Fueled By Death Cast Ep. 1 - EDDIE FYVIE
“You are always teaching in a way. You are always getting better, and helping people.” - Eddie Fyvie - MMA Fighter, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu instructor, EFBJJ School
ON EPISODE 1 - BRAZILIAN JIU-JISTU ACADEMY:
The first episode! Weekly segments are revealed including Science, which talks about a newly discovered asteroid this week from NASA. Competition makes us better and makes us strive for more knowledge, and these are the thoughts that Dustin and Jeff talk about in the What Fuels You segment. Finally, some exciting Death Wish Coffee Company news including a new take on the Hot Toddy.
ABOUT EDDIE FYVIE:
Eddie Fyvie is an accomplished mixed martial arts fighter and teacher, and he is also D-Man's Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu teacher. He joins the show to talk about his school, the Eddie Fyvie Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy, and reveals plans for an exciting new BJJ tournament he is bringing to New York.
Jeff: Oh, man. So Dustin was telling me that you just came from training, right?
Eddie Fyvie: Yeah. Well, a little while ago, yeah, earlier today.
Jeff: That's for the event that's happening around this area, right?
Eddie Fyvie: Yeah, the UFC's in Albany on Friday and then ... So today, guys are cutting weight and training and just doing some last minute stuff. One of the guys fighting is a guy from New Jersey, Frankie Perez. He trains with my instructor, Ricardo Almeida. He trains with him. He's up here fighting, and he needed some practice partners, so I went down and rolled around with him a little bit. He's looking good.
Dustin: What weight does he fight at?
Eddie Fyvie: 155. Lightweight.
Dustin: He trains with, probably, Frankie Edgar all the time.
Eddie Fyvie: Frankie Edgar. Frankie Perez is like the perfect sparring partner because he's a good wrestler, he's a good stand up. He can fight lefty, righty. So he's the guy who everybody spars with.
Jeff: That's cool.
Dustin: So, cool. Yeah, he's a good mimicker.
Eddie Fyvie: Not really a good thing because he's got to spar year round because he mimics ... Like, Freddie Alvarez, he was Connor McGregor for, you know, you name it. So, guys are constantly using him, but ...
Dustin: That's cool though. That's a good gig.
Jeff: Yeah, that is really cool, and it's cool that you get to be, you know, like when something ... Because now that MMA and UFC are much more accepted in New York, we're getting more of it in this Albany area, you get to help these guys out and spar ...
Eddie Fyvie: Yeah. That's cool.
Jeff: ... With them, and train them and that kind of stuff. So, that's really cool.
Eddie Fyvie: Yeah, I mean it's accepted in a way where everybody knows what the sport is, but the legalization of it ... Excuse me ... Has been kind of a misconception. It's legal, but you're not gonna see many events locally.
Jeff: I heard there was a lot of recent controversy about insurance right?
Eddie Fyvie: Yeah, it's a nightmare.
Jeff: Like, which is a complete nightmare. I heard that now, correct me if I'm wrong, that it's like you need almost a hundred thousand dollar insurance on each fighter ...
Eddie Fyvie: Yeah.
Jeff: Just to make that happen.
Eddie Fyvie: Yeah. Up front out of pocket.
Jeff: That's pretty nuts.
Dustin: That's corrupt.
Eddie Fyvie: And they're talking about a million dollars per fighter, that goes to the Brain Injury Fund.
Dustin: I don't hate that, though.
Eddie Fyvie: So think about this.
Jeff: A million dollars, though.
Eddie Fyvie: Don't hate this. First off, there's not a single MMA fighter on the Brain Injury Fund, except for Gary Goodridge. There's one. It's all NFL players.
Eddie Fyvie: So, a million dollars per fighter, you have to pay, up front.
Jeff: For a fund that really doesn't help out the fighters.
Eddie Fyvie: You have an event with eight fighters. Four fights. Eight million dollars.
Jeff: Wow. And they're not making that at that fight.
Eddie Fyvie: No.
Jeff: Some of them.
Eddie Fyvie: Well, the UFC will pull that money in.
Jeff: If you're the Connor McGregor's of the world, maybe.
