When Mark “The American Zombie” Krumrine gets in the ring for his Muay Thai title fight this Saturday, July 15th for United States Kickboxing Alliance (USKA), it will be against a familiar foe. Krumrine previously fought Davis Oracio, Jr. just two weeks shy of a year ago. The victory went to Oracio, but the fight packed a lot of action into just one round with both fighters dropping each other prior to it being stopped. Krumrine is no stranger to action-filled fights as he was one half of USKA’s 2015 Fight of the Year. The year between his fight with Oracio has been an eventful one with many changes: Krumrine switched camps to Gracie 717, where he is now coached by Zak Kelly and Damione Puopolo, and won his most recent MMA fight by TKO. Where the previous bout was at 175 pounds, this fight will be for the 185-pound belt. Krumrine gives his thoughts on the approaching rematch, shares how training has been going, and offers advice for aspiring fighters.
What led to your role as an announcer for USKA fights? Do you feel like this new role has helped you as a fighter?
Irv and Jen always have a great relationship with the fighters and they were down to just Gary so I said, hey, I am fairly knowledgeable with the sport…perhaps I could give it a shot. I brought it up to Irv, and boom! He was all for it. I feel like I get better every time, and I enjoy doing it. It definitely lets me take mental note of some of what works and what doesn’t and different styles than I train. Anytime you are around this sport it helps you grow.
What did you learn from your most recent fight that you are applying to your training camp and fight this time?
I learned that what you put into your body after weigh-ins is just as important as what you put in before. Prior to my last [Muay Thai] fight I ate garbage stuff after weigh-ins and never rehydrated properly. My last fight in MMA I ate only fresh, non-processed foods (fruits, nuts, and proteins) and hydrated really well and felt like a completely different fighter. I won that fight by TKO in round one.
How important is having a fight game plan to you?
I don’t do game plans. I feel like if you do have a game plan and you deviate from it, you feel lost. I feel like in fighting there are athletes and there are fighters. I’m just a fighter and go in there to scrap–kill or be killed. That’s always been my game plan.
You have previously faced Oracio in a fight that did not go your way. How are you using this experience to help you for the rematch?
Just gonna do my thing and let it play out. My power is always there and my cardio has been pretty good this camp. Pick my shots and be patient. We are both talented, tough dudes, and I have five rounds to do my thing. No rush.
Is a title fight any different to you than any other fight?
Only difference is I have five rounds instead of three. It’s still a fight and in pro MMA we have three fives, so this isn’t much different.
What has surprised you the most in your professional career? Is it what you expected?
How little stuff hurts during a fight and how bad it hurts after, haha. Breaking my orbital in my first pro fight on the first punch of the fight and fighting three rounds like that and never really feeling it…but the next week, it was killer. And it was pretty much exactly how I expected it. I grew up in the game with Jay Haas and Darrell Horcher; I have seen a lot from them.
What is the most important advice a coach ever gave you?
As cliché as it sounds, to “never quit,” because as long as I’m awake in a fight I have a chance to win.
What advice do you give to fighters just starting out in their career?
Train, train, train, and don’t take silly fights. One thing I have learned is some promoters will tell you anything to get you to fight their hometown guy, and you have to see that and realize there is a reason if you’re 1-1 that they are trying to make you fight a 5-1 guy in his hometown. Luckily I have gotten away from that, and Jen and Irv don’t operate that way.
(Banner Photo Credit: Mark Krumrine)