BRACE’s Gerhard Voigt: Unexpected Path to Main Event Neil Rooke July 16, 2013 UFC “Do not try this at home.” As a kid, you hear this time and again while watching television. From extreme sports to the inane stunts of shows like MTV’s Jackass, the risky acts presented on “the tube” are best left to the professionals (or the extremely stupid, in the case of MTV’s reality show). Mostly, common sense prevails and you rarely hear of adults imitating something that they have seen. However, every one of those professionals had to start somewhere. If not for their willingness to put their bodies at risk, they would never have made it onto the television in the first place. The television introduced Gerhard Voigt to mixed martial arts, and despite any warnings he may have seen, he eventually did try it for himself. It’s something that he will never regret. “I used to see it on tele[vision] like five years ago back home in New Zealand,” he revealed in an exclusive interview with The MMA Corner. “Back when I worked over there, I would walk past Lion’s Den every day on my way to work, and then one day I decided to take a look. I thought it looked easy [laughs], but after my very first wrestling class I remember I couldn’t even walk.” Around five years ago, Voigt and his girlfriend at the time (now his wife) relocated from New Zealand to Australia, where on both a personal and professional level there were more opportunities for the couple. After a few moves around the Sydney area, Voigt eventually found a new home to hone his skills as a mixed martial artist. “Where I was, there were two gyms to choose from,” he explained. “There was SPMA [Sinosic Perosh Martial Arts, founded by Anthony Perosh and Elvis Sinosic] and KMA Sydney. Both gyms were good, but I went with SPMA because they had Anthony [Perosh] and I knew that he was pretty legit. “It’s helped me a lot training with Anthony because he’s been through it all. He knows how to prepare for fights and training with him has really helped with my wrestling. He’s the perfect training partner for me too, because he’s one division up from me so it really helps with my fight prep.” Voigt (R) delivers a punch (Louie Abigail/Sherdog) Keeping the balance between work, family and martial arts is a hard task at any time, especially when a fighter has children who, as anybody who is a parent will know, can take up a great deal of time and energy. “It’s really hard,” he admitted. “It’s kind of like a selfish hobby, because I am the only one that gets any return out of it really. My wife is really good about it and she puts up with it and she is really supportive though. Since I have a family, I work a nine-to-five and I get to train mornings and nights, so it works out for me.” Voigt’s next fight is on the BRACE 21 card set for July 20 in Sydney. Voigt finds himself in the main event facing off with Billy McAlees. The headlining status of the fight came as a bit of a surprise to Voigt. “Yeah, I saw that [laughs]. I’m not really that fussed,” he admitted. “I don’t really like waiting that long to fight, to be honest. I was pretty surprised that they went with me, but there are quite a few amateur fights on the card, so I guess it makes sense. I really thought that [Martin] Nguyen would have got the main event. He’s won a few fights and he’s going pretty well at the moment. Either way, I’m there to put on a show.” Going into any fight with a win in your rearview mirror ensures that there is a high level of confidence for a fighter. Having come off back-to-back wins, both of which were second round stoppages, Voigt finds himself in that position. “I’m pretty confident. I am coming off two wins in a row,” he said. “I don’t think this one will go to the judges. I’m not much of a point fighter anyway and I always look to finish the fight any way that I can. I guess my game plan going into this one is to not get hit as much [laughs]. I don’t know whether it’s a good or a bad thing, but I do tend to rely on my chin a little too much.” With BRACE having partnered with global Asian MMA powerhouse ONE FC, the opportunity for BRACE fighters to break out on the international stage is enormous. Every fighter wants to at one stage test themselves against the best fighters in the world, and Voigt is no different. “I just plan to keep winning fights and fight wherever I can,” he said. “For me, every fight that is in front of me is treated as my biggest fight. I really want to get the chance to fight internationally; I think that’d be a great test for me. There aren’t as many middleweights around in Australia, so any fight I get is good.” Each and every time Voigt enters the cage, he goes in there with the finish in mind, and his record reflects that. Since he has been given the chance to be the final fight of the night for BRACE on July 20, he is going to make the most of it. With BRACE planning a big 2014 and with the promotion’s addition to the ONE FC network, there is no doubt that with each entertaining win, Voigt comes closer to one day gracing the same television screen that inspired him to take up the sport that he loves. Gerhard would like to thank SMAI, SPMA, Crossfit Neverquit and would like to extend a special thanks to Bradley Halabi. Follow Voigt on Twitter: @gfvoigt. Follow BRACE on Twitter: @BRACEMMA. Top Photo: Gerhard Voigt (R) throws a right hand (Louie Abigail/Sherdog) Kurty B War hard. You got dis.