Doerksen Front Page Material

Not that it's a huge shock, but Joe Doerksen was on the cover of the Winnipeg Free Press yesterday. Here is the arcticle.

Monday, November 15th, 2004

He's the ultimate fighter-- with a heart of gold

'Small-town guy in a big-city sport' Doerksen rising star among fighting fans

Monday, November 15th, 2004

By Bill Redekop

NEW BOTHWELL -- In front of 20,000 screaming fans who forked over up to $350 US each to see the Las Vegas Ultimate Fighting Championships last August, Joe "Dirt" Doerksen admits he froze.

His opponent, Joe "Diesel" Riggs, got on top of him and started pummelling Doerksen in the face, something that's allowed in ultimate fighting. He broke Doerksen's nose, but it was the cut over his eye that stopped the fight. Doerksen couldn't see for the blood.

The frenetic atmosphere at Doerksen's first trip to the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino, North America's biggest venue for ultimate fighting, "messes with your head more than I expected," he said.

Despite the loss, Doerksen is considered an up-and-comer in ultimate fighting where combatants fight barefooted, and sometimes in enclosures called "cages."

But it's a tough, violent sport. "I've been taken to the hospital three times out of 34 fights," said Doerksen, interviewed in the home where he grew up near the village of New Bothwell -- better known for its cheeses -- 35 kilometres south of Winnipeg.

Ultimate fighting, also called mixed martial arts, and previously known as no-holds-barred fighting, is growing. The Aug. 21 card with Doerksen was aired on pay-per-view television. The Sports Network in Canada shows ultimate fights on weekends after midnight, and Spike Television will air a reality series in January about ultimate fighters vying for a shot at a match in Las Vegas.

The sport is also all over the Internet. Type "Joe Doerksen" into Google, and the first 80 or so sites refer to the fighter, then some other Doerksen pops up once, then it's back to Doerksen the fighter.

A storyline emerges on the Internet of a tough scrapper with a Disney-like heart of gold.

But friends say the nice guy persona is no act. Doerksen used to get so pumped after winning a fight that he would do a cartwheel in the ring. Then he would run over to help his opponent up and give him a hug. His manager kept telling him to stop it because it didn't look tough, and he finally did after his 18th bout.

"He's just a small-town guy in a big-city sport," said Jerin Valel, a local training partner. "In Las Vegas, a woman ran up to him for his autograph and he looked around and said, 'Who? Me?'

"He's very mild-mannered. He'll let someone talk his ear off about how they took two karate lessons 25 years ago, and he'll just smile. Afterward, the person will have no idea they were talking to someone who has fought 34 times all over the world," Valel said.

That includes three separate bouts in Hawaii. A victory there a year ago led to his invitation to Las Vegas for the Ultimate Fighting Championship match, the Super Bowl of ultimate fighting. A match earlier this year in Biloxi, Miss., that he won over Chris Leben, has been called one of the most exciting bouts ever. "He's known for being this ball of energy," said Valel. Doerksen's record is 28 wins and six losses.

Ultimate fighting shouldn't be confused with the arranged outcomes of "professional" wrestling. Doerksen has the scars to prove it.

But the sport does require some explanation. It is a kind of cultural mosaic of fighting techniques, from European fisticuffs to Asian martial arts, with a hefty dose of South American footwork. Fighters combine boxing, kick-boxing, wrestling and jujitsu, a Japanese system of wrestling. "If boxing is the sweet science, ultimate fighting is rocket science," said Valel.

Doerksen has eight years training in jujitsu, two years of kickboxing, a year of boxing, and some wrestling background. His coach in Winnipeg is Brazilian jujitsu black belt holder Rodrigo Munduruca, but he also trains with other coaches like world-class Thai fighter Giuseppe DeNatale.

His parents support him. His dad is Ed Doerksen, a noted bluegrass and old-time music fiddler in southern Manitoba, who once fronted the band Ed and the Country Playboys. The son doesn't make enough money to stop his day job making concrete foundations with New Wave Construction.

Doerksen's nickname "Dirt" evolved from his day job. Doerksen puts in eight hour days of heavy lifting at construction sites, then trains for up to two hours at night in a Winnipeg gym. He always shows up at the gym covered in gravel and dust, and someone started calling him "Joe Dirt," after the movie of the same name starring David Spade.

Despite his disappointment in Las Vegas, Doerksen is working hard at getting back. He won his match last month in Portland, Ore., against Ed "Short Fuse" Herman, putting him to sleep. (Yes, there really is such a thing as a sleeper hold).

There is also a possibility Doerksen could go to Japan in the future, like many fighters do because the sport enjoys its greatest popularity there. Top ultimate fighters in Japan earn up to $250,000 US per match. A fellow Canadian, Denis Kang of Vancouver, whom Doerksen has beaten, is earning $200,000 US a year in South Korea.

"The money I'm making isn't huge right now but it could change anytime. I love doing it," Doerksen said.

ttt, awesome article.

That was a great article!

Its nice to know that me and Kyle Sandford arn't the only guys working construction all day and trying to train hard at the same time.

ttt for Joe who sounds like a great guy.

ttt...nicely done!


New Bothwell- I have to try some cheeze from there!!!

Holy shit training and doing construction is insane. I used to do concrete installation and then go train for Judo and it was murder(I ended up with 2 hernias). Good for you guys.

Go Dirt!!!

That was a great article

Great read. Also Full Contact Fighter had a great 3-4 page article on Joe's career. That was very interesting read.

Yeah, the FCF article was great. Incredible what that guy went through to make some of his fights happen.