A Neighborly Tiger Shark



© Marc Wickert
1 Mar. 2007

photos © IFL


When Dennis Hallman departed the Seattle-based Tiger Sharks, the team was quick to snap up Bristol Marunde to fill the vacant middleweight spot. And when this Alaskan-born fighter isn’t busy training at the gym, he’s probably working hard as a salesman selling properties, or putting his MMA skills to practice protecting residents in his own neighborhood.


However, at the time of this interview, Bristol is finishing off some business at the real estate office before getting ready for his next workout. “I’m going to train tonight. I’ll only be working out once today because I lifted yesterday, so I gave my body a little bit of a rest this morning,” says Marunde.


Born in Fairbanks, Alaska, Bristol has spent most of his life in Washington, but regularly heads back up north. “Both sets of my grandparents moved up to Alaska to settle on homestead land, and my family became a commercial fishing family. My parents’ families grew up in a really small town called Tok. I moved to Washington when I was little, and I used to go to Alaska in the summers to commercial fish.”


After adopting Washington State as his home base, Bristol later took up wrestling at about 10 years of age. “My mom tells me that I came up to her one day and said I wanted to start wrestling, and she kinda got caught off guard and said okay. I got it into my head that I wanted to start wrestling. I think I’ve just been drawn to these combat sports ever since I was little.”


As a young man, Bristol was then drawn by the force of caged combat after seeing MMA events on television, and decided it was for him. “I was in college, and like anybody who has fought today, they’ve seen the fighting on p-p-v TV. When I saw it I was blown away. I couldn’t imagine someone stepping in a cage with another person and fighting until one of them could no longer fight. I couldn’t believe anybody would do that.


“Right then I knew that I could go in there and smash somebody: It was just the confidence that I had. I wanted to prove to everyone and to myself that I could do that. It was kinda out of respect for the toughness of the guys who were doing it, and I knew I could be that tough.”


Bristol, can you tell us about the incident when you caught the rapist, please?


“Yeah, that was pretty interesting. To me it was a cool thing because of all the training that I’d done, all the preparation for fighting. The boxing and jiu jitsu had given me a confidence that I normally wouldn’t have had. One night I was getting ready for bed and I heard some terrible screams from my next-door neighbor. Through the wall, I could hear the yelling for help, so I went outside and saw a person run past me in the dark. My neighbor was lying on her kitchen floor saying somebody was in her house.


“I don’t know what possessed me to, but I took off after him, and ran him down half a mile away. He was still running in the dark when I tackled him. He got up and faced me, ready to fight. I told him he wasn’t going anywhere, and he denied attacking my neighbor, then stepped in at me. With all the training I just automatically knew what to do: I used my kicks and wrestling to subdue him until the police came along and arrested him.


“Later the Mayor of Seattle and the Chief of Police presented me with an outstanding citizen award. It was kinda funny. It wasn’t that I wanted to beat somebody up, it was that all my training gave me the confidence to assist an innocent victim and to bring a bad person to justice.”


I’m sure your neighbor is a fan of the Tiger Sharks. How did you come to be in the team?


“I live in the area and I just started training at the gym, and when Dennis Hallman moved on, I took over the spot – I was the next guy in line. I showed my skills while working out with the guys and they liked what they saw.”


Who are your main training partners?


“Reese Andy is my main training partner and we train at West Coast Fitness gym in Renton, Washington.”


How’s Shad going?


“He’s a fun guy. He works at a bar and he’s a real outgoing guy: He’s fun to have on the team.”



Bristol Marunde (right) vs. Matt Horwich


Most of the Tiger Sharks are now based in Seattle, aren’t they?


“Yeah, except Allan Goes lives in California. He comes up every couple of weeks and works out with us.”


What are your main weapons in a fight?


“My first two weapons are: I’m really strong – I do a lot of weight training. So that and my wrestling skills, I think, are my two biggest strengths. My older brother, Jesse, is a World’s Strongest Man competitor. He got second in the 2005 WSM and we’re constantly going over weightlifting, so I have a pretty strong weightlifting background.”


When you do the weights, do you mainly concentrate on weightlifting techniques or powerlifting techniques?


“I do a lot of Olympic lifting and a lot of exercises that I’ve made up myself for multiple body-part workouts: I don’t do your typical sit-down-on-a-bench exercises – I do powercleans, deadlifts…  I like kettlebell training, which is for functional strength.” 


The Tiger Sharks take on the Red Bears on April 7. What are you expecting from Chris Albandia?


“I didn’t even know who I was fighting. That’s the first I’ve heard about it. My focus is building myself: Anybody can throw a punch, anybody can defend a takedown: It’s about preparing myself for the fight and worrying about him later.”


So your preparation for a fight is more a generic one where you’re prepared for anybody regardless of their background?


“Yes, I think that’s important, because if I get my mind set on one aspect of a fighter and he comes out and has a completely different game, then I don’t want that to affect my game at all. For instance, if everyone says, ‘Oh, he’s a stand-up fighter’, and all you think about is his coming out punching, and then he comes out and shoots a really good takedown, what is that for a good preparation?”


Do you get to spar with Maurice in training?


“Yeah, I sparred with Maurice last night – we’re working on kickboxing. I feel my skills in stand-up or on the ground are good enough to go with anyone. Right now it’s more important for me to be prepared mentally, and to be focused and not be distracted by all the distractions that are out there for young men.”


Are you going to mention her name here or not?




Bristol, is there anything you’d like to add?


“I think fighting is a lot like life: You have to work hard and you have to have fun with it. If you’re not having fun, you won’t be successful. And you have to learn to enjoy the whole process, and cope with the losses and enjoy the wins. That’s kinda where I’m at: I’ve had some losses lately and I hate losing. But I’m taking it with a grain of salt, and saying, ‘Hey, I messed up and maybe I wasn’t as focused as I could have been.’ Now I’m back training: I’ve been working hard and let’s bring it on; let’s have another fight because this is what we love to do.”




“None at the moment, but I’m definitely interested in talking to potential sponsors.”



Bristol Marunde vs. Matt Horwich


Bristol Marunde’s stats:

Nickname: Bristol

MMA record: 2-4

Division: Middleweight

Stance: Orthodox

Height: 6'1"

Date of birth: 20 April ’82

Birthplace: Fairbanks, Alaska

Home: Seattle, Washington

Team: Tiger Sharks

Coach: Maurice Smith



For more on Bristol Marunde:

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