Tyler Toner file photo: Isaac Hinds | Sherdog.com
So, you think you’re up on your underground DJs. But, have you ever heard of Icemaster Fire? How about DJ Chicken Fingers?
Well, even WEC featherweight Tyler Toner has to pause for a moment when questioned about the various monikers he’s spun under.
“I used to do DJ battles, probably six or seven years ago,” says the once-beaten Coloradan prospect, who meets Diego Nunes at WEC 51 on Thursday night, in his home state. “I would just make up a DJ name right on the spot. I used ‘Icemaster Fire’ a few times and, yeah, ‘DJ Chicken Fingers.’”
The hobby has since taken a backseat to Toner’s burgeoning career as a pro fighter, but the turntablist culture remains a clear part of his life. When asked which DJ he hired to play his May wedding, Toner inhales sharply.
“That’s a touchy subject,” he cautiously offers. “There's a great DJ here in Colorado, I think he won the DMC nationals once, his name's DJ Vajra. I tried to get him and he was all about it, but...the bride’s parents weren't too into it.”
“It's because he didn't call back!” a female voice shouts in the background.
So, I wanted to know what WEC’s resident hip-hop head would put on his own custom in-this-moment-of-life, pre-biggest-fight-of-his-career, get-hype mixtape. “Thunder” (or “Chicken Fingers”) offered this track listing and commentary:
1. “Intro (from 'Out of Business')” -- E.P.M.D.
2. “Ante Up” -- M.O.P.
“Most of this is just stuff to get me amped up, like M.O.P. and Ghostface. I tried to organize it like a mixtape with some sort of flow.”
3. “Stakes Is High” -- De la Soul
“I would say this song applies to the Nunes fight. I feel like this is a make or break fight. It's still early in my WEC career, but this is my first really high-caliber opponent, a guy who's probably universally pretty highly ranked at 145. It's a good fight, high stakes, and I feel like, stylistically, it's a really good match-up for me.”
4. “All In Together Now” -- DJ Muggs and GZA
5. “The Key” -- The Knew
"The Knew is a local [Colorado] band. It's not hip-hop, more of a rock song, but I like it." You can download the track for free from the band's website: http://theknew.com/b4ie/
6. “No Mercy” -- Pharoahe Monch f/ M.O.P.
7. “Run” -- Ghostface Killah f/ Jadakiss
8. “Ready to Die” -- Andrew W.K.
9. “Never Scared” -- Bone Crusher f/ Killer Mike and T.I.
“When I was in Japan [for Shootboxing], I came out to 'Never Scared.' I took the fight on short notice and I wasn't really sure of who my opponent was. Then I looked him up online and saw that he had fought Ramon Dekkers, Tony Valente, he had over a hundred fights, and I just thought, 'oh, s--t, what did I get myself into?' So I picked that song to kind of show that I wasn't scared. I'm sure the Japanese fans didn't know what it was saying, but I think it got the point across.”
10. “They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)” -- Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth
11. “Dynamite!” -- The Roots
It’s interesting that Toner would choose eleven tracks for his mix: a win over Nunes on Thursday would be the eleventh of his MMA career. We’ll see if it is, in fact, “dynamite.”