Demystifying mixed martial arts

From their earliest days, mixed martial arts have been categorized as a barbarian sport. For many, we were witnessing the return of the modern-day gladiators. However, over the past few decades, this discipline has evolved a lot inside and outside the Octagon.

It was with this perspective in mind that veteran Patrick Côté, with the help of author Joanie Godin, wrote In the octagon. A book that allows readers to learn the peculiarities of mixed martial arts (MA), but also anecdotes that have arisen behind the scenes of this discipline.

To illustrate the reality of this sport, Côté called on the testimonies of David Loiseau, Corinne Laframboise, Valérie Létourneau and Jonathan Vallée. These four athletes show the ups and downs of their mixed martial arts journeys. We are not entitled to a fairy tale. Far from there.

“I wanted to shed some light on this sport,” said Patrick Côté in a generous interview with Le Journal of Montreal. I tell truths and debunk myths.

“I wanted it to be a bible of information. “

The neophyte will find something there, but also long-time AMM enthusiasts. With the anecdotes that are told in the book, one can only have respect for the fighters.

“I’m not trying to make people love this sport, but to make them understand,” Côté adds. With the testimonials, I wanted to show the thin line that exists between successful and unsuccessful athletes.

“It’s not always about talent that it comes down to. You have to be in the right place at the right time. It’s difficult to reach the highest level and make a living from this sport.

“If you want to do mixed martial arts to be popular and make money, stop right now. “

Sensitive subjects

In his book, Patrick Côté did not hesitate to talk about sensitive subjects such as weight cuts, doping in the UFC or the dangerousness of fights.

“MAs are less dangerous than other contact sports,” he says. The two guys in the octagon are trained and willing to be beaten. They are machines.

“He’s less dangerous than an NHL player hitting the blind spot. Then, unlike boxing, you don’t get repeated hits to the head. You don’t have a standing account when you’re concussed. The fight stops before. “

Worried about Quebec

Côté avoided falling into a settling of scores with certain players in the field. However, in his book, he does not hesitate to call the executives of TKO MMA “charlatans”.

This professional organization allowed the next generation of Quebecers to learn, but it has been inactive for over a year.

“I’ve always spoken well of TKO MMA. There is talent in Quebec, but the fighters are stuck right now. They don’t have a place to fight or an organization for them to develop. “

He gives a cry from the heart.

“I don’t want sport to die in Quebec. It is dying. It’s pretty incredible when you know that we have the best fighter in history (Georges St-Pierre) with us.

“I am not very optimistic that it will be able to start again as before. It’s boring because it’s the athletes who pay for it. “

Successful retirement

Patrick Côté is a rare case in the world of combat sports. He was able to walk away on his own terms.

“My biggest fear was doing too many fight. My people tell me about my career and not about my last fight. For me, this is a great achievement.

“I was still competitive, but maybe not at the top 5 level in my division. I had two or three bouts left in my body. But at what cost ? “

Most importantly, he was able to hang up his gloves while he was healthy. In fact, after his career, he did not hesitate to consult neuropsychologist Louis De Beaumont to make sure that his career had not affected him cognitively.

“I am very proud of my post-career. I built it and I prepared it well. Nobody gave me anything.

“I was inspired by fighters who made bad decisions after their careers. “

In addition to analyzing UFC galas on RDS, he is a partner at the XPN gym with Jean-François Gaudreault, driver Kuno Wittmer and hockey players Nicolas Deslauriers and Maxim Noreau.

In recent months, he has taken courses to become an actor in TV series or films. We should see him in action for the first time in 2021. “I like it being on camera. It has always attracted me. After my career, I wanted to break away from my fighter label by touching a lot of different things. “

However, his passion for the martial arts will continue to burn inside him. “It’s my whole life. I engraved it inside of me. ”

Some passages from the book …

“When people ask me if I’ve always been clean, the answer is no. But I quit long before the UFC started to impose doping tests. It’s no excuse, I admit. “

“So I could get 22 or 23 lbs dehydrated in 18 hours. I sure couldn’t do this tomorrow morning, although I know how to do it, but I have done it 12 times. “

“If our opponent is injured and bleeding, are we going to keep hitting that spot on purpose? Absolutely. No regulation prohibits it. Even though it sounds like a dog, it’s legal. “

“Mixed martial arts are extremely well supervised and in a way they are less dangerous than boxing, for example. “

“I’m repeating myself, but no one plays this sport to make money at the start. I never did this to get rich and popular. In 2002-2003, my first five fights, I paid to do them. “

5 torpedo questions

Interview Patrick Côté

File photo, Martin Chevalier

1. What is the most painful submission?

“These are the arm locks. If you don’t give up, the arm or the joint will break. With a strangulation, you will fall asleep. You’re going to wake up a little confused. Less worse than being done knocker or have an arm broken. Ground play is years of rehearsal and practice to make it instinctive. The game on the ground is a game of chess. “

2. Are you still in contact with any UFC fighters?

“Matt Serra is still a good friend of mine. I know Marc-André Barriault well, as do Elias Theodoru (former protégé of Ultimate Fighter) who is no longer in the UFC. I am also in contact with Din Thomas. “

3. What is your fondest memory in the UFC?

“I have two big ones that I tell about in the book. My fight against Chris Leben in 2005 is one. We were involved in a war in the octagon, but I lost by split decision. When I returned to the locker room I was demolished and it was my third loss in a row. I sit in the locker room and cry bitter tears. I am destroyed. Leben came into my locker room. For 20 minutes, we stayed together without saying a word. I still get chills when I talk about it. “

4. Who is the best opponent you have faced?

“It’s hard not to go with Anderson Silva. When I fought with him he was at his peak. Fighting with him was complicated. This is the first word that comes to mind. He hit me, but he wasn’t the one who hit me the hardest. He was precise. You can’t find a workout partner who moves like him. In the first minute, you tell yourself you’ve got Bruce Lee in front of you! My pride is to have shown that Silva is human. “

5. Have you ever had challenges in bars during your career?

“About ten years ago, I would get invitations. It doesn’t happen to me now. Why ? Because the sport is made much more famous. And two, people understand that people with cauliflower ears are dangerous! I can’t remember the last time a professional fighter was involved in a bar fight. “

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