by Mick Hammond
Earlier this year MMA Weekly was the first MMA website to feature major rock band Adema for their tributes to the UFC and MMA on their latest album, Planets. In that interview with drummer Kris Kohls, there was mention of Kris wanting to fight in MMA after years of studying Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and being an MMA fanatic.
Well now his dream will come true as he makes his MMA debut this Sunday for the Gladiator Challenge organization. MMA Weekly caught up with Kohls as he finalized preparations to go from the rock stage to the fighting cage to get his thoughts on his debut, an update on his band, and possibly joining the UFC.
“I took the fight about two weeks ago,” said Kris. “It’s going to be Sunday (November 13th) at the Gladiator Challenge in Porterville, CA at the Eagle Mountain Casino, I’m fighting a guy named Tony Llamas. It’s my first fight, I’m really excited, I can’t believe I’m finally getting in there and doing it. I’ve been training hard for this for three years and I’m ready to get in there and duke it out.”
For people unfamiliar with Kris’ martial arts background, he began his career under Rorion Gracie before moving on to Bakersfield Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu where he currently trains under Matt Baker. As Kris explained, anyone that doubts his skills because he’s never had a fight would be making a mistake.
“My main discipline is BJJ and I also wrestled quite a bit as a kid,” explained Kohls. “I feel that my strong point is definitely on the ground but I’ve also been working on my takedowns and striking as well so I can stand up, which has gotten really good as well. So I feel at this point I’m pretty well-rounded and as everyone knows you pretty much need to be stepping into the cage. You can’t be a one-sided fighter and I feel that my fighting has come to a point where I’m definitely excited to get in there and test my skills and see if I have what it takes to hold my own in the cage.”
Kris continued, “It’s two five-minute rounds, I’m definitely in good shape, my cardio is good, I just did a Pankration tournament last Saturday and that was three two-minute rounds and I had three fights and I ended winning that tournament and taking home the first place medal. That was definitely a good tester for this weekend and I’ve also been doing everything I need to do to get ready for this. You know working on my conditioning, I wake up every morning and do the Bas Rutten workout and that’s definitely going to get you in good condition, so I’ve been doing that. Also I’m training at my school consistently, so I’m ready to go, I feel confident.”
As part of his training for the fight, not only has Kris trained in Bakersfield, but also he made a trip to Las Vegas to train with a former Sportfight Lightweight Champion. “Today I’m going to see Dennis Davis and be training with him and the guys even at home in Bakersfield are all tough guys. I started with the Gracies so my foundation and technique is good on the ground. It’s something I’m passionate about, I love MMA and I think it’s just time for me to do my talking in the ring, get in there and become a fighter.”
Having been on the road much of the year touring in support of Adema’s Planets album, Kohls has managed to keep in fighting shape, even with the hectic daily schedule of a band.
“For the last year I’ve known I was going to eventually get in the cage and start fighting, so I’ve been training hard on the road,” proclaimed Kohls. “That’s why I really love the Bas Rutten CD set workout that he puts out, it’s really good for training when you’re on the road. You can do that while you’re in the hotel room, or out on the grass somewhere, wherever, it’s really good for conditioning. I’ve been training hard and it’s just time, I wanted to fight a year and a half ago but I told myself I needed more time and more training so that’s what I did. I feel that I’ve never been in better shape in my entire life and I’m ready to go.”
As for his future in the sport after this fight, Kris may find himself on the upcoming third season of The Ultimate Fighter if things work out. “That is a possibility, I have talked to Dana (White, UFC President) about that and I want to see how this Sunday goes and I’m going to take it one step at a time. It would definitely be awesome, that experience would take my fighting to the next level, being able to just focus on training. Especially with the caliber of coaches they have it would be a positive experience, so we’ll see.”
No matter what happens in MMA, Kohls is a musician at heart, and while currently his band is without a vocalist after Luke Caraccioli left recently, Kris is adamant that Adema will continue on. “Well me, Dave (De Roo, Bass) and Tim (Fluckey, Guitar) are definitely going to continue on. We’re not sure what we’re going to do yet, but there are a few different options we’re working on. I’ve been training for this fight, but we’ll get it back together soon. We don’t have any plans to quit, but right now we don’t have a singer, we need to fix that problem first and move on from there.”
For right now however, Kris’ attention is firmly on his fight this Sunday, a point he reiterated in concluding the interview. “I’m going to put on a good show. I’m going to fight my heart out and I’m definitely confident and I’m going in there to win. At this point I’m ready for anything, knees, elbows, ground ‘n pound, submissions, everything. I know he’s an aggressive fighter so it’s going to be a good fight for sure, hopefully I can get his back, get the choke and submit him.”