Exclusive one on one with Mitch Clarke and manager Chuck Wichert following win over Al Iaquinta at UFC 173

May 28, 2014


Exclusive one on one with Mitch Clarke and manager Chuck Wichert following win over Al Iaquinta at UFC 173

He was considered a heavy under dog coming into his UFC 173 fight against TUF runner up Al Iaquinta, but Canada’s Mitch Clarke stayed calm and composed and ended up in the win column by sinking in a D’arce choke to capture his biggest victory to date.

MMACanada.net caught up with Mitch Clarke to discuss his big victory last Saturday night (May 24, 2014).  Not only did he get the win, he also earned Performance of the Night honors to the tune of $50k.  What will Mitch do with the money?  You gotta read below to find out!

MMACanada: Mitch, first off congratulations on that big victory! You are just coming off a win over one of the toughest guys in the division, Al Iaquinta.  What was your game plan going into this fight?

A: Game plan was to stay long use my reach, if he came in close, to clinch and get it to the ground and make him use his energy dollars to work back up.

MMACanada: MMA Canada president Charles Rock told your manager Chuck Wichert before the fight that you would win via submission, and you did.  How happy were you with your performance knowing that you were a big underdog in this fight against a TUF runner up?

A: It feels good. He’s a tough guy from a solid team and had a lot of momentum coming in. It’s nice now that people will respect my ground game a little more. I have some sneaky tricks and I was able to pull one of them off on a really good guy in a high pressure situation.

MMACanada:  Not only did you propel yourself up the lightweight rankings, you won performance of the night in the sum of 50k. How does this win and bonus money change your life and where do you feel you are ranked now in the lightweight division?

A: The win means a lot. It’s weird for me to think ” I own a piece of history” in that I won a PON bonus against a tough guy on tv in the UFC. Everything is so surreal.  In terms of where I’m ranked? I’m not sure, this boosts my confidence and raises my stock in the division so it just means I have more work to do to get better so I can compete with the guys in the division

MMACanada: With this win, who do you want to fight next and why?

A: No idea to be honest, I’m gonna wrestle with some ice cream cake right away though 🙂

MMACanada: What else can you say added to the success of winning this fight?

A: Definitely my camp at the MMA Lab but also my home gyms at Complete Fitness and martial Arts, Frank Lees Muay Thai, Avenue Boxing and Munduruca BJJ really looked to make me improve in between fights and I think it showed off. Also, having a supportive girlfriend, Rachel, really drove me to work as hard as I could. My family is so supportive I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.

MMACanada: Do you have plans for the money yet? Any vacations in the works?

A: I’m not looking to burn that money, invest some and maybe have some fun with some 😉

MMACanada.net also caught up with Chuck Wichert, who not only manages Mitch Clarke, but some of Canada’s up and coming talent.  Attention up and coming fighters, you may want to read some valuabe insight from one of the industries best.

MMACanada: How impressed were you with Mitch Clarke’s performance at UFC 173?

A: As you know the 1st round didn’t go his way but I also knew the fight wasn’t over.  Mitch has incredible support and outstanding coaches.  I knew Mitch would capitalize where he was better than Iaquinta and things would fall in place.  This is MMA and what matters is getting the “W” even if you have to take a little punishment first and that’s what Mitch did.  Impressed is a word I can use to describe his performance but definitely not surprised.  I know what Mitch is capable of and have always believed in him.

MMACanada: Where did you see he improved from his last fight leading up to his win over Al Iaquinta?

A: Mitch improved overall everywhere…maybe it doesn’t appear that way because the 1st round demonstrated Iaquinta’s strengths and where he was getting the best of Mitch.  The 2nd round was totally different.  Mitch tagged him with a straight right and when he charged in too fast was taken down, however into a position Mitch was very comfortable in so you see what happened next.  So I really believe Mitch is only getting better in all areas and his camp down at The MMA Lab really bring out the best in him to only improve.

MMACanada: Talk about your love for the Canadian fighters, seeing how you represent quite a few.

A: I love these guys like family, Mitch Clarke, KB Bhullar, Mike Davis, Alexi Argyriou and Ryan Janes.  These guys are a loyal bunch.  To me, they are all one of Canada’s best at their respected weight class.  Everyone knows Mitch Clarkes accomplishments already.  KB is just a beast for those who don’t know about KB…be careful this guy is one dangerous middleweight at 6’4 and currently 4-0. Mike Davis just had ankle surgery and will be back very soon and is still on UFC’s radar at 125 lbs.  Alexi Argyriou and Ryan Janes may be the 2 best kept secrets in Canadian MMA.  Both coming out of Adam Zugecs gym in Victoria, Alexi hold an impressive 5-0 amateur record and will make his pro-debut at 155 lbs this fall and Janes being an alternate on TUF Nations and a former sparring partner of Keith Jardine is not to go unnoticed.  These 4 are definitely moving up and I couldn’t be more proud of them!

MMACanada:  Talk about your management company and why fighters need proper management.

A: My management company is called MMA United Sports Entertainment Group.  Ive brought in some great team members and we are really in this for the fighters.  Ive been representing fighters since 2007 and have represented some top names in MMA/UFC.  Ive learned a lot over the past 7 years and ready to implement some new strategies that will most certainly benefit the fighters.  Fighters need a management company they can trust.  They need the right fights for their current skill level to help them grow.  They need a management company that will work for them and listen to them.  Its all too often, a manager guides a fighter towards what benefits the manager and not the fighter.  Its like as if Im going to buy a house, I tell the realtor what Im looking for (perhaps something around $300K), and the realtor takes me to look at million dollar homes.  Its just not right and its extremely damaging to a fighters career.

A manager needs to have experience, there are so many people out there calling themselves a MMA manager to make a few bucks when they know nothing about the logistics of the sport.  How many managers invest their commission back into the fighter, my guess is 1, and that guy is sitting here talking to you.

MMACanada:  How can fighters reach out to you for possible representation?

A: Im always available at mmachuck@ymail.com.  The new website launches soon and we can be found at www.mmaunited.tv

MMACanada: Any big news in the works or anything you can share with us?

A: We are going to have a lot of BIG news soon!  Ryan Janes is fighting on WSOF Canada Main Card June 7th and Alexi Argyriou is fighting July 12th to defend his BFL amateur 155 title for the last time before turning PRO!  Mike Davis will be back in action in September!

We are working with a lot of different companies right now as we are rebranding and showing what our mission is and everyone is loving it.  We have fighters in every major promotion and our goal is to continue that trend with hard work.  I want to thank everyone who has supported our mission and our athletes, especially Kamikaze Punishment, Fight For Something and MMA Canada!

Thanks for having Mitch and I and Thanks to MMA Canada for all the support!



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