Where next?

Posted in Uncategorized on September 17, 2009 by mrs12gaugethorpe

Wow!! What a busy few weeks its been since the last blog!! Namely organising and hosting Channel M for a day to film ‘A day in the life of a cage fighter!!’ All good fun!! They started at home to film Matt training Rocky styley and then filmed me cooking tea, serving Matt his meal (Yeah right!!) and us chatting on the sofa with our baby Brandy our gorgeous staffy, all very homely!! They then followed us up to the Colosseum to film Matt train and spar, with a couple of interviews from Matt along the way and poor Danny Rushton who I put on the spot! Overall it was a great success and they have now extended the story in to two pieces. The first takes a look at Matt preparing for his Russian fight and the second will involve an interview with Matt post Russia. All in all, it will give Matt some much needed exposure as a professional fighter. Furthermore, the Manchester Evening News and Stockport Express have as done an interview with Matt and should be out soon.

However, I’m not just here to up date you on whats going on in Matt’s fight career, I would argue I’m one of the least qualified to give that information. Lets be honest, thats what Matt’s coaches and management team are for. I only mention the recent media coverage because that has been my doing!! So, the next logical step in my blog is to continue to follow Matt’s career where I left off, when we joined the Colosseum about 8 years ago.

The Coliseum! What can i say? Well it’s the gym that turn things round for us, Matt for the better, me for the worst! When we first joined it was like nowhere I’d ever trained before, it was a proper fighters gym. There were a few lads who had competed in the world of MMA, whether amateurly, semi-pro or professionally.  They were doing it for real, no pretending. It was just what Matt was looking for, a gym where people worked hard and played hard and would give him the opportunity to compete, hence the willingness to travel 80 minute round trip twice a week. Matt and I did a few grappling competitions, Matt always doing fairly well. Me always loosing!! But hey, if I couldn’t hit my opponent I wasn’t really interested!!

At the age of 21 years, Matt made the decision to step it up and fight for real. What did I think? It’s so long ago I cannot honestly remember, but what I do know is that nothing that I said or anyone else for that matter could have changed his mind. His first fight was all they way down in Cornwall in the first Extreme Fighting Championship against Tim Ryder. It was like nothing Matt and I had ever experienced before, the travelling, the weigh ins, the medicals, the anticipation. I loved it, and it’s still my favourite part of Matt fighting to date, although now I don’t get to see much of it now hes on the international stage. However, on the day of the fight, Matt received a big blow. His old coach and friend who was due to corner Matt had phoned/txt to say he wasn’t coming.  Matt, although wasn’t surprised, was absolutely gutted, a wound I think has never fully healed to this day. Stepping into the cage/ring is an emotional and stressful time, the support of those around is imperative. However, this wasn’t to be the undoing of Matt. Team Colosseum had his back!!! A few of the Colosseum team were down, not only for Matt, but his team mates Steven ‘Widge’ Milward and Paul Ramsdale who were also fighting on the show.

I can’t honestly decide who was more nervous, Matt or I that night!! I can feel the butterflies as I write this re-emerging!! Thankfully, as it was Matt’s first pro fight he was on the under card and first up. I still remember him walking to the ring, getting heckled by the crowd for wearing his fiery punishment beany, and stepping into the ring, his head nearly touching the ceiling!!! It was surreal. In fact, I don’t think I was able to process what happened in the ring because I certainly can’t give you a play by play!! All I do know is that Matt won, 2mins 39secs of round 1 by a rear naked choke. It was over. All that training, the build up, stress, the anticipation, all for a few minutes work!!! But I didn’t care, I was just glad it was over!! And lets just say, those who heckled Matt going into the ring, certainly showed some respect as he walked back out!!!!

What a great start to the night for team Colosseum!! And it just got better and better!!! Widge was third up, and demolished his opponent, Derek Morris, in 1min 36secs by arm bar!!! Ramdale’s fight took a little longer against Paul Jenkins, but Team Colosseum secured a hat trick when Ramsdale took a heel hook at 1min 13 secs of round 2. It was awesome!!! We celebrated that night I can tell you!!

Matt didn’t compete until about 6 months later in the San Gokui MMA invitational Championships. I also decided to have a little dabble at this stage along with a few other people from the Colosseum including Widge and Ryan Houghton.  Again, it was a great day out, competing, networking. We were really a good team. Matt won his group by decision, I lost (surprise, surprise!!) and widge and Ryan also went on to win!!! Heres a picture of the good old days before Matt hit the rocky road that is his MMA fight career!! I can feel the nostalgia building up!!

Coliseum crew

How it began

Posted in Uncategorized on August 29, 2009 by mrs12gaugethorpe

To understand the present and the future, you must first understand the past. To understand how Matt came to discover MMA, first you must understand how I did.