Eddie Fyvie: Sure. I may be a little bit wrong with that, but that was the understanding that I had. Because I had full plans to put on an event myself when it became quote-unquote legal. But, I threw that idea out.
Jeff: Eddie, speaking on that, you also compete, right?
Eddie Fyvie: I did, yeah.
Jeff: Do you still compete or you just did compete?
Eddie Fyvie: Not really. I did professional MMA for a long time. Competed in Jiu-Jitsu since I was a little kid, but I retired a couple years ago.
Jeff: How do you feel about competition? Is it something that you did in the genre that you're in because it was there or did you like to compete? Did it kind of fuel you to be better, kind of thing?
Eddie Fyvie: Yeah, I think when I started doing Jiu-Jitsu, it was pretty new. It wasn't popular ... Well, people knew what it was a little bit, but there was no MMA when I started. It was no holds barred, ultimate fighting, bare-knuckle. This was in the 90's. So when I started, the idea of competing wasn't really a thought at that time. One day I'd hoped to be in the UFC representing Jiu-Jitsu. I don't know why I was just kind of driven to it. And I played sports as a kid a lot, so naturally, any time I did something athletic, the end goal for me was always, okay, when do we play? When do we do it? It was kind of a natural thing for me to do.
Jeff: Very cool. Speaking on that a little bit. What fueled you to get into Jiu-Jitsu? To actually learn it and get as far as you have with it?
Dustin: And then start your own school eventually?
Eddie Fyvie: In the beginning, it was kind of a personal thing that I had to do. I lived in a really bad neighborhood and it was tough growing up, having to look over your shoulder every two seconds and worrying about what's going on or what's going to happen to you. So I was always searching for something to help me. And I boxed, I wrestled, I did a lot of stuff, but it never really helped me too much. And then when I saw Jiu-Jitsu, I was like, well that's the answer. Because I was a smaller kid and I was actually the minority in my neighborhood.
Jeff: Where'd you grow up?
Eddie Fyvie: I grew up in Schenectady, Mont Pleasant area. It was tough. But it was a blessing, I guess because it kind of forced me into this position that I'm in now. Which is great. But I did it in the beginning just for sheer survival purposes. I can remember being 10, 11 years old, asking questions in class, "What if a 250-pound guy attacked me?" And they would laugh at me. But I was actually serious. I was actually like, "No, no, no, I'm serious."
Jeff: Is that when you started? When you were 10?
Eddie Fyvie: Turning 11, yeah, around that age. So I started kind of because I needed to. I was searching for something. You name it, I was doing it. When I saw Jiu-Jitsu, I was like, I saw the Gracies, and they were from Brazil, so I was like, well I guess I'm gonna have to move to Brazil because that's where it is. But some guys were training locally so I jumped in.
Jeff: Cool. And now you're directly connected to the Gracies.
Eddie Fyvie: Yeah. It's crazy.
Jeff: And your school is a Gracie school.
Eddie Fyvie: Yeah, I got my black belt under Ricardo Almeida. He coaches a who's who of UFC fighters. Eddie Alvarez, Frankie Edgar. He's a black belt under Renzo Gracie. And then over the years, I've been able to make so many contacts, Rickson Gracie, Renzo Gracie. Royce.
Dustin: Speaking of Rickson Gracie-
Eddie Fyvie: I just ignored his phone call, actually. You're welcome.
Dustin: I feel like a legend right now.
Eddie Fyvie: I feel terrible.
Dustin: You put on the biggest Jiu-Jitsu seminar ever with Rickson Gracie here in the northeast which is revolutionary for this area. How was that, putting those pieces together? And did you expect it to be as big as it was?
Eddie Fyvie: Yes. I always think big when I do something like that, but, or in general. But when I started putting it on, I tried setting up a seminar with Rickson who was like the god of Jiu-Jitsu. For a long time, a couple years. I just couldn't get him to budge on doing a seminar. I actually emailed him almost every day for about two months straight, 60 days. And he finally called me, actually, on my phone, which I was totally shocked. And he called me and said, "You know, I'm not doing any seminars ever, but I'd like to invite you out to California." So I was like, well, that's great.
I went to California to train. I kept that up for about a year with the goal of eventually bringing him out here, because I knew it'd be very impactful for the area. And finally, he went for it.
