Ep. #117 – Kevin Croom

Kevin Croom is a mixed martial artist who competes as a Featherweight in the UFC. The 33-fight veteran out of Missouri most recently picked up a 31-second victory in his UFC debut on less than 48 hours notice.


Boom we’re back with the 117th edition of the quarantine cast. I am joined by kevin croom. He uh just got signed to the ufc, had a remarkable, debut um without further ado, i’m uh really excited to have him on what’s going on. How are you thanks for having me i’m doing i’m doing great man. I really appreciate you uh you coming on. I’Ve been a fan for a while and you you made it you’re in the ufc. How does that feel? Oh man, uh spectacular, like i mean amazing uh, like i mean obviously i don’t want to, but i could die happily i’d like to start talking about the the pandemic. I mean. Obviously the theme of this is quarantine. I started it in quarantine, so have to start by asking the the basic. How are you doing in quarantine? What’S the pandemic like there and and what are the protocols going on there yeah uh, so man i mean, i guess, i’m the wrong person to ask. My life has changed very little like apparently my life is pretty much in quarantine. I uh go. I go to the gym and i work outside uh and if i’m not at the gym or working i’m on my couch like that’s all i do so, i don’t really know like. Obviously you got to wear masks everywhere. That’S only honestly, that’s the only difference in my life because i have to put on a mask to go to the grocery store. Like only thing, that’s really any different. I feel like a lot of a lot of fighters, say the same thing and they’re like i mean i’m pretty much. I pretty much stay at home. Go to the gym, go back home, so yeah. So i mean uh. I’Ve been watching the same amount as netflix for the last few years, like to be honest, so like that’s not the best, but i’m really [ __ ] good at fighting. So whatever i want to touch on nike, because you did test positive and uh. Obviously, people say that you know symptoms tend to carry on later on. You may not notice it right away um as someone who’s had who tested positive for it. Have you had any symptoms? I mean i, i have felt spectacular all year long and like well. Actually, to be honest, i i like i got really sick in like january and then uh and then other than that i [ __ ] felt great all year long like i, i had no idea. I had it. I felt great everybody around me, like the people. I lived with and everything no problems, uh, so yeah man, i don’t know nothing to worry about for me. What was it like when you got the news? I mean. Obviously it’s like this massive deal worldwide people are freaking out and then you test positive, for it was there any bit of like worry or was it just? Ah, it is what it is uh well that could mean i i found out i found out because i got signed. It was my the day of my my 13 year anniversary of my first fight, and i got woke up at 5. 45 am say i got signed, i’m i’m fighting got on the plane, flew to vegas. All my dreams have come true: everything’s, amazing, [, __, ], chill on the top of the world, go to sleep top of the world, wake up, uh and then, like 10 o’clock. The next day called me got, got tested, uh tested positive. So then they were, they gave me another test so like. If that one came up negative like there’s a possibility, i would still fight you know. So there’s like six hours where my life was like turmoil, you know and then and then, once once it was for sure i was positive. I got cut from the ufc signed cut within 24 hours, like what i’ve wanted. My whole life, followed by the thing i haven’t worn in my whole life uh. You know uh i’d, be just a rollercoaster of emotion and uh. I mean so that’s been the craziest thing like that covets done to me. I mean that whole roller coaster ride, but uh i mean other than that, like once once uh i got back home, i like got a little bit of perspective and uh and the whole thing worked out really well for me. So whatever i think that sums up 2020, you know just a roller coaster of emotions, one minute you’re on a high, the next minute, you’re getting slapped in the face with this news of you getting covered, getting cut and um, but so, like i mean i know, I know a lot of people have had really shitty years, but my years been [ __ ] the tits. So i want to get to that to that point. So obviously you you got cut you, you you’re supposed to fight, you got cut and then you get a call last minute. We’Ve got to fight for you. Don’T can’t tell you who it is you don’t you have no idea who it is you get there? You get to the arena, it’s literally on 10 seconds notice. You accept the fight and you get it done in 31 seconds, so uh, ridiculous, unbelievable, so kind of describe that emotion and uh. Was there any hesitancy with everything that went on everything that’s been going on to not take that fight. The dog thing that i was the most worried about is, i just ate a bowl of fur and if you know anything about cutting weight eating a bunch of sodium before you sweat, a lot isn’t isn’t amazing uh. So i was worried about that uh. My manager called me told me that i had to get on a flight and i had to leave like [, __, ] now um and uh. I immediately called my coach, i mean. Obviously i accepted called my coach and i’m like hey man like i’m freaking out. I just ate this foot like what and he’s like: hey man, don’t worry the fight’s at 55., i was like oh okay, no problem and that so that was the only like. Second of hesitation