Even though his first fight in eight months is almost upon him, Frank “Twinkle Toes” Trigg (Pictures) breaks from training at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas every weekday to do his Tagg Radio show, then returns to the gym for more conditioning.
It’s not that he’s taking his middleweight bout against Makoto Takimoto (Pictures) at World Victory Road’s Sengoku IV in Japan on Sunday lightly. Hardly. It’s more a reflection of just how full a plate Trigg has outside the cage. Besides the MMA radio show, he owns a work-intensive, time-demanding clothing line, Triggonomics. And has a high-profile gig with TNA Wrestling as both a commentator and an on-screen heel. And is a partner in a gym, R1 Training Center, in El Segundo, Calif. And does mainstream TV (“The King of Queens”) and movies (“Redbelt”).
Trigg doesn’t really want to be so crazy busy. He says his pace is necessitated by simple economic reality. Despite being a top-10 gamer for much of the past decade or so, and one of MMA’s strongest, most visible personalities, he says the money he makes from fighting has never been enough to support him and his family, including a third child on the way any day now.
“I’ve been doing this for 11 years and I’ve never once, not one time in my entire career, made enough money from fighting to only be a fighter,” Trigg, 36, says. “Kinda like Sean Sherk (Pictures) had to retire from the sport because he couldn’t make enough money and went back to laying floors. I’m in the same kind of boat, except I want to try to stay in and around fighting as much as I can. So I have a clothing line that kinda keeps me around it, broadcasting keeps me around it. The rest is just being a street hustler. It’s kinda what I do.”
“These guys are enamored with our sport, even though they’re making millions and millions of dollars. Even their coaches are making millions and millions of dollars, and a lot of us (in MMA) are making a couple hundred thousand if we can get that good,” says Trigg. “And they want to be us. Man, I’d give anything to be Jared Allen, who just signed a $74 million contract.”
Money disparities aside, where does Trigg find the time to do all he has to do every day?
“You know, a lot of sports psychologists talk about being in the now, paying attention to the now. Well, I practice that every day,” Trigg says. “I just kinda get in that mode. ‘OK, now it’s time for me to pay attention at practice for two hours.’ When I leave there I have to pay attention to three new designs for my clothing line for the next hour and a half. I just do things in increments. I just have to pay attention to what I have right in front of me.”
Trigg’s Tagg Radio co-host, Gorgeous George, said his partner’s time-management skill “is one of the most impressive things about him.
“As soon as, for example, I’m done talking to you, I can put down the phone and either play a video game or pop in a DVD or whatever. He won’t do that. He’ll right away start reading a book or working out or doing something else productive. He’s just really, really productive because he knows his time is limited and that’s why he’s able to multi-task and put himself in the position to succeed in a lot of things. He’ll go to L.A. to do a Fox taping and he’ll be back the same night. I don’t know how he does it.
“He does not quit. And he really has a lot of motivation. He wants to make a lot of money. And he can do it.”
Trigg says due to all his other endeavors, he no longer has to fight strictly for money.
“You know for a while, I was fighting because I had to, so I could really afford to pay bills and what have you. For a lot of our fighters, fighting is their big paycheck. For me, I make more money broadcasting,” says Trigg, whose natural verbosity, quick mind and cocky self-confidence are ideal qualities for that profession. “So my fighting is supplementary. I do it because I love it. It’s not because I have to anymore. I get up at 4:30 in the morning to go to practice every morning because I love to.”
Training at Xtreme Couture for his first fight since submitting Edwin “Babyface” Dewees at 1:40 of the first round last December for HDNet Fights, Trigg (16-6) has surrounded himself with -- what else would you expect? -- a world-class team that includes gym namesake Randy “The Natural” Couture, Ron Frazier, Shawn Tompkins (Pictures), Chris Ben-Tchavtchavadze and others.
Trigg’s basic routine is strength and conditioning starting at 5:30 a.m., mitt work -- but only after, mind you, he returns to the gym from his radio show -- from 11 a.m. to noon, then MMA practice from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
He has great respect for his opponent Takimoto (4-4) but great annoyance with those fans that don’t know much about the former Olympic judo gold medalist and longtime Pride fighter.
“This is the flaw with American fans,” Trigg, a former Pride commentator, says. “On the one hand, the American fan is incredibly intelligent and gets the game and understands what’s going on, but literally the other hand is, the other 50 percent of them are morons who have no idea what the f--- they’re talking about.”
“When you’re talking about my opponent, you’re talking about a guy who beat (Murilo) Bustamante, he beat Dong Sik Yoon (Pictures), he lost to Cyborg (Santos),” Trigg notes. “This guy’s an anomaly because he gets up for the big name guys, but he doesn’t seem to get up for the little name guys. I’m assuming I’m a big name guy. I’m assuming that he’ll come at me as hard as he can, and he seems to be able to win those fights. So he’s very, very tough. He’s got a great submission game. And he has amazing throws.”
Trigg, however, believes he has a better standup game and takedown defense, and because he has a second-degree black belt in judo, he hopes to be able to counteract Takimoto’s throws.
“Keep his hips off of me and he’s gonna attack, attack, attack and my game is not to attack so much, but keep my ground, stay in my center and circle out of the way and strike him as he’s coming in and beat him up a little bit,” Trigg says. “And if the fight does go to the ground, make sure it goes to the ground on my terms. And never stop scrambling.”
Never stop scrambling. Not only a sound fight plan, but a pretty spot-on description of Frank Trigg (Pictures)’s very busy life plan as well.