Thamesford, Ont.’s Mark (The Machine) Hominick was one of the most beloved mixed martial artists in Canada and one of the pioneer fighters in Ontario.
He competed in the sport for more than a decade, debuting as a pro at just 19 years old in June 2002. He was one of the original members of Team Tompkins and trained and teaching others at their gym in London, Ont. (now called Adrenaline Training Center and part-owned by him) in the early days.
He was also part of the grass-roots campaign to get MMA legalized in Ontario, and he took part in the first UFC event in the province, at the historic event at the Rogers Centre in April 2011.
After a career in which he went 20-12 and included winning a featherweight champion with the Montreal-based TKO Championship Fighting and three victories in the UFC, Hominick retired from fighting in November. He has since moved into the next phase of his career, which includes broadcasting.
Just a couple weeks ago, Hominick was part of the Sportsnet team that covered UFC 158 in Montreal, providing updates, previews and analysis, conducting interviews and co-hosting segments for UFC Central and Connected.
Sportsnet.ca spoke with Hominick about this and other topics in his life after fighting.
SN.ca: So Mark, how are you enjoying retirement from fighting?
MH: It’s been busy. After my retirement fight in November, it was Christmas, then the birth of my second daughter, so it hasn’t been back to normal pace of life. Being at the (UFC) show (in February) in Anaheim with Sam Stout you have some urges that you want to be competing, but I’m happy with my decision and focused on the next phase of my career.
SN.ca: Do you have any regrets in making the decision to hang up the gloves?
MH: No, because I’m approaching the next phase of my career like I approached my fight career: that’s 100 per cent commitment. It’s not something I want to sit there and dwell about. I’m happy with the decision and looking forward to the next chapter.
SN.ca: How do you like this new role as television analyst and interviewer?
MH: It keeps me involved in the sport. I think more or less that’s a big part of why I do it. It’s to stay involved in the sport. This is my passion. I love talking about the sport. I’m a fan first off, so it’s the best way to keep involved.
SN.ca: Do you want to do more of this?
MH: Yeah for sure, if the opportunity’s there, for sure. Like I said, it keeps me involved in the game.
SN.ca: Has there been a learning curve for you on the media side of things?
MH: Yeah, getting more comfortable in front of the camera, you know. I don’t like watching myself on camera so that’s hard. (But) I’m getting feedback from other people.
SN.ca: (Your wife) Ashley must be happy to have you at home more?
MH: For sure. It’s a different pace of life but having two girls keeps you busy.
SN.ca: They’re pretty young still (one-and-a-half and three-months) that they don’t really know you as a Mark (The Machine) Hominick the fighter.
MH: Exactly, so it’s good that I’m a big part of their life. As opposed to traveling a lot to train, I’m focused on them.
SN.ca: How are the boys at Adrenaline?
MH: Good. Sam had a big win. But there’s a lot of frustration for a lot of the guys because with Ontario kind of being shut down (in terms of pro MMA show events), there’s just no shows happening. With Score Fighting Series closing, a lot of the guys were under contract with them, so everyone’s sitting in limbo, waiting for a promotion to come around or to get a fight.
SN.ca: What has to happen do you think for more shows to come to Ontario?
MH: A lot of it is the athletic commission, they make it tough for shows to come in, but I’m not on the political side of it. All I know is it’s frustrating.
SN.ca: Well, thanks Mark, and good luck with everything.
MH: My pleasure.
Expect to see more from Hominick on Sportsnet and sportsnet.ca in the future. He was a frequent guest, including as a blogger and in other multi-media capacities such as Skype chats and Google+ Hangouts, and there's no reason he can't do it some more in retirement.