As some of you know Roger Huerta and myself have started working on
our gym in Phuket, Thailand and are really excited about it. Though
its been a dream of mine for a long time and a passion for both of us,
there has also been an attack from Tiger Muay Thai about our venture.
Not a violent attack, calm down people. A verbal attack which in
todays social networking friendly world can be rough to sleep on.
Instead of stating facts and debating us, they are choosing the
alternative(basically the opposite of stating facts and debating us).
I feel after getting trashed by them for the last month or so, it is
time to state our side of the story. My choosing of this time has
inadvertently forced you to chose this time to read it. Sorry if you
Before I get into this, there have been a bunch of inquires since this
hit the net, asking us why we haven't fought lately and is this all we
are working on or do we have fights coming up. Both Roger and myself
are as committed as ever to fighting and have both had unique breaks
in our career for various reasons. I, myself have been battling a
serious health issue with my esophagus that has dropped 30+ pounds off
me since competing at Middleweight in the UFC. I finally got my health
under control and gained my size and strength back and was all set to
comeback at UFC 134 this past August but had a training accident 2
weeks before that snapped my ACL and tore my MCL and Meniscus. I had
surgery and am rehabbing that at this time. Before the injury I was
having the best camp of my life at AKA and felt that after 4 years of
issues, I was finally going to comeback better than ever. By that I
mean to win and to win in a really exciting and violent fashion. Just
like you guys like. I will fight again as soon as I am healed. As
for Roger, he is making his return next month in Texas against War
machine in the UWF show on November 26th. (http://www.uwfmma.com)
Fitch, myself and Baroni will be there to meet the fans and show
support. Baroni and I are also going to commentate the fights. I plan
to spike his punch and bring his motorcycle helmet. Yes the same one
he, for some reason, wore during the entire filming of our infamous
Cobra Blood Drinking video. Gonna be good times!
Anyway, we have put together an over qualified and highly connected
team in Thailand to work with us which will give us plenty of time to
focus on our careers while running this gym. Our best fights are still
ahead of us. Life deals ups and downs and one of the things Roger and
I have in common is that no matter what life deals us, we don't give
up. Luckily we are filming this whole adventure so you will eventually
get to see what a real treat its been learning Thai law, Thai labor
law, setting up a Thai business, why Roger makes me take the subway
over a tuk tuk, scouting land, negotiating land, buying land, dealing
with snakes, dealing with snakes are are not human but are actually
highly venomous deadly snakes and a lot more. We had some hurdles that
were so big I had to put Roger on my shoulders to climb over, but we
did and are trucking forward. I am sure we are far from done either!
Ok, back to the good stuff! ;)
Tiger Muay Thai is claiming that Roger and I are traitors, like Aldrich
Ames in the 80's, since we have trained at their facility before and are
now doing our own gym in Thailand. Ray Elbe(Tiger Head MMA Trainer,
Spokesperson) has been maliciously bad mouthing us to everyone at Tiger
and to anyone that will listen, though after we announced we were doing
this, we met with him and came to an agreement in which he was very
respectful and understanding in person. Soon as we left Thailand
we were traders and had disrespected Tiger. It is uber sad considering what
all we have done for Tiger and done for free. I have put on 2
seminars, one bringing in over 100 people, attended numerous events,
let them film for their youtube and even reffed their NeverTap Asia
grappling tournament. I never got paid for any of these things as they
used the footage and photos to promote their gym for the last 4 years.
What I did get was free privates($18 each) with the Muay Thai trainers
and a free stay at one of their nearby bungalows which ran $10 a night.
In the 4 years I was in Phuket, I did less than 10 privates at Tiger Muay
Thai and received paid accommodations for about a week and a half. I
never trained in the MMA class at their facility. Only taught MMA to students.
The only time Ray and I were ever even on the mat together is when he
asked me to roll with him in preparation for his debut on The Ultimate
Fighter season 9. Even leary because I had heard how he verbally
bumped and grinded a few people I know who were higher level fighters
in the UFC I went ahead and rolled with him and gave him all the advice
I had on being prepared for the show. No matter what people had told me,
I was nothing but nice to him. And by that I mean, people told me not
to be nice.
In Rogers case, he obviously was there a lot longer than I was. He
stayed at Tiger several months doing free seminars, helping out with
the classes and doing tons of promotional videos and interviews for
the gym. He wasn't paid anything but did receive free training and a
bungalow that retails about $100-$200 a month. Roger is the kind of
guy who would have done it even if they didn't give a bungalow and
free training. Thats just who he is. I can't even tell you how many
privates I saw him doing for free with students and friends while
There was never any agreement that we signed saying that Tiger is a
gang and that we are members of it and in return for tons of our PR
with bungalow/training compensation we are to never ever even think
about living our own life and pursue our own thing, post gang life.