was [. __ ], like this cutting this weight will suck like i’ll. Do it no problem, but this this is gon na, be a shitty, 24 hours, uh and then yeah man. Once i found out that it was at 55, i flew to vegas got to vegas. We ate sushi that night pigged out [, __ ] and then one in 31 seconds man, it’s [, __, ] spectacular. You know it’s uh, it’s funny, because this isn’t the only uh circumstance you know in 2020, so many other guys have done it. Justin james is a great example prime example, and i thought he did a great job setting the blueprint of how to get it done. Do it early right, like you, don’t have a whole lot of time to train for cardio. You can’t really watch any film go out there and get it done early. Was that the was that the game plan just i have a certain amount of time to go out there and put them away. That’S what you did now man. To be honest, we thought it was gon na be a brawl like i didn’t know who i was fighting uh until i got to the airport uh and, like i found i found james, my coach and i’m like uh. So who am i fighting? He like laughs? He’S like roosevelt roberts – and i mean i i knew i i seen him – i’ve seen him right before so i was like all right and he like just gave me a look and he was like it’s not gon na. Be your toughest fight. You know you like, like insinuating, like it’s gon na, be a scrap and so like as soon as as soon as i saw the look in his eye. I just [ __ ] like reserved all right, we’re going to war. Let’S go and [ __ ] me and i didn’t have to what was it like? Getting your hand raised in the ufc? Was it did it feel any different than i mean you’ve had 30-something odd fights was, did it feel any different um and did it feel? When did it really start to sink? In that you know what i just got: ta win in the ufc [ __ ]. This morning, oh, i mean every day every day, uh i mean yeah, it felt it felt amazing. It felt like everything i wanted it to be everything i [ __ ] waited for. You know i mean i’ve been doing this for 13 years. I’Ve had a harder rug than most because of my own dumb ass list and uh yeah man. I mean the [ __ ] roller coaster, ride of emotion that my career has been and then to [. __ ] be there and to do it like that yeah. I mean it was [, __, ], spectacular man, i mean it made it all worthwhile for sure you mentioned 13 years. I think there is one fight in there that i, i think a lot of people will overlook or ignore, but i think it really is the the turning point in a lot of people’s career. You were on a high note. You had a quite an extensive winning streak and then you lost a split decision to jesse brock uh. I know you probably don’t a lot of people don’t like talking about their losses, but i think this one’s important because it really was a close fight, um and it could have been the turning point i mean you’ve. Had you won that fight? You were on a plane, terror. You could have gotten a call, then no, so i i had been in contact with them. They wanted me the ufc wanted me to fight. I had been offered to fight like a few weeks before that fight, but i was contracted with mfc and i couldn’t get out, and so they said win that one and you’re in and i [ __ ] lost a split decision. I’M sorry, okay, but go ahead. What was your question yeah? I guess it’s kind of what is the biggest lesson from that from that fight and i guess a message to anybody. Who’S experienced that same thing, you’re that close you lose uh man stay in the gym and don’t don’t [ __ ] around. I, like my, i allowed my life to uh, go into a downward spiral for there. You know like uh, i i like let one one [ __ ] downfall, stumble me and [ __ ] roll me down the hill. You know and like that’s not like the difference between you know, uh, regular people and champions is the the time it takes them to get back on track. You know and like in that and that experience i i sucked it. I did a somersault down the hill for a couple years. You know and like uh yeah man stay in the gym, be around people who care about you and if you need to switch things up, get people who care about you and people who know what they’re talking about you know. Yeah, i mean it really. It really did pay off and, like you did mention after that, you did go through a little bit of a slump. It really turned around and it’s good to see that it kind of came back full circle uh during that time, was there any moment where you were like? Oh my god, man, i’m 13 years into this. My dream is the ufc. I was that close. I lost it. Was there any um time when you kind of doubted whether or not you’d ever make it yeah? I mean yeah yeah for sure man, like i mean a lot of soul, searching a lot of uh trying to figure out who kevin croom is. As a person and like uh it like uh, because i i wasn’t sure what i was gon na do, i lost a few fights in a row. My confidence was low. Like i didn’t [, __ ] know what to do. I like had, i had it whatever it is. I had it and then i lost it, and i was very aware that i lost it and i didn’t know what to do and like. Luckily, i got it again for sure, but like like that’s all i can kind of say about it is like there. There was something missing. I like [, __ ] forgot, something i like i had it and then i lost it. It’S like the only way. I could describe it, you know um yeah uh, i’m sorry, i kind of sprayed them like. Was that answering your question like yeah that did answer it and i kind of want to bring it full circle because 2020 for a lot of people was a roller coaster and it was for you