BTC190: MMA LEGEND KENNY FLORIAN

ON POW AND BITCOIN

09 July 2024

In this episode of the Bitcoin Fundamentals Podcast, we interview the versatile Kenny Florian, a former UFC fighter known for his impressive career across multiple weight classes. We explore Kenny’s journey in MMA, highlighting his work ethic, resilience, and the concept of “proof of work.” Kenny shares personal stories, including his near-death experience in Brazil and his background in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai. We also discuss how his discipline and hard work led him to discover Bitcoin, and why Bitcoin resonates so strongly with athletes. Tune in for an engaging discussion that bridges the worlds of MMA and cryptocurrency.

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IN THIS EPISODE, YOU’LL LEARN

  • Kenny Florian’s journey from soccer to becoming a renowned UFC fighter.
  • The challenges of competing in multiple weight classes in the UFC.
  • The concept of “proof of work” as it applies to MMA and Bitcoin.
  • Personal stories of perseverance, including a near-death experience.
  • The parallels between the discipline in MMA and the principles of Bitcoin.
  • Why Bitcoin resonates with top-tier athletes and Kenny’s personal journey with cryptocurrency.
  • Insights into the mental strategies used to stay focused and prepared for fights.
  • How Kenny maintains a positive demeanor in a tough industry.

TRANSCRIPT

Disclaimer: The transcript that follows has been generated using artificial intelligence. We strive to be as accurate as possible, but minor errors and slightly off timestamps may be present due to platform differences.

[00:00:00] Intro: You’re listening to TIP.

[00:00:03] Preston Pysh: Hey everyone, welcome to this Wednesday’s release of the Bitcoin Fundamentals podcast. Today we have the versatile, legendary UFC fighter Kenny Florian, a former UFC fighter and the host of the popular TV show BattleBots, who’s known for his incredible work ethic and resilience. We’ll explore his journey in MMA and the concept of proof of work and how his background led him to Bitcoin.

[00:00:26] We’ll also discuss why top-tier athletes are drawn to Bitcoin, among many other fascinating topics, for instance, Kenny’s near-death experience. But with all that said, Let’s go ahead and jump right into this interview with the savage, Mr. Kenny Florian.

[00:00:45] Intro: Celebrating 10 years. You are listening to Bitcoin fundamentals by The Investor’s Podcast Network. Now for your host, Preston Pysh.

[00:01:03] Preston Pysh: Hey everyone. Welcome to the show. I’m here with the one and only Kenny Florian. Welcome to The Investor’s Podcast and Bitcoin Fundamentals.

[00:01:10] Kenny Florian: Thanks so much for having me, man. Been listening for a very long time.

[00:01:13] Preston Pysh: It’s funny. I didn’t mean to tell this story. I think I told you this in Miami with my son and we go down, we visit my parents.

[00:01:20] They live in Florida and I don’t know what it is, but when we’re in Florida, we sit down out on their back porch and we watch the robots on TV. And there’s Kenny on the, and you and I have exchanged DMS and stuff here and there. And so we’re watching this and my son’s just obsessed with robots. And in fact, he’s on a robotics team.

[00:01:39] They just did really well. They placed in the nation and they’re just, he’s all into anything robot related. So we’re there.

[00:01:46] Kenny Florian: It’s like he has an engineer for a dad.

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[00:01:48] Preston Pysh: Exactly. So we’re there watching the BattleBots on TV. And we, my dad has them like all recorded and stuff. And we’re there watching it.

[00:01:58] And I haven’t said anything. I haven’t said that you and I talk or anything like that. Yeah. My sons bring something up and they’re like teasing me and whatever, and I just had this urge to like flex in front of my son. I was like, well, Kenny Florian right there on tv. I talk to him all the time. my son.

[00:02:17] No, you don’t. You don’t talk. I, it is like I do I have conversations with him right there. That guy on tv. And my son was like, and my parents looked over at me like, no, you don’t talk to Kenny. I was like, I do. I talk to Kenny, not all the time, but here and there. And it was the funniest moment.

[00:02:34] Like they were all, none of them believe, and after I said this to them, they’re like, there’s no way you talk to Kenny. Anyway, sorry to embarrass you right off the bat. That’s cool, man. It was so funny. It was the funniest thing ever. Anyway, I wanted to title this conversation in proof of work, because. When I look at what you’ve accomplished, it’s mind blowing from just not proof of work, but proof of pain, right?

[00:02:58] When I’m looking at this, not too many people want to do the work, the physical work that’s associated with this. But then it goes beyond that, and it’s there’s this proof of pain of, like, how in the world do you develop the mindset to want to go through something that is so painful, physically painful?

[00:03:19] So, like, where does that come from in early on in the early days of Kenny Florian? What developed this in you?

[00:03:26] Kenny Florian: Yeah, that’s a great question. I definitely was one of those people that a lot of people said, you don’t look like a fighter. You don’t have that kind of a traditional background of a fighter.

[00:03:39] My father was a physician. He was a thoracic and cardiovascular surgeon. So he was pretty disappointed when his college graduate son decided he wanted to become this martial artist. At first, it was just like, I want to do martial arts for my life, or I’m going to see where this goes. And he was like, what, how are you going to make money doing that?

[00:03:56] Yeah. Yeah. That’s what kind of what it was about in the beginning. And I don’t know, he actually was a martial artist. He was a black belt in Judo even through medical school. And he wanted us all to learn how to do martial arts. I did martial arts as a kid. I was more involved in soccer. I played soccer at Boston college.