(*This comment is not insinuating that Tiger Muay Thai is a gang.
Everyone knows that no gang would use a slightly edited and reversed
version of the Bengals mascot as street cred)
These are actual quotes Ray wrote in his blogs that are still on his website in
the archives... This is obviously before we announced we were doing a gym.
"A few of you may have noticed UFC Star Mike Swick walking around the
Tiger Muay Thai and MMA Phuket Training facility the last couple of
days. Swick is vacationing on the island of Phuket and has been to TMT
several times in the past. During last years Nevertap Asia grappling
tournament he put on one of the best Nogi grappling seminars we have
"Huerta who appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated, is one of the
nicest professional fighters I've met,I can see why Bellator saw his
marketability...He's one of the most exciting latino fighters in the
"Seminar was scheduled to last 2 hours...and Huerta has given the guest
3...what an amazing day!!!!"
"I can't tell the people who didn't attend the seminar enough how much
of an opportunity they missed. Roger Huerta is more then a fighter–he
is a philosopher, a traveler, and as Yogi Simon would say...an
"Huerta is one of the most humble people I have ever met...His seminar today
was one of the best...if not...the best...seminar...Tiger Muay Thai has ever
had. Unless you won the lottery today...you missed out."
"Huerta has fought at the highest level of MMA--He's regarded as one of
the top Lightweight fighters in the world... Yesterday he gave an 'MMA'
seminar to close to 80 guest of Tiger Muay Thai...and it was amazing."
"Thanx to Roger 'El Matador' Huerta for the seminar he gave to the
guest of Tiger Muay Thai before heading back to the states.
It was a great opportunity for many of the guest of Tiger Muay Thai and
MMA Phuket to train with one of the top fighters in the world!"
Of course the current blog quotes now have changed significantly. We
obviously expected they would but trying to recruit Rogers next opponent
he help give him insight shocked even us. Shenanigans!! Yikes!
War Machine responds how anyone would I guess...
@tigermuaythai if he trained with you guys for a year why would u wanna help
me beat him?
Good question. Anyway, moving on...
Its not like I just moved in on Phuket yesterday with a master plan.
It was days ago! Many! I have been training Muay Thai in Thailand
since 2000, well before there was a Tiger Gym. I have trained at many
different gyms spanning from Bangkok to Pattaya to Koh Samui to
Phuket. I have trained in parking lots, peoples houses, hot open
fields, concrete basketball courts, on the beach and Thailand's newer
facilities. Obviously Phuket being my favorite because of the
beautiful beaches, amazing scenery and friendly people. Through the
years I made many friends in Phuket and was there way before I trained
at Tiger Muay Thai. They act like they are the only gym in Phuket and
we are moving in to threaten them.
As far as gyms in Phuket... Our gym is not on the main road of Tigers
and the other 2 gyms. It is in Phuket where there are probably 50+
other gyms. All operate on the island and most are pretty chill. The
only issues I have ever seen between gyms in the 4 years I have been
going there is with Tiger and others. This is a big reason I retracted
my offer to buy Tiger while I was in negotiations with the gym owner,
Will, a few years ago. I dealt with him for over a year while trying
to buy Tiger Muay Thai. I made a lucrative offer that he was
considering but after finding out certain things, I politely retracted
and we shook hands as he wished me luck on doing a gym on my own in
the future, as he knows it was my dream. After this happened I stayed
away from Tiger completely so it wouldn't look like I was being
malicious in my attempts to do my own thing. I didn't train 1 time
there in the last 3 years except 2 1hr sessions a few months ago when
told to do so by the gym owner. Yikes at my last contradiction.
Anyway, I was in Thailand and we had just posted that Roger and I
teamed up and that we are doing our own gym and he knew I was training
for a fight, UFC 134, and insisted on us training there so long as we
didn't try and steal his trainers. We agreed because we had hoped that
us doing a gym would let us all work together and improve training for
all the thousands of fighters that flock to Phuket each year.
That was not the case though. They wanted us to train there so that
they can promote us training together at Tiger then later accuse us of
stealing trainers to make us look bad. We were set up like cloak and
dagger. Of course we didn't know this at the time so I tweeted that I
was training there but by day 2 everyone was coming up to us saying
that Ray was bashing us and saying this and that. So after only my
second session in the last 3 years, we left. Fortunately for us,
another gym(Phuket Top Team) not only welcomed us to train but
welcomed us with chin down and open arms and we made a plan to all
work together and create the best training experience for anyone
interested in seriously training Muay Thai and MMA in Phuket. Since
then many other people and facilities welcomed us to our new home.