um, as was your career. You got, you got your win. You got the bonus, everything is exciting and then you get news, um and uh. You know it’s, it’s not the greatest news, not anything that a lot of people want to hear or talk about, but uh. That being said man. What was it like? Getting that news? Um and, and how are you, how are you dealing with it, yeah, okay, so the news you are referring to is i popped on a test for thc marijuana smoking, the reefer littering in littering in smoking, the reefer yeah um. So i took the fight on like 48 hours notice. Obviously i got high the morning that i left uh, so i left on wednesday. No, i left on thursday. I flew out on thursday. I had to make weight friday fought saturday, so i mean i got high thursday morning because i mean that that that’s what i do i like to smoke, weed and uh. I i work really hard and that’s my jam, uh and so yeah. I i didn’t know: uh got on a plane, told told usada told the ufc, hey. Obviously i’d like i just smoked um i’ve been no problem with him. The ufc and me are good. Uh didn’t really think anything about it. Ufc called me, or you saw to call me like the week afterwards and just kind of discuss like my smoking habits and like what what i don’t know kind of what i do and then uh a few weeks later. I i got a call from jeff navinsky and we like talked about the whole thing and basically nevada. The nevada state commission is a bunch of [ __ ] dick bags and smoke like marijuana is legal in nevada, but you can’t [ __, ] smoke and fist fight. You know and like they’re they’ll, give you no breaks, because, even because i took the fight on a day’s notice, you know so like so then they turn the fight into a no contest uh. You know i mean which that’s a bunch of dicks but uh, whatever um like i won’t ever refer to it as no contest other than talking about it. Right now, like i [ __ ] won that fight yeah. Ask him how he feels ask him if he feels like there’s a no contest that [ __ ] lost. We all saw him, lose yeah marijuana, isn’t a isn’t a performance enhancing drug! You know you’re, not gon na smoke smoke a joint and go in there and perform better because you’re, you know, especially when you like the last time. You smoked was two days ago that you’re gon na be like if it was a performance in a drug which it’s not but like. You would have to smoke it right beforehand, and i smoked it two days before you know i mean like so yeah whatever uh man, i’ve been eating, adversity like potato chips and i’m just gon na keep doing it like whatever uh uh. I i’m suspended at the moment. I can fight again next year. It’S not a big deal that that’s not like that. We still um it’s actually kind of nice like for once. I can like just be off for christmas, and i mean i’m obviously still in the gym but yeah you know, like i mean i’m, i’m not worried about. Like the last few years i’ve been trying to take a fight short notice any time, but you know so. I’Ve just been ready. Now i could kind of take a deep breath. Um. I got find 1800 bucks that sucks. You know. I mean that’s like what i made for my last fight outside of the ufc. You know what i mean yeah i mean you did get a performance bonus, so it doesn’t uh for sure for sure. Like totally yeah, that’s still i mean [ __ ] man like that that sucks you know uh whatever, like uh, but the thing that i just found out. I just signed my next contract and uh. I looked at it and i don’t get a pay bump because technically i didn’t win these [ __ ] [ __, ] man. You know what i mean like whatever. Whatever i get it like. It is what it is uh that was an expensive joint. I smoked, you know what i mean, but whatever um it doesn’t it doesn’t really bug. I mean like it bugs me when i think about it like wow, that’s [, __ ], but i don’t really [ __ ] care like that fight changed. My life gave me like the kind of like validated me as a person. You know i mean like i believed i believed i could do that my whole life. I believe that i could do that. The all these 13 years. You know i mean, and then i did it and like so like now, i’m like i don’t know, i just feel [ __ ] great, you know uh and they can’t take that away from me. So i don’t [ __ ] care and i will get my first win twice and i’ll bonus, both [ __ ] times. I don’t care like uh. I i i just signed my contract, can’t can’t discuss it or anything at the moment, but uh, it’s gon na be a good one and i’m gon na bonus again. So, like whatever i’ll get my first one twice. I love it. Man and i think that’s the mentality you have to have – i mean, like you, think about all the other guys i mean the diaz brothers did that their entire career right, elias theodorou, like there’s so many other guys that have done it um and it really is A silly silly rule every other sport hasn’t legalized, most most of the other commission’s okay, it’s like vegas, when it’s legal in vegas like like uh, that’s frustrating, but whatever that’s out of my control and the only thing that’s in my control is me: [, __, ], The next person up i fight and that’s the plan like you know, so i want to talk a little bit about uh about working with guys like um grant dawson and james krauss, because i mean they’re, both monsters grant dawson is an absolute beast and james cross. I mean his legacy is cemented forever for the stuff he’s been doing recently, just taking taking fights on 30 seconds notice up away class very similar to what you did. What’S it like working with those two uh uh spectacular, i uh. I