Dustin: What do you think tipped the scale as far as him reaching back out to you?
Eddie Fyvie: Annoyance.
Jeff: 60 days of getting a hold of him.
Dustin: "I gotta stop this! How do I stop this?"
Eddie Fyvie: Restraining order. Stalking. No, every time I'd email him I'd try to touch on something that I knew would be closely ... Something that he enjoyed. It wasn't just badgering, "Come here, come here." It was different things. And when I talked to him I think he could tell I was very genuine. I didn't want to bring him out here to ... I had no intention to make money. I didn't do that. I knew it would be a big thing for Jiu-Jitsu. He's never been here. And I knew it'd inspire people. I wanted to do the biggest seminar ever.
I don't know if he even believed we could do it. He was like, "Yes, I'll do it. How many people do you think?" And I said, "Well, how many people do you want to have?" "Well, how much space do you have?" I go, "I can get as much space as you want." He goes, "Well, we need this much space for a hundred people." So we just kept going back and forth and he said, "How about 300 people, we'll cut it off." I said, "Okay." So we sold out in two hours, 300 people. I called him back and he was like, "It sold out, totally sold out?" I go, "Totally sold out. Two hours."
Dustin: And you had people from everywhere.
Eddie Fyvie: Yeah, 20 plus states.
Jeff: Like you said, he's the god of Jiu-Jitsu, basically. You're traveling to go do this.
Dustin: I was there, and when he came out, it reminded me of a biblical moment, Jesus coming out, and everybody got real quiet.
Eddie Fyvie: Yeah, everyone was silent.
Dustin: Parted, and he was like, I'm cool. I'm gonna hang out on my yoga ball and get my stretches in. And nobody knew what to do. Everybody was really quiet.
Eddie Fyvie: It was awkward, right?
Dustin: Probably the only Jiu-Jitsu seminar with a stage, by the way. I don't think I've ever seen that. But that worked out really great you had that really well planned.
Eddie Fyvie: Yeah, we had a stage in the middle. It was perfect. It was like, a couple days before the seminar, well, leading up to it, I was like, this is great. I'm actually pretty good at setting up events like this. And then a couple days before, "I'm never doing this again." And now I find myself, it's all I'm doing. But we had a stage, that worked out perfect. But he has, you're talking about the real greatest martial artist ever. People don't understand this.
Dustin: Ever. Ever to live. Ever. Period.
Eddie Fyvie: The Samurai. The guy. He's the greatest ever. When you're in the martial arts world and you hear the stories about him and you hear people talk about him and then you actually see him, it's like, whoa, my god, that's the guy.
Dustin: That's the man who's destroyed every other man who's ever attempted to destroy him.
Eddie Fyvie: Yeah, it's just crazy. And he really is that. It's amazing the more I'm around him, the more I see it and feel it. Not just on a physical level, but he is unique. It's like a Buddha. It really is. I can't explain it. You can sense it. You can really sense it, too. You were there and you saw him. You feel it. People joke about it, they say, "Rickson's aura," that's a big joke. It's a real thing. And I'm not into anything like that. But he's different. He's a different human being. One of a kind.
Jeff: That's so cool.
Dustin: I think just once you've lived anywhere close to the experiences that he's gone through, how could you not sense something? Not to get any woo-woo or any craziness like that, I mean, that man has been through so many amazing feats.
Eddie Fyvie: You're talking about somebody who fought, for real, for probably 20 years straight, almost every day.
Eddie Fyvie: Not just in prize fights, but for Jiu-Jitsu, in Brazil, to prove it, to test it. So, when you're somebody who's gone through that.
Dustin: Even anybody who's talked shit about him, he finds them on the beach and slaps them. It's on now.
Eddie Fyvie: That's the thing. Imagine living your life like that, what you become from that. You become a superhuman. To be able to go that long, it's crazy. So it was wild.
Jeff: That's cool. But you get opportunities like that, like you said now, even more so with the Eddie Fyvie Jiu-Jitsu Academy and being able to do that. You've got other events that you've done since then. Even though that's the biggest one, are there ones that are even coming up that you can talk about?
Eddie Fyvie: Yeah. Hopefully next year we're going to be doing a tournament on the east coast. The Rickson Gracie Cup.
