If you're looking for a "People's Champ", WEC featherweight king Mike Brown may be your guy. The 33-year-old just bought his first house, drives a Ford Focus and still works the front desk at his gym, American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida. He's also beyond humble, telling Cage Writer that "it was my night" after his smashing submission victory over Leonard Garcia on Versus at WEC 39.
The life of the mixed martial artist is all about instability. The pay isn't great and there are few long-term, guaranteed contracts while you're working your way up the ladder. That's why buying a house and settling down is a big step for Brown, who has fought all over the world:
"I'm hoping the endorsement deals get a little bit better and my pay gets increased by the WEC each time I win," said Brown, who has Tapout and Champion Nutrition as current sponsors. "I just bought a house like a couple of weeks ago and I was a little worried about it with the economy and all that. Another win certainly helps me out."
Listen below to Brown during the postfight with Cage Writer:
With the pre-fight stress, Brown chose not to move into his new home in Boca Raton, Florida until he was done with his fight.
He pointed out that winning is a great motivator with Zuffa's show-win system. Arguably the world's best 145-pounder, he got only $18,000 ($9,000 show + $9,000 win) when he pulled the upset on Urijah Faber at WEC 36 back in November. By comparison, boxer Miguel Cotto just made around $1 million in his "tune-up" fight to grab the WBO title from Michael Jennings. Brown's salary for this fight is unknown until reported by the commission in Texas.
Brown spoke about himself very little during the postfight interview choosing to give Garcia kudos for how tough he was:
"I caught him with an elbow. I thought for sure he was done. Somehow he regained his composure and was hitting me back," said Brown, who moves to 20-4. "Then I started working that neck crank, I call it the 'Monson Crank' and he was bleeding and hurt. Then he started trying to punch me in the face, I said 'man this dude is tough'".
Brown also talked about slipping in an F-bomb on live television. He was worried about doing so and told his corner to remind him not to curse if he won the fight. They let him down and after he dropped the expletive he said "dangit" to WEC announcer Todd Harris. Brown should defend his title again sometime in June or July against the former champ Faber.