Friday, April 16, 2010

Ron Waterman interview

Interview with Ron Waterman
2007/2008, 2010
by Evan South

Part 1 2007/2008

Me: Ron, lets’s start with your last fight at Art of War against Mario
Rinaldi.  I just wanted to get your thoughts on that fight...

Ron: I was actually very impressed with Mario’s wrestling ability, I don’t get taken down very often in a fight.  He came out and took me down right away, and pretty much controlled me for about 3 minutes, and I was in guard the whole time.  He didn’t do a lot of damage from the top position.  He’s a strong guy and has really good balance and I had a hard time improving my position, and then finally after about 3 and a half minutes I was able to get back up to my feet and had a couple of good strikes and just started to build more and more confidence on my feet as I was landing about everything I was throwing on him, and I think he was gassing at that point.  I felt pretty good and just finished the fight.  I think someone said I ended up hitting him 21 times before he finally went down, though.

Me: Luckily I saw the fight online, I wanted to go back with what you originally started with.  Were you pretty surprised that he went for that takedown right off the bat?

Ron: I watched his previous tapes, and he always does the same thing, he rushes in and gets underneath the guy, and picks him up, and most of the guys he’s had some pretty good slams on.
He was able to get underneath me and pick me up a couple times, and then the third time he picked me up he actually took me down to the mat.  So yeah, I was shocked.

Me: (laughs) Because usually it’s the other way around...

Ron: Yeah, exactly, that’s my game plan!

*Me: Going into your fight with Rinaldi, you had back to back losses for the first time in your career.  Did this add any more pressure than usual, seeing how 3 losses in a row could adversely effect a career?

*Ron: Yes, I did have a bit of added pressure to win this fight.  3 losses in a row is not good on anyone's record and losing to a fighter that really had not defeated any big name fighters would have been a definite hit to my career.  I did feel very confident going into this fight, much more so than the last two!  The last year was a difficult one for me personally going through a divorce after 20 years of marriage so it was hard to get my mind where it needed to be.  Not to use that as an excuse for my losses but it definitely took a toll on my ability to perform as I needed to.

Me: I had seen the post-fight press conference interview with you, and you had made a note how well Art of War treated it’s fighters.  Now, you’ve been all over around the world, every organization from the old-school UFC to Pride, to IFC, WEC, etc.  What is it you notice in one organization, as in the treatment of fighters, versus other organizations?  What makes one organization stand out?

Ron: I’m one of those people that likes to know what’s going on when I get into town.  From start to finish, they had someone that was waiting for us at the airport, they gave us an itinerary,
they gave us our meal money right up front. You’re not left guessing about what’s going to happen next and what’s coming up.  It reminded me somewhat of Japan, because Japan is very well organized like that.  When you fight for Pride or Pancrase they are just so efficient, and Art of War was like that.  They brought me to the headquarters, and everyone there knew me by name, and they just treat you first class.  It’s not like that all the time.  It was very professional, they put you up in a nice place, we were paid very well for the fight.  Everything was just very top notch.

Me: I usually save this for the end, as far as what’s coming up, but is your next fight with Art of War, or what’s on the horizon?

Ron: I’m certainly hoping to fight for Art of War again, I don’t have anything on the books with them right now.  I do have another fight with Bodog coming up, so that’s going to be either end of the year or beginning of next year with them.

Me: Ron, I’m going to skip back a little bit.  You’ve had 2 fights with Ricco Rodriguez.  First time you met you beat him in a decision in WEC.  Second time he beat you in WFA.  I know you guys at one point were set up for a rubber match.  How do you feel about those 2 fights you’ve had with Ricco and are you still looking for the rubber match?  Do you think there’s still some unfinished business?

Ron: I would certainly welcome a third match with him, definitely.  My first fight with him was how I picture myself fighting him all the time, and that’s just taking him down and controlling the fight from start to finish.  The second time I fought him, for some reason I thought I was going to be comfortable staying on my feet with him, and it didn’t work out so good.  After you get clocked a couple times your game plan changes drastically.  He hit me once so hard that it completely closed my eye up, and it pretty much put a stop to the fight.  I didn’t get to fight my game plan on that one, but you know, that happens.

Me: Was it a little disappointing not getting that rubber match that was set up?

Ron: Yeah, it’s frustrating when you have a month or two to train for a fight and you’re ready to go and then the day before the fight, I’m still waiting for my airline ticket.  And that’s what I was talking about with the professionalism of the organizations. I was left hanging until the last 6 hours before I was supposed to fight, and they still say “Hey, you might be able to still fight”.
I’m like, give me something here, I don’t know what’s going on.

