Vaughn 'Blud' Anderson: The life and times of a professional fighter in Asia
Naturally, I wanted to delve into his character, find out what makes this man tick, and why he has so vehemently pursued such a difficult and often dangerous life, both inside and outside the ring.
The son of a diplomat, Vaughn was born in the Philippines and spent his childhood there, then in Beijing. When his parents moved the family to Canada, Vaughn felt quite the opposite of what you’d expect.
“I hated it. I was just like everybody else there. I had to stand in line like everybody else. I wasn’t ‘the white kid’, I wasn’t special anymore. It made me angry so if people picked on me, I always fought back. But I had a great childhood. I had way more balls then too. I'd get in fights over nothing - good times!”
Blud’s ‘official’ pubic fight record of 7-1-1 in MMA and 2-2-0 in kickboxing is an incomplete record at best. He’s fought in many other unrecorded competitions – MMA, BJJ, boxing, sanda, and Muay Thai – that aren’t known outside of the local scene. Those numbers don’t tell that his only fight that has gone the distance ended in a draw. Those numbers also don’t tell that he’s fought in open-weight and tournaments and accepted fights against much bigger opponents. Alas, his unofficial fight record does include a loss as well.
“It started with a friendly debate - I claimed I would submit a kickboxing buddy in MMA. But he subbed me! I DEMANDED A REMATCH! So then I got my first two KOs – they were only 18 hours apart. In a rematch with my friend, I KOed him (stomp to face AND LEFT A SHOE PRINT ON IT), then because of the same bet, another friend the next afternoon (punch).”
That must explain why Vaughn moves so much. To different countries, even. He has lived, trained, fought and coached in Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, and Thailand. Hong Kong BJJ pioneer Thomas Fan told me that when he first met Vaughn in Taiwan, he was part of some Taiwanese salsa dancing triad. It is true?
“Ya, thought I get laid a lot.”
“I was just bait for a bunch of mid aged cougars.”
And thus Blud began his martial arts study under Taiwan BJJ pioneer Warren Wang, receiving his purple belt and fighting in his first MMA competition.
“My first three MMA fights were in Taiwan. The first was TFKC – Taiwan Fullcontact Kungfu Contact. The second and third were “Asia versus the World” - tournaments. I won it. It was open weight too. There were two other western dudes in the tournament. Well it wasn’t really a tournament, but I fought a guy that won and beat him, making me the champ. Got a huge trophy. My fourth fight was in Guam.”
After moving to Thailand and focusing on his stand-up, he was offered a spot on the Japan promotion K-1’s Annual Heavyweight Grand Prix back in Taiwan. In the first round, he drew Jun Ito.
“My favorite KO was against him. Ito took a sanda open-weight champ the distance in China, and I iced him in the first. Head dangling on the rope. It was great.”
In the semifinals, Vaughn met an opponent with a 30-pound advantage, Aleksandr Pitchkounov, and was KOed. He ended up taking the bronze in the tournament behind Pitchkounov and the winner Ruslan Karaev. Far from being demotivated by this loss, Vaughn likes to reflect upon it.
“I like to watch the fight against Pitchkounov – and the other fight I didn’t win. Don’t know why. I guess it was all I had, and for me that’s what the fight is about. I respect the guys that I didn’t beat (since there aren’t that many).”
Fluent in Mandarin, Blud then rose to prominence in the Beijing-based MMA promotion Art Of War. Because of his aggressive fighting style and personal charisma, Vaughn became a staple fighter of the promotion. His entrance into the pioneering promotion was epic.
“I got asked to fight Ao Hailin at 84 kgs. I turned it down because I wasn’t in shape. When they asked a second time, I just did it. It was AOW 8, my fifth pro fight. By then I was back in shape and could fight at 77.”
How did the fight with Ao go?
“It’s on Youtube. Toughest fight of his life (mine too). I got several knees to the head, then kimuraed. We trained together in Beijing; he’s a really cool guy. They were really impressed with my fight even though I lost, so they brought me back. They were smart.”
Want a rematch?
“For sure! I am always looking for tough fights. Lots want to see it. The first fight has 20-thousand plus hits on Youtube AND Youku. Ask him if he wants the rematch. The last few years he's been too busy. It has been presented. When we fought, I was living and training in Taiwan. The rematch offers came after I had gotten the same training he got in China. And well, I am in no hurry to get my brain smashed again, but I accepted every offer since (two of them) and he has not accepted.”
They should restart AOW just for this fight. And in another epic battle, Vaughn’s last fight was at the Abu Dhabi FC, Round 2. He was up against India’s Bhupesh Kamble, another fight outside of his weight class against a bigger man. The outcome was a win by submission – by punches – something Blud likes to hear.
“That was the fastest fight I had - also the most damage I received. It worked out to like $37US per second. I thought to bang, but when he got close I shot for the TD. Still, I ended up KOing him. I broke two bones in my hand, and kept hitting him with the broken hand and displaced the bones. I had to have pins put in my hand and was out of action for 9 months. When my hand was getting better I trained BJJ with a boxing glove on at Triquest, Versus and Kowloon BJJ in Hong Kong. Lots of talent in those three gyms.”
Vaughn’s most recent tenure is at Ole Larsen’s Legacy Gym in Ubon Ratchathawei in Thailand. He’s been Ole’s head MMA coach and has cornered his share of fighters from the gym.
“I have been training at Legacy for seven months and running the MMA classes here. I’ve cornered four guys since, and three have won. Zebaztian Kadestam and, Hampus Larsson in PRO Fighting, Nuay-torious in DARE, and Alex Niu. Those are just the guys I have cornered; I have trained more guys that fought but I was busy fighting myself or commentating (in Legend FC) when they fought.”
Vaughn ‘Blud’ Anderson is now in the final stage of training camp for his next fight, PRO Fighting on the 18th of December. He’s excited to be going back to fight a place he now considers ‘home’. It will again be something which most fighters aren’t familiar with, but one that’s almost a given for Blud these days: a Heavyweight Tournament.
“It would be better in my weight class - I feel pressure to represent in Taiwan. But how can I pass up a Grand Prix?”
And now that I know a little more about Vaughn, I totally agree.
Follow Vaughn BLUD Anderson on his blog. For more information on PRO Fighting 6, check out their website.