MMA Evan Shoman interview

Discussion in 'OT Bar' started by Atmosphere, Aug 20, 2007.

  1. Atmosphere

    Atmosphere PURPLE DREAM

    Sep 17, 2002
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    By Percy Crawford | August 20, 2007

    [​IMG] recently caught up with ultra-talented artist Evan Shoman, who's created some of the most stunning photo-quality drawings ever seen. When he's not creating portraits of MMA fighters, boxers, bodybuilders and actors, Evan also hosts the Cageside Live radio show. Check out what he had to say as he talks about his artwork and how he got involved with drawing fighters and you don't want to miss his take on the UFC and PRIDE as well as his thoughts on several fighters who have become his closest friends.

    PC: Did you enjoy the Shooto fights you attended last night?

    ES: I thought a bunch of Japanese dudes got robbed. They held it at the No Limits Event Center where everyone actually trains and they gave all of the wins to the No Limit guys. Especially in the main event when Joe Camacho fought Akiyo Nishiura and clearly lost the first round, won the second, but had a point taken away and won the third, so it should've been a draw. There were a lot of robberies last night and it was too bad.

    PC: What made you get into MMA?

    ES: I rented UFC 1 from Blockbuster in 1994. I saw Ken Shamrock fight Pat Smith. That was the first time you saw a dude that was put together that could beat someone, you know? That was pretty intriguing at the time. Anyone that watched fighting back then either became a Royce Gracie fan or a Ken Shamrock fan. Those were the two guys and for me, it was Shamrock and he's embarrassed me ever since.

    PC: Do you get into any training in mixed martial arts or do you just enjoy the sport?

    ES: Both. I enjoy the sport, but I'll never get into Jiu Jitsu. I'm not big on getting my guard, but hitting the bag or whatever.

    PC: Do you watch any boxing or do you just watch MMA?

    ES: Just MMA. I cannot watch boxing. I've tried. I was a huge Mike Tyson fan, but who wasn't? I watched Tyson do his thing and once he started fading, which really came quickly by the way, I just stopped watching it all together.

    PC: How long have you been drawing and what got you into drawing fighters?

    ES: I've been drawing as long as I can remember. I've been drawing…well, since 2002. Everything just kind of clicked at one point.

    PC: Really? I thought you were going to say since '85 or something like that.

    ES: (laughing) No. I actually couldn't put it together when I was younger. I couldn't figure out why. Then I just figured my style out kind of quick. I figured I would draw out all these actors. I actually drew 64 actors and I figured when I'm done with these guys, I'm going to have a gallery show type of thing. I finished and I never did it. So it was just really practice. And then I was on Sherdog. I was a member of Sherdog and I decided to draw Chuck Liddell. That was the first one I drew and I posted it on there and 98% of the people went wild for it, but there's always haters.

    PC: Especially on the message boards. They'll find something negative about everything you put up there.

    ES: Everything. I've put my drawings up and I've seen accusastions of it's not real or it's Photoshop filtered. And I work in the computer industry and I know fake when I see it and I'm like, "Ok, come see me."

    PC: Yeah, you definitely can't please everyone.

    ES: Honestly, I post my drawings on there and I click right off. I don't even want to see the response. One guy told me to go and kill myself. I was like, "Yo, I draw!"

    PC: Yeah, I put a list of the top 10 fights I wanted to see in MMA up on there and one guy put me on his list of people he hates. It was Rush Limbaugh, George Bush and then Percy Crawford. I made his top 3 most hated for picking Vera over Cro Cop (laughing). It's not that serious!

    ES: They're haters!

    PC: Do fighters contact you for drawings now?

    ES: Yeah, most of the time. That's why I fall so far back now. I'm trying to…trust me, when I say I get emails all of the time saying, "You should draw so and so next." Everyone is always telling me what to do. I counted the other day and I have over 50 MMA fighters. All of them are different fighters. Actually I have 51 because Chuck Liddell is the only guy I've drawn twice. They are never happy. It's like, "Where is Michael Bisbing and Matt Hamill?" I'm sorry, was I supposed to draw those guys? A lot of them do contact me now. Lately, Clay Guida, Patrick Cote and Marvin Eastman were the last 3 and I just finished Marvin. I'll tell you the ones that I pursue more than anyone and that's the guys that are young and have a record of like 5-0 or 5-1 and I see as like the future of the sport. The 2 that I actually pursued was Ed Ratcliff and a guy that goes by the name of 9MM. He's from here in San Diego and wooooooo and Cub Swanson. No one knew who Cub was when I saw him fight and I told my buddy to write that dudes name down and now he's fighting Jens Pulver in a few weeks. He's a good friend of mine now. He actually just called me. He's on his way down to San Diego to go deep sea fishing. He's a character. His dry sarcasm could creep up on you too, but he could fight. Those are the guys that I've actually gone after. The ones that I see as more than one dimensional are the ones I go after. The ones that are good at Jiu Jitsu, kickboxing and good at wrestling. If I see something in someone that has me like "wow, that dude is no joke", I pursue them. If you go to my myspace, I have like 50 friends that are not at that level like Chuck Liddell.

