He’s one of the few Polish fighters, who live abroad and are successful in MMA. On Saturday the champion of the prestigious Cage Rage organization Marcin Bartkiewicz will fight for the first time in Poland at KSW Fight Club event. Here’s my interview with the popular “Doctor”.
Hello Marcin. At the beginning please tell us a little bit about yourself. Where do you train and why in England.
Hi Artur and cheers to all MMA and KSW fans. I’ll try to answer your questions and let people know me a little bit better. So I train in London under the coach Eddie Kone, who is the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu master, Gracie Jiu Jitsu to be exact. He’s a student of Royler Gracie and David Adiv. Before BJJ I used to train Muay Thai in K-O gym under one Polish coach. I won’t tell you his name, because he turned out be a traitor, although a very proficient trainer. Besides that I also train boxing and wrestling. I spar with professional boxers and I practice wrestling, unfortunately due to lack of time I don’t do it systematically. My focus is on Muay Thai and BJJ.
How did your MMA career start?
I started to train very late, I had my first class in 2006. That’s when I moved to England. I was supposed to make my MMA debut in March 2008. I was matched against English karate guy who was bragging around that he’d beat anybody in an MMA fight. However, once he saw me a week before the bout he chickened out. Promoters found me a replacement opponent, who at first agreed to face me, but then backed out of fight two days before the event. I don’t remember his name, but it’s the same guy who lost to Popek in Cage Rage in Birmingham.
I was pissed because I spent three months of training for this bout and I was left with nothing. Later that year I finally made my debut, I was victorious in Cage Rage. Right after that I received the offer to face undefeated UWC champion Stav Economou. I accepted the challenge, but lost via decision. It’s a shame because I could’ve finished him in the first round, but my lack of experience and a short preparations affected me.
After that I was offered a fight against James Thompson, a stronger and bigger fighter who competed in Pride many times. I wasn’t afraid and once again accepted the challenge. Two months of preparations, no friends, no parties, only training. I was extremely motivated, I was scheduled to fight an experienced fighter with twenty bouts under his belt in the main event of the show. Imagine what happened. Thompson got injured two weeks before the event. At first they wanted to replace him with James McSweany, but than the fight was cancelled altogether because of the riot at the Popek’s bout. The promoters knew we had the same group of followers and they didn’t want to risk a repeat of what happened in Reading.
In November that they let me fight in Watford, where I won the championship belt by knockout in the main event. Then I had a break from fighting till 2010. In June I made my comeback and won another belt in a cage kickboxing fight.
I’ve heard that you really want to face an Englishmen who currently fights for US promotions Bellator. Is that true?
You probably think about Neil Grove. That’s indeed true, there is one reason I want to fight him. He’s the UCMMA heavyweight champ. I know that our paths will cross eventually.
You’re coming to Poland on Friday to compete at the inaugural KSW Fight Club show. I know that you really wanted to fight for KSW. Is fighting on this card a realization of your dreams?
I promised myself to do anything in order to fight for KSW. Fighting for Polish fans will be awesome. I sacrificed a lot to make it possible. I know that sometimes dreams come true. I wanted to fight for Cage Rage in Wembley Arena and I did it.
I want to prove it to all the doubters, who behind my back laugh at the fact the a guy from the street wants to be successful.
You were scheduled to fight a former strongman Kamil Bazelak, unfortunately he suffered an injury. Russian Dmitry Zablotny will replace him. Has this change affected you preparation?
It’s not the first opponent change in my career. It destroyed my strategy, I had only a few days to prepare a new game plan. To make matters worse I have been on antibiotics for the last few days.
What do you know about Zablotny?
Not much. I know he’s a leftie and you have to approach such fighters differently. I’ve got to stay positive.
You have a background in BJJ and Muay Thai. What do you prefer?
Hmmm... probably stand-up because of my height and long reach.
I’ve always wanted to ask you about your nick name. Why do people call you Doctor?
I don’t want to talk about it. Let it remain a secret. Those who know me know where it came from, let others guess.
Marcin thank for your time and good luck in you Polish MMA debut.
Cheers and see you at the KSW Fight Club show!