Ep. #66 – Odie Delaney

Odie Delaney is an undefeated mixed martial artist training out of American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida. The former All-American wrestler is also a former law enforcement officer who received a Medal of Valor for being one of the Officers responding to the Charleston church shooting.


Odie Delaney: So how have you been throughout the throughout the pandemic? It’S man everything’s going crazy right. Now, the world’s going nuts cities are burning down. How have you been yeah? I’Ve been fine. I’Ve been kind of training through it. I’Ll be honest, you know I’ve been really careful not to be around people that are like you know the most at risk, but you know I haven’t really let it slow me down. I’M I trained every day you know twice a day. We run a bunch of guys so you’re right there in the heart of it all, aren’t you written, uh, Florida and then it’d be hard to avoid it and everything there. What’S the what’s the protocol and everything going on there. Gyms are open now too, and everything right, yeah, gyms, rope and people are trying to social distance. Um people are trying to kind of stick with like the same training partners, and you know we we all get tested like every once in awhile. So if there’s a problem or if there’s a temperature, that’s too high, you don’t train so yeah, there’s a lot of precautions that are being taken right now. I want to talk a little bit about your your background because you did get an MMA a little bit late. For you know, a lot of people are getting into it in their 15/16, the stern MMA, but you wrestled, you did a lot of wrestling, so you started in Alaska. Is that correct in like middle school and then moved to Florida for high school yeah yeah? I was up there. I uh. I wrestled in Alaska kind of it was kind of more like backyard with cousins. You know barb barbecue survival wrestling, but um yeah. I moved to Florida and kind of got on a team there and really went crazy with it. I wrestled five years Division, one yeah that was kind of my whole life and I just couldn’t stay away from this stuff. You know like it’s kind of an addiction, it’s like I’ll, probably do it until my body. Just can’t do it anymore, you know and then I’ll find some other way to be involved. You know you’ve give some some accolades behind your name: all-american state and conference championships of all those accolades, which is the one that you’re proudest of the athletic wise. I’M sure. There’S some that you’ve had – and you know, while, while working in law courts but athletically, which uh, which athlete are you proud of stuff um, definitely the all-american. That was know a lot of guys are coming off Olympic redshirt year. So there is 12 returning all-americans. In my weight class, so I mean like it was a little stacked weight class of all time, and you know I got beat by the who would become the champion like in like the second round. So I had to fight my way back through the concise and just be a ton of really tough guys and to become an all-american. I had to beat a guy that I kind of like worshipped. You know grow. You know, watch this guy wrestle. He was number four in the country, and I’ve ended up hitting him. So probably that one plus, you know just combined with like the Citadel, the Military Academy yeah and like how difficult that life was combined with wrestling yeah, so altogether definitely know athletically. So what was the the work school balance there? Instead of I mean a high high and high in school, a lot of a lot of work, I’m sure. So what was it like? Balancing all of that stuff, brutal so intentionally? They give you way more than you can possibly do in a day. You know what I mean so you’ve got to learn to prioritize like what’s important to you, and I mean you just it’s impossible. It’S like impossible to succeed your first year. It’S your Nobby er. It’S like you know, the whole thing is just help: balancing athletics, academics, military duties, keeping your uniforms straight, I mean you just have a billion things you’re trying to do and not enough time to do it. So I mean it makes you tough I’ll. Tell you that the one thing I find with a lot of wrestlers guys like Daniel Cormier, I spoke to a car close on this Henry cejudo as well. Is they find wrestling really morph them and help them grow into men or or whoever? They said it really helped them. How did how do wrestling help you not only athletically, but also on the mental side of things yeah, so wrestling’s, one of those sports were very few people walk into wrestling and just dominate people. I mean it just doesn’t happen. You know, wherever you start wrestling you’re just getting your butt kicked oftentimes for two three years: four years, where you’re just getting smashed and wrestling kind of instills in you that it kind of validates that feeling of hard work does pay off. And if I don’t quit. Eventually, I will kind of make my way up the totem pole and that that’s just like the story in wrestling. You know you start in middle school. You work your way up. You think you’re pretty pretty bad dude by the time you’re in the eighth grade. Then you get to the high school and you’re at the bottom of the pole again and then college and you’re at the bottom again and then Emma main you’re at the bottom. Again, it’s just uh. It just teaches you how to grow, and I think that’s like a learned skill that everyone you have to learn. If your parents didn’t teach you rustling will teach you, you know, what did what advice would you give to parents cuz? I know if I went to my mom when I was you know in high school or junior high, even and just said, hey look I want to wrestle. I know I’d get like the back hand on the side of the head, like she was smart enough play soccer. Do something else. What advice would you give to