2017-08-23
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Mikael - The Documentary (Part 5)

Fighter profile of Mikael Brophy by Grant Brophy

“Mikael” - Part 5 of the critically acclaimed documentary by Eugene Jarecki.

Following Mikael’s monumental victory over James Adams to become the Aspire Interim Light Heavyweight champion, we were in attendance at the Post Fight Press Conference as Mikael made his way into the room, 15 minutes later than scheduled. Carrying his interim title, he put it down on the table in front of his microphone, drained an entire bottle of water in one go, before settling down in his seat to address the media.

MB: Sorry about the delay guys, knocking out undefeated fighters in just over one round is tiring work, you gotta understand. I’m here now anyway, so feel free to fire away with your questions.

Reporter: Mikael, you have just come out of the fight relatively unscathed compared to what most people who face Adams end up like. How important do you feel your gameplan was for this fight?

MB: Well to be fair, most people who face him lose so no surprise that the person who beats him is also looking the best afterwards. Gameplan was pretty simple, he is a one dimensional clinch rapist. That’s all he had tonight in an attempt to beat me. The issue is, my manager knows how to win in the clinch and we worked in the training camp leading up to this on how to nullify him in the clinch, and also beat him at his own game. I’d say it worked out pretty well from my point of view.

R: You are 14-1 in your career thus far, a 6 fight win streak with all wins coming by (T)KO. Do you feel there is anybody who can beat you in the division?

MB: Not at all. Right now I am the most inform fighter in the division, I’m the most dangerous striker in the division and I am also the biggest name in the division. I have the confidence of a champion, I have the mentality of a champion, and soon enough, I will have the rightful championship gold of a champion.

R: Recent reports have come up that you are unhappy with your current situation in Aspire due to a number of issues. Do you care to elaborate on those?

MB: Well now we get to the interesting stuff. Fuck yes I am not happy with my current situation. Too many things that were promised to me when Aspire were looking to sign me, and not enough of them are happening. Alright, we’ll start off with the obvious issue that I was supposed to be fighting Alejandro Scott sometime soon, yet the little surfer boy who could is spending his time dodging the fight. He tasted my power once, and he doesn’t want any. So instead he’s signed up to fight some guy called Gerrald……Fucking Gerrald……James. Now, I’m not rocket scientist although I am a fucking mental marvel, but I see it as both myself and James Adams were more deserving of a title shot. I just smashed Adams, yet now I gotta wait for them two to fight before I get my title fight? Sounds like a plan to keep me away from the real gold if I am honest.

R: You certainly aren’t holding back any punches, but wh…

MB: Well no, I’m a fighter. That’d be counter-productive, but go on.

R: ….Right. Well, people are wondering what else you would have a grievance with Aspire about?

MB: How about the fact I am getting paid fuck all for getting people in all them seats? Let’s do some fact checking here. I just found out the numbers for todays event. You know how big the gate was? Over $580k. Biggest in Aspire history right now. You know how much everyone on the card got paid? Not even top 10 in the promotions history. I’m pretty sure it’s actually 11th. I want Aspire to start spreading some of that wealth they are storing up like a squirrel with its nuts.

R: According to many MMA publications online, they rated this the best Aspire event to date also. MB: Well there you go. Thank you Cedric for that nugget of info.

R: My name’s not Cedric. It’s Da…

MB: As you just got told by Filipe over here, we also just put on the best event in Aspire to date. Yet here I am, earning peanuts for the exposure and attention I bring this org. I want myself and my fellow fighters to start getting paid what we are worth. Myself especially, at this point I think I am worth my weight in gold.

R: Something many people are looking forward to is the summer thriller “The Fast and the Forsaken”, starring yourself and “Fast” Eddie Clark who is one of your inspirations growing up. How is that going to fit into your training plans?

MB: *Takes a drink of a beer that showed up on his table* I’m not being funny mate, but are you trying to piss me off? That got cancelled for some reason due to “unforeseen circumstances”. Fucking bollocks that. Hollyweird Studios are pulling movies out their ass for every fighter on this roster, yet mine is the one pulled due to “unforeseen circumstances”? I call bullshit on that, and I’m starting to think that management have done this just to get me riled up. I’ll stay calm about it for now, but soon enough you’ll get your desired reaction to that question.

