Stephen Quadros walks to the beat of his own drum.
Quadros (Twitter: @StephenQuadros) is the popular face from Pride Fighting Championship and Strikeforce, but his proficiencies in MMA go much beyond that. “The Fight Professor” is a martial arts practitioner, an actor, a fight choreographer, a commentator and a magazine editor, just to name a few.
With his vast knowledge and experiences in martial arts, it was only fitting that Quadros was the man to present MMA to the homes of anxious fans.
“I’ve been around mixed martial arts from pretty much since the beginning,” Quadros told Mike Fester and Amy Barton on MMA Beatdown on the MMA DieHards Radio Network. “I was the editor of the Kickboxing Ring Report from 1993 up until 1998. The disguise there was that the name of the magazine was called Kickboxing Ring Report, but I brought in all of the mixed martial arts content; back then it was called “No Holds Barred.” I insisted that we covered all of this and I was one of the first guys online that ranked fighters in the 90’s.”
Once MMA started to be televised, there were only a handful of people who had the talent to handle the task of commentating fights from the new sport to the masses. With Quadros holding all the puzzle pieces in his back pocket, he was a perfect fit for the job.
“I started acting in 1985 and I started training in martial arts in the 70’s,” Quadros said. “After Kickboxing Ring Report, I was also a contributing editor to Black Belt magazine and a columnist. Then they gave me my own magazine in 2001 called Fight Sport with Stephen Quadros. So, if you put those three elements together, you may think ‘wow, this guy has already been on camera as an actor, this guy knows the martial arts as a practitioner and he’s a writer. This could be a good commentator’.”
At the time one of the biggest fight promotions was K-1, featured out of Japan and ready to make the move to the N. American market. When in the search for their raconteur, K-1 was quick to approach “The Fight Professor”.
“K-1 was the first group to approach me in 1998 and flew me over to be a part of their American broadcast,” said Quadros. “Unfortunately, K-1 had a falling out with the then promoter Art Davie and they hung up the operation for two years until they got Scott Coker to do it. In the meantime, I got absorbed by Pride Fighting Championship and the rest, as they say, is history.”
Training in martial arts for four decades, Quadros adapted his art and molded it with the big screen when he became an actor and fight choreographer. The Clinch Gear Radio host has become a natural in front and behind the camera; staring, directing and fight choreographing in movies such as, Cradle 2 the Grave, Pit Fighter, Sworn to Justice, and Exit Wounds.
Quadros’ work in Exit Wounds not only landed “The Fight Professor” a gig with Cradle 2 the Grave, but also a friendship with co-star and rap sensation DMX.
“He and I bonded up in Canada, we were filming Exit Wounds and I was up there for three months in Toronto,” Quadros explained. “We were staying at this hotel called the Sutton Place Hotel and a lot of guys were calling it, for whatever reason, the Slutton Place Hotel. Denzel Washington was staying there and a bunch of other people that were working on a number of different movies. We were all staying at this place and I think what it was, he knew I wasn’t trying to impress him. I was trying to act along the lines of someone who may be from his hip hop culture. I’m basically a rock and roll guy, I like hip hop, even though I don’t listen to a lot of it. He liked me, so he had me rolling with him and his posse every night up in Toronto and then he asked me to go on tour with him. He didn’t come through with a concrete offer, but he went to bat for me and he got me hired on Cradle to the Grave.”
As a fan, you may not recall Tito Ortiz defeating Chuck Liddell, but it happened in Cradle 2 the Grave and not by Quadros’ choice.
“That’s a movie I got to hire Tito Ortiz, Randy Couture and Chuck Liddell to be in that big cage scene. I was only allowed to choreograph one of the fight scenes, which was between Chuck and Tito. It was kind of in the background as Tom Arnold and Jet Li were walking into the scene, so you couldn’t really see it. I was doing Pride Fighting Championship at the time so I had to leave about three weeks before it wrapped. Chuck and Tito did this cool MMA fight scene and at the end it was supposed to be a draw. When I got home and went to the screening about three months later it ended in a TKO for Tito.”
For all the experiences Quadros has endured, he is most known from his involvement outside the cage or ring.
Quadros has been privileged enough to cover the commentating for top level MMA promotions such as Pride Fighting Championship, K-1, King of the Cage, and currently with the Zuffa-owned Strikeforce. Having the resume of knowledge that he does, Quadros has been dubbed “The Fight Professor” and he wears the hat with pride.
“Being a commentator, you’re a professional story teller,” Quadros said. “The fighter, for the most part, that is something that they learn to do begrudgingly – meaning to tell stories or do interviews with journalists – where some people like Chael Sonnen does it naturally. The rest of the fighters do it begrudgingly. So I think that it gives us the leg up in to having the inside scoop because a lot of times when we’re talking to the fighters, we can relate.”
With all of these talents and skills behind him, Quadros still has a love for something other than combative sports.
“Playing the drums,” Quadros confessed. “I’ve been playing drums probably since before you guys were born. I just had a reunion gig with my old band called Snow, which isn’t a rapper from the 90’s; it’s a heavy metal band from the 80’s. It features Carlos CavazoI from Quiet Riot and Wrath on guitar, his brother Tony on bass and Andrew Freeman from Offspring on vocals and me on drums. I love playing drums, but my career was stunted in the mid 1980’s when I got tendonitis really bad in my right hand, to the point where I couldn’t even hold on to a drum stick and it was a shattering experience.”
While Quadros continues to speak musically through his drums, “The Fight Professor” continues to shatter our minds with his lyrical breakdown of MMA.
(Editor’s Note: Jason Kelly contributed to this story.)