Brain of Jay





“Fuck that dude, he’s a chud. . . “

What’s a KROD?

A KROD is a uniquely loose, strategic barn burning man, with a dash of satanic enchantment. Tattooed from head to toe with sewing needles and a tape cassette Walkman engine, every single drip of ink embedded in his skin touches his red blood cells that travel to his heart. This is a man who reveals his character to the world and exposes his demeanor. A man who is not afraid to stare into the eyes of his own reflection and bite down on the fearful conscious thoughts. A dickheaded individual with a heart the size of a dinosaur, who will only let it roar to the people that mean the most.  A “KROD” is actually K-Rod, but actually Kevin Roddy; I’m happy to say that this asshole is on my team, and he understands his life purpose.

Born in my hometown of Belleville, NJ, he then soccer dribbled his way through the grassy field of Harrison right before they strapped him down to a Powell-Peralta “Tony Hawk” edition skateboard and he cruised his way down Parkway South but wiped out in Brick Township. He spent most of his teen-menace years with beach thugs and Shore Style where punching and kicking sand in peoples’ faces was a regular occurrence, and he kicked down more doors than Biggie Smalls. The mischief was nothing but fun, and sooner or later, the fun has to come to an end—but not really. He decided to take his vandalizing attributes onto the mats of jujitsu. He began training at Ricardo Almieda’s (a Renzo Gracie affiliate) gym alongside Kurt Pellegrino and Super Dave. After a few live rolls, a couple new chokes, and an array of violent bone breaking techniques—he was hooked and fell in love with this sport right then and there. Not just jujitsu, but the blood thirsty spectacle of mixed martial arts.


Rhino Fight Team

With Kurt Pellegrino flying away to Florida and joining Team Armory with Hermes Franca, K-ROD eventually parted ways with Almieda’s gym and joined the misfits of Team Rhino. During the years of 2005–2006, this team was a bunch of Gremlins you didn’t want to feed past midnight. Roddy had found his home alongside other vicious lightweight demons: “Sugar” Steve DeAngelis, Tom “Da Tank” Gallicchio, Steve Vitti, Jay Coleman, Franky “The Answer” Edgar, Chris “The Story” Liguori, Lester Caslow, Sean Foreman, and Rob Guarino (owner of Rhino Fight Team at the time).

There was something about this team: They had an edge above every other fight team; they were fearless, yet careless; they were sloppy, yet impressively structured. They ran in a big pack of hungry, rabidly foaming at the mouth, wild stray dogs that were willing to shed blood just so they could satisfy their hunger. Fighters in our local circuit knew they were going to have trouble if they were fighting against one of these animals. These loose mammals were in charge of the caged jungle, and Kevin Roddy fit right in to this pack. This team’s hunger to win didn’t compare to their starvation to just fight. K-Rod had already craved the euphoric sensation of battling foes and friends, and that’s what he did—he fought. He didn’t care about winning or losing, the pure essence to trade blows and share blood with another fighter was inside his fists.


For the Love of Fighting

With a record of eighteen wins, sixteen losses, and one draw, it’s obvious that he has some mileage in the cage. I have never met a person with as much passion to fight as K-Rod has. I’ve been in this sport competitively since 2001, and my face has collectively been through a smorgasbord of different punches. I have been hit by the best in fighters in the world and by the worst fighters in the world, but no one packed more punching love and respect for this “sport” than he did. Usually, when a fist lands on someone’s chin, the normal person gets hurt, dizzy, or even angry. If someone hits “too hard” during training, people find it disrespectful, and you’re seen as a nuisance to work out with. But not this man; he didn’t care about anything. He was there for a purpose and one purpose only—to enjoy the beauty of mixed martial arts.

