*Since the interview, Shah has informed me that a major sponsor has pulled out of the event and it will be pushed back to May.
I recently had the chance to catch up with Shah Bobonis, a veteran mixed martial artist with over 17 professional bouts. Looking to build momentum off a January victory, Shah seeks another win in South Florida's Radrok MMA 2. The event takes place on March 25, 2011 at Florida Atlantic University's Burrow Arena in Boca Raton, Florida.
MMA Blaster: Since we last talked, you had a bout against Jaime Jimenez, how did that fight play out?
Shah Bobonis: The fight went well, he was a tough guy! He had me in a nice kimura in the first. As the fight went on I started landing my hands more and more. After taking a kick to the mid section, Jamie grabbed my leg, and got me to the floor. I hit a wrestling switch from butterfly guard to get back on top. Jaime was on all fours and I had a great wrestling position on his side to strike from. Then he tried to gramby roll me twice and on the second attempt I took his back and got the rear naked choke.
(Shah sinking the choke)
MMA Blaster: You had a prospective fight in Bellator's third season, why did it fall through? What do you think about fighting for Bellator sometime in the future?
Shah Bobonis: I sprained my knee pretty bad before the Bellator fight and had to pull out. It's really hard to get the call from a great show and then have to give up the chance to fight a great opponent on a great show. I can only hope that I get the chance this year to fight on Bellator.
MMA Blaster: Your next fight will be at Florida Atlantic University for RadRok MMA Championship, what do you think the atmosphere will be like? How do fans get tickets?
Shah Bobonis: Tickets should be on sale on their website soon. I know I will probably start selling tickets next week. I am fighting a well established American Top Team guy near ATT Coconut Creek gym, so I expect to hear a bunch of ATT fans cheering him on. Freestyle Fighting Academy, FFA is only a hour away, so I know I will have plenty of supporters cheering me on as well.
MMA Blaster: What is it like fighting in Florida as opposed to other places around the world?
Shah Bobonis: Fighting in Florida is getting easier now as far as the number of shows that are being held in the state, so I'm taking advantage of that. It is a bit more comfortable to sleep in your own bed every night before the fight so I welcome the change. Although I love to travel to fight and get the me versus the world mentality going.
(Shah throwing a punch in a Costa Rican fight)
MMA Blaster: What do you know about your opponent Chris Manuel? What are his strengths?
Shah Bobonis: Chris Manuel is great everywhere. He is an ATT black belt, very good wrestling for MMA, and text book kickboxing. He has no weaknesses
MMA Blaster: What weight will the fight be at? Is that where you feel more comfortable?
Shah Bobonis: The fight will be at 145 where I feel great. For the Bellator fight I think I might have injured myself because of the weight I was trying to cut. My body was wearing down and I was really tired the day I sprained my knee.
(Radrok Promo Pic)
MMA Blaster: Where have you been training lately? Who are your main training partners now?
Shah Bobonis: I'm training at FFA with the Avellan brothers. It's a true MMA gym where I can train every aspect of my game. The guys there push me all the time. There are too many pro fighters at FFA to name, but they know who they are. They kick my butt all the time. Fighters who are Bellator veterans, NAGA champions, high level wrestlers, black belts in BJJ and in Karate, so I see it all. I get extra wrestling training with Chino Duran and Pat Williams; both are pro fighters who wrestled in college. Chino wrestled at Northern Illinois with guys like Clay Guida. Pat wrestled at ASU with CB Dolloway, Ryan Bader and Cain Velasquez.
MMA Blaster: You've began managing fighters, what challenges does that present? What is the most exciting part about that job?
Shah Bobonis: I just started managing fighters. I started just to help guys out at the gym because I had fought so many different places and ended up having a huge contact list of managers, promoters and matchmakers from all over the world. I've already put guys in Bellator, M-1 Global and the XFC. I'm getting enjoyment out of seeing guys that I train with win as I help guide their careers.
MMA Blaster: How does a prospective business sponsor one of your fighters?
Shah Bobonis: Aquiring sponsorships is the weakest area of my managing skill set mostly because of time. I also work close to full time as a bartender, so the time it takes to sell fighters is something I'm trying to outsource. I'm currently looking for someone to partner with to work on sponsorships. I have a few candidates in the works, but I'm still taking applications. At this point if anyone is interested in sponsoring one of my fighters, please send me a email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MMA Blaster: Do you have any shout outs? Sponsor mentions? Shah Bobonis: I want to thank my most loyal sponsor Brawl and Maul! Everyone at FFA. Also, Chino and Pat.