R: Can you tell us more about the fighter pay situation?

MB: I sure as hell can Karen. I can’t say the specifics, due to “confidentiality agreements”, but I can tell you that Davie Brophy is earning more than me, my new mate at the gym Giacomo Benvenuti, he’s earning more than me. Yet here I am, busting my ass trying to get this org on the map, seemingly on my own from the fighter side of things I might add, and I am only getting paid T-……I nearly gave away the gig there. Close one, but I think you can see from my reaction Samantha that I am clearly not in a happy place when it comes to my finances.

R: Hi Mikael, Tom here from Generic MMA magazine. There are rumours that you want Aspire to start providing their fighters with medical insurance coverage. Is there any truth to that, and is it something you are asking for yourself personally, or for the entire roster?

MB: Entire roster of course. I mean, we get paid sweet diddly squat as it is. When you factor in that we have to pay for our own medical bills which we incur to earn Aspire money, I feel it’s the least they can do to ensure we are looked after medically. It works to both the fighter’s benefit and also Aspire themselves. No malice involved in this answer Tim, I feel like everyone benefits from this and that’s why I am fully behind it.

R: I guess the final question we have for you is, what is your plan for your next fight?

MB: Fight whoever wins the pussy match between Scott and James. I’ll beat either one of them, but naturally I would prefer Scott to hold onto that belt for one more fight just so I can knock him unconscious and take it away from our soulless body. That motherfucker has been running scared for too long, and now it’s time for him to meet his maker. He can only hide behind Aspire management for so long before I get into the cage with that asshole and finish his career for good. When he wakes up in the hospital, he won’t even remember that he was a professional fighter, but he’ll still have nightmares of me. And when I have that title, there ain’t jack shit that Adam Holland or his band of merry fairies can do to stop me from walking out of this place and signing with whoe-…. -

The press conference is cut short, with Mikael’s microphone being turned off and security directing reporters to leave the room. Mikael is shouts to the reporters before they leave

MB: Just remember – Aspire 44. You’re looking at the real fucking champion regardless of who I fight!

The Final Challenge Emerges

May 20th 2017

We are alongside Mikael in attendance for Gerrald James vs Alejandro Scott for the Light Heavyweight championship. I remark that Mikael looks surprisingly calm for this, considering what he was like at the press conference.

“If I say what I have to say in my normal way, nothing will get done. Nobody pays attention to that quiet guy who is rising up the ranks, they pay attention to the guy who gets the spotlight put on him. Personally I never cared for it, but if it gets me where I wanna be, then I’ll happily talk that way to whoever I need to.”

“You got anybody else on the card you are looking forward to seeing fight?”

“Yeah I got 2 buddies fighting each other. McLean who was in the TUF house with me and AssKicken. My manager and his manager are good friends so I am here to support both of them and hope they put on a good fight.”

The night of fighting progresses. A lot of solid action takes place, and during the fight Mikael displays his knowledge of MMA with me as he gives me some insight into what each fighter is trying to set up during the fights. The time comes for McLean vs AssKicken and Mikael is actively cheering on both men. I manage to gain some insight into his past at this point.

EJ: The way you cheer for them, you sound like an active fan of MMA yourself and not just a fighter.

MB: Well yeah growing up in a fighting family, a lot of people don’t necessarily expect you to be a fan of it and sometimes view that you are only doing it because the family want you to. I was hooked on MMA when I must have been about 5 years old. Syn Supernova IV, two of the best Heavyweights ever man. Bubba Killsinwater vs Fidel Puno. That shit was intense as fuck and I immediately had to watch every Syn event that was happening.

EJ: And your training, when did you start?

MB: I would have been about 13 years old. Funny enough, it was another fight that got me wanting to be a fighter rather than just a fan. Jeremy Tonal vs Smokudju Womba at Rising Sun 9. I mean, these two guys are seen as two of the best of all time, and watching the two fights they had, but the first one especially made me wanna be a fighter so I started training immediately. Funny enough the Co-Main event that day had Eddie Clark vs Garrett Bukovsky and watching Clark fight was just inspirational man. He became one of my heroes. Lucky enough for me, both of those guys eventually signed with my manager and I got to train with them both.”

