Richie ‘Vas’ Vaculik isn’t scared of much. He faces opponents as an elite Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) competitor; charges 30ft walls of water as a big wave surfer and can handle TV makeup and studio lights in his role as a presenter on FOX Sports 3.
Growing up on Maroubra Beach, Richie was born into a strong surfing culture which would later become the subject of the award winning documentary Bra Boys: Blood is Thicker Than Water. It was the follow up doco Fighting Fear where Richie appeared alongside childhood friend and Big Wave Surfer Mark Matthews to follow the tumultuous lives of the two world-class athletes facing against-all-odds personal challenges and how together, they came through stronger than ever.
Richie was 18 when he was first introduced to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu by blackbelt Bruno Panno, a martial art that is now widely used by surfers in their fitness training. On Richie’s MMA debut, he won in a first round knockout and it was then clear he would be pursuing dual sport careers. In surfing, Richie has conquered some of the world’s most dangerous breaks, including The Right & Shipsterns Bluff in Australia, Hawaii & Teahupo’o in Tahiti. Richie is one of a select few invited to compete in the 2015 Red Bull Cape Fear contest – the date is set once the meteorologists say that the swell is big enough and ready.
With the UFC being the fastest growing sport in the world, FOX Sports commissioned a weekly panel show dedicated to everything UFC called UFC Fight Week (FOX Sports 3). Richie co-hosts the show with Tara Rushton and Elvis Sinosic and it has just been extended to an hour show each week. As a UFC competitor, Richie was a member of Team Australia in The Ultimate Fighter and will next be in the ring himself on in November 2015.
Garage Entertainment (Producers of Bra Boys and Fighting Fear) launched the 10 part observational doco series The Crew in 2012 in partnership with Fuel. Shot during the production of Fighting Fear, the series follows the journey of three best mates from the ’burbs (aspiring musician Kid Mac, professional big wave surfer Mark Mathews and Richie) as they struggle to break free from the shackles of troubled childhoods and realise their dreams. Now just completed Season 3 of The Crew – Generation 2 will go to air on FOX Sports 3 from 20 August and see Richie, Kid Mac and Mark mentoring 3 young talents from each of their chosen disciplines.
With the opportunities he has been afforded, Richie enjoys speaking to youth groups, schools and sporting teams about his personal story and fear management.
Power. Speed. Versatility. Individuality. Performance. Generation next talent.