Welcome back fight fans and we hope you enjoyed this past weekend’s action packed cards. Today we are back in the office and we have one of the hottest amateur prospects in MMA coming out of Hahn MMA, Logan Santschi. He is currently 6-2-1 and catching the eyes on many pro’s. If the name sounds familiar it’s because he was spoken very highly of by last week’s 10 for 10 Lance DeClue. So now it’s time to sit down and know the man behind the gloves.
Hey Logan, thanks for taking the time and sitting down with us here at ArtofMMA.com. We know your time is valuable so we really appreciate it. Before we get into everything take a minute and tell us about yourself, what got you into the world of MMA and BJJ and what is your favorite aspect of that lifestyle?
Logan: Thanks for having me on!! I was home-schooled as a kid so public school sports weren’t an option for me. So I was kind of doing nothing with my young life besides being lazy and playing video games [laughs]. So my dad told me to pick an activity and I’d do it. Naturally I picked nothing and procrastinated so my dad told me to pick swimming or martial arts. I had a cousin who swam and I knew they wore speedos and as a 14 year old I definitely didn’t want to wear one so I reluctantly picked martial arts. I dragged my feet all the way to the Tae Kwon Do school, even though just a year prior I had begged to go. After my first class I was hooked and went to every class. It really made me the man I am today in all honesty and not in a cheesy way. I was a lazy little turd with zero ambition and I flipped a 180 with martial arts and now my wife jokingly complains to me all the time because I have too many projects going on [laughs]. That has been the most enjoyable lifestyle change by far. Having that dedication and drive has bled into all aspects of my life.
[Laughs] Everyone loves speedo’s! I don’t know what you’re talking about. But after watching a couple of your fights and talking to some people about you, it sounds like you made the right choice. For our readers who might not know you just yet or discovered you through the Lance interview, describe yourself as a fighter and why should people be taking interest in your career? If you could describe your fight style in one word what would it be and why?
Logan: The best way to describe me as a fighter is that I don’t fit any stereotypes of a fighter, good or bad. I’ve actually been denied access to the fighter entrance of a venue I was competing at because of my looks and demeanor [laughs]. I’m really laid back and don’t get caught up in the “fighter” mentality. It’s just a sport to me. It’s not personal or about egos. I go to the ring to do a job and then I go home. Anyone that has seen me fight knows that my fights go 1 of 2 ways. It’s either a quick 1st round finish or it’s a dog fight. Either way you’re going to your money’s worth! In my longer fights they usually turn into bloody affairs. I like those type of fights though, it lets you show yourself where you are at. Best example was a fight in Columbia, MO. I fought this huge ripped guy and got my face pounded in for the first two rounds. I’m talking broken nose and a swollen eye and the other eye was black. Referee probably should have stopped it. My corner actually discussed throwing in the towel until they saw that the blood was from my nose and not from a deep cut. At the start of round 3 I remember coming off the stool fresh and he was hunkered down breathing heavy. This made me mad that he had the disrespect to be tired after beating on me for 2 rounds. So I started yelling at him and pacing back and forth. We won’t repeat what I said [laughs]. But then I went out and started to return the favor. At the end he grabbed the fence and the ref took a point so we fought to a draw. You’ve never seen anyone celebrate a draw as much as I did!!
[Laughs] You know Lance and I actually talked about that exact fight… and can you please stay away from the eye injuries?!? We got to know you through our longtime friend, Lance DeClue who has been talking about you for a while. I am sure you read his 10 for 10 and the things he had to say about you. First talk to us about how you met, your relationship with Lance and what is it to have a guy like him molding your career?
Logan: I absolutely read it. That article showed a great deal about Lance’s character and how he always points the spotlight to his crew and the people he mentors and those that have mentored him. It’s always been like that with him. I was a young and dumb 18 year old when I walked into Hahn MMA and announced I had a fight in 2 weeks and needed to train. I had a TKD black belt and a year of GI BJJ surely that was enough for MMA, right? Lance took me under his wing and showed me what real MMA sparring was for 2 weeks. There wasn’t enough time to pick up a lot of techniques so we had to make me tough and we had to do it fast. It worked and I won in 34 seconds by armbar. Since then he has been a big brother, always staying late or coming in early to get 1 on 1 work in. We’d analyze UFC fights when we watched them together and constantly forward each other’s techniques and the latest MMA news. It’s great to have someone in your corner for that long because they develop an understanding of not only your abilities but also your mental strength and weaknesses that you yourself may not even see.
Now you’re off to a quick start as you are 6-2-1 and coming off a nice win via verbal submission at a National UMMAF Tournament on Memorial Day for Valor Fighters in Tennessee. First talk to us about that first round win, what it meant for your career and correct me if I’m wrong, that’s your first victory due to strikes (verbal submission due to strikes)! It was also a very rare way to win via verbal tap, can you talk to us about the moment you heard him say he was done?
