When you think about MMA, you think of the fighters, the reporters and the Fat Cats that run the company. The people who never get enough credit are the guys and gals that run around the cage taking the photos that go in the magazines and make the videos that go on the websites. One man who has been in the MMA game for quite some time is Ryan Loco and though he is known by everybody, not many know his story. Ryan took a few minutes to sit down and give us some background information about himself and his life.
Q: First off, Ryan, I’d like to thank you for taking the time out of your busily awesome day to talk to me. Let’s start with the name. Obviously, Ryan Loco isn’t the name your mother gave you right? Can you explain where it came from?
My pleasure. To be honest, my assistant is answering all these questions since I get cruddy service here in the west wing of the house. Mayhem Miller gave me the nickname many moons ago. Since there was already a Crazy Ryan, and he’s as white as the driven snow, I became Ryan Loco, since I’m Mexican…and white as the driven snow.
Q: Much of your internet popularity has come via your youtube shows called The Loco Life. What inspired you to start that?
Boredom, mostly. I was sitting at home, no real job, figured why not occupy myself by filming stuff I did. People would tell me, “Man, you’re interesting; you should be on the Real World.” Well, since I was too old to make it on the Real World, figured I’d do the second best thing… Buy a hand-held camera and film myself.
Q: In addition to The Loco Life, you’ve also created many videos as a part of the Heavy MMA crew. What’s it like working with those guys as a group rather than doing it all yourself?
Love those guys. Everyone over there is extremely talented, and it was an honor to work with them. It was cool to have more input on things, to have different perspectives that I may have missed. I’m stoked that I got to share a ton of amazing experiences with them, and I’m even more stoked that my good buddy James Law gets to continue on and do it. It’s something not a lot of people get to do.
Q: Speaking of The Loco Life, when can we expect the next episode?
Well, since I’ve become so boring lately, I don’t know. I used to do so much traveling, and was around so many different awesome characters, that it made Loco Life interesting. Despite what many (and I mean many) lovely ladies may say on Twitter, no one wants to watch me eat turkey and go to the gym. Loco Life is on hiatus until I do something great…like become Charlie Sheen’s intern.
Q: Let’s talk a little bit about your motley crew of sorts that includes Mayhem Miller, Mannaze, Mark Doze, the great Shayna and occasionally Evan Shoman. It seems like you guys are more of a family than just friends; how did those relationships come about?
I met Evan Shoman and Doze through the nutrition store I used to run. I even asked Doze’s sister out. She wisely only let me have one date. Through Evan, I met Mayhem at a Joe Rogan show in La Jolla, as Evan had to drop off his drawing of Mayhem to him. I met Mannaze at a fight in San Diego. I’m blessed in the fact that I have a ton of amazing people around me, all infinitely more talented than myself. Fuels me to be better.
Q: Do you remember the moment when you decided that you wanted to get involved with MMA? Did you ever have any aspirations of competing?
To be honest, nope. It kinda fell in my lap. I was coasting along through life, like a rogue asteroid. A poor, rogue asteroid. It’s all Evan Shoman’s fault. He got me into this stupid business, and now I can’t get out. I love it, don’t get me wrong. But it’s stupid. (PS. I’d say the same about any industry. People take everything too seriously.) As for fighting myself – have you seen this face? Hell no. Getting punched and kicked hurts. I’ve been hit sparring, and it sucks. Going full speed? F THAT.
Q: As of late, you’ve crept away from The Loco Life videos and have been focusing more on your Depth Perception website with Mannaze. Can you talk a little bit about what that is all about?
Well, Mannaze is a whiz with the camera when it comes to photography. And since I’m marginal at making videos, we figured why not start a site to, not only highlight our endeavors, but also to highlight the works of guys we are friends with and look up to. It’s just something we do for fun. We have a shoot planned with a local pro wrestler this weekend. It’s silly stuff like this that keeps my brain from exploding.
Q: You’ve also recently started doing The Ryan Loco show on Heavy.com. For the readers that haven’t listened in yet, what separates your show from the other MMA podcasts out there?
I try to do MMA podcasts that aren’t about MMA. Let’s be honest, who wants to listen to an hour of MMA talk rehashed a thousand times. We get it, they’re training hard. Most important fight of their life, blah blah blah. And then, let’s follow that up with “expert” opinions or rankings…which mean nothing. I’d rather hear about Joe Lauzon playing video games and eating Cheetos all night.
Q: In being a Jack of All Trades, you are also involved with the Jaco Clothing brand. What kind of work do you do for them?
I do sponsorships, marketing, bathroom attendant. I try to dabble and do a little bit of everything. They’re great people and an awesome environment to work in. They allow me to do my own thing. I can come and go as I please, because they know I’m gonna get my stuff handled. (PS. All I really do is go on Twitter, but don’t tell them that)
Q: What is your take on the whole Zuffa buying Strikeforce situation? Do you feel that it is ultimately good or bad for the sport of MMA?
No idea, hasn’t been long enough to really make an opinion. One of those things where we have to wait and see. I just hope it works out best for the fighters.
Q: I peg you as being a WWF/WWE fan growing up. Am I right in my assumption? If so, who were some of your favorites from back in the day?
Huge wrestling nerd. HUGE. The fact that Paul Heyman knows who I am would have made 13-year-old me masturbate feverishly. Favorites would be Hogan, Warrior, Stone Cold, The Rock, Cactus Jack/Mankind, and Mr Perfect. I don’t think he gets enough love. Also, to just keep the list going, Jushin Liger, RVD, Great Muta, Mitsaharu Misawa, Kawada, Hayabusa, La Parka, Furnas & LaFon, Al Snow, Terry Funk, HBK, Jimmy Rave, Sabu, Masato Tanaka, and Shane Douglas.
Q: Do you ever have people who come up to you in the streets and ask for pictures? What’s the craziest request you’ve ever gotten from a fan?
It’s happened on very rare occasions, usually during fight week around the city or at an expo. It’s beyond flattering that anyone would care what I am doing or would even want a picture. I truly appreciate each and every person that follows my Twitter, puts up with me on Facebook, or clicks one of my videos. As for requests – nothing too crazy. I had someone come to my house once; that was kinda weird. But I wasn’t murdered, so it all worked out.
Q: In closing, what advice would you give to anybody looking to follow in your footsteps?
Man, I don’t even know how I did it. It’s mostly just perseverance. You know those little fights that are an hour away and people don’t want to cover it? Go cover it. Get your face out there. Introduce yourself to everyone. And mostly, be cool. Trying to “break” news in this day and age, with Twitter and Facebook, is just stupid. Being “controversial” is lame as well. Great, you got an extra 30 hits to your blog that weekend…and now, no one wants to work with you ever again. In closing, just don’t be a douche. I know I’m a douche, but do as I say, not as I do.
Q: Feel free to take a moment to thank anybody that has helped you to this point or any shout outs you may have.
Wayyyyyyyy too many to list. And then if I list a ton and miss someone, I get yelled at. So, look, you guys know who you are. I love you all.
Thank you for your time, Ryan. I wish you success in your future endeavors.
Photo courtesy of RyanLoco.com