Eddie Fyvie: Yeah, which is gonna be a big tournament.
Jeff: That's a big deal.
Eddie Fyvie: It's really, really in preliminary stages. There's still a lot of time to tell what's gonna happen with that, but.
Jeff: You heard it here first, everybody.
Dustin: I'm excited. What is the thing that will set this tournament apart from other Jiu-Jitsu tournaments?
Eddie Fyvie: One, the organization I plan on having, in terms of how organized it is. We're gonna be really making sure the competitors really understand the division they're in when they're gonna be going and just simple stuff that falls apart at tournaments where people are waiting for-
Dustin: Yeah, the NAGA tournaments are a mess.
Eddie Fyvie: It's just tough. I love NAGA, but you know, there's gotta be something done where competitors have a better experience. They show up, you sit around for five hours.
Jeff: It sounds pretty unorganized.
Eddie Fyvie: It's very tough. So we're really gonna try to organize it. We've got a couple things we're going to be adding that will really give more people the opportunity to compete that maybe don't want to compete in a real physical, physical, rough setting. Which we'll get into more in the next couple months here. But really, the professionalism in the organization, which there's a lot of professional, great tournaments out there, but we have some things we're going to be adding with software to make it so that the competitors have a very unique, friendly experience. So, we'll see what happens.
Dustin: Like actual technology you're talking about?
Eddie Fyvie: Yeah. We have some stuff we're gonna use where you'll get a text message on your phone that your division is up in 15 minutes and it's gonna be a silent tournament. You can be there, there's going to be no announcer, you can look on a scoreboard, it says, "This division's up, 10 minutes." And you'll get a text on your phone saying your match is gonna be up soon. So it's gonna be run like that. Very, very smooth. A lot of systems in place.
Jeff: Wow. That's really cool.
Dustin: Like an e-tournament.
Eddie Fyvie: E-tournament, yeah. Like robots.
Jeff: But it's not so invasive where the announcer constantly yelling in your ear.
Dustin: And you're constantly listening for-
Jeff: And you have your headphones on, you're trying to be in your zone and everything else is-
Dustin: That is the one thing about competing in NAGA, was always very nerve-racking as far as trying to keep track of ... You'd always do a buddy system, like hey can you watch the mat for me and let me know when they call you up, and then your buddy's running over to you, you're up, dude! You're up. And you're freaking out, you go up, and then you gotta fight this dude and it can be a little bit, it can shake you up pretty good.
Eddie Fyvie: The thing I always hated about the tournaments is the chaos. You've got two people that are going to try to compete in a very, very intense setting. And it's chaos all around you. There are nine matches going at the same time. There's an announcer screaming. There's another guy walking around telling people to sit down.
Dustin: Smells like hot dogs.
Eddie Fyvie: Smells like hot dogs. I don't know if exactly like hot dogs, but. But it's disgusting. So it's just chaotic and you can't concentrate. So I really want to have an experience where people can focus and there's not gonna be all this chaos. There are matches going on of course, but there are not people screaming and yelling and things like that. So, we'll see.
Jeff: We'll definitely be on the lookout for that next year. I really hope that all works out for you.
Dustin: We'll definitely have to have you back on before that kicks off.
Eddie Fyvie: Yeah, totally.
Dustin: And who knows, maybe we'll do a live recording at the event.
Jeff: That'd be a lot of fun.
Dustin: That'd be awesome.
Jeff: Speaking of, you had said that you used to compete, too, but you've retired from that. What was the turning point for you from being the student to wanting to be the teacher?
Eddie Fyvie: In Jiu-Jitsu, it's funny. You're always kind of teaching in a way because as you get better you're always sharing information with people, helping people. I always knew that was gonna be a natural progression from fighting. I didn't want to do anything else. I couldn't concentrate on anything else. I knew I was gonna teach eventually, so I just kind of, I think I was always preparing myself without realizing it.
As I started to get, as I started to teach more, I started to get a lot more, I was a lot happier teaching than I was competing, I found. So it just kind of started to, I was drawn into teaching a lot more.
Jeff: That's excellent. That's exactly why there should be more teachers in the world. And I love the tenements of your academy, for the community, for everyone, and for you. That really is a welcoming environment for anything, in any field, that's the way that it should be. And I think that's really cool.