Me: That’s got to be so painfully frustrating...

Ron: Right, when you train like that, and then your efforts totally gone to waste because you’re not reimbursed for the fight, I wasn’t getting anything for it, so I pretty much trained for him for 2 months for nothing.

Me: I want to get into Bodog.  You fought on their first PPV as one of the featured super fights.
Tell me your thoughts on Bodog in general, and your thoughts on your first fight with them against Roger Gracie...

Ron: Bodog was another very well run organization, especially for just getting kicked off here, like Art of War was.  Very professional, they treated the fighters incredibly well.  Everything was first class.
As far as my fight went, I was a little disappointed with myself.  I’ve never been submitted in my life, so that was kind of an odd thing for me to expect that I was going to be submitted by Roger, although that is his strength, I still had 45 pounds of muscle on the guy.  My cardio was in very good shape at the time, so I just don’t have any excuses as to why that happened.

Me: In watching that fight, you really powered out of that first armbar attempt.  Roger is such a good grappler, does he almost lull you into a false sense of security?

Ron: Yeah, and like I said, I’ve been in that situation so many times before, if someone puts an armbar on me, I catch it and either muscle out or pick them up and slam them.  He was very slick, I give him all the credit in that he was able to get my arm out to the side fast enough in that armbar that there was no way I could get out there to defend it.  I got caught hands down so there was nothing I could do about it.  But I thought I would fare much better on the ground with him.

Me: What do you know about the upcoming fight with Bodog?  Have they mentioned any names for opponents, anything unofficial?

Ron: No, I haven’t heard anything as far as an opponent goes at this point.

Me: You had 3 fights for PrideFC.  You were 2-1.  What were your thoughts overall in fighting for Pride and your Pride experience?

Ron: I really enjoyed fighting for Pride.  They’re top notch.  It’s always a good experience to get to fly over there and fight for them.  For me that was one of my first really big, besides the UFC,
spectacles.  When I fought against Kevin Randleman there were 50000 people up there in the stands, it was pretty overwhelming.  It’s a pretty neat experience, and I’ve fared pretty well for the most part for them.

Me: Again you were 2-1 in Pride.  Is there a reason they didn’t have another fight for you after the Kevin Randleman fight?

Ron: No, I just wasn’t booked for a while after that and my agent, who is Phyllis Lee, was very close with the Japanese promoters, but nothing came up in the last few years with them.

Me: Is it tough getting booked as a super heavyweight?

Ron: I think your options are cut down drastically.  There are some great super heavyweights out there, but certainly not as many as if you were fighting in the heavyweight category.  I’m kind of on the border right now, where I could get down and fight as a heavyweight.  I would have to lose 15 or 20 pounds, but that’s really not that big of a deal for me to get down to 265.  I could certainly do that.  I don’t have as many offers as one would think.

Me: I saw you weigh in light at Art of War at something like 275...

Ron: When you’re training like I am, I walk around at about 285, and when you put that much time into training for a fight there is just no way you can keep the weight on, especially when you are carrying around that much weight.  I usually fight right around that weight of 275.  And another 10 pounds, I could drop that fairly easy.

Me: Is that something you are considering (dropping to heavyweight)?

Ron: Certainly.  If I had the opportunity to fight a top heavyweight contender I would drop to 265, or the opportunity to fight again in the UFC I would certainly think about getting down to 265 as well.

Me: You had fought in the UFC back when the events were still numbered in the low 20's.  What were your thoughts on fighting in the old UFC and your experiences back then?

Ron: It was so overwhelming back then.  My fourth fight of my career was in the UFC.  At the Bas Rutten Invitational, John Perretti, who was the matchmaker (of the UFC) at the time, was there officiating that tournament.  I just walked through it (the tournament).  He invites me to the next UFC.  So here I am at UFC 20, on the card, and I only had 3 professional fights in my whole career.  I didn’t even know how to spell jiu-jitsu, and I’m fighting in the UFC!  It was pretty awesome.

Me: It was kind of baptism by fire, you were in UFC 20, 21, and 22, all three events only a couple months apart...

Ron: Yeah, they were pretty close together...

Me: From there you went to Pancrase, Pride, etc...

Ron: I went into the WWE for a span of about 3 years, and when you’re in the WWE obviously they don’t let you do anything else but wrestle, so there was a short time there I was away (from fighting).  Once that ended, then I went right back in(to fighting) and that’s when I started going overseas to Japan and competing over there.

Me: Was there any attempt after you were let go from your developmental contract with WWE to
get back into wrestling or had the business changed too much, or do you feel there was possibly no future with the pro wrestling?