Just as he finishes that sentence, McLean unleashes a barrage of strikes to AssKicken, forcing the referee to stop the fight and he is declared the winner.

MB: I feel bad for Thoreaux but that was just brutal by Shawn. Holy shit. I’m sure we’ll see both of them at Sully’s when we get back to London anyway.

The time had come for Scott vs James. Both men entered the cage, and as I saw Scott walking to the cage, I noticed that Mikael was burning a hole in him with his eyes. Throughout the entire duration of the fight, Mikael remained quiet, unwavering and unflinching. He saw as Scott narrowly edged the first two rounds, but he pointed out to me that Scott was already drained of energy. Rounds 3 to 5 were a domination job by James, as Scott was simply unable to do anything to prevent the English born striker from picking him apart seemingly at will. The bout went to a decision, and the commentator announced it to be a Unanimous Decision victory for James.

Mikael was still analysing James as the decision was read, but then got up to leave, until James took to the mic following the fight.

"Yo Brophy, to be the man you have got to beat the man, and I'm the fucking man now, what of it? Come get some".

Mikael looked like he was almost about to get into the cage to confront him, but decided better of it as we made our way out of the building.

Aspire Family BBQ

Shortly after we were invited to attend the first Aspire Annual BBQ held in Orange County, which was organised by the Aspire Wife’s Association. This was to be a chance for Aspire Management to get to know their roster better along with some announcements to be made also. Mikael was in attendance and we asked him about the event.

EJ: You don’t tend to see much of this in the MMA world, so how do you feel about something like this which is meant to give you a chance to get to know your fellow fighters and your employers better?

MB: I tend to just stick with the guys I already know. Thoreaux and Shawn showed up and look like they are competing in a food eating contest. I saw Riff McGee and Alessandro Orsini. Riff’s already the champ and Alessandro is going for the title like me so we had a good talk about different things. I’m just looking forward to seeing what these announcements will be. But hopefully I get to have a chat with Adam since I got some issues to talk to him about.

We didn’t have to wait long, with Aspire CEO Adam Holland taking to the makeshift stage set up for the event.

AH: Ahem, hello everyone and welcome to the first annual BBQ, the first of many I hope! I want to give a big thank you to the Aspire Wife’s Association for the organisation they put into this event and I think we can say it has been a huge success. I just wanted to use this platform as a way to inform you of some of the things happening on the administration side of the org. Firstly, I would like to announce that we have completed the signing of an agreement with an unnamed organisation that will see their fighters join the current roster of Aspire. We will be honouring their contracts they had over there before negotiating them within our pay scale since some of them are on, it has to be said, unfitting contracts.

I could see Mikael tense up a bit at hearing this, likely because he had recently been feeling underpaid and underappreciated for the work he put into promoting both himself and Aspire, along with something he said he couldn’t discuss with me due to confidentiality.

AH: On top of that, we are pleased to announce that as part of our ongoing partnership with Hollyweird Studios, we have a number of new projects that will be going out soon starring the fighters of Aspire! We have already released Here Comes The Doom!!! Starring Boners McGee, Never Back Up with Rollo Gracie, and The Beetle King with Casper Timmermans. We have a number of future plans that we feel will be exceptio-

At this point, Mikael has already left me and it now walking up the stage.

MB: So you are planning on producing more movies instead of fulfilling some of those that you already promised to your fighters? Where exactly is that movie role I was supposed to be given with Eddie Clark in The Fast and The Forsaken?

AH: Mikael I can explain, just allow me to…

MB: In fact, I got a number of issues here that I might as well get off my chest while we are having a discussion about grievances. First off, my contract at this point for everything I have done for the company absolutely sucks. Then you got the issue of my movie role being taken away. I don’t know how many times I have said it, but I wanna have Metallica play me into the cage live at an event. Oh, and I’m willing to let the fact I never got my fight with Alejandro Scott go as long as we don’t have any more issues in the future.