[00:04:13] So I had done that for a very long time. So you go from one of the wimpiest sports to one of the toughest sports, which is pretty funny, but yeah, so. For whatever reason, any time I did martial arts, it seemed like the world stopped. It seemed like it was this magical thing, this spiritual connection, even since a kid.

[00:04:29] It was just like, I could do that for hours. I would just focus and, I don’t know, there was something different about it, even like from soccer. And of course, there’s the individual component where everything is on you. So, I don’t know if there was this thing called the Ultimate Fighting Championship, and it was in the early days.

[00:04:47] It was developed in 1993, as most people know, and it developed into a sport. First, it was this thing of, let’s see what the best martial art is, and let’s find the best martial artists from all different disciplines all over the world. And let’s have them fight and let’s see what’s going to work in a real fight.

[00:05:04] And time again, the answer was Brazilian jujitsu. And this family called the Gracies had developed this system in Brazil, which is a modification of Japanese jujitsu, Japanese judo. And they made it, I guess, more efficient and more effective for a real one on one fight. I had seen this. I was more involved in soccer at the time.

[00:05:26] I was at BC. Playing soccer and my brother had called me and told me to check this thing out And it was everything that the kids talked about who would be the best fighter? Who’s the best fighter? Is it the heavyweight champion of the world in boxing? Is it a wrestler yada? And we actually saw this play out in real time.

[00:05:43] It wasn’t a movie this was real and we saw what actually worked and I remember my mind just being blown because I immediately assumed that the best fighter in the world would be this big jacked up striker, this guy who would just knock people out left and right. And my brother had told me, Hey this Brazilian guy won.

[00:06:02] I said, well, was he jacked? Was he just knocking guys out left and right? He’s no, he just gets a hold of them, brings them to the ground and he gets them in these holds. And I was like, so disappointed. I was like what’s going on. And I remember seeing it and I wasn’t a big fan, but just because it was not in line with what I thought fighting was.

[00:06:20] Preston Pysh: Well, you had this Muay Thai background, right?

[00:06:23] Kenny Florian: Yeah, a little bit. Yeah, I came from striking Yeah, so I was like I did karate as a kid and all that stuff So I was like, of course a karate guy is the most dangerous guy in the world They can kill you with one strike, but that was all theory or we were looking at it From an incorrect perspective, in my opinion.

[00:06:37] So seeing that was just mind blowing thing for me. And I said, I want to reconnect with martial arts. Like I want to do what that guy is doing. He was not a big guy. He was the smallest guy actually in the competition. He was winning oftentimes without even throwing a strike. Yeah. He knows something. He’s doing things that other people just aren’t ready for.

[00:06:58] And that was fascinating to me. And I felt that getting in a real fight for the large part of my life was one of the scariest things ever. And I had two choices, really. It was run away from it or run towards it. And I would have this dream. That would haunt me over and over again, like so many people I’m sure have had, where you get in a fight, you’re hitting someone, and it does nothing, or you just have this fear where you just freeze up, and I hated that feeling, it was such a scary thing, and I said, I need to confront this, what do I need to do to understand this better, and that’s what kind of started this whole journey, I guess.

[00:07:35] Preston Pysh: It’s interesting because you’re describing a free and open market to prove what’s the best fighting style. Yes. And for decades, you had everybody basically marketing and branding that their style was the best, but nobody really wanted to go blow to blow. in a free and open market cage to prove what is the best style.

[00:07:56] And of course the best style isn’t going to be just holistically one thing. It’s going to be a hybrid of different things. So like you have this background, Muay Thai, Jiu Jitsu. Knowing what, now, if you could go back and re-engineer a solid foundation and call it whatever style, and then sprinkle, call it 10 percent of this or 10 percent of that, what would that composition, what would that engineering look like?

[00:08:25] Of the perfect fighting style for somebody that would be just unstoppable.

[00:08:31] Kenny Florian: Yeah, that’s a great question, man I think what you find as you start to train in all these different arts is that yeah, you’re right There isn’t just one answer. Is it there isn’t just one thing? However, I would say so many things in the world.

[00:08:45] It’s like there’s very few truths But when you find those truths or those unchanging things that are real and true They tend to replicate themselves almost everywhere. It’s like they’re spread out everywhere. So what are the truths of physics? How do I maximize my body to be as effective as possible?

[00:09:07] And I would say you need to be able to follow those unchanging foundational skills of body position, whether it’s how you position yourself. To maximize your power from the floor. Everything that we generate as far as effectiveness happens from how we position our body, how we connect to another human being, how we position ourselves to add not only like layers of defense, but also add some type of positional advantage, whether it’s a particular angle, whether it’s how we.

[00:09:40] Get that person to carry our weight where they’re now bearing the burden of our weight and we get to relax a little bit how we manage our energy and how we execute certain things how efficient we are over time and then if we’re looking at it a large scale like long term what’s the viability of that style are you creating a style that is successful for this fight are you creating a style that is successful long term And also like your perspective of you can’t think of it like, okay, here I have all this offensive power, but now I’m just going to implement that and I’m going to go kill that guy.

