From the cage to the boardroom, UFC veteran, Frank Trigg, is a wealth of knowledge that pertains to the sport of mixed martial arts.

Frankly, it’s a shame that he’s not more deeply involved. He had previous runs as a fight-night analyst for various shows, most notably AXS TV Fights. He’s got the intelligence and insight that would be a valuable asset to any organization, but nowadays, Trigg is more content watching fights. Yes, he’ll still get into a fight or two, but they are scripted and choreographed on the set of movie or TV series.

Trigg took some time during his busy schedule to mull over a wide-range of topics including his advice to MMA promotions, being a role model as an athlete and in the public eye, and the fight he always wanted but didn’t get.

Scott Zerr: You’ve been to countless fights over the years as a fighter and commentator. What can the “Double-A” level shows – as an example, the ones that air AXS TV Fights – do better?

Frank Trigg: The ‘Double-A’ shows have a problem of storylines because they’re so busy putting together fights. That’s one thing I like about the UFC is that there’s a storyline. Pre-production puts together a story about what’s happening with the fighter, why this fight is important to this division, or why this fight is important to the city the fight is in rivalry-wise.

SZ: How about anything the ‘Triple-A’ shows – primarily Bellator and WSOF – could do better? They seem to have plenty of money backing them but there are an abundant number of mistakes or at least things that you’d think would be better.

FT: It’s really the same problem with World Series and Bellator that the ‘Double-A’ shows have. These guys just don’t put very much into their storylines and they don’t have the real understanding of production as of yet.

And they seem to be spending so much money on signing UFC castoffs instead of developing their own talent. I get part of it because you have to have some talent and some name recognition to make you want to go over there and turn the channel and watch their networks, but you’re also at the point where you have to understand your fighters and their growth. You have to know why a guy was 6-2 and then went on a six-fight winning streak. Right now, there’s just no way to develop them. Everybody’s trying to battle the UFC giant and they can’t do it very well.

There’s always the production value. If you have a great commentating team and amazing production value, you can have ‘C’ level fights and have them be great. The problem is a lot of people are putting so much effort into everything else that production comes off being drab and dreary, dark, and it doesn’t look correct. It doesn’t have the flash and bang. Look at the UFC. They just changed over again. They were the leaders and had no real reason to change the production value again, but look at how important the shows look because of it. It’s pretty great to watch.

SZ: Is there anything the major-league team, the UFC, do better?

FT: It’s tough to say what the UFC can do better because they’re at the top end of the chain. You’d kind of have to re-invent something. Everyone else is following their lead so for the UFC to do something better, they’d had to re-invent what they’re doing.

One thing I would like to see from them is less fights. It’s not an event anymore. Every month there’s two or three shows and it’s tough to keep up with everything. All you’re tuning into now is to watch Ronda Rousey or Conor McGregor or Robbie Lawler fight. If they’re on the card, everyone else is kind of getting stepped over and not paid attention to.

SZ: If you won the lottery or had a hedge fund at your disposal, what would the Trigg Fighting Championships do better than any other show?

FT: If I won the lottery, I’d have no desire to running a Fighting Championship in any way, shape, fashion or form. It’s too much work, too much of a headache. And to be honest with you, I’d have to have four billion dollars to make it worthwhile because if I can’t be on par level with the UFC doing my own thing then there’s no reason to do it at all.

SZ: Unlike most retired fighters who seem to turn primarily to coaching, you’ve gone in every other direction. What are your favorite post-fighting jobs and why? I know you’ve done some acting and a lot of stunt work, and I believe you’ve toured extensively to lecture about testosterone replacement.

FT: My post-fight career really started with commentating and then that fell apart. There’s really only three or four shows and then the UFC controls about 85% of the rest of the commentating, so I had to move onto something else.

Stunt work and acting have been my mainstays for the last two years. I do a little bit of men’s counselling and men’s seminars about testosterone replacement therapy and the real benefits of it when you’re not an athlete. I was touring with them for a while and now that I’m in Hawaii, I still work with them but my mainstay is stunt work and acting. I’m really putting all my energy and focus now.

SZ: Turning back the clock … What fight would you like a mulligan for?

