Like a lot of people who live in Australia’s capital city of Canberra, Andrew “The Toecutter” Machin spends his nine to five working for the Australian Public Service. Depending on who you ask, it’s a cushy job with pretty flexible working hours and great benefits. Something that is not so cushy is how Machin spends his time away from the office.

“It is tough having to juggle between full-time work, training and family,” he revealed in an exclusive interview with The MMA Corner. “With work, the people who need to know what I get up to know what is going on. Sometimes I have to take the Friday off around the week of the fight. When you come to work with black eyes and bruises and stuff, you kind of have to tell them anyway.”

For a lot of fighters, it is somewhat tough to come up with a decent nickname. With so many fighters out there, it’s tough to find one that is unique, and for the most part all the good ones are already taken.

“It all came about because I had to think of a name for my first BRACE fight,” he explained. “During my football days I was called ‘Big Daddy,’ but Lucas Browne already had that one and I didn’t want to steal someone else’s name—and he looks quite scary as well.

“I was really pressured into thinking up a name [laughs]. I had been reading a bit of ‘The Underbelly’ series and there was a gang in there called ‘The Toecutters.’ I thought it would be a cool name. Afterward, I also found out that it was from Mad Max as well. It’s been good, though. I have a friend who has made shirts and stuff based on the Godfather logo, so it’s just kind of stuck.”

On May 25, Machin once again steps into the cage under the BRACE banner. In Brisbane, he finds himself opposite Chris “Igor” Lokteff, who is set to make his second appearance at heavyweight.

“It’s a tough fight,” Machin admitted. “I have trained hard though and corrected a few things that I have needed to work on. I am looking forward to the challenge, it’s great to be fighting someone from Integrated [MMA], who are one of the elite gyms in Australia.”

The vast majority of Machin’s fights have taken place in his home city of Canberra or across the state of New South Wales. Only twice in his 11 fights has he ventured interstate, but it’s not solely by choice. Machin has expressed his interest time and time again in taking fights all over the country.

“I am looking forward to traveling again,” he explained. “For a while, Queensland was considered the heartland of Australian MMA, and to a degree I suppose it still is. I have gone up there with BRACE before and really look forward to doing it again. It’s good to not have to worry about others for a change. I mean, it’s always great to fight in front of friends and family, but I like being able to just focus on getting in there and fighting.”

Machin has a reputation of being able to take his fair share of punches. The heavyweight went toe-to-toe with one of the country’s fiercest hitters in Felise Leniu and just continued to keep on pushing the pace. Eventually, the BRACE heavyweight title fight was halted due to a nasty cut suffered by Machin, but many believe that if there had been one or two more rounds, Machin’s willingness to take a punch may have paid off.

“Ideally, I wouldn’t have to take those punches,” he laughed. “Who knows how the fight would have finished if we had of went to the next couple of rounds? He may have given me that final punch that would have sent me on my ass or I could have tired him out. It was a good stoppage. There was a lot of blood getting into my eyes, and it was starting to dry up and stuff. On the plus side, it is good to know that you have been cracked before and haven’t lost it all. I’d prefer to not take as much damage, but sometimes it happens.”

With Machin checking in at 37 years old, it would be easy to say that his days as a fighter are winding down. He spent a lot of years playing football (Australian Rules) and knows all too well the limitations that somebody can face in professional competition.

“I feel better doing this than what I did playing football,” he explained. “I feel less broken, and I think that with [MMA], I can train around my injuries a bit. If I have a sore hand, I can focus on something other than punching. With footy, if you have a sore knee or something, then it is bad luck—you still have to train, and it’s going to hurt. I just plan to take the fights as they come, and I still feel good. At the moment I feel I have a few more fights in me and I just want to take as many as possible.”

When it comes time to clock out on Thursday afternoon, emails, phone calls and generous lunch breaks find themselves in the back of Machin’s mind. The ability to take a punch is not something that everybody can be taught, and it is certainly not a skill that is required for his day job. It is a skill, however, that Machin needs when he steps out of the office and into a mixed martial arts contest. He will be once again ready to test out this weekend. And when he returns to the office on Monday, perhaps he’ll do so with a few less cuts and a few less bruises.

Andrew would like to thank Epic BJJ, Storm MMA, SMAI, and MMA Soap. Andrew would also like to thank his partner Naomi for putting up with him taking time away to train and to fight. Follow Machin on Twitter: @HeavyAJM Follow BRACE on Twitter: @BRACEMMA

Top Photo: Brace 20 Logo (BRACE)

About The Author

Staff Writer, Australia

Located in Queanbeyan, New South Wales, Neil Rooke has been writing about the sport of MMA since 2011. In the past, Neil has written for Cage Junkies and has written for Fight! Magazine as well as Fist! Fight Magazine. Neil is also a regular contributor to Fight! Magazine Australia and Yahoo! Sports Singapore.