by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
When the IFL was first formed, it was clear that it could be a gateway for up and coming talent to get their first big break in MMA. Fighters such as Chris Horodecki and Rory Markham have gone from local fan favorites to nationally regarded fighters thanks to their involvement with the promotion.
Along with the young fighters making their mark in the IFL, an interesting occurrence of veteran fighters experiencing something of a rebirth has also come from the promotion. Vets such as Vladimir Matyushenko and Allan Goes have been given a second opportunity at stardom, and so far they’ve flourished with it.
For Goes in particular, his involvement with the IFL has swept away years of rampant rumors of medical problems and personal demons, leaving him rejuvenated with a fresh outlook on life, both inside and outside the ring.
Recently Allan took time out to speak to MMAWeekly during his preparations to be part of the Maurice Smith-coached Seattle Tiger Sharks’ attempt to get back to their winning ways against the Chicago Red Bears, coached by Igor Zinoviev, at the IFL’s event Saturday night in Moline, Illinois.
MMAWeekly: First off Allan, we’re just a few short hours from your fight against new Red Bear Homer Moore, how are you feeling?
Allan Goes: I feel really good. I’m ready to rock, because like I said before, I’m a very experienced guy, [and] I’m just having a blast right now fighting for the IFL. For me it’s a blessing just being back in the ring fighting for the IFL.
I’m in the best shape of my life, and when I fight, I have fun…I don’t fight anymore; I just have a good time. What I do in there [the ring] is have a good time. For me, who fights are the boys in Iraq, they are really fighting over there; here we’re just having a good time [here in the IFL].
MMAWeekly: This will be your 2007 season debut for the Tiger Sharks after missing their last match due to injury. Do you feel, had you been healthy and fought, that you could have prevented the team’s opening loss to the So Cal Condors?
Allan Goes: I don’t feel too good [about the team's loss]; even when I missed the first show, we could win. [Brad] Blackburn could not fight; Blackburn is one of those weapons we have on the Tiger Sharks like Reese and Bristol. I feel that if we had Blackburn we would have won 3-2, that’s what would have been the difference.
We miss Blackburn and even myself being there. But this time we go to win. As a member of the Tiger Sharks I want to do my best for the team. That’s the only thing I do in my life, do my best, that’s what I truly believe. We’re very humble and are ready to go. Like I’ve said before, if you swim with the Sharks, get ready to get hurt, because we’re going to throw leather over there.
MMAWeekly: Your opponent, Homer Moore, is a fixture on the Arizona fight circuit and a one-time UFC fighter. Do you know anything about him or have a specific game plan set up for him?
Allan Goes: I don’t really know much about him. What I’ve seen from him, he’s more of a brawler and wrestler. I’ve been developing my weakness, which was my striking. If he takes me down, I don’t really care, because he’s going to fall in my guard. If he ends up in my guard, he’s going to be in a very dangerous position, because I’m very dangerous from the bottom.
I’m not weak from the bottom and I don’t see in the IFL anybody that has my guard from the bottom, and right now I’m developing my striking. Before he can take me down he’s got to go through my leather first, through my punches and kicks. I have a good, strong right hand, good punches and kicks.
Right now I’m learning day-by-day and I’m feeling much better [about my striking]. Since the first fight with Devon [Cole] my striking has had a huge upgrade, because I’ve been training a lot and learning a lot of striking techniques. That used to be weakness, but not anymore. Like I said, anybody can punch and knock you out, but not everyone can go on the ground, close their eyes, and choke you out or get an arm bar.
I don’t think he can put up a fight with me on the ground; I’m an expert on the ground. On the feet, I’m still learning, but I feel very, very confident of my hands right now. If he doesn’t avoid my right hand, he’s going to be hurt.
MMAWeekly: Recently we saw both the L.A. Anacondas and the Tokyo Sabres win their second team matches of the season, which could secure them a place in the four-team 2007 IFL World Team Tournament. Being down 0-1, is the pressure on the Tiger Sharks to make it a “now or never” stand against the Red Bears?
Allan Goes: Of course the pressure’s always there, because everybody wants to win. Every single athlete on the Tiger Sharks wants to win. Me, I want to win, Bristol [Marunde] wants to win, Maurice wants to win, Blackburn wants to win, and we want to win. Our goal is a victory, because we have two more fights left and we have to give our hearts and souls for that.
We are going to fight until we die if we have to. That’s what I truly believe. When you fight a guy from the Tiger Sharks make sure you’ve got to kill him before he gives up, because we fight all the way to death. Of course right now we’re under pressure because we want to qualify to get to the finals, but at the same time we want to make sure we put up a good show. That’s the main thing, put up a good show and win at the same time.
MMAWeekly: Speaking personally for a moment, it’s got to feel good at least to be back on track with the IFL after having a rollercoaster few years leading into your involvement with the promotion.
Allan Goes: Life teaches everybody everything. Time teaches you how to humble yourself, how to get yourself together and find your true self, the true warrior inside you. When I was young, I was a very exciting fighter, but I was very young and didn’t have much responsibility and was wild. Today I’m a very experienced guy. I’m very relaxed and I don’t fight like I did before, where everything was personal.
I used to take it very personally, but today I just have a good time and fight with my heart and soul, but am very relaxed and enjoy my fights. I used to not enjoy very much because I took everything personal, but today I take everything on a professional level.
Today I fight for the glory of MMA, I won’t make as much [money] as those kids will in the future, but I’ll be happy to be part of the foundation, a pioneer, to help this sport grow. My goal is to make MMA huge. If I can bring my experience, background and do my best for MMA, I’m happy.
MMAWeekly: I know from private conversations with you that the IFL is a big part of that happiness.
Allan Goes: I fought Devin Cole, then I fought Daniel [Gracie] and my contract was over, I could say, “Okay, thank you guys, but I’m going to go to some other organization,” but I never thought about that. Because, first of all, they treat me so well, like a son, I feel very welcome there. The promoters, Kurt [Otto], Gareb [Shamus], they’re human beings, they treat you good.
They don’t act like big shot promoters, they come and talk to you, “How are you doing, how do you feel?” That’s different. I’ve been all over the world and fight for many organizations, and in the IFL I see something different. The promoters care about you, they want to know what necessities you need, they’re there to help you.
That’s what I see in the IFL, and that’s the reason I signed to fight one more season for them. I feel like [I'm at] home. That doesn’t mean I won’t fight for another organization, I cannot say that, but in my heart, right now, I’m IFL all the way.
MMAWeekly: Good stuff Allan, is there anything you want to say as we head out?
Allan Goes: Definitely, I want [to tell] all the fans, don’t miss it. When you swim with Sharks you are definitely going to get hurt. We’re one of the best teams out there and we’re going to prove [it]. We have two more fights to go, and we’re going to qualify [for the four-team tournament] because I have a lot of faith in the team. So everybody come enjoy the show in Moline.
I want to thank my sponsors; Hurley International, Paul Gomez, PT Rock, LA Boxing in Aliso Viejo [California] for my team – they’ve been great to me. To the MMA fans, thanks to you for keeping the sport growing, thank you so much everybody, and I want to thank our boys in Iraq, they are the real warriors, on the other side of the ocean, I can never forget about them.