Randy Thorsvig is a man who has overcome alcoholism, morbid obesity, and being confined to a wheelchair. He is a man that had a dream to feel the glory of fighting in a cage. He is a man who faced the odds, and won.
Thorsvig made his professional MMA debut when he faced Jason Cook (then 0-0) at the North Dakota-based Impact Fighting Championship’s inaugural event, IFC: Inception last Saturday in Bismarck. The 40-year-old Randy silenced naysayers when he put on a dominant performance, submitting Cook with a Kimura just past the two-minute mark in the very first round.
After our previous coverage of Randy’s then-upcoming fight, MMA Gospel got the change to sit down with him yet again to see how he feels about his long-anticipated debut in the professional mixed martial arts world, his future in the sport, and much more.
So Randy, how does it feel knowing that not only have you accomplished your dream of stepping in the cage, but also being victorious in your pro debut?
Crazy, man. Never thought it was going to happen and then BAM!, the ref is like, “Are you ready?”, and everything stood still for what seemed like an eternity but was a split second, and then like in a movie everything rewound to the day I decided to take the fight and then fast forwarded to through the summer and all the training to that moment in the cage! It felt like a load of bricks being taken off my back and being given a key to the city. Friggin’ awesome. One of the best feelings I have ever felt!
When we spoke before this interview, you mentioned that you had three teeth knocked out. Did you take a knee in the clinch?
No knee, I know that. Otherwise I am not 100% sure. I asked my corner as well, and they said it happened right before I grabbed the leg and [when] we went down he threw a right cross…I didn’t even feel it. All I know is after we got back to the locker room and I took my mouth guard out, my tooth [came out] and some others were sitting there looking back at me like, “DUDE, whats up?” lol
Your game plan going into this fight against Jason Cook was to use your wrestling to keep the fight standing, and your power and stand-up to finish the fight. How did you end up nailing the submission?
Yeah, no kidding right? Yes, we planned and I did as we planned. Right at the bell we touched [gloves] and I circled right and stalked him with my right jab, which had him on his heels into the cage. [I was] then running to my left and slightly rolling against the cage where I almost had a standing Arm Triangle but he rolled out and we weaved into the middle again which is where [he] landed that right cross and weak right round house kick. I scooped his leg and planted my hand on his chest and dumped him and to the ground we went. After a close call with a tight Triangle and Arm Bar he had on me (the only thing going through my head was my wife earlier in the day saying, “Whatever you do, DON’T TAP”). I squeezed out and obtained side control chest-to-chest, where I took a breath as I felt an adrenaline dump and the result of not breathing properly. I then started throwing hammer fists and was going to Crucifix him but he kept dangling that left arm out there, so I took it and slowly moved into position, which gave way to a perfect Kimura. He yelled and the ref had to jump on me to stop it, as I was too full of adrenaline to stop at that moment, because not only did I win but I beat him at his own game since he is a BJJ fighter.
You won via Kimura at just 2:05 into the first round. Wow. Did you expect to finish Cook so quickly?
Quick, yes, by Kimura, certainly not. Although, besides a couple of neck cranks, the Kimura is another move I have practiced.
Describe what you were feeling when your hand was raised after the fight.
Shocked, stunned. Not that I won but that it was so quick and that I did it by way of Kimura. Oh and the fact that my heart was POUNDING out of my chest! Other than that it was like time machine back to first grade when I won my first wrestling match. I felt like a little kid.
This next question is from @CombatTrainer on Twitter. He wants to know what your strength and conditioning program consists of?
This was the first time in any type of training I have ever done where I didn’t lift a single weight and at first that was really tough, as I have always had that a part of my life/training and strength was a key for me. I wanted to not only focus on technique, I needed to cut weight and not lift. It really helped in the last 30lbs. of cutting, [the weight] melted right off. As far as what I did do, we focused heavily on cardio like most MMA fighters need. One of the key exercises was called the Tabata Drill which was eight 20-second intervals with a 10-second rest in between each and it could be anything from plain sprinting to throwing punches or kicking but the key was 100% burn out for those 20 seconds. Also, I did tons of Ab work (although by my picture I still look flabby, I think) to not only help me in the flab department but to be able to take kicks and punches to the midsection with no problem. We also did some lifting but with body weight – push ups, body bench press, throwing heavy bag, sprinting 40 yards while carrying heavy bag, then tossing it, sprinting down and picking it back up, and repeat. Also did handstand push ups leaning into the wall and then walking five steps on our hands; we also [did what] I call “chasing chickens” (like in Rocky, odd stuff). [My trainer] had me at one point take Beanie Babies and place on my knees and then walk 40 yards without them falling off. I had to really keep my legs bent at 90 degrees. If they fell off I had to start over. Man, that killed my legs!
How do your friends and family feel about your MMA endeavors? They must be really proud of all that you have accomplished.
Nothing but all the support in the world from friends and family – tons of friends willing to spar and grapple with me and some even throwing in sponsorship. My wife and daughter were the biggest, though, since I was away from home a lot and missed them a lot, yet they allowed me to follow the dream and gave me unconditional love with it. Like I said before, my wife gave me the seed right before the fight: “Whatever you do, DON’T Tap”. After the fight I called back to the hotel to let them know how Daddy did, and Lil’ Miss Magic (my daughter Molly) told me that she was proud of me and that I was her hero. She is only two-and-a-half [years old]. Talk about support and MELTING a big fighter into a puddle. That was worth everything right there!
What’s next for you? Are you planning to fight again soon, take a break then fight, or even possibly retire knowing you accomplished what you set out to do?
Right at the moment, I of course have a mandatory seven-day sit, no contact, which is normal after any fight. I am looking for a fight and hopefully will find one before February, which is the next one with this promotion (Impact Fighting Championship) again out near Bismarck, ND. As far as retiring, the plan initially was to fight what I can within a year’s time then call it quits. However, I will hang it up even sooner if it gets in the way of family. As long as my wife, family, and friends continue to support it then I will continue to do it. My main goal was to fight a professional fight and I can die a happy man now knowing that I did and I won it, and from it all grew a new found respect for the sport and the fighters.
What is your personal motto?
Well, never really thought about it but I guess if I was to have one it would have to be: “Improvise, adapt, overcome!” which if I think is either a Marine’s saying or from the movie “Heartbreak Ridge”. Either way, it fits perfect!
Any closing comments or anyone you want to thank?
I want to thank God for the gifts I was given and gifts I learned, and my family and friends for grand support, and my wife and Lil’ Miss Magic – I love you both and can’t thank you enough for your love in return and tremendous strength and support you continue to provide me. Also I want to give BIG shout outs to my sponsors: 46 and 2 Tattoo, American MMA, Red River Tae Kwon Do, Red River Golden Gloves, and my huge MMA sponsor STEP IN Gear, where I highly recommend anyone getting great MMA wear. Receive a 25% discount when you use “RANDYT10” ordering online. And of course to all of you at MMA Gospel along with Gary and Amy at MMA Gospel Radio, THANK YOU!