parents who are a little bit like hesitant to throw their kids into martial arts man? That’S a tough one. You know I I hesitate to tell people how to parent but like for me. For example, you know knowing knowing what it did to my character and my development as a man I’m gon na want my son to do it. Am I gon na force him to do it? Probably not I mean I don’t want to be one of those dads. You know on the side of the mat freaking out, but whether it’s wrestling or anything that’s extremely difficult. I think adversity kind of creates diamonds. You know I mean if you have, if you meet people that don’t don’t have to overcome adversity by the time they’re an adult when they actually do hit adversity, you know they don’t know how to handle it. You know people are mean to me. You know I’m working hard, but I’m not getting anywhere. You know not used to defeat someone else being better than you. You have to learn how to cope with all those things. It’S just part of life, in my opinion. So if, if you want your kid to learn those skills I mean wrestling is the perfect way to do it and it’s safe. It’S not like you’re getting struck, you know, you’re, not getting punched or need or kicked in the head or anything like that. I mean it’s way safer than football, in my opinion, so I don’t know I’d say if you’re a parent go for it. Just let him do it. If they’re tough enough to stick in it. You got one one heck of a tough kid you spent. You spend some time in law enforcement after after you were done with with college. What sorts of things did you apply to you to your your time in this in working that you uh that you developed as a wrestler, I like stuff from wrestling that I brought into law enforcement? Yes, yeah I mean yeah. I mean a lot of those same tools I think wrestling and martial arts in general kind of eliminates pride. I think a wrestler, a guy, that’s been doing martial arts a lot. You know you you’re, not I don’t know you know, I’m still how to stay cool in a bad situation, and you know how to kind of deescalate things, because you know the fights like and knowing what a fight like is like is really helpful. Going into law enforcement as like a rookie, you know because you, I almost feel like you, come into it with a little bit of more of a humble stance. You know what I mean: you’re, not there to crack skulls and take names. You know it’s like you kind of have a better understanding of how the world works a little bit because you know yeah. I remember my first time on. The mat did not go so well. I was like I can handle my own. I watch you to see every weekend and yeah didn’t didn’t end. Well, I usually don’t like to get involved when it comes to like political discussions on here is because I don’t wake up or their two cents, and you know I’d say one thing and the next thing you know no one wants to join jump on the podcast, But I get it the the one question I did have I mean it’s four, it’s obviously something. That’S that’s been talked about. What do you think about having police having some sort of martial arts background, whether it be jiu-jitsu or wrestling almost have it being mandatory? You know, because I find a lot of people are trigger-happy because there’s a gun there, whereas if you could deescalate things using your martial arts, you know, I think, there’d be a whole lot, a lot of a lot less deaths as someone who’s been behind the gun. What’S your thoughts on that, I I don’t see this question as very: it’s not super political um, it’s kind of just like you know it’s kind of as a matter of fact truth. You know when you’re grappling when you’re a wrestler a jujitsu, guys [ __, ] guy, you know what it feels like to like start to lose control of somebody else. You know like mean you’re grappling, you know engagement and I start to lose control of that. I know what that feels like and I can react. I can adjust um police officers that have never rolled jujitsu, never wrestled or done anything like that. I think that what I’ve seen personally is kind of like a sense of panic that sets in it’s like the second, that you can’t. You know, muscle this guy to the ground or the second that they start to escape a little bit. It’S so all you can see the fear in their eyes, like oh crap, you know about to get killed and it’s like um, that’s not always reality. It’S a confidence thing. I take it to your questions. I I love that idea. I think that um law enforcement should definitely be required to do some sort of wrestling or jiu-jitsu, probably jiu-jitsu um – how you’re gon na implement it, though I had somebody asked me this before and it’s like that’s the problem, you know, how do you train? How do you who pays for it you know, is that taxpayer money, a lot of police officers, are gon na get injured in training. That’S a lot of cops off the street. You know yeah, I don’t know you know implementing it to the hard part. Do I believe that it should happen? Absolutely I can just personal experience. There’S been plenty of times. I didn’t have to hurt somebody a lot because I was able to just out grapple them and control the situation really quickly, with the skills that I learned in martial arts so yeah, I agree with it then transitioning into MMA. I mean you took some time off to to work and whatnot after University. What ultimately led you back into athletics into into competing? Well, so I got involved in a shooting. When I was a police officer, it was the Charleston. Nine shooting Dylan roof went into a church and killed a lot of people. Nine people – and I was one of the first officers on scene for that experience some traumatic stuff inside of that building. I won’t really go into depth about it, but ultimately I developed a panic attack disorder still struggle with. It still have massive anxiety. It’S something that it’s like kind of my daily struggle