[00:10:14] And you’re like, well, that’s not how it works first. How do you not get killed? What’s the defensive part? So I can’t kill you if I’m very vulnerable. So, what kind of defensive capabilities do you have? What do you understand? And then how do you implement that? And of course, what makes it so fascinating is that there are so many different styles and approaches to this, and it’s based on your background, how you see it.

[00:10:36] I’m not sure I answered your question specifically, but yeah.

[00:10:40] Preston Pysh: This is why I got a giant smirk on my face is because when you get around somebody who’s the best in the world at something. The response that you gave was, well, you haven’t defined the environment and you haven’t defined the other person that I’m going against because depending on how you define those factors, I could give you a different answer depending on who that is and what that is.

[00:11:00] Totally. And I guess what you’re really defining in such a unique way is we are constantly interacting with our environment. And it becomes part of us as we’re going through whatever that experience is. And without properly characterizing that, it’s almost impossible to give an answer. So on this point, you are one of two people that have competed.

[00:11:25] At four different weight classes, I’m curious what was that like to take your body through these different weight classes? Did you have to prepare for different fighting styles as you progress through these different weight classes? Or is it the same tactics, if you will, between those weight classes?

[00:11:42] Kenny Florian: Yeah. So when I started in martial arts, my initial approach to it was, I don’t know who I’m going to face. So what kind of skills do I need to develop in order to defend myself against not just like one guy, but like multiple styles. I don’t know what you’re going to come at me with. Like it’s not, this isn’t the set pattern of fighting of like he punches, I block and then I return, I don’t know what you’re going to do to me.

[00:12:09] What do I need to do to prepare for that? Okay. There’s that. And then there’s the fact that I could fight someone who’s 250 pounds. So like when I started this, I was like 150 pounds. So what do I need to know to deal with someone who is far larger than I am? Not that would be ideal or welcoming, but maybe sometimes you don’t have a choice in how you need to defend yourself or who is going to attack you.

[00:12:33] So I ignorantly in some ways said yes to yeah, Oh, biting at 185 pounds. Sure. I will try that. And even in jujitsu competitions, I would compete in a variety of weight classes. My brother, Was right around the same weight as me, so he would compete at his normal weight and I would always go up in weight so we wouldn’t have to face each other.

[00:12:52] So there are things like that, I guess, approach the problem from a different way, because it was scary. I understood that was scary. I understood I was human. I can get knocked out. I can get submitted and. I think defense was like the most important thing for me and how I would approach that. It’s I need to be able to survive, try not to get hurt. And then if I’m able to do something to you, cool, but first don’t get hurt.

[00:13:18] Preston Pysh: Do you think that the war of attrition approach, which is like extended out, have better endurance is the, and again, this goes to, it depends on who you’re fighting, obviously, but in general, do you find that kind of the, be a better strategy or do you really have to craft it to who you’re going against?

[00:13:34] Kenny Florian: Yeah, there’s no question about it. It’s interesting because truth, what makes truth so interesting is that it’s hidden and the more you go into it, the more truths you find. And I think that like at first it was like, okay, well, I need to be technical. I need to be efficient. And then you go, well, sometimes they’re technical and efficient too.

[00:13:54] Then if that’s the case, then my conditioning needs to be superior or my strength needs to be superior, or my tactics need to be superior. How I formulate strategies needs to be superior. So it just keeps going deeper and deeper. Right.

[00:14:09] Preston Pysh: On that point, how much of this is psychological leading up to the fight that you’re trying to make the person think that you’re preparing for endurance when you’re actually preparing for something else just to get into the mental side of this?

[00:14:21] Kenny Florian: Yeah, I think there’s definitely a component to that because I would stay very quiet about what I was doing and how I was doing it because the more information that the enemy has on you, the more they can prepare for you. So training in silence was huge. Not divulging certain information is huge.

[00:14:40] And even to the point of disinformation might even be beneficial of Hey, I don’t even know how I’m going to approach this guy. And I would always build up the opponent as much as possible. Like this guy could do this and that. And this, and I would talk very rarely about my training. When I was fighting, I would very rarely show techniques to people, even people that I would train with.

[00:15:00] So it was like, there was a lot of psychological stuff going on just because if I show this to someone, they may know someone that I may fight one day and they’re going to be aware of this. It was almost like a fanatical approach to some extent, but You realize that information is king, right? So the more that someone has that information, the more capable they become and you realize you need to both chase it and also hide it.

[00:15:23] Preston Pysh: So my freshman year at West Point, it was mandatory that we took boxing and I’d never been punched in the face before. Like ever in my life, I’d never been in a fight, a real fight. Yeah. And so you get in the ring and they set it up by weight class. And I did well, I did, I had three fights total.

[00:15:42] I won all three fights, but there was many times I got punched right in the face. And the first time that this happens to you, it is, it’s not pleasant. It’s terrible. Yeah. And I just remember the first time, I mean, I really got punched in the face and it was like, you just lose all sense of like where you’re at.

[00:16:02] You’re like, Oh my God, what just happened? And you’re like, Discombobulated and for you and after those three fights were over, I walked away with this sense of, I was really glad I went through that and that I experienced it, but I was happy that it was over and I didn’t have to do it again. And so going back to this idea of proof, not just proof of work to be the best and be there physically just annihilating your body, but the proof of pain of saying, all right, I did my three fights, but I want to go do another 10.

[00:16:31] What? And the world drove you to keep at this to become the best in something that you know you’re going to not. I guarantee the punch in the face that I got was probably make you laugh. So like, how do you deal with such blows and such punishment in wanting to come back for more? Help people understand that mindset.