Ron: Well, I went over and wrestled for New Japan in Japan for about a year, off and on, doing some different tours with them, and then I did some smaller promotions here and there.  As far as going back to the WWE, at the time I had 2 young boys at home, it was just crazy on my home life.  There was no way I could go back into that lifestyle.  It would have been really difficult for me to take that on.

Me: As opposed to fighting, where you can pick and choose where you go...

Ron: Right, you fight 4 or 5 times a year, you can train at home, and you’re not away from your family.  It was very difficult for me to even go to Kentucky, and train with OVW for a year and a half.  It was a tremendous strain on my family.

Me: I want to ask about your training.  You have always been working, whether as a teacher or something else.  Have you ever been able to train full-time and not do anything else?

Ron: I’m closest to that now more than I’ve ever been to being able to do that, because I own my own real estate company now.  I’m basically my own boss.  And no, there’s never a time when I don’t do anything else but just train.  Like for my last fight with Mario, I was able to go out to Las Vegas and train with Randy Couture at Xtreme Couture for a week, and I was able to devote a lot of time to just preparing for this fight.  Whereas before, I was a school teacher for 10 years so my time to train was very limited.  And then I traveled with Team Impact ministries for 5 years, so I’d find myself training on the road, and just pulling guys out of the woodwork to train with wherever I could find them.  That was also very difficult to get into the kind of shape I needed to.  It’s been a struggle for me because I’ve always had to hold down another job at the same time.

Me: So you think right now you’re probably in the best situation?

Ron: Yeah, definitely.  Now when I have a fight coming up I can delegate my time and devote as much time as needed to get in the kind of shape I need to be in.  That’s definitely better for me, especially being 41 years old.  I have to put in the time to get myself there.  But I’ve always been one of those people who trains year round, and I train every day, I do cardio every single day, so when I have a fight come up it’s not like I’m starting from scratch, I’m already in pretty good condition year round, and I just have to get myself fine tuned.

Me: Because you do go to different places to train, what are your pros and cons when you are going all over training with different camps?

Ron: The pros, I get lots of different looks, I get different training styles, I get to see all kinds of new bodies all the time.  I’m always a student of the game, I’m trying to learn as much as I can from everyone.  Especially with me, I’m just a wrestler at heart, it’s all I’ve ever known, it’s all I’ve ever done.  So for me to get in with a group of guys who primarily focus on standup and muay thai, the boxing part of it is great for me to be a sponge and soak up as much of that as I can.  The downfall of that is you never really connect to a group, that you can really feel like this is my team, these are the guys I train with every day.  You don’t really feel like you’re a solid part of a group.  So that’s probably the biggest drawback.

Me: You are actually going to be turning 42 next month, correct?

Ron: Correct! (Laughs)

Me: I never say years old, I always say years young (laughs).  42 is like the new 32...

Ron: That’s right...(laughs)

Me: Now clearly, unlike many others, you can probably attribute some of your longevity to the fact that you probably didn’t abuse your body when you were younger, due to drugs, alcohol ,etc.

Ron: And I still don’t...

Me: Are you looking at your age at all?  Do you see a number, a condition, is it anything that effects you mentally, or do you say “ Hey, I’m still in great shape, I’ll keep fighting until I’m a certain age or for a ceratin number of years”?  How do you view that?

Ron: I’m not one of those people that views it as “Gosh, I’m going to be 42, it’s time for me to call it quits.”   I take it, pretty much at this point, fight by fight.  If I think that I can compete at the level that I need to, then I’m going to continue.  I feel great, and when I train I feel like I’m in as good a shape before a fight as I was when I was 25 years old!  That really has no bearing on me sticking with this or not.  I have to work probably a little bit harder than most people do, being 41 years old.  But like I said, it’s part of my life now anyway, I train every single day, I train extremely hard, I’m always in decent cardio shape, and I spend about 2 hours in the weight room everyday, it’s just part of my regimen.  I’ve stayed healthy for the most part, and injury free, so I just take it a fight at a time.

Me: Ron, as you’re almost entering the “twilight” of your career, do you have a particular goal at this point?  Anything you want to accomplish, because you have fought all over the world.  Are you looking for anything in particular?

Ron: It’s been a long time since I’ve had an opportunity to fight in the UFC., and I think it would be a fun challenge for me to get into that heavyweight class.  I was hoping for a long time the UFC would start a super heavyweight division, get super heavyweights into the UFC so I could start to compete.  That would be a great experience for me.  Now as much as MMA has grown in the USA primarily due to the UFC, I think it would be fun to get back in there and give that another shot.

