Acting and fighting MMA are two totally different disciplines. But after my recent appearance on “Kevin Can Wait,” I’ve seen some overlap between the worlds of scripted television and competing in the UFC.
Fellow Long Island native #KevinJames, who’s a big fan of the UFC, and I were talking at a New York Mets game a while back when he approached me about working together. Shortly thereafter, Kevin got a new show and asked me to come in to play the role of Officer Nick Dawson.
As an MMA fighter, I’m all about what’s real and tangible. But when Kevin offered me the role, I decided to give it a shot, and it was an amazing experience being able to be on screen with him and #AdamSandler.
It was also definitely a humbling experience.
As a fighter, I’m a gamer. When the pressure’s on the most, that’s when I rise to the occasion. And, in front of a live audience, it’s almost like you’re getting ready for a fight. You got your lines and everything’s there, but now you have to put everything together for the day. It all comes down to that -- how are you gonna be able to perform when the cameras and the people in the audience are there. After years of competing in a one-on-one sport, I’m comfortable and able to relax and be confident in those situations.
The experience on the show was great. But, now that my kids have watched the episode like fifty times, they call me Nick Dawson, or Officer Nick Dawson at home. I have this other dynamic about me, it’s really cool to experience with them.
And now that the UFC has grown so much in the last couple of years, I’m taking the opportunity to venture out of the MMA game and into different business ventures. So, in addition to some acting, I’ve also become a part owner in “Cage Hero,” a comic book series and graphic novel about little MMA kids with all these superpowers.
It got picked up by the guy who did the Ninja Turtles, so I’m confident it will be really a good business. We are working on different things to make this into a successful franchise.
The whole project was started by Ian Parker, another Long Island kid and really creative guy. It’s a good fit for me, and it’s great for kids who love MMA. And now that I’ve dipped my toes in Hollywood a little bit, who knows, maybe this can even be a big movie.
Having these opportunities has been a great way for me to capitalize on my career in the UFC, and if there are more chances for me to do some work on camera, I’ll definitely consider them. But all the TV shows and movies and comic book ventures in the world will not distract me from my ultimate goal of becoming a UFC champion again. Training and fighting come first, and I won’t let anything get in the way of stopping it.