‘Skinny, with a huge f***ing head’
In 2019, Jorge ‘Gamebred’ Masvidal knocked Darren Till out cold, scored the fastest KO in UFC history against Ben Askren and beat Nate Diaz to win the inaugural BMF title. In this extract from the Talking With TK podcast he takes us back to where it all began, fighting on the streets of Miami with Kimbo Slice.
2019 was the year of the dog. It was me getting after it, putting in work.
2020 is the year of the lottery ticket.
I’ve got all these lottery tickets under my mattress and I’ve just got to take them to the bank to cash them in. That’s what I’m going to do in 2020. I’m cashing some big, easy cheques.
I’ve been working in this game for a long time, kicking ass for 16 years and giving it everything I had in every fight. Whether you’re a fan of ‘Gamebred’ or not, you can’t complain about my work ethic.
Whether or not you like my personality or my style, I just go about my work.
But 2019 is done. I already got fighter of the year, knockout of the year, all this crazy stuff. That was just the preview for 2020.
This year, I’m cashing in big cheques.
I’ve been fighting since I was four
The life I was given was made for me to go out there and compete and be a gladiator. That’s what I love to do. I think I’ve had the best life a human can have.
Growing up I was just another kid in a wild bunch – the wildest bunch. I had a lot of fun and got into some trouble, like all boys do when they’ve got extra amounts of energy.
I wasn’t set up for doing the greatest in school, but I am set up best for the sport I’m in.
My dad says I’ve loved fighting since I could first speak. I don’t remember a lot of these early encounters, but he says I’ve been fighting since I was four years old.
The only thing that would captivate me back then wasn’t the Disney Channel or Disney movies, it was Kung Fu movies.
By the time I was about eight or nine years old, combat sports had already taken over my mind. I would see a boxing match on TV and immediately want to know what was going on over there.
‘Why are these guys fighting?’
‘What’s this called?’
Boxing caught my attention, but karate was my first martial art. I have early memories of trying it out but I didn’t last too long, because I wasn’t in real karate. It was watered down.
Some black belt opened up a school and he didn’t even have a black belt. He probably just got it online or something. They didn’t have sparring or anything like that.
Even at a young age I was like, ‘Man this is some bull crap in here, where’s the real stuff?’
‘Skinny, with a huge fucking head’
My first real experience with fighting came when I got into boxing and wrestling. I was like, ‘Wow this is awesome.’
My mum wouldn’t allow me in some of the gyms though, so I’d talk to the people that ran them and they’d say I’d have to pay. I’d clean bathrooms or something instead, because my mum couldn’t find out.
I’d go out riding my bike indefinitely and when I’d come back hours later, my mum wouldn’t think much of it, but I’d been at a boxing gym or a karate studio.
My favourite place to be growing up was in the gym.
I was a regular-sized kid; very skinny with a huge fucking head. Not that my head isn’t big now, but at least it’s more proportional to my body.
I went to school at Miami Sunset High. I went there for about a semester and then they wanted to kick me out, so I switched to another school. I stayed there for a while before I dropped out and started fighting.
‘We were balling, out of control’
Since I was very young, when someone would try to steal my bike or something, I’d punch them in the face and they’d be bleeding. That’s a street fight. When I was nine or 10 years old, I can remember throwing my fists around when someone was trying to intimidate or assault me.
The Kimbo Slice type of street fighting, that started when I was around 13 or 14. My friends knew I could fight and we’d find out who else could fight in the neighbourhood and bet a little bit of money on it. The winner of the scrap would keep it all.
There was one fight where me and three of my friends came up with $60 for me to fight someone from another school. We used to do no time limits and you could do takedowns, whatever; all we had on was boxing gloves.
I won the fight and a big group of us went to McDonald’s and pigged out. Everyone got the sundaes with the double caramel and the double fudges; it was a good day.
We were balling, out of control.