    PC: I expect a lot from Thiago Tavares in the near future.

    ES: He's fighting Tyson right?

    PC: Yes!

    ES: That's going to be a hell of a fight. He is something else, but you know what, I am a Tyson (Griffin) nuthugger. I think Tyson will be wearing a strap. Actually, Tyson contacted me and said he was a huge fan. I'm still tying to get used to that part. I started out drawing these guys because I'm a fan and now it's like, "Jason 'Mayhem' Miller, stop texting me these random malarkey messages." It's such a trip for me. Tyson contacted me, Clay Guida, Cote, Mike Swick and the late Ryan Bennett contacted me. There's a great mutual respect between the two of us because he was an artist as well, but he was kind of shy about it. I drew him and he got the drawing and he was so excited and he passed away a month later, but they used the drawing at his funeral. A lot of the guys contact me now and it's fun. I have to say, it's more fun when they contact me for a drawing.

    PC: How long does one of your drawings normally take to finish up?

    ES: I used to say 40-60 hours to people, but now I just say 60 'till who knows when. I'm really putting a lot more time into these pictures now.

    PC: So it was more of a hobby for you at first?

    ES: Yeah. I'm a realtor; that's my profession, but it's getting so crazy lately, I'm thinking maybe I should transfer my time and ability over to this artwork.

    PC: What's the thought process behind your drawings as far as which fighter you are going to draw?

    ES: Let's put it this way, right now, I'm drawing Rampage again because I hate the first one I drew and I want to make some extra money and Rampage's is going to sell. I'm drawing Rampage now solely on the fact that I hate the one that I have of him already. It's the least favorite one that I've ever done. And money. At the moment, I'm doing this one of Rampage for extra money, but it's obvious that I haven't been in it for the money because, a) it's MMA and there isn't any money in MMA yet and b) I'm drawing guys like Nate Quarry. I just drew Marvin Eastman, Josh Haynes and Ed Herman. Those don't move. Those don't sell very well. You're only as good as your last fight and Nate's been missing for 2 years I think.

    PC: He was brutally knocked out in his last fight as well.

    ES: Yeah, thank goodness that Rashad Evans kicked Sean Salmon in the face because now they could show that highlight as the greatest knockout that has taken place. The guys that really love my work and have contacted me, I usually do theirs a lot quicker and a lot of fighters don't realize that, so they don't contact me. I'm more excited to do something when someone is excited about my work. I have a few coming up. There's a couple out there that I wanted to do, but couldn't because the pictures out there are really hard to find. I've had to get a lot of permission from a lot of guys to use their photographs. I'm using someone's photo and reselling it and I think there's a really fine line in the legality of it and I'm still not sure because I've gotten all of these guy's permission. Josh Hedges, the UFC photographer, and Jeff Sherwood is actually a friend of mine. It's to the point now where I'm like, if you want me to do a photo of you, then you need to send me a picture that I can use. That is a lot more fun than trying to search the internet for Marvin Eastman because there are no pictures of Marvin Eastman on the internet.

    PC: I know you are a huge MMA fan. Do you miss the Pride FC shows?