[00:16:55] Kenny Florian: Yeah, well, Preston, I’m not sure it ever gets good. What you’re able to do is manage it better over time. And I think that it certainly wasn’t something that I fully understood even after I had a few fights, because there’s levels to it. There’s one shot and there’s like a big shot. And then there’s like several big shots in one round and you still got another 10, 12 minutes to go, or, 20 minutes ago, there’s levels to it.

[00:17:20] And certainly other people understand that better than I do, because they were in. Some crazy fights. I didn’t really have a whole lot of crazy fights. Thankfully, I tried not to engage in like a rock’em sock’em robot style fights because I’m not really built that way. Those aren’t the strengths of me.

[00:17:37] That’s not a physical strength of mine, in my opinion. And if I had to, okay, be tough, but you have to understand that I think your heart, your determination, your mindset, Is like an insurance policy. If you lead with your toughness, then that may get you through a few fights. It may even get you through a few years of your career, but you only have one brain.

[00:17:59] You only have one body and the beautiful thing about fighting or any type of kind of like kinetic style combat is that it’s a truth teller. And you either say I need to be tougher or I need to be better or I need to be bold And how do I need to do that? Because if let’s say I was like, oh, well I’ve only been hit once and i’ll be fine.

[00:18:21] This is a style that I can utilize going forward Well, maybe not maybe you haven’t faced that higher level of striker or you haven’t Experience certain other things or you haven’t faced this other guy who has amassed a certain set of skills that’s unlike anybody else. And yeah, it’s interesting. It’s like going in the further down, you go down the rabbit hole, the further you realize you have to go to understand it more and more.

[00:18:44] And. That mindset is a huge component, but it’s also a huge component into how you execute. One of the most common things you hear people say, it’s like, Well, if I ever get in a fight, I just get really angry, bro. And I’m going to go out there and I’ll, I turn red and I’ll just kick that guy’s ass.

[00:19:00] But, The reality is that may be helpful for a little bit, but it’s not conducive to how you approach fighting. You actually want to be super calm. You want to be super composed so you can actually access the skills that you’ve learned over time. I learned it the hard way. I remember I had a few fights leading up to the ultimate fighter when I was on that show.

[00:19:20] And basically the ultimate fighter was a show where they put 16 guys in a house and everyone fought each other. And you fought to see who would win a contract with the organization. I got to the finals. I was the smallest, least experienced guy. And somehow I got to the final, I was fighting at 185 pounds.

[00:19:35] Again, I was probably like 170 pounds and got to the final. And I absolutely choked in that final Preston. I was so overwhelmed with fear and pressure. That I felt like a deer in the headlights when I was out there. And that was something that was like such a mind bender because I had never really experienced that level of fear before, but I started thinking about things that weren’t important.

[00:19:59] I started thinking about the contract that was at play. I started thinking about the fact that my friends and family were watching. That was the largest crowd I had ever fought in front of before. And so I was thinking about all these other things instead of. What was real, which was myself and that person that was standing in front of me and maybe I would have lost anyway, but my mindset and how I was thinking about it wasn’t helpful for me to go out there and execute what I had trained for.

[00:20:26] Yeah. And. I realized that I needed to cultivate a completely different mindset. So I really started reading a lot after that experience. And it was that experience that really said, okay, I did this as let’s see what happens kind of thing. And there was that loss that really said, okay, I want to do this for real.

[00:20:42] I beat myself. And that was, I, that’s not sit well with me. So I really started doing a lot of reading on the ancient warriors of the past and. Special operations soldiers like they’re fighting for real things that you’ve done like there’s like it’s life and death I just go into a cage and I have a referee and there’s rules and all that stuff and yeah, I can get hurt Yes, you could potentially die But it’s a completely different thing and so I figured if I can learn from them I can maybe approach some things in a better way.

[00:21:14] Preston Pysh: I’ve never said this on the show. I really enjoy books about near death experiences. One in particular, I think it was written by a guy, Raymond Moody, I think it’s called Life After Life, thoroughly enjoyed the living heck out of this book. And I’ve read some others. I read that you had a near death experience in Brazil. Yes. I’m curious whether you’re willing to talk about what happened and more importantly, did this impact you in the way that you just view life?

[00:21:43] How profound was that experience on just who Kenny Florian has become?

[00:21:48] Kenny Florian: Oh my gosh. Yeah. And I’ve had other experiences as well that has deepened that understanding. And I guess. It comes down to time realizing that it is not guaranteed. You could lose your life tomorrow and do you have to make the best of what you have?

[00:22:05] And I was in Brazil. I was on a training trip and I was on a place called Pedro de Gavia, which translates to Gavia rock. It’s a place in Rio de Janeiro. And we would climb up it or run up it as a workout. And it’s this beautiful place as waterfalls, just a beautiful kind of like rainforest within Rio.

[00:22:25] And we had done our workout. We were cooling off by the waterfall. We went underneath, it’s this cold water. So it’s like rush of energy. And we decided to descend down the mountain. Well, now we’re soaking wet and it, there’s like moss and grass and greenery everywhere. And we went off the path a little bit and it was like pretty steep.

[00:22:45] And one of my friends had slipped and was sliding down the mountain a little bit and caught his balance was like, Whoa, like that was wild. And we all laughed about it and then it was my turn. I had slipped and I was sliding down a pretty steep incline or decline and all of a sudden I just felt air.

