Full Name: Daniel Somers
Belt Colour: Black
Professor: Dion Riccardo
Short Term Goals: Continuing to learn as a martial artist in every area of my game and continue to help my fighters grow and reach the ranks of professional at the highest level.
Daniel is someone that made a positive change in his life and is now inspiring the next generation of fighters. His humble attitude is an excellent example of how other coaches should behave. Putting his fighters and family first, it is easy to understand why we thought he'd make a great addition to the Submission Shark Community. With a high-level jiu-jitsu game and a high sense of humility, he is an underrated coach. Although he might not be famous, his work still needs to be appreciated and respected because he is a prime example of the unsung heroes we all know.
Sometimes people don't get recognition when they deserve it and it is my pleasure to be able to feature positive members of the community. Daniel also shows respect for his coaches and it is interesting to see him getting respect back from his students. Make sure you read the full article to get a better understanding of his mentality and thoughts on a passion we all share.
How long have you been doing MMA for?
I have been training for over 10 years now
Where do you train out of?
Do you prefer gi or no gi?
I prefer no gi for the reason that I train and teach for MMA competition even though I respect gi just as much.
Have your instructors helped you in other aspects of life other than MMA?
100% Dion was the person that helped me find God and become a Christian man. He has helped me as a fighter, a father, a mentor, and as a coach. My other coaches including Brian Spain and Paul Reinhart have also played a significant impact in keeping me on the right path.
What are some lessons you learned from MMA that applies to everyday life?
Some lessons are obvious like hard work and discipline on top of the humility gained from training. I would also say for me it has taught me to maintain respect and honour for each individual I encounter. It's to the point that if someone introduces themselves I shake their hand and bow.
How often do you train?
Every day if you include studying film on my fighters and going over drills and principles in my head. But I not only train/teach at my gym, but I also turned my garage into a gym to train myself and others including my wife Anna who is an MMA fighter herself.
What made you want to start training?
After high school, I was working a full-time job and the only things I had to look forward to was getting drunk and partying. So I decided to look for an MMA gym and I landed on Victory. The goal was to compete and fight but I knew that martial arts were the only thing that could get me to a better path.
Do you plan on training your whole life?
As time goes on its no secret the body takes longer to recover from harder sessions. So as a coach, I need to sometimes tell my fighters to pull back on the intensity and recover. Reason for that is because I know as a fighter you can break yourself down and injuries then happen. So I just plan on taking each day as an opportunity to feel my body and where its at and listen to it. I genuinely hope to be training as long as my body lets me.
What’s it about martial arts that makes it so addicting?
For me its the fact that I know no matter how long I train for, I will never know everything. The fact that there is an infinite amount of techniques, setups, transitions, flows, counters, escapes, etc. Every day I have the chance to learn something new and get better and I love the fact that there is always an opportunity to grow if you are willing to learn.
What has martial arts done for your physical health?
Aside from helping me stay 5 years sober, it has shown me my bodies potential to become a professional athlete. You always think you are in shape and then bam, you do a pad session or a hard roll and find out your gas tank has room for improvement. This makes you continue to strive for better conditioning which makes your body stronger and more explosive.
Has MMA benefited your mental health?
Yes, it has in many regards. Not only do I feel more at peace and calmer after I train but I also think by approaching the mental aspect of the MMA you start to develop a higher fight IQ. As time went on we learned MMA was not just going in there and swinging it has now become more a strategic approach and having fighters implement certain techniques against specific opponents which is why the mental aspect is important.
If you could restart your Martial Arts journey, would you do anything different?
No for the simple fact that everything happens for a reason in my opinion and who knows where I may be if I changed one thing you know. Maybe stretch more tho.