    ES: Absolutely. I hate the fact that Zuffa bought them. I think it was one of the worst things that could happen to MMA. There is no refuge for fighters that are stuck under the Zuffa umbrella now. They can't go to any other organization now. Fedor, the best fighter in the world, fought on Bodog. Who saw that fight? We saw the #1 middleweight in the world fight the #1 heavyweight in the world and no one saw it and I don't know who else was on that card. It just bothers me that the UFC is buying everything up. That's cool; that's good for the UFC, however the best comparison I could make is WCW and the WWE. They bought it and killed it. They brought all of the WCW wrestlers to the WWE and they systematically got rid of all of them except for the major superstars. They bought them just to put them out of business. Right now, we have Josh Barnett, the #5 ranked heavyweight in the world, a free agent. I saw him last night and I was like, "How many people from the door to the cage have asked you when you are fighting again?" He said, "Oh, about 50,000 times." It's frustrating. Josh is a friend of mine. He's an awesome guy and he's getting frustrated with it. The #1 heavyweight in the world doesn't have a home nor does the #5 heavyweight. The #5 light heavyweight doesn't have a home. Sokoudjou doesn't know where he is. Arona doesn't have a home, Sergei nothing and Mark Hunt and that's sad. I've actually talked to Stephen Quadros about this over lunch when we were in Vegas at Strikeforce and he asked, "What do you think about the merger?" I told him I hate it. I think healthy competition is great for the sport. It leaves the what if questions out there and you do an inner-promotion thing at the end of the year; that's fine. I understand that, but to have this sudden melting pot? No. Now Wanderlei is going to be fighting in a cage again. He hasn't thrown elbows and not been able to foot stomp in seven or eight years now. Look at Cro Cop. The guy got beat by Gabe Gonzaga, who in my opinion still has a lot to show because after his performance against Kevin Jordan, I just do not want to put that guy in the top 20. No doubt, he kicked the shit out of Cro Cop! I fear that these best fighters in the world…the only one who has made the transition is Rampage, but he started in the cage.

    PC: Anderson Silva, but he also has fought in a cage before.

    ES: Man, Anderson Silva could fight in a cardboard box and he would wind up hitting whoever he was fighting. That guy is the most accurate striker I've seen in a long time. I keep trying to think who could beat him and Rich can, but it's not going to be an easy fight for him. Rich is no joke and people say that he's an overrated fighter.


    [Editor's Note: To view some of Evan's drawings, check out his gallery on his website at]
  2. Atmosphere

    Atmosphere PURPLE DREAM

    Sep 17, 2002
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    secret lover
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  3. Atmosphere

    Atmosphere PURPLE DREAM

    Sep 17, 2002
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    part deux


    By Percy Crawford | August 21, 2007


    In part two of this exclusive interview, talented artist Evan Shoman shares more of his thoughts on some of the biggest names in mixed martial arts as he talks about upcoming fights like Couture vs. Gonzaga, Jackson vs. Henderson, Liddell vs. Jardine and much more. You don't want to miss what he had to say as Evan gives the inside scoop on fighters he's become friends with through his artwork.

    PC: Speaking of middleweights, what did you think of Paulo Filho in the WEC?

    ES: I heard some things about that guy.

    PC: Really, like what?

    ES: I heard he's one of the biggest prima donnas there is out there. I tell you what, him winning that fight and them ranking him #2 in the world and Mayhem beating Miura last, I think they are going to throw those two in the mix together. I think Jason will beat him actually.

    PC: When a fighter is hot and you have a print of him, do the sales reflect that?

    ES: Oh yeah! I'll tell you, I sold about 25 prints of Rampage within about 12 hours of him knocking Chuck out. After the Eastman fight, a lot of people still didn't know who he was and one fight later, he knocks Chuck out and he's at that elite level in the fan's mind. True MMA guys knew who he was, you know?

    PC: Any other guys coming up for us to look out for?

    ES: I went to this King of the Cage fight and they had two guys, Junior Kling fought Cody Bollinger, and you will hear about both of these guys. It might not be for another three or four years, because like I said, we're up on an Indian Resort watching them fight. It's best to catch those guys early before the ego sets in.

    PC: Can you tell me a few fighters you don't really care for?

    ES: Matt Hughes. Fuck Matt Hughes, you could put that in print! It would be different with him if he just said he's an asshole, but to come on TV and say that he is a Christian and good old country boy and then be a straight asshole is ridiculous. No doubt about it, he can fight, but I just think some fighters have his number, like George St. Pierre. The second BJ Penn fight was one of the most dominating performances I've seen until he got injured. You hear Dana on television, and obviously because Matt's their golden goose, but he's like, "BJ was doing really well until he gassed out and Matt took advantage like the champion he was." No, BJ separated his rib. You really mean to tell me you think BJ is going to get caught in a crucifix by Matt Hughes? You know how retarded BJ's Jiu Jitsu is? I'm friends with BJ's cousin John Lee and BJ thought he got out of it and thought he would just hold on and catch Matt in a submission, but he could barely walk. A lot of people don't know that BJ separated his rib. Most people don't know that Phil Baroni had such a bad tear in his groin that in the first 15 seconds of the fight against Frank Shamrock, his intestines were coming out of his leg. People don't hear that stuff, you know? It happens. Chuck's first fight with Rampage, he had a torn quad muscle. I don't know if you heard what happened after he beat Tito, but he whispered something to Dana and you could read Dana's lips saying, "You're such a fucking asshole!" Chuck had just told Dana that he had a torn MCL for that fight.