Dustin: You've done a lot to bring not only Jiu-Jitsu to this community but mixed martial arts. Not only with your school but with some of the fighters that you've had in. Nick Diaz, to name one of them. But we've had Ben Askren was in-
Eddie Fyvie: Ben Askren.
Dustin: Yeah, just all the top guys to this tiny little Saratoga town. How focused are you on growing the community with your Jiu-Jitsu?
Eddie Fyvie: That's my 100% goal, is to embed it. I say I tell people, I want to embed it into the culture. I want to have it so where if people think about Saratoga, they think about Jiu-Jitsu. They think about Malta, I mean, obviously, not as a whole, but you can think about certain areas around the country and you can kind of associate them with something. I know how powerful Jiu-Jitsu is, so that's what I want to do with the martial art. And if I don't with the culture, I want to do it at least where if people talk about martial arts, it's Jiu-Jitsu. It's not anything else. Not that it shouldn't be, but it is so powerful and so real.
But, bringing guys like that in, I look at it like this: the only way you're gonna create a high-level atmosphere is if you bring high-level people in. And by bringing people in like Nick Diaz and like Ben Askren, it inspires people. When you're in the same room as them ... He was Nick Diaz's practice partner the whole time, Dustin was.
Jeff: Yeah, actually I remember seeing those photos. It was pretty great.
Eddie Fyvie: I was like, this guy is gonna make out so well on the photography side of this because he's in every photo.
Dustin: He liked me. I think he could tell I wasn't off-put by the smell of the blunt on his hands.
Eddie Fyvie: Well, that's a different subject. I just feel like bringing ... The thing is, most instructors when they think about seminars, I've talked to instructors before, I go, "Hey, you should bring this guy in. He's gonna be in town." They go, "Well, how does it cost?" And they start thinking about how much money they're gonna make. And I've lost so much money doing these seminars. Not so much anymore, but I've lost so much money, it's ridiculous. I'm surprised our school's not shut down. But I've lot a lot of money doing these seminars, but what it's done, it's made this area seem like the place to go to. You have Rickson, when he thinks of New York, he thinks of Saratoga. Nick Diaz thinks of New York, he thinks of Saratoga. Ben Askren called me this week to ask about having a guy come to the gym to train. These guys could go anywhere, but by bringing these guys in, it's gonna make this area high level and start to hopefully create some type of a hotbed. At some point. Who knows?
Dustin: Nick seemed like he had a really good time, actually.
Eddie Fyvie: He did.
Dustin: He started off a little like, I don't know what this is gonna be, I'm in this beatnik town, but when he left, he was, I mean, he took his time, he signed all the pictures, he took all the pictures, he signed all the posters. And when he left, he left with a smile on his face. You could tell, when these guys come here, they're in for an authentic Jiu-Jitsu experience and they get to bring that to the table to practitioners who are also authentic. And right away, when he was using me as a training partner, he's like, oh, all right. We're better than the last seminar because probably the last seminar was some beatnik school who was trying to make money off of kids. Who knows? But when they come here, they know it's the real deal and you bring the real deal here, man.
Eddie Fyvie: I told him, too, I do everything for the art and for the sport. The art, whatever you want to call it. I don't do it ... The money and the things like that, the financial things and the business side of things, that naturally comes with it, but I really do it for the art, and I think that comes through. I think it really, for instance, one of the places he went to previously to our school was, it was a complete opposite. He was there for one reason. And you could feel it, that the people want them for personal gain or something like that. But I really want to bring these guys in for the benefit of myself and everybody else, it's so positive. And we set that up on 12 hours notice, so that was kind of a crazy ordeal that day.
Dustin: That's nuts.
Jeff: That's great.
Eddie Fyvie: Yeah, I think they appreciate it when they get there, that it's for Jiu-Jitsu. It's not for anything else.
Jeff: So, outside of Brazil, obviously, where are some of the hubs in Jiu-Jitsu now, in the world?
Eddie Fyvie: Here.
Jeff: Here? It really is becoming, in this area?
Eddie Fyvie: Yeah, America, US, it's huge. Some of the best guys are here, too, now. Most of the Brazilians are here.
