Spinning Back Fist got together with somewhat of a local legend recently for a discussion on nearly everything MMA. We covered so much in fact, that we’re going to split this one into multiple stories. Stick with us, as we tell you what we heard from the man who serves as The Godfather of MMA in our part of Ontario.
We’ve seen a thousand fighters with predictable, boring nicknames.
You know the ones, maybe they’re a Pitbull or an Assassin. However, when given the opportunity to speak with a fighter possessing a truly unique nickname it’s our duty as fans to ask, “where the hell did that one come from?” And so that was exactly how our interview with Justin “Loaf” Bruckmann, a now retired fighter and the owner of Bruckmann’s Martial Arts started off.
“You don’t even want to know,” Bruckmann chuckled in response, before warning us that, “if [we] knew, I’d have to kill you.” Un-confident of our chances, even in a 2-on-1 scenario, we decided it would be safer to just leave it alone. Our assumptions about poop aside, Bruckmann elaborated that it had a sentimental meaning to it, saying that, “it was just a stupid name that my friends from my hometown gave me years ago, and it was just something I kept to let them know I was thinking about them.”
Bruckmann began his mixed martial arts career back in the year 2000. In one of those odd quirks so commonly seen in the older days of the sport, he took on one of the finest Canadian fighters of all time, David Loiseau not once, but twice at a tournament in UCC (the organization that would become TKO).
After defeating “The Crow” in the first bout, the two were forced to rematch, as Loiseau filled in as an injury replacement in the next round. It didn’t hurt that Loiseau was the favourite to win the tournament, and as we all know, promoters (particularly in smaller organizations) can have the tendency to cater to their stars.
Despite the setback in the rematch against Loiseau, Bruckmann strung together a three-fight winning streak, claimed a welterweight title and was set to defend it against another young Canuck in 2002, a French-Canadian by the name of Georges St-Pierre.
The fight didn’t exactly go Bruckmann’s way, unfortunately (and if you’re interested, you can watch it here). Bruckmann elaborated on the loss saying:
“at the time it was a pretty big tragedy. I lost my championship to him, it was like my life was over.“
Looking back though, he feels that it was one of the best things to ever happen to him (sound familiar?). For Bruckmann, the loss meant a drop down to the lightweight division, and a subsequent tour of the world, training and fighting along the way.
Being good Canadians, we were forced to enquire about whether he could see the potential in the young St-Pierre. Bruckmann had only good things to say, stating, “after he throttled me, I thought, man that kid is good, that guy’s going to be a star. He’s a very special athlete, a great fighter.”
The praise for St-Pierre didn’t just stop with regard to his skills though, as Bruckmann emphasized, “He’s a really nice guy. In victory or defeat, he’ll never act differently. He’s a genuine dude.”
Bruckmann's career didn't end on that loss, and neither does our interview: Stay tuned for part 2.