what we would compare in America. Most Americans want to be number one, in China they want to be number eight. Eight, eight eight, eight, right. They really like number eight we really like number one so when I got here I thought ‘this is great it tells me exactly where I want to be in the world and that’s number one and that’s one of the things I take from One FC.'

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