February 22, 2012 - Chris Moore might only be 145 pounds, but he knows how to throwdown when he steps inside the mixed martial arts cage.
Chris Moore, a 1993 Oxford High School graduate, has turned his mixed martial arts skills into another career. (click for larger version)
Moore, a 1993 graduate of Oxford High School, has been climbing up the ranks of the mixed martial arts world since he first began competing in the sport five years ago as an amateur fighter.
During that time, he went 8-2 and won two featherweight titles. Since turning pro in 2011 at the young age of 35, Moore has competed twice - first against Ivan Wolshlager at Objibwo Casino in Baraga in September 2011 and this past weekend at the Palace of Auburn Hills against Manuel Alfaro.
He lost against Wolshlager via a standing guillotine chokehold and was knocked out by Alfaro.
Despite opening his pro career with two losses, Moore, now 36, laughs when asked if he is too old to compete against younger opponents.
"I look at it this way, at 36-years-old, there are a lot of guys, if they are 36-years-old and fighting, they probably started when they were 20. They have 16 years worth of fight damage," he said. "I don't. I come into the cage, and yeah people underestimate me, but I have old man strength. So when it comes to these young kids, they have no idea."
He added Ultimate Fighting Championship legend Randy Couture began fighting at the age of 36, and he went on to claim titles in two different weight classes.
Couture fought till be was 49, Moore said.
"For me being an athlete...I missed out on my chances for pro baseball or pro basketball," he said.
"This is one of the few sports where a man can get himself in shape, get himself well-trained and turn pro at 35."
Moore said baseball has always been a part of his life.
He first started playing in the Oxford Parks and Recreations league, and continued playing all throughout high school.
He remembered pitching a one-hit shutout against Holly in his first game back after throwing out his shoulder two weeks into his senior season.
"Baseball has had a lot to do with my mixed martial arts, my stand-up and my training," he said. "Just being able to turn your hips over to swing the bat and to throw a pitch, it has really been helpful with my martial arts training."
Moore trains in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai. He added he can wrestle now, which he didn't do in high school.
He got hooked on mixed martial arts in high school after seeing Royce Gracie defeat Dan Severn in UFC 4.
"I had to find somewhere to do that," he said.
It would take him years to find his current training location, Warrior Way in Walled Lake, because after graduating high school, Moore served four years in the Army Reserves as a Military Police Officer.
"I was mentally prepared to go and give my life for my country," he said. "So to get in a cage and fight somebody in a combative sport...it doesn't even compare."
Moore said he was very serious about calling mixed martial arts a "sport."
"It's a sport. It's not just a competition," he said. According to Moore, he trains at least five to six days a week at either his home in Walled Lake or at his brother's house.
"I'm married and have two kids and a full time job, so for me to make it in the gym every single night is impossible," he said. "I have to put my priorities in order."
He said often people will ask him if the violent nature of what goes on inside the cage carries over into other aspects of his life. "Probably my favorite quotes when talking about mixed martial arts is it's the most innocent form of violence in which there are no victims," he said.
He added he wasn't a violent person.
"I don't walk around the street beating people up," he said. "I actually got bullied a lot in high school. I didn't exactly enjoy high school because I was a smaller kid and everything else, and that is probably what led me into martial arts and everything that I do now."
In fact, Moore said competing in mixed martial arts was safer than competing in boxing.
"In boxing, if you get knocked down, they stand you back up and they count to eight. If you can stand up and not wobble, they let you keep fighting," Moore explained. "In this, if you get knocked loopy and you can't intelligently defend yourself, the referee will stop the fight immediately. At that point, the fight is over."
Mixed martial arts competitors have their hands wrapped in tape and wear four-ounce gloves, while boxers wear 16-ounce gloves.
According to Moore, the point of the tape and gloves is to keep competitors from breaking their hands.
"If you get hit with a four-ounce glove, it takes one shot and you are done," he further explained. "In boxing...you are going to take an accumulation of those punches before you are actually going to get knocked out."
"So the chances of long-term concussive damage and stuff like that a boxer would receive, we don't worry about that stuff because there (are) so many different ways to win a fight," he said.
"You can win by submission, you can win by simply out-pointing the guy the whole entire time. There are so many ways and so many different strategies that go into this versus just going in there and playing rockem sockem robots until somebody falls over," he added.
Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.