clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Luke Cummo: Fighting For More Than You Know

When "The Ultimate Fighter" Reality Television Show 2 (TUF 2) started to air, one fighter seemed to stand out almost immediately. He acted differently; he ate differently; perhaps he even looked different.

His name was Luke Cummo.

Said another way, Cummo was simply not your cookie cutter MMA fighter. Perhaps because of this he was the last person picked for a team on the show. Who knows, maybe the coaches were simply confused by it all.

But as the show continued, another thing became crystal clear. Different, was not bad in Cummo's case. Along with this, playing the role of underdog he won two exhibition bouts on his way to the TUF 2 Championship against Joe "Daddy" Stevenson.

Yes, he lost that bout in a close decision. But his tremendous heart was once again on display, enough so that he was also offered the same six figure UFC contract usually only given to TUF winners. And now, fresh off of two straight knockout victories in the UFC, Cummo is getting ready for another MMA challenge in opponent Luigi Fioravanti at UFC 82: Pride of a Champion on March 1, 2007.

But the interesting thing is that Luke Cummo isn't just an MMA fighter. Rather, he is actively involved in intelligently fighting for the environment and promoting general health as well. And lucky for us, Cummo decided to have a word with MMAFighting.com's Robert Rousseau about the environment, Kung Food, Life Food, his match with Luigi Fioravanti, and much more.

MMAFighting.com: How's training been going?

Cummo: Very good.

MMAFighting.com: Who have you been training with and where have you been going to do it?

Cummo: My usual team. I trained with the champ Matt Serra at his school for jiu jitsu and all things grappling. My stand up and conditioning coach is Ray Longo. There was my Jeet Kune Do instructor, but mostly we concentrate on boxing and Muay Thai for competition. And I also have Michael Jocson who's my Chek practitioner, which is like a strength and conditioning coach, only he takes more of a holistic approach to that area.

MMAFighting.com: What do you think of your upcoming opponent, Luigi Fioravanti?

Cummo: I think that he's very tough. He's young; he's thick; he's like a little Mike Tyson.

MMAFighting.com: In looking at it, you've never been knocked out in an MMA match and neither has he. Both of you like to stand and bang a little. What do you think that translates to in the fight?

Cummo: I think that translates to an exciting stand up bout that could get a little ugly.

MMAFighting.com: Yup. From a technical sense, how do you think his stand up game matches up with yours?

Cummo: Well technically, I think that I'm going to be on my game that night. For me to come out the victor, I'm going to stick to my game plan and be very focused and be in the best shape ever.

MMAFighting.com: Could you talk just a little bit about what Life Food is (this is mentioned at his website)?

Cummo: When you put life in front of a word, it means to save. So you have a life boat, a life raft, these are things that save you. Life food really is all about the future of humankind and this planet. If this is something that people are interested in they might already know that there are things going on in the world today indicating a state of things that are less than excellent. You have all different kinds of pollution, and all different things happening all over the world as far as the destruction of the environment. And really there is nothing that affects the earth more negatively than the modern diet.

The saying is that Life Food is for a sustainable future, and the more that people learn about this and how to eat this way (the Life Food way) the better chance we have of actually lasting a long time and living in abundance on this planet. The fact of the matter is that the way things are going, we can't sustain this lifestyle that we have right now. The foods that we eat - like animals and grains and hyberdized fruits - the way that they're grown and the way these are supplied to people, the earth can't keep up. To set an example, the rainforests are being cut down everyday to plant food crops. And one of the major pollutants of the earth and the water supplies is animal farms. Most of the large animals have almost become extinct, the oceans are being over-fished at an alarming rate (and) many scientists are predicting ecosystem collapse in the near future. This is what I'm fighting now. I feel like the future of the human race is kind of what I'm fighting for, and that's why I'm just going to keep destroying whoever is put in front of me.

MMAFighting.com: Can you talk a little bit about Kung Food as well?

Cummo: Kung Food is a little idea I came up with where each episode I take somebody in the mixed martial arts community (and) we do a workout because it's got to be interesting for the fans. We also take one of their favorite recipes and translate that into a Life Food recipe. And at the end we have a little tasting. Now we've only done two episodes because this was kind of something that I threw together. I do have more scripts written up for future episodes. But it's just me and a couple of friends right now. After this fight I think I'll get another one out there and the next one is going to be more geared toward a younger audience although it will be for everybody.