I was in search for new sweat to swap and looking to expand my square-circle of face punching individuals. My hometown friend Dominick Tafuri would bring me to different gyms to taste some new blood, and this time around, in 2007, was the first time I traded leather with K-Rod in the practice room of Jersey Fight Club in Kenilworth, NJ. A few members from the Rhino Fight team were present. I understood that they were also looking to expand their horizons. Our training session consisted of ten 5-minute rounds of live, action-packed sparring with 1-minute breaks in between each round. This was something new to me; I was exhausted; we were punching each other as if we were trying to steal one another’s lunch money. We were beating the brains out of our own heads—but to us, this was bliss. After sixty grueling minutes, arm-barring Steve DeAngelis (HA!), getting kimura’d by Mike Blodget (or how ever you spell it) and ground-and-pounding with Kevin Roddy, our physical connection was set, so we sat in a kumbaya circle to verbally converse.

“Hey man, when was the last time you fought?” K-Rod had asked me.

“In 2005. I got knocked out by Devidias in twenty-three seconds. I’m thinking about making a comeback, but not sure if I want to fight anymore.” My response was pretty stern, and I truly wasn’t sure if I wanted to get back into that cage because of my past losses.

“Well, I think it’s time for a comeback dude. You’re pretty fucking tough.” K-Rod’s response triggered an emotion inside of me that hasn’t been struck in a while. His words of assurance gave me some confidence.

“Yeah, maybe I should.” I will never forget that moment. His short blurb contained powerful words that changed my life forever. He reminded me what I was in that practice room for, trading leather with likeminded people and sharing experiences with our culture of fighters. It wasn’t about the fame, the titles, the ring girls, the flashy fireworks and media that surrounded our sport—it was about the love for fighting.


Roddy understood what fighting meant to him, unlike many others in this sport where some fought just to say they did, some fought because that’s all they know, some fought to try and prove themselves to others. But not him—Roddy was born for this sport and thoroughly enjoyed everything about fighting and knew how to have the utmost fun experience with his involvement. During one of his interviews, you could see how much fun he has by name calling his opponents like school-yard children.


“He’s a boner. He’s a straight boner! I can’t wait to punch this dude in his mouth . . .”

Below shows another time at one of his weigh-ins for Bellator (which, by the way, is one of the biggest international MMA shows and where global viewers can witness live footage). The official weigh-in is usually followed up by a mean mugging stare down to hype the fight and embed fear into your opponent, where viewers separate the mice from the men before the fight even occurs. The stare down is usually an intimate moment of anger between two foes for the cliché. But for Roddy, the stare down is as odd as it gets. He, again, decides to enhance his comedic personality for his own enjoyment—and mine.

krodRoddy pretending to be afraid of his opponent during the face off.


Eventually, in 2008, we ended up becoming teammates at Pellegrino MMA, owned and coached by UFC veteran Kurt “Batman” Pellegrino. We were a solid form of studs; our team carried an attitude toward this sport that I have never been a part of: They are more like family members to me, and I’m glad, actually honored to share the positive energy and high spirits of Kevin Roddy. We shared blood, sweat, and tears inside and out of the cage, and I wouldn’t swap my experience with K-Rod and KPMMA for the world.

This man has been in more fights than Frank Dux in Bloodsport, but I had never witnessed anyone happier involved in fighting, let alone mixed martial arts. His gladiator fighting style exposed the caged passion and entertained the spectators like Maximus Aurelius; the crowds cheers echo through the arena touching the hearts of many. He has fist-i-cuffed with all time greats in numerous of mixed martial arts shows and traveled the nation to square off against a multitude of opponents. Each and every fight he would land punches the emitted showers of confetti as his face was painted upward with every stroking uppercut that brushed his smile. Each hook that grazed his mouth anchored his lip endings ear to ear. Every laugh that spewed from his internal voice-box of happiness was erupted from the pressure of a rear-naked choke. His back spinning high kicks made his world go round, and the taste of blood hydrated his planet with enough nourishment to keep him alive, and continue fighting. Like I said, Kevin Roddy or Roddy or K-Rod understands his life purpose—a true fighter at heart.

Thank you Kevin Roddy, for reminding me what fighting is all about. You are the people’s champ, and that, my friends, is a K-ROD.


About Jay Isip

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