|One half of the famous Bash Brothers|
|Written by Ben Pherson|
|Monday, 01 November 2010 21:35|
Marvin Blumer has been training in mixed martial arts for about two years, and he's already made a name for himself in Minnesota's 135-pound division. With just one pro fight under his belt, Blumer is ranked No. 5 at 135 pounds.
Blumer, 28, will return to the cage for his second pro fight on Nov. 13 against Craig Early during a Savage Entertainment event at Neisen's Sports Bar in Savage.
Blumer also happens to have a twin brother, Melvin. He's also unbeaten.
What fans of "The Bash Brothers" might not know is that Marvin is living with ulcerative colitis. Years ago, he had to have a large portion of his colon and large intestine removed. He only absorbs 20 percent of the water a normal person would, so it's a constant balancing act.
But Blumer, who originally is from the Chisago Lakes area, is a firm believer in the saying "that which does not kill you makes you stronger."
We tracked down Marvin to find out what it's like to have a fighting twin brother, competing for Savage Entertainment and training at the Minnesota School of Martial Arts.
What kind of work do you do?
MARVIN: I do flat-work concrete. I've been doing that, but I do basically anything concrete. I've been doing that for almost
13 years now. Me and my brother started together, and we've just stuck with it.
What kind of sports background did you have growing up?
MARVIN: I actually played hockey. I played baseball, too, in the summers, but not for high school.
When did you get into MMA and what got you started?
MARVIN: Realistically, I've been watching it since I was probably 15, back when it first started with like Royce and stuff. You know, growing up, I always played hockey, and then after high school, my wife and I had kids pretty young. Me and my buddies always talked about doing (MMA). About two years ago, I was working out of town, and I got a call from a buddy. He was like, 'when you come back to town, we've been training, so it's time to start.' I ended up having some free time when I got back, so I just started training. And I loved it. I couldn't get enough. I've been training for two years at the Minnesota School of Martial Arts. Our fight team is the Minnesota Militia. MSMA is located in Taylors Falls, which is right on the border of Wisconsin.
How did you get mixed up with Austin Judge and that crazy crew at American Top Team of Savage?
MARVIN: When I started training, I started looking for places to fight, and I really didn't know anything about how to do that at the time. I was doing union concrete, and I ran into someone who knew Austin, and he gave me Austin's number and I got Eric (Aasen's) number. They had me down to do a Thai smoker, but I ended up breaking three ribs while training right before the event. So my brother ended up doing the Thai smoker. But they could see we were for real, and so they had us back. The more we fought, the more we got to know them. We've had a chance to train with them a little bit now, too. Ashkan and all of them are really good guys, and they're great for us to work out with.
You beat Adam Moran in your first pro fight, and I've heard there was an interesting story about that fight. How did that come about?
MARVIN: I only had two amateur fights, but yeah my brother was originally supposed to fight Adam Moran. But I kicked him in the face three days before the fight, and he needed six stitches, so he couldn't fight. I stepped up out of my weight class and took the fight for him. I was way light because I was cutting, trying to get to 145 at the time. I weighed in at 153 with all of my clothes on.
You're cutting to 135 now. Is that a tough cut?
MARVIN: Yeah, it's a pretty tough cut. But I try to do as much as possible over time. My goal is to get within seven pounds. It's a tough cut and it will basically be the lightest I've ever been in my adult life. Honestly, me and my brother like to stay out of each other's weight classes so that rules out the questions about whether we would ever fight each other. We can just fight our own opponents.
So who's older, you or Melvin?
MARVIN: Melvin is actually older. I always tell him that he was crying, so they decided to take him first; he was the whiner. Melvin is two minutes older, and of course, he uses that whenever he gets the chance.
Were you and Melvin competitive growing up?
MARVIN: Oh yeah. We were pretty rough on each other. We also had an older brother who was six years older than us, and he was never short on picking on us. Me and Melvin, we had all the same friends, and we were always hanging out together. We went at it like cats and dogs. We had some pretty mean fist fights when we were younger. But I think that stuff helped us now, especially for (MMA). There's nothing like fighting someone the exact same weight, the exact same height, exact same everything, not wanting to give up anything. But that all worked out pretty good for this (MMA) stuff.
Have any crazy identical twins stories? You don't feel it when Melvin gets hit or anything, do you?
MARVIN: When we were younger we had some of that stuff. Like when I had ulcerative colitis, Melvin knew I was sick even before it happened. But otherwise it's just everyday kind of stuff. I don't read his thoughts or anything.
Is it tough to watch him in the cage?
MARVIN: For sure it's tough to watch. It's pretty intense. We try to stay away from cornering each other. We just get so into it. I'm usually screaming worthless nonsense to him, nothing intelligent at all. It's hard to think about skill and strategy when he's in there.
So who's better, Marvin or Melvin?
