Derek Clarke is one of the founders of Fight League Atlantic, one of Canada’s newest mixed martial arts promotions. He also is a podcast host that features athletes and personalities from across the globe.
Derek Clarke: Oh, how uh, how are you doing ever? How are things there in in Quebec? It’S probably all locked up like yeah like for everybody in I think in in the world. Almost that’s! That’S crazy! It sucks because we can’t train. We can do mostly nothing yeah. It’S! I mean I don’t know viscacha so very much the same here. It’S quiet! You can’t really do much. You can go to parks and stuff like that, but not a whole lot of training or anything can be done. So you still train and everything right, yeah yeah. I do what I do: training each, but all the the gyms are closed. So we can’t one of the things that that I really wanted to have you on here, for because I a lot of, I have a lot of fighters on guys who are currently fighting up and comers. But one thing I really like about you is: what you’re doing you know, though the walk the 4000 kilometers that you’re walking to raise awareness for people suffering from depression, so just kind of yes give me an overview about why you started it and why why you Came up with the idea after my professional career, I got a big crash, I mean you know. I suffered myself from depression and I almost killed myself so so when I got back into the gyms, I discovered that I was happy doing jiu-jitsu having my men hurts like I say so, so I just wanted to share that. That kind of information about the good about the benefits of jiu-jitsu and training, just just training. So sometimes I wasn’t feeling good enough to go to the gym and but good enough to go for a walk and – and I brought my friends sometimes former militaries in the woods and every time they were saying that you know it was the best day of the Of the week, because they were only thinking about the walk about everything in the woods and right now, not about the past or the future, but they’re it’s right here, right now and then I lost a friend from Hamilton and he he killed himself. So I I just wanted to to never see one of my friend doing the same as him, so I just wanted to to walk and deliver a message through the towns that I was going to walk it’s gon na start. It track me from Raleigh. He starts in Montreal and it goes to Newfoundland, yeah yeah yeah I was starting to in Montreal and then – and that was on February 29 of 2020, and I was going to stop eight months later in st. John’s Newfoundland. Okay, mostly, I was going to sleep outside and and yeah just walk yeah I did. I did something similar. Have you heard of the the Camino de Santiago? The pilgrimage? No, no! No! It’S a it’s a pilgrimage in Spain, where people go for like religious reasons and and people will walk for about a month. It’S a thousand kilometers. I did a portion of it, but I did it more for my own, I know not for religious, just it was just a I needed to get away. I needed to find something to do, and I found when I did it. I found a part of me that I felt like I was missing. I really was able to discover myself and I think I think it’s important that people do stuff like that or find jiu-jitsu or whatever it may be their passion. So I find it really inspirational. What you’re doing – and I think it’s really important – that people follow and and and look up your story because it really is touching yeah. Thank you. Thank you, and you know I’m not doing this for me. Yeah, of course, there’s a bit of me and me because mostly I will be alone, and you know why I, when you are alone, you have a lot of things to think about, but it was to just to raise one else like like you say that and And there’s two something to do. You know when you suffer when you feel that you are like alone, but you are not, you know, go out, take a walk and run what’s whatever it. Please you, and in and just you know, call someone you’re, not alone, there’s so many phone numbers where you you know you can get some help and and that’s it that’s my goal. My goal is to to save as many people as a camera. Yeah, you see it a lot with especially MMA athletes, because they reach 40 or 38 or, however old they are when they choose to retire and once they retire. You know their entire lives revolved around martial arts and you think like, for example, Ronda Rousey was probably the biggest and the greatest example I could think of when she lost she left and she hit an all-time low and she was public about it saying you know She she wanted to kill herself. She she reached this point where she didn’t know what to do. She thought she was the best and now she’s no longer the best, and I think when people are brought up and they spend their entire lives trying to be the greatest they can when it’s taken away from them, they hit they hit a new low. So I think it’s really important and not just for MMA fighters, but for everybody who feels that it’s on your career, I mean it’s been what 10 years since since you’ve last fought. Yeah yeah, you know, that’s why you know I was going to be. My goal. Was to be in st. John’s Newfoundland on November 13, because 10 years ago was my last night on November 13 yeah. What is your question it? I guess, do you miss it and how much do you miss hiding is it I don’t know? I don’t miss out. All fighting what I was missing was the the glory you know. Of course I am a competitive guy, but being hit hurts a lot so so that that part of MMA you know I don’t miss it. I did some added one one. Last jiu-jitsu