“The Beastman” sits down with Muay Thai Guy for an exclusive talk on Muay Thai, MMA & training the new generation of fighters. . .
UP CLOSE & PERSONAL WITH MARVIN EASTMAN
Marvin “The Beastman” Eastman is a Muay Thai and MMA pioneer. The California native was at the forefront of the Las Vegas MMA scene in the late nineties and early 2000s. Prior to that, Marvin Eastman was a standout high school wrestler who went undefeated in his senior year, winning the California State Wrestling Championship in the 191 lbs. weight class.
After dabbling in college and pro football, the Beastman turned his attention to martial arts. He began training Muay Thai under the tutelage of Master Toddy and Master Chen. From there, Eastman’s career took off.
He became an MMA champion when he won the King of the Cage Super Heavyweight title. (Interesting fact: his first opponent in MMA was none other than Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, a fight which Eastman won by unanimous decision after two rounds. Full fight below!) He, of course went on the fight in the UFC, where he was thrown to the lions: Vitor Belfort, Travis Lutter, and Quinton Jackson once again – this time, in his prime.
Eastman has had a long, storied, winning career in whatever combat sport he chose to compete. Though newer fans of MMA may remember him only as having what Big John McCarthy called the worst cut he had ever seen, the Beastman is an driving force in the sport’s early history and its continuing evolution.
We caught up with Marvin Eastman for an exclusive interview with Muay Thai Guy.
MTG: When and where did you learn Muay Thai?
BEASTMAN: I started training Muay Thai in the early nineties at Master Toddy’s gym in Vegas. Master Chen was my main instructor.
MTG: What was the training like?
BEASTMAN: The training was awesome! It was traditional Muay Thai, not that watered-down stuff you see today.
MTG: Why make the transition to MMA?
BEASTMAN: It just happened. I was at one of my Muay Thai fights and I met Terry Trebilcock of King of the Cage. He liked how I performed, so he hooked me up with John Lewis and invited me to fight for his organization.
MTG: What was the difference between the Muay Thai and MMA training?
BEASTMAN: The training was obviously different because of the wrestling and takedowns [in MMA], but the fights were easy whenever I used my Muay Thai. Back then, not a lot of people knew about Muay Thai, so I always had an advantage, but my losses started to accumulate once I started boxing and brawling instead of sticking to the traditional Muay Thai I was taught.
MTG: Why not stick to what was working?
BEASTMAN: Well, I had a falling out with Master Toddy over some money issues. I then started training with John Lewis, who’s an absolute savage, but Lewis was more into wrestling, grappling, and MMA-style fighting. In those days, we were learning on the fly.
MTG: How has the training changed over the years?
BEASTMAN: Back then, you couldn’t just join an MMA gym. You had to be initiated. It wasn’t this “milk and cookie” stuff you see today. You had to go in and prove you belonged, so yeah we banged. Today we train a lot smarter.
MTG: You’ve always been pretty buff. What’s your strength training routine?
BEASTMAN: I started at a young age. From wrestling to football, I always stayed in the weight room. I did the normal stuff, you know – bench press, squats, push-ups, and pull-ups. But a lot has to do with genetics. I remember when I was young, I was able to bench 305 after lifting for a month. I’m blessed with good genes.
MTG: What have you been up to these days?
BEASTMAN: I was a correctional officer for the past 20+ years and I just retired. Now I coach high school football and train a few fighters.
MTG: Who are you training?
BEASTMAN: I’ve been training a young fighter named David Jordan who’s been sleeping the competition. He’s on a five-fight knockout streak, so look out for him. I’ve also been training my son, Marvin Eastman, who’s coming into his own, so I’m excited about that. I got a few more fighters but some of them are hard to motivate.
MTG: How do you motivate and light that fire in someone who’s not using their full potential?
BEASTMAN: That’s hard, man. A lot of kids nowadays just don’t listen, so it’s hard. The only thing I can do is to stay on them and to lead by example.
I still hit pads, hit the bag, and all that jazz. Obviously I don’t train like I use to. There’s a big difference between training to stay in shape and training for a fight. Back then, I had a whole fight team focusing on me. Today, I focus on others.
Marvin Eastman is a veteran and a legend of sport combat. The retired fighter stays busy by teaching the traditional Muay Thai style he learned from his predecessors to the younger generation.
- Pierre started his journey in martial arts after witnessing Bruce Lee on the silver screen. He began training Tae Kwon Do, earning a brown belt by his 18th birthday. He took up Muay Thai in 2000, training under Kru Nestor Marte in New York City. Pierre eventually moved to South Florida and trained at American Top Team under Christian Toleque and the late Howard Davis Jr. Pierre finally made the leap to Bangkok in 2007, having about a dozen fights. Today, Pierre Smith teaches Muay Thai and strength and conditioning out of his home gym. He also has a podcast called Catching Wreck which is available on Soundcloud, iTunes and Google Play. Pierre can be reached at www.catchingwreck.com.