Adam Holland is just stood there, looking stunned. Not a word came out of his mouth, before Mikael made one last request.

MB: Oh, and if at all possible considering how difficult it seems to be for you to organise something, I’d like your Wife’s Association to set up a meeting between us and whoever the Hollyweird Studios guy is, since they seem to be the ones who are actually capable of getting shit done.

The Press Conference

- 9th June 2017 -

One day before the biggest fight of Mikael’s career, and he is sat in his chair at the press conference along with Adam Holland, and Gerrald James on the opposite side, along with other main card fighters. The conference got underway, with Holland welcoming the gathered journalists and inviting them to open the questioning, suggesting they begin in order of the fights on the main card. Around 30 minutes after the questions begin, they get onto the main event, which they have left plenty of time for in anticipation of a war of words between the two men. James is asked questions such as what the title means to him, how his training went, and what he expects to come from Mikael in the fight. His answers were standard, offering no major insight into his training or his thought process, as he clearly looks to limit the amount of information he gives to the public on his preparations. Finally, the journalists begin their questioning of Mikael.

R: Mikael, this is possibly the biggest fight of your career, a chance for you to claim the Aspire MMA Light Heavyweight championship. How do you feel your career has prepared you for this bout?

MB: No comment. R: Oh um well….How do you feel that you are fighting Gerrald James and not Alejandro Scott for the title?

MB: No comment. R: How do you feel about James as the champion?

MB: No comment. R: Are you refusing to answer due your reported unhappiness with Aspire management?

MB: *Mikael gives a little smile, looks at Adam Holland, before returning his view to the journalists* ….. No comment.

R: I suppose the final question is there has been speculation as to what potentially may happen should you win the title. Can you confirm or dispel the rumours that you are apparently willing to walk away from Aspire MMA as the champion should you not be granted the requests and demands you have laid out to them?

MB: No comment.

With that, Mikael simply gets up and leaves the room. The media are left stunned at Mikael’s unwillingness to answer their questions and they try questioning Adam Holland on what just transpired, with the Aspire CEO left just as confused as the press hounding him.

Taking The Spotlight

The night of the fight had finally arrived, it is shortly before the event is due to begin and I am talking with Mikael in his locker room.

EJ: Well Mikael, the time has almost arrived for us to bring an end to the documentary. I have to say, it has been a pleasure to have talked to you, recorded your journey through TUF all the way up until this point and I think regardless of whether you won or lose, you can be very proud of yourself for what you have accomplished.

MB: Thanks man. It was a pleasure to take part in this project. Feels weird that I won’t have a camera following me all the time now but I’m sure I’ll get used to it again.

EJ: I better head off and get to my seat, but best of luck with the fight tonight.

With that, I left Mikael to complete his preparations. As I leave, his manager Grant Brophy walks into the room, gives me a greeting, before closing the door behind him. I hear faintly through the door Grant say “It’s all set” before I decide to leave and get to cageside.

It was another entertaining night of fighting, with many of the fights providing some appreciated spectacles. One thing I did learn from Mikael’s preparations is that he doesn’t look at the results from earlier on the card until after. Perhaps a good idea, as both Shawn McLean and Thoreaux AssKicken would suffer losses. Both by (T)KO.

The Co-Main Event has just finished, and everyone is gearing up for the Main Event to begin shortly, but an announcement on the PA system would start up.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, there will be a brief intermission before the main event begins. You are advised to use this time to buy refreshments or to use the toilet facilities available to ensure you do not miss any of the action!”

Many were confused at this announcement, as there was an intermission just before the Co-Main Event. Barely a soul would arise from their seat, and I had noticed Adam Holland began to look flustered and worried by the walkin ramp.

Suddenly, Mikael appeared on the stage, dressed in his fight gear, but was not making his way down to the cage. Instead, he sat with his legs folded in a meditation-like way, and proceeded to address the audience in attendance.

MB: You know, I try to be the best person I can be. Ask anybody who knows me, and they’ll talk about how I’m a nice guy, I help people, et cetera, et cetera. But the issue with being that nice guy, and not speaking your mind, is that people then start to believe they can just walk all over you when they feel like it. Some people feel that they can do whatever they please in regards to you, since they don’t believe you will actually do or say anything.