Me: The HW division for the UFC is a little thin right now, so it would be a good opportunity for you to slip in there...

Ron: Most of the guys that have competed in that HW category, I’ve at least worked out with a lot of those guys, and I know my abilities, so I know I could be a strong competitor in that division.

Me: When you look back, all the way from the Bas Rutten Invitational to now, how do you view your fight career?

Ron: I’m very blessed by what’s happened to me and where it’s gone.  I was extremely blessed to get to the UFC after 3 fights, where you see guys now that have trained their whole life to get a shot, and the highlight of their career is getting into the UFC, and here I got it after 3 fights, I was in there fighting.  I got to travel all over the world and compete against some of the top fighters out there, and it’s been a great experience for me, but I still think that I have more to offer this sport, hopefully I’ll get that opportunity.

Me: You’re one of the more outspoken Christian fighters.  How do you see that role in fighting?

Ron: I think it’s very important.  I think the stereotype of most fighters out there, it’s not as bad as it used to be, but they think “Oh gosh, here’s a bunch of bar room brawlers, bad boys that are out there just trying to prove how tough they are, it’s all about male testosterone, etc.”  I think the more people you get that come from professional careers, that have college degrees... I have a Masters degree, I’m an ordained minister.  It gives a little more prestige to the sport.  There are people out there that take this sport seriously, it’s not just a bunch of bar room brawlers, it’s guys that have trained their whole life. It’s just another sport, no different from football or anything else. The fact that I’m coming in as a Christian, I think it shows people that you can be a good person at heart and still be competitive in this sport.  It’s not about me when I go out there and fight.  It’s just another sport to me, and I’ve trained hard for it and I’m competitive and I want to win just like everybody else.  But being a Christian certainly gives me a sense of calmness, to know that I’m in here for a bigger purpose, it’s not just about me, it’s not about the paycheck that I get from this, it’s not about the recognition I’m getting from this.  It’s just about me going out there and doing something that I enjoy and showing people that I can do this and still be a Christian and still be tough at the same time.

Me: Do you think since you were one of the first, and again so vocal, that it maybe opened the door to allow others to not be so afraid to profess their faith in this sport?

Ron: Yeah, you see it more and more, and that’s really exciting for me.  I like nothing more than to see those guys in the middle of the ring after the fight, and they give credit to the Lord for their victory, and they look up, and maybe some of them fold their hands and say a prayer.  That’s awesome, instead of hearing guys grab the mic and all they can talk about is the after party, and throwing out f-bombs every other word.  It’s just a great feeling to show that those guys have got some class and it’s not all about them.

Me: You’re also one of the very well educated fighters, with your Masters degree.  That’s also one of those misconceptions about fighters...

Ron: I think that’s going to help the sport grow, more than anything else.  There are a lot of people out there that want to see what this sport is like.  They hear these fighters get on there after the fight and they’re cussing, and talking about nothing else but themselves and parties, it just puts that stereotype out there.  When you can have someone stand up and they tell the story before the fight, of who that person really is, and where they’ve come from, and maybe it’s their faith, maybe it’s their family orientation, it just adds credibility to the sport.

Me: How has it been for you as a fighter to see everything change, back from 1999, to all this massive exposure now?  Do you wish your career had started now as opposed to back then?

Ron: I wish this was the start of my career, obviously, because now is when the good money is really going to start to come.  These fighters that are up and comers now, getting into this when it’s exploding, salaries are going to overtake boxing salaries very shortly, I can just see that.  It’s one of those things, even when I started in this career I just saw this sport exploding, I knew it would go through some tough times, but I just saw this overtaking boxing and being a mainstream sport like it’s becoming today.  I think we’re on the tip of the iceberg, I think it’s going to continue to grow and get more popular.

Me: When you look back, do you have regrets on any particular losses, or are you the kind who doesn’t really care and moves on?

Ron: I think I try to move on, but like everyone else you always remember those losses more than you remember the wins.  You always think back to what you should have done differently, what you could have done differently.  I’m certainly no different than anyone else as I think back to all my losses, and think “Well, if I would have just done this, or if I would have just done that”.  I’m one of those people that’s tried to learn from my mistakes and tried to improve those for the next time and just become better and better and become a student of the game.  Even the best fighters out there are going to lose, it’s going to happen.  You just have to learn from it and hope that it doesn’t happen again.

Me: Have you thought of any particular fighters you have wanted to face?

Ron: I’ve really never been one of those people that says “Wow,  I want to go fight this guy or I want go fight that guy.”  I’m always open to whoever they bring to the table, I’ve never turned down a fight.  It really doesn’t matter to me, like I said, I’m not in this about me, and proving myself against this person or that person.   When I’m given the opportunity, if things work out, then I prepare for it as hard as I can, and perform as well as I can.

