Bill Smallwood has no desire to listen to the advice of those close to him.
"A lot of my friends tell me all the time that I don't have to fight," said Smallwood, a 32-year-old Crow, who is a professional Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter. "But I actually love fighting. Whenever you fight, everything else is easy.”
Smallwood has been a pro MMA fighter since 2007. He was born in Kingston, Oklahoma, but he now lives in Las Vegas.
His pro record is listed as 2-5 on MixedMartialArts.com, the official database of the MMA, but Smallwood said his pro record is actually 4-5, adding that he won an unsanctioned event in Mexico and another bout in Parker, Arizona (in March of 2012), which was listed as an exhibition match.
Though his record may not be all that impressive, Smallwood has battled some rather tough opponents. Kelvin Gastelum, a 22-year-old Arizona-based fighter, who has a 7-0 record, defeated Smallwood in a July 2012 bout. Smallwood said that at the start of his career he didn’t choose to fight inferior opponents to pad his record. Instead, he simply accepted fights that came his way, regardless of how highly-touted his opponent was.
"Being a pro fighter, there's usually only three to four fights that come your way a year," he said. "I took them because my mentality was ‘I could take on the world.’"
Smallwood spent two years at Oklahoma's Bacone College before transferring to the University of Central Oklahoma, where he pursued a degree in business administration and marketing. The university had a successful NCAA Division-II wrestling program; winning back-to-back NCAA championships when Smallwood wrestled there in 2002 and 2003.
Courtesy Bill Smallwood
Smallwood training at a gym in Las Vegas, Nevada
In 2005, Smallwood graduated from Central Oklahoma and was employed for a couple of years at a Miami marketing company. He moved to San Diego in 2007, where he started working for a marketing firm and mortgage company.
In San Diego he started working out a boxing gym, but a coach told him it was too late for him to develop as a boxer--he told him he had good cardio and would be better suited for the MMA.And so his MMA career began.
Besides being a pro fighter, he manages a pair of Oklahoma-based fighters. He also handles the marketing and some of the operations for C3 Fights, a MMA promotion company and he's one of the key figures behind the website RingSideVip.com, a social media website for MMA, boxing and the combat sport of Muay Thai. On top of these responsibilities, Smallwood is also trying to help establish a Native American MMA fight commission.
"I've got a lot on my plate," he said.
Smallwood hopes to have three to five bouts per year. His most recent bout was at the Rage In The Cage event held January 10 in Oklahoma City. He suffered a first-round knockout against Lamont Stafford, who was fighting in his hometown.
No date has been announced for Smallwood's next fight.