Getting to Know your Maniacs : Patrick L. Stumberg


The fourth participant who decided to volunteer for my interview series is one of the staff writers for our site. Patrick L. Stumberg is a true combat sports fan, a connoisseur of fine comic books and the most intelligent writer on Mania.

1)What is your favorite base martial art to watch?  Why?

It’s a toss-up between boxing and kickboxing, but I think I’m going to have to go with the latter. I’ve sat through boxing events I wish I could erase from my mind; I don’t believe I’ve ever done so with kickboxing.
The combination of aggression and high-level technique is fantastic. The unpredictability involved in such a large range of permitted striking techniques adds a layer of excitement that you can’t find in boxing. Further, fighters at the upper echelon of kickboxing are constantly fighting one another; nobody’s being "protected" and the fans don’t abandon people after one loss. Someone with a record like Cro Cop’s (22-7) would be laughed out of the room in boxing, but kickboxing fans recognize the kind of people he fought and acknowledge his skills.

Plus, unlike boxing, the heavyweight division is in a state of constant flux with tons of quality guys vying for the top spot; as much as I like watching Wlad and Vitali pummel people, it’s nice to have some vulnerability at the top.

Longest reigning heavyweight champions

Below is a list of longest reigning heavyweight champions in boxing measured by the individual's longest reign. Career total time as champion (for multiple time champions) does not apply.

Name Title Reign Title Recognition Successful Defenses
1. United States Joe Louis 11 years, 8 months, 8 days Universal 25
2. Ukraine Wladimir Klitschko 22 April 2006 - present IBF (+WBA, WBO, The Ring) 15

Unofficial Long Title reigns

The following title reigns are not recognized as official reigns due to: long periods of inactivity, legitimacy of title, false billing & promotion etc.

Name Title Reign Title Recognition Successful Defenses
N/A Ukraine Vitali Klitschko 9 years, 4 months, 24 days Full WBC-to-WBC Emeritus-to-Full WBC (+The Ring rel) 11

*Information provided by Wikipedia*


2) Who is your favorite fighter from that base MA? Please give an example of his/her greatest moment or a highlight you feel that captures the essence of said fighter.


I have a huge soft spot for the Hightower, Semmy Schilt, but I’m probably going to have to go with Daniel Ghita. 


I have an extreme fondness for people who can break their opponents from the neck down, and what that man can do to the body and legs in such a short period of time is absolutely absurd. I’ve never seen someone who can consistently stop solid opponents with leg kicks inside three minutes.

These are some solid highlights : 

But what captures the essence of Ghita, to me, is his fight with Jamal Ben Saddik in last year’s (2012) GLORY 16-man tournament.
Ghita had struggled in the opening rounds against Jhonata Diniz (small, late-notice replacement) and Mourad Bouzidi (mid-tier) after scoring seven straight stoppage victories since his last loss. Ben Saddik had won a crazy slugfest with Errol Zimmerman and then completely overwhelmed Remy Bonjasky.

Ghita literally kicked him once in the liver and the fight was over. I almost broke down laughing.

GLORY 4 Tokyo - Daniel Ghita VS Jamal Ben Saddik - Semi Final  2012




3) Do you participate in any MA today? If not, which base MA would you pick?  Why?  What attracts you to it?


I’m part of my school’s Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu club (and now President by default); while we’ve worked with local black belt Rahman Howard once or twice, we’re basically taught by my friend Cole, a grad student who essentially self-taught his way to blue belt level with Marcello Garcia and Mendes bros. videos. He’s a great student of the game and I very much enjoy training with him. Even if I still haven’t passed his guard after three years of trying.

I’m still kinda crap; I’m 1-2 in competition, decisioning one of my teammates and getting choked out the other two times, but it’s fun.

When I’m home, I train boxing at Jesse James Leija’s Championfit Gym. Again, I’m not that good, but he said he was impressed by my left hook when we sparred. If he hadn’t dropped me twice with body shots in that span, I probably would remember that session very fondly because of that compliment.

My love of boxing and BJJ stems from my desire to compete in MMA. I originally got into boxing by reading the manga Hajime no Ippo, which, while it’s gotten kinda mediocre and jumped the shark a few dozen times the last four years, is worth checking out, if only for Takamura, the pompadour’d asshole who punches out a bear. One of the characters’ styles is a tribute to Thomas Hearns, so I looked him up and dove into the sport from there. Then I found MMA and haven’t looked back.

I remember joining Mania just after UFC 108; some guy (I think it was Roberto.) was arguing that Silva-Evans should have been a draw and I felt the need to sign up to explain why that was horseshit. At some point before UFC 127, someone complained that there weren’t prelim previews, so I offered to Jesse to do them for free. My article for that event sucked, but I think I’ve improved over time.

