LFA 98’s Lucas Clay Talks Buggy Choke Origins

Lucas Clay LFA
Lucas Clay (right) knees Mike Breeden, LFA 42 Credit: Legacy Fighting Alliance

In November of 2019, Lucas “Cassius” Clay set the MMA world ablaze with his viral buggy choke finish of Craig Fruth at HFC 41. The choke, which works like a triangle from bottom side control, surprised a lot of people, but not Clay. In fact, Clay had a previous finish with the same choke a year and a half earlier.

Now you can find videos in all corners of the internet breaking down the choke. It’s been seen in the highest levels of grappling by some fairly large names. However, Clay pointed out, he was doing it even before it got famous.

“I’ve been doing it for a while,” Clay said. “I originally called it the Clay-more choke.”

And while you can Google an instructional video of that choke right now if you’d like, Clay found the choke from his unique grappling style.

“This is before anybody started making YouTube videos or anything. My first jiu-jitsu coach, Rodrigo Vaghi, used to tell people ‘Lucas would try to finish from anywhere,” he said. “And I truly do. Even if the guy has me in mount, I’m trying to finish him.”

It was that mentality that led him to try to wrap up a teammate during a grappling session when in bottom half. While it didn’t work the way he had hoped immediately, Clay saw potential in the buggy choke (née Clay-more choke) immediately.

“I got this guy in this weird, arm and leg triangle one day and I heard him start to gurgle, but I couldn’t finish it,” Clay recalled. “Then I started playing around with it more and realized that if I figure four my legs, while I have my arm in between my legs, it kind of makes a triangle and I can finish the choke.”

Of course now that choke has been used by the likes of Kade Ruotolo to win the Combat Jiu Jitsu World’s, it is picking up in popularity. So how does the proclaimed originator of the choke feel about it?

“Despicable. Despicable,” Clay said sarcastically with a laugh. “That was my choke and now everybody can do it and it’s not as special.”

Although Clay says he has lots of tricks up his sleeve for his opponents, he doesn’t care if they know he likes the buggy choke or any other submission really. He’s confident that his skills will make him a difficult out for anyone.

“I don’t care if he knows what I’m going to do because I’m coming to impose my will,” he said.

Clay will look to impose that will and take one more step towards the big time when he takes on Contender Series veteran JJ Okanovich at LFA 98. You can see that bout as the co-main event this Friday on UFC Fight Pass.

You can hear the entire audio of this interview at 32:06.