Coach’s Corner #4- Matt Fiordirosa


Charlie Anderson

  1. How did your first get into wrestling/MMA?

I started wrestling when I was 4 years old.  My dad was a good athlete in high school but regretted not wrestling when he was younger, so that was the first sport he started me in. I started mixed martial arts when I was 18 years old and getting burnt out of wrestling.  Clay “The Carpenter” Guida (UFC star) used to pick me and take me to practices after my college wrestling practices.

  1. What do you think your peak moment was as an MMA fighter?

I think my peak performance was my very last fight, which is sort of frustrating.  I felt like I was ready to be on a big show, but never got my opportunity to shine – see what I did there =) .  Overall my two highlights were being on the TapouT TV show (the first reality tv show for mixed martial arts ever) as well as being inducted into the XFO Hall of Fame.

  1. How did you know that it was time to pursue a career in coaching wrestling?

My whole life I’ve wanted to be a teacher and a coach.  When my fighting career started to take off, I took advantage of being on TV and used that to open up my own wrestling gym, Sunshine Wrestling Academy.  When I was injured, I closed my gym down and pursued a teaching career.

  1. How did you end up at Lake Forest High School?

I was injured training for a fight so I had to take some time off.  To pay my bills while injured I began refereeing wrestling matches for junior highs.  I was at Deerpath and Mr. Troemel (I wrestled with his son and graduated with his daughter) referred me to the high school because they were looking for a coach.  I applied and started coaching here as an assistant in 2009 as I finished up a teaching degree at Trinity International University in Deerfield. When I graduated, a teaching job opened up, and I was fortunate enough to get the job!

  1. The wrestling program has produced many great athletes at the collegiate level, why do you think the team has had this success?

I think a key to the success is that kids have really bought into what we are doing as a program.  We provide year-round training that keeps the kids committed but still allows them to participate in other sports.  I think that kids have genuinely enjoyed their experience with the program and gained valuable life skills that they take with them moving forward.  

  1. What are your expectations for this season?

We have HIGH expectations this season.  We are really trying to break the school record that we set it 2016, and then tied in 2017 and 2018.  We are also working on getting not just one state qualifier, but multiple this season!

  1. Anyone on this year’s team that you think is deserving of a shoutout?

TJ Cottam is a senior leader on the team this year that we look forward to seeing how his season goes.  He fell short last year at regionals and we are hoping to use that loss as motivation for this year’s state series.

  1. How was your time on Tapout (TV Show)?

It was absolutely AWESOME!  That experience greatly changed my life and opened up many doors for me.  I was treated like a celebrity for a little bit, and it was an interesting look into what it’s like to be famous.  I wasn’t mega famous, but people would ask for autographs and to take pictures. I enjoy talking about the “good ole days” and can’t wait to tell my son about that experience!

  1. How did you get the nickname Sunshine?

When I used to fight I had long, blonde, beautiful, golden locks of hair and I was always smiling, even when I was getting punched.  I actually didn’t like it at first, but from a marketing point of view, people definitely remembered it because it was so unique. It wasn’t like bone crusher or the destroyer.  I would overhear people leaving the fights talking about me saying, “What was that blonde guy’s name? Was it Sunshine? He was good!”

  1. Would you be interested in making a comeback to the MMA world?

I have NO desire to revive my mixed martial arts career anymore.  That being said, I do think I would fight anybody for the right amount of money though.  Having my son has quickly changed my view on certain things and I need to be here to provide for him.  Who knows, maybe little Luca will be interested in following in my footsteps. =)