UFC Light Heavyweight Forrest Griffin Talks New Book and Shoulder Injury

Elliot OlshanskyCorrespondent IAugust 4, 2010

LAS VEGAS - NOVEMBER 21: Tito Ortiz (L) battles Forrest Griffin (R) during their Light Heavyweight Fight at the UFC 106 at Mandalay Bay Events Center on November 21, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)
Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

It takes more than a bad shoulder to keep Forrest Griffin out of action.

The light heavyweight winner of the first season of The Ultimate Fighter may have had to pull out of his UFC 114 fight with Antonio Rogerio Nogueira due to a shoulder injury, but Griffin is still keeping busy, with the release of his second book, Be Ready When the Sh*t Goes Down: A Survival Guide to the Apocalypse. Griffin’s first collaboration with co-author Erich Krauss, Got Fight? The 50 Zen Principles of Hand-to-Face Combat, was a New York Times best-seller, and the duo is back with advice on how to survive the end of the world.

While in New York on his book tour, the former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion took time before a book store signing to chat with UltimateFighter.com and Bleacher Report.

So, a book about the Apocalypse, how’d that come about?

Well, the Apocalypse is coming, and I thought people should be ready.

You figure it’ll be in a couple of years like the movie?

No, no…it’s going to take a while. We’re doing what we can to quicken it. Just buying the book is contributing.

Trees coming down…

Yeah, we’re making it happen. My thought process is that it’s a correction. Anytime the market’s too high…like the housing market. It crashed. Everything lost half its value where I live. That’s going to happen with people. About half of us will be dead.

Well, on the one hand, if people bought the e-reader version of the book, there would be less trees coming down. On the other hand, they couldn’t get it signed by you.

Well, my signature’s pretty piss-poor anyway. I was actually just Twittering that my signature resembles a blind five-year-old’s.

Ten years ago, what would be harder to believe: that you were going to write two books, or that you were going to win the UFC title?

I would say, why the hell would that take 10 years? I should be able to do that in a couple of years. I’m Forrest F***ing Griffin. That’s actually my middle name. I had it legally changed. Forrest F***ing Griffin.

Beat that, War Machine.

Yeah. Kenny F***in’ Powers.

You mentioned your Twitter…I saw you put up a picture of yourself with Mick Foley a while back.

He writes good books. A very prolific writer as well.

Well, like Mick, you started with a book largely about fighting and your career, and now you have a book about something completely different. Do you see yourself doing something similar? Are we going to see the Forrest Griffin children’s picture book anytime soon?

I don’t know about the children’s book, but I would like to keep writing books. There’s a lot of important s*** in my head. People need to know my head thoughts.

How hard was it to go beyond the realm of MMA to a different topic?

Very easy. It’s two topics I’m very passionate about: the end of people, and fighting. Some anti-social personality traits.

When you get to a point like this, do you ever think about how different things could have been if, for example, the cut over your eye didn’t heal in time for the semifinals on The Ultimate Fighter?

No. You start questioning the good, then you start questioning the bad in terms of Whatifs. And, it turns out, Whatifs are not candy and nuts, and you cannot eat them, and we will not have a Merry Christmas, and they will not help you survive in the wilderness.

So the same thing about what would have happened if Bobby Southworth had gotten the decision against Stephan Bonnar like you said he should have on the show.

Yeah, I never thought about it a day more. Why waste energy? Why waste my energy. You can waste your energy, that’s what you do. But me, no.

While we’re talking about the show, since another guy who was on your team is going to be coaching this fall…

Kos, yeah…

 …was there something you picked up from Chuck Liddell about coaching that helped you later on when you had your season against Rampage?

Not really about coaching – I never really thought about that – but there was a lot about fighting that I picked up from him, a lot about the lifestyle, a lot of things I picked up from him that I was able to benefit from, with his sage-like wisdom.

Any key examples?

One thing he does is that he hops back, then hops forward if someone’s coming with the jab-jab-cross. He steps back on the first jab, and then, instead of stepping back again, he comes forward with a right cross of his own. And just the way he would get off a plane, or get up when he was hung over, and go train. You’ve got to keep your priorities no matter what you’re doing, whether you’re traveling around doing a book tour or whatever, you’ve got to keep your body, keep your tool in shape. Damn, that’s been difficult on this tour.

Well, you’re also coming back from the shoulder injury…how is that?