that I have to kind of work through um. I tried to get back into law enforcement after that event happened. It really wasn’t working by the time I got to like the active shooter stuff. I was having pan tax again, you know an academy, so you know i yeah. I just. I realized that law enforcement wasn’t gon na be in the cards for anymore. It was gon na be safe for me or you know the guys next to me. So you know it’s one of those kind of come to god moments. You know, i’m you know, praying asking myself, you know what skills do I have. How can I continue in life? How can I you know, do good with what I you know with the gifts that I have and I came to the conclusion you know kind of through an epiphany that MMA was that answer. You know I can, through MMA out gain a platform that kind of continue to help the world and lead by example. I love it. I mean I’ve read about it. I’Ve seen it before I’ve heard you talk about it, so I don’t want to go into a whole lot of detail. It is out there to anybody who wants to look more into it. Obviously, the Dylan roof thing was super sad. We’Ve all heard about it and first things: first man, thank you for for doing what you did and I’m glad you found it kind of a way to to deal with it through MMA and then on to MMA on to a, I guess, a last, a less Sad note there that you had a relatively busy 2019, so you picked up two Pro wins couple: amateur wins: how do? How did this pandemic slowed? You down, I mean, I feel, like you, had some momentum going there and what was the plan coming into 2020 and how does this slow you down? Well, my plan was, to you know, get with ATT. This is my first year with American Top Team Coconut Creek. I moved down here. I have the best training partners in the world. Man, I’m telling you like everybody in this room is just an absolute killer and that felt really good. I felt everything coming together. I felt like a complete fighter and I was looking forward to getting into some fights, but you know once a kovin 19 hit it was like fighters were backing out, promotions were backing out, you know more and more restrictions from the state were coming in and yeah It just kind of halted everything um, I kind of had a choice to make. I was like you know, I could quarantine my house, you know, and you know, get fat over the next. Who knows how long or you know you know just kind of take. My life into my own hands and just power through it and I’m glad I made the choice that I did. You know it’s not over, yet you know I could still get sick. I could still get hurt, you know but um I don’t know man. Life was life is meant to be lived, you know, and I’m kind of putting my trust in God and I’m just gon na keep moving forward and fights are coming back now. I’Ve got to side two to two guys that have their name on the contract. So I you know it’s all in God’s time and I think it’s good yeah so uh. So what was it like? Transitioning into MMA? Obviously, learning the stand up, learning jujitsu and what was it like? Jumping back on the mat for the first time in a period of time, yeah jumping back in the mat was pretty easy because you know I was starting to have to learn jujitsu combined with my wrestling, and I fell in love with you Jitsu, so that wasn’t That hard, it was just a matter of knocking off some rust. The striking the way that I did it was, I kind of did by like trial by fire. I just got in there and just you know, started discovering what worked? What did it? I had some really good initial coaches, like Alan Belcher and the EP MMA Mike Sanford, I’m chase Sherman, you know Brandon Davis. I had a bunch of killers out there helping me you know, get started and then by the time I got to Coconut Creek Florida. I had enough of a base to where I could start sparring with these. You know these big-name guys, and then you know it’s just once you get to Coconut Creek Florida, what you get to att as long as you’re mentally tough enough to keep showing up every day, you’re gon na excel you’re gon na get better. I mean these guys have massive amounts of wisdom, and I mean they just correct you a little bit here by here. So I mean, if you got the heart you, you almost can’t be bad at American Top Team. You know so yeah. It’S kind of brought my striking by miles and miles miles. I look forward to showcasing it for sure. The the one question I do have, though, is when you, when you surround yourselves with monsters like I know when I went to jiu-jitsu for the first time. First couple times I rolled was with other newbies. I guess – and I was like man I’m great at this and then I was thrown in against someone who had been doing it for a while, and I was like man. I have a lot to learn. So how does like training with a guy like Greg Hardy and these high-level guys like it almost seems like it – would knock your confidence a little bit. Of course, I’m you know back when we were talking about wrestling. How, like you’re kind of you, start at the bottom of the totem pole and you work your way up. It’S the same thing. You know it’s just an it’s just a new challenge when you first when I first went in there. Of course, I was intimidated and these guys are monsters and they you know they do beat you up and but I mean they’ve also build you up. Like you mentioned Greg Hardy he’s one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met in my entire life. One of the first guys to talk to me when I got there and kind of instantly took me under his wing, and you know I’ve just been developing under these guys and now I’m kind of a peer with these guys. You know and helping them improve their like wrestling in jujitsu game. So it’s cool man. It’S like yeah. You start out as the punching bag, but I mean then then you kind of get honed and you know and then you become competitive and that’s a really good feeling. That’S that’s