By Jeremy Pinnell & Kevin Broughton
Easter weekend features another big UFC event, but the month of April sees yet more honors for one half of your MMA team of correspondents. Maybe Jeremy’s thinking to himself, “Wow! If I’d start collaborating with Kevin sooner, I’d have a Grammy by now, and maybe a slot on ‘Dana White’s Contender Series.’”
KB: Another edition of Mixed Music Action brings yet more glory for my partner. Not only are you an Ameripolitan award winner, you're getting it done on the mat, too. I believe you won a silver and a bronze in your first jiu-jitsu competition; I have so many questions! Were you nervous? Will this fuel your hunger for more competition? Heck, JP, what was it like?
JP: I got the gold in “gi” and bronze in “no gi,” Kevin. I tell you what, my first match I felt very heavy. All my strength was gone. I had some difficult “no gi” matches but won 2 of 4 -- it was a round robin tournament. I hated it, but the reward came later after a day or two. I felt centered and at peace. I think I needed to see where I was at, and it made me a better human being. Testing yourself. I have a deep respect for people who put it all out there in the ring, octagon or mat. I don’t know what’s in store, I know I need to keep training and we’ll go from there.
KB: Gold and bronze! A thousand pardons, sir, and hearty congratulations.
I've been wanting to ask about your songwriting process for a while now. I assume everyone's experience and technique vary from song to song. A couple years ago when we talked about Goodbye LA (the title cut specifically,) you said the band was loading in for a show and someone commented that as hot as SoCal women are, "they don't want babies," and that became the genesis of the song.
Let's pick another one, because I'm pretty sure it's my favorite song of yours, "The Ballad of 1892." (I get the feeling it's a go-to for you, too.) What went into that song? What was the inspiration, and how did you work it out?
JP: My process has changed over the years. I’m usually on the go, so I write in my head if I have a melody or hear something that sparks an idea. I never used to write anything down and I typically don’t but, in my older age I want to start making a record; that is, something to leave my son.
“The Ballad of 1892” came from a book I read by Emma Goldman; it was the story of her and Alexander Berkman and the assassination attempt they made on Henry Clay Frick -- a known union buster and all around shit bag. I didn’t agree with everything in the book, but she would say things like “We’re slaves to the whip, and we love it.” After the attempt Alexander went to prison and Emma hid out in brothels, helping the women take care of themselves. It’s just a hillbilly version of anarchism and a nod to the working class. The boss needs us; we don’t need the boss.
KB: There's been some movement in the world of Mixed Martial Arts since last we checked in. Jon Jones is now the UFC heavyweight king, and he made it look ridiculously easy. I expected more out of Cyril Gane, to be honest. Stipe Miocic is next up for Bones, but it's hard for me to see anyone giving him a problem so long as Francis Nganou is MIA. Your thoughts?
JP: Man, Stipe looks old and Jon is no joke. I want to see Francis and Jon, period. That’s the fight for me.
KB: You and me both. Dana’s gonna have to come off the wallet, though. Maybe he’ll have some extra dough now that the UFC bought the WWE (don’t even get me started.)
Back to UFC 286, the biggest shock had to be Valentina "Bullet" Shevchinko losing her belt; one misplaced reverse kick, and she's choked out. One has to think there will be a rematch pretty soon, because she's second only to Amanda Nunes in terms of dominant female fighters. What say you?
JP: I saw Grasso train for that exact back-take. They knew it was coming; Bullet was losing her composure the entire fight. Grasso was just waiting for the right moment, and it paid off.
KB: This weekend's UFC 287 features a middleweight rematch for the belt Israel Adesanya lost to Alex Pereira last fall. Any chance Israel tries to grapple a little bit? Because as Sean Strickland (and Izzy) showed, standing in the pocket and banging with a world-class kickboxer ain't smart.
JP: I’m excited about this main event. I feel like Izzy did really well last time, but Alex caught up with him. Alex is scary but so is Israel. I think you’re right about grappling. Might need to do something different which will be interesting if that’s the case.
KB: Finally, the co-main event features a fan favorite badly in need of a win -- Jorge Masvidal -- against Gilbert Burns. Street Jesus wants to keep this fight on the feet, but Burns will have other ideas. What are you looking for in this fight?
JP: Burns is gonna smoke Jorge.
KB: I think you’re right, Champ. Till next time, we’ll think about an attempted murder of an all-around shit bag.