[00:23:01] So I’d actually slid off the mountain. And it was probably like, it was a decent drop, 20, 25 feet. And I had landed on a rock that was on top of a ledge. It was like this rounded rock. And as I was falling, I had like your typical, near death experience where I saw like my whole life flash before my eyes at the time.

[00:23:23] Yeah. It was like, everything was in slow mo. It was probably, like what a one second drop, but I, it was like, I was dropping like I was. Falling for like maybe five minutes. I was seeing everything. And I remember feeling sad that I was going to die on a mountain to Brazil. And my parents weren’t even going to know about where I was, how it happened.

[00:23:41] And I was working a job. I was at a translation agency at the time, translating financial documents, actually helping with that process. And I would translate prospectuses and like really boring stuff. And that wasn’t something that I was Really that excited about back then I had always wanted to find a way my passion is martial arts How do I do that full time?

[00:24:03] Yeah, and I remember being so sad about how I was too much of a whim Or so afraid to break out of this mold that people, or maybe this like mold that maybe my parents put me in of Hey, you’re going to go to Boston college. Then you’re going to go to law school. You’re going to be a lawyer. You’re going to do this thing because that’s what I think you should do.

[00:24:23] And I was doing that, but that wasn’t the life that I wanted to live at the time. And I remember just feeling so sad about that. I remember, and this all happened in a second, this all happened in a second. Like I was thinking about all of these things. And I like slapped out like one of the first things you learn in martial arts is how to fall Which is interesting and I had like did this slap out somehow just naturally and I truly believe that was one of the things that actually saved my life because If I was just let my body fall and let my head go back My head would have landed first and I don’t know what would have happened not to mention The ledge wasn’t very big.

[00:24:58] It was about just big enough for my body to land on it. And if I didn’t land on that ledge, I would have fallen like hundreds of feet. And then it would have been really bad.

[00:25:07] Preston Pysh: Wow.

[00:25:08] Kenny Florian: And yeah I remember my, I heard one of my friends crying because they couldn’t see where I landed. They were freaking out and I landed.

[00:25:16] I remember the first thing I did there’s two things you could have done was either cry or laugh. I started laughing and they could hear me laughing. And I was like, Oh my gosh, I’m alive. Like I’m alive in it. The wind was knocked out of me. And as soon as I took a couple of breaths, I started laughing and they had to like, help me up the mountain.

[00:25:33] They had to like, give me a hand to climb back up off of this kind of cliff. And we were all just silent going down that mountain. After we went back on the path and everyone was just didn’t say anything. And I remember just thinking about my life and I’m going, my gosh, like that could have been the end of it.

[00:25:48] And I was doing this thing that I didn’t really enjoy. And I went back to Boston. I talked to my boss that week when I got back and I told him I was going to move to part time. I was going to translate stuff part time and the rest of my time would be spent doing martial arts. Now, there’s not a whole lot of money in martial arts.

[00:26:06] I would teach private lessons. Yes. And I would teach group classes and things like that. But all I was doing was just like training day in and day out. And that eventually led into MMA, which I didn’t expect either. But yeah, that’s that story.

[00:26:18] Preston Pysh: So this next question I got for you is, it’s going to be a little bit weird, but I think anybody who knows you is going to agree with what I’m about to say.

[00:26:26] I think one of the reasons why you are so different in the MMA space and the fighting space. Is because you’re very likable and it comes through just very naturally through your body language, that you’re a very happy person and that you are somebody that’s just fun and you have a fun time with what you’re doing.

[00:26:45] And I think in that industry, the guys that have really made it to the championship type fights like yourself. It’s almost like they have a chip on their shoulder or they’re very angry and they’re harnessing that maybe darker energy into their fighting style and what they’re doing. And you are a standout in the opposite direction of that.

[00:27:03] In my humble opinion, how are you able to fight in such a savage kind of way, but at the same time, just be a very happy and charismatic type person.

[00:27:17] Kenny Florian: Yeah, no, thank you. I think that I’d be lying if I said you didn’t have to connect with that a little bit or at the very least understand that and I think it took me time to I think I was too nice at a certain point and I need to go.

[00:27:29] Hey, it’s either them or me and I need to be ready for that level of. Mentality and fighting prowess and but at the same time, I think that’s who I am My dad is a very optimistic kind of funny guy And I think I definitely got some of that from him I also think it’s important to not take yourself So seriously, and I also think that like I’m able to do things from more of a standpoint of like passion and love Than I am for I love fighting.

[00:27:59] I love learning. I love evolving. And I love developing skills at a high level. I think that’s always been my motivation and there’s some regrets in that I didn’t start this to become a world champion. I started this because I saw a vulnerability in myself and something that I needed to face to become stronger internally.

[00:28:19] And I guess passion and love are the things that I’ve tried to lead with. I don’t come from a broken home. I didn’t have a whole lot of adversity. Growing up as a kid in that regard. So I don’t know, I don’t really have much to be angry about, so that was an advantage in some ways, perhaps a disadvantage in other ways.

[00:28:37] I don’t think so. I think that it’s what really fueled me to get better at this thing.

[00:28:42] Preston Pysh: All right. Let’s talk Bitcoin. So proof of work, everything we’ve talked about is just enormous amounts of proof of work. So for me, when I’m looking at you and you’re a Bitcoiner, I’m saying that makes sense.