I’m not entirely sure why I adore the sport so much; I think part of it might be because of the relative simplicity and purity of it. My family’s gone through a lot of legal bullshit (someone stole my father’s patent, I’ve had family members steal from me) and the idea of a career where I can just hit people is a refreshing change of pace. In the cage, it’s just me and the asshole on the other side trying to take my head off. I like that.

Stumberg's BJJ Instructors (bookends), Stumberg (green t-shirt/khaki shorts) and some famous MMA fighter.
(Photo posted by Patrick L. Stumberg in the 2014 Maniacs Unmask Fanpost)


4) List your top 3 favorite MMA fighters of all time.  Why?  What do you feel is the most defining moment for each fighter. Give examples.

Just three? Damn.

I’m definitely going to have to go with Fedor at #1. PRIDE highlights served as one of my major introductions to the sport, so there might be some bias there, but he’s pretty much everything I could ask for in a fighter. Humble outside the ring, savage inside it. Highly skilled but simultaneously aggressive and destructive. Obviously, I’m disappointed he never signed with the UFC, but I don’t feel that that detracts from what he accomplished. He faced and defeated some of the best heavyweights of his time and, in a sport notorious for its unpredictability and penchant for one good shot overcoming even the greatest skill disparity, stayed undefeated for ten years.

In my opinion, his defining moment is the first Nogueira fight. Of his own volition, he jumped into Nog’s guard, the most dangerous place in the entire arena. And he beat the everloving hell out of one of the greatest fighters to ever live. I still tout the punch he landed in the corner late in the first as the single most devastating shot ever landed in someone’s guard.

The Arlovski KO was more visually-stunning and it’s fair to call his annihilation of Heath Herring the apex of his ground-and-pound, but the ease with which he destroyed a phenomenally-skilled fighter in said fighter’s wheelhouse is a sterling demonstration of his greatness.

Fedor vs. Big Nog




#2? Sakuraba. His career is something out of a movie; a chain-smoking professional wrestler who took out Carlos Newton and Vitor Belfort in his first ten fights. Then he goes on to not only beat, but submit one of the top competition grapplers on the planet in Royler Gracie.

Then, of course, the professional wrestler (and, I will emphasize this again, one who was a regular smoker) fights Royce Gracie for ninety goddamn minutes and beats him so bad his corner throws in the towel.

Then fights Igor Vovchanchyn, the top heavyweight on the planet in the midst of a 36-fight unbeaten streak, to a fifteen-minute draw in the same damn night before declining an extension round.

That night is Saku’s finest hour, followed shortly by breaking Renzo’s arm. He was an incredibly skilled, incredibly durable fighter who would fight anyone at any time, no matter how absurd the weight disparity. I guarantee you that if the head of FEG called him right now and told him to fight a bear, the first words out of Saku’s mouth would be "Grizzly or polar?" He’s the definition of a great fighter.

Saku vs. Newton Newtonsaku_45712_display_image_medium

Saku vs. Belfort (TRT not included)


Saku vs. Gracie Family :

Royler Susumu28_medium





#3 goes to Big Nog. What this guy has overcome is mind-boggling; getting run over by a truck, piledrived by Bob Sapp, head kicked by Cro Cop, nailed with the greatest punch Fedor has ever landed from guard, and so much more. He has heart for miles, and the fact that that heart is bundled with an excellent submission game is icing on the cake. Fedor once said that he felt Cro Cop wilt in their fight, but that in all the time he spent fighting Big Nog, Nogueira was doing everything he could to win until the very last second. Nog’s KO of Schaub had me making a fool of myself at Buffalo Wild Wings in excitement, but his moment of glory was the Cro Cop fight, taking an absolute beating from one of the planet’s top strikers for ten minutes before dragging him down and tapping him out. Nog’s reaction after the fight, slamming his hands on the mat and just screaming his lungs out, is the moment I aspire to achieve and what drives me to keep on getting my head smacked in by guys bigger than me in the hopes of one day smacking their heads in.

Big Nog vs. Cro Cop


Big Nog vs. Schaub


5) List your top 3 MMA fighters on your shit list.  Why?  What do you feel is the most defining moment for each fighter that made you feel this way.  Give examples.


To avoid redundancy, I’m giving #1 to two people, and if you didn’t guess who they are, you must be new here.

That’s right, at the top of my shit list stand Nick and Nate Diaz.

Let me make one thing clear in the beginning: I respect their abilities. Both have excellent jiu-jitsu and, while lacking defense and footwork, Nick’s boxing is effective and entertaining. I just can’t stand their attitudes and what they’re allowed to get away with.

