WHO: UFC pioneer, MMA coach, reality television star, actor, and broadcaster Din Thomas
WHAT: The Don Julio Sandia cocktail paired with the wagyu dumplings with charred kimchee cabbage and brown miso aioli; the bacon-wrapped Kobe meatloaf with mango barbecue, sweet-and-sour onion rings, and curried sweet potato mash; and the chocolate peanut cup s’mores of molten chocolate cake, torched honey marshmallow, graham cracker strudel, chocolate peanut praline sauce, and vanilla bean ice cream.
The celebrities I was most surprised to learn were fans of mine are: Actress Laura Prepon (Orange is the New Black, That ’70s Show) watched me do stand-up comedy at the Laugh Factory in L.A. during a shoot for our reality TV show Dana White Lookin’ for a Fight. I was stoked she knew who I was from my fighting days. Also Herschel Walker, who was just as excited to meet me as I was to meet him. And I’d say the legendary actor Mickey Rourke, who I met at a fight in L.A. recently. He knew exactly who I was. I still can’t believe it.
Something I learned about myself as I made the transition from professional fighter to professional coach was: I’m a much better coach than I was a fighter. Fighters today aren’t coached properly, but it was much worse back in my day. With a more wholesome training approach encompassing mind, body, and spirit, I would have become a world champion.
I hope people will realize my career, and more importantly, my life was truly all about: giving. As an entertainer, I try to give people a good time. As a coach, I try to give my fighters a career. As a human being, I give kindness and hope to everyone, hoping that they will do the same.
Recognized globally as a pioneer of the sport known today as mixed-martial arts, Din Thomas is among the most respected and admired figures in the world of fighting. A three-time nominee for World MMA Awards Coach of the Year, Thomas has coached legendary fighters such as Amanda Nunes and Tyron Woodley to UFC world championship glory. A Brazilian jiujitsu black-belt master, he appeared on two seasons of the long-running reality television series The Ultimate Fighter before joining the cast of Dana White’s Lookin’ for a Fight in 2016.
An accomplished actor and member of the Screen Actors Guild, Thomas has starred in numerous film and live theater productions, remaining active in the local theater scene of South Florida as a member of the Bananas Republic and Friends with Benefits improv comedy troupes. A true renaissance man of sport and the arts, he serves as co-host of the afternoon drive-time radio show Josh Cohen & The HomeTeam, airing weekdays from 3-5 p.m. throughout the Palm Beaches and Treasure Coast on ESPN 106.3FM and worldwide on the ESPN app. An avid reader, learner, and practitioner of meditation, Thomas splits his time between his residences in West Palm Beach and Port St Lucie.
ABOUT THE COCKTAIL:
The Don Julio Sandia
2 ripe watermelon chunks
0.5 oz Agave nectar
1.5 oz Don Julio Blanco tequila
1 oz Cocchi Americano
0.5 oz watermelon purée
0.5 oz lime juice
Tap watermelon chunks with agave, combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake, strain. Garnish with a lime wheel and red marigold.