Brandon VanCleave approached us after we've posted a Facebook post inquiring about up and coming fighters that would be interested in giving our Q&A a trial run. He immediately replied and showed his willingness to represent himself in this sport as he builds a name for himself. Brandon is currently a 3-1 Amatuer Fighter out of NY; let's get into his story!
Tell us a bit about yourself, where did you grow up and what was life like growing up? (Family, school, friends)
Brandon VanCleave: My name is Brandon Vancleave, also known as Old Man. I'm 26 years old and I'm a fighter. I'm one of those types of guys that's always gonna do the good deed even if I don't really feel up to it because I believe when you do good it puts positive energy into the world and it make this world a better place one deed at a time. I try to give as much love and positive energy to this world and everyone in it as much as I can because I truly believe its the small good deeds from the everyday man that will always change this world for the better. I'm not the greatest person in the world , nor will I ever claim to be but I do my best to right my wrongs, learn from them and evolve into someone better then I was yesterday.
Were you involved in any sports as a youth in or outside of school?
Brandon VanCleave: I played baseball as a kid although I wasn't very good at it. I got teased for a while for being struck out by a girl. Till this day I believe she was a ringer, she had a arm like a grown man. And to have a parent who played for the negro league's baseball was big. I never played sports for my school, just outside programs to play basketball, baseball and football. After about 6 grade I kind of stop playing sports altogether.
What is your favorite child-hood memory?
Brandon VanCleave: All my favorite memories of my child hood are of my mom and it's impossible to just pick one.
Any interesting child-hood stories and/or fun facts?
Brandon VanCleave: Fun fact I learned as a child is when you have a head that twice the size it should be for your age you fall over a lot.
How did you get involved?
Brandon VanCleave: I actually stumbled on to my passion. Well, it may have seemed like a stumble to me but the universe knew exactly what it was doing and I found fighting exactly when I was meant to do. I was going through a workout craze and ended up getting a new job a few blocks away from a martial arts gym and that had a good price on a new member special that I couldn't resist and the minute I hit the matts I was home and in love. I've been training ever since with a few breaks here and there but this is something I don't ever see myself not doing with my life. Its my meditation, peace, passion, outlet, happy hour, purpose and my love.
What discipline did you begin with and care to share a bit about your early experiences learning the sport(s)?
Brandon VanCleave: I've done mostly Muay Thai and BJJ since I began training, but as of now I'm getting into boxing, crossfit and yoga to upgrade my skills and conditioning. I actually picked up on everything pretty quickly starting out and I always have a blast in the gym since I started.
At what point did you know you were ready to step in the cage for the first time?
Brandon VanCleave: There was no point that I could remember that I knew I was ready. I've always had confidence in myself and skill so after training for a bit and actually beginning to learn MMA I jumped on the first fight I could; against my Muay Thai coach's advice.
When the cage locked behind you in your first fight, can you recall what what through your mind?
Brandon VanCleave: Whenever that cage door locks behind you all you can think about is doing your best, in the now… and I wish they'd hurry up and ring the god-damn bell because once that bell rings, you truly live solely in the moment
What are 3 things you've learned while being involved in this sport?
Brandon VanCleave: The 3 things we all learn from this sport is . To be confident yet humble. To live in the now and be free of negative self talk. And Love, theres a ton of brotherly love on the mats and in this sport.
What gym are you currently fighting out of?
Brandon VanCleave: Renzo Gracie Fight Academy
What is your current record (ammy/pro) and at what weight?
Brandon VanCleave: My ammy record is 3-1
Do you currently have a nickname in this sport? If so, what is it and why?
Brandon VanCleave: Old man. That name came from a really great gym I started out at. The trainer and guys at the gym gave it to me because during training something is always cracking or making noise and whenever we got a rest period I moved slower then a snail and complained with a smile just like a old man with a huge sense if humor. Me and training have a love/hate relationship. I hate to start it but I love to get it done and the results it comes with. So I was known as old man . Brandon "Old Man" Vancleave. I paid it no mind at first then it kinda grew on me.
If you could improve one aspect of your game, what would it be and why?
Brandon VanCleave: I'm pretty well rounded, so I would improve everything because this sport is a never-ending learning process.
What is your most memorable experience as an MMA fighter?
Brandon VanCleave: Most memorable experience would be my first loss.
Any interesting stories to share or learning experiences whilst fighting you would like to share?
Brandon VanCleave: You meet so many new good people from all different walks of life in this sport. Every experience in this sport is interesting and a learning experience.
If you could offer one bit of advice to an aspiring fighter what would it be?
Brandon VanCleave: Live in the now.
Would you like to give a shout out to any sponsors individuals who have supported you?
Brandon VanCleave: Sure, I wanna give a big thanks to my family and friends who supported me in my career as an MMA fighter.
What are your goals for the future in the sport?
Brandon VanCleave: My goals of the future is to be a better me then than I am now
What are your thoughts on the current state of the sport and where it's headed?
Brandon VanCleave: This sport is in an awesome state at the moment and it will be as big or bigger than the nfl or any other sport one day.
If you could change one thing in the sport, what would it be?
Brandon VanCleave: The one thing I would change is the dramatic weight cuts.
Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
Brandon VanCleave: Ten years from now I will be defending my UFC lightweight title.
Brandon VanCleave: I have a serious addiction to ice cream. I've even worked in a few (ice cream parlors) for a few years as a teen.
Favorite type of Music:
Brandon VanCleave: I'm into all kinds of music but I mostly like to listen to what I like to call mellow music; which can be from alternative rock to hip hop. It's a real mellow calming sound to the music. Hence, the name, mellow music.
Brandon VanCleave: Hands down favorite movie is Drive
Favorite TV Show:
Brandon VanCleave: Hands down favorite tv show is Rules of Engagement
Brandon VanCleave: Live alive.
Do you have any children? Do you plan on having any/more?:
Brandon VanCleave: I have two kids and yes I do plan on having more, but me and my wife agreed on adopting when our children are of age. Myself, being adopted, I would love to be able to do that.
Best day of your life:
Brandon VanCleave: The day I was born. This world got a whole lot awesome'er.
Interesting/Unknown Fact about yourself:
Brandon VanCleave: I'm a closet geek and I love Japanese cartoons .
Brandon VanCleave: My favorite hobby is sleeping.
Who is your favorite super hero and why?
Brandon VanCleave: Ichigo Kurosaki. Although he's not really a super hero, he is one of the good guys with the heart of a hero. He's everything I stand for and reminds me a bit of myself. Plus his abilities are awesome. You should check it. He's from this show called Bleach. I even have a real version of his sword.
Facebook Page/Fan Page: www.facebook.com/oldmanvancleave
Manager Contact (for sponsorship/fight inquiries): 646 474-1267
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org