Photos by Ernie Sapiro Photography
Joey Pierotti is a lightweight prospect out of Enumclaw, Washington with a professional record of 8-0. Pierotti the product out of the Combat Sport & Fitness is looking to move to 9-0 Saturday of this week. “Mama’s Boy” Pierotti is set to take on Canadian, Tristan Connelly for the CageSport 50 promotion.
First of all, how did you get into MMA? Do you have any background in any other sports?
“Honestly, I’d never been in a fist fight growing up and I was in between college wrestling seasons and needed an excuse to stay in shape. So my first fight I was not affiliated with any gym and trained out of my garage with my buddies. I ended up winning my first fight by unanimous decision, but only remember bits and pieces of it. I do remember getting a big laceration above one of my eyes though and my mom super gluing it shut afterward. She is not a medical professional but has never had a problem getting a little blood on her hands.”
Is MMA your full-time job? If so, what did you before MMA?
“MMA is a full-time job for me but it is not my full-time career. I’m a professional firefighter and professional fighter. I am just as proud and fortunate to be where I am at in both professions. Both required a lot of hard work and determination behind closed curtains that people don’t really get to see.”
What’s the story behind the “Mama’s Boy” nickname?
“The Mama’s Boy nickname was actually given to me after my first fight under my current coach Jeff Hougland, UFC vet and owner of Combat Sport and Fitness. At the time, I didn’t have a ring name and the only tattoo that I had was an old school ‘mom’ tattoo, that my mom actually paid for in Mexico while on a family vacation. So, while the announcer was introducing me to the crowd, that’s basically all he had to go off of, thus giving me the nickname that has stood with me through now. It’s also very fitting if you talk to anyone in my family, friends or people around my hometown in Enumclaw, WA. I’m a mama’s boy in every sense of the word, whether I like it or not, I do own it.”
What is your favorite striking and grappling technique?
“I wouldn’t say I really have a favorite technique, but I am a big fan of putting everything together and using good fundamentals to get what I want. I enjoy using my striking to set up a smooth, easy takedown. From there I enjoy getting my self in a dominant positing and striking to TKO or striking to set up a submission. There is something about cutting another mans face open with elbows though that I do thoroughly enjoy.”
Can you explain who you train with and how you came across the camp? Also, who are some of your main sparring partners?
“I train under UFC vet Jeff Hougland at Combat Sport and Fitness in Enumclaw, WA. Enumclaw is a small town so it wasn’t really too hard to find after I decided I wanted to take this fighting thing a little more seriously. That and my mom gave me the green light, saying that I could fight until I lost. My main two training partners are Jeff Hougland and Chase Hooper. Chase and I are the only active fighter out of the gym currently, but at one time we have 5 of the top-ranked Welterweights/Lightweights in the PNW. Most of those guys have retired and moved on to new career paths that are a little easier on the body. But we still have guys like Tyson Cunningham and Paul DeVeglio that still come in when they can and help play a big role in getting Chase and I ready for our fights.”
What has been your favorite memory of your MMA career so far?
“My favorite memory so far would have to be the Richard Brooks fight in October 2016 at Cagesport. Not only was it a good scrap with us both being wrestlers and me having to adjust the game plan to get the finish, but it was the first fight my girlfriend had ever seen live. She’s originally from Boston, we met through mutual friends and I finally convinced her to fly out for the weekend to watch me fight and go out on a date afterward, so it was quite the trip for her to get all the way out here and watch something like that. Fortunately, I came out with some minor bumps, bruises, and stitches and we were still able to have a nice remainder of the weekend in Seattle. We’ve been together ever since.”
100% finish rate in your professional career. Is to finish your opponents the plan or is it just how it works out?
“My plan is always to finish my opponents, intelligently without putting myself in jeopardy. But as we get to the next level in all of this there’s bonus money involved for all of these finishes. So that’s a nice little-added incentive. At the end of the day, I want to get in and out as soon as I can, with as little damage as possible so I can go back to my ‘day job’ as a firefighter and still be able to maintain a professional appearance.”
You are taking this next fight at lightweight where you are moving down from 170 for the first time. Explain why you decided to move down and how confident are you in making the weight? Also, what is one thing you miss eating while cutting weight?
“I decided to make the move down to Lightweight mainly so I could show the UFC that I’m able to make the weight and that I will be a much more dominant force when I actually cut down like everyone else. My last fight, I woke up in the morning at 170 on weigh-in day and probably walked into the cage around the same the next night. I’m not worried about the weight cut, I feel like I’ve done my homework and researched enough to make this a very smooth process. For college wrestling, I had to make weight at 157 2-3 times a week for like 4 months, and wrestle the same day. Here I’ll have ample time to not only cut down but to put the weight back on in a healthy fashion. Honestly when it gets to the nitty-gritty of this whole process I don’t really miss anything because I’m focused on the end result, but earlier on I start cutting at sweets and snack foods. So during that portion, I would have to say hazelnut spread. But I have no self-control with it so when its out its out, otherwise, I’d probably getting a bunch of containers full of it and not only eating it, but bathing in the stuff until I got sick. Very twisted and dangerous stuff for a guy like me, which is why I just avoid it altogether.”
You are fighting Tristan Connelly next. What do you think about him as an opponent and how do you see this fight playing out? Do you usually watch footage of your opponents?
“He seems like a tough opponent. Looks like kind of a submission/ground guy. Most of the submission/ground guys I’ve faced have ended up unconscious with their head split open. So I am planning on it being more of the same. I do like to watch a little bit of footage just to see tendencies and whatnot, but I try not to obsess over it.”
What management team are you signed with (if any)?
“Ruby Sports & Entertainment.”
One dream fight, who would you like to square off with?
“A fight in the UFC.”
Is there anyone in the UFC or Bellator you would like to fight?
“I have already choked out one Bellator Vet, another one avoided a fight with me on one week’s notice. There are a few younger dudes in the UFC that I think are getting spoon-fed opponents that I would like to have a crack at. But they are signed and I’m not right now so it’s kind of hard to talk any shit.”
Speaking of Bellator and the UFC. What is your goal is it to fight for one of those promotions?
“I want to be a UFC world champion, just waiting for my shot.”
Peanut butter or Jelly?
“Depends on what it’s going on. Straight up though? Peanut butter or almond butter if I’m trying to feel healthy.”