Roll Models & Empire Grappling invitational kicks off tomorrow and will no doubt be one of the biggest events put together by both proud promotions.
I grabbed a chat with one half of the Main-Event Shane ‘The Goth Lord’ Curtis, who makes his return to a place that holds many fond memories and will be taking on London Grapple’s Matt Inman.
I’d like to start things off by thanking you for taking the time to speak with me today Shane, and also to congratulate you on your upcoming inclusion to the Roll Models & Empire Grappling invitational.
“Thank you, it’s great to be on. I’m more than happy to do interviews for any upcoming matches that I have, it’s a nice way of helping advertise them.”
I hope preparations have gone well in the build-up to your scheduled return to the mats?
“Yeah, to be fair, I haven’t competed yet this month. I did 2 last month, and maybe 3 in September, so I’ve been quite busy this year to be fair. I’ve had some really good preparation for this one, I’m looking forward to it. I’ve wanted a match with Matt for a while, so I’m glad that I got it.”
It’s definitely gonna be a big one.
Your rise through the ranks has been an incredible Journey, a regular participant in many events with the promotion, it must be a great feeling to once again step out there for them?
“Oh yeah, David Lethaby and Roll Models have been with me since I was a blue belt. I did 3 blue belt tournaments for them, and got gold in all 3. After that, David had me on for numerous super-fights, I’m undefeated for Roll Models as well, which is quite nice hahaha. Same goes for Empire as well, I’ve been on a lot of their events too. I’ve done a couple of invitational matches for them, I’ve done their grand prix’s as well. It’s good to essentially come back to where it all started, being the Main-Event as well really means a lot.”
It’s great to see athletes paying homage to the place that helped develop them on their journey. Especially on such a huge collaboration by them both for tomorrow, it’s gonna be such a great event.
“Yeah, I’m really looking forward to it. Roll Models have supported me, and have done all the way to purple belt, which I am now. And I’m an ambassador for Empire, so it’s great to be able to give something back.”
There have been a few setbacks over the last couple of years, with the pandemic that has hit the athletes most of all from continuing on their respective journey’s. While under the strict guidelines, practitioners had their own demons to battle to adjust to them. What was your experience through these troubled times?
“I think, more than anything, it was the lack of competing, that was probably one of the biggest things. I was still able to train, whether we were supposed to or not haha. I still trained enough to keep myself ticking over, the fact that we were out of the competing for so long, that had the bigger impact on me.”
It must have been an incredibly stressful experience for athletes such as yourself.
“Yeah exactly, I was lucky to have been able to train. I was doing stuff at home as well, lifting weights and doing my strength and conditioning. I can imagine it was probably worse for some people. Also, to be fair, I wasn’t full-time. I did have a full-time job, I was on furlough, but I’ve only really been full-time for about a year and a few months now. I was lucky that I wasn’t full time at that point, it would have been harder if I was at the time.”
The Jiu-jitsu scene is packed to the brim with notable characters across the UK scene, but you have stood out from the crowd as a fan favourite. Many in attendance tomorrow will be in high anticipation for your Main-Event return and the return of ‘The Goth Lord’. How did your nickname come about?
“Lloyd Cooper haha, I’ve always said, you don’t choose your own nickname., if you do, you’re a bit of a dick hahaha. Lloyd has been forever calling me that, or along the lines of that anyway. There’s been a few different varieties, the Goth Prince, the Dark Prince. I just kinda took it and ran with it, it gives people something to remember me by.”
Image by Fight Visuals
It’s definitely a standout name, not one many would forget in a hurry.
Word on the grapevine is that we could potentially witness you bring your talents into the cage setting. Recently training with Dan Hardy and recently crowned CW interim champion Jimmy Wallhead. Is there any truth to these rumours?
“It was a couple of years ago, but I don’t think that’s gonna happen anytime soon anymore. I was supposed to have a few MMA fights, but my opponents pulled out for various reasons. So I think for now, I’m just gonna focus on Jiu-jitsu, ADCC trials and trying to pursue that. I will definitely fight in a MMA setting one day, just to experience it. I’ll keep training with Dan and what not, but it’s gonna be more grappling that I’ll be continuing to focus on rather than MMA right now.”
If you were to go into the MMA circuit, no pun intended, but what a pair of Roll Models you’d have with them guys haha.
“Hahaha, I like that.”
Looking ahead to tomorrow’s action, you are set to take on the highly regarded BJJ Black Belt in London Grapple’s Matt Inman. In true ‘Goth Lord’ fashion you are once again set to take on the best the scene has to offer. What do you make of Matt in the build-up to your scheduled meeting in Stoke-On-Trent?
“Oh Matt’s a fantastic competitor, a veteran in both MMA and Jiu-jitsu, I’m really excited to compete against him. I saw him compete against one of our lads, Dylan Hart who’s also on the card. Matt beat him 4-2 on points, Dylan’s very good, he’s one of our purple belts. Watching that match play out when it did, is gonna help me. Because I know what Dylan’s game is like and I know how well that matched up against Matt, or not so much I should say. Matt’s a nice guy as well, I’ve no bad words to say about him, I’m just really looking forward to the match.”
100 percent, it’s gonna be a great end to a great event no doubt.
You have bore witness to many exceptional shows put together by Roll Models and Empire Grappling alike over the years, and know 1st hand the talent that will be showcased tomorrow. Other than your inclusion, are there any meetings in particular that you’re looking forward to witnessing?
“There’s quite a few good matches on there. But besides my own match, I’m looking forward to seeing my coach Paul Lukowski take on McQueen. That’ll be a cracking match, Paul doesn’t turndown anyone, so I’m looking forward to seeing how that one plays out. And all my teammates that will be competing also, there’s so many I’ll be looking forward to.
I hope you enjoy all of them mate, it’s definitely such a packed event, full to the brim with talent.
It’s been a pleasure speaking with you today Shane and I wish you all the best for tomorrow mate.
“Thank you dude, thank you for having me on.”
Last but not least do you have a message for the fans that will be in attendance and anybody you’d like to give a shout-out to?
“Thank you to everyone that’s coming to watch, I’m looking forward to putting on a show. Shout-out to all my sponsors, Subguards, Scramble, Roll Models, Brotherhood Performance, Sam Antonen Mental Performance, Becka Louise Tattoo and my team at Nottingham MMA. Big Shout-out to Dave at Roll Models and Jake at Empire, I’m really excited for it and looking forward to tomorrow.
Limited tickets are available, £5.00 from every ticket goes to your favourite athlete. So make sure to cement your place in history, you most certainly will not be disappointed.
Grab your tickets here 🎟