Jack “The Stone” Mason is one of the most well known and experienced fighters on the UK MMA scene. Hailing from Chelmsford, Essex, Mason has racked up a professional record of 26-12 taking on a huge variety of opponents. He has also bounced around most of the UK promotions and currently resides with Cage Warriors who are arguably the biggest promotion that Mason has fought for. His current record under the Cage Warriors banner is 7-5 and in his last 11 bouts he boasts a 9-2 record. I managed to catch up with Mason after it was recently announced that he would be fighting at Cage Warriors 65 in Dublin against former UFC fighter Ben Alloway. Here is what Mason had to say;
TQ – It’s been announced that you will be kicking off your 2014 with a bout on the Cage Warriors 65 card. How excited are you to get back in there and straight back to winning ways after your great 2013.
JM – 2013 was a brilliant year for me, I’ve really found my stride as a Welterweight and managed to take wins against top ten UK and top international competition. It was also a great year for the BKK Fighters team that I coach and between their achievements and mine I would probably say it was my most successful year in MMA so far.
TQ – Ben Alloway (12-5) has been announced as your opponent at the Helix in Dublin. Alloway has said that this is your “big fight” and hopes that you “bring your A-game”. What do you make of that and do you see this as your “big fight”?
JM – That comment made me laugh! I’ve faced tougher competition than Ben Alloway in my career to date, faced a number of UFC vets and a lot of my regular training partners fight for the UFC so if he thinks I’m bothered about the fact that he’s fought in the UFC he couldn’t be more wrong. I’ve faced some of the best fighters in the world already, fight tough international competition in every fight and I’m probably the most experienced guy Alloway has ever faced. This is just another tough fight for me.
TQ – Your opponent is coming off of two back to back losses from the UFC. Do you think being cut from the UFC will make him more eager to pick up a win for Cage Warriors to enable him to try and bounce back as soon as possible?
JM – I don’t know, probably. I’m sure Alloway is training harder than he ever has and will want to make an impression in his first fight back. I’m not really bothered what he’s doing though as I’m just enjoying training and having a good time getting ready for this fight!
TQ – You were in a similar position in 2012 after losing to Brian Foster and Chris Fields. Given the competitive nature of MMA nowadays does losing two fights in a row affect how you approach a fight as its often said that a majority of fighting is overcoming the mental aspect?
JM – Without any question of a doubt your mental approach to fighting can be the difference between winning and losing. Losing sucks any which way you look at it and you can either learn from it or let it drag you down.
TQ – Does it help in your fight preparation that your team mate/training partner John Maguire is also fighting on the same card?
JM – Yes definitely! It helps a lot having team mates in camp at the same time and the atmosphere in training gets even better. Luckily for us we have John and I fighting on Cage Warriors and then Luke Barnatt fighting at UFC the week after so the atmosphere at Tsunami Gym is amazing. Luke and I have been doing some training with Michael Bisping whilst he is over in the UK for a bit, we’ve got Joachim Hansen living at Tsunami Gym for a while too and we’ve got Tot Troeng coming over for a visit so preparation at Tsunami Gym has been fantastic so far. At BKK Fighters we’ve got tons of guys preparing for upcoming fights such as Shane Gunfield and Dean Simmonds and all the guys there love to push me in training as it’s a chance to beat up the coach, Jake Bostwick and Hussain Garabet have been down a lot for sparring so that’s been excellent too.
TQ – You are 9-2 in your last 11 bouts, how much confidence does that give you going into this fight?
JM – To be honest the MMA world is so fickle that you’re only really as good as your last fight so I don’t really dwell too much on what’s happened in the past, I’m just focusing on what I need to do to get ready for Alloway and just enjoying training for this fight. I’m really loving training and being in camp at the moment!
TQ – Since dropping to Welterweight you seem to have taken your fight game to the next level. Is there anything else you have been doing differently ahead of fights now?
JM – Yes tons of things to be honest; in the last six months I’ve really focused on my striking a lot more and started working a lot more with Tsunami boxing coach Stephen Whitwell and with the Tandy Boxing team coach John Tandy and assistant coach Adam Brearly, they have really taken my striking to a different level and I can’t thank them enough. Another big thing is that previously I used to travel far and wide to train various disciplines which took up so much of my time and was pretty tiring so the fact that I have set up an MMA facility in Chelmsford where I live and also helped to launch BKK Fighters in Colchester I now have some amazing coaching and training partners close to home so I can get the training in when I need it and also get to rest more. One of the best coaches I have brought in is American Nick Albert who has vast experience in Wrestling and MMA having been a member of Team Quest for a number of years and who now runs our Wrestling sessions and has taken all the team’s wrestling to another level. A big factor to my improvement is the support all the team at BKK Fighters give me and make sure that I’m doing the right things to get ready for a fight.
TQ – Cage Warriors clearly do a great job in building their talent and creating exposure for their fighters. Given the rise in popularity of the promotion in the last few years and having fought for them for a while do you as a fighter feel any added pressure going into their fights now, given how the fight cards are available on a global scale?
JM – Cage Warriors are amazing and it’s got to be one of the best decisions I’ve made getting involved with them and fighting for the promotion. I did this before they really started getting this big international exposure they are getting now and the reason I did so was simple; I wanted to fight challenging competition every time I fight so that I improve each time out. Cage Warriors FC gave me that opportunity as the match making is second to none thanks to the hard work of Ian Dean and both Graham Boylan and Paul Dollery (and the rest of the team) have put so much hard work into making the show a success that it’s a joy to see the show doing so well now and it’s an absolute privilege to be fighting for them. I don’t feel any pressure now that they are getting bigger exposure, I’ve had 12 fights on the promotion, had the opportunity to main event on one of their shows and I just look forward to be involved in their events every time now as it just keeps getting bigger and better.
TQ – It’s fair to say that you are one of the big factors of the success which is oozing out of BKK Fighters in the form of Arnold Allen, Sean Carter to name but a few due to your expert coaching skills. Do you see yourself as being a full time coach one day in the future?
JM – Thanks very much! We have a great coaching team at BKK Fighters and all the coaches play a big part in the success. One of the big reasons all the guys have been so successful is their work ethic, they never stop training, trying to learn and the atmosphere there is brilliant so every training session is always a lot of fun so it never gets boring! I will be involved in MMA long after I retire as I love the sport so much but I can’t ever see me being able to earn a full time living from being a coach as right now there really isn’t enough money in the sport and MMA fighters are some of the tightest people known to man, they never want to pay for anything!
TQ – Finally anyone you want to thank or mention?
Jack – Thanks very much for the interview and thanks to my management, coaches, team mates, family and friends and to everyone for all the support for this fight and my career so far!
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