Jason Tan talks Ground Control
22 Jan 2011By Craig Maxfield
MMA Hit Pit caught up with former UFC fighter Jason Tan to speak to us about his promotion Ground Control and its upcoming show on the 27th of February.
Thanks for your time Jason, I know the build up to an event must be a stressful time for you. If you could just fill us in on your history and background?
Hey how's it going.
My background, I've been training martial arts since I was 15 in some form or other, got into MMA/BJJ in 2000/01 and have been training ever since, been a brown belt in jitz since 2006. This last year I have focused on coaching and building up the Ground Control grappling tournament.
Your not currently an active fighter and now concentrate more on promotional work and training, but with your only losses to UK MMA standout ‘Judo’ Jimmy Wallhead, UFC veteran Marcus Davis and undefeated Dong Hyun Kim, do you not think the sport is missing out on a great fighter?
Well yer I guess they are not that bad losses to have, I always thought being handed two southpaws in my UFC fights was pretty tough and at the time they were both killing people, Kim still is, but you live and learn right and you don't turn down opportunities, if I could do it again I would have got a lot more experience before going the UFC. And Jimmy, well we all know how good Jimmy is, I have a lot of respect for that guy, he has worked hard to get where he is. Right at this point in time I am focused on coaching and making sure my students get better.
The Gracie family have been a big influence on you, especially in your early days, what did they teach you that you try to pass on to your students now?
Well where would any of us be if not for that family? They revolutionised fighting. I spent 2004 at Gracie Barra in Rio, at that time Carlinhos was still there teaching at times and I learned a lot there. But I guess I have learned a lot indirectly, anyone who trains jiu jitsu knows how addictive it can be and I am lucky that I found it pretty early in life.
You own and run The MMA Academy with Peter Davis, how’s that going so far?
The gym is going well man, an Peter is a beast, he just started sparring MMA again and we have some good training going on in the mornings, him an the others kick my ass! We just expanded and have another 2500sqft of gym space, we have fitted a full size cage, more mat space and a full strength and conditioning unit and we have a few other staff members coming on board this year who are very knowledgeable, Brian Gilgeous will be doing a lot of strength and conditioning work along with Pete Angell. Right now I am surrounded by a lot of good people who know a lot about fighting and training, not just instructors but students too, and the atmosphere in the gym is really good, what more can you ask for, it's really great for training, I would advise anyone who is interested in training in the area to come check us out.
Have we seen the end of Jason Tan the fighter?
Never say never right! At the moment I got a lot going on, with coaching and ground control they are my priorities, but never say never.
Ok, onto Ground Control. Your next event is on the 27th of February at the Westway Sports Centre in London. This is your first visit to the capital with Ground Control, how exciting is this for you and what does it represent for the promotion?
We are very excited to be coming to London and I hope we can be well supported there, it's very nerve racking doing these things, I am always nervous before them, I just want things to run smooth and for people to enjoy the event. This year we have decided to move round a little and I think we deliver a good tournament, of course we are always looking to improve.
2011 is going to be a big year with 8 – 10 events planned, do you see this as being the maximum amount of events you’d consider putting on, or do you still see room for growth?
I know we want to do 8 or so events this year, going to Manchester, London, Nottingham and maybe another location. Who knows what we will do in the future, I really want each one that we do to get bigger and bigger, with superbouts more cash prizes, better prizes etc. We will see how this year goes.
You’ve brought in some rules changes for this year, what was the thinking behind that?
Yes, there are some rule changes, longer matches in advanced divisions, due to the fact that these divisions are much smaller. Toe holds legal in the advanced division, ideally I would allow everything in the advanced division but I don't think people are ready for that yet. Also we have brought in the league system, so people who compete as part of a team at each event will gain cash prizes and will gain points for their team in the league over the course of the year, this will be concluded at the nationals in November!
With more and more Ground Control events being held, the interest in it growing each day, and participants eager to join the competition, do you see yourself as one day being the ‘Mecca’ for grappling in the UK?
We are just working on providing a regular tournament that is value for money and that provides some great grappling action, all our finals are filmed in HD with multiple camera angles and are free to watch on YouTube. We are pretty well supported already but we want the whole of the UK involved!
British MMA fighters have often been criticised for a lack of ground fighting, how long before you think we will see a UK fighter that is to truly able to compete on the ground?
It won't be long I guess, who knows, the UK has some great MMA fighters, even Liverpool by itself, there is a lot of talent here, with guys who are good on the ground. I know he is not from the UK but Gunnar Nelson does a lot of his training in Manchester and in Dublin with the SBG guys and his ground game is world class not just for MMA but in jiu jitsu with or without the Gi. Then look at some of the guys who have academies here, Roger, Braulio etc The knowledge is there, so we'll see.
Finally is there anything you’d like to say to the fans out there or anybody you’d just like to thank?
Just like to say if you train grappling, get involved on Feb 27th there are divisions for beginners/intermediate/advanced, veterans, womens and kids. Thank you to all our sponsors of Ground Control London ; Avon settle cars, Mmafightwear.net, scramble, GNP clothing, caged steel, like2fight, K2 fight gear.
If you are in Liverpool and are interested in training MMA related stuff come check us out www.mmaliverpool.com
Thanks very much for speaking to MMAHitPit today, good luck with future plans and your Ground Control show on the 27th of February in London.
Thanks for the interview pal!
Check out our You Tube channel for videos of our insrtuctors training and fighting!!! http://www.youtube.com/user/LiverpoolMMA