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Writers and Fighters: A Podcast
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Writers and Fighters: A Podcast

Author: A.J. Ortega

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Weekly interviews with a writer or a fighter. Hosted by A.J. Ortega. We talk books, fiction, poetry, reading, boxing, MMA, bjj, wrestling and more. The latest information on the podcast can be found at and on social media.
21 Episodes
In episode 21 of Writers and Fighters, I interview Lemus Dos, an independent pro wrestler. We talk about how he started training in lucha libre and his family’s involvment. Lemus II tells some stories and memories from his many years in the business. He explains how he became known as “The Menace from East L.A.” and his love for Mexican and Chicano culture. We wrap up with his Canadian whiskey recommendations. You can find him on Instagram @lemus_dos and Twitter @LemusDos.
In episode 20 of Writers and Fighters, I recap the Canelo Alvarez vs Billy Joe Saunders boxing match and interview Carla Hoch, a writer with a variety of fight experience. She is the author of Fight Write: How to Write Believable Fight Scenes. We talk about the different martial arts she has trained in, some of the issues writers face when writing fight scenes, and a number of other things. You can follow her on Instagram at @carla.c.hoch or #fightwrite. Read the blog at Also, you can use the following discount code for Writers Digest University: FIGHT10 (Note for listeners: In this episode we discuss inappropriate sexual contact in gyms and using self-defense for violent and sexual attacks.) Canelo’s entrance:
In episode 19, I interview Alicia Doyle, a journalist and former boxer. Her nonfiction novel is called Fighting Chance. We talk about her start as a reporter, which led her to an assignment at a boxing. She tells us about the transition into training and competition, where she won two Golden Gloves championships and the California Female Fight of the Year in her pro debut in the year 2000. Her website is She is on Instagram @disasterdivaboxer and Twitter @aliciakdoyle.
Ep18 - Matt Mendez, writer