I found myself in one of these situations recently. I’ve done my best for this company, I have put my body on the line for this company, and my numbers speak for themselves when it comes to me appearing in an Aspire MMA cage. I was the Main Event against James Adams, and that event is #1 when it comes to the highest rated event in Aspire history. That same event, #2 when it comes to highest gate in Aspire history, although I heard rumours that this event broke that record so we’ll find out next week about that one.

And yet, for an event so huge for the company, you know what the fighter pay was like? Not even top 10. I work my ass off for this company, yet they don’t seem to appreciate when a fighter puts in the work needed to move this company forward.

So while we are getting paid jack shit in here for making the company one of the hottest things in the MMA world today, you know what Aspire are doing? Buying a certain org called Dignity and bringing their fighters in, oh and paying them all a tonne more than we are earning here. Some might call this sour grapes, I call it getting a fair share. I thought I was going to be getting the promotion for myself that reflects my worth to this company. I was supposed to be making a movie with “Fast” Eddie Clark. It was gonna be the blockbuster that kicked off the summer! That got flushed down the drain, with no explanation to me, yet I hear that “Hollyweird Studios” are planning on making more films without addressing the issue of what they already promised. Now I have heard rumours and talk on why the movie failed to come into production, and some of them might be right. Myself however, I’m just gonna call it out right now.

*At this point, Adam Holland has moved from his seat and makes his way up the entrance ramp.*

Ah perfect timing Adam. So as I was saying….woah woah there Adam. You might wanna put a stop to your powerwalking regime to get to me and have a little listen to what I have to say. It might just help you in the long run.

*Adam is looking annoyed at being addressed in this way, but with the media staring at him and the potential negative press that could come the orgs way, decides to stand there and let Mikael continue*

MB: Glad we got that sorted! As I was saying once more, I have a feeling this is Aspire Management’s way of trying to keep me in line. I think it’s something to do with the fact I want fair pay among Aspire fighters. Maybe it’s something to do with me wanting some goddamn medical coverage. Who knows? It could even have something to do with the fact that they couldn’t come up with the Alejandro Scott fight for me, and this is their way of showing they are in control and have all the power. But really who knows? I’m just a simple fighter am I not? And they are the people who pay my wages and allow me to compete.

Except, I’m the one sat here, right now, with a microphone. Oh and this isn’t one of your microphones Adam, so don’t think you are gonna be able to silence me so easily like at the press conference. So, now allow me to answer those questions from that press conference.

My thoughts on Scott?
I think he is a surfing pussy who deliberately lost the title to James just so he wouldn’t have to fight me.

My thoughts on James as the champ?
I think he is a paper champ based on the last question. If he beats me, fair enough I will congratulate him. I will also be looking for him to undergo a drug test cos he ain’t beating me without some kind of nutritional miracle.

Am I disgruntled at Aspire management?
Just a little bit I guess. I mean, these are only small issues, but guess what, small issues add up.

So Adam, here is a list of things you can do to aid your situation.

Metallica, one of these events, playing me into the octagon or out of it. Either way, don’t matter.The promotion you are giving all these other fighters? Send some my way. Pay fighters better, and sure as hell give them medical coverage. I’ll give you credit, you do a fucking good job when it comes to running the company, particularly compared to the other nuts in the same job at other orgs, but I have no issue with winning that title, and walking on out of Aspire as the champ.

We are in June people, we got 3 whole months of summer to look forward to. This is going to be the “Summer of Brophy”. I’m the best fighter you can possibly find in Aspire today, I am the best man to lead this company forward, and I am going to one day become the P4P best fighter in the goddamn world.

We can solve all of these issues at a later date, but I’m telling you, that Metallica one better happen soon.

While not having a microphone enabled, sources claimed that Adam Holland was heard saying “I'll do it, Brophy I’ll get you the god damn band but don't ever pull this shit again”. He proceeded to storm off the ramp and back to his seat, where he can be seen pulling out his phone and furiously calling someone’s number.

