Whether the lights were shining on the ball diamond or on the canvas, Randy Mahon has excelled on both surfaces.
Up until his senior year at Grande Prairie Composite High School in 2002, all signs were pointing towards a future involving baseball for Mahon.
“Baseball was the set path,” said Mahon in an interview.
“It was kind of my way of getting out of here, and I was definitely on the verge of it.”
Unfortunately, in his senior year of high school, Mahon, a pitcher, tore his rotator cuff on his throwing arm while messing around with friends.
Mahon, now 33, said the doctors in Grande Prairie at the the time weren’t willing to perform surgery due to his age, which ultimately resulted in his throwing arm never returning to it’s normal form.
“To this day, I still can’t throw a ball the way I used to,” explained Mahon.
“I might be able to throw five or six times, and then my arm will go completely dead.”
In 2010, a martial arts gym called Heiho Dojo opened in Grande Prairie, much to the delight of Mahon.
While he hadn’t participated in many combat sports, other than a couple years of boxing as a child, Mahon said he was always fascinated by MMA after watching many of the original UFC events.
“I was always intrigued by it, but never really had the avenues to pursue it until 2010,” reminisced Mahon.
“I was able to see the little guy, Royce Gracie, beating everybody. By the end of it, I was very interested in the grappling aspect.”
Full-Time Mixed Martial Artist
Eight years later, Mahon has fully immersed himself and his career in MMA.
He now spends the majority of his days either training or coaching at Champion Gym in Grande Prairie, Alta., including running the jiu-jitsu and boxing/kickboxing programs for kids, as well as circuit training for adults and teenagers.
Mahon has a strong knack for coaching, stemming from his football days, in which he treats every one of his students with the respect they deserve, and provides the attention they need.
“My mind frame is to always coach my students to be better than me,” said Mahon.
“I’m going to give you every piece of knowledge I have, and if I can’t answer the question or show the proper way to do something, I’ll find someone who can.”
Mahon continues to build his skills, both as an MMA fighter (3-4 record) and as a coach, to eventually achieve his long-term goal of opening up his own gym.
He said the head coach at Champion Gym, Bill Mahood, allows him to be creative in both his training and coaching, which has paved the way for many unique and skilled ideas.
“That’s one of the things I love about having Bill as a coach; he allows us to be creative off of what he shows us,” said Mahon.
“I think one day it would be really cool to be able to branch out and do my own thing, and run my own system.”
Like Father, Like Son
When it comes to Mahon’s jiu-jitsu coaching, one of his many eager students is his own four-year-old son, Raiden.
After sneaking out of his room one night and seeing his father fighting on T.V., that was all Raiden needed to begin going to the gym with his dad. Mahon said his son continues to learn moves at an alarming rate, and is truly impressed by his progress.
However, being a mixed martial artist himself, Mahon said he hopes to keep Raiden from going any further than the jiu-jitsu side of the sport.
“He’s a very smart kid, and I know the damage getting punched in the head can do to you, so I want him to stay smart,” said Mahon.
“But if he wants to keep strangling people, then by all means.”
Another strong supporter of Raiden’s participation in jiu-jitsu is his mother, and Mahon’s common-law partner of over eight years and counting, Sabrina Fortier.
Working in the school system, Fortier said she knows what can take place between students on a day-to-day basis, and said she would highly recommend jiu-jitsu to all parents to enrol their children in.
“I don’t want him to be able to beat kids up or anything like that; I definitely do not endorse that,” said Fortier in an interview.
“But for him to be able to defend himself without hurting somebody really gives my mind ease.”
Having been together for the greater part of eight years, Fortier has been around since the beginning of Mahon’s MMA career.
Fortier said she’s extremely proud and happy to see the point Mahon has reached in his MMA career, and although she’s watched each of his fights in his career, she said it doesn’t become any easier to watch the next time around.
She said although she’s seen what can happen inside the cage and the aftermath, there’s still that element of unknown that keeps her on the edge of her seat on fight night.
“I’m probably the craziest, loudest person in the building,” said Fortier.
“Even though I’ve seen so many fights and seen him get choked out and almost get knocked out, you just never know. I’m excited, but I’m also scared and nervous all in one.”