(Image courtesy of Trio 43 Creative Design & Fightersolutions.com)
When I say ‘The Hulk’ you will envisage the words; strong, powerful, muscular and green no doubt, and you will be exactly right. But we aren’t talking about the cartoon/film character The Hulk, we are talking about the UK’s Hulk; Mr Michael ‘One Two’ Pastou who exhibits all of the aforementioned qualities, although we can replace ‘green’ with dark skinned/tanned to make it perfect.
BritFights were very excited to hook up with such a fantastic fighter and honoured that he agreed to be the Interview Face for our re-launch. We caught up with Michael at Team Titan where we found out a little more about him and spent an hour watching him train. Michael is 5’9” and walks around at 180lbs, although he fights at 155lbs. One of the first things he tells me is that he has to be very careful what he eats as he tends to put on a lot of weight if he isn’t very strict with his diet. He tells me that he loves food but because he loves being a fighter more so, he puts up with it! Having taken in his appearance, I think I should point out; there was not one single ounce of fat on his whole body! Diet tips from Michael from now on.
Michael is from Essex and has lived there all of his life and when in England he trains out of Team Titan in London. Although he does spend time in Miami, Florida where he undertakes a ten week fight camp with American Top Team and he tells me he is now signed to them as one of their fighters. England is home but Michael loves being in Miami for training and loves the heat and sun.
I asked Michael how he got into fighting and he tells me that he first came across the sport of MMA with his cousin. They were both looking for somewhere to learn to fight and came across Mickey eight years ago, who trained them both out of his garage. It all started from there and Michael has actually been fighting for five years.
So who is it that Michael respects as a fighter? Most tell me the usual suspects such as Randy or Chuck but Michael has a lot or respect for his team mate and close friend Brad Pickett. The reason behind this is that Brad never gives up and is a beast in the cage and Michael says there are not many out there with his mentality!
Looking back to Michael’s first fight back in November 2006 against John ‘The One’ Maguire I wondered what it felt like to be going in to his first professional fight. Michael tells me that it is a very weird feeling. He says it is so hard to explain but it is almost a feeling that the whole thing is unreal. Michael lost his first fight against John but with a record of 9-2-0 and 1 No Contest it is evident that all the hard work and training has paid off and after his first loss he went on a 7 win streak before losing to Tim Radcliffe in May 2011.
I asked Michael about the no contest and Michael tells us what happened that night. His fight was against Robbie Olivier who is a big MMA name and Michael tells us that he himself had won the first round and Robbie the second so it was all down to the third round to either take the win by KO/SUB or to win the decision. But at the end of the second round there was a crowd riot! Michael says he did not know what had happened or how it started because he was concentrating on his job but says it all just kicked off and the fight had to be stopped. He tells us that although it was frustrating, he was just glad that no one got hurt and puts it down as one of those things. I asked Michael if it was a scary situation but he said he felt fine because he was safely in the cage.
But the winning streak is back and he is now on a 2 win streak going into his next fight after winning against Dominic Plumb twice this year. One saw Dominic disqualified for the use of illegal elbows and although a win is a win, no fighter likes to win by a DQ. So in October of 2011 BritFights watched the re-match and this fight went the distance seeing Michael win by Unanimous Decision. The fight was most definitely exciting and entertaining and Michael says it was a great night for him with it going his way. He says he was chilled out for the fight and on the way to the cage he was even sharing jokes with his coach Conan Silvera. He tells me he felt confident because he had trained very hard at American Top Team with the best in the world for ten weeks. The fight itself went exactly as Michael wanted and he is pleased he was able to show people his full potential. We definitely enjoyed it and judging by the crowd at The Troxy so did they.
Michael is currently in discussion about his next fight for UCMMA on April 9th 2012. He is not 100% sure who he will be fighting but he very much hopes it will be against Tim Radcliffe for the Title! Of Tim, Michael says he is one of the best 155 pounders in the UK and he really wants the rematch with him. So watch this space to see Michael hit the winning double figures.