MMAFighting.com: You always demonstrate pretty excellent cardio. How much do you think your diet plays into that?

Cummo: If you ask most people in the fitness industry, diet is responsible for more than half of your success. You can be working out hours in a day and then if you go home and eat the wrong things, not only will your progress be less than what it can be, but it can also be reversed. You could be getting the opposite results of what you want.

Now in sports there are a lot more things to consider besides weight loss, although there are weight classes, and since I've discovered what Life Food is I've not had to cut any weight for any of my fights. . . So I'm lighter, faster, stronger, I have more energy. In the fight, rather than a ball bit I would compare myself more to a lightning bolt. So people will say that, "oh you've got to cut weight; you've got to cut 15-20 pounds to be successful; in the welterweight division, you have to be walking around at 190." But I weighed myself yesterday (and) I was just under 171 pounds. I'm stronger than ever in the clinch, I'm hitting harder, and I can sprint for 15 minutes straight.

MMAFighting.com: Wow, you can sprint for 15 minutes straight. That's amazing.

Cummo: Well, that's what the fight is, right?

MMAFighting.com: Yes, that's right. If we go back to TUF, you were definitely more of a striker than a grappler then. Since you've shown a lot of improvement on the ground. How much do you feel you've improved over the last couple of years, and who are the people that have helped you to do that the most?

Cummo: When I got on TUF, I would say I was an intermediate blue belt under Matt Serra. Since then I've gotten my purple belt and now I think I'm maybe an intermediate purple belt. Matt is such an amazing teacher besides being an amazing competitor. Being in the sport and having fights going on, I really get a lot of personal attention from him and a lot of the other higher up belts. Even people on the same level as me or maybe just a little bit better than me can show me things here and there that help.

Now training in jiu jitsu is different than training for MMA. It's really great to learn from my past fights and see things that I need to touch up. When you see expert jiu jitsu players in MMA you'll notice that most of them are not pulling off these fancy sweeps and flying armbars, although that does happen. But most of the time they're just doing the basic moves, but it's done at such a high level that it's basically flawless.

Really the best thing for me and for anybody who is looking to improve their jiu jitsu game for MMA, I would say just work on the basics and master them, you know?

MMAFighting.com: Definitely. You know, the way you talk about Matt Serra and seeing him as a coach on TUF, it seemed like the guys that were working with him just took to him very easily. I'm guessing that wasn't a big surprise for you.

Cummo: He's a great guy personally, as an instructor, and as a fighter. The first time you meet him, it will be like you guys have known each other for a long time; he's very outgoing and friendly. Just don't get on his bad side, because then he might have what we call a Matty moment, which is kind of like what happened to Marc Laimon.

MMAFighting.com: (Laughing) If we were to assume that you win this fight against Luigi, are there any other guys out there that you would really love to fight that kind of come to mind?

Cummo: There are fighters that I think would be easier fights than others. But, I'm just fighting to keep winning - winning money for my family, winning money for our future, and winning to keep showing that what I'm doing is really the best way for our sport and for general health.

People may have seen on the internet that I've had a couple of people come and stay with me for a couple of weeks to do what's called cell rejuvenation and nutritional fasting. This is like renovating your health. . . For every two week nutritional fast that these guys have done they've used - this is the opposite of aging - they've used seven years. And this is the same program that I do to get ready for my fights. It can be done by somebody with diabetes; it can be done by a five year old; it can be done by a pregnant woman; it can be done by an 85 year old. It addresses a universal cause of emotional diseases, and that's pretty much the way that people are eating.

So that's why Life Food has that name that it has. It's not only great for the head, it's great for your body.

MMAFighting.com: Sounds great. Do you have a prediction for the fight?

Cummo: The only thing I can say for sure is that I'm going to fight to the best of my ability. I'm going to put on a great performance, and I'm going to have a great time in there, and Luigi might not.

MMAFighting.com: Anything that you'd like to say to the fans or in general?

Cummo: Well, first of all thanks for giving me the opportunity to do this interview with you. Thanks to all my fans on my website and all the other websites. If anyone's interested in what I've been talking about they can visit me on LukeCummo.com. We've got forums there that I try and visit everyday. My computer's broken right now, but I still get on my wife's computer.

Be on the lookout for my clothing line that is in the prototype stage right now. I will be wearing the new shorts come fight time. That's about it. Thanks to everybody, I love you guys, and I'll see you soon. We'll have a good time on March 1st.