Crazy James Caird – Lets Meet Him
I have had the pleasure of meeting some lovely people in the MMA industry and I would like to introduce you to another fighter who I recently met and interviewed. James Caird is currently an MMA Middleweight fighter weighing in at 84kg. Although so far in his career he has fought at Middleweight, after his next fight, he will be dropping down to the Welterweight division. James lives in Southwest London and trains out of HMA (Hemel Martial Arts http://www.hemelmartialarts.com ) which happens to be the current UCMMA Middleweight Champion, Denniston ‘Mad Max’ Sutherland’s gym. Of the gym he says that, although it is quite a way to travel, all the people there are absolutely fantastic and it is like a little family. When he first went there, he was welcomed with open arms and the respect and admiration he has for Denniston is evident. He says that Denniston is not only a great guy to train alongside but also a fantastic teacher who he looks upon as a friend and mentor. He continues to tell me that Denniston is always available to give advice and how he guides James along the right path in his chosen career. He trusts Denniston 100% and says he looks after him and all of the fighters at HMA and that he has the backs of each and every one of them so other than training and fighting there is nothing else to worry about.
James trains in all disciplines related to MMA including wrestling and kickboxing but it is the stand-up game that James enjoys the most. He tells me that he likes to give the crowd what they want and as any MMA fan will tell you, the blood, guts and big KO’s is what has them out of their seats. James is conscious that people pay good money to attend fights and he for one always aims to please as he hates letting the audience down. As it stands his Semi Professional Record is 1-1-0 and his Professional Record is 1-0-0. Of his two wins, he is keen to let me know that both were by way of TKO in the very first round. One was in 1 minute 23 seconds and was a brutal ground and pound and the other was within 40 seconds when he dropped his appointment with a left hook. The ref stopped the fight there and then because it was obvious his opponent Miguel Bernard was not going to get up from the punch. After his loss to James, Miguel went on to fight Jack ‘The Stone’ Mason at a UCMMA event. No wonder they don’t just call him James Caird – the full name is Crazy James Caird and any future opponents ought to take note of that.
I sat with James through a few fights at Cage Rage last Saturday and he was taking everything in, commenting on what he would do and also nudging me so hard I now have bruises James was always a massive fan of Boxing and was never interested in the usual things like football. He says fighting has been the only thing that has ever really appealed to him so whilst still at school he joined a kickboxing club called Te-at-su in Hanworth which was run by Tony Newman. At that time James was more interested in hanging about with his friends and getting into mischief so his time with Tony only lasted a few months. Despite giving up for the time being James says he always had the hunger for fighting and it was only as recent as a few years ago that he decided to join a boxing gym and start training again. After a few months he left that gym to find a better gym to train at but time went by and he found he hadn’t actually started anywhere else. It was by meeting his little sister’s new boyfriend and him mentioning that his uncle was opening a new MMA gym in Kingston called Kudzu that he decided he would go and have a look. He eventually got there in January of this year but on 7th May he had his first fight and tells me he hasn’t looked back since. He is proud and rightly so, to have only been training properly since January but to have notched up two out of three wins. He puts it down to being a quick learner. I guess I’ll have to ask Denniston if he is a good pupil!
When asking if he has any fighters that he really respects he says he respects all fighters that fight at a good level, he respects the skills they train hard at and then go on to exhibit in the cage. So what is it like to take that first fight and what does James remember about it. He tells me his opponent was Joe Hughes who came from a kickboxing background. When James came out to the Cage he was focused and afterwards his family told him he looked like a complete psycho! They had never seen him look or act like that. He says he can understand what they meant as he felt himself mentally change a few weeks before the fight. He spent time concentrating on the fight and nothing else, he would not be distracted by anything so when he finally got into the cage, nothing else was in his head and he seemed to become emotionless. The only thing he cared about was destroying Hughes and having his hand raised in the cage at the end of the fight. I asked about nerves and James says he wasn’t nervous in the weeks leading up to the fight which he believes is due to how hard he was training and also because he never let it enter his mind that he would lose. He almost had a second sight into what would happen and told his girlfriend, Hollie how the fight would start and finish right down to the shots he was going to finish Joe with and on the night it happened just as he predicted. He started to get nervous about two hours before the fight and said they crept up slowly before hitting him with a big bang. He had to lie down and clam down but even whilst having his hands wrapped, putting the gloves on and warming up, he still felt nervous. When he got his five minute call the nerves were still strong but he used his gum shield to bite down on and that is when the nerves turned into 100% aggression. By the time he was ready to go down, James was so pumped that they had to slow him up because his opponent hadn’t even reached the cage! James says he was literally ready to explode and struggling to contain the bubbling inside him. His entrance music played but he says he never heard it, he didn’t notice there were hundreds of people in the audience, he had tunnel vision and all that vision was focused on his opponent inside the cage. When James got in the cage, he found he couldn’t take his eyes off of Hughes and when the cage door shut, he felt like it was just him and Hughes locked in a room on their own. As previously mentioned, 1 minute 23 seconds was all it took to win the fight by TKO. A flying knee followed by a vicious ground and pound ended the fight and Joe Hughes lip needed eight or nine stitches. Joe said of James that the knee literally took all the fight out of him and all he could feel was his lip flapping about. It was the flying knee that James predicted to his girlfriend a few weeks earlier that finished the fight. Thankfully for everyone else, as soon as James’s hand was raised he felt the aggression flow out of him and he immediately asked Joe to share a drink with him later on that evening! To this day James and Joe are still friends and have seen each other a few times since their fight.