Dustin: The Gracies came here, they spread and conquer. You have Renzo on the east coast, Rickson on the west coast.
Eddie Fyvie: They're all over, yeah. They divided and conquered for sure.
Dustin: Very cool.
Eddie Fyvie: Yeah, America's definitely really, it's been catching up. Most of the Brazilians are here now, too.
Jeff: But it's still big in Brazil, too, right?
Eddie Fyvie: Yeah.
Jeff: It didn't just leave there?
Eddie Fyvie: No.
Eddie Fyvie: Without a doubt.
Jeff: Very, very cool. That's awesome. It's amazing to talk to someone like you who is driven to not only better yourself in what you're learning and what you're doing but to then reach out to the community and then teach the community all of that as well. And we thank you so much for being our first guest ever on our Fueled By Death cast.
Dustin: Yeah, what's the name of it?
Jeff: Fueled By Death Cast, I'm just floored. That's a lot of inspiration right there. That's really cool.
Dustin: One quick thing before we wrap this up. How does it feel ... I know you headed off a lot of the push for regulation of mixed martial arts in New York, and now it's here. It's in Albany this weekend. We're gonna have, it's really happening. I remember going to the Times Union Center and there were a few fighters there just kind of trying to promote the regulation, and it's a real thing. How do you feel about it, overall?
Eddie Fyvie: I would feel better when it's actually a real thing.
Jeff: I kind of got that feeling from your initial talk, yeah.
Dustin: What do you mean by that?
Eddie Fyvie: It's like, the UFC's here Friday, but it's been legal since what, September? Where are the other events?
Dustin: So you think it's all the-
Eddie Fyvie: The regulations have made it impossible. They've made it worse. They've actually made it tougher for wrestling, boxing, and everything else, too. They made a combat sports law. So they didn't just make an MMA law, they made combat sports, so they looped everything in with that, so it's made it tough for everything. So, it's legal, but the sports died in the area because of it being illegal for so long, the sports died, in terms of fighters and athletes that are from here because they have nowhere to compete. What are you gonna do? So, I'm happy. I'm gonna go. It's exciting, and we'll see what happens from here, but I'm not too happy until I see it being more of a possibility to have events and stuff.
Dustin: What do you think it will take to change that?
Eddie Fyvie: Storm the capitol, I don't know. I have no idea. I really think it's just gonna be, I think now, people are starting to realize it. So I think the more promoters start to get a handle on what this law actually is, I think people are going to start pressing to have it amended a little bit. Because at this point it's impossible.
Dustin: Yeah, that's rough.
Eddie Fyvie: It's impossible unless you have major, major capital like the UFC.
Dustin: That's almost not fair because I feel like the reason why New York kept MMA out for so long was directly tied to the UFC. For those that aren't informed about it, it was the restaurants union-
Eddie Fyvie: Culinary Arts Union.
Dustin: Yeah, the Culinary Arts Union that was holding back MMA because they were directly tied to the owners of the UFC who owned casinos and-
Eddie Fyvie: They were directly tied to politicians in New York state. And the Fertitta brothers didn't use the Culinary Arts Union in Vegas, so as a spite to them, they threatened to pull their financial backing from politicians locally. So, yes, they voted the bill down. And Sheldon Silver, who's in jail now, so, that worked out well for him.
Dustin: The irony of the thing is, though, now that it's legal in New York, the only one that can afford it is the UFC.
Eddie Fyvie: Is the UFC.
Dustin: It seems so weird. I'm sorry to hear that.
Eddie Fyvie: I am too.
Dustin: I expect things to turn around.
Eddie Fyvie: I'm sure it will. I'm sure it will as more people find out.
Jeff: And like I said, you're doing something positive for this community by bringing awareness to it and making your events. Again, hopeful that all of this that you have planned for next year works out the way that you want and that's gonna bring much more of an awareness to this and hopefully that actually helps fuel the actual laws and regulations.
Dustin: Fuel the revolution.
Dustin: Let's call it what it is.
Jeff: Exactly, absolutely.
Dustin: Great. Thank so much, Professor. I really enjoyed having you on and I think we shed some light on some new things, and really got some inspirational topics on and thanks again for...