Our man in The States, Tony Reid, recently caught up with British MMA Pioneer, Leigh Remedios [18/10], one of the first British fighters to compete in the UFC on home soil [at UFC 38], who fought out of Quannum Gym in our hometown of Huddersfield, alongside our own Ian Butlin. These days, Leigh trains and competes in heavily Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, as well as teaching at VT JiuJitsu.
Tony Reid: You competed at the first UFC event in England at UFC 38. Being able to compete in your home country, what were your thoughts and feelings at the time about entering the competition and your performance? What are your thoughts looking back now at your time spent in the Octagon?
Leigh Remedios: I was very nervous. Overly so. I think this affected me in the fight and made me hesitant but at the end of the day, I lost to a better fighter. I simply wasn’t well rounded enough at that point.
Tony Reid: Most MMA fans will remember you as you were almost a decade ago. What do you do for a living now? Are you still involved in MMA in any capacity?
Leigh Remedios: Yes I run a MMA gym in Chippenham and we’ve got a good bunch of guys. We are only a small gym in a small town but we’ve got a few guys who compete professionally with good records. I still do seminars and I’ve also started doing a little bit of refereeing. My day job is a safety engineer for a railway company, basically assuring automated rail systems.
Tony Reid: I am currently rewatching every UFC event starting with UFC 1. Being a part of that history, what would you want me or any fan to take away from the early days of the sport?
Leigh Remedios: I think the biggest thing to appreciate is that NHB/MMA shows what really works from the martial arts. I have nothing at all against traditional martial arts but from a combat perspective, sports that hold full contact competitions have been proven to be more successful.
Tony Reid: Do you still follow the sport? What are your thoughts on the growth of MMA over the past few years? Do you have favorite fighters you enjoy watching today?
Leigh Remedios: Yes I’m still a huge fan of fighting. I think Zuffa have done a great job of mainstreaming the sport with a very good strategy and its awesome that its becoming so well known.
There are loads of fighters I enjoy watching. In particular, Anderson Silva, Vitor Belfort, BJ Penn, Nick Diaz, George Sotiropolous, Alistair Overeem and Rhonda Rousey are fighters I will make an effort not to miss. There are loads more, I hope no one feels left out!
Tony Reid: Do you keep in touch with any of the people you worked with back then (sponsors, trainers, competitors)?
Leigh Remedios: Well I’m on facebook with most of the people I have worked with but I don’t really have much in the way of conversations with many people. What I love about this sport is that almost everyone is cool and if you bump into someone you haven’t spoken to for years, you will still chat like old friends.
Tony Reid: What is your fondest memory of your time spent in the UFC? Conversely, what is your least favorite, or worst memory of your time spent there?
Leigh Remedios: Well I only had one fight so there isn’t much to choose from, haha. My worst memory I guess is being duffed up on TV. My best one is getting treated very well and being given £600 to spend on food over 3 days.
Tony Reid: Can you share a behind the scenes story from your days in the sport that the average fan would never hear about?
Leigh Remedios: Well, a quick story that I think is well known by people who know me but not by average fans is that when I fought Dennis Hallman, it was in a warehouse in Canada and we were raided by police for illegal prize fighting. We all pretended it was a movie and they let us carry on.
Tony Reid: Thanks so much for taking the time to answer the questions and thank you for your contribution to the great sport of MMA!
Leigh Remedios: No problem, any time.
You can hear more from Leigh on Daniel Strauss’ Raspberry Ape podcast below.