So what is next for James in his fighting career? He is fighting against Andy Kerr; an opponent he says he knows is more experienced than him but that is the extent of his knowledge. The fight is on November 26th in Portsmouth for Shock N Awe 10. Although he doesn’t have extensive knowledge of Kerr, James is confident that he knows what he has to do and the main thing is focus. He is focussing on training and says he trains as hard as if it were Anderson Silva he were fighting. He will be in the best condition possible and says when he fights, no one gets off lightly. Each fight he now takes is harder than the last as the opponents are going to be better and unless James pushes himself to step up, he feels there is no point in fighting at all.
A typical day for James consists of taking his three girls to school and then going training for about 9am where he works on strength and conditioning or hits the swimming pool or goes for a bike ride. After the morning session, he has lunch and then heads to HMA to work with Denniston on the stuff he feels is fun; striking, MMA and ground work. He trains until about 9pm and after all the hard work has some dinner and goes to bed. Although the routine can vary, this is pretty much how his training regime goes four to five days a week and with sparring sessions on the weekend, it doesn’t leave a lot of time for anything else. When he is training for a fight, he carries on the same way but the intensity changes and he also meditates by doing yoga. Before fighting, James was a mechanic but quit so he could concentrate on fighting full time. His belief is that to succeed in any sport you need to give 100% and not go at it half-heartedly.
Work got in the way of his commitment and he ended up with two choices: working as a mechanic and not getting paid the highest wage, whilst being miserable inside or to take a chance and become a professional full time fighter. Luckily for us James picked the latter option and says he has the support and backing of his friends and family. His Mum wasn’t too keen on the idea to start with but after seeing him fight, she now wants to be there to support him at future fights. Of his girlfriend Hollie, James says without her he would not be able to succeed because she supports him in everything he does, as do their daughters. It isn’t always easy for James and his girlfriend and daughters because where he isn’t working anymore, money is extremely tight and they have had to forego a holiday this year. Even simple things like having takeaway meals has had to be cut back and James says there are no more designer clothes in the wardrobe and less days out. With the sacrifice he is making now, James hopes that one day he will be able to give them a lot more in the future than he ever has in the past. This ambition and drive makes James train harder and he focusses on destroying his opponents in a spectacular fashion so that he gets all the glory and is another step closer to his next fight. James tells me that when he is in the cage, he is fighting for his and his family’s life.
Aside from actually training and fighting, James does not have any hobbies that don’t include the MMA world. He teaches children striking classes and runs a local gym in Sunbury teaching children MMA. The gym is called Fightlife MMA so make sure you check it out if you are in the area. James loves working with children and with some of them wanting to compete he is looking forward to coaching them and seeing them bring home the medals. I for one am tired just hearing about all the hard work that James puts into training and his fights. I became so absorbed in his story that whilst writing I felt like I was there and fighting myself.
To finish off James wants to say thank you to Hollie and his three daughters, Summer, April and Scruffy (aka Amelia) because without their love and support he wouldn’t be able to do what he is doing. He would also like to thank Denniston Sutherland for all the help and support he has given him along with the HMA guys who welcomed him with open arms and help him improve his game. And thanks finally go to Ansel Gibbs who is a fantastic friend and was the one who introduced him to Denniston in the first place. I would also like to thank my family, friends and everyone who comes to my fights to support me. I’d like to thank James for his time and if you want to see Crazy James Caird in action in November you can get tickets by going to the Shock N Awe website at http://www.shocknawe.co.uk You can follow James on Twitter and Facebook by searching crazyjamescaird