highly suggest uh that if you want to be in this career, if you want you want fighting to be your career, you get somebody uh who’s in a position that you want to be in, and you get behind them and you do exactly what the [ __ ] they do uh james is in a position that i’d like to be in you know, i mean he’s, got a lot of weight in the organization he’s been doing it for years. He’S a [, __ ] gangster, all around you know and uh. I see him every day in the gym and i can [ __ ] mimic and do exactly what he does. You know and uh that has done uh leaps and bounds for me as far as my technique and just my perspective and everything in my life uh as well as you know, fighting too uh and then grant dawson is a [ __, ], savage and uh like To be honest, like uh, my my friendship with him has changed my life, like our our bond through this sport and like just [, __, ] being right to die for each other like uh, it’s just changed my life and made me a better person and uh. I [ __ ] love the sport. Man, like you, know the camaraderie between uh, your teammates and and just there’s, nothing like it man, it really isn’t. I mean i’ve heard so many other stories and other gyms, where guys are pretty much what like, if you know you heard him, you hurt me type thing and it’s really. It really is a family in a lot of these gyms and um. I think that the key is finding that gym. There’S a lot of people who feel like a number in a gym, and i think it is finding a gym where you feel like you’re part of the team, and it looks like especially with the guy like james krause. It really is, if you’re not in it, to be part of the team like a buckley who’s, been talking a lot of trash as well. Um, don’t come here: yeah yeah man, uh! That’S what something uh like right about the time that all that [ __ ] that started all this between them happened. Uh. We were getting ready for my fight and uh. We were just kind of uh talking about the gym and everything and a james has created the best team environment. I’Ve ever seen or been a part of uh. I’Ve been around a lot of gyms and i’ve seen a lot of things and the environment. The atmosphere in our gym is is one of a kind uh, and we were having this discussion and – and we were talking about how that needs to be protected. You know like uh, we’re getting to the point where like well. We just have enough people like it’s that it needs to be protected. We can’t be letting [ __ ] in you, know, and messing up our vibe, throwing off our energy. You know and uh and like right, i swear to god like as soon as we have this conversation like the next day. He like hit him up and like got all [ __, ] cocky and, like i’m, trying to help y’all it’s like well. Why are you hitting us up there? You know but uh yeah man, so yeah uh, fine, fine people who care about you, don’t just be a number yeah. I think that really is a message that a lot of up-and-coming fighters especially need to uh need to take into consideration. Is they hear like oh big, jim? I got ta go there and it’s not about that. It really isn’t. I mean i totally i i did that you know like uh, i went to jackson’s and i i moved in not that there wasn’t a lot of things that i learned there for sure. Like uh, i mean for sure go around check places out. You know, but definitely like uh find a home where, where people care about you, you know like uh like a coaching uh coaching athlete relationship is so close. It’S like, like my brother, my father. You know i mean like it’s like a weird. It’S a weird thing. So like get somebody who has good intentions for your life, you know i mean, like i know. Without a doubt, james will [ __ ] do anything for me 100. I can call him right now. He’Ll help me out with anything just like. I would do for him, you know like uh and yeah man find that i want to talk about uh last question uh. It was a huge fight. This past weekend, davidson figuero had a massive win. So did brandon moreno. I don’t know if you watched both of those fights but they’re uh they’re turning around quickly doing something that you do fight fight on short notice, they’ve got a little more than 24 hours notice, but uh. What’S your prediction for that fight, uh man uh, i think, figured he’s the man he’s the man at the moment. You know uh, i i guess we’ll see, but yeah he’s the man at the moment. It looks like he’s a savage scary man. It’S a scary, dude, but um man is there anybody you want to uh to thank or shout out any sponsors before i uh. Let you go uh uh i’d like to thank uh, hka, usa man. They got really good uh fight gear they’ve been helping me out for sure uh brian eins, hillbilly fight, where lisa gore uh, obviously james krauss grant dawson gloria mcmahon man. I love death. Thank you all right, man. Thanks for the time, i’ve been a fan for a while and i’m glad you’re. Finally, in the ufc and uh man can’t wait to to see this next one, hello man. I appreciate it. Thank you very much for having me it’s good talking to you all right. Man all the best all right have a good one. Bye there we go uh kevin croom. I’Ve been a fan of his for a while, as you heard, uh man he’s. Uh he’s had a roller coaster of her career in a roller coaster for 2020, but uh expect great things from him. Um and if you haven’t yet make sure you donate to prostate cancer awareness and be sure to where is it like comment and subscribe and i’ll see you guys,

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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