The New Black: Life Outside the Cage


Canadian MMA has been on a rise and many are proud to say that they have stood by the sport to continue its increase in popularity. Some try to do more than others, as Robin Black has done since the rock star transitioned to fighting.

“I’ve been helping some great young athletes with fights and career choices. I don’t make any money at it, but I love it and I want to help these awesome guys succeed,” Robin Black said in an interview via e-mail.

It is great motivation for Canadian fighters to have a known commodity supporting them and willing to help them reach their goals for virtually nothing in return. His fighting career is not to be considered successful when viewing his record, similar to the great Shawn Tompkins, who could not even win a fight in his professional MMA career. His success is undoubtedly outside the octagon, where, as he stated, he is helping fighters find success in the sport.

His fighting career was forced to end abruptly because of an unknown health issue that he was only diagnosed after his last fight.  Despite losing his last fight on paper, Robin believes he was victorious in a recent battle against hypothyroidism, an illness he received as a result of tumours growing on his thyroid gland. Without realization of this health issue, he fought his last two fights with the condition.

“Basically, my thyroid gland no longer worked,” Black said. “Also, my pituitary gland in my brain was working overtime to release TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone), which made my brain work improperly. Basically, I was in a brain fog. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t remember names. I couldn’t string together thoughts.”

After six months of weekly blood tests and doctor’s appointments, he credits his fiancée, Erica, for helping him get healthy again. Aside from his better half, he knew he had his co-workers to support him through the tough days on the job.

“Fortunately, John Ramdeen, Mauro Renallo, Arda Ocal and everyone I worked with really helped me get through it at work. I’m really fortunate to work with great people.”

He has yet to lose his passion for fighting and training and he would love to return, but in the meantime, he is happily being a commentator and an analyst. He took time to show how grateful he is to be working with the Mauro Ranallo.

“Mauro is a genius, he never makes mistake, and he’s always willing to teach. It’s so [expletive] cool to call fights with the guy who called PRIDE live in Japan. Mauro basically invented the modern MMA play-by-play. It’s an honour.”

He worked with HDNet for a tribute to Shawn Tompkins. His death was a major blow to Canadian MMA and many of the country’s top fighters were severely affected by the loss. Robin was one of the people that was devastated. He interviewed Mark Hominick, Chris Horodecki, Tompkins’ brother in-law Sam Stout, and wife Emilie Tompkins, all of who were dealing with a lot of emotion because of the surprising death.

“Shawn Tompkins was a very special man. I hope when I grow up I could be like him.”

Black enjoys his current role, but he made it clear that he will always want to be in the pressure situation of a fight. He said that since he is healthy again, he would like to fight a couple more times. After feeling “old and worn out,” he now feels that there may be another opportunity in the near future for him to compete again just out of the love of the sport.

What Robin Black has experienced this past year with his health issue made him truly appreciate the position he has been placed in. He was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to have success after a shortened career and he is ready to continue his support for the sport in any way he can. His life has become MMA and he there is no doubting how happy he is with his career path.

“Man, I really appreciate my life now that I’m healthy again. I have a great girl, a dream job, and maybe I’ll get to fight again. I’m a lucky man.”


*** photos by Jason Bouwmeester|TKO Photography & Design

29 Responses to “ The New Black: Life Outside the Cage ”

  1. Bill Pharoni says:

    Cheers Robin Congrats on beating your Illness!

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  2. Robin Black says:

    Thanks man. Really really appreciate it.

    Feelin great. Life is good.

    So many great people in this sport. How could a guy not be havin fun?

    PS- just to clarify, I should have said ‘I help fighters but don’t make any money YET’. :)

    That Ninja of Love might make a guy rich one day. ;)

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  3. DeViLBoY says:

    If you dont mind me asking, what fighters do you manage anyway Robin?

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  4. Robin Black says:

    I work really really closely with Nick Denis and Alex Ricci, and help awesome talents like Albert Cheng, Sergej Juskevic, Igor Caetano, MaGrath, McInnis and a couple of other awesome guys find the right fights.

    I don’t make much if anything now, but a couple of these guys will be big stars and then maybe I can have a small condo or a Cadillac or something. But I’m more motivated by fun and excitement anyways.

    I’ll also try to keep friends in other gyms and guys who manage other fighters informed when I hear of good opportunities. I do it because I love seeing good fights, love trying to promote Canadian MMA. It takes up a lot of time, and sometimes irritates my girl that I’m all MMA all the time for limited or no $, but I try to help even when there’s truly nothin in it for me. If I hear of someone looking for, say, a 205er, I’ll call a friend with a good 205er and try to put the fighter looking for a fight with the show looking for a fighter. Maybe nothin in it for me but if you stay motivated by doing good rather than getting paid, things tend to work out ok.

    The only drag for the guys I work with is they know, if I call a fight they are in, I’ll probably err in the direction of UNDER hyping them. In an effort to stay impartial, I probably understate their performance.

