Meet Steven Wright, the newest addition to Team TakeDown. Steven is 32 years old, and recently moved to Texas from Minnesota to pursue his passion for developing champion fighters. He has come on board with Team Takedown as our new striking coach.
Steven took a few minutes between training sessions to answer some questions about why he is a good fit for Team Takedown Fighters.
TTD: Please tell us a little about yourself and background:
Steven: I grew up like most young inner city kids, convinced that my way to success would be in professional football or basketball. I had a tough childhood, but I avoided the drugs and crime that took over the streets of Minneapolis by having a relationship with Christ and pursuing professional sports. I started Muay Thai as a hobby because I wanted to be a Ninja Turtle, Power Ranger, or Jean Claude Van Damme. But then I was introduced to the sport of K-1 kickboxing and I met a young fighter who eventually went to the UFC in Roger Huerta. Through him I met ex-UFC Middleweight Champion Dave Menne, and that began my life into being a fighter and then trainer. Ernesto Hoost, Tyrone Spong, Holland, Thailand, I trained with the best fighters and in the best countries for fight training.
TTD: How did you first get involved with Team TakeDown?
Steven: I went to Europe to film a documentary about kickboxing, and on the last day of the trip I spent time with World Class kickboxer Tyrone Spong. When I went to interview him I brought my training gear just incase I had the opportunity to train with him. Mo Lawal was training with him at the time and when I got the opportunity to train with them, I blew them away with my skill and how much I knew about the sport. Mo was listening to me explain something and in the middle of the explanation, he said “I can tell your a great trainer, when I go back to the states you are going to be my guy.” I was back in the states, when I got a text from Mo saying I told Marc Laimon about you, he’s going to call you about coming down and training the Team Takedown guys. Marc called the next day, and Ted the owner of Team Takedown called the day after that. I auditioned for the spot and they asked me to move to Texas and be the full time striking coach.
TTD: What attracted you to this position?
Steven: It’s everyones dream to have your hobby be your job. I love training fighters and developing their skill sets. As a trainer in Minnesota I trained people as a hobby, Ted and Marc made it my job. Also I love traveling and this is definitely a career that has us on the go.
TTD: What has been the toughest thing about moving to Texas? What’s the best thing?
Steven: I invested in a lot of fighters back in Minnesota. My first Champion Kou Lee is there working at a gym teaching my style, but I wanted him to come with me to Texas, like some of my other fighters Razak Judo, Kyle Hessler, and Ariel Valasquez were able to do. He has a job and family so he could not follow me to Texas. Kou, Clark Chan, Max Powers, Michelle Mercado, Ailey Gunderson, Jason Kh, Chi, Burgess, Nick, Christian, they made me who I am as a trainer by winning all the time and performing to their best, so I miss them greatly. I also ministered to a young man named Bridge Tusler, who I have been with since he was 12, and now he is a division 1 prospect in basketball and football at 16. It was hard not to have the option to go hang with him whenever I wanted.
I would say that the best part about Texas is the food and the fighters. I love hanging with the Team and training the team is a lot of fun. The food is killer though, it taste great, but it sticks to you. I need to uphold this muscular figure so people won’t think I’m a push over.
TTD: How do you like to spend your time when you are not training?
Steven: I write young adult books, I am trying to get my first series published, which is called The Black Sea. All of my books are ministry based and I hope to raise young adults into full adults on my stories. I do a podcast show about kickboxing. And I also go to my churches discipleship group on Wednesday, but outside of that, I do nothing but work. I am always watching some fight and seeing what strikes work in MMA and with my specific fighters. My mom gets on me all the time about not looking for a wife more.
TTD: How do you prepare a fighter for an upcoming fight and opponent?
Steven: I usually come to Marc with a stand up game plan and he comes to me with a wrestling and ground gameplan, while Adrian Ramirez (TTD’s strength and conditioning coach) makes sure they are explosive and in performance shape. We learn the skill sets of the opponent and then we invest time into the athletes to prepare them for every eventuality in the fight, stressing above all what they need to do to win.
TTD: What words of wisdom would you like to pass along to TTD fighters?
Steven: Make sure you love it. This sport will only take, the closer you get to the top. It wants more time, harder training, less distractions, and then you have to go out and beat an elite fighter. You can only endure all of this if you love it. If you are so pushed to excel that it bothers you that someone is working harder than you or has accomplished more than you have. Go into everything wanting to fight the best guys and beat them. If that is not in you, the combat world is not for you. If it is, you are in for a great ride. That and listen to Adrian, Marc, and I, because we are awesome.
Steven Wright & Johny Hendricks
Steven Wright, Shane Roller, Marc Laimon and Chris Feist