Bellator’s Jimmy Smith: Badass Fanboy

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As things get heated up for Friday night’s Bellator 123, where Pat Curran (20-5) defends his Featherweight title in a rematch against Patricio Pitbull (21-2) live on SpikeTV from Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, CT, we were able to sit down with color commentator Jimmy Smith at Mi Familia Tattoo Studio in Anaheim, CA, to talk about the evolution of Bellator, life and of course, comics.

“Dude, I’m a comic guy from way back. When I was a kid in the 1990s, I bought a bunch of old EC horror comic reprints. My dad thumbed through them and said, ‘Yep, I had that one, and that one, and that one too.’ Right now, my favorite is Chew from Image Comics,” said Smith who’s being prepped for his latest Shiva tattoo, by former Ink Masters contestant Kyle Dunbar.

Smith is officially retired with a record of 6-1. Just prior to what would have been his eighth professional fight, he was hired on to the short lived, but ultra exciting, Discovery Channel show, Fight Quest. Smith would travel the world and with limited time, train in some of the worlds most ancient to modern martial arts styles then fight an expert in their own discipline.

It was on that show, where Smith met his wife, television producer, Sandra Alvarez in Hong Kong. They had their next date in India and then she went to LA to work on a show for the History Channel, and they’ve been together ever since. Alvarez is a former softball player at Cornell University.

“There is nothing better in life than having a partner who understands your lifestyle. It’s everything, bro. Like sometimes after training when I want to relax and just watch a movie she gets it because she was an athlete. Like when she calls me and I go, ‘Can’t talk, we’re shooting, i got to go,’ she gets it; or vice-versa she goes ‘Can’t talk, we’re voicing something over right now,’ okay cool. We get each other’s lives, which is the only reason we can handle it because we’re gone for months at a time, but when we’re together we have a lot of fun,” gleamed Smith about his wife.

Bellator Color Commentator, Jimmy Smith, getting tatted up by Ink Masters star, Kyle Dunbar. Photo by Candy Dunbar.

Bellator Color Commentator, Jimmy Smith, getting tatted up by Ink Masters star, Kyle Dunbar. Photo by Candy Dunbar.

What people would be surprised to find out about the UCLA alumnus who never tucks in his shirt, is that as personable as Smith is, he can be a loner. However, don’t let the introverted personality put anyone off from approaching the color commentator. The same Jimmy Smith you see on Bellator MMA is the same Jimmy Smith you will meet at the supermarket. A fun, family orientated guy, who has a zest for life.

“The biggest compliment I can be paid is that people see me and they go, ‘You’re not any different in real life.’ It’s a big deal to me that you’re not seeing a facade, but I’m also not obsessed with the limelight. There are people in my position who can’t not be alone, they always need to be in the spotlight and the center of attention. I don’t. I don’t mind doing it, but it’s not a necessity, ” humbly proclaimed Smith, who admits that it’s surreal being famous in the MMA community, but a face in the crowd while walking down the street.

Smith’s tight knit German & Greek family of introverts are all accomplished in their own careers. His sister is an artist primarily working in ceramics, while his brother is an IT guy for City of Hope Cancer Center.

When he’s not working, reading comics or watching 80s classics like Lost Boys or Christine, Smith likes to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle.

“I get into things, not to master them, but I like to learn about things. I recently started SCUBA diving. My mother and brother are both certified divers. A couple of years ago I started playing chess and really dove into it. I’ve always been a writer, I’m very comfortable alone and so I tend to do a lot of things by myself, I mean my wife’s been gone all summer. I wake up in the morning, I’ll go run on Venice Beach, come home write for 3-to-4 hours, play a little chess, watch a movie and then go train jiu-jitsu. That’s kind of my life. I’m very comfortable by myself so as a result I tend to do things that are almost meditative. It sounds really weird, but I’m from a family of loners. My dad was a total loner,” recounts Smith.

As the sport of MMA evolves, the resurgence of interest in combat sports within the United States can thank the relationship between Bellator MMA and Glory World Series Kickboxing. Twenty years ago, everyone thought that MMA would kill Boxing and today, the interest in these is higher than ever.

“It just wets the appetite for combat sports. A lot of websites are becoming more crossover oriented. I don’t understand the idea that I would watch MMA so I wouldn’t watch Boxing, or I’d watch Glory so I wouldn’t watch MMA, that doesn’t make any sense to me. The only thing that makes sense is the economics of having only so much money for a pay-per-view during the month and am I going to buy the Gennady Golovkin fight or am I going to buy the UFC? But there are so many fights now that you can watch on HBO, Showtime and on free TV that I just see one fitting into the other,” confesses Smith.

The change over in Bellator MMA can already be seen in the product. As founder Rebney was replaced by Strikeforce founder Scott Coker. Bellator has decided to focus on the big draw cards, allowing the fighters to be the primary focus as he focuses on the behind scenes aspect of the promotion and forgoing the weekly tournament fights, following the Women’s Featherweight tournament.

Friday, September 5th, live fight card can be seen live on SpikeTV 8 p.m. Eastern, 5 p.m. Pacific. The Men’s Featherweight title fight between Curran and Pitbull has gotten personal. Last time it ended in decision, and this time the combatants after a heated twitter war don’t want to leave it in the hands of the judges.

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