Interview with Big Lonn of High Rollerz above
Have no fear, the cannabis crusaders are here!
The dynamic duo of Lonn Howard and Matt Staudt, better known as “Big Lonn” and “Mighty Matt” are the faces of High Rollerz BJJ; An instant sensation amidst the grappling scene that flourishes with an underground vibe. High Rollerz has become a combat sports safe haven for competitors who utilize cannabis as a form of therapy, relief and/or medication. Hosting matches for competitors across the world, High Rollerz competitors are able to compete while utilizing their medicine and can display their skillset without serious judgement, penalty or prosecution against them.
How the two met was nothing short of destiny. Fusing their passion for cannabis and martial arts, Howard says “This shit was literally meant to be!”
Howard, who studies Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and mixed martial arts at Stout PGH in his hometown of Pittsburgh, recalls putting the proverbial pieces together at a Jiu Jitsu tournament he was competing at in Ohio. A tournament where he remembers “The first seed that was planted.”
“I was doing a Jiu Jitsu tournament, I think grapplers industries Cleveland, Ohio,” Howard recalls. “I was up here doing a tournament, Round robin. My first match of the day…I go out there. I win the match but it’s a rough match! (I) didn’t feel right. Just didn’t feel good and shit. And so (I) go to the car before my next match and just go at it! I smoked two joints! Did like 3 bong rips!”
When it was time to return for his upcoming matches, Howard says, “it was like I just couldn’t be touched.” Coming to the realization after he “subbed everybody” he recalls. “I was like damn, man! When I smoke, I’m more, like…more in tune to what’s going on! I’m creative.”
Howard stayed the cannabis course during training. He continued utilizing cannabis as a tool to ease his mind while working his body to its limits. Before open mat one day at the gym, “the day all the killers were there”, he recollects, he smoked before he started to train and jumped into the deep waters with the school’s elite. “Everybody who usually tapped me, swept me, like dogged me and shit like that…I’m giving them problems. Like real problems!” He recalled.
The proof was in his progress. Howard trained better, thought clearer, and performed at his best. “Damn man when I smoke. This shit like making sense!” He says. “Like everything is making sense. The moves, where to put my body and how to distribute my weight…” Everything clicked into place naturally for Howard.
After training, thoughts began to brew. Howard brainstormed the possibilities of competitors having the chance to vie for a bag of nature’s medicine. Then the stakes were raised when he decided to up the ante and thought about that “bag” increasing to a more substantial amount…”a pound” of cannabis. Surely, that was something that cannabis consuming competitors would flock to. Which he would soon come to find out, as he was correct in his assumptions.
Aside from martial arts, Howard is very active in the music scene as well. Being related to famous rapper, Wiz Khalifa, Howard has toured with Khalifa and is often in the studio with his friends who are also musicians. One chance meeting is all it took when Cesar Gracie Blackbelt and UFC’s Nate Diaz stopped by the studio with “Mighty” Matt Staudt of Staudt Agency. After some good music, good weed and good vibes, Howard and Staudt hit it off quickly and without knowing it, they soon began exchanging ideas about the beginning of something big.
As it turned out, “Mighty” Matt Staudt had similar ideas to Howard. Staudt had already started to lay the groundwork of the business plan with an idea that seemed to parallel Howard’s. Staudt supplied plenty of resources to back up their endeavor and stayed persistent in making this dream once only spoken about in the studio, become a reality. The natural elements were already in tow for many athletes that were currently cannabis users, and now more than ever their voices would be heard and their presence known. Staudt knew It was time to strike while the iron was hot with their idea and didn’t let off Howard one bit.
Fast forward to 2020 where High Rollerz BJJ now has an endless list of top tier sponsors in the cannabis field and some of the best Jiu Jitsu practitioners in the world looking to showcase their skills under the High Rollerz banner. The likes of world renowned grapplers such as-Jeff Glover, UFC’s Angela Hill, Bellator’s Daniel Strauss, and 10th Planet founder Eddie Bravo serving as a past guest referee…on top of countless of others, are supporting their cause! High Rollerz has indeed found a recipe for success, and that recipe smells like the sticky icky!
Since the inception of High Rollerz , “Big Lonn” and “Mighty” Matt have turned their creative concept into a flourishing oasis for grapplers worldwide. Many top athletes get to test their skills at the highest of levels while anxiety free, all while competing for the green! It just so happens to be the kind of green you can puff, puff, pass.
Fight the stigma that plagues cannabis, relax and tune in for our 4/20 edition of MyMMArijuanaCHRONICles as I chat in depth with one half of the High Rollerz, “Big Lonn” Howard himself! We chat about the history, future, and all the fun stuff in between High Rollerz BJJ!
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Currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Wilmington University, Adam’s passion for the sport only grows stronger when a fighter’s voice can be heard. He thrives on asking detailed questions to inspire the thoughts behind the punches in hopes that each fighter can find their proper justice. Specializing in pre and post fight interviews for MyMMANews, Adam strives to keep the fight fans up to speed with the most recent and authentic MMA news possible.
He is Co-promoter of Delaware’s premier kick-boxing and Muay Thai organization, IBF Promotions. Recently he has also accompanied MMA organizations Global Proving Ground and XCC as Co-host and ringside commentator.