[00:28:54] It just seems like there’s this. Pool for people that have conducted an enormous amount of proof of work and they want to store that work and energy that they’ve performed into something that will be sustained into the future. But what’s your Bitcoin story? Like, how did you come across this and why did it resonate with you?

[00:29:11] I’m assuming it’s from all this past proof of work that you’ve done, but what would you say?

[00:29:16] Kenny Florian: I think that I came to understand that a little bit later. I think someone told me about Bitcoin when it was like, well, I remember the price. It was 72 and they had told me about this thing called Bitcoin. And so many things, the way that is presented to you is super important.

[00:29:32] It was more presented as Hey, there’s this thing and it can grow into something bigger. I think you would enjoy it. I think you should invest in it. And so that’s about all it was. And eventually it was more like, here’s crypto Kenny trying to make money off stuff. And then as I started understanding more about Bitcoin.

[00:29:51] I was just all Bitcoin. So by 2007, I think it started like that journey in 2016. I delayed on that 72 purchase, which of course everyone has that story of, I wish I invested earlier, but it wasn’t until later that I actually made that investment into Bitcoin. And then I was all in on Bitcoin by 2017 and really was learning.

[00:30:13] A lot about it and understanding that, wow, yeah, this really is a lot about proof of work and a lot of the, I guess, ideals that I appreciate and passionate about. Bitcoin changes you over time as well, and it allows you to understand it on a deeper level. You start to connect with those things, naturally be that thing, just like martial arts or carrying a sword.

[00:30:35] Like the samurai, you actually want to be that ideal. You actually want to be that thing that you are following. And so, yeah, it’s very similar, right? Because of the fact that combat is a truth teller and there is no faking it. I can’t pretend to be good at fighting. Go out there and fight and it not be revealed at some point, we go and find out and see who the better fighter is. And we’re going to see the way where the weaknesses lie or not.

[00:31:02] Preston Pysh: How about other top tier athletes that you come in contact with? It seems I just look at people that follow me on Twitter and some of the interactions that I’ve had through the years that there’s a lot of top tier athletes that just get it like right out of the gate.

[00:31:16] Yeah. I’m curious, like your thoughts on that and maybe what you’re seeing today with respect to top tier talents, how they’re looking at Bitcoin or anything else these days.

[00:31:26] Kenny Florian: I think athletes can be a great representation of it just because we see an athlete perform on game day or on fight night. And we tend to see it in terms of that performance or that day.

[00:31:39] And we forget very often that this is years in the making. Like this is years in the making. And a lot of times, like we like to say that like luck doesn’t play a part in fighting, but it can. And I think fighting in particular, I’ll talk about that. It humbles you because you realize you can get your butt kicked and you have got your butt kicked just to make it to where you’re at.

[00:31:59] Not everybody is humble. But they’ve been humbled at some point in their journey. And I think that when you think about all the years that I fought or all the years that these athletes trained, where they probably made 0. In fact, they’ve actually lost money. And now they have this short timeframe of actually making money.

[00:32:18] Well, you better believe they want to hold onto that as much as possible. In fact, they actually want to see that grow. They don’t want to see that robbed from them. I talked to this, I talk about this with one of the guys that I helped train. I said, like, how do you, when I was talking about Bitcoin, I said, how do you think you would feel if the six days that you put into your training, six days a week, if I took just one day away from you or two days away from you a week, And if you look at that in the course of a year, that is a lot of training that I just robbed from you that is, two years, three years, right?

[00:32:48] We start to has that compounding effect and that exponent that really starts to harm you and everybody should be thinking about in that in those terms, but that’s not cool. And that’s not right. And when you think that’s what’s happening to our money, Can be a depressing thing and a disheartening thing.

[00:33:05] And Bitcoin is that thing that, that allows us to now protect that, that energy, that time that we value so much.

[00:33:13] Preston Pysh: What advice would you give someone who is maybe new to Bitcoin and maybe intimidated by the complexities or the volatility? What would you say to that person?

[00:33:23] Kenny Florian: Yeah, that’s a tricky one. I think there’s no easy answer, because I don’t think it can be communicated.

[00:33:29] It can. Words play a definite factor in it, but it’s like anything else. When I’m teaching jiu jitsu, and I’m telling my students or whoever to do a certain thing, maybe they take it and they run with it. But the only way that they’re going to find truth in that is by experiencing it. And I tripped on Bitcoin in a way.

[00:33:50] And the first thing I did was buy it. I didn’t, and this is probably ignorant to a certain extent, but I went and just bought it. It wasn’t a ton but I bought some. And it’s okay, I’m seeing that it’s actually growing. This is interesting. Okay. I’m seeing this thing grow before my very eyes.

[00:34:06] I’m learning about it again and again. I’m seeing how I’m able to retain it. I’m seeing how it can’t be stolen from me. So that experience of that thing in combination with explanations such as yourself or the guests, the awesome guests that you had on your show, then there’s like more connections start to take place.

[00:34:26] Yes, there are certain things that I could say to help you understand it better, but at the same time, or make that leap to buy it. But I also think that like just buying it is equally as important because you need to experience that thing and see it for your very eyes.

[00:34:42] Preston Pysh: I can totally empathize with what you’re saying. So I found out about it in 2015 and really dived in, just started reading as many books as I could watching as many interviews as I could. I remember my first buy, it was like 220 and I was like, you know what? I’m going to buy this and just see what happens. Yeah. Kenny, it was like. A week.