Back at high school I fell in love with sport and PE. I couldn’t get enough and there wasn’t a sport I didn’t play. I joined every possible team includng rounders, badminton, netball, hockey, girls football, athletics, basketball and lacrosse. Was I fitness mad? No! Quite simply I liked to compete and no challenge was ever too great, a personality trait which is still very much alive to date. My poor mum became a personal taxi service every night of the week for me to play for all these teams and at weekends it was lacrosse, lacrosse, lacrosse!!

However, when a friend joined a karate club I decided another club was just what I needed!! So one night a week I attend a small karate club in Marple led by Mark Boulton. I loved it!! It gave me some much needed self worth and confidence and when involved in an altercation at school, I handled myself just fine!! After 18 months or so, Mark decided to travel the world, meaning the class was to close. I was gutted! Lets be honest, what young girl doesn’t have little crush on their instructor!! But not all was lost, Mark had arranged for us to train with a close friend of his, Phil Wright.

Things were different though. Phil didn’t just teach karate, he was dabbling in the world of MMA! Lets face it, karate is a little girly, so I loved the challenge of this new training!! I continued to gain belts and improved to a point I could help teach the younger kids. I think my highest belt was purple! But I wasn’t bothered about belts, all they do is symbolise that an individual can undertake a list of techniques in a controlled environment. For me, it was about the sparring!! I may have been one of the few girls, but I liked the challenge of sparring with the boys and being able to do more than hold my own. I remember jabbing one lad in the face, (beautiful shot!!) and he ended up at the dentist that afternoon!

Outside of training, I had finished high school with 9 GCSE’s under my belt and started at the local college to study biology, PE and psychology at A-level. However, the importance of studying was starting to wane and going out and meeting boys was more fun!! I used to spend every Saturday night with my best friend Karen, and we’d go out and have some fun! On Saturday 8th January 1999, Karen and I were on another of our escapades when we met a group of lads, one of which was Matt! Matt and I had spent the night chatting away and flirting like mad, we’d even shared a few kisses at this point. I’d grilled him on all the vital information and was thrilled to find out he was 18 years old (I was only 16yrs at this point!!), he could drive (hugely important), he had a tattoo (which stands for dangerous!!) and attended the same college!!! Perfect!!

So the following Tuesday, Matt and I met at college and had some lunch. It was awful!!! He was so quiet and barely said two words the whole time. Even I (motor mouth) ran out of things to say. It was a complete disaster. So, I decided to bail and said ‘I’d see him around!!!’  However, much to my surprise Matt phoned me that evening and invited me out for a drink. I reluctantly accepted but on the proviso could bring Karen, I could not face an evening of awkward silence! Well I was pleasantly surprised! Matt was a lot more relaxed out of the college environment and we made a connection. We started to see each other and spend a lot of time together and quickly became boyfriend and girlfriend.

I’m not sure how long we’d been going out, maybe 6 months or so, but after a relentless campaign to get get Matt down to training, I had won!! To be honest, Matt was curious about what I had been talking about, but I still think he wanted to spend time with me! So Matt and a few mates ventured down one evening. Matt enjoyed it, but his friends quickly tired as the weeks went by, favouring the pub. Matt however, continued to train. Much to my annoyance he was actually quite good and was soon hot on my heels skill wise!!

We continued to train with Phil Wright for roughly 2 years and it was here we met our good friend and Matt’s coach, Aaron Chatfield. But Matt was learning there was more to MMA than Phil’s gym and was becoming more curious about the wider scene, a curiosity fueled through the Internet and on-line forums. Matt started to get itchy feet and wanted to compete but Phil had never really discussed competitions and taking the training to the next level. I had brought the subject up with Phil after training one evening, and he laughed saying ‘Matt thinks hes going to be in the UFC’. I too laughed at this throwaway comment and could see the truth in it. What I didn’t anticipate is that it became the definitive moment for Matt and his MMA career. This comment alone is what drives Matt to this day, the training, the sacrifices he makes and the risks he takes. That one liner is what made Matt step up and take his training to a new level, putting him on his current path towards the UFC.

Unfortunately for Phil he had to close the gym which left Matt no where to train. This was when Matt, Aaron and I moved onto the coliseum.

Who am I?

Posted in Uncategorized on August 28, 2009 by mrs12gaugethorpe

Treetops, KenyaHey folks, for those of you that don’t know me, I’m Jennie Thorpe, AKA Mrs 12gauge Thorpe.

I decided it was about time that I give a little insight to the rest of the world, as to what it means to be married to an up and coming UK MMA fighter. To talk about the highs and the lows, the arguments and the celebrations, the good times and the bad. To give an insight in to my marriage, a marriage I share with a noxious mistress, and how I cope with the stresses and strains she places upon me.

Believe it or not, there was a time, over a decade ago now, where my life was not consumed by MMA or cage fighting. In fact, I was too busy with life as a college student to care for such things, instead my life was about studying, socialising with my friends and trying to discover myself as a person. However, on January 8th 1999 I met Matt and things were to change.