Both are immensely disrespectful during fights, from the taunting to the slapping to the middle fingers. I keep hearing that they’re not like that outside the cage, but Nick’s three brawls, Nate’s ridiculous whining after the Thomson fight (to be honest, I kinda respected Nate before that whole debacle), and their incredible victim complex make that seem untrue.

I’ll admit that part of my hatred probably stems from the less-savory of their fanbase’s constant excusing of their actions and insulting of their opposition, but the two just aren’t good people. They have the maturity of ten-year-olds and to see them constantly rewarded for it is infuriating.

The defining moments of my displeasure? For Nick, the tantrum after the Condit fight is tied with swinging at Georges after the bell. Nate’s "woman noises" comments sealed the deal for my dislike of him.


Number two is Clay Guida; I was debating sticking Leonard on here instead, but at least he’s earnest and gives it his all. Clay just flat-out doesn’t fight people he’s outgunned by and the fact that he can’t recognize this fills me with unreasonable anger. The Pettis fight was appalling, but it was the Maynard fight and its aftermath that really got me agitated.

To head off the primary complaints at the pass, I respect elusive fighting; Guillermo Rigondeaux is one of my favorite boxers. But there’s a difference between being elusive and just not doing anything. The only time Guida committed to a blow was when Gray dropped his hands and let him have a free one, and even then Clay shot for a takedown immediately afterwards.

And to top it all off, he was still talking shit afterwards and claiming he won. Then took a nap on Hioki with the least-active top control I’ve seen since Tyron Woodley fell into a coma after taking down Jordan Mein in Strikeforce. I respect grinders; I’m a proud rider of the Fitch and Healy war wagons and am probably the only Riki Fukuda fan on the whole site, but what Guida does doesn’t fly.

Here’s hoping they reschedule the Mendes fight so Chad can knock his block off.



Number three is a major toss-up; I’ve actually had to re-evaluated how much I actually hated some fighters and whether I didn’t actually only hate their fans (you got off easy this time, Alistair) and just not mind the fighter. In the end, it came down to a dead heat between B.J. Penn and Tito Ortiz, and stripping away all my residual hatred towards PrettyBoy and that other guy whose name I can’t remember who keeps shouting "BJ!" like someone who just hired a deaf prostitute gave Tito just enough hate to come out on top.

If I had a checklist of everything a fighter could do to make me hate him, I’d run out of ink before I managed to tick every box that Tito fulfills.

Massive ego? Check.

Insulting to opponents before fight? Check.

Insulting to opponents after fight? Check.

Excuses after losing? Check.

IQ of a fungus? Check.

Tito has been one of my premiere sources of schadenfreude the last few years. Almost sad he’s gone.


============================================================================= 6) What is your wish list for 2014? What fights do you want to see? What fights do you think SHOULD happen?

For simplicity's sake, let's go by weight class :

125: John Lineker vs. Demetrious Johnson. Lineker's one of my favorite fighters regardless of weight class; he's the most active puncher on the entire roster, has the cardio to throw hundreds of shots each round, and mixes it up brilliantly to the head and body. His takedown defense has been stellar since that fight with Gaudinot and he only just turned 24. If he gets his weight under control, this man will be a monster.

Him vs. Johnson is pretty much an MMA version of Sandy Saddler vs. Willie Pep: an offensive juggernaut versus an elusive technician. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Women's 135: Rousey vs. Cyborg.

It's a wishlist, innit? There's a 99% chance this fight doesn't happen, but if it does, it'll be something special. Ronda's never met someone with the strength and punching power of Cyborg, while Cris has never faced a grappler of this caliber. This is a fifty-fifty fight that's practically guaranteed to be a slobberknocker. Hopefully, Cris can fire Tito and we can get negotiations rolling. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

135: An intact Dominick Cruz. I'm a huge Cruz fan; hell, just watching him move around the ring is entertaining. All I want is for him to be like new. If he is, he's going to give Barao hell and I'm going to love it. I just hope those knee injuries haven't taken away one of the most balletic and fluid striking styles the Octagon has ever seen.

(Dominick Cruz out of UFC 169 with groin injury, vacates Bantamweight title; Renan Barao will rematch Urijah Faber instead)



145: Crusher vs. Cub. I don't have any illusions about Aldo losing at 145, except possibly to Mendes, so I've focused my efforts on the rest of the division. I love Kawajiri and I'd love to see whether he could out-grit Swanson; his chin has deteriorated, but Cub still struggles off his back. This is guaranteed Fight of the Night material.

A man can dream of a JMMA standout succeeding in the UFC, can't he? ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

155: At least two title defenses from Pettis. Please don't have your joints implode again.

170: Brown vs. Saffiedine or Brown vs. Condit. I want to see whether that insane pressure can overcome technical superiority yet again; Brown's just such a creative dealer of violence and I love watching his artistry of brutality overcome technical artistry.