fight in the Halifax few years ago – and that was you know right before that fight that didn’t rain for more than five years for five years, I think all more and that decided to go fight and um. I I hurt myself so so for me that part of being a hurt, don’t miss me at all so fighting of course or training. Of course it’s it’s it’s fun, but the part where I hurt myself it’s no! I it’s a no-go for me. It’S it’s over, but what ultimately got you into MMA? You know you hear people who have wrestling backgrounds. I know you did a little bit of karate. I think when you were, you were a kid, but what was the decision to be like? I am gon na fight. I want to be a fighter because that that so many Canadians really in it I mean Carlos Newton and stuff like that, but uh yeah. There wasn’t as big of a platform in in Canada. Necessarily, no that wasn’t big Calais Newton was my one of my favorite and especially when he beat up Pat Miletich, and I was like you know glad that yeah I never saw that guy. I hope one day I will see that human being. What got me in to MMA is, you know I got beat up by by four four guys in the bar, where I was working and the only thing I knew was Aikido back in the day, so things that I’m sorry guys, but it doesn’t work. So at words, that was three punches in the same time, plus one kick, and you know you can’t throw even with MMA, I will have been able to do something. Maybe I would have been able to to uh to reach one guy and wrestle with him and be Priven. Some other hits. But you know it’s it’s so quick, it’s so fast. So I got beat up. I I got big concussion, but I started to Train because in there on television we were seeing that their disability Brazilian Jujitsu in the the fighters descriptions and I saw some guys coming in the bar. While I was with the Brazilian Jujitsu Victoria, my hometown on it – and I asked them – you know why they found it and they invited me in the gym where I got beat up in jiu-jitsu, not not punches so badly. But I liked it so much that you know III went there a few times, then I did a first competition. There was a amateur MMA competition and at the end I got into the final. I I almost beat up the UCC champion back in the days there was a TKO champion and it was David Luiz. Oh David Lopez, oh and and everybody was like what the [ __ ], that guy just just started to train five months ago and he’s almost you know he’s almost killing David was also so the he put be given. You know they asked me to go pro right away, but I say no there’s no way that I will go there. I have so many things to learn and for one year I hear there’s so many a matter is fight that you know a year after that. I was a pro and then five years after that I was in the UFC. That’S you know, that’s the story. Yeah. You thought you fought some some a lot of top-level fighters. You fought Josh Koscheck, Duane, Ludwig Shoni Carter. Is there? Is there one fight where you’re like that was the best fight of my career? One of my best fight was you know, except for the deal of the first round, that was my fight against Qin ushio Hannukah, that was the Japanese guy at the birth center. For the first UFC fight in Canada, so so so that that one was when one one of my favorite and every time I watch it, it’s one of my favorite but cool that one is a UFC fight. It was against lucuma. That was in 2006. That was my first fight of the night and that was you know my stand-up sucked, because I was you know, I’m knocked down so many guys. I I did some great things against other guys but Duane Ludwig when he knocked me out in five or six seconds. I my confidence in my feet was: was below zero and – and I was you know the way I was fighting with lucuma was like this. You know just I didn’t want to throw punches, but just to block his and find a way to go on the ground, and then you know when I look at when you look at me, it sucks, but for only the parts that I am fighting on my Feet so the ground game was amazing. The way I was dressing with him there was that was perfect. For me, you spent a lot of time training at Tristar, so you, you, obviously have wrestled and trained with George st. Pierre. What what do you? What do you say about Georges st. Pierre that that I, as a fan, aren’t seeing like what? What what is it about training with someone like that that like stands apart or anybody else, you’ve trained? You know outside of the gym back in the day he was a close film right now. You know me. I use a guy that I respect we are not close like before, but that guy was amazing outside the outside of the gym. He was, you know he was always bringing us why he was training. You know you. He wanted always me to follow him because more I was better. I was becoming better, he was big, you know, you know what I mean. It doesn’t make sense yeah. You said well, I was well yes surround yourself with people that make you better yeah, yeah, that’s good, so so yeah, you know. Even if you let’s say you was doing this for him that was sold so good. For me. You know that was amazing. For me, my wrestling, you know as soon as I moved in Montreal, my bursting everything I’ve lesson skills. I was going to a gym with him yeah that was an Olympic wrestling gym bid. They were all you know, all really good and I was like fresh meat for them that the bad part sucks, but you know I have so you know I am so proud that I never wanted to. You know my one. My number one goal was to take them down. I’Ve I haven’t been able to, but close. So that’s all because of GSP. You know he taught me so many