They just don’t seem to make them like Don Frye anymore.
Made in the USA, if you look up “Tough SOB” in the dictionary, you will find a picture of “The Predator” punching Yoshihiro Takayama directly in the face.
One of the true pioneers of the game, Frye will always have a special place in the hearts of mixed martial arts fans lucky enough to have caught on to the sport in it’s developmental stages. The former fireman from Arizona exploded onto the professional fighting scene way back in February of 1996 where he beat down three grown men in one evening (old school style) to become the UFC 8 tournament champion.
Fast forward some fourteen years ahead and the brawler with the trademark mustache has made the evolution from being one of the most feared men on the planet, to a father, family man, and lover of horses.
FiveOuncesofPain.com recently had the chance to catch up to the living legend to gather his thoughts on a variety of topics, and as always Don failed to disappoint.
Cory Brady for FiveOuncesofPain.com: I heard you recently signed a ten fight deal to do the commentating for Shark Fights on ESPN 1440 Radio; What made you decide to venture into the commentating side of things?
Don Frye: Oh, I got tired of getting punched in the face. I decided that I’d rather watch other people get punched in the face for a living.
FiveOuncesofPain.com: I heard you retired; Is it true? Have you hung them up for good?
Don Frye: Yeah, yeah… I’m done with it. I just lost my desire. A lot of it was the promoters, and the time commitment.You know, to be a top athlete, it’s a pretty selfish endeavor. You have to commit everything to yourself. I have two kids now, and son of a b****, they’re growing up fast. They’re nine and ten now, and I missed the first six or seven years of their life. You have to grow up eventually.
FiveOuncesofPain.com: Do you still watch MMA at all? I know you’ve never watched a lot of MMA, but when was the last UFC you watched?
Don Frye: Hmmm…. Man, that’s a good question….
FiveOuncesofPain.com: You have to think about that one for a bit, huh?
Don Frye: [Laughs] Yeah, I did. I don’t even remember, partner.
FiveOuncesofPain.com: So you never really sit around and have the urge to watch some MMA, or maybe some old boxing fights? Do you have a fight collection that you watch ever?
Don Frye: Oh yeah, of course I do. I have a bunch of old DVD’s, but we home school our girls, so we’re pretty much busy from the time we wake up until the time we got to bed. Between that and the horses. We’re trying to get a horse farm going too.
FiveOuncesofPain.com: What do you think about James Toney and his recent talk of fighting in MMA?
Don Frye: I don’t think he would do fantastic. It’s a different sport. If James and I were ever to have a boxing match, he’d beat the s*** out of me; If me and Tiger Woods played golf, he’d kill me; If me and Lance Armstrong got into a bike race, he’d destroy me. So if you throw James Toney in an MMA ring, he’s going to get destroyed.
FiveOuncesofPain.com: I know you’re not fighting anymore, but say it was a few years ago; How would you approach a fight with a boxer like Toney?
Don Frye: That’s the thing, you just put them on their hind end. They don’t know how to handle it. They don’t know how to fight off of the ground. They don’t understand anything about armbars, or leglocks, or chokes.
FiveOuncesofPain.com: So basically the game plan would be to drag him to the canvas and just maul him like a rabid polar bear?
Don Frye: Sure. If you get a good wrestler like Randy [Couture] or Mark [Coleman], they could just sit there and do takedowns on him and lay him out.
FiveOuncesofPain.com: You just brought up Randy and Mark; They’re fighting this Saturday night. What are you’re thoughts on that bout?
Don Frye: Oh, I’m going to watch that one.
FiveOuncesofPain.com: Wow, so that’s going to be the first UFC you’ve watched in ages then…
Don Frye: [Laughs] Yeah…
FiveOuncesofPain.com: I figured that would be a fight you’d be really interested in.
Don Frye: I’ll finally give my money to Dana [White] for that one. That’s the only reason I don’t watch the UFC’s, because Dana doesn’t show any respect to the sport or the fighters, so he’s not getting any of my damn money. But this time I will because it for Mark and Randy.
FiveOuncesofPain.com: A little of it will go to Coleman and Couture…
Don Frye: Damn right! But you have to give the devil his due; Dana does that much for the fighters. He gives the main event guys a percentage of the sales. So you have to give him that.
FiveOuncesofPain.com: Why the negative reaction to Dana?
Don Frye: I have no feelings for the guy [laughs]. No feelings, good or bad. He’s a non-person. He doesn’t exist in my book. I just don’t like when I see him on TV, yelling and cussing at the fighters. It’s because he writes their checks. You know any one of them could take his head off in a second, but they don’t because they want the money.
FiveOuncesofPain.com: So what do you think about how Couture and Coleman are going to match up against one another at UFC 109?
Don Frye: I don’t know. Both of those guys beat the tar out of me on several occasions, so how the hell should I know [laughs]. It’s going to be like sex with a grizzly bear, you know, a lot of scratching and growling on both sides.
FiveOuncesofPain.com: Have you ever worked with an actor that you feel may have been able to fight if he had chosen a different career path?
Don Frye: No, they’re all too smart. They make more money doing that. You can’t blame them for being smarter than all of us dumb asses out here…
FiveOuncesofPain.com: Yeah, we may be dumb asses, but at least we’re not pansies.
Don Frye: Yeah [laughs]. That’s true.
FiveOuncesofPain.com: In your opinion, what was the worst ass whupping you’ve ever dished out to someone during your time spent on this earth?
Don Frye: I think probably Mary Joe McCluski in the third grade. I knocked her around the plaza for a while there.
FiveOuncesofPain.com: Did you really beat the crap out of some poor girl in the third grade?
Don Frye: She deserved it. She stole my milk.
FiveOuncesofPain.com: True story?
Don Frye: No.
FiveOuncesofPain.com: [Laughs] I don’t know man, it can get real, really quick in elementary school sometimes.
Don Frye: Yeah, it does [laughs]. You have to walk around with an armed guard out there now.
FiveOuncesofPain.com: Alright Don, thanks for taking this time with me. It’s always a pleasure.
Don Frye: Thanks partner.