185: Weidman vs. Jacare. This is a war everywhere the fight goes.

205: Shogun vs. Rogerio II. Their first fight was one for the ages and I have high hopes, perhaps misplaced, that they can pull off something magical again.

I'd also be happy if Glover laid Jones out, just because I want to see some new blood at the top. My wishlist doesn't have to be constrained by reality. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

265: Hunt vs. Cain. I don't care how badly Mark might get murked; I just want one of those killer uppercuts to land and see what happens.



7) What is your opinion of Ronda Rousey and WMMA? What do you think of Matt Brown's controversial comments about WMMA?

I respect Ronda's abilities and enjoy watching her fight. The way she chains her throws together is mesmerizing, and while some may accuse her of being one-dimensional, she's got a shitload of ways to make sure that's the only dimension that matters. Though I'm not overly fond of her personality, she's an excellent combatant and I look forward to seeing how she handles McMann's wrestling.

As far as WMMA, I like it a lot, but feel that the talent pool at 135 pales in comparison to that from 105-125. I'm actually very glad the UFC's bringing in a 115 pound division, since that brings in the likes of Joanne Calderwood, arguably the best striker in women's MMA, and Claudia Gadelha. If you complain about women's fights in the UFC, watch some Invicta. Those girls can scrap.

Brown is entitled to his opinion, no matter how sexist and idiotic it is. It's not like Amanda Nunes, Holly Holm, Veronica Rothenhausler, Cyborg, Ann Wolfe, Lucia Rjiker, or Hisae Watanabe ever scored a knockout or two.

Though I am amused by him claiming that 125ers aren't built for knockouts when we've got Lineker, Dodson, Benavidez, and Ali Bagautinov laying fools out.


8) Name your top 3 comic book series of all time.

Just three? Asshole. Let's see...

#3 goes to Transmetropolitan, that wonderful cyberpunk journalism-fest from Warren Ellis. In addition to crazy good art, terrific black humor, and an eternally-quotable leading man, the series has some of the best world-building I've seen in the genre.

"The City," from the exotic drug peddlers to the corrupt officials to the children selling themselves on the street to the vat-grown politicians, is a place that stays with you. The narrative, whether in its overarching plot concerning upcoming elections to snippets that flesh "The City" out, never ceases to entertain.  I'd hold up Another Cold Morning, an issue involving the thawing of cryogenically-frozen people, as an all-time great short story, a touching and heartbreaking examination of what happens if you wake up hundreds of years later and not only have you been left behind, but nobody cares. 
It's scathing and irreverent, but while it's an indictment of so much of society, it's surprisingly heartfelt and optimistic at its core.
"The future is an inherently good thing, and we move into it one winter at a time. Things get better one winter at a time. So if you're going to celebrate something, then have a drink on this: the world is, generally and on balance, a better place to live this year than it was last year." -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Clocking in at #2 is Neil Gaiman's Sandman, the story of the Lord of Dreams, his odd family, and those he's touched in his endless life.

Simply put, Gaiman is brilliant; his use of mythology, history, and the DC Universe to create unique, compelling stories is terrific. The Endless are all compelling figures, as are recurring characters like the immortal Hob Gadling. Though the overarching narrative can be a bit hard to follow (involving a bizarrely-convoluted suicide attempt), the short independent works, many told in the fashion of classic fairy tales, are unique, clever, and full of top-notch dialogue and world-building.

Plus, for a series with so many different artists, said art is consistently excellent, especially when it concerns impossible locales or intentionally evokes the ethereal and ever-changing nature of dreams.

#1 is a tie, since I'm not sure if one of them would technically be considered a "series:" Alan Moore's Watchmen and Warren Ellis' Planetary.

Watchmen isn't just the most revered comic of all time; it's the only comic to gain recognition as one of the top pieces of English literature in the 20th century. It's a brutal deconstruction of superheroes, each of them terrifically fleshed-out. Dave Gibbons' art is consistently excellent and packed with countless details that are easy to overlook. Hell, the comic-within-a-comic, Tales of the Black Freighter, is better than 90% of other comics by itself.
I could rave about it for days, but I think I'll just say this: even if you've seen the movie, read it. The story of Rorschach, The Comedian, Ozymandias, Silk Spectre, and Dr. Manhattan represents the full potential of the graphic novel medium Mxjgihk_medium

Where Watchmen is an indictment, Planetary is a celebration. It's about a team of three "spacetime archaeologists" with the wonderful motto, "It's a strange world. Let's keep it that way." It highlights the endless possibilities of media, from science fiction to fantasy to classic monster movies to superheroes. While a great story in its own right, it shines when reveling in imagination. One volume and I'd wager you'll be reveling, too.


Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.


You must be a member of to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at You should read them.


You must be a member of to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at You should read them.




Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.