[00:35:01] And it was already over 300. And I was just like, I mean, for somebody who is been watching, traditional markets and used to the volatility and like traditional markets, I was like, Oh my God, what in the world is this that I own? And it was like my desire to learn more, just went straight through the roof of What is, what in the hell is this?

[00:35:24] Kenny Florian: Yeah. Exactly. Same thing. It was like, I remember looking at it one way or a buying it one week and the next week I’m like, Oh my God, wait, what? What? How did this just happen? Yeah. And then being like, Oh, well, like this is interesting. Okay. I’m going to buy some more. And yeah, I think that it’s a very powerful thing, that connection and the words start to mean more to you over time.

[00:35:45] And then it also. Encourages you to learn a lot more if we’re being honest, you can have the best explanation of bitcoin ever But if I’m seeing that someone else can go and hack the network the price is going down for years upon years Guess what? I’m not going to buy any more bitcoin So bitcoin is doing the work just by proving itself right proof of work in that regard It’s showing you the functionality of it and People just aren’t really opening their eyes as much because it is very different from what we’ve known.

[00:36:14] And I think that’s a big thing, but it’s going to take time. And a lot of times we need examples for that proof or for that evidence to come forward and go, Oh, you know what? Let me try that too.

[00:36:24] Preston Pysh: We have a lot of founders and entrepreneurs that listen to the show. And what you see a lot in business is people that are developing a business plan.

[00:36:33] It’s not perfect. There may be at 80 percent of what they want to do, but they’re perfectionists and they want it to be 100 percent before they start doing anything. And what you’re getting at with what you’re saying there is you just have to start getting your hands dirty. You got to get in the ring and you have to start grappling with somebody before you can actually take the book knowledge that you learned about a case.

[00:36:56] Now you put your hand here and this person does this and then they turn and it’s like you can study that. In your head all day long, but until you get on the mat and you start actually conducting some type of action and you involve yourself in it, you’re never going to get any type of feedback mechanism as to what works, what doesn’t work, et cetera.

[00:37:17] Kenny Florian: But there’s no question about that. My dad would talk about that all the time. He’s from Peru. Both my parents are from Peru and he has this strong accent. English is not his first language. And he would say, I would see all of these Harvard professors explaining how surgery works and this and that, and then he’s the chest would be open in front of them.

[00:37:34] And they’d be like. I don’t really know. It’s one thing to say, it’s another thing to do. And it’s the doing that makes us who we are. And I think that process is super important. Yeah.

[00:37:45] Preston Pysh: I love that. Let’s quickly talk about BattleBots. So, I mean, cause this is just so for your expertise and everything you’re doing.

[00:37:53] I mean, it is out there in a little bit of left field. But you do this show so well. It is so funny watching. I’m sorry, I need to, I should have had this in my notes. Your, the guy that you, that co-hosts it with you. Chris Rose. He’s hilarious. Yeah. I mean he’s like practically a comedian. He’s hilarious.

[00:38:09] Yeah. But you guys gel so well on this show and it’s really become like a cult classic amongst people that nerds this. And so here you are on one side of the fence. Dealing with the most savage people on planet Earth, right, and the audience and the people that are attracted to the fighting are very savage.

[00:38:31] And then on the other side, you have like turbo nerds, like my son and myself, that are sitting over here watching this BattleBots. So, how did you get asked to do this and what’s your thoughts on it? Like looking back at all these years of doing this show?

[00:38:46] Kenny Florian: Gosh, yeah, it’s interesting. First of all, I guess I, I always like surprising people.

[00:38:51] I’ve always liked to have been the underdog or have people define me in certain ways and be like, no, you don’t know who I am. But I guess it was just presented to me like so many things in my life Like I wish I could say that I had this very specific plan and I’m going to do this and it’s going to lead to this lead To that it’s just like i’ve always put my head down done things and then all of a sudden Someone calls me and offers me an opportunity And that’s how that happened I was on vacation with my wife up in norcal and I got this phone call and Someone was talking to me about this show called BattleBots that they’re going to do a reboot of and back then it was actually Going to be on ABC Which was an intimidating thing in and of itself and they’re like, hey, we’re super late in the process We probably have our guy but would you want to come in for an interview?

[00:39:37] And I was like, well I’m  out of town right now. I’m actually on my way back to la I’m driving back now I was living there at the time. They’re like, perfect. Can you come in tomorrow at 10 a. m? And I was like, okay, sure. So in my mind, I was like, this isn’t going to happen. Like me engineering. I know nothing about this stuff.

[00:39:52] This is fine. That was your edge. That was your edge. Actually. Yes, it was. And they said, listen, we’re either going to go two routes. We’re either going to go with. Someone who has an engineering background or has done this or we’re going to go with someone who has like a fighting background and like present this as a fight.

[00:40:07] Yeah. So I was like, okay, well, let’s see what happens. And I do this interview and immediately they’re like, well, if you were to accept this job, you’d have to start studying in like next week or like tomorrow. I was like, okay, yeah, I’m willing to do that. I’m a little intimidated because it’s going to be on ABC.

[00:40:22] This is a whole different wall of wax and huge audience. And I know nothing about this. They curried this folder that was like this high to my place at the time. And it was like, Oh my gosh, I have hundreds and hundreds of pages about the rules, the robots, what it does, the teams, the names. And I had to consume all of this in two weeks time.