Logan: It was actually a national tournament that I competed in for UMMAF (United States Mixed Martial Arts Federation) which determines the competitors the USA sends to IMMAF World Championships. Which is in Bahrain this year and there will be about 60 countries sending their top athletes. The tournament was 3 days, Friday – Sunday. So my first fight was against 6-0 Michael Cooper from Virginia. It was a really solid performance, probably the most well rounded performance of my career. He had won all of his fights by submission so that gave me more confidence in my striking, which paid off because I broke his nose in the opening minute. I ended up in ¾ mount and was hitting him with solid shots when Lance and Dave yelled that he was mentally breaking. I added some extra heat to my punches and with just a few seconds in the round he yelled to the ref ” I’m done! I’m done!” I was so excited to get my first TKO, only to have Lance ruin it by saying it will go down as a “submission” on my record because he verbally tapped [laughs]. So the search for my first official KO/TKO continues!
Leave it to Lance [laughs] but yeah that’s an awesome accomplishment. I actually saw Cooper fight here in VA a while back, well done sir! Unfortunately, in that bout you took a pretty bad injury to your eye (more info in the Lance DeClue interview). Lance gave us his version as a coach but talk to us about that injury, how are you now and do you feel that will influence anything in the cage in your next bout?
Logan: Yeah, so like I said that was the first night of the tournament. After the win we were pretty excited but we also knew my eye was swelling pretty bad from some well-placed ground and pound. I did my media and we left the venue to continue our tournament preparation. We needed to check my weight (In UMMAF/IMMAF format competitors must make scratch weight daily.) So we left the venue at roughly 8 PM and we had to be back at 7 AM to weigh in. So we get back to the house we rented and checked my weight which was on point thanks to my nutritionist/ strength coach Dave! So Dave went right to work on my eye with an end-swell. We did as much as we could, but eventually they sent me to bed and we’d reassess in the morning. When I woke up, the eye was shut and wasn’t coming open. We still went and made weight and then afterwards saw a doctor and I was medically disqualified. It was really disappointing because I had won, but couldn’t continue so that unknown will always loom over me. Especially because ½ of the finals was a fighter I had previously beaten. My eye is doing fantastic now though! UMMAF has a health expert on site for the fighters, in addition to the required medical personnel. Her name is Mindaloo Lao-Scott and she specializes in Neural Reset Therapy. I can’t tell you the specifics of what it does, but it works let me assure you. (Check my facebook for the post of the pictures) That aided a lot in my recovery!
Yeah, I heard it was a pretty crazy 12 hours and from what you’re saying that is no joke. Glad you are back to normal! Talking to people about not only that event but yourself I went to searching social media about the event. I was caught way off-guard by the amount of posts on Twitter and FB about people you know and others you don’t wanting updates and really having a genuine care and concern for you. How does it feel knowing there are people that might not even know you but have that level of care?
Great now that sounds like a challenge to get this past 600 views… challenge accepted! I also got to see a clip of the win and your fans going crazy. Talk to us about the reaction to the injury as well as your fan-base and what they mean to you. And I have to ask, why no social media besides Facebook?
Logan: Everybody was really bummed about the injury. I remember lying to my wife after the fight. She had asked how my eye was as I was leaving the venue and I told her it was already getting better. I was just trying to fight off negative thoughts and vibes and prepare my mind to compete again. So it was pretty heart wrenching to have to call her and tell her I wasn’t medically cleared and then to post on Facebook that I was out. The support they gave me was awesome though. I got a lot of encouragement from FB, calls, and texts. Yeah, I actually hate social media… [laughs] It has a wonderful purpose and can be used for a lot of good things. But I’m a libertarian so my life is none of your business [laughs]. Just kidding, but I do have to remind myself to post things and keep the fans updated on training and my next moves. I have a lot of responsibilities at the moment and I tend to get wrapped up surfing Facebook so I try to limit my time on there while balancing the need to keep the fans happy.
[Laughs] Nice, lying to the wife. I’m sure she has an elbow drop lined up for you very soon after that cat is out the bag! Going back to your overall record quickly, you are sitting at an impressive 6-2-1 AMMY record with 3 submissions via armbar. Talk to us about your career so far, are there any plans to go pro soon or are you happy in the AMMY circuit, and what’s in the immediate future in the cage for you?
