Interview with Mike Ciesnolevicz
by Amie Turton
Williamstown, PA....now Bettendorf, IA. I
actually live in the MFS gym, literally!
Just turned 25 this past October.
I have a teaching degree in Health and
Physical Education from Lock Haven University in PA.
Miletich Fighting System (MFS)
My submission grappling record is
25-4 and my MMA record is now 3-0.
Were you a high school athlete?
I actually playedfootball and basketball in high school. Walked on D-1 wrestling as I went to college at Lock Haven.
What got interested in fighting?
I started doing karate at 15 because I always liked the Van Damme movies, etc. Then the UFC came around and the guys I was training with starting imitating what they saw in the UFC. After a year or two i got pretty good at it. I did some boxing, some wrestling, met Danny Ives and started training BJJ and the rest is history.
When did you move out to Iowa to train with MFS?
I moved to Iowa last Valentine's Day. I'm closing in on
my first year now with this team.
I thought about a few other teams and
actually visited some of those academies while
contemplating my options. When I visited Iowa I felt
at home instantly. My first week I visited I rolled
with Jason Black and Jeremy Horn every morning. Pat
Miletich held pads for me also. They treated me like
family and they didn't even know me. The team unity
and work ethic at MFS was exactly what i was looking
How has your training changed since you have been
I can honestly say the training here at
MFS is like nothing I ever experienced. The guys here
are so intense that you would have to experience it to
believe it. I have never gotten beaten up like I have
here. It's a humbling experience for sure.
Do you train differently when you have a fight
I guess the intensity level picks up
when you have a fight approaching. Otherwise, we
don't do too much differently. We train hard all the
Mike, I understand you train full time. Is there
anything in particular that keeps you motivated?
Movitation is easy to come by out here. Some days
I don't want to train, some days I
just want to sleep and stay in my bed all day and
rest. However, last week for instance...I was having a
unmotivated day...Tim Sylvia comes upstairs to my
apartment and is like "Get your ass down stairs, I
need someone to wrestle with." How can i say no to
Some of the best professional fighters come from
MFS. What kind of impact do your coaches and
team mates have on you?
My teammates push me each and every time I step in
the practice room. I have Pat Miletich, Jens Pulver
and Tim Sylvia in the gym everyday. These guys lead by
example. They work as hard as anybody I have ever
seen. They rub off on the rest of the team. They are
guys I look up to a lot and I hope to one day achieve
even half of what they have.
Then I have other guys who really work with me like my
roommates Ben Rothwell, Rory Markam and Danny
Ives...other guys like Spencer Fisher and Nate
Schroeder have had huge impacts on me also.
Your standup skills are incredible but your last two
fights you finished your opponents with submissions.
Do you have apreference on how to finish your
I am the kind of guy where I want to go out there and
bang. I like to mix it up and I want to knock guys out
but it seems that everyone I fight wants to take me
down. That's fine with me because I have a strong
wrestling and bjj background. Honestly, I really am
comfortable everywhere in a fight.
I have seen you before some of your fights and you
always seem calm and you seem to keep your
composure well. What goes throughyour mind as
you are warming up for your fight?
I think I am calm because I know I train with the best
team in the world. Nobody is going to hit me like Tim
Sylvia, Ben Rothwell and Justin Eilers do. Nobody is
gonna throw me around like Iowa wrestlers do. I am
totally 100% prepared for anything I encounter in the
What about when you are actually in the ring toe to
toe with your opponent, is anything different running
through your mind?
When I'm in there I am just going with the flow. My
instincts take over and I'm just in the battle.
Anything can happen and I know that...I'm just trying
to win. Usually I can't recall what happened in the
fight until I watch the tape.
You were supposed to have a fight in the last Ring
of Combat, but your opponent backed out on you.
Does that make the urge to fight any stronger?
I was very upset that my opponent backed out. I
trained hard and was ready to fight. I came all the
way to NJ to fight and the guy "no showed" me. Some
good came out of it because I got to go home to PA.
and see my family for Thanksgiving.
You are scheduled to fight Rich Attonito in April in
Reality Fighting. How do you think that fight will go.
Rich is a hell of a fighter. I have a lot of respect
for him as a competitor. I think he is gonna come hard
and try to take me out. He's an aggressive fighter for
sure. I think it's a matter of who executes the game
plan best. Rich is gonna come out and try to throw me
around like he does to everyone else. Rich is strong
in the clinch and I'm sure he will look to take me
down and hit me. I on the other hand will be looking
to knock him out as i do with all my opponents. One
thing is for sure, this fight is gonna be fireworks.
It will be like putting two pitbulls in the same room.
Are there any fights you would like to get set up
after your fight with Rich? I have a manager for
these things. There are a lot of guys out there I want
to fight. My career is basically in the hands of Ron
Turcsak (my manager) and Pat Miletich (my trainer).
Do your future plans include the UFC or Pride?
Well of course they are every fighters dream and I do
want to fight in one of those shows down the road.
This is a goal of mine and I knew in my head if there
was a chance to make it happen I had to move to Iowa
and train with the best team in the world.
Thanks for your time Mike. Is there anything you
would like to add?
Anytime. I just want to thank all my friends and
family that have supported me to this point. I need to
thank all my teammates at MFS who push me and make me
the fighter I am today. I feel totally at home here
in Iowa and I couldn't ask for a better group of guys.
The thing that seperates MFS from all the other teams
is we are together all the time in and out of the gym.
We are training partners and best friends.