FT: The mulligan I would like is for the GSP fight. I tore the ligaments in my ankle just before the fight and fought anyway. When I shot that double, I blew my ankle out completely. I had surgery on it four or five days later. I shouldn’t have went in there and fought. I’m not saying the fight would have gone any differently but he deserved to get a better from me than the one he got that night that’s for sure.

SZ: Is there a fighter you never got your hands on that you wish you would have?

FT: B.J. Penn … we would have been a great fight. I loved the way he fought back in his prime and I was in my prime around the same time. He was fighting in all different weight classes and we could have done it at 170. It would have been great.

SZ: Would Frank Trigg succeed in today’s UFC with the same skill set you had in your prime?

FT: Even in my prime, there’s no way I’d be able to survive in the UFC today. It’s just so different with guys like Lawler, Hendricks, and MacDonald. They’ve totally changed the game. Look at Lawler, how much he’s improved over the years since I fought him. He’s changed his game, gotten better at what he’s always done, and is still a tough SOB.

SZ: You were recently inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame alongside your arch-rival Matt Hughes for your memorable rematch. When asked about it, you came clean about basically taking on the pro wrestling-style heel personality versus Hughes’ face role. Still, was that whole scene around the rematch as iconic as it seems?

FT: I didn’t really have any animosity. I was just trying to sell a fight. Matt took it personal the second time around for sure. The first time, he definitely played it kind of tongue-in-cheek, but the second time there was animosity. It worked for him and he won it. That’s the only fight that’s actually lived up to the hype. The UFC was getting bigger and better and we kind of pushed it with our rivalry. It really was a great fight, just ended up being one that I lost.

SZ: Who was the last person to call you Dewey and is he still alive?

FT: Actually, I get called Dewey quite a lot. It’s my official first name so anybody that’s calling for an official purpose, it’s always for Dewey.

SZ: You have spoken quite eloquently on Jon Jones’ issues. You’ve had your own unpleasant instances of being in the public eye. Does the public care too much about athletes’ behavior or is it just a societal thing, that voyeuristic sensationalism that appeals to millions?

FT: That’s part of the deal of being in the public. Everyone’s going to look at you and whenever something bad happens or something bad about you comes up on the Internet, everyone’s going to jump all over it. It also depends on how you handle it and what you do with it.

Obviously Jon Jones, I totally get his issues. You give a 24- or 25-year-old millions and millions of dollars, they’ll act like idiots sometimes and it’s in the public eye. If he was just some random guy in Indianapolis, Indiana, no one would really care what happened. But because it’s Jon Jones it becomes this big ordeal. He’ll come from back from it a stronger individual.

When Charles Barkley came out and said ‘I’m not a role model’ … we are role models. That’s part of it when you have a hundred thousand people watching you on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram. You have to take the lumps. When you do something bad, it’s going to be seen and when you doing something good most people aren’t going to pay attention to it. They want the sensationalism of it. That’s just the reality of it. It makes no difference if you did it or not, you’re associated with it and you’re going to get in trouble because of it.

SZ: Which long-gone promotion do you wish was still around?

FT: I wish Pride was still around because I liked the sensationalism of it and how they put things together in the ring. I wish the UFC would have bought and let it continue.

SZ: Do you wish your stint in pro wrestling could have turned into something more?

FT: Yeah, of course, I wish it would have turned into something more. It’s just how it went. I tried to get back into it years later but it never happened.

SZ: Your favorite fighters to watch today are?

FT: I really like watching Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey. I love watching Robbie Lawler because we fought. And Demetrious Johnson is still one of my favorite fighters. He’s like the best guy out there pound-for-pound and no one really knows anything about him. He’s just not a guy that says or does much and that’s how it works.

About The Author

Scott Zerr
Staff Writer

Scott joins The MMA Corner having spent the last 14 years in mixed martial arts as Director of Media & Fighter Relations for the Maximum Fighting Championship. He will provide The MMA Corner with insight on breaking news in the sport, plus an insider's perspective on business developments, matchmaking, fighter signings, and much more. In addition to his longtime work in MMA, Scott was a sports reporter before moving into media relations and marketing. After growing up and working in Edmonton, Alberta, Scott has since moved to Bakersfield, California to be with his wife Christina (an avid fight fan, thank goodness) and kids.