It is our pleasure to introduce the next fighter in our interview series, he is an undefeated flyweight in the Legacy FC and star of the MTV show “Caged”. He is none other than Matt “Danger” Schnell! If you haven’t heard the nickname or watched the show it might be time to wake up because the man known as “Danger” is one of the fastest growing names in MMA. He trains at Gladiators LA under the famed UFC Tim Credeur along with the likes of Dustin Poirier and others. So sit down and take a minute and get to know one of the fastest rising stars in the world of MMA!
First off thanks a lot of sitting down with us, what has been going on in the world of Matt “Danger” Schnell?
Danger: Thanks for having me guys! Not too terribly much has been going on with me. I work and train at Gladiators academy six days a week. I definitely do not live an extravagant lifestyle. I work diligently everyday on improving both as a fighter and a person.
On the show you were referred to as “Danger” can you explain that nickname to us?
Danger: My nickname was originally given to me by my first trainer, Brent Mason. I was somewhat of a spaz when I first started training and this lead to me inadvertently injuring my training partners. It started as a joke and it just stuck. It’s been my nickname ever since.
The show got some very harsh reviews for example “From Eric Ball of The Bleacher Report wrote “MTV Caged: Cable Network Reaches New Low with Grotesque Fighting Show… MTV introduced a MMA style reality show on Monday night that had little to do with the sport… It’s really just depressing more than anything else… So it’s a show about fighting with words that’s masked as a show about fighting with your fists… that’s your cup of tea, tune in Monday nights at 10:00 p.m. EST. If you just want to watch compelling fights in the ring, stick to Spike, HDNET and PPV.”
Did you watch the show when it aired and what were your impressions on it? Do you feel that MTV changed it in any way? Do you feel they showed the “real” you? And if you had the chance would you do it all over again?
Danger: I did watch the show. I think what people failed to understand was that the show was meant for young teenagers and women. That’s the main demographic for the MTV network. It wasn’t a show for the hardcore Mma fan. If it was It would have been on spike or Fuel or something like that. That being said, I think they did a fine job with it. They portrayed me in a good light and I couldn’t be any more thankful. If I it were up to me, the show would have focused more on fighting. However, I am very thankful for the opportunity MTV and Joke productions gave me. If it weren’t for the show we wouldn’t be having this interview and no one would know my name. So of course I would do it again.
When the first two season of TUF aired and those fighters got into the UFC we would hear a lot about other fighters holding the fact they were on a reality show against them. Do you get any flack for being on the show from other fighters? If so how do you deal with it?
Danger: Yeah guys definitely try to say it as if it were a negative thing. The fact of the matter is, if they had a similar opportunity fall into their laps, they would take it. Things like this do not bother me. They can say what they want. In the end they’re just keeping me relevant. So in a way I appreciate it.
There have been a couple of different documentaries done about the fight game in Louisiana such as FightVille which followed Tim Credeur and Dustin Poirier, do you feel that they are accurate and what makes that area such a hot bed for MMA?
Danger: I think FightVille nailed it. Honestly I believe Louisiana has a bright future in the sport thanks in large part to guys like Dustin and Tim. It’s commonly known that Louisiana produces high level athletes. Pair that with great instruction and you have something special. Tim Creduer brought real Mma and Bjj to Louisiana. I believe this to be a large contributing factor to the influx of talent here recently. Guys like Dustin Poirier are paving the way for the rest of us. Believe me when I say that we have some straight gangsters over here at Gladiators Academy.
Tell us about your experience going from Amateur to Pro and the challenges you faced.
Danger: I honestly don’t feel as if there’s much difference as of yet. I know I’ve not fought a top 10 guy or anything, yet. A fight is a fight. Now I’m just getting paid to do it. I think I took way too much time in between my last ammy fight and my first pro. Other than that, it’s the same ole thing. A glorified fist fight. I try not to over complicate things.
In your opinion what makes you such a dynamic fighter and why should people want to watch your fights?
Danger: I fight my ass off. Period. I don’t know if my abilities are anything special, but I get in shape and I expect to win. I don’t think anyone has ever accused me of being a boring fighter. I do my best to perform at a high level and I’m constantly looking for ways to improve. My game changes every day. I’ll never be the same guy two fights in a row.
