Tom DeBlass is an imposing figure. At six feet tall and well over 200 pounds, the Ocean County Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu owner is not the type of guy you want to pick a fight with. And if his size doesn’t intimidate you, the three stripes on his black belt might.
But Professor DeBlass is not a bully. In fact, if there’s one thing he hates, it’s those who pick on the small, weak, and helpless.
“I don’t like bullies,” DeBlass told me over the phone on Sunday night. “That s**t pisses me off!”
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I was curious to know what the World and Pan-Am Champion would do if he were ever to catch, say, a 12-year-old bully at his school.
Needless to say, he had some interesting ideas.
“What I would most likely do is have one of my 14-year-olds train with him and, probably for an hour straight, and just not let the kid quit at all, no matter what, no matter tears, crying, just wouldn’t matter.”
And God help the poor kid if he’s older. “Then he’s going to train with me,” Tom told me.
Professor Tom, of course, made it clear that he would seek the parents’ permission, and even though the bully would feel helpless, he would never suffer any physical harm.
Professor DeBlass may not wish any serious harm on bullies, but he does want them to see the serious harm they do to others, which brings us to the next step in his personal bully rehabilitation system.
“I would make them watch a video of another kid committing suicide,” he told me. “I’d make them watch someone putting a razor blade across their wrist and cutting their skin. You want to be a bully? Are you willing to be the reason why somebody does this to themselves?”
“You want to be a bully? Are you willing to be the reason why somebody does this to themselves?”
Bullying isn’t the only thing that makes DeBlass’s stomach turn, either. Despite being an MMA fighter and BJJ competitor for years, the Ricardo Almeida black belt is sickened by the street fight videos he sees all over the internet.
“It makes me sick, man,” he said. “I can’t even watch them, man. It makes me sick to my stomach just because I feel most of it’s, like, not fair. I feel like these guys are just inexperienced and when they knock somebody out, you know, when someone gets hurt, they follow it up with a…10 or 15 unnecessary strikes.”
I don’t like these street fights, man, when people are hurting each other. I just wish people would stop hurting each other. There’s no need. They’re fighting for what? For free? They’re not getting paid to fight and they’re hurting each other for what? You know what I mean? To prove a point? To be on World Star? I mean, come on, man!
They’re not getting paid to fight and they’re hurting each other for what? You know what I mean? To prove a point? To be on World Star? I mean, come on, man!
Of course, while Tom detests street fight videos and while he would never want to a hurt “a civilian” in the streets, there may have been one person the Pan-Am Champion wouldn’t have hesitated to lay some instant street justice on: Dillon Danis.
Danis made headlines across the BJJ and MMA community when insulted Renzo Gracie’s students. As Renzo is Tom’s instructor’s instructor, DeBlass certainly did not take kindly to the slight.
To make matters even worse, Dillon attacked Tom personally, referring to him as “DeBlass-hole” and threatening to slap him.
Tom responded almost immediately, warning Danis that there’d be a problem if they met face-to-face in the street.
I was curious to know if Professor Tom’s feelings towards Dillon had cooled at all. They had, but he is certainly in no hurry to make friends the former Marcelo Garcia student.
“If he wanted to apologize to me, that would be welcomed,” DeBlass said of Dillon. “Otherwise, you know, he goes his way, I go mine.”
You can listen to my entire phone conversation with Professor Tom DeBlass below: