Tomar "T-Bo" Washington (7-0) is a fighter that is quickly getting the attention of MMA fans in the Carolinas. Originally from New York, Tomar moved down to North Carolina at a young age where he attended South Columbus High School. Having now lived and trained in Myrtle Beach for years, Tomar is a man that's proud of where he comes from. Followers of the MMA scene in this region are just as enthusiastic about where his talent might now take him. If you haven't seen him fight yet, simply go to YouTube to check him out. Don't have much time to look up fights on YouTube? Not a problem. Luckily, most of Tomar's fights last less than a minute so you won't invest a lot of time in checking out his fight footage. With heavy hands, ever improving grappling and a talented team around him, the sky appears to be the limit for this South Carolina fighter. MMA For Real recently caught up with Tomar to find out more about the man that's quickly putting Myrtle Beach on the MMA map.
Rich Wyatt: Tell us a little about how you got involved in training for mixed martial arts?
Tomar Washington: I first started out training in boxing. I met Maurice Travis and he would later be the one that got me into the muay thai scene. Early on he put me in against a muay thai fighter 30 pounds lighter than me. That guy was doing stuff to me in the ring that guys my size couldn't do. The kicks immobilized me. The next day I could hardly walk and he had a black eye. He was able to go in and spar some more without any problem but I was hurting, man. It humbled me and made me realize that there was still a lot that I needed to learn. I continued to learn and train in muay thai for a couple years. I had also started training in grappling. There was a guy that I'd roll with and every time I'd take him down he'd tap me out. I was 225 and he was 170 and that made me realize that I had a lot to learn. I had seen some of those moves on television but never really thought anyone would be able to use them on me. Over time I got a lot better at grappling and eventually earned the # 19 NAGA (North American Grappling Association) ranking in my weight class. My coaches wouldn't let me take any fights until I trained in all aspects of the game and got my conditioning where it needed to be. My coach had a saying: "You can have a Ferrari but it doesn't do you any good if you only have $2 of gas in it." I feel comfortable now whether I'm on my back in a fight or standing or whatever.
Rich Wyatt: Where do you currently train in Myrtle Beach, SC?
Tomar Washington: Our team is called Fitness Edge World Team. Fitness Edge is where we train primarily. My coaches and I travel to a lot of different gyms and work on all aspects of MMA. We've been to train at the gyms of lots of fighters: Rashad Evans, Roy Jones Jr., and others. We try to always keep learning and getting better.
Rich Wyatt: What do you feel are your strengths as a fighter?
Tomar Washington: It's hard to say. I've got 4 knockouts and 3 submissions. I'm comfortable standing or on the ground, man. A lot of people think, because of my boxing background, that they can take me down. What a lot of them don't often know is that I've competed in NAGA and dedicate a lot of time to training the ground aspect of the game.
Rich Wyatt: What does a typical week of training consist of for you?
Tomar Washington: Usually in the mornings I work cardio. In the afternoon I lift weights. We often do two training sessions a day. I work cardio everyday; the elliptical machine, punching drills in the pool, running with a parachute, stuff like that. Closer to fight time the training gets more intense. We work boxing and muay thai everyday and grappling three or four times a week.
Rich Wyatt: You're now 7-0 and have yet to be taken the distance by any of your opponents. What is next for you?
Tomar Washington: If it's up to me I'd like to fight once a month. I like to stay busy. I'll talk it over with my coaches. I'm the kind of fighter that fights with injuries and everything. Our training sessions are just like fights, man. We walk out of practice with injuries just like a match. Training with guys like Nissen Osterneck, who's a UFC fighter, helps a lot. I know I'll be ready after training with guys like that. We go to gyms like ATT in Florida. At places like that you have to come hard or don't come at all. The toughest part of all of this is the training. The fight is like a reward. I stand there in the cage and remember everything I put myself through in training and it drives me. I look across at my opponent and think "Do you know how much I had to go through to get you in this cage?"
Rich Wyatt: Are there any pre-fight rituals that have become part of your routine?
Tomar Washington: One song that I listen to before fights is "In the Air Tonight" by Phil Collins. It kind of helps me focus and gets me ready. I listen to all kinds of music, though.
Rich Wyatt: You began your career at heavyweight but have recently dropped down to light heavyweight. How have you liked the switch to 205?
Tomar Washington: Well, I've had three fights now at 205 and it feels okay. It's tough to answer that question, really. None of my fights at heavyweight had gone over 30 seconds. Now at 205 I've been pushed a little more. It took awhile to get used to the new weight but I'm getting there. I was faster than guys at heavyweight. Now I'm usually the stronger guy but I've got to keep working on getting my speed and endurance where I want them to be.
Rich Wyatt: Are there any talented young fighters out there in the Carolina fight scene that you would advise our readers to keep an eye out for?
Tomar Washington: Pretty much our whole squad is really deep. Jon Owens is a great striker who can kick your head off. Nissen Osterneck is a great fighter. He's competed in the WEC and UFC. Steven Banks is an undefeated heavyweight. He just fought in Japan. Jordan McDonald is a female fighter that is phenomenal. She got fight of the night during the last Carolina Fight Promotions card. We've got a lot of people that have tried to join the Myrtle Beach scene, man. They come down here and are like "We don't know what ya'll are doing down here but it's working."
Rich Wyatt: South Carolina has recently legalized the sport. How nice will it be for you to potentially not have to travel as much to compete?
Tomar Washington: It's going to be nice. It's not always easy going to somebody's backyard and winning and right now that's what I'm doing. . I try to give the people what they want. I've been booed for beating a hometown fighter but it's all good. When I'm in the cage, though, I feel like that's my home anyway. Hopefully I'll have a big following in SC, so it'll be nice.
Rich Wyatt: What goals have you set for yourself to achieve in MMA?
Tomar Washington: One of my goals is to get a belt at 205 and then also get one at heavyweight. There's going to be some fighters in organizations missing some belts, soon.
Rich Wyatt: Is there anything that you'd like to say to our readers or anyone that you'd like to thank?
Tomar Washington: First and foremost I'd like to thank God. I'd like to thank my beautiful daughter Tianna, Maurice Travis, Nissen Osterneck, Jon Owens, Mike Kelley, World Team, IMAN.TV, Fitness Edge, Hero Tattoos, The Doll House, Doug and Jeremy from CFP for giving guys like me the chance, Boomer from Cagesidemma.com, you guys at mmaforreal.com and all the sponsors and people that have supported me.
MMA For Real would like to thank Tomar Washington for taking the time to speak with us and we wish him the best in his future fights.