By Sean McClure:
Mike Constantino owns the AMA Fight Club in New Jersey. On top of that he is the CEO of a sports management company, a former bodyguard, and has trained the secret service. Constantino is currently the manager of UFC lightweight contender Jim Miller who faces Nate Diaz at UFC on Fox 3.
Mike is used to high pressure situations. He tries to pass on how to deal with them to the team a AMA. With Miller main eventing on the FOX channel against a very dangerous opponent you would expect Jim’s stress level to be off the charts. Mike believes that isn’t the case.
“Quite honestly there really isn’t any extra pressure on him. He’s treating it like he would any other fight. He’s had a good camp and we’re fighting in our home state so there’s no pressure there at all”, said Constantino.
It would appear Nate’s camp may be just as focused on the upcoming bout. Currently the traditional Diaz pre-fight trash talk seems to be non-existent.
“I haven’t heard any”, said Mike. “I haven’t seen one thing said. I’m on the internet all day on MMA sites and I haven’t heard anything. Unless it comes out this week. With it being so close to the fight, I mean it’s been pretty quiet”.
Maybe it’s because Nate’s teammates know the significance of this fight just as much as Jim’s do. It’s no secret that this fight may award the winner a coveted shot at the lightweight championship currently held by Benson Henderson.
“This fight should have championship implications. Jim and Nate are two of the best lightweights in the entire world let alone the division”, Mike said. “Both of them have paid their dues and the winner of this fight should deserve a title shot”.
Jim faces a very talented and experienced fighter in Nate Diaz. Both have a solid ground game and can stand and strike if they need to. Mike doesn’t believe that this fight is a bad match-up for Jim, but it is a different one.
“We create our own matchups for anyone we face”, Constantino stated. ” Jim’s strong in all three areas. He’s got good striking, good wrestling, and good jiu-jitsu. It is a different matchup, but I feel Jim matches up well with anybody in the division. We gameplan and attack the fight every time so to us it’s just a different matchup”.
His performance in his loss against Benson Henderson in August of last year was admirable, but it was obvious to many fans that something seemed off.
“Going in to the fight Jim had mono and we didn’t find out until after the fact”, said Constantino. “He really wasn’t too sluggish in practices before, but the dump after the fight was bad. His body couldn’t recover and he wasn’t able to keep up with it. He didn’t even know he had it. We just had him checked as a precaution after the fight, and found out he had it”.
Mike vowed to make that a lesson learned and was proactive this time around.
“For this fight we’ve taken lots of precautions because we’ve learned that lesson. We check fighters and things more thoroughly before they get in to the cage”.
Constantino also has to keep himself grounded before this event. It isn’t easy wearing as many hats as he does daily.
“Honestly, You only focus on what’s in front of you”, said Mike. “There won’t be a title fight unless he wins this fight. It’s that simple. We don’t even talk about it or breathe about it. When people ask us those types of questions we just politely pass those kinds of questions by. The only thing that counts right now is beating Nate Diaz. Unless Jim does that first nothing else matters”.
Despite his best efforts Mike admits that he isn’t immune to stress himself.
“I feel pressure for every fight whether it’s local, undercard, or main event. I’m very close with all of my fighters and when they’re in there I’m in there. Regardless of the level of the fight it’s the same reaction from me for every one”, Mike stated.
The team at AMA helping Jim prepare for his fight with Diaz has grown over the years. Recently in part to the success of its members.
“Jim is one of the contributing factors to that. Absolutely”, Constantino stated. “He is one of my highest profile fighters, but AMA as a whole is a team and we all work together. Today we had around 10 fighters who compete in the UFC, Strikeforce, and Bellator in a sparring session. The room is loaded with talent. These guys feed off each other”.
AMA is currently running a series of promotions leading up to the fight on May 5th.
“We’re doing lots of things. We’re even doing ticket giveaways for the event. You have to follow us on Twitter and it’s @amafightclub. We’re doing all sorts of giveaways from now leading up to the event. Also, Thursday April 26th Jim will be on MMA uncensored live at 11 PM on SpikeTV. We’re just doing a whole bunch of cool things”, said Constantino.
Jim Miller faces Nate Diaz May 5, 2012 in the main event of UFC on FOX 3.Tags: featured, MMA NEWS, Strikeforce, strikeforce news, ufc news, UFC on FOX, UFC on FOX 2, ufc on fox 3, UFC on Fuel, UFC on FX