Just a heads up, this is gonna be a long post! Lol, so as some of you have seen Anna, Reagan, and I made our way out to Michigan to train at @sfsmartialarts we were invited by head coach @jimjitsu87 and even got the opportunity to learn directly from him! Before I get into to it too much let me take the time to inform everyone that James top pressure nearly killed me and pretty sure he adjusted my back a couple times lol but he seriously is such an amazing coach and it was awesome that he let us stay in his dorm all weekend and gave us the opportunity to train with his incredible fighters each day. Now for those who made it this far and are still reading this is where the post becomes a little bittersweet for me. I have decided to officially retire from MMA competition.
I haven’t been in MMA long as a competitor and only tasted the professional level once. So although it doesn’t seem like a big deal to most, it is for me. Now let me explain why I came to this. James expressed that as a fighter he made an impact on a lot, but as a coach, he can impact thousands and that’s a goal that I have had and will continue to have.
Another reason is my body. Every day I wake up in pain, my shoulders have been through the ringer with 3 surgeries and constantly trying to train while never being 100% is taking its toll.
Last but not least is I want Anna to be able to focus solely on her MMA career. I want her to see how far she can take this and I believe in her 100% that she can make it to the highest level. I feel that she has the ability to take this farther than I could have ever dreamed of taking it. Seeing her out there on that mat with some of the best in the world made me realize that’s where she belongs and not me. I thank you all for your support of Anna and myself on our trip! Please take the time to like and follow SFS as they truly are a group of amazing individuals and we look forward to more trips out by them!
What’s your advice for someone that’s never tried MMA before but is interested in trying it?
Try it! But, I will say its all about finding the right school for you. It is essential to find a great atmosphere that is accepting of someone who has never trained and a coach that has the patience to help you grow. This takes time but that is why gyms have trial classes to see if it the right fit for you.
Do you have any aspirations in MMA?
Since I no longer fight my aspirations are as a coach and gym owner. I not only want to create a tremendous raining facility for people who want to compete but also people that want to learn self-defense and train in different arts. As a coach, I want to watch my fighters grow inside and outside of the gym and help them reach their goals.
Today something really amazing happened and I had to share. One of the fighters I coach, @amin_lionheartmma gave me his first pair of MMA gloves and asked me to sign them. I’m not a ufc fighter, I’m not a world renown coach, I’m not even a very successful fighter as a pro. But he’s asked me. I haven’t accomplished all that I wanted to as a fighter, but as a coach, it’s feels amazing to know a fighter looks up to you and appreciates all you have done for them. Through all the ups and downs in Amin’s MMA journey, he has trusted me and stuck with me.
Thank you so much, Amin, for this amazing gesture and I look forward to more years and fights as your coach and in your corner.
What’s your favourite move?
Does it have to be one? I guess for me it would have to be a triangle from guard. Although I won most of my fights by rear naked choke, I just like finding different setups and transitions to and from a triangle.
If you didn’t discover MMA, where do you think you’d be now?
Probably single, alone, working a job with no direction and still drinking every day. Maybe even dead. As horrible as it sounds I drank and drove frequently and I am ashamed of that. But if I would have continued doing that who knows what could have happened. Thank God for MMA!
Would you like to see the sport become more mainstream?
I think MMA is pretty mainstream at this point with the Fox deal and soon ESPN. However, I would like to see competitive jiu-jitsu and muay thai a little more stream. I do not think they get the respect and tv time they deserve.
Have any of your training partners pushed you to reach your full potential?
Without a doubt they have. You need your team to push you and help you grow. One person I can say helped was Teddy Green. He always supported me and pushed me and would even do workouts with me to keep me motivated. He is also someone that helped me become sober and I am forever grateful.
Chilling with my boy Teddy watching @bill_burr on Netflix. He came to take care of me and my boo boos.
When you were first starting, what was the most difficult concept of martial arts that you had trouble getting?
Breathing. As simple as that sounds I would hold my breath sparring and grapple constantly. I was so tense I wouldn't breathe.
What's your favourite discipline in Martial Arts and Why?