where the reward is, you know, but it takes time and you got to take your licks yeah um, so you also you’re also gon na have King mo in your corner. Is that correct? Yes, what’s it like having a guy like that, I mean he’s fought in so many weight classes, so many organizations he’s so experienced and have to imagine that having someone like that really really helps a long way yeah. So yeah, like you, said, he’s got tons of wisdom, he’s a really cool guy, one of the coolest guys I’ve ever met in my life. He really cares about MMA. He knows he recognizes how bad I want it. I mean we’ve kind of connected on a personal level. Um yeah he’s gon na be cornering me. I he’s one of those guys that I think he’ll, probably with me with the rest of my career. You know for as long as I’m fighting I’m sure King mo will be there and yeah. I mean just even on interviews, promo videos just what to say how to say it how to present myself. I mean he has just been invaluable to me. So ya know. I’M really thankful to have him around for sure. Do you think the empty arena having him there in an empty arena without having to hear the crowds? Do you think that’s gon na benefit you at all yeah yeah? I think so. The thing is most of the preparation happens before the fight. You know what I mean you. You have to win the fight before you even step in there. If that makes sense, if, if you show up to a fight and then look to win you’re, probably gon na lose, you know you have to so. I almost know everything that he’s gon na tell me you know and in between rounds you know, he’ll help me correct my game, that’s really where the biggest help will be. You know in between realms, but I don’t. I don’t think it’ll make much of a difference. You know I’m confident we’re confident in our game plan. I’M gon na go out there and execute it. You know this next fight. You have coming up it’s against a guy named Prince from. If I’m not not mistaken, he’s the most experienced fighter. You’Ve ever fought. How does your game plan differ? Knowing that you know he’s seen it all, you can’t just come in and bulrush him as he could someone else. Who’S never seen it before, like how how’s your game plan change. It doesn’t, and you know the thing is I learned this from years of wrestling. It doesn’t matter if he knows everything about me, um, I’m still gon na execute my game plan. I mean if, if you look at the best in the world, they don’t they don’t care. If the other guy knows what they’re doing they go in there, they do it anyway. You know everyone. Everyone knows what the Beeb’s gon na. Do. You know what I mean in any given fight, you know you can you can make that bet all day long? He knows what I’m gon na do. The problem is he’s just not gon na be able to stop it. You can’t you can’t make up, for you know, 20-plus years of what I’ve been doing, what I’ve been training. You know and he’s got more experience in the MMA game, but I’ve been competing a long time. I’M not intimidated. Um yeah records, don’t mean anything to me. You know I’m gon na go in there and I’m gon na get it done because I’ve earned it. I’Ve worked for it, so you’ve got four finishes and four fights. Can we expect? What can we expect your next time out? Another finish, or is it just getting your hand raised? No, I don’t like to do the you know. The points just get my hand raised thing. You know I’m in here too, I’m in here to do something you know um my goal. My whole reason for fighting is kind of to spread the word of God to show young people that you can be a bad dude. You can be tough, you can overcome horrible things, but you can still be a gentle kind, honorable righteous person and no one’s gon na pay attention. If I’m just squeaking out decision wins, you know I need to go out there and I need to you know, knock him out break his legs snap, his ribs, whatever I need to do so that people watch and yeah and take note all right man. Thank you. So much for the time I appreciate it. I can’t wait to watch this next one. What is the ultimate last question and I’ll? Let you go, what is the ultimate Bowl with MMA? I mean you’ve talked about spreading love. You talked about spreading. The word of God is that the ultimate goal, or is the goal to reach a platform like the UFC or a Bellator, to be able to spread that to a wider audience. Of course, yeah I mean getting to the next. You know bigger promotions. That’S definitely the goal cuz I mean more people watch, you know, and you know some people get confused or, like you know, how does your like your message of peace, hope and law kind of match up with MMA and beating people up? Well, it’s like the thing is, you know, we’re two adults, we’re two consenting adults. It’S it’s a sport. It’S it’s, not a street fight. You know, there’s not concrete. There’S rules, there’s a ref, so I don’t know like. I guess that is also part of the message. Is like a certain amount of violence? Isn’T always a bad thing. You know what I mean like it’s, it’s part of our life. It’S it’s how you use it that matters you know so, but yeah. I definitely want to get to a bigger, a bigger stage. So I can knock out bigger guys, get more people watching and keep keep you know showing people how to do it. You know through my example, all right. I love that man great message to end on as well once again man. I appreciate you taking the time to talk to me looking forward to your next one and all the best. Hey thanks a lot buddy yeah, not a problem. Bru [, __ ]. You bye,

Sergio Pineiro

Sergio Pineiro is the Founder of FighterPath.com and host of the Quarantinecast podcast. Based in Canada he is both a sports journalist and MMA enthusiast. He practices the sport but has a passion for the individual stories of training, fighting and living the fighting lifestyle.

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