We are not trying to take Tigers customers or trainers. That is just
silly! There are a ton of great fighters that become trainers everyday
in Bangkok plus trainers move like vintage David Caradine in Kung Fu.
In the 4 years I was in Phuket, I can't tell you how many trainers
came and went from all the gyms. Success lies in recruiting young
talented trainers and taking care of them and their families. There is
a successful formula as I will get into that in 2 paragraphs and one
sentence from now...
Even with Tiger attacking us, we have no malicious intent towards
them. Not even you Ray. I mean I wouldn't give you a hug or anything
but yea whatever. To everyone reading this, If you train at Tiger and
like training at Tiger and wanna go back to Tiger, we hope that you
do. We truly do. We obviously welcome everyone but also have our own
customers who we have met and friended through the years who wanna
train with us in a gym like we are building. We will bring in more
customers than we can probably facilitate year round so it is silly to
think we would be poaching from other gyms customers. Like I said
before, other gyms know and see this and thats why they have formed
friendships with us as we will help to build their student base and
names as well.
We are just 2 guys who are building our dream gym in paradise using
the skills, experience and connections that we gained from fighting in
rings around the world ourselves. Thats what makes us different. Roger
and I wanna create a gym that has the same curriculum, work ethic and
training as all the top gyms we both have trained at over the course
of our career. We wanna have top level MMA fighters come to tropical
Thailand and be able to get the same or more of a demanding training
session that they would get in their top gyms back home as well as
train with some of the best Muay Thai trainers on the planet. We also
wanna introduce inexperienced MMA fighters and hopefuls to the type of
training they will need to embark on in order to take them to the next
level of their abilities. Not only other fighters but I have trained
with thousands of our troops overseas while doing Military tours in
over 10 countries and I can't wait to invite all of you to our
facility to continue our training and friendships. Military are VIP at
our camp! ;)
We are not businessmen looking for quick profits and money. We are
fighters looking to spark greatness in the fighters of tomorrow while
living out the adventure of a lifetime.
As far as AKA.... This is a gym I am a core member of and will forever
be a part of. I have been at AKA for over 10 years and was there when
we named it AKA from Team Shamrock. Javier, the owner, was one of the
first guys I talked to about doing a gym in Thailand and he and the
team thought it was a fantastic idea for me even though it wasn't an
AKA named franchise. Even before I asked for it to be affiliated with
AKA. They were happy for me, wished me well and said they can't wait
to come and train there. Not only that but there are several MMA gyms
within miles of our facilities in San Jose. There is no Gang type
mentality where we bash other gyms and they bash us. We all offer our
style of service and product and all have our own student base. This
is why the AKA name and franchise is so successful and has built
Champion after Champion from the ground up. Thomson, Cook, Mendez and
myself were there when Cain and Fitch and Koscheck and Cormier and Wilcox
and Kyle and Rockhold and many others came in the door with little or
no MMA experience. They trained hard with AKA's proven formula and all
became stars. Almost everyone that was there in the old days that
stuck it out and didn't quit became stars. Gyms that offer a good
product, good service, a good business module and who focus on their
team, don't usually hate and worry about what other gyms are doing.
And for the people mentioning a possible reality show. Stay tuned to
find out. This gym will probably be as socially connected and visible
as any has been before.
We wanna thank everyone out there for the ongoing support we have
received. For those asking about more info, we will make it available
as soon as it happens. Obviously Roger and I have been an open box via
our Twitter and Youtube sites. If you wanna see Phuket and see Cobra
Blood Drinking, Snake Eating, Monkey Training, Shark Fishing and more,
get caught up on my Youtube so you can be prepared when you come out
and hang with our crazy asses.
And for you tweetie birds...
Holy wall of text batman.
Jk ttt for swick and Huerta !!
Sorry if you had to download this to kindle to read it. Full blog with videos is at http://michaelswick.blogspot.com ;)
Are you still with Zinkin, Mike?
Geez Tommy with the blank space you wasted right there I could have written a whole other paragraph! ;)
traitors not traders.
Mike Swick - Geez Tommy with the blank space you wasted right there I could have written a whole other paragraph! ;)
Damn my silly shenanigans! Glad to hear your healthy mike
That was ... actually a darn good read.
Sifu Swick is articulate, and explosive.
TheAssMurderer - traitors not traders.
for later... when I have an hour and a half to spare.
Welcome to Thai politics
Anarkis - Nice write up. I can't imagine why anyone would want to open a gym in Thailand :P