things and – and that was you know – that guy is he’s amazing. He’S amazing, in the gym and outside of the gym, he’s someone else who’s. You know he retired and came back and he spent some time having troubles as well. If for people who have trouble once they retire, whether it be from MMA or any other sport or anything in life, what is one thing? You’D recommend obviously you’ve been through a lot like you said. Your story is really touching with the way you got into the sport as well as the troubles you had outside of it. What’S what’s some advice you would give to someone. I will say that that the best advice I have to give to someone is to never stop, never stop training. Of course we we, you know we can’t train twice a day, all our life, but but you know, as soon as you stop there’s blooming. You know. There’S so many things that you have inside inside of your brain, I mean there’s it’s chemical, so you need the isolation. You need the we all all the other elements that make you happy. So as soon as you stop training, it’s everything stuff. So so it you will be like a junkie who need drugs, you know, but you don’t have so so you will do stupid things and – and you will do things that you might regret all your life, but but never stop training. Never stop! You know if you’re not comfortable enough to be at the gym, where you were. I just try to find someone else. You know to train with there’s so many gyms today, there’s so many places, there’s so many sports there’s so many activities. So as soon as you stop physical activities, you might crash yeah. I mean that goes a lot way a long way, especially for me anyway, I grew up. Swimming swimming was my sport and when I stopped not to the same level, but I just I felt like I wasn’t myself and I started jiu-jitsu last year and a terrible at it absolutely awful. I found you know when I went, I felt I felt good, even if I tapped out ten times twelve times, but one time I didn’t tap out, it felt great and I think it’s very rewarding and it’s a good message. I think, for a lot of people. So before I don’t want to take any more of your time, where can people will fall on your journey 4000 kilometers? My journey will be mostly in there exclusively on my Facebook page or my YouTube page. It’S a good degree. It’S a you know what is in French, it’s like the road and they get. He is like in my mining name, its warrior, so it’s um, l, rd j, a DG. That’S CA! That’S my website and outside of that you know you will have a you know from that link. You will have all the the link the links inside and you will be able to follow me on on there on the Facebook and Instagram. I have a hard time to deal with Instagram, but you know my personal Instagram is okay, but my LaHood aguirre Instagram is a you know. I need to think about it, but for my Facebook page I have so many videos. I will try to make some in English video Anglophone video, because mostly I speak. My first language is French and I need to work on my confidence so yeah. When I talk to you, it’s a key. It’S really good better than my friends, oh yeah, but but you know I I feel shy every time I try to do videos Anglophone video is it’s I’m like. Oh, it’s not gon na. It’S not good enough, but I shouldn’t say that I should go and make videos, because depression is not only in French yeah. Absolutely do you know when you’re gon na start the obviously was supposed to happen, but the pandemic change it do. You know when it’s gon na happen as soon as it there as the gyms are hoping because are open, because you know my goal was to bring people in the gyms. Maybe you know when people will be able to be more together in and and you know when I, if I am able to bring people with me to walk and just maybe do warm-ups or just talk be at the same part, all together, you know. Well, I will, I will do it, but right now I have to. I have to wait for the laws to make some changes, because I don’t wan na you know I don’t wan na be I don’t have to pay some fines. You know they’re. The findings are so so so expensive, and you know I don’t know anybody to be in trouble with with the the laws and and make you know with the sickness so that virus you know, yeah. We said that it killed people, so so we have to be careful and just follow the rules, and that’s it as soon as we can. I go back on my on my journey and I will I will finish it. Okay, perfect. Thank you very much. For the time, but I’m gon na include all the links to your page down below, and I hope when you come to Halifax when you get to Halifax I’ll, come meet, you and it’d be an honor yeah. I want to be in artifacts, it’s so beautiful. I went there so many times you know like a like. I said that yesterday I went to to East Coast first in my life and I fell in love right away and everybody. That knows me know my our I am you know I am kind of quite as peaceful. You know, even if I was fighting and and everybody was saying, that the woman you act, I see you in the West, Canadian, you know in in the Rocky Mountains or you know – and I went to that. I did a road trip last year and that I never felt the same the same things that I felt when I was I was in the east corn, the you school, so I can’t wait to be back in Halifax again. Won’T wait! Yeah, we’re very passionate over here, we’re all very like outgoing and peaceful, but I think thanks again for the time looking forward to watching your journey, and hopefully you can get started soon once all this clears up my pleasure. Thank you for your thing. Yep, no problem! All the best