By: Nick Portella
What’s good fight fans? Today I got the chance to catch up with Victory heavyweight champ Daniel “Big Kansas” Gallamore. He will be defending his title on May 5. Let’s have a seat with the champ and ask some questions.
Nick: At what age did you begin to train martial arts? What was the first discipline you trained in? What belts do you have in those disciplines?
Daniel: I messed around with a couple different types of arts as a kid, but I was very limited as we lived in a town of about 500 people. There was a small dojo down the street from my dad’s house in Topeka (divorced parents) that I went to occasionally when I was with him, but that wasn’t very often. I was a kid’s club wrestler and wrestled through high school, but I admittedly wasn’t as focused on sports as I should have been.
Nick: What belts do you have and in what disciplines?
Daniel: I’m ranked as a blue belt in BJJ and a black belt in AJJ. I don’t wear my gi very often. I haven’t belted anything as far as striking goes as there are no belts in muay thai or boxing and those are the only styles I’ve trained for related specifically to striking. The majority of my training was for well-rounded MMA and I think that’s important in today’s state of the sport. I firmly believe that MMA fighters should train MMA. The days of people being one dimensional or even knowing different disciplines separately, are diminishing. You’ve got to have the ability to mix all different styles and techniques in the sport of mixed martial arts.
Nick: With an professional record of 6-3 what was your ameateur record?
Daniel: I think it was 15-3. I’m not sure though. There were fights that weren’t documented due to different rule sets and different state regulations. The way I see it amateur MMA is basically practice for the professional level. It’s where you should get the majority of things figured out such as weight class, routines, regimes, etc. When you’ve got a pretty good handle on things as an amateur then it’s time to go pro.
Nick: How long have you been with Elevation Fight Team?
Daniel: Not very long. I’d trained with some of these guys for short periods of time before, but nothing extravagant. For my fight against Abe I stayed with Eric Prindle and trained at LAB a couple days a week. Eric and I also trained at Average Joe’s a couple of days a week as well. When I found out about fighting Derek I reached out to Leister Bowling about training at Elevation and was welcomed with open arms. It worked out very well as my opponent is a great grappler and I had a great wrestler as a training partner. Curtis Blaydes and other great wrestlers were also there training with us as well. I live out here in Colorado now and have no intentions of leaving. I’ve been kind of a loner throughout my career though, but I have been brought into some amazing camps and worked with some of the best coaches because I’m a decent heavyweight and extremely fortunate.
Nick: What would you say is your best attribute as a fighter?
Daniel: I would have to say my durability. I am just too stupid to quit too I guess. I’d like to think I’m pretty tough and hit pretty hard.
Nick: Your nickname is Big Kansas. Who gave it to you and why?
Daniel: I was brought into camp for Travis Browne, Joey Beltran, and Phil Davis out at Alliance years ago. Joey was doing the VLOG for UFC 131 (it’s on YouTube) and I think he’d forgotten my last name so he called me “Big Kansas.” The video got like 20k views and the name stuck.
Nick: With cutting weight and fighter safety always being a priority. What methods of cutting weight do you use? How much weight do you usually have to cut before a fight? Do you feel the weight cut has a major impact on your strength before a fight?
Daniel: I’m a fat ass, but I don’t have to cut nearly the percentage of my weight as some of the smaller guys. I usually water load, than dehydrate a bit a couple days before the weigh in. I cut back on carbs and sodium before the weigh in then promptly carb up and re hydrate following the weigh in. I don’t think it has a huge factor on my strength as I don’t cut that much. It does have an effect on my temperament though. Big guys get mean when they can’t have carbs. 2 of my 3 losses as a pro were to guys that weighed quite a bit more than I did, so that was an easy thing to fix. As I type this I’m getting texts from one of my Hawaiian friends about his weight cut, as I have done a lot of research and am pretty knowledgeable on cutting. Kick ass this weekend Spencer!
Nick: You scored two of your last three wins via first round KO/TKO which claimed you a title. Do you prefer to keep a fight on your feet or are you equally as comfortable on the ground?
Daniel: The second to last fight was via guillotine, but I did get a knockdown just before getting the submission. I prefer to keep the fight on my feet, but I am comfortable on the ground. As an ammy I had equal amounts of sub wins to KO wins I think, one of which was a gogoplata. Back to the brand and marketing though, who really wants to see heavyweights hug? Not nearly as many people as want to see heavyweights knock each other’s blocks off. I’ve got a knack for finding peoples snooze button, and it seems to be working out fairly well.
Nick: You currently hold the heavyweight championship belt for Victory. You will be defending that title May 5 against a tough “Razor” Razak Al-Hassan. Do you have a prediction for the fight?
Daniel: From what I know (haven’t researched much honestly) he’s a striker. The difference is I haven’t ever been dropped in a fight, and up until fairly recently hadn’t ever really even had my bell rung. So, I’ll be happy to stand and trade, as I hope he is too. I think the fans win that way regardless of the outcome of the fight.
Nick: What tips would you give young up and coming fighters just getting into the fight game?
Daniel: FILM! Get film and pictures. It’s easy to say you did this or you did that, but at the end of the day talk is cheap. Getting sponsors and marketing yourself as a fighter is difficult without material. I did well as an ammy, but I have very very little evidence of it. A good highlight film is so good for marketing and most potential sponsors at the lower levels don’t care if it’s ammy or pro. Also, try to get an understanding of the business side of things. Try to understand the perspective of a promoter and of a potential sponsor. I wish it was as simple as going out there and fighting, but it’s not. This is sports entertainment and you’ve got to be entertaining, especially right now with Viacom giving Bellator the green flag to sign people and WSOF getting a couple big money backers. The UFC has been losing good high ranked guys and I think a bidding war of sorts may kind of come into play soon. At least I hope so as that’s great for the fighters. Oh, and if a fighter is doing something you want to do, educate yourself on what steps they took to get there. People can hate on Ronda, Connor, Tyron, GSP, and Lesnar all they want, but they’re doing better at the game than you are (and me) so there’s knowledge to be had, absorb it.
Nick: Daniel have you submitted to the takeover?
Daniel: This is Daniel “Big Kansas” Gallamore and I have submitted to the takeover.
I enjoyed talking with Big Kansas. I wish him all the best in his upcoming title defense and from what it sounds like it should be a barn burner. Signing off for TheMMATakeOver.com this is Nick Portella. @NickPortellaMMA