Thanks to the Hollywood-script worthy return of LeBron James to the Cleveland Cavaliers and the team being two wins away from a return to the NBA Finals, the Cleveland sports scene is once again the place to be, with fans showing their support full-throttle.
One such fan is 33-year-old Cleveland native and published sports author Vince McKee whose four books, Hero, Cleveland’s Finest, Jacobs Field, The History of the Cleveland Cavaliers, The Redemption of the King and the forth-coming Ohio Warriors, have catapulted McKee into the rarified air of young and talented sports authors.
Currently the Lead MMA Correspondent at The Inscriber: Digital Magazine where he offers mixed martial arts and sports commentary, McKee talks all things Cleveland sports, LeBron James and MMA with CEO/Founder and Publisher Robert D. Cobb, in his own unique Cleveland sports kind of way
RC: What inspired you to become a sports writer and author?
VM: “I have been a life long sports fan and it is something I take very seriously. I have also always loved to write, so when the chance came to put the two of them together I went for it.”
RC: Who were your role models and inspiration?
VM: “My Uncle Peter DeLuca who I was very close with, was always someone who encouraged me to follow my talent as a writer. He passed away in 2004, but remains my biggest inspiration.”
RC: Of all the books you have written, which one is your favorite and why?
VM: “Cleveland’s Finest. I firmly believe it is the single best book ever written on Cleveland sports. It was my breakout book, and covers every area in the history of Cleveland sports in incredible detail told by the athletes and coaches themselves.”
RC: As a Cleveland sports fan, who is your favorite writer (role model), athlete?
VM: “Believe it or not, buy my favorite writer is also a pro wrestler, Mick Foley. My favorite Cleveland athletes are Orel Hershiser and Jim Thome. I also always loved Mark Price and Delonte West.”
RC: What was your initial reaction to LBJ’s return?
VM: “I was ecstatic about it, because I knew it would make a great story and also help the city recover from a 4-year-old black eye.”
RC: What has been your favorite moment as a fan?
VM: “Watching the Indians pennant run in ‘95 and ‘97, also the MLB All-Star game in 1997. Amazing memories I will always cherish. I will also never forget the feeling of watching the Cavs incredible run to the 2007 NBA Finals.”
RC: What led to your interest and passion in covering MMA? (Ohio Warriors)
VM: “My uncle Jimmy got me turned on to it after the initial UFC 1. I have been hooked and have seen everyone since. I absolutely love it! I know the sport like the back of my hand, I enjoy every aspect of it. Getting to speak with Mike Goldberg for a few hours over Christmas was the biggest thrill of my professional writing career! That conversation with Mike, encouraged me greatly to apply for a position with The Inscriber. I can’t get enough of MMA, I watch every card and study it.”
RC: Who is your favorite MMA fighter?
VM: “There are so many to choose from that I will give you the ones I love the most, and that is a long list! Matt Hughes, Ken Shamrock, Brock Lesnar, Chuck Lidell, Jon Jones, Josh Koscheck, Rich Franklin, Frankie Edgar, Connor McGregor, GSP, JDS, and the list just goes on and on.”
RC: Where do you see the sport in 20 years?
VM: “It is the fastest growing sport in the United States and will continue to be. Boxing is not doing itself any favors, and if the UFC keeps running shows on free TV several times a month, it can’t be touched!”
RC: What do you feel is the biggest challenge facing MMA with the increased focus on cage-fighting and concussions?
VM: “Too many people have a false impression of MMA. They need to realize how far the sport has come and how much more dangerous football is then MMA. Someone is more likely to get hurt listening to the awful local sports talk in this town then fighting in MMA.”
Special thanks to Vince McKee and Liliane Opsomer at Clerisy Press for helping with this article.