Logan: You know I’m not sure what is next. I was coming off a decent layoff from fighting due to school, marriage, kids and just life in general. When I heard about this tournament though I knew that was the kind of thing that would get me excited for a comeback and it did! This was honestly the best I ever felt. I had mentally developed a lot during my layoff and that was the biggest thing that we talked about in the locker room post fight. I definitely don’t have pro plans yet. I still have much to learn, and I’d like to compete internationally at least once first. I’m in a personal transition right now so I don’t know when the next bout will be but I’ve been in talks with Justin Brown and Ryan Bruegerman from UMMAF and I hope to be assisting them with nationals for next year. So keep an eye out for that!
Nice, get down here to VA!!! Lance make it happen! Now speaking about your gym, you’re a Hahn MMA guy, you were born in Missouri if I’m correct but then moved to Florida. Talk to us about what took for from Florida to Missouri to train with those guys. How would you describe your time so far with those guys and what makes it so special over there at Hahn MMA?
Logan: I was originally from MO, but my dad went to law school in FL so we moved down to be with him. I had just received my TKD black belt so I decided to switch to BJJ. We shopped around and finally found Third Law BJJ. I remember doing my trial class and loving it. It was a very nice school and I remember that on the way home my dad said that we probably would have to join the TKD school instead because we were on a tight budget because he was in school. I think he saw I was disappointed because the next day they told me that they would send me to Third Law. I’ll never forget that my parents did that or stop thanking them for it. I appreciated every minute I had there. I was riding my bike 6 miles to the school to do the A.M. class and then riding back home doing my school work (The perks of being home-schooled) and then my parents would drive me back to the gym and drop me off for a few hours each night. It was a great year of nonstop training. When I turned 18 we moved back because his school was done and I decided to take an MMA fight before I had even moved back. Which is when I went to Hahn’s and announced my presence [laughs].
Love it man, you got to know the grind real quick in life which seems like it helped you out a lot. Now we have to ask about this story about you hiking in the mountains and then finding out there are bears and being locked out of the house, we need your perspective on that one [laughs].
Logan: Oh geez! He did mention that didn’t he… So the house I rented in the mountains was apparently way up in the mountains, no cell service, no internet, the whole bit. So I went for a walk the day of my fight to take in the experience and as I walked up the road a truck stops and we chat for a minute before they warn me of a bear they saw just around the bend. So I hightail it back to the house. Apparently I had locked the door behind myself on accident and Dave and Lance were taking their showers. So I pounded on the door for a while, but then decided to move on. Better to be a moving target I thought. So after about another 10 minutes I came back and started beating on the door. This time they answered and saved me from the rampaging bear [laughs].
[Laughs] I love it! Ok, now we know your time is valuable so we will get to wrapping this up so you can get back in the gym. As a guy doing well in the MMA world, especially at a level where you have the potential to see a lot of rookies to the sport, if you could give one piece of advice to someone thinking about getting into the world of MMA, what would it be and why?
Logan: I think I’ll preach to the choir on this one. Mental maturity man! You have to just relax and realize that this is nothing more than a fist fight. Its two athletes in a competition. There’s no reason to get worked up or psyched out. Ammy fights are a short 9 minutes and it’s even shorter when you’re the guy in the ring. Just go out and make the contest about you and let yourself dictate the terms. Too many fights are lost or made more difficult by worrying about injuries, or records, or accolades or opponents. None of it matters when the cage door closes.
I love that man! Ok before we let you go are there any people or sponsors you would like to mention?
Logan: Whew! Where to begin! Let’s start with my awesome family! My wife Brittany for putting up with me while I follow this crazy passion. My two sons John Wayne and Jesse for being the catalyst for my comeback. My parents for funding my training as a kid and my sisters for checking in on my training regularly. A big thank you to my friend Zach for supplying me with the colonial flag I used in my walkout. My Masonic lodge for excusing my absence for over half a year now in my elected role as I prepared for this. My gym family of which there are too many to mention and I don’t want to leave people out. My coaches; Kevin, Charley, TJ and Lucas. My brothers that went with me to TN, Lance and Dave. All my training partners: Auhston, Derrick, Lacie, Fikret, Big Zach, Medium Zach, John, Gabe, and Charles. A special thank you to Bob Holland! That man came in every Friday and Saturday and let me experiment, drill and spar him nonstop. He helped me more than he knows. He’ll tell you that he caught me in a calf crusher, but I don’t remember it happening 😉. Thank you to my awesome co-worker Christy and boss Marcia at Hahn Extreme Fitness, the best place to train in the St. Louis area, for being understanding while I was training! Thanks to UMMAF and Valor fights for the opportunity and exposure in my last fight. Lastly thank you to Ben Jones and Erik Paulson of CSW for the seminar a week out from my last fight. That was a huge confidence booster to have that training right before that big event.
There you have it fight fans, Logan Santschi! Make sure to look him up on Facebook as he “hates all social media” or just ask out buddy Lance DeClue for updates on him. I am sure we will see him in the cage very soon.