As he does, Metallica’s For Whom The Bell tolls comes on in the arena, Mikael’s corner comes out to meet him, and they walk down to the cage. Ready to fight.

Conquering The Division

The fight is about to happen. Mikael is stood in the cage, in the last few moments, Gerrald has made his own way to the cage and they are staring each other down. Referee, Verb Lean, calls them into the centre and gives them their instructions. Neither man touches gloves and they both make their way back to their corner. Both are ready to begin the war.

TAKEN FROM ADAM HOLLAND’S ASPIRE 44 RECAP WHICH YOU CAN READ HERE

As the challenger moves in to start things off James fires off a swinging hook to the body that fails to land and Brophy miss-places a left before both men find bone-on-bone action as Brophy checks a low kick that's likely to leave both men bruised in the morning. The champion fakes a jab before scoring with a low kick and following up with a nice hook to the body but stalled in his tracks by a solid strike by Brophy that leaves James bleeding profusely from the right temple area, not deterred James fired back with a left of his own and tries to push forward with another series of leg strikes but Brophy defends them well before eating a stiff hook to the body.

James landing another stiff shot to the mid-section really working on destroying Brophy's energy reserves as a matter of strategy but takes a stiff left hand from Brophy who is now trying to instigate a clinch but the champion wants no part of it and circles away with some haste, Brophy now stalking down his opponent cracks James with a massive hook to the jaw and really seemed to hurt before following up with a series of strikes that continued to apply pressure to the reigning champion.

A series of critical strikes delivered by Brophy to the legs of James leave the champion with a noticeably slower pace as James continues to fire off heavy shots in retaliation making Brophy pay for every successful strike, James throws a big-time hook but fails to land allowing Brophy to land a left and a right that send's James crashing to the mat, dazed. Brophy thinks about following hm down but think's better of it waving his opponent to his feet, the fan's now at a fever pitch as the roof of the University Park arena looks set to explode.

Showing the heart of a champion James climbs back to his feet and audibly yells "You want my fucking title, come and fucking get it" with his arms wide open taunting Brophy forward as James swings wildly, Brophy counters with a stiff shot to the ribs as James continues to bob and weave in and out of shots, OH NO! James has taken a devastating shot the right eye socket and his eye is swelling up like a peach!!! he's got blood all over the place, that's a nasty one. Jab jab jab as James tries to keep Brophy at bay followed by a big right, the champion is in trouble but not out yet as he circles to safety.

James working on instinct here looks more dangerous than ever landing crisp jabs and heavy rights as he moves cautiously backwards against the incoming onslaught of Brophy who wades forward working strikes tight from the inside, James's head snapped back again by another big shot and he's cut open for a third time with his other eye now covered in blood due to a gash above the left eyebrow, he's in a bad way as the bell rings calling time on the first round.

James team did the best they could but the referee has given his cuts a second and third look dubiously allowing the fight to continue as James pleads for a chance to defend his title, reluctantly the referee seems to have agreed to allow this to continue but James misses with a body shot due to Brophy's fantastic footwork and finds himself quick off-balance following a failed leg strike that allows Brophy to counter with a nice right hand that sends James toppling to the canvas! James scrambles and gets back to his feet - can Brophy finish him?! James is rocked! BAM! Brophy delivers a spinning backfist that drops James like a ragdoll! This is all oooooveeeer! He was out before he hit the ground!

Following the fight as the winner was announced and Brophy's team stormed the cage to congratulate their new champion the lights dimmed down to pitch black and a platform above the cage seemed to begin to lower as shining lights around a platform hovering above the cage seemed to descend as the bells sounded loud and the opening chords struck the riffs of Metallica - For Whom The Bells Toll played live by the band themselves who were all too pleased to see Brophy's team lift him up onto the platform to join them, holding his championship high in the air for all to see as the platform began to raise the triumphant Mikael Brophy into another stratosphere of global fame. We leave this documentary with Mikael inviting Eugene Jaracki onto the stage, with the final shot being of Mikael holding the title up high, with the crowd roaring in delight. While he was bursting with potential, this was the moment Mikael had made it as a fighter, and it was truly a moment that is worth savouring.

 

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