    Its really important to me to be honest and impartial calling fights, cuz its the greatest thing in the world and I want to do it justice. I try to never play favorites.

    Sorry to get off track and ramble. I just got back from weigh ins in Lethbridge and now I’m excited about the fights.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  5. Chase Degenhardt says:

    I love albert cheng. You too robin. You guys don’t show enough bro love back tho :( congrats on beating the illness, we’ll see you tomorrow.

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  6. TayMan says:

    Robin Black rocks it!
    nuff said

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  7. Robin Black says:

    I love you too Chase, but I think you and Albert should get married.

    Seeya tomorrow my friend. I’ll buy the vodka at the party after the show.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. Robin Black says:

    Thanks TayDude. Really. Thanks man.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. Gunner says:

    Robin is a cool dude and alwaus looking to help a friend out whether it be he takes the chubby friend for the team to allow the sexier friend to get the hotty or if it is as simple as having a ceasar at 8am to make his good buddy not feel like an alcoholic.


    Now a few things::::::

    1) it says with your illness your brain was foggy????? Well now with your illness gone i can only ask …….. WHY IS YOUR BRAIN STILL FOGGY??

    (Jokes aside awesome you are healthy and on the prowl my friend)

    2) you are a great match setter upper dude and since i now hear that a fellow named Robin Black has returned from retirement SET IT UP … ME BLACK CATCH WEIGHT OF 210 after the WRECK show…. no hiding this time its on no more i am retired excuses can be said by you

    okay time to get some work done have fun in Alberta

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  10. Robin Black says:

    Love you GunnMan.

    I have an awesome girl thats pretty much too good for me so I cannot take one for the team. But rest assured if I did it would always be the chubby one.

    Caesars at 8 am however, as you know, is quite doable.

    If you can make 215 you fat bastard I will beat you senseless. I’ll have my people call your, wife, to set it up.

    Lotsa love

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  11. Jamie Locke says:

    Mad respect Robin, keep on doin’ the business.

    I always enjoy your commentating and reading your comments on our many mma related topics on here.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    I smell a comeback! Robin was it your fight that was highlighted on HDNet’s Inside MMA, where you were punching your opponent on the ground and his ear popped and blood just splattered everywhere like a pizza pop commercial?

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  13. Robin Black says:

    Yep that was my fight. One of my better ones. It is nice to have a few winning moments to go with the losing ones.

    I do hope I can fight again on a small show somewhere against a fighter at my level just cuz I love it. Maybe next year.

    In other news I just got back from getting punched in the face by Dan Chambers a bunch of times.

    Good times.

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  14. Dave MacMillan says:

    Your great for the sport brother

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  15. JYD says:

    the comeback trail x 2! keep on doing your thing man!

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  16. steve hill says:

    Be great to see you back in the cage…possibly josh hill…LOL…get healthy robin

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  17. Robin Black says:

    Steve are you high?

    My 42 year old 3-5 ass is gonna fight someone realistic. Something that’s a challenge but one I can possibly win.

    Tyler Hardcastle says he’ll fight me early in the new year. He’s a bottom rung guy like myself he says he’s in and I feel I can put on a show with that fight.

    Love ya Steve but dude but you have no business drinking that much straight wiskey this early on a week day. :)

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  18. Robin Black says:

    And thanks you Steve my friend for the well wishes.

    I’m healthy again and very thankful. I’ll never take good health for granted again.

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  19. steve hill says:

    Lol it was heineken…

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  20. Robin Black says:

    That is delicious nectar my friend.

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  21. Brodes says:

    I would pay decent money to see robin fight hardcastle. Love the birdman.

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  22. harry balls says:

    Hardcastle then Myra for the last one (hey it’s worth a try!). Then get married and have some kids, Robinho….

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  23. steve hill says:

    Hey Robin…Maybe you will have to fight Josh..No one left for him to fight…Your boy nick gone to ufc …now mitch gagnon gone to ufc….fraser does not want to fight him…any suggestions…perhaps stephane pelltier in ringside…

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  24. Sean Quinn says:

    Ill fight him…

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5

  25. Robin Black says:

    Quinn is tougher than me.

    I am a touch better looking.

    Somehow life finds a balance.

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  26. Wuzjustsauin says:

    That’s hilarious and I’m not talking about the looks!!

    Hill wouldn’t last a round! Quinn would do ok also….. LOL!!!

    Seriously now, I thought Hill was UFC bound LOL?
    Could he be man enough to take on Quinn?

    Don’t think so!!!

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  27. ChickenHill says:

    Hill won’t take any real fights

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 6

  28. fitplusmma says:

    Once Kelades is back this spring, him and Hill would make for an interesting matchup.

    Well-loved! Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  29. steve hill says:

    quinn would be a good test…much tougher guy than his record suggests

    one thing about an open forum any no nothing goof gets to spout off…

    Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

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