This post may contain affiliate links to products or services which, if you purchase, may result in my earning commissions at no additional cost to you.
by Jayson du Toit
KNUXX SA: Who is Casey Thomson?
CASEY: Casey is… A typical Cancerian. I never coloured in the lines and stood violently opposed to anything requiring conformity. Believing in the underdog and always ready to step onto the nearest soap box, I low kicked my way into mma completely by accident.
A regular “stay-at-home” mom had me lunching with the ladies and coffee-ing with the mom’s. A sudden boredom/health drive led me into the welcoming arms of boot camp. My boot camp instructor was not only the spawn of satan, but also the dictator that ignited my fire for intense physical training. It was then that I was introduced to kickboxing. The training was mind blowing to a newly converted exercise enthusiast.
After 12 years of marriage and being traded for a younger model, throwing myself into breaking physical boundaries become my drive, my motivation and my sanity saving grace!
So, I studied. Graduated top of my class and after winning a few kickboxing and K1 tournaments I threw myself into the world of MMA.
The rest is a blur of fun times, frustrations, triumphs and tears and most importantly self-discovery.
My single motivation in life is my rock and my inspiration, my reason for waking up every day, my little Virgo, my seven (going on 25) year old soldier Talon-Winter. For truly if I had a tenth of his determination and unquestioning faith I would be Dana White by now!
KNUXX SA: What do you bring to SA MMA?
CASEY: I don’t know that I personally add a great abundance to the SA MMA world, but I do have a passion for the industry. I am devoted to the amateur circuit and regularly find myself on a soap box regarding the different governing bodies and promotions and their complete disregard for the athletes that have created their positions and lined their wallets. I have had the pleasure in coaching numerous amateur athletes, from a technical stand-up and fitness perspective, it is always so rewarding to sit back and watch them grow.
I am outspoken on anything I think is detrimental to the industry and its athletes, not always right, but never scared to express my opinion. I have never missed an EFC and have had the honour of coaching and cornering several EFC athletes. Maybe I contribute a little, maybe I’m a week end warrior, but I’m here to stay so may as well get used to it!
KNUXX SA: Which fighters do you manage and what does it take to be a fighter’s manager?
CASEY: Managing fighters is a patience testing, butt-kissing, energy sapping career choice, but also ridiculously rewarding at times. For those of you that are considering sponsoring an MMA athlete, understand that these boys work incredibly hard and are dedicated athletes, they don’t need to be jerked around by groupies promising money and endorsements that never materialise. If you sponsor, pay on time! Be honourable, don’t promise something you have no intention of providing and for holy heaven’s sake, just pay the guys! They did their bit for you, win or lose, you received your exposure, so pay up! The industry is small and people talk, your brand can be annihilated in one tweet, so don’t be dooshes, pay on time and pay what was agreed! And for those that do, it is your support that allows these athletes to shine! Without monthly retainers and endorsements the MMA world would not be able to evolve and the fighters with it. For those that support the industry and its fighters, our gratitude is endless.
I managed Calven Robinson, and Wentzel Nel, currently I manage Peter Nydie, Hector Britts and Keron Davies. Along with Chuck Norris it is rumoured that I manage a few other “big names” but I’m not at liberty to discuss and can neither confirm nor deny these rumours.
I have a small stable. I’m not here to sign up every one with empty promises just to grab a slice of their purse. The fighters I manage I believe in. If I believe in them, then I can sell them, if I can sell them then they get paid and I do too.
I am not a businessman; these guys mean more to me than dollars and cents. Maybe naïve, but that’s an attribute that won’t change.
KNUXX SA: What are your thoughts on Nick Durandt moving over to MMA management?
CASEY: Nick Durandt, well he’s in the fortunate position of being in a similar industry for hundreds of years 😉 so the contacts he has made will surely benefit the fighters that he manages. Coaching and managing is very different, but if he wasn’t able to adapt and evolve with the sport he wouldn’t still be here. So all the very best to him and his management team.
KNUXX SA: Give us your view on SA MMA as it currently is today.
CASEY: My views on SA MMA today… Well, like everything there are the positives and the negatives. I think for the most part 90% of the people deeply involved in MMA have the sports best interest at heart. But hot dang, those 10% sure can muddy the waters!! I think more needs to be done regarding the protection and development of amatures. I think too many of them are left open to exploitation from that revolting 10%. I think those that actively contribute and support the industry should have a bigger platform and those that piggy back and parasite off the industry should be recognized and removed!
I am excited about the headway that MMA has made. I am excited that EFC don’t always just concentrate on their inner workings. I am excited that they have ambassadors like Demarte and Wentzel and Calven and Ruan. I’m excited that we have cutting edge coaches like Chef and Richie. I’m excited to see great fighters giving back…
I am excited that we include everyone from doctors, professors, IT experts; to “rat packs” and scraps (lol) this is what makes this industry so incredible to be a part of. I am excited that we are slowly dispelling the myth that MMA fighters are thugs and brawlers, and I’m excited that the hours and hours of intense and cutting edge training, both physical and mental are finally being attributed to MMA fighters and they are finally being recognised as the most insane, extreme athletes out there. The positives are so exciting that the negatives can go and jump really!!
KNUXX SA: If you could change anything about SA MMA what would it be and why?
CASEY: Not sure that I would change anything really, its diversity is what keeps twitter buzzing and the industry alive. I’d prefer a less “penis-club” approach by a vast majority of the organization. And no, that’s not to say that I want as many females in the industry as the males, I’m not interested in demographics, but recognise each person for what they bring to the table. I work hard, I train hard, just give me my dues, no special favours, no gender-biased comments or slurs, just treat me like a peer and we’ll all get along famously. There will always be politics, there will always be parasites, but at the same time there will always be those that are dedicated well beyond necessary to the growth and development of the athletes, sport and industry. So long as the athletes remain a priority then MMA and all it represents will flourish!
KNUXX SA: If anybody wants to be managed by you in the fight game how do they get in contact with you?
CASEY: Any one is welcome to approach me for management, but like I mentioned earlier, I don’t make empty promises and I can’t manage unreal expectations. I believe in my boys, they are more than just a % to me! So I guess it’s up to you to make me believe 😉
“Don’t give up til you got nothing left” even then question how you feel about second place.
It’s easy to face the giants; all you need is one stone 😉
Keep happy, keep healthy and for goodness sake…. Keep it real!!
Casey “lowkicks” out