Hawaii411: You wearing the “Jesus is Lord” shirt was the
start of the name “Jesus is Lord” for your team, wasn’t it?
Ray: Yeah, unknowingly,
that was the start.
I never meant it to be that way, but God just formed it that way.
Hawaii411: What kind of fighting background do you have?
Ray: I used to play around with boxing. Me and my friend Dane used to go to the gym during summertime and work out with Al Silva.
That and wrestling (in high school).
I heard that “Jesus is Lord” is pretty much a
self-taught team, how does that work with out having an instructor?
Ray: We learn through experience and watching other
fighters, and we pick up on their good points.
We help each other out in the gym.
From past fights we remember what and what not to do.
We watch a lot of video. Mostly
we rely on God. I believe
that God created the martial arts. Man
never conjured up that idea. I
believe that God inspired some guy to fight in combat.
I try to lean on the Lord to reveal what kind of moves and
techniques work best for me.
Hawaii411: Is it to your advantage that you don’t train in any
Ray: I believe you have to learn all aspects of the game.
In the beginning you could get by with only jiu-jitsu, but every
two or three years the sport evolves.
Now you won’t come across any fighter that only does jiu-jitsu.
They have learned how to strike and grapple.
You have to know how to do each one.
Hawaii411: What are your strengths in the ring?
Ray: I know my strength is striking, pretty much stand-up,
but I know I can grapple with the best. I like to just stand up and
Who was your toughest opponent so far?
Ray: I would say, Frank Trigg.
I fought him in WEF in Georgia.
He was undefeated (22-0). He
was the best in his weight class.
Hawaii411: Who would you like to fight?
Ray: Frank again, someday.
I know I will someday our paths will cross again.
There’s the Shooto title. Pretty
much whoever I have to fight to get that title… There’s (Hayato
there’s (Tetsuji) Kato, I want to fight him again.
There’s Silva (Anderson Silva, the top ranked Shooto fighter)
Fight enthusiasts say that you are very good with
your hands, and have a style that would be well suited for the UFC
(Ultimate Fighting Championships). Is
the UFC a goal for you?
Ray: If it comes, it comes, but right now I really want
the Shooto title.
Hawaii411: Do you have any goals past the Shooto title?
Ray: I just want to fight the best in the world, and be
the best 170-pound fighter.
Hawaii411: Who do you look up to in the fight world?
Ray: Roy Jones, because of he’s just
at a different
level (above the rest) in his weight class.
Hawaii411: Are you afraid that you might seriously injure
Ray: No, I’m not afraid to hurt anybody.
We pray before our fights for our opponents - that they can
continue to fight the next day.
Monica, when Ray first started, did you say to
yourself, “What are you getting into?”
Monica: At first, I didn’t agree with it, just because of
the hours and time it took, but God spoke to me, and I realized that
this was something bigger than just me.
A lot of people are affected, and a lot of people have changed their
lives. After the first fight,
I was at peace with it.
Hawaii411: Monica, do you every get scared that Ray may get
injured in one of his matches?
Monica: No. I
know he trains hard. If I
knew he wasn’t training hard and wasn't into what he was doing in the gym, then I
would get concerned. I help
make sure that everything, his mind and body, is ready.
If I don’t see that, then I have to (laughs) get on him to
have you ever thought of training?
Monica: No (laughs)
Hawaii411: As a mother, could you see your kids fighting
Monica: Yes, I can see them doing it later on, but I want to
make sure that we set a good foundation for them.
I want to make sure that they don’t get hurt. My husband will set a foundation for them to have
opportunities when they're through with fighting, so that they have
integrity. That’s what our
lifestyle is about.
Hawaii411: Ray, How long do you think you could last as a competitive
Ray: Maybe ten, fifteen more years.
We have this one guy, Steven, who’s 36 years old and ranked #7 in the
Is “Jesus is Lord” affiliated with a church, or are you just Christians who train together?
Ray: “Jesus is Lord” all
are part of the same church, but we are not an
organization with the church. You
could say it’s a separate ministry with the blessings of our Pastor.
Hawaii411: Muhammad Ali, Evander Holyfield, and even Reggie
White use sport as a vehicle to preach religion.
Do people have a problem with the association of your sport with
religion, because of the brutal nature of it?
Ray: Yeah, always... Because this sport is young, people don’t
really see it as a sport yet. They
just see it as fighting, as guys who don’t train and guys off the street
who just fight. Slowly,
people are seeing and learning that this is a professional sport.
It’s just like football... It’s very physical, but it’s a sport.
Hawaii411: “Jesus is Lord” is known as a real family
operation. How does family
add to your training?
Ray: Training takes a lot of time, and if my family can be
with me at training it doesn’t take away from my family time.
