Spike Carlyle clashes with Koji Takeda at Rizin 35 on April 17th. This lightweight contest goes down at Musashino Forest Sport Plaza in Chofu, Tokyo, Japan.
I spoke with Carlyle prior to this prizefight and excerpts from our chat are below.
Carlyle’s feelings as fight night, and by proxy his promotional debut, approaches
“This is my dream come true. Everything’s amazing, ready to go out there and have a spectacular performance.”
If there was a distinct entry point that began the Japanese MMA fandom of Spike Carlyle
“There’s two moments that stick out. When Kevin Randleman suplexed the crap out of Fedor and Fedor kimura-ed him right after. Then also, when Rampage did the amazing powerbomb slam on Ricardo Arona. Those two are like ahhhhh (laughs)”
“Just the whole show. I mean, it was so well put together. From the walkouts and just the excitement and the amazing fans over there. I could tell that they were (about) true martial arts. True samurai Bushido spirit. This is where it originated. So I’m here.”
If some unique presentation elements will be added for Carlyle amid the pageantry of a Rizin show
“Oh, yeah. So obviously in the UFC, I wasn’t able to. But if you look at my amateur career and all my pro career, I always do fun walkouts and stuff like that. So I’ll definitely have something super, super, super fun that everyone’s gonna enjoy I’m sure. It will be amazing. And then also the ruleset is a little different. So I think it’s even better for my style and I’m really looking forward to soccer kicking people and kneeing them on the ground.”
His goal of concurrently fighting for Rizin and Bellator coming to fruition and the gratitude for that
“It was all meant to be it feels like to me. I believe I’m here for a bigger reason outside of myself. And the timing is never what we anticipate or want so to speak. But it is the perfect timing truly. So I’m happy I was able to stay patient. Persevere and to take things one day at a time. My dream is coming true as we speak.”
“Yeah, so I’ve been watching Satoshi. For quite some time, I’ve been eyeing him. He’s been at the top of the division. I haven’t watched Johnny Case as much. But I’ve been watching Roberto for quite some time and watching his fights. I definitely think I match up extremely well with him. And then funny enough, Johnny’s here. He’s literally the room next door and we met at the airport and we hung out yesterday. We hung out today.”
“We’re like buddies now so hopefully we never have to fight. But he’s a great dude. So really like him. I haven’t met Roberto. I’m sure he’s a nice guy as well.”
Spike Carlyle vs Koji Takeda
Thoughts on the Koji Takeda bout announcement and overall matchup machinations
“No, actually, not for him. I didn’t know about him until they presented me the matchup then obviously I started watching tape that night. So yeah, no, I didn’t know who he was until now. But like you said, he’s a five-fight Rizin veteran and I think it’s gonna be really, really good for myself.”
The origins of Carlyle’s nickname The Alpha Ginger
“I got it when I was about 14 or 15 in high school. There was another ginger who was bigger than me. He was my buddy. We played football together. We wrestled together. He’s a stud athlete. We had a friendly competition to see who the alpha ginger was and I was victorious. I won the name and now I’m the AG.”
What some of the competition components were to determine the Ginger hierarchy
“Yeah, that was the before Jesus Spike. So it wasn’t anything appropriate that I would want to share with the public.”
Parting thoughts for Spike Carlyle
“Just tune in on April 17th, 2022. I’m going to be putting on a very memorable, amazing show. From the moment I walk out to the end of my post-fight speech, I’m here to entertain. I’m not just a fighter. Not just a martial artist. I’m an entertainer, and I hope you guys enjoy the show. Stoked to have the opportunity to show you guys my life’s work. So thank you so much, Dylan.”
I’ve been enamored with combat sports for as long as I can remember. I’ve hosted MMA talk shows Lights Out and Pure Fight Radio with featured guests like Jens Pulver, Roy Nelson, Miesha Tate, Mark Coleman, and more. I’ve been an MMA broadcaster for XFFC as well as BTC and have done play by play commentary on live pay per view on GFL as well as FITE TV. I’ve provided written, audio, and video content covering some of the biggest MMA promotions like Rumble in the Cage, Unified MMA, and King of the Cage. I’ve worked as a sports entertainment personality for over five years and given play-by-play or featured promotions of KSW, ONE Championship, TKO, and Invicta FC. My work can be found in the USA Today Sports affiliate MMA Torch, Cageside Press, MMA Sucka, and Liberty Multimedia.