Hands down jiu-jitsu. I love love love being able to grapple and when I do it's like the mat is the canvas and I am the artist. I am able to express myself and grow and learn all while doing what I love. In competition being able to finish someone with a submission always felt more rewarding than a knockout.
What makes you want to inspire and motivate others?
I just love helping others and motivating others to become the best they can be. I feel some people lack the belief in themselves at first and when I can help them believe they way I do in them it is an awesome thing. When I am able to watch a fighter get their hand raised that I have helped, its a very rewarding feeling.
Last night was @workhorse__ pro debut and he delivered! Over the last 4 years of knowing Pierre, he has shown qualities of an incredible work ethic, ridiculous amounts of humility, and above all else a big heart that is filled with love and loyalty. Last night was a big step in his MMA journey and to see him evolve from his first beginners class to now a professional martial artist, has been such a blessing. He’s a pillar in Victory and a role model for many young men and women as an athlete and an individual. I’m so proud to call myself his coach. But truly blessed to call him family.
Thank you Brian Spain and @preinhart77 for investing into Victory and together created some of the best fighters around. Congrats again Pierre and looking forward to the next one!
What's it about teaching and running a fight team that you enjoy?
I enjoy the family atmosphere when we are together, and I love the grind when we train. I love watching fighters learn and grow and achieve something they may not have thought they could. I love leading them to a better life and leading them to a positive and strong mindset. I love that they trust me to help them in every area of their game and I thrive in that and I am motivated by that as well.
What would you tell someone that is going down the wrong path and is having troubles finding a positive outlook on life?
Find yourself a great gym and a great mentor. Martial arts will change your life for the better and get you to do things out of your comfort zone to help you grow. Embracing your past and being honest about where you come from is crucial in order to move on to better things and a better life. It's not about forgetting where you came from but knowing where you have been and doing what you can to not go back to that life. When you read stories like mine reach out to us, we will listen and talk with you to make sure you move on as well.
Thank you for being a part of this community Daniel and thank you for being an all around great guy. You are someone that I aspire to be like one day and I think you are leading by example with your commitment to your students, wife and daughter. I have a lot of respect for you for admitting your past mistakes and realizing a change was needed. I know you aren't proud of some of the choices you made but sometimes bad decisions are needed to learn from and to grow from. You are making up for it though by making great decisions on a daily basis.
I can tell you are a caring person and a lovable guy through the admiration your students have for you and I am really happy for you for finding your purpose through a passion we both share. You are clearly making a positive impact in many people's lives and it's an honour to get to know you better and to share your story. You are a special person and your family and fighters are lucky to have you.
There’s no such thing as a bad day when you come home to stickers and kisses from this beautiful little loving girl :)
Late night cuddles with my baby girl while watching her favourite movie Trolls. I absolutely love when these moments happen and looking forward to more and more :)
Love this beautiful woman. Not only does she make the sacrifices to let me do what I love but also shows up to help out and be an amazing teammate to the fighters. To say I am blessed to have her is such an understatement. Going to enjoy the 4 day weekend with this gorgeous girl!
By far the greatest gift any man can ask for is his wife. I pray every single day thanking my lord and saviour for my wife and my daughter. This woman has impacted my life so much in a positive way, I sometimes still can’t believe she’s mine. She supports my dreams of getting back into fighting and sacrifices time with me so I can train and get back to what I’m great at. I wouldn’t be half the man I am without her.
Thank you, Anna, for constantly supporting Reagan and I and taking care of us and our home. You are the greatest gift to my life and I know as people come and go, you will always be there always loving and being the one to always appreciate the things I do for you and for others. Merry Christmas my gorgeous girl
In today's society, many celebrities get recognition for the wrong reasons and amazing people like Daniel don't always get the recognition they deserve. I'm happy to be in a position where I can feature such amazing people like Daniel because his actions lead to real love and admiration. Make sure to read our other community posts for some more insightful and inspirational stories.