Mean Machine

Mixed martial arts fighter Ryan Ford tackles Ginch Gonch

by William Yeoman    
Published: April 4, 2009 in A&E / Life&Style

“I’ll knock out anyone who makes fun of me in my Ginch,” warns Ryan “The Real Deal” Ford. And he means it too. Standing 5 feet 11 inches and weighing 170 pounds, the mighty-muscled, multi-tattooed mixed martial arts welterweight fighter is the new celebrity face of underwear fave, Ginch Gonch. “Ginch Gonch reminds me to take at least two moments each day from my rigorous training and smile. After all, I’m living my childhood dream.”

“In it to win it” Ford aims to become champion of the MFC (Maximum Fighting Championship) and the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) leagues. With his record five wins and no losses, he’s on his way. His most recent and most anticipated win was against Pete Spratt of the UFC via submission, where Ford first used the move he has become famous for, the Rear Naked Choke.

He is the son of retired boxer Allen Ford, once ranked third in the world and recently inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame. As the celebrity face of Ginch Gonch, the young Ford is making history of his own, becoming the first professional Martial Arts Fighter to win an endorsement contract with a leading underwear brand.

How did you become the new face of Ginch Gonch?
A lot of my buddies wear it and I reached out to the company for some digs. After chatting with them, badda boom badda bing, I was in the back of a dump truck doing my thing.

Did you have to fight former campaign model Benjamin Bradley for the job?
Who is Benjamin Bradley?

He was one of the original Ginch Gonch boys.
Not familiar with him. So, to answer your question, I didn’t fight him. I don’t fight “boys” anyway.

Fighting is in your blood. Is it true your dad was a boxing champ?
Yes, he was. My dad, Allan Ford, was ranked third in the world and was inducted into the Canadian Boxing Hall of Fame.

Did he inspire you to get into the ring?
I guess he did. I always wanted to be like Dad.

But you went a different route — the mixed martial arts ring. Why?
I started boxing, but it just wasn’t hardcore enough for me. I wanted to go crazier in the ring and nothing is more intense than MMA fighting.

How do you explain the overwhelming popularity of the sport?
MMA fighting is raw and animalistic. It’s not controlled. Anything can happen and that really appeals to a lot of people.

Is the sport aware of its huge gay following?
Gays are guys and every guy likes to see a good fight.

Yeah, but many gay men aren’t watching for the fight. Many are watching because half-naked guys wrestling is, well, pretty hot…
(Laughs) I don’t know how to respond to that except to say that, yeah, I’d agree I’m pretty hot.

Is homophobia a problem in the league?
Not that I’m aware of.

Would an “out” fighter be accepted?
If someone’s hardcore enough to kick ass in the ring, they deserve to be there. What they do outside of the ropes doesn’t matter after the bell rings.

What would you say to guys who believe two grown men wrestling in a ring is pretty gay?
If it was said as an insult, I’d punch him out. You know what, I’d punch him out anyway because hateful, bigoted words should not be tolerated anymore.

What has been your toughest match?
They’ve all been tough, but I can say my favorite fight so far was when I won against Pete Spratt of the UFC. I brought him down with a Rear Naked Choke.

What’s a Rear Naked Choke hold?
It’s a move where your arm wraps around your opponent’s neck and then you grab your own biceps on the other arm. No one can get out of my Rear Naked Choke.

Who is your biggest rival in the ring and how do you plan to bring him down?
Every single fighter in the league is my biggest rival. I’m bringing them all down!

What is your ultimate goal?
My goal is to become welterweight champion of the MFC (Maximum Fighting Championship) and the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship). I’m on my way.

You’re the first Mixed Martial Arts fighter to win a national apparel campaign. Why were you chosen?
Because I’m rough and tough and I look great in my Ginches.

Does your vigorous training help you look good in briefs?
I train three times a day including five-mile runs, boxing, wrestling, kick boxing, weight lifting, strength and conditioning. Yeah, I’d say it helps.

Ginch Gonch is a wild and crazy underwear brand. Are you as wild and crazy?
Look at me. What do you think? Yeah, I’m crazy. I like to party like a rockstar and kick ass “Real Deal” style in the ring.

You’ve said in interviews that your athletic idol is “Pretty Boy” Floyd Mayweather. Why is that?
Because he walks the walk and talks the talk. He has incredible ambition and an animalistic passion for competing that makes him unstoppable.

Do you subscribe to Ginch Gonch’s philosophy of “live like a kid”?
You bet I do. Everyone has to have fun in life.

Besides the new Load’N & Dump’N’s, what is your favorite Ginch collection?
The multiple stars because they remind me what I’m shooting for.

What do other fighters say about your underwear when they see you changing in the locker room? Have any dared to make fun of you?
No one has made fun of me. In fact, the opposite. I got all my buddies wearing Ginch in the ring now. Dudes are constantly asking me to get them free gear.

How have your fans reacted to the campaign?
They love it man! I think they’ve come to expect crazy shit from me so they like it.

The most important question: briefs or boxers?
Both. I switch depending on the day.

— Ginch Gonch’s newest line, The Load’N & Dump’N collection, featuring playful dump trucks, is in stores now, and available at The White Rabbit in Charlotte and Raleigh.
For more, visit www.GinchGonch.com.