“I’m pretty much hanging it up after this fight” Q&A with Matt Helm before his fight at Shamrock FC Mayhem

Matt Helm / image courtesy of Knuckle Junkies
Matt Helm / image courtesy of Knuckle Junkies

Matt Helm(0-1) is a name known around regional circuits especially in the amateur divisions. He made his long awaited pro debut back in June for Bellator but suffered a devastating injury in defeat. It’s been a tough but steady road back for the fighter but he feels that the time maybe now to stop. He’s not 100 percent on retiring but how many fighters can you say are? No matter if his time is up or not he is a part of one of the best cards in St. Louis mma history Shamrock FC Mayhem that goes down Saturday March 12th. Helm chatted with us about his rehab, Bellator and what to expect in Saturday’s bout. We would like to thank Matt, his family and teammates for allowing us the time to conduct this interview.

Over the summer you had the opportunity to fight for Bellator. Even though you didn’t come up with the win how would you rate your overall experience?

Well other than getting my knee torn, the experience itself was amazing. It should have been about my third pro fight but it was my debut for Bellator and not many people get say they make their pro debut for Bellator. Being in the hotel and meeting everybody from John Mccarthy to a bunch of the fighters was nice. The whole experience ran smooth and then to walk out and have 20,000 people staring at you it was a pretty cool ass experience bro. All the fighters were cool guys and willing to talk and shoot the sh** it was a good time man.

How has your training evolved since that fight and what are some things you are excited to do once you return to the cage?

Training got back to normal, I had to do about six weeks of rehab and physical therapy. That came with a lot of time off because I had to take some time off from work. But the last few months i’ve been back in the gym, back in the same rotation. I let the knee heal up it’s all good now. I’m back in the groove and I’m just excited to get back in the cage. You know we are pushing a year now because it’s been since June when that happened on Bellator. So i’m just anxious to get back in again man. Fighting mma has been one of the funnest experiences for me and I’ve been around athletics my entire life. Nothing really compares to the whole experience of getting thrown in a cave and you know it’s just you and another guy trying to beat the brakes off of one another which is something else.

What are some extracurricular activities that keep you busy and active in your free time?

Matt Helm a working man's fighter
Matt Helm a working man’s fighter

Yeah with my job i’m always climbing throwing steel and things so I’m pretty active during the day. I’ve taken time off quite a few times especially with my kids. I’ve taken time off for both of them. Just being around the house helping the wife out with everything. So taking a break is not really anything new to me. I just try and stay busy with whatever i’m doing. With the injury I couldn’t do any running or anything so I just stood there and you know hit the heavy bag downstairs, do push ups things like that. Anything I could do to keep me moving and not be stagnant. With my job i’m using lifting things 8 hours a day so I haven’t really been lifting a whole lot since I’ve been doing mma. After this fight though it’s probably going to happen because i’m pretty much hanging it up after this fight. So then I can start lifting and get big because I’ve been small (laughs).

How much do you know about your opponent Tyler Claussen and where do you feel you hold some advantages in this fight?

From what I understand I know he’s a lefty and I think he’s mainly based as a wrestler (though I wouldn’t quote me on anything like that.) I actually prefer not to know a lot about the guys that i’m fighting. I just like to go in and work what I know, work on what I’m good at and then go from there. I’m going to say for sure my stand up is probably a plus for me. He may have the edge in wrestling but my jiu jitsu game now I’ll put that up against most people so I think I should be able to counteract him a little bit. Though I do feel like I hold the edge on the feet.

What’s it like to fight on such a stacked card for Shamrock FC Mayhem?

It’s an honor for sure. Finney and Donaker and all the guys at Shamrock have been great to me. My first couple fights were with Shamrock sometime ago and now I’m going to be pretty much ending it with them so it’s kinda coming full circle. As far as being on the card I’m definitely honored to have my name on there and for them to say hey we want you on this card so hopefully that says something. That they want me there. Hell I’m even excited just to watch this card.

Tell me where you train and who are some of the people that push you to get better everyday?

If I named the list it would be forever. St Charles MMA, to begin probably the best gym in the St. Louis area for sure. We have tons of guys there Mike Rogers the head coach, Matt Ricehouse, guys like Julius, Pena, Josh Sampo has been there for most of my career. Then I also go over to Art of 8 Muay Thai with Quinton O’Brien over at Vaghi gym, O’brien and Patrick Christie those guys have put insane amounts of hours into me and I have nothing but appreciation for those guys and what they do. They definitely push me and get the work needed to. I mean everyone associated with those gyms form St.Charles MMA to Vaghi to Art of Eight all those guys over the year have been amazing.

With the madness that is the world of mixed martial arts how do you think it’s being received by the casual watcher and what’s something that can help progress the sport into the future?

It could be up there with baseball, football, basketball and the NFL. As far as the casual fans I think it’s more about them being knowledgeable about the sport. The more people realize that it’s more than just a blood sport and that it’s a competition of high level skill the better. Getting through that and learning I think really helps out with the casual fans. Hopefully we won’t have to many more Kimbos and Dada’s. To me those just hurt the sport and are nothing but a joke. So I think as people become more knowledgeable about it the more they learn then more some will get into I think.

What kind of results should we expect to see at Shamrock FC Mayhem in your fight with Tyler Claussen?

I feel it’s going to end up with me getting the win. I’m just going to throw it all out there you know and not hold anything back. Like I said earlier it’s more than likely my last fight so I’m going to go out there guns blazing and unleash all the skills that I can see what happens. It’s probably going to end up with a first or second round tko. That would be the way i would see it going.

Shamrock FC returns this Saturday March 12th to the River City Casino and Resort for Shamrock FC: Mayhem. We would like to thank Matt once again for the interview. For more information on the event head over to www.shamrockfightingchampionships.com

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Travis Brown

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