How has life been in the LFC? It was very impressive after the battle you had in your debut (win) vs a very tough Ryan Hollis to see you fight a month later at LFC 16 vs Marcus Dupar. How was it getting your first professional stoppage. At what point in the fight did you know that armbar was locked in and what emotions did you go through when you saw felt him tap?
Danger: Legacy is an outstanding promotion and I couldn’t be any happier with them. We recently came to an agreement extending my contract another four fights. So I’m really excited about that. Hollis was a tough fight. It was nice to get shook back into reality and be in a tough competitive fight. Against Dupar, I was really able to turn on my auto pilot and allow my training and technique to win me the fight. I just remember missing the choke and snatching an armbar. Once I attacked the arm it felt tight and the tap didn’t surprise me. I had a good night, but I have a lot of respect for Dupar. I think he’s a pretty tough dude.
How cool was it when UFC Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz decided to sponsor you?
Danger: It was a cool experience. Tito really took me under his wing while I was out in California. It was an awesome experience that I won’t forget.
I see that you are very active on Twitter, do you feel it is important to interact with your fans and what makes your fans so amazing?
Danger: I try hard to keep up with my social media. I enjoy connecting with my fans. They’re all so supportive of me and it really pushes me to improve sometimes. I feel as if a lot is expected of me. And I like that feeling, because I expect a lot from myself.
What are some things you do in your community to promote MMA in a positive light and what do you think the best part of being a professional fighter is?
Danger: I really do my best to set a positive example for the younger guys. We have a whole crop of young up and coming fighters in our gym. I just do my best to lead by example and stay consistent and work hard. We have a tight knit group at Gladiators. And I really enjoy every part of what I do. I truly believe we make people better at my gym. Not just better fighters but better in all walks of life. Nothing makes me feel better than knowing that I’ve had a positive influence on someone’s life. That’s why I do what I do.
What is the craziest thing a fan has said to you or given you?
Danger: I’ve had some strange experiences with screaming girls and creepy weirdos just being awkward. For the most part it’s slowed down considerably. I really enjoy interacting with people and taking pictures though. I would definitely never turn down a photo op. that’s for sure. Haha
If there was some advice of words of wisdom you could give to someone thinking about becoming a fighter what would it be and why? What got you into MMA and what keeps you going?
Danger: I started training after high school pretty much because I had nothing else to do. I was an active athlete my whole life and once school ended there was a giant void to fill. Mixed Martial Arts made sense to me and I’ve been doing it ever since. I’m addicted to improving. I wake up every morning and think of ways I can be better. It immediately gave my life a sense of purpose and I thank god every day that I found it.
You train with some pretty tough guys (Dustin Poirier, Creduer and others) at Gladiators LA, who have you fought or sparred with that hits or kicks the hardest?
Danger: My first experience of sparring Dustin Poirier last march, he kicked me so damn hard in the leg, I thought about quitting right then and there. Like never fighting again. I ended up finishing practice that day but my leg was so jacked. It swole up to twice the size of my other leg. It was definitely an eye opening experience. I truly believe he’s one of the best in the world. He’ll be a fixture in the UFC for a long time.
In FightVille, Tim was portrayed as a guy that will push his guys to the limit and really lay the wood to them if they are slacking. Can you tell us a little about him and what makes him such a special coach?
Danger: Coach Tim is such a great instructor. He has a way of speaking that truly inspires. He expects a lot out of his fighters and I believe that’s why we’re successful.
What are the future plans for the man known to the world as “Danger”? Has there been a next fight announced, if so what can you tell us about your opponent?
Danger: My next fight is taking place in Corpus Christi Texas on May 31st. I’m fighting a guy named Elias Garcia. He’s 2-0 as a pro. I really wasn’t able to find much on him. I saw a few of his amateur fights but nothing real recent. He looks to be a pretty tough guy though and I look forward to the fight. As far as my future goes, I’m just gonna take it one fight at a time and allow my hard work to pay off. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to become a better martial artist. I’m taking a trip to Thailand this summer to study some Muay Thai . I’m gonna go over there and train for two months straight. I think it will be quite beneficial.
Thank again for this and I am sure our readers will love it! Before we end are there sponsors, people or companies you would like to mention?
Danger: First and foremost, I’d like to thank Gladiators Academy and coach Tim for allowing me to be a part of their gym. Special thanks to all my sponsors Pel-State Services, Hateware, The Fighter Warehouse, and my management company First Round Management. I appreciate all the continued support and I look forward to a successful future.