Ep18 - Matt Mendez, writer


In episode 18 of Writers and Fighters, I recap UFC 261 and interview Matt Mendez, a writer from El Paso, Texas, now living in Tucson, Arizona. Matt is the author of Twitching Heart, a short story collection, and Barely Missing Everything, a young adult novel. We talk about El Paso, his writing process and tech he uses to compose, his future projects, and his love of boxing. I refer to two of his stories, "Tacos Aztecas" and "El Terrible." You can keep up with him on his website, 
In episode 17 I recap the circus that was Triller Fight Club and interview Reyes Ramirez, a writer from Houston, Texas. He writes short fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. We cover a number of things like his writing process, his poems about Eddie Guerrero and Selena, and his short story collection, which is coming out soon, from University of Arizona Press.  Visit his website, He’s on Instagram: @nisabes. And Twitter: @y_si_rey_quiere Here’s the Selena Poem we talked about: Here’s a reading of the Eddie Guerrero poem we talked about (starts at 17:50):
In episode 16 of Writers and Fighters: A Podcast I do a quick recap of night one of WWE’s Wrestlemania 37 and interview a screenwriter, Jennifer Mulligan. She is a writer, director, and producer of multiple projects. She is the award-winning director of death isn’t the same anymore. Jennifer has some great insight into making movies, collaboration, writing, the Canadian film scene, and we even talk a little about fight stuff. Her website,, has links to her films. Jennifer is on Twitter, @mizmulligan, and Instagram, @mizmulligan, as well.
In episode 15 I interview Dyl Dempsey, an independent pro wrestler working out of Laredo, TX. We cover his start in wrestling, working through the loss of his father, his recent ACL injury, and how he is still contributing to the wrestling world as he works through rehabbing his knee. Five Star Wrestling is having a show in Laredo on April 24th to fundraise for Dyl’s medical expenses. You can follow him on social media: Facebook: Dyl Dempsey Instagram: dempsey956 Twitter: DempseyRoR913
In episode 14 I interview professional MMA fighter Dalton "Hercules" Rosta. He’s currently fighting for Bellator in the middleweight division and he is undefeated. He is booked on the prelims for Bellator 256, Ryan Bader vs Lyoto Machida, on April 9th. You can stream it through Showtime. In our conversation we talk about how he ended up in Bellator, extending his contract versus free agency, calling out Dillon Danis, his plan to continue his winning streak, and his preference for taking in information through audiovisual media. Follow him on Instagram @dalton_rosta, Facebook, and Twitter. Check out his Bellator profile and links to his first four fights here:
In episode 13 of Writers and Fighters I start with a quick shoutout to my late brother on his birthday. Then I play “Polka Dot Woman” by LC Flowers and interview him, too. LC Flowers is a musician from the borderlands of El Paso and Ciudad Juarez. He has a new album, At Home, coming out soon. We talk about his musical influences, songwriting process, and more. Follow him online. Instagram: Facebook: Spotify: New release dates: April 2nd - Quicksand/Strangers single release April 26th - At Home LP digital release June 1st – At Home vinyl ships At HomeColor Vinyl Purchase Info: $25 including shipping (lower 48 states only, include address with payment) Venmo - @lcflowersmusic PayPal -
In episode 12 of Writers and Fighters, I pay respect to the late Marvin Hagler and talk about Estrada vs Chocolatito II. The interview portion features TJ Koracin, aka Tom Puppet, a videographer for professional wrestling out of El Paso, Texas. We talk about his start as a cameraman, memorable gigs, and the covid hiatus. Subscribe to his YouTube page at and his Instagram page at
In episode 11 I recap the UFC 259 event and interview award-winning writer and bookstore owner Jennifer Murvin. Jennifer and I discuss why she started writing, a little about her process, and how covid has affected that. We talk about “Lifeguard,” a graphic piece she wrote and published in Anomaly, an arts and literature journal, and the importance of home in her writing. She tells us about opening and operating Pagination Bookshop in Springfield, Missouri. We finished up with her telling us a little about televised boxing being present in her childhood. You can read more of her work through her website And make sure to visit the bookstore: Twitter: Facebook: Instagram: "Lifeguard" by Jennifer Murvin:
In episode 10 I interview Dylan Dunbar, a former independent pro wrestler who created and now runs Heavy Metal Wrestling in San Antonio, TX. We talk about his time watching wrestling with his family, his eventual training, the transition into promoting, and the effects of COVID-19 on the independent wrestling scene, among other things. Visit for the latest news. Facebook: HeavyMetalWrestlingSA Instagram: HeavyMetalWrestlingSA Twitter: HeavyMetalPro
In episode 9 of Writers and Fighters, I recap a few fight cards: UFC Fight Night, a battle between Mexican warriors Berchelt and Valdez on ESPN, and Adrien Broner's return on Showtime. Then I interview Jared Walls, a stand-up comic living in Austin, TX. We talk about writing, his time working as a prison guard, dealing with hecklers, and a little this and that. He is on instagram @def_foxworthy and on TikTok @jaredwallsy. 
In episode 8 of Writers and Fighters, I interview Brazilian jiu jitsu competitor and assistant coach Kenzie Landry. She is enthusiastic about working with children at the Renzo Gracie Riverstone school in the Houston area. She’s an IBJJF gold medalist and has competed for Submission Hunter Pro, Grappling Industries, and others. We talk about her start in the bjj game, competition, teaching, and reading selections. You can follow her on instagram: @thekenzieblaire and her sponsors @jiujitsustateofmind
In Episode 7 of Writers and Fighters I interview Symmatree, a Texas-based rapper and songwriter. We cover his initial interests in music and reading, some of our observations about the evolution of rap music, a little about his writing style, and we even finish up talking about pro wrestling a little. Symmatree has merch and music at The music is also on Spotify and Apple Music. He’s on Facebook if you search Symmatree. And if Instagram is your thing, follow @symmatreedyr
In episode 6 of Writers and Fighters I interview Anja Stridsman, a Swedish Australian boxer and artist. We talk about her start in boxing, overcoming injury, and eventually winning a gold medal, boxing for Australia, in the women's 60kg division of the 2018 Commonwealth Games. She's also an artist with lots of great content online. You can catch her skateboarding on Instagram @pebbleswarhammer or you can check out her website,
In episode 5 of Writers and Fighters I interview John Fry, a poet. He is the author of With the Dogstar as my Witness. We discuss his upbringing, language, reading, and how that influenced his writing. John shares a story about how he acquired the cover art for his poetry collection. John reads two of his poems and ends with a poem in translation by a poet he admires.
In episode 4 of Writers and Fighters I recap the UFC on ABC event and interview Athena Martinez, an amateur MMA fighter training with Australian Top Team in Sydney. We talk about her start in the fight game and her mindset as a fighter. She shares a story about an injury sustained during a cryotherapy session which derailed a scheduled bout. We end with a chat about her reading and writing habits and how that translates into the fighter mentality.  You can find Athena on Instagram: @athena_martinezz
In episode 3 of Writers and Fighters I interview Nathan Jolly, a former independent pro wrestler and current NPC bodybuilder. We talk about where he gets his work ethic, how he started in pro wrestling, why he transitioned into bodybuilding, and his connection between fitness and mental wellness. He mentions his NPC Classic Physique win in 2020 and his upcoming goals for 2021. You can find Nate on Instagram: @ginger_gainz76
In episode two of *Writers and Fighters* I interview award-winning author Rene S. Perez II. His first book is a short story collection, *Along These Highways*, and his second is a novel, *Seeing off the Johns*. We talk about Corpus Christi, playing music, writing, and what it’s like living in London. Then we talk a little about the fight game and Rene shares his experience watching the Andy Ruiz Jr vs Anthony Joshua rematch at a pub in England. You can find Rene online at
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