Note: When Nick showed up to meet me last night at one of his academies, he was well prepared for any photo opportunities that may have presented themselves (and later did). Luckily, something told me to grab my camera before leaving the house. I've posted below some of the pictures I took of Nick, his Cage Fury Fighting Championship belt, his Mad Monkey mask, his light sabre, his sword (Sting), and his invisibility ring.
But don't let the monkey business and the Middle Earth jewelry fool you. Nick Serra is a supremely talented martial artist whose playful fantasy-world references belie a fierce competitive spirit and an unyielding devotion to his friends, his family, and his master, Renzo Gracie. Most important, what Nick Serra may not have in size and strength, he more than makes up for with, as he says, "balls and technique." Enjoy.
Kodiak MMA: First off, congratulations on your recent victory over Mike Varner to become the CFFC welterweight champ. Varner had been talking a lot of shit about NY/NJ people, particularly the fight fans. Did that give you a little extra juice heading into that fight?
Nick Serra: Well, this ugly creature had been challenging me for over a year, so I was very happy to achieve victory over such an ugly Orc from Mordor.
Kodiak MMA: I've always felt that throwing the bananas into the crowd as you make your way to the cage was a nice touch. Any concern that the whole idea of excited fight fans with bananas might backfire on you?
Nick Serra: Occasionally we have my fellow monkey brothers who throw the bananas back at me.
Kodiak MMA: Any idea when and against whom you’ll be making your first CFFC title defense?
Nick Serra: Just like my older brother Matt, I’ll fight whoever they put in front of me. Actually, I would like to fight Karo Parisyan because I always wanted to fight Count Dracula.
Kodiak MMA: Maybe NABC Welterweight Champion Tamdan McCrory in a unification bout?
Nick Serra: I’ll fight anyone they put against me.
Kodiak MMA: You weighed in against Mike Varner at 165. You came in at 162 for Benji Radach. Any thought of going down to 155?
Nick Serra: That would be the normal thing to do, not like these morons like Matt Hughes cutting whatever they cut – it’s ridiculous – and then ballooning up the next day and winning like that. I don’t know, maybe it’s a lack of balls they have. I’ve never fought anyone my own weight, always heavier, and my balls and my technique get me through.
Kodiak MMA: Let’s talk Kimbo Slice for a minute. He’s listed as being 31 years old. How old is he really?
Nick Serra: I don’t know. He looks older. I’ve got good genetics from my Roman ancestors, so I lucked out. Him -- I don’t know hold old he is. I don’t think anyone knows.
Kodiak MMA: You and your brother are both currently hold championship belts. The Emelianenkos, the Ruas, the Shamrocks – they don’t share that distinction. What has the recent success of you both done for your already popular Brazilian jiu-jitsu academies?
Nick Serra: The madness spreads, and I like that because that means that there are more loyal soldiers dressed up in monkey masks throwing bananas at me when I go fight.
Kodiak MMA: Anyone at the academy we should be keeping an eye out for?
Nick Serra: Everyone knows Pete “Drago” Sell, Luke “The Silent Assassin” Cummo. I named him "The Silent Assassin" because he’s very silent and he assassinates everyone he fights. He’s kind of a weirdo, but he’d my kind of weirdo.
Kodiak MMA: Luke Cummo and I discussed at some length his unique diet, Lifefood. Has he managed to turn you on to any of it?
Nick Serra: No! He was going to make me some pasta at one point, but then he kind of drank some weird stuff, so I said “Luke, you don’t have to make that for me.”
Kodiak MMA: What kind of weird stuff was he drinking?
Nick Serra: Uh…I think it was, uh…
Kodiak MMA: Got it. Have you been working at all with Luke and Pete “Drago” Sell for their upcoming UFC fights on September 19?
Nick Serra: Almost every day, and their skills are going up every day, their jiu-jitsu. They’re both going to be doing some crazy stuff.
Kodiak MMA: Your brother Matt was married back in May. Which, if any, MMA fighters were in attendance for the champ’s big day? I only ask because I thought of crashing but then thought of the ass-kicking I might get, and ultimately decided to stay put on my couch.
Nick Serra: Din Thomas apologized on the air for not making it, but there were a lot of tough guys there – Luke, Drago, James Gabert, our top black belt Tom Muller.
Kodiak MMA: Did you make a speech?
Nick Serra: I did. I tried to leave Mordor and the Shire out of it, but I did mention when Charlie found the golden ticket, and I did mention It’s a Wonderful Life.
Kodiak MMA: Other than Matt, which mixed martial artists do you most enjoy watching?
Nick Serra: Myself and Renzo.
Kodiak MMA: That's it?
Nick Serra: That's it.
Kodiak MMA: We’ve come to that part of the program in which I mention someone or something, and you tell me whatever comes to mind. Honesty is encouraged. Ready?
Matt Hughes: Dick
Renzo Gracie: Master
Orcs (the enemy foot soldiers): The battle for Mordor is never complete and I wind up fighting a lot of ugly orcs these days, so you always have to be ready to use your Mad Monkey superpowers.
Dana White: He’s nice to me; he’s nice to all of us.
Ray Longo: Ray is one of our mentors, and he’s nuts like the rest of us.
Rodney Dangerfield gave his best performance in _______: That’s a tough one. I love Back to School, and I love Easy Money. I love all of his movies. I’m one of his biggest fans, but I’m going to have to go with Easy Money.
Kodiak MMA: It’s a Friday night on beautiful Long Island. What does the mad Monkey have planned for later on?
Nick Serra: I’m going to roll around a little bit, do some Mad Monkey mounts on the mat, and then I’m going to see the movie Superbad. That looks like a nice movie to bring my fellow freaks to.
(I went with Nick and a few of the guys from the Serra academy to see Superbad. Very funny, very quotable.)
Kodiak MMA: Nick, I appreciate your time, and I look forward to seeing you back in the cage some time soon. Before we tap out, is there anything you’d like fans to check out?
Nick Serra: Check out our web site, and you’ll see more stuff about my brother and me, our fighters, my master Renzo Gracie, and the best stand-up/cardio coach, Ray Longo. Mad Monkey over and out!