[00:40:46] And yeah, so I mean, it was crazy. That was the start of it. I got the job based on that one interview and yeah, and thankfully I gelled really well with Chris Rose and it’s been such an interesting journey. And now we’re looking to see. What network we’re going to go to next. So we’re just waiting on that.

[00:41:05] And yeah, so I can’t wait. I can’t wait for you and your son to come to a live event. We are the best. Yeah.

[00:41:10] Preston Pysh: So I’m still working on that. We are coming. Do you think that your positive energy and your thankfulness for what you’ve had in your life are the reason why the universe finds a way to present you with opportunities like this?

[00:41:26] Or what would you say is why you get presented with things like this?

[00:41:32] Kenny Florian: Yeah, I may not communicate all the time that I believe in this force, but I do think that my belief in God, like trust in what I’m doing, who I am having a positive outlook on things that’s always served me well. Not always, sometimes, people overlook it and see it as weakness in some cases, but.

[00:41:49] I think that as I’ve gotten older, I’ve seen it as such an edge. And people have told me this all the time. Like people want to help you for some reason, Kenny, I don’t know what it is that people want to help you. And I don’t know, I guess I try to be as real and authentic as I can. And I have fun with things.

[00:42:04] I love doing new ventures and I’ve always had this adventurous spirit. I think optimism has been one of the edges in my life that has helped me tremendously. Yeah.

[00:42:17] Preston Pysh: Well, before I did this interview, I went to my son. I said, Hey, guess who I’m talking to? I’m talking with Kenny. And I said, what’s your one?

[00:42:25] And I didn’t even finish the question. What do you want to ask Kenny? And he goes, when’s the next season? When’s the next show?

[00:42:37] Kenny Florian: I am waiting for that myself. Super excited to hopefully get something going soon. And we’re just waiting for the business side of things, the business side of television to play itself out.

[00:42:47] Preston Pysh: And is it looking hopeful?

[00:42:48] Kenny Florian: I think so. I hope so. It’s so weird. Like things that get approved or not approved in television, like there’s no rhyme or reason for why it happens. And a lot of times it’s just economics or. How they see it and how Ben, so we’ll see. I think there’s a couple of good options out there for us.

[00:43:04] I hope that they’re able to strike a deal and we can get on the road and get this BattleBots show going again. They do have a live show going in Vegas now, which is different. I’m not involved with that at all. But it’s like a thing. If you are in Vegas, you can go and check out. A live show. They have a bunch of robots ready to go and they just kind of battle for whatever it is that show length is, but it’s different than the actual season where they’re actually competing to see who the best team is or who the best robot is.

[00:43:28] So there’s been a lot of seasons, right? Like eight, eight, eight seasons. Yeah. So. I think it’s such a positive, cool thing for kids, especially like in an environment where we see so many negative things. This is awesome for kids to really, again, get their hands dirty, be involved with it, or at the very least be entertained by something that is fun and positive and helpful.

[00:43:53] And it’s cool because I do believe to a certain extent that engineers are born, not just developed in some ways. Kids, they just have a, I don’t know, they have a certain passion for it. And I guess, especially amongst men in general, we like staying busy. We like doing things with our hands. We like to work and we like to destroy things.

[00:44:11] It’s so cool for that reason. And they like to destroy things.

[00:44:14] Preston Pysh: This question is not fair. And this is my very last question. This question is not fair. Especially in the face of a previous question that I asked you and you were basically like, well, it depends on the environment and it depends on the person that you’re going against.

[00:44:29] Yes, you can only pick one robot, no matter, and I’m not going to tell you who it’s going against or the setting is the setting from season eight. What is the one robot that you pick as just dominating everybody else? Gosh, that is a tricky one. What’s the first one that popped into your head? End game was the first one.

[00:44:52] That’s your implicit bias. Okay.

[00:44:54] Kenny Florian: And yeah, just because it durability plays such an important part in fighting and it’s proven itself to be very durable and also like offensively, it’s extremely powerful. So it, it has knockout ability and fight stopping ability and they’re just amazing drivers as well.

[00:45:09] So they’re complete package and they know how to evolve with. Each and every fight. So that’s what I’m leaning towards. That’s a tough one

[00:45:16] Preston Pysh: though. That’s going to create drama. That question is going to create drama. Kenny, this was such a pleasure, such an honor to have you. I really appreciate your friendship through the years and what a fun interview for me personally, I’m sorry for the audience.

[00:45:31] They wanted us to talk more Bitcoin, but there’s a lot of questions I wanted to ask you personally. Yes. And I really appreciate your time coming on.

[00:45:38] Kenny Florian: It was a real pleasure. Thank you so much for having me on again. I’ve been a big fan for a long time and hopefully we’ll get a chance to watch BattleBots together.

[00:45:45] Preston Pysh: Yes, sir. Yes, sir. Yes. We want to do that. All right. Thank you, Kenny.

[00:45:50] Intro: Thank you for listening to TIP. Make sure to follow Bitcoin Fundamentals on your favorite podcast app, and never miss out on episodes. To access our show notes, transcripts, or courses, go to theinvestorspodcast. com. This show is for entertainment purposes only.

[00:46:08] Before making any decision, consult a professional. This show is copyrighted by The Investor’s Podcast Network. Written permission must be granted before syndication or rebroadcasting.

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