Born and raised on the east coast of Canada, I've been in journalism since I was 17. I was paid for my first written article then, and the whole thing kind of snowballed.
From there I went on to get involved in television and radio, serving as an interviewer and color commentator in the QMJHL for a couple of seasons. I took a job as Media Relations Director for the St. John's Fog Devils at 20, which I did until the team moved to Montreal.
Hockey was my first passion in writing, but since the implementation of the "new" NHL in 2005 I've lost interest. The sport is too focused on pandering to non-hockey fans and complaining about parts of the game that have been around for a hundred years but look bad on network TV and need to go as a result. Gone are the days where guys chased a rubber disc around and it was entertaining because it just was, and those are the days I long for.
My other passion has been martial arts, and the rise of MMA has given more of an outlet to cover the sport. I remember watching UFC 4 with my dad when I was a kid and being fascinated by it. Couple that with growing up in an era where Jean-Claude Van Damme was still relevant and a new Mortal Kombat game was out every year, and martial arts has been influential to me for a long time. I've spent time training Taekwon Do, Jeet Kune Do, a little bit of Muay Thai and boxing, and currently train Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Professor Pedro Sauer as part of his Canadian team.
I've hooked up with Bleacher Report in hopes of giving people opinions on MMA that are conveyed intelligently and don't come from a guy in a Tapout shirt on a webcam. I hope, if you're reading what I write, it entertains you enough to keep coming back, whether you agree with me or not.
Dear Mr. Ryder,
I’m writing in response to your recent article “Meet Chris Cariaso, the Next Guy Challenging for the Flyweight Title.” My first thought was that you belong on the staff of Us magazine as it sounds gossipy, demeaning, and extremely poor researched. My second is that you just like the big, burly guys and have a real distaste for men that can beat you up even though they are shorter then you. Then again, I couldn’t find a Wikipedia page on you either…. (unless you are a superhero from DC Comics.) Your comments are ridiculous, uneducated and a real disservice to two athletes who were moved to a headlining position-due to Jones being injured, not them.
So let me tell you a little about Chris Cariaso, since you believe he is “just a guy,” please let me educate you.
Chris Cariaso has been doing some type of martial arts since age 5. At 11, he had his first amateur Muay Thai fight under renowned world champion, Bunkerd Fahpimai. After fighting for many years, he returned to his other passion, BMX racing. He was homeschooled so he could travel the world to race. At age 16 he won the World Championship in his division of BMX racing. Unfortunately, soon after he suffered a tragic accident that ended that career. He shattered both bones in his arm and broke his jaw. Instead of turning to pity and depression, he turned back to Muay Thai to make himself and his body strong again. After two years of surgery and rehab, he returned to fighting.
In the following two years, he won virtually every kind of amateur championships in California for stand-up. He was the IKF San Shou Champion, ICSF Muay Thai Champion, and the California Golden Gloves Champion. At the same time, Chris was working as a Muay Thai instructor and manager at Fairtex gym in SF and also at West Coast Martial Arts (Scott Coker’s gym in San Jose.)
In 2001, Fairtex owner, Alex Gong was shot and killed outside the gym. After mourning the loss of his longtime friend and mentor, Chris opened a gym at the young age of 22. Simultaneously to this, Chris turned pro in Muay Thai and took his fighting to the next level. He primarily fought in Strikeforce serving as the main event on many cards. In 2006, he was offered his first mma fight. At the time, Chris had never trained in jiu jitsu or wrestling. He won his first fight and continued on in mma as a pro and went 6-0 before suffering a loss. Since there was no 125 pound weight class, Chris fought at 135. He began studying jiu jitsu and wrestling simultaneously to running a gym and fighting. He fought under the Strikeforce banner for years, Shoxc, and then WEC. In 2009, Chris won the ICSF Bantamweight World Title in against PFC Champion, Rolando Velasco.
Have you ever heard the term “Thai Style?” What it means is training hard, working hard, taking any fight, and not being cocky. The exact opposite of what you are preaching about making an exciting fight. Chris is a Thai trained fighter. He believes and lives by these philosophies.
The cost of living in the Bay area became unbearable for Chris and his family. Soon after Chris entered the UFC, he had to move to a more affordable place. This became Tucson, Arizona. Chris opened a second gym in Tucson in 2012 while going back in forth to SF to continue running his other gym. It was at this time he was offered a short notice fight against John Moraga. Without money or time to go back to the bay for training, Chris took on an unknown trainer in Tucson. He had limited resources, etc but has never and would never turn down an opponent. Since you don’t like the “small” regular guys, you probably didn’t see the fight. Chris was handily beating Moraga for the first 2 round of the fight. At the end of the second round, he took Moraga down and landed on his knee. The knee broke 2 ribs and Chris could barely go on in the third, which eventually led to the submission. Did you hear Chris complain publicly about this? No. Did you watch the Formiga fight? If you did, you will see that the clock ran out just before Chris would have knocked him out. All this while training in a new town, with a new trainer, and running 2 gyms. Oh, did I mention he has two little boys?
It’s funny you mention Louis Smolka. Maybe you recall that before Chris fought him, he was all hyped up. He was a great prospect; a real contender…. After Chris beat him (and by the way-no way was that a split-check sherdog, mma weekly, anything or better yet, watch it,) what did we hear? Crickets. Nobody wanted to give Chris any praise for beating the second coming to Christ. By the way, Smolka had a booth at the UFC expo signing autographs after that loss. Funny isn’t it?
By the same token, isn’t it funny that when Ian McCall fought Illiard Santos it was an amazing fight-fight of the night. Big props went to McCall for beating the “Brazilian Legend.” Fast forward to a few months later when Chris knocks him out in his hometown in Brazil. Crickets again.
I normally don’t read blogs. I find them to be annoying, one-sided and filled with opinions that don’t matter. Your profile says you want to be different then the guys in the Tapout shirts- but really you have become just that. What you want it a couple of assholes insulting each other on social media and getting in altercations in public like a bunch of thugs. MMA is a sport of athletes who train endlessly, miss out on time with their families to entertain you. At least you could speak of them with a little respect. Your article is condescending, hurtful and poorly written. Did you even google Chris’ name before you slammed him? He is not “just a guy.”
Please stop writing about MMA. You are the worst writer and your article about Dillashaw not having the slightest of chance in Barao is the most disgusting, and incorrect article I have ever read. You are a humiliation to Bleacher Report I hope they will kick you out. You should try writing insects and cockroaches because that's the field you belong to. Thank you
Please stop writing about MMA.
"Unfortunate reality alert: Saturday's UFC 173 main event is basically a waste of everyone's time.
TJ Dillashaw is challenging Renan Barao for the bantamweight title in the main event, and there's almost no hope he'll wrest the gold from the Brazilian."
Big fan of your writing. Your piece on "Fighters who are their own worst enemies" was fantastic.
Anyways, I saw a piece pretty similar to yours about athletes who got their comeuppance for being too cocky, and thought I'd share it with you.
Keep up the good work.
Hey Matthew. Thanks for doing the Monday MMA shift for UFC 140 with me! I think we rocked it.
Matthew, just need your 50 fighters... I'll do the rest -