Thursday, December 20, 2007

Fighter Interview: Reed Ehmke of Neutral Ground BJJ in Milwaukee, WI

Reed “Icculus” or “Ridiculous” Ehmke is 28 a year old white belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and fights out of Neutral Ground in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He is an amateur fighter and holds an undefeated record of (2-0). He will be fighting this Saturday in the Season’s Beatings show hosted by Combat USA in Menasha, Wisconsin. I had the chance to sit down and talk with him about his opponent and background. We also talked about weight, his nickname, and dream fights. Enjoy the interview.

WCS: First off, tell me a little about your opponent.

Ehmke: My opponent’s name is Tyson Fields from Minnesota. That’s about all I know about him. I think he’s an MMA guy, and does a little bit of everything. I think he does some sort of management for a fight team.

WCS: Stylistically, what type of fighter are you? Are you a sprawl n’ brawl guy, jiu-jitsu specialist, stand-up fighter, or a wrestler?

Ehmke: Wrestling is probably where my strong points are right now. I guess a freestyle fighter would be the right verbiage. I definitely like the takedown and ground and pound from there.

WCS: Ideally if a fight unfolds your way, how do you see that fight happening?

Ehmke: I’d like to stand toe-to-toe for a little while. Judge each other’s hands and legs, then most likely lead into my shot. From there I’d like to either pass guard or land in side control and work for advancement from there.

WCS: Do you want to make any kind of prediction for the fight, whether it be via submission or knockout?

Ehmke: I think it will be a submission and it will probably be a three rounder. Hopefully I’ll come out on the winning end.

WCS: Tell me a little about your background. What kind of sports you were in growing up? What got you into BJJ, and tell me how the progession into MMA occurred?

Ehmke: I grew up wrestling. I started watching UFC when I was a little kid from UFC 1. I was always really turned onto the thought of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I moved out to Colorado and kind of lost track of all that. About six months before I moved back to Milwaukee I joined a Jiu-Jitsu club and it’s just captivated my attention. I pretty much live and breathe Jiu-Jitsu now. MMA is just kind of a side note for me right now, just something to do that I enjoy, but Jiu-Jitsu is what I really would like to progress in.

WCS: You have a (2-0) record, tell me about your previous fights.

Ehmke: My first fight was in June and my both of my previous opponents were strikers. The first guy was an undefeated Golden Gloves boxer with no MMA experience. The second guy was a U.S. Muay Thai academy kickboxer. Kind of the same story with him, I think he had limited, if any, MMA experience. Both fights were pretty much carbon copies of each other. I walked across the mat, threw a couple punches to get their hands up, shot, landed in side control with a guillotine. I slipped the guillotine, got knee on belly to mount. Then I just started to rain down on them until they gave me an arm. Then I arm barred them; both were in the first round within about a minute thirty.

WCS: Your undefeated and assuming you win on Saturday and go to (3-0), how long does someone stay amateur? Are you thinking about going pro? At what point would you decide?

Ehmke: Right now, pro is not anything I am bothering my mind with. I’m just concentrating on my next fight and leaving it in my coach’s hands. When he decides it’s time then I’ll definitely be at the front lines ready to do whatever he says. I’m not going to make any plans or assumptions without him giving me the okay prior to that.

WCS: This fight is at 170 lbs, I had heard that you were possibly going to fight at 155 lbs. What weight class are you more comfortable at? Is it 170 or do you feel you would be more dominate at 155?

Ehmke: I think with my strength to weight ratio, 170 is definitely my target weight. Not to say that I won’t drop to 155 if the right opponent presents himself or the right opportunity comes along. Right now I’m a pretty big 170, I’m six foot and I walk around a little bit over 180 with 7% body fat. Cutting a lot more weight than 10lbs would be hard and it would take a little time, but it’s definitely something that’s a possibility down the line, not something I’m planning on currently.

WCS: Who are some fighters you look up to? Is it due to the type of person they are or does it have to do with what type of fighter they are stylistically?

Ehmke: Randy Couture has always been a hero of mine ever since I saw him as a little kid. His involvement in the USA Sunkist kids wrestling team for freestyle and Greco Roman is something I admired about him when I was younger. Rich Franklin for being a good guy and a school teacher. He’s educated and represents the sport well. Also my coach (Jon “White Trash” Freidland); he brings a whole new level of class to the sport even though he has a pretty trashy nickname. He always handles himself out of the ring as positively as he can and I’ve tried to adapt that to my style as well.

As far as styles of fighting, Anderson Silva is hands down the most devastating fighter I’ve ever seen. I’d love to model my style after him and be as good as I can at any position.

WCS: If you could fight anybody you wanted in a dream fight, whom would you choose and I mean anybody?

Ehmke: I’d want to fight Mask from Tapout. Not to talk to much trash, but the whole scene that they are trying to create in MMA is not really where I think the sport needs to head. I’d like to see people represent it more as a professional sport and not a clown and paint show, not a circus. That would be my ideal dream fight. Joe Rogan would be a close second.

WCS: Your nickname, what is it and what’s the story behind it?

Ehkme: It started out Reed “Tard”. I don’t even know how I got that nickname, someone at the dojo mentioned it and it seemed like it would be funny. My theory on a nickname is that it doesn’t matter what your nickname is; you could be Mike “The Maniac” and I’m going to fight you the same way. Names don’t mean anything. I think it’s going to be changed to Reed “Icculus” which is just as dumb, but a little bit less offensive. Hopefully I won’t get so many rolling of the eyes when I tell people my name. It might also be a little bit more marketable.

WCS: Do you have any sponsors or want to give shout outs to anyone?

Ehmke: I’d like to give a shout out to Neutral Ground Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, first and foremost. Shag Clothing Company does all my custom printing for me. Also, Decibal Night Club and Gothic Body Tattoo and Piercing, they have all helped me out in their own ways. I’d definitely like to give them thanks. Most importantly, I’d like to thank my coach Jon Freidland and my parents.

For more information on the Combat USA: Season’s Beatings show check out Tyler Welch’s preview article or the other interviews we’ve posted this week. Please support the local MMA scene and it’s athletes by going to the shows. Wisconsin Combat Sports will be there this Saturday covering the action. We hope to see you there.

This article was originally posted on on 12-20-2007.

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