MARVIN: In my opinion, I think Melvin is better. I'm sure he'd probably say me. But Melvin is the last person I'd want to fight. He's just got that mentality. He doesn't get over-anxious in the cage. He uses a lot of his smarts. He's a beast at 145 pounds. And he knows when to unleash it. I'm a little more high-strung; I like to exchange right away.
You're fighting Craig Early on Nov. 13 in Savage. What do you know about Early?
MARVIN: I know he's a pro kickboxer. I've seen him Thai fight a couple of times. For me, I think it will be a lot like fighting Adam Moran. I'm assuming he's got a good clinch, and I'll have to watch out for his knees. In the hands department, I'm thinking I can beat him in that area. I haven't seen any of his MMA fights. I know two of his wins are by submission. I know he's a big Thai guy, and I'm just hoping he wants to stand and exchange with me. We'll both dig deep and see who wants it more.
You've had a series of crazy injuries. What can you tell us about those mishaps?
MARVIN: Yeah, in that first fight, unfortunately we had an inadvertent headbutt. I ended up breaking my orbital in like nine places. It happened early in the fight. He looked at me, and I looked at him, and we shook hands. It was in the first round, and it was just like any other headbutt. I ended up knocking him out 11 seconds into the second round. After the fight, I was rubbing my face, and I felt my eyebrow was about an inch lower. I was like, 'whoa, that's not supposed to be there.' So I ended up having my face basically peeled down to my nose, and they had to use some wire mesh and put the puzzle pieces back together. In the Adam Moran fight, I found out way later on that I broke my cheek bone. I guess that's what happens when you take five, six or 20 knees directly to the face. That one was kind of funny, though. I went to NAGA the next week, and I took fourth. But in one match, the guy got me in a guillotine. It didn't choke me, but it really hurt my face, and that's when I realized I had broke my cheekbone earlier. Even though I keep getting injured, I still feel like this is something I can succeed in.
You're living and fighting with ulcerative colitis. Years ago, you had to have a chunk of your large intestine and most of your colon removed. How does that alter your training and your life?
MARVIN: Energy was a problem at first. I don't absorb water like other people. I only absorb 20 percent of the water a normal person does. For the first five years, it took a lot for my body to readjust. Now, it's not the same. But I think I've got it going pretty well, and my energy level feels pretty good. Some days, I feel like training takes everything out of me. But most days, I'm fine.
With a wife and kids and living with ulcerative colitis, what's the goal for you with MMA? Is this just a hobby or do you hope to make it with a big-time organization?
MARVIN: I do love to do it, for sure. But it also would be nice to see our gym one day be very successful. I'd also love to some day be able to teach martial arts, instead of scrub on concrete all day. But my goal is to make a shot. I'd love to make it to the UFC or to any big organization. I'm hoping if I can keep winning fights, one day that will happen. With a lot of hard work, me and my brother, we'd love to reach that ultimate goal and make it into a big organization.
With everything going on in your life, you must have a very supportive wife?
MARVIN: Ah yes, definitely. Without her, I definitely wouldn't be able to do any of this. She must love me a lot. After all of the injuries we've been through together, well, I guess I just couldn't imagine my life without her. She's always backed me up 100 percent. I remember when I had the injury where I had to have my face pretty much peeled off, someone asked her, 'you let your husband cage fight?' She said her husband does what he wants, and that she supported him in whatever he wanted to do. I try to do the same thing for her. Like right now she's going to school to be a police officer. She's definitely my anchor. She keeps me in check.
What do you like about fighting for Savage Entertainment?
MARVIN: Most of all, I enjoy the competition. Every time I step in the cage down there, I knew Austin and Eric are going to put someone in front of me who's going to test me. It's why I went pro after two fights. Sure, winning is awesome. But I don't want to win a bunch of fights against people who aren't good and then get beat on by someone who's good. I like going in there never knowing if I'm going to win or lose. That's what I truly enjoy about it. I know when I get in the cage there, I'm going to be a better fighter when I come out. I also like the venue. It's always a packed house. I've been to venues that are bigger, but they are usually so spread out, and even if there are more people, it doesn't feel like it. At (Neisen's), the crowd is right there. If you take somebody to the mat, you know it, because everybody is going to rumble and get on their feet. It's a cool environment. It's a smaller show, but it's intense.
Who would you like to thank?
MARVIN: I'd like to thank Eric Aasen, Austin Judge and all the guys down at ATT. I'd like to thank my team and all the guys who are a part of the Minnesota Militia and MSMA. They've all helped me get better, and they're great training partners. I couldn't do this without those guys.They're always there for me. I would definitely like to thank my wife and my family. They've been so supportive since the beginning. They're always there for me. I'd also like to thank the local MMA fans who make the shows so fun. And I'd like to thank (Minnesota MMA News) for the interview.