As far as I go, it’s horrible. It’s just been a nightmare. It’s an annoying thing that never seems to really heal. I’m ready to be better. It’s nice to have a little respite, but this sabbatical’s been a bit much.

Do you have an idea of when you’ll be back fighting?

I will fight again before the end of this year. Even if it’s with one arm.

Hey, you’ve done that.

Well, I regret pulling out of the last fight [with Antonio Rogerio Nogueira] because of the shoulder. I think I should have toughed it out and seen what would happen.  I regret doing that. But again, I try not to look back. It doesn’t help anything.

Did you watch Little Nog’s fight [with Jason Brilz]?

I did, and he didn’t look good, obviously, but that was my fault. He was training for a different guy. He wasn’t expecting a head-on-the-outside single repeatedly. He was preparing for a different fighter.

You talk about fighting with one arm, that was always one of the old stories with you, knocking the guy out with the other arm. You think Rich Franklin upped the ante by knocking Chuck out with the same arm?

Yeah, that’s right. Wow. That is impressive. I didn’t even think about that. Yeah, I couldn’t use that arm anymore. I have done it twice, but he did it on the big stage.

Going back to The Ultimate Fighter, it’s pretty much done at this point, but how do you think Koscheck is going to be as a coach?

I think he’s going to be really good. A lot of people don’t like Josh. I’ve always liked him a tremendous amount. He’s actually more giving than you think. The thing about Koscheck is, if you say, “Let’s do this, this and this,” he will tell you, straight up, “No, that’s not going to benefit me that much. I don’t want to do that.” But, when me and Kos trained together, and I actually went out and lived with him for a little bit, I’ve had really good experiences, because it was mutually beneficial for us.

Did you tell him anything about the coaching experience on the show?

He didn’t ask. He seemed to know what he was doing. Actually, the only thing he asked me was, do I know a good chiropractor in Vegas. And I did. I hope that one piece of advice helped.

Well, you’re also the only coach on the show who had a buddy or someone from his gym on the show and didn’t take him with the first pick: Matt Serra took Joe Scarola first, Rashad took James McSweeney and Brendan Schaub, a couple of Greg Jackson guys, but you had Cale Yarbrough, and you let him hang around.

I knew I could get him later on. I still got him. I played the game. I wanted him, for sure, but I wanted to get him later.

You wrote some things about him in the first book. Did he ever say anything to you about that?

He never said anything, but I know he’s been training harder. He’s been training the ground a lot harder, and more aspects of the game.

So, he’s learned something from one of your books already.

I don’t know if it was from my book or something innate, the coach tells you, and you realize you need it as your career progresses.

I was going to say: if your writing helped him, who knows what it’s going to do for those people upstairs who are waiting to buy your book and get it signed?

Probably not that much. Maybe it’ll make a couple of s***s a little smoother. I definitely try to provide that.

That’s what you’re thinking? Bathroom reading?

Yeah, definitely. The first one was about a three-s****er. This one’s going to take a while to finish, so I figure it’s going to be a disgusting book by the time it’s through if it just sits in the bathroom. It might be there for a couple of months, you know? I wouldn’t actually accept anyone’s secondhand copy. Ask them, “Where’d you read this? Did you read it in a bookstore with some coffee, or did you read it on your s****er?”

So, what is it about this one? Is it that it’s longer, or…

There’s a lot of that s*** called “information” in there. I got bogged down with the information. I blame that on Erich. He’s a survivalist, and he did actual research.

So even after all those potshots you took at him in the photo captions the first time…

I’m still taking those.

And he’s still showing up for them, huh?

Oh yeah.

So, just to wrap it up, if there’s one thing you want people to get out of this book, what is it?

Nothing. But, even if they get nothing out of it, I hold myself free from harm, because I donated every penny that I make from this book to charity. I didn’t keep any money from the book at all to help you survive the apocalypse. That’s how much I care about you the reader.

What charity?

There’s a couple of different ones: Fisher House, Three Square, a food bank in Las Vegas, our church, and then a couple more personal ones. The guy Big John [Grantham], in the book, he passed away, and he’s got a five-year-old son, and he’s got a trust set up, so some of it’s for that as well. I kept no money from the book. It didn’t go to charities like the “Forrest Griffin Needs a New Car Foundation.”

That’s what the next fight is for.

Yeah, that’s what the fighting’s for. I actually did it on purpose. I said, “If I make decent money writing books, I might not fight anymore, so I’d better get rid of all this book money.” So I did.




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