Strikeforce Los Angeles: RJ Clifford Is a Man Of Many MMA Hats

Erik Fontanez@@Erik_FontanezCorrespondent IJune 15, 2010

There are so many mixed martial artists that hold down other jobs beyond their fighting careers.

Some are gas station attendants, others work in a more corporate environment.

Then there is that rare breed; the kind that splits their time in the cage with talking about it from a broadcast perspective.

RJ Clifford is part of that rare breed. 

The MMA journeyman is scheduled to take on Jeremy Umphries at Strikeforce: Los Angeles on June 16.

In addition to being one of the preliminary card participants, Clifford is the Editor-in-Chief of TapouT Magazine and MMA Worldwide.

As if that responsibility wasn't enough, he's also done play-by-play for numerous MMA events and is the current host of Los Angeles radio station 710 ESPN's MMA Worldwide Live.

Talk about having a lot on your plate!

No sweat for RJ, though. The lightweight balances it all, finds the time to train and prepare for his upcoming bout.

"I honestly don't see myself any different than any other fighter in my position," exclaimed Clifford in an exclusive interview with Bleacher Report.  "Any other fighter with only four fights, unless you're Brock Lesnar, you're working another job to support yourself."

Times can be tough, even for professional athletes.

Fighters are just as human as the fans that watch them perform in the cage and they have to earn their keep just like everyone else.

Fortunately for RJ, flexibility is something that he has at his disposal and transitioning from the editorial desk to the cage is generally smooth.

"I'm fortunate in that my other job gives me the flexibility to train and it's in the same industry," said the Southern California native.  "If anything, I'm in an advantageous position.  It doesn't feel like it's a burden having two careers."

With so many sources of MMA income, one can't help but ask the question of which career Clifford would rather pursue.

RJ was more than willing to answer.

"Fighting has always been the fun thing and I've never wanted fighting to pay my bills," said the cage fighting Editor-in-Chief.  "If I can do really well in fighting, I can get some big purses and I can really help myself financially with fighting, that's what I'm gonna go for, but I don't want to sacrifice what could be a very long term career in other fields. Until I reach that ceiling where I can't do both I'm gonna keep doing both."

There's no doubt that RJ Clifford is a hard worker.  

It takes a certain type of individual to have their hands in multiple fields and maintain with the confidence to bring success.

Clifford's next attempt at building on the success of his multiple careers will come in the form of Jeremy Umphries.

Prior to Umphries, however, Clifford was scheduled to go against Conor Heun.  Due to Charles "Crazy Horse" Bennett having to withdraw from his scheduled fight with KJ Noons, Heun was shifted in as a replacement for Bennett.

RJ discussed having to change his focus from fighting Heun and adjusting to take on Umphries.

"We got to do a lot of game planning specifically for Conor," explained Clifford.  "I've had that happen so many times it's not surprising anymore."

The Strikeforce fighter says that he'll play to his strengths and utilize his wrestling pedigree that he's had for so long.

That, in combination with his improved boxing and active quickness, could make for an overwhelming opposition for any fighter to stand across the cage from.

RJ Clifford will be out to break his opponent and grind out a win at Strikeforce: Los Angeles.


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