    PC: Who are your favorite fighters to watch?

    ES: I have a few. Genki Sudo, please come back, Mayhem, Henderson, Vitor Belfort, Tyson Griffin, Ed Ratcliff and Cub Swanson. I love watching all of those guys fight and obviously I haven't named anybody that just lay and pray. I love guys that just come forward. The only exception is Vitor. Hopefully now that his sister's killer has been brought to justice, his head will get right. He's one of those fighters that if you were a fan of his back in the day, you're still a fan. I also like Jon Fitch. I think that guy is sick. I like to watch the guys that come to fight. Those are my favorites.

    PC: I know you said your first Rampage is the drawing you like the least, but what's your favorite drawing?

    ES: Not Rampage (laughing). You mean like one that I finished and looked at like, "Damn!" Probably the second Chuck Liddell I did, where he has the belt over his shoulder and he's punching Randy in the face. That is easily my favorite because right around that time, all of these MMA artists were coming out of the woodworks like, "Check me out, I'm awesome." I'm like, this is not happening. I had to put something up that was going to blow everyone's mind. I even put out a bulletin saying, "I can assure you that this is going to blow your mind." A lot of them faded a bit after that. It felt like people were coming after me. I did hear some of these guys talking trash, like putting me out of business, let's gang up on him. I'm like, "Dude, I draw!" You really mean to tell me that you want to draw better than me so that you can take food off of my family's plate. Get out of hear. I put everything into that one. Since then, I feel like I found a new niche. I get the question in a bunch of interviews; I can tell you who's hot in MMA and who's not. I have not sold one Chuck print since he got beat. I'm selling a ton of Dan Henderson drawings and people don't really know him in the states yet, but they look at it like, "Hey he's fighting Rampage and he has 2 belts; he has to be good." If he beats Rampage, it's going to be ridiculous. Right now, Dan could go to his kids soccer games and not be bothered.

    PC: That just shows you how new MMA is to some people.

    ES: If at the next UFC, Dana White gets in the ring and says, "I just signed this new lightweight, you are not going to believe this, Takanori Gomi." He walks in the ring and people will be like, "Who?" He is the number one lightweight in the world.

    PC: Let me get your opinion on some upcoming fights. First we'll start with Couture/Gonzaga?

    ES: When you count Randy out, he wins and he dominates. When you think Randy is unbeatable and he can't be beat, he loses. Unfortunately, I think Gonzaga is going to beat him for that reason; not because he's more skillful. I think Randy is the man and Gonzaga has nothing to offer, but I still think he's still going to win because Randy will be the first 50-year-old to come out of retirement and win the belt. I want to pick Randy pounding him out, but I don't want to pick that fight, but if I had to, I'm going to have to pick Gonzaga by decision. You know what…Randy by pounding him out in the second round. I just can't go against him.

    PC: Rampage/Henderson?

    ES: Two guys that I like very much, but I'm going to pick Dan. The guys never been knocked out. Dan loses to decisions or submissions. He's lost submissions to guys like Nogueira. Dan does not get knocked out. Rampage will rock him and Dan will just keep coming and that will wear Rampage out. I've seen Rampage fight Sean Gray and not really have the gas to finish. I don't think Rampage will have the gas tank and then it's the obvious MMA math that Wanderlei killed him and Dan knocked Wanderlei out. Dan is such a hard matchup because he's so wild and skilled at the same time. I'll take Dan by TKO, fourth round.

    PC: Din Thomas/Kenny Florian?

    ES: Another great fight. Damn man, why you asking me all these hard ones? I like both of those guys fighting man. Kenny and Din are both so tough. I'm going to go with Din though. Din Thomas by decision.

    PC: Liddell/Jardine, that might be a little easier for you?

    ES: Yeah, Chuck's going to knock him out in the first round. Jardine's fights always come by way of decision with the exception of Forrest.

    PC: Cub Swanson/Jens Pulver?

    ES: Cub Swanson by second round TKO.

    PC: George St-Pierre/Josh Koscheck?

    ES: First round knockout for GSP. Koscheck better watch out. I think Koscheck and Diego are so excited about showing their hands off that they forgot what got them there.

    PC: Evan, your work is amazing my man. Keep the great drawings coming and I will be looking forward to listening to your radio show.

    ES: Thanks man! I want to say, I think Forrest Griffin will surprise a lot of people against Shogun. Of course I'm picking Shogun, but in his last fight against Alistair Overeem, he was not looking so good. He looked like he was on his way out. I think Fitch knocks Diego out in the second round. Thursday night at 6:00, we hold no punches on CageSide Live. Check us out!

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