Sam Stout used wallets to fatten up, but now seeks a bonus to fatten his wallet.
Stout (Twitter: @SammyJstout) meets Cody McKenzie at UFC on Fox 9 on Dec. 14 at the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, Calif., in a lightweight bout. The match will mark the 17th time Stout has competed in the Octagon, but putting his skills on display on the grandest stage MMA has to offer isn’t where “Hand of Stone” always showcased his talents.
Stout was fortunate to be a frequent contender in TKO, an organization located in Quebec, when he first began making the crossover from kickboxing to MMA. However, the Ontarian’s experiences when competing in kickboxing were not so glamorous as his intro to mixed martial arts.
“I remember having to do kickboxing shows, showing up and the guy was 20 pounds overweight,” Stout told Jason Kelly and Trevor Airdrie on MMA Cypher Radio on the MMA DieHards Radio Network. “One time I had to weigh-in for the fight and I had to put every guys’ wallet on the team in my pocket, and all their loose change just to make weight. I had protein bars and power bars in there so the commission would let us do the fight. I had, like, 15 wallets in my pockets.”
Stout has not competed outside of the UFC since January 2008. Needless to say it’s been a number of years since the Team Tompkins product has been provided with nothing but top notch treatment when heading into battle.
Out of Stout’s 13 bouts outside the UFC, 11 of them were under the TKO banner. TKO, where Stout remains the lightweight champion, was one of the few Canadian promotions that housed elite competitors, such as Georges St-Pierre, Mark Hominick, T.J. Grant and plenty more before the boom of the UFC caused for an influx in regional shows throughout central and eastern Canada.
Ontario, Stout’s home province, underwent a drought of MMA until recently when Substance Cage Combat and Provincial Fighting Championship filling the void. Stout has been present at each of the organizations’ inaugural events and thinks taking a page out of TKO’s business model may the best idea to have continued success in these new promotions.
“It’s good to build local talent, but you’re not going to have local guys fighting local guys,” Stout explained. “You want to have local guys and bring in out-of-town opponents for them. That’s what people want to see, they want to see the home team against the away team.
“It’s kind of like what TKO had back in the old days with me and Hominick and GSP. There were the staple guys, then the promoter would bring in guys from the U.S. or different parts of Canada to fight the guys who had a fan-following with the promotion. I think that’s the way to put on a successful show.”
Stout has witnessed enough inside and outside of the cage to provide a valued opinion on MMA promoting, not that he intends on taking on that role in the future. Stout can’t even say for sure if he will be involved in coaching or managing once his gloves are hung up either, as he said those occupations can be more difficult than fighting.
One thing he can clarify is his current field of employment and training, which took place with Mark DellaGrotte and in Las Vegas at Syndicate MMA, for the less experienced McKenzie has been great.
McKenzie, a combatant with about a third of the Octagon appearances as Stout, was not an easy opponent to get motivated for. But one of the many things “Hands of Stone” learned in his years of competing in combat sports is to properly ready himself for each counterpart.
“At first glance you think, ‘This guy’s not that good,’ but the more I watched him and more homework I did on him, the more I realize how dangerous he is,” Stout said. “He’s got a couple holes in his game, but he’s hard to train for. He’s tall, he’s left-handed, he’s very unorthodox when it comes to standing and he’s very unorthodox when he’s on the ground. He uses flexibility, his strength and his dexterity to put you situations most guys can’t put you in. He’s actually a dangerous opponent, but I think I’ve done my homework and I’m going to be prepared for him.”
Being equipped for an opponent has never been a problem for Stout. As a matter of fact, he often goes above and beyond what is expected and locks in an event bonus with an added monetary bonus, as he has done on seven occasions inside the Octagon. However, with a flyweight championship tilt between Demetrious Johnson and Joseph Benavidez, along with the other thrilling competitors on UFC on Fox 9, Stout will be hard pressed to collect a purse that exceeds show and win money.
“I’ve got my work cut out for me to win fight of the night,” Stout said. “I’ve got one (knockout of the night) and I like those better. They’re a lot easier on my body to get a quick finish than a 15-minute war.”
At the end of the day, a bonus of any kind makes for a fatter wallet.