Mac Danzig is the winner of TUF Season 6, a vegan, one hell of a photographer and one of the most interesting fighters there is. Below is a an interview we did with Mac earlier today. You can check out Mac’s photography at MacDanzigPhotography.com. Mac’s next fight is against Clay Guida on September 17th.
XC: We are big fans of your pictures. How did you get into photography?
Mac: It’s something I’ve always been into. When I was 16 I took some noncredit college photography classes. That got me into the darkroom and taking pictures. I really enjoyed it, but I didn’t have the money to keep up with it. I couldn’t afford to develop film and everything. So I stopped. About a year and a half ago I picked it back up because I finally had the money to get a decent camera. Also for the past few years I didn’t have time for it either, I just had time ot work and train. But now every break I get I’m taking pictures.
XC: When did you start fighting?
Mac: I started training in 2000, started fighting in 2001. I was into skateboarding growing up. I didn’t wrestle in high school or anything, but I was always watching UFC and Extreme Fighting when it came up. I’d rent the videos and follow it but didn’t have a place to train. In 2000 I found a place to train.
XC: Where were you living?
Mac: Outskirts of Pittsburgh, a town called Greensburg. I started training jiu jitsu, did some grappling tournaments and stuff like that. After a few of those I did an amateur MMA fight for Monte cox. I drove out to Cincinnati by myself with no corner and won 3 fights in one night all by submission. it was a lot of fun so I decided to stay with it.
XC: What kind of camera do you have?
Mac: I have 2 cameras, both digital. I shoot with the Canon 5-d and a Canon 1-DS both are pretty high grade professional cameras. The sensor sees things the same way a 35mm does. You can get really wide with it. Which is what I do with a lot of the landscape stuff.
XC: After your last fight you took a camping/photography trip, right?
Mac: Right after the fight a friend and I went to Death Valley to an area called the Racetrack Playa. You get out there and drive on the paved road for about an hour then you take a dirt road for a bout 45 minutes, you need a 4-wheel drive. Then you get to a huge basin where there are these rocks with trails.
The rocks out there that have moved. No one has ever seen them move but there are these tracks. Scientists think that when it rains there are flash floods and the ground turns to clay and the wind moves the rocks. We went up there and then to a ghost town called Dellamar. The town was called the widowmaker because all the men who worked the gold mines got silica poisoning. The silica particles would get in their lungs and over the period of a couple weeks they would suffocate to death. After that we went up to Zion and then Page, Arizona.
We also went to a place called Coyote Buttes.
We got a permit from the Bureau of Land Management to go there. It’s 15 miles down a dirt road off a rural highway in the middle of nowhere. It’s completely silent. No planes flying overhead or anything.
XC: Do you have any trips planned after the Guida fight?
Mac: Definitely. I’m having a baby in November so I’m going to do a trip right after the Guida fight, because I don’t know when my next chance will be. I’m hoping Yellowstone. I’ve never been there, but I’ve always wanted to go out there. My great uncle was a ranger in Yellowstone. The story is that he froze to death out there. They have really bad snow storms and he froze to death inside of his ranger truck. I really want to see some bison out there.
XC: Bison is delicious.
Mac: I’ve never had it.
XC: That’s right, you’re a vegetarian.
XC: How long you been a vegetarian?
Mac: I’ve been strict vegan for about 4 years.
XC: What made you get into it?
Mac: I had always wanted to do it. Ethically I felt it was the right thing for me. I never thought I could. I thought I’d have to wait until I was done training. I believed what everyone told me, that you need meat to be an athlete because you need the protein. I tried it before one boxing match and felt good. To tell you the truth I never wanted to make a big deal out of it. It’s a personal thing. But then people come up to me like Peta, who I don’t really agree with, and they asked me to do something and I did and now people come up to me and say ‘you’re the vegan guy”. I don’t really care what other people do and I’m not trying to change the world. I just do it for myself. it s a personal thing. I don’t care what my friends do or anyone else for that matter.
XC: What did you do for Peta?
Mac: I did an ad for them (click here to see the ad). They wanted to use the fact that I’m a fighter and you can be a vegan and not be some skinny little hippie twerp. You know how much sh*t people talk on the Internet because there’s anonymity. They get offended as if I’m telling them not to eat meat. I couldn’t care less if they eat meat or not. A lot of people get mad at Peta. I don’t blame them. I agree with their mission. I believe in animal rights. I think it is a great cause. But I think the way they go about their business is very junior high most time.
XC: So they didn’t have you throwing red paint on anyone?
Mac: That’s exactly it. It’s stuff like that. They toilet paper people’s houses and do these ridiculous protests and it makes people say, “these animal rights guys are nuts”. That ruins it for the whole movement. But there are some really cool people that work for Peta that I met. The problem is Peta has a bad rep and now my name is synonymous with them.
XC: How do you get your protein if you don’t eat meat?
Mac: I eat however I want to eat when I’m not in training for a fight. I supplement when I’m tin hard training. There’s a company called Vega that I use their supplements. Its based on rice protein. I don’t mess with soy too much. Rice and hemp are good. They have a full amino acid spectrum and all that stuff.
XC: Thanks, Mac.