The children see our practices, and are always running around.
Hawaii411: How has the team aspect of “Jesus is Lord” helped
Ray: It’s helped in so many ways – building
as a person, as a father, and a husband.
It’s helped me overcome many fears and doubts.
Hawaii411: Sometimes there are problems with people learning the
Martial Arts without learning the discipline behind it.
Do you think there is a problem
with lack of discipline within the sport?
Ray: I can’t speak for any of the other teams, but I
think there should be less rivalries.
You can compete against each other, but the sport turns bad when
there’s fighting outside of the ring.
There is a rumor that “Jesus is Lord” is going
through some changes with some people leaving. Is that true?
Ray: Well, just certain individuals decided to leave.
It’s just a matter of different vision.
Hawaii411: But the core is still there?
Ray: “Jesus is Lord” is still going strong.
Hawaii411: Tell us a little about the
fight you’re promoting.
Ray: It’s the AFC (Amateur Fighting Competition).
It’s just stand up fighting (no grappling/wrestling).
I want to give an opportunity to amateur fighters.
I want to give them a something to look forward to, a vision, not
just in the fighting, but training to get in shape... just to challenge
themselves. They can look
forward to competing instead of just training.
A lot of guys want to get into mixed martial arts, but are not
ready to enter the whole thing, so this is just another avenue into
Hawaii411: That’s great that you can provide the fighters with
another venue to test their skills. Would
you compare it to a Tough man competition?
Ray: Yeah. They’ll
have gloves and headgear. It’ll
be tournament style with two weight divisions, single elimination with
three, one-minute rounds. No
kicks, but spinning backhand is allowed.
Hawaii411: Is this your first venture into promoting?
Ray: Yes, but I’m getting a lot of help from my
brother-in-law (Brennan Kamaka, promoter of Warrior’s Quest events).
Hawaii411: Do you think fight promotion may be an avenue for you
to take down the road?
Ray: Maybe, I’m not too sure at this point.
I’ll try this out and see how it goes..
How about being a trainer or an instructor?
Ray: Maybe more for my children. I can see myself as an instructor/trainer, but I want to
train my children first.
Hawaii411: Speaking of your children, do you let them watch the fights?
Ray: We let them watch to a point, but one
thing we don't let them watch is WWF. That stuff is R-rated nowdays with
all the women and language. It's just ridiculous.
Hawaii411: Where do you want to see mixed martial arts go in
Ray: I want to see it go where boxing is now.
This sport is just as physical if not more physical, and we train
just as hard. I think we
should be recognized just as much as them.
Hawaii411: Why do you think a small state like Hawaii does so
well worldwide in fighting?
Ray: I don’t know, I guess we’re just blessed with
talent. The mixture of
cultures just brings out the talent.
Hawaii411: Mixed martial arts has been slammed by the media for
being too brutal, what do you say to those critics?
Ray: I don’t think it’s brutal.
I think boxing is more brutal because of the amount of blows you
take in a fight. You have to knock the guy out.
We have submission, where you can tap-out.
Hawaii411: Do you hope to be a mentor for young fighters and
show them that you can be religious, be a gentleman, and still be a great
Ray: I want to get across to the local boys that we
aren’t limited because we’re on an island, and we have to think more
highly of ourselves because we can compete with the best in the world.
Trust in God first and follow your dreams.
Things will work out.
Hawaii411: Is there anything else you want Hawaii to know?
Ray: It’s the same thing I always say, ‘Trust in God and
get to know Jesus Christ.’
Conclusion: Ray and Monica Cooper - Two words: Super
People. They not only talk the talk, but walk the walk when it comes
to fair play, sportsmanship, morals and values. At a time when the
TV and Sports Arenas are full of monstrous egos, rampant substance and
wife abusers, trashy talk and trashier women, the Coopers are a much
needed breath of fresh air. Hawaii needs more representation like
Ray - He's cool, he's calm, he chooses his words carefully and doesn't
his mouth off... And most importantly, he's out there trying to do good things
for his community, his sport, and his church. Hawaii411 gives a 411 salute to Bradda Ray Cooper, an extraordinarily positive
local role model.
COMPETITION: Please come out to the competition on Saturday, February 2. Support
the local talent and the visions, hopes, and desires that Bradda Ray is
attempting to share with the Hawaii athletes. You'll have a great
time and will be provided with a great show. Advance tickets are $25
and $27 at the door. Or, you can go ringside for $40. Please
or call 526-4400. You can also get tickets at the Blaisdell Box
Office or any Foodland/Sack and Save.
For more information,
please contact Ray at 696-5502, or email LinebredLLC@hawaii411.com.
on Mixed Martial Arts or the AFC on our forums by clicking