All fighters have to train hard and I am always interested to know how the training goes for them. Michael, as we have mentioned flies to Miami to train with American Top Team for ten weeks and as soon as he lands his coach Conan Silvera schedules his time table which consists of three weeks of conditioning and then really hard training twice a day in the morning and evening. Michael says it is hard work but worth every minute because having your hand raised in the cage when you win is the best feeling in the world.
So as I have discovered, some fighters have rituals they adhere to before fights that they believe bring them luck and Michael who has a strong faith always goes to Church on the Saturday morning of a fight night to light a candle and say a prayer. He also wears the same boxer shorts that his ex-wife gave him, before one of his previous fights and says they are exclusive fight wear boxers! Along with the boxers he has a teddy bear his ex-wife also gave him that he always has in his bag on the night of any fight.
Michael has a great fan base and also the support of his family and friends. Everyone plays a part and puts a little bit in to making his life so much easier and the collective name for all his friends, family and supporters is ‘Team Hulk’. Michael wants to say thank you to each and every one in Team Hulk and tell them how grateful he is. I was wondering, if after this interview, whether we would be allowed to join the team?!
As is the norm, MMA is often viewed as a dangerous, barbaric sport and as a professional I wondered what Michael felt about this. He tells me, everyone is entitled to their own opinion but the sport is no more dangerous than boxing. He goes on to say that they are all trained professionals who do the training and fighting day in, day out. And as he points out, each fighter knows the risks of stepping into the cage but as it is a controlled environment like boxing, it is not as dangerous as people think.
Michael dedicates his life to fighting and does not have a day job. He trains constantly, other than taking a week off after a fight. But there are no hobbies other than training. Being in the industry for so many years, I asked Michael what his biggest learning curve has been and for him it is his loss against Tim Radcliffe. He says everything was going his way but he got over confident and ended up being KO’d. He says that the fight still plays in his head to this day. So I am guessing the lesson learned and the advice to anyone new or seasoned, is never to be too confident.
I couldn’t get many snippets of information from Michael about him as a person other than him telling me that he loves food which is why he has to be careful of what he eats. But I did find out that Michael partakes in pampering on a regular basis. Sunbeds and facials! I was laughing, I have to say but I guess the explanation of the facials is okay – as Michael says, he spends a lot of time on the floor in various positions and his skin gets very dirty! I have made a mental note to check his nails next time I see him as I am wondering if he also has manicures! Other than that he says he is pretty much a ‘what you see is what you get’ guy. I have got to know Michael over the last few months from various projects and I can vouch for this. Ask him anything and he will tell you and ask him for help and he is straight there. I’ve met some lovely people in the industry and Michael is way up there at the top of the list.
Once we had finished the article, I settled down to watch Michael training with his team mate Ashleigh Grimshaw. This session was in BJJ and Ash is a master so it was great to watch them both sparring. They spent time carrying out five minute rounds and practising their moves with the help of fellow team mate Bola Omoyele. I am a lover of BJJ, to the point I start training in January (no laughing) so watching them learning different submissions and how to achieve them was, for me very interesting. As usual, I will not give away any techniques that they used but suffice to say we should watch out for more wins by Sub for Michael in the future. I don’t think people realise the amount of effort and fitness required in BJJ but seeing the sweat on them after the session proves that you do indeed need to be strong and skilful in this discipline.
My time at Titan and with Michael drew to a close but we are delighted to announce that coming in 2012 is BritFights ‘A Day in the Life of Michael Pastou’. Keep checking back to read about a typical day in the life of Michael both fighter and person. And we are still angling for an invitation to join Michael at the American Top Team camp for a week in Miami so who knows!
(Image courtesy of Spots 311)
All that is left to do is for us to say thank you very much to Michael and Team Titan and for Michael to thank the following people in his own words: I would like to say thank you to everyone at American Top Team for making me feel like I am at home, I love you guys like my family. And a special thank you to Conan Sliver who looks after me out there like family. I would also like to say thank you to Mickey Papas for everything he has done for me over the years. Team titan and all the boys down there who help me every time I’m back. I’d like to say thank you to my bro Pani, without him I couldn’t do what I do. And to Neil the owner of AMT cars, check his web site out if you are looking to lease or rent a car(www.AMTcars.com )he has sponsored me from day one. And I would finally like to thank God – I feel truly blessed.