EXCLUSIVE | “Fight Master” Fighter AJ Matthews Talks About Cutting Weight, Suspects Joe Riggs of Peeing Himself
By Christopher Murphy @MurphMMA
AJ Matthews spoke with BJPenn.com’s Fist-Ta-Cuff Radio Sunday night to discuss the most recent episode of Bellator’s reality television show on Spike TV, “Fight Master.”
Matthews (6-2) has joined Anton and Dinny regularly since the show began, going through and reviewing the last episode and sharing any interesting stories from his time on the show.
This past week, the three began talking more generally about being a fighter, talking about things like the risks taken by fighters and the lasting results the sport may have on their bodies.
“Yeah, it’s crazy,” AJ began. “I was actually just having dinner with my brother talking about- because I’ve had however many fights now, probably ten, and it’s like how many shoulder injuries, or how many foot injuries, or how many loses do I need to learn from to figure it out? What does it take to be fully prepared for a fight? … I still have no idea what’s going to get me fully prepared. You know, it’s like we’re all figuring that out, and maybe we’ll pass it on to the people that come after us. But yeah, we are the pioneers, and it sucks because we can only go off of boxing, but the damage that they take is a little bit different than the damage we take. So it’s tough to tell how our bodies are going to be when it’s all said and done.”
In any case, Matthews says it’s training where he gets most of his injuries, not the fights themselves.
“For sure. For sure I get hurt way more in training than the fight. Because in the fight, your body- you know, you give it that week off, you know, you recover- but during training camps, you don’t recover, you don’t have the week off. You’re going hard, you’re grinding your body down. That’s when things fall apart, you know?”
While the daily grind of training and getting punched, kicked and slammed will surely take its toll on a fighter, perhaps the most dangerous thing a fighter does repeatedly is cut weight. With many fighters losing a significant percentage of their bodyweight the day before a fight, the threat of internal damage is certainly a consideration. For Matthews, however, it’s something he hasn’t thought about too much.
“You know what, dude? I haven’t sat down and thought about that. The only thing that we think about is how close can we cut it, like how big can I be and still make 170 lbs? My last fight prior to the show, I sweated 20 lbs. So that’s like, you know, the night before weigh-ins I’m 191 lbs, I step on the scale [at] 171 [lbs.]. That’s pretty big. I was hurting pretty bad, you know, but I never think about it. I haven’t yet thought about the future with that. I think about the future with like, you know, joints and your brain and stuff like that, but not a lot with weight cutting.”
When it came to cutting weight for “Fight Master,” AJ said there was one man who had it down better than anyone else: Joe Riggs.
“Man, Joe Riggs- he’s inspirational how he could cut weight, dude. It was beautiful. They would be like, ‘Hey Joe, you got like two minutes to be on the scale.’ And he’d be like, ‘Alright, cool.’ Boom, he’d have a towel ready, he’d get naked, boom, 171 [lbs.]. Man, that was something else, because he was huge on the show.”
Of course, last week on BJPenn.com Radio, Riggs had mentioned that part of his success to cutting weight may stem from his willingness to relieve himself during the process. Matthews wasn’t surprised by this revelation, in fact, he said it made sense.
“Was that him?!” he exclaimed when told about Riggs’ confession. “Because we only had one sauna, it was in the house, and some days, dude, it would just fucking, it would smell like urine. Some people would bring in plastic bottles, you know, they would be peeing in bottles or something. Yeah, I would believe that. I’ve never done it- only because I’m normally too dried up.”
Matthews also confirmed that Riggs was just as crazy in person as he was on last week’s episode of BJPenn.com Radio.
“Joe, he was a character, man, from the start! I had never met him before, I never knew his personality. I think he only said four things while we were on the show. He would say, ‘Why you gotta rub my dick in the dirt,’ ‘Look at you, you fucking peacock,.’ Actually, maybe he only said two things, that’s pretty much all he said to me [Laughs].”
AJ had a bunch more to say about the show itself, so be sure to catch the second part to this interview where he breaks down the fights from episode 4, talks about the coaches, and tells us all about live inside “Fight Master.”