Asking fighters to reveal something about themselves outside of their combat skillset and win-loss record can often be a grueling endeavor.
Then there are cases like Matt Coleman, who will be debuting inside the Lion Fight ring at Lion Fight 36 coming up on Friday, April 28 at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut.
Not unlike a handful of fighters who put in a full day’s work, Coleman helps his father manage the family construction company and continues his hectic schedule by owning and operating his own gym in Lynchburg, Virginia. But most pressing in Coleman’s daily regimen is taking care of the special youngster in his life. And when he faces Chip Moraza-Pollard at Lion Fight 36, Coleman will have Jacob cheering him on. Their showdown is a featured fight on the main card that will air live on AXS TV Fights in the United States as well as on Fight Network throughtout Canada, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.
“My son’s mother and I adopted my son when he was seven months old and he is literally a walking miracle,” explained Coleman.
“He only weighed 15 ounces when he was born at 26 weeks. He was born addicted to drugs with many, many complications leaving him in NeoNatal NICU for four months. Some doctors were unsure if he would ever walk. He has overcome every obstacle in his life including in 2014 when the doctors found a brain tumor on his right frontal lobe. We felt blessed that it was benign, but watching him go through that process was extremely tough. He is 11 years old now. He plays basketball and trains Muay Thai with me every week that he is with me. He has some medical complications from the result of removing the tumor, but he is working so hard to overcome those, too.
“Jacob is the absolutely best thing that has happened to me and I couldn’t be more proud of him. He will be watching the fights at my parents’ house and I’m sure he will be very excited and think his dad is ‘cool’ being on TV being we are usually always watching Lion Fights together at home.”
Coleman’s mettle hasn’t just been tested by his son’s struggles. In fact, it was a completely different heart-tugging battle that pushed him in the direction of Muay Thai and eventually launched his fighting career.
“I started training MMA in 2007 after my older brother perished in a house fire,” Coleman recalled. “It was my outlet and it helped me deal with the loss. After training consistently, I just became addicted and it consumed me, starting MMA but branching off to strictly Muay Thai.”
The 34-year-old’s recent venture to Thailand, which went from training sessions to a bout at the Thapae International Boxing Stadium, enhanced his desire to fight at the highest levels. When the call came from Lion Fight, he sprang into action.
“Man, I woke up that morning with an email asking if I was interested in fighting for Lion Fight and I kinda was assuming it was at heavyweight just based on the Facebook posts I had seen so I responded asking who the opponent was, etc,” said Coleman.
“Later that day, I’m at Firehouse Subs and had just ordered a 12” club sandwich when I got the response that the opponent was Chip. I had literally taken one bite of that sandwich then immediately threw it away and left to call my coaches. I knew who he was because he had just fought my buddy Scott (Noble) in his previous fight so I knew it would be my biggest challenge to date. I was excited.
“My gym had just reopened two days prior. I only had trained twice in three months since being back from Thailand because I was doing construction every evening on the new gym. So I went from full-blown construction worker with no diet restrictions to full-blown fight camp and starting to cut weight.
“Needless to say, it is an absolute honor to not just fight for the biggest and best Muay Thai promotion in the world, but to share the ring on live TV with one of the best up-and-coming fighters just makes it that much better. It’s truly a honor and I’m very grateful for this opportunity.”
Not only did the training and dieting commence, but so did Coleman’s homework on his opponent. An accomplished MMA veteran, Moraza-Pollard has been a dynamic force in two Lion Fight outings coming away with a pair of lopsided decision wins and high praise from notable experts.
Knocking Moraza-Pollard off his rising perch is no easy task but Coleman’s work ethic will be tough to deny.
“I’m coming into this fight with nothing to lose and everything to gain, while he is looking to keep his win streak going,” said Coleman. “I don’t mind being the underdog or fighting in the region that supports him the most.
“I think my personal best attributes are my power in all my strikes along with having a good chin. I throw 90% of everything with the intent to do harm. The advantages I see from studying myself as well as Chip is power and being close range.
“I’ve researched Chip all the way back to his MMA days. He had a good MMA career and his striking has only gotten better. He has many tools that he uses very well, one being his extremely long range and knowing how to use it. I’ve studied his three Muay Thai fights and see some areas that I can look to capitalize on. He throws a lot of volume and does really well when he controls the pace of the fight. He has very good composure.”
Tickets for Lion Fight 36 are available at https://www.foxwoods.com/Lion-Fight-36/ and at all Foxwoods Resort Casino Box Offices.
The Lion Fight 36 main card will air live on AXS TV Fights with a start time of 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT. with commentary from renowned duo “The Voice” Michael Schiavello and UFC Hall of Famer Pat Miletich plus ring reporting from veteran MMA journalist Ron Kruck.