Ryan Hamilton is an amateur welterweight fighting out of StandAlone MMA in Chico, California. “Hollywood” has fighting aspirations that extend beyond just punching people. His physique is always on point, which can be attributed to his stubborn work ethic and passion for working out and leading an active lifestyle. Fighting, fitness and hard work is a combination that he believes will set him up for success beyond the cage.
I have yet to hear anyone call you “Ryan.” How did you get the name Hollywood?
“That came from Brandon “Kiba” Ricetti. I would have to bike three miles just to get to class at Standalone and that was after work. I wore aviator sunglasses and I would often be late. He started calling me Hollywood. Once coach Jay (Jason Pietz) called me that, it was over. That was at least five years ago.”
StandAlone is tucked away, just blocks from California State University, Chico. The school draws students from all walks of life to train in MMA, Muay Thai, Jiu Jitsu, Boxing and more. Ryan Hamilton is native to the area but didn’t grow up training in martial arts.
How did you discover MMA and the school here in Chico?
“I had finished playing football and I missed the activity. I had a friend who’s older brother fought and trained here. It was a slow start for me because I broke my scapula early on. They say it takes some force to do that. I wish I had a cooler story, but I did it playing slow pitch softball not fighting.”
What did you expect before you started training?
“Prior to coming in here, I thought I would take to it like a fish to water. I assumed that because I was athletic I would pick it up really fast. I didn’t realize how difficult it was and how much there was to learn.
When I started, I was weighing about 220 and I was paired with a 150-pound purple belt for my first roll. I was like ‘man, I don’t want to hurt you. I outweigh you by a lot.’ He subbed me with a rear naked choke in about 30 seconds. That’s when I realized that this would be a lot harder than I thought.
A lot of guys come in with a background in a specific area like boxing or wrestling. I thought it would be to my advantage that I was a blank slate and I think it has benefited me because I am well-rounded.”
What drew you to MMA and what keeps you fighting?
“I started training and competing just for fun and to prove to myself that I could do it. I always wanted to open my own gym. That was primarily for fitness. Now I have so many more doors open because I can also teach martial arts. I enjoy doing this.”
Standalone is a smaller school. How has that affected your growth as a fighter?
In small gyms, there is so much more one on one opportunity. In a bigger gym, it is hard to get the attention. Here, we are like family. I have teammates I like and trust. Sure, we gear up and try and take each other’s heads off but we are not going home concussed on a daily basis. We are close. If I want to go have a drink with my coach and talk about fighting or just life, I can do that.”
You are still an amateur but you are not a newbie. What do you hope to accomplish in MMA?
“I would love to get a title shot and go pro. Like most other fighters, the ultimate goal is to make it to the UFC, but I feel like I’ve accomplished quite a bit already. I’m not afraid of the hard fights. I want to be respected and I want my future students to be able to look me up and know that their coach has the credentials to back up what he’s saying.”
How do your parents feel about you fighting?
“They are stoked about my aspirations in fitness but as for fighting, they hate it. They love jiu jitsu because no one is getting punched. But that being said, they support me 100% in whatever I want to do.”
Ryan Hamilton recently accepted a shorter-notice fight with Pure Combat on August 25th. Do you still feel ready even without a full camp?
“I always train. I never take off time. The short-notice is more mental than physical and I can be ready in two or three weeks. I’m never that far off from making weight. If anything, I usually have to worry more about overtraining. I can’t train three times a day like want to mentally and still have my body perform optimally.”