Kinetic co-found Urijah Faber discusses lack of financial opportunities for gapplers, and his keys to longevity, including being a clean fighter.
Kinetic 1 went down at the Anaheim Business Expo Center in Anaheim, California on Friday night. The team grappling tournament was by all accounts a success, with Lachlan Giles dominating the tournament in the BJJ Fanatics vs Lights Out portion, winning all five matches, four by inside heel hook.
Cageside Press caught up with Kinetic Co-Founder and UFC Hall of Famer Urijah Faber after the event, where he was high on the night’s action, especially the hot start by Giles.
“One thing happened at the very beginning, and that kind of set the tone. When Giles beat Mansher, where they’ve competed before, that set the tone, because it would have changed things had that not gone down like that,” Faber noted Friday night. With Giles winning again and again, the BJJ Fanatics team featuring Nick Rodriguez and Gordon Ryan shone throughout the night.
Faber, meanwhile, was happy to provide a platform for BJJ competitors to shine period.
“The whole crew in the grappling world, we come from a world where there’s zero reward,” Faber pointed out. “We’re paying to go to tournaments, we’re grinding all year round, and it’s not a professional avenue or professional road where you can eventually get all this money.”
“The fact that these kind of shows are happening where guys can get rewarded, and get held on a pedestal, and start making some money with their passion that they’ve been grinding with just because it is their passion is exciting,” he added. It helps as well that the show aired on UFC Fight Pass, increasing the potential audience. And for Faber, “it’s exciting to see people come together and have the best grapplers in the world represented in the first show ever. It’s good for them in the long run.”
Which will hopefully lead to a Kinetic 2 before long. The first installment was a little rushed, due to Faber’s return UFC fight against Ricky Simon last month. Moving forward, he expects a smoother road, with frequent events. “I think we’re going to see quite a few of these. If not every month, every other month eventually. And it could happen quick.”
Like Donald Cerrone and Stipe Miocic, Urijah Faber is now experiencing fatherhood thanks to daughter Cali, aptly named given Faber will always be ‘The California Kid.’ While Faber has “never had a problem getting motivated for things,” he did admit that having a child “does put a whole new type of love and responsibility and excitement into the world.”
“And you don’t really know about it until it happens,” he explained. “It could be one of the reasons why I came out [of retirement], just having something, a little something extra in there, a little more responsibility, a little bit more wanting to make someone proud.”
He was never worried about the comeback, or coming up short, mainly because “just being in the gym all the time, I still am competitive with everyone in the world, because we have a gauge in our room. We have world champions and top contenders, so I knew I’d be fine.”
“I’ve always been in great shape, I eat well, I work out hard, I don’t need EPO.”
After all this time in the MMA game, what is the key to Faber’s longevity? ‘The California Kid’ suggested following Kinetic that a lot of it boils down to health and lifestyle. “A big part of that is the way I was raised. My parents were just super into health and nutrition,” he recalled. And that started right from birth.
He continued by saying “for me it’s been a lifetime of health and fitness. That includes never putting PEDs in my body. My body has always been where it’s supposed to. My joints, my muscle, my explosivity, it’s never been altered.” Faber makes a solid point — in addition to having a long career, he’s also been extremely durable, rarely going down to injury. “I think for me, that’s part of my success. I didn’t realize, I’ve been unaware how many people were cheating out there. When that comes to light, you realize ‘I don’t need testosterone replacement therapy, because my testosterone is fine.’ I don’t need to do this and do that.”
“I’ve always been in great shape, I eat well, I work out hard, I don’t need EPO,” he added, a thinly veiled dig, perhaps, against former teammate T.J. Dillashaw, stripped of the bantamweight title and put on a two-year suspension after testing positive for the substance. “I think that has been part of my longevity, then just believing and surrounding yourself with people who believe that you can. I’ve never lost that, and I don’t think I ever will.”
Watch our full interview with UFC Hall of Famer Urijah Faber above!