$Bill recently sat down with former Cleveland Golden Glove champion and current rising star of Mixed-Martial Arts, Bobby “The Sicilian Assassin” Friend to talk about his Cleveland upbringing and upcoming fights.
|Photos Courtesy of $Bill Bailey / Bobby Friend|
$Bill: Alright Bobby, first of all, thanks for taking the time to sit down this me.
Bobby Friend: No problem at all bro.
$B: Why don’t you go ahead and introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your background.
B.F.: My name is Bobby Friend; I graduated from John Hays High School. And I am a native of Cleveland, Ohio. I love my city.
$B: Now tell us what you do.
B.F.: I’m a full contact fighter.
$B: Can you give us a brief background on what it was like for you growing up in Cleveland.
B.F.: I grew up off West Blvd. Projects. Only Sicilian kid in there with a lot of Puerto Ricans, blacks and whites. I had a lot of friends. I am the ONLY 6-time Golden Glove champion consecutively, out of Cleveland, Ohio. As far as Caucasian goes, there are only 2 more. And I grew up with a bunch of great dudes and this is my home. I’m very proud of it.
$B: Cleveland is known for a lot of people who basically talk A LOT of shit. Whether it is in the music scene, the cage or just on the streets in general. We both know a few of those people.
B.F.: YES, we do.
$B: I’d like you to go ahead and give us your resume that proves you back up what you say you can do.
B.F.: November 20, 2004 Pride fighting championships went around the globe for unsigned free agents in full contact fighting. They received over 4200 applicants. Only 137 fighters were invited, I was one of them. There was only one pair that was asked to go through twice, and I was one of those dudes.
$B: Nice! So what made you decide that you wanted to be a fighter?
B.F.: My Mom. My Mother and my Grandmother, their courage and their bravery. They give me everything, absolutely. And my son, I love my son. I got to do something for him.
$B: What kind of music did you listen to while you were growing up?
B.F.: A lot of rap actually. LL Cool J. Right now the only rap that I listen to is DMX. I listen to mostly heavy metal. Slayer, Pantera, Metallica, and actually there is a local band called Seven and I come out to one of their songs and they are from Cleveland. And I’m coming out to American Hero. And I support my people, you know what I mean?
$B: Yeah Definitely. Those are good people. So is there anything in particular that you listen to while you are training or getting ready for the big fight?
B.F.: Anything that can influence me or influence my people around me. I don’t have friends, I have family. I don’t have acquaintances, I have family. If you get around me your around me. If not then I can do without you. You know what I mean? If somebody is going to influence me I look at my people, I look at my brothers and they influence me to do what I got to do. To take them up, pick them up, and move them out. That’s where I’m at.
$B: What kind of fight styles are you trained in?
B.F.: Well mainly as everyone knows, I’m a golden glove boxer six times. My stand up though is Muay Thai; it’s the most disciplined in the world. And I feel it’s the most lethal. Brazilians even train in because they know if you don’t have Muay Thai standup, then your garbage. On the ground it’s Brazilian Jujutsu or submission wrestling. I have a couple wrestlers that work with me right now and they help me out because I suck on the ground.
$B: So that’s what you prefer to fight in, the muay thai?
B.F.: Oh yeah, oh yeah! I love to stand up and bang, absolutely!
$B: What would you say that your strengths are?
B.F.: That I have no weaknesses!
$B: Well that answers my next question. Alright well what has been your biggest and most memorable fight so far?
B.F.: My first fight. Beating him down the way I did and losing. The loss, I broke my right hand about a minute and 15 in the first round. And I fought with it and didn’t want to give up, but I did and it broke my heart. Let’s put it this way, I won’t be tapping out again any time soon.
$B: So when is your next fight?
B.F.: June 3rd Lafayette, LA Rampage in the cage volume 2!
$B: And what is your future plans?
B.F.: I just wanted a piece of the pie, now I want the whole fucking pie. I want everything.
$B: So where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
B.F.: World Champ! Or fighting for one at least. Either way I’m going to be there. I’m already signed with Deniro sports, so I’m there.
$B: And will you be representing the 216 on your way up the ladder.
B.F.: Absolutely! It’s my hometown. All my brothers are in Cleveland, Ohio. Ohio period! This is where I’m from; this is where I was raised.
$B: And where can people see some of your fights?
B.F.: You can go to rampage in the cage, King of the cage, or I just signed with UFC March 11th right before my fight. American fighter, damage wear, lefthookpromotions.com
$B: Where can people find out more about you on the web, same places?
B.F.: Same places, same places. I can reiterate this enough. I love my hometown. This is what it’s about. People take us for jokes and we’re not jokes! We got a lot of hardworking people here and we deserve a lot of respect. And I’m going to go get it!
$B: Alright, great to hear. Thanks a lot for taking the time out of training to do this interview for us.
B.F.: Anytime $Bill, take care brother.