“I’ve always been a dog,” Smith said Wednesday night. “I’ve always owned him.”
See the original article to view embedded media.
Michael Smith introduces “Slap Jesus” to the martial arts world.
The long-haired California native aims to become the first welterweight power slap champion of the world. Glimpses of his story have been shared over the past three weeks Power Slap: Road to Title, but it’s clear that Smith is comfortable in his role as an outsider. Even on Wednesday’s episode, his personal account was overshadowed by Christopher Thomas, the favorite to win the welterweight title.
“I’m used to it,” says Smith. “I’ve always been a dog. I had a handsome little brother. I was the ugly child of the family. I was bullied a lot. I’ve always owned it.”
Speak with sports illustratedSmith talked about power slap, fatherhood and his fighting style.
Sports illustrated: For the past three weeks, has it been surreal watching yourself battling on TBS?
Michael Smith: I’ve been waiting for something like this for a long time. i am an entertainer I like to talk s— and get hit, and here we are. I can’t wait for the other episodes to come out.
SI: The chance to be part of the inaugural season is a life changing opportunity. But for so long this was an underground sport. How did you get into slap fighting?
Blacksmith: I’ve fought all my life. As a kid, I was always looking for trouble. That goes way back. My brother and I grew up watching The Rock and Stone Cold in the WWF’s “Attitude Era” just as Ultimate Fighting Championship was becoming popular. You had to be tough in the places I’ve lived. This is me.
SI: On last night’s episode you defeated Jesus Gaspar by split decision. Before the fight, one of the trainers – undefeated brawler Darius Mata-Varona, widely regarded as the best in the world – questioned their toughness. Then you went out and won.
Blacksmith: don’t ask my heart I’ve only been knocked out twice in my life. And there was a lot of help when it happened. The first time I got jumped on by six guys. The second time, my buddies kept letting the guy get up.
SI: Her trainer is “Wolverine” Ron Bata, who is the second best heavyweight in the world after Mata-Varona. They will meet at the Power Slap pay-per-view next month. Who is your choice – Darius or Wolverine?
Blacksmith: I have my money on Wolverine. He’s a little more humble.
SI: You beat on a single count, which is unorthodox. Why not hit a multi-count slap?
Blacksmith: I’ve hit a lot of people. I used to do it to pick fights with people. So that’s my style. Actually, I called Nate Diaz a few years ago. I said I would change his life with a slap in the face. I still think so.
SI: In one of the backstage events you beat the former UFC Welterweight Champion Michael Bisping, which took some courage. How did that work?
Blacksmith: Bisping came in to interview us and everyone was so excited to be slapped by him. When he came to hit me, I hit him first.
He was surprised. It wasn’t a big slap, but it was good enough. He wanted to get a slap and I got him first.
SI: You had the opportunity to showcase your personality on the show, including wWear a weigh-in diaper for your fight against Gaspar. That was offset by some very real moments where you talked about being a father and not having the relationship you wanted with your first five children but being a better father to your sixth child. Will your kids see you on the show? Is it an opportunity to reconnect with them all?
Blacksmith: Maybe they’re watching. It would be cool to share this with them.
SI: This week’s episode ended with Christopher Thomas knocked out Waylon Frost and Thomas was declared the man to beat at welterweight. While this proclamation is premature, you are firmly back in the underdog role.
Blacksmith: I’m just playing my role. I’ve been a dog all my life. Why stop now? I will be an inspiration for dogs.