TSC Interviews: HDNet's Mike Straka

Mike Straka doesn't have a nickname. At least not one I know of. If he did, it would be "Maverick."

No, it's not because his boss is Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks. 

Straka is a guy that does things off the cuff. He's professional but knows when to turn up the heat and ask tough questions, as evident on his hit show "Fighting Words" on HDNet. You'll notice a few things when watching "Maverick." His hard-hitting interview style. His well-selected attire. But more importantly, the ability to get fighters such as Frank Shamrock to open up.

The show is only a half hour long, but it manages to give MMA fans a very personal look at their favorite fighters. And who would have guessed he used to be Vice President of Fox News Digital? 

But why did this former Rutgers Scarlet Knight leave the green pastures of Fox for HDNet? How did he get into this media world in the first place and become one of MMA's most respected journalists? 

I got to the bottom of that and more in a recent interview with Straka. Having the chance to actually sit with him was very cool, particularly at the Ruby Tuesdays bar. Despite the fact we differ in tans, muscles, number of tattoos (I have none), and beverage preferences (He had red wine. I had a Sprite on the Rocks.), I found some common ground.

We both are mistaken for Italians (He's Hungarian-Chilean. I'm Lebanese-Venezuelan). We both went to Rutgers. And we both live in NJ. Oh, we also both love MMA. But you probably could have guessed that.

Scroll down to read my interview with HDNet's Mike Straka.

Fast Facts

  • Former Vice President/Executive Producer of Fox News Digital
  • Current host of "Fighting Words" on HDNet
  • Wrestled for Rutgers University

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Barnegat, New Jersey. 

Did you have a good childhood?

I had a great childhood. Dad was a UPS man. Mom was a nurse's aid. I went Monsignor Donovan High School in Toms River (home of UFC Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar), where I wrestled. That's pretty much where I got a big viewpoint of the world. In Mon Don, you had people from all over. If I stayed at Barnegat, I would have gone to Southern Regional High School. 

I know people who went there and they had a very small viewpoint of the world around them and I think Mon Don expanded my horizon. College wasn't a big deal for me. I had no desire to go to college. I wrestled and was good at it and that's what got me through Rutgers. 

You said Mon Don expanded your viewpoint of the world. Would you say there was more diversity?