Me: Are you happy being a hired gun for different organizations, or would you like to do something like UFC where you work towards a title?

Ron: It’s worked really well for me, the schedule that I’ve had with the super fights, because I’m not locked into contracts and I can fight for different organizations, and when things come up I don’t have to turn those down because I’m locked into this contract or that contract.  Unfortunately that’s one of the hard things about the UFC, once you sign with them you pretty much belong to them for a certain period of time, where you don’t have all that freedom.  For me, it’s worked out very well that I can fight for all these different organizations.  And that’s part of my contract usually, always is that if I take this fight that I’m still open to fighting for other organizations.  In then past that’s worked out.

Me: Again, it gives you the flexibility to fight all over and fight the best in different organizations...

Ron: Yeah, that’s certainly been a benefit to me, and obviously if the contract is good enough you can do something like, get locked down for a while.  For me it’s worked out much better for me to take super fights here and there.  As far as financially as well it’s been more beneficial to me to be able to do that.

Me: Again Ron, your next fight is definitely with Bodog?  Or does that depend on their schedule, or if they can find you an opponent, how flexible are they?

Ron: I think it kind of depends on all of those things.  I talked to them just last week and they said that they’re looking at either the end of this year or very beginning of next year. And with Art of War I’m kind of in the same boat, they’ve told me I will fight for them again, but I don’t have a date or a time.

Me: Do you have another (contracted) fight with Art of War or was it just a one fight deal?

Ron: I have one more fight with Art of War and Bodog.

Me: So one more fight with Art of War, one more fight with Bodog...

Ron: Yeah.

Me: How difficult is it for you at this point in your career and at your age to develop new skills?
Like you said, once a wrestler always a wrestler, that’s your base and what you always fall back on.  Your last fight showed you using your hands a bit more.

Ron: I try as hard as I can to get more comfortable on my feet, to build up that confidence in other areas, but I think as most fighters probably do, once you’re in that situation in a fight, you’ll refer back to what you know the best.  You go back to your strengths, and I find myself doing that quite often.  Just like this last fight, that was very out of character for me to stay on my feet, but I just felt something telling me you need to unleash here and battle on your feet.  I had been training quite a bit on my feet and felt comfortable there, so I took advantage of it.  But yeah, it’s definitely harder as you get older and you’re comfortable with one style to want to refer back to that.  Oftentimes that’s the smart thing to do.  I don’t want to stand up with somebody when I’m much better on the ground.  But you have to adapt to everyone, so everything’s different.

Me: I know you’ve toured extensively with Team Impact, as everyone knows.  Are you still doing that, or taking time off, is it difficult to schedule?

Ron: I’m no longer full-time with that ministry as I was for the last 5 years.  I’m hoping to do things with them on just a real limited basis, a couple times, maybe just once a month.  At this point I’ve taken some time off for the last 9 months now.

Me: I know also when I was talking to you a while ago you mentioned one week you were going to Mr. Olympia.

Ron: That’s right, I just got back from Mr. Olympia, it was awesome.

Me: Tell me about that.  Is that a hobby, do you follow bodybuilding?

Ron: I competed in bodybuilding, it’s been a while since I competed last, I was Mr. Colorado back in 1994.  I placed third in Mr. USA, natural USA contest.  Bodybuilding and training has always been a part of my life.  I will never be a competitive bodybuilder because I don’t take the “supplements” necessary to get to that point, you know what I mean?  But I enjoy it, I have lots of friends that are competitors, and it’s just a lot of fun for me to go out there and just see people excel at that level.  It’s like anything else, any other sport, to get to see the top ones out there in the profession is pretty awesome.

Me: Along the same lines, I want to ask since you have one of the standout physiques of the sport, how does that effect your fighting with so much muscle mass?  Things like speed, flexibility, cardio?

Ron: I think it has its’ pros and cons.  There’s not many fighters that I’ve fought out there that have the kind of strength that I do, so that’s definitely a positive.  But like you said, when you’ve got 285 pounds of muscle out there, it takes a lot of oxygen to fuel those muscles, especially for 15 minutes.  So it’s very demanding for me to get into that kind of shape.  It’s a totally different game then when you see these guys out there that weight 140 to 150 pounds that are going like gang busters for the entire 15 minutes.  It’s just totally different when you’ve got someone that weighs 280 pounds.  I can do the same things that they’re doing, train just as hard, it’s just going to be totally different when I get out there in the cage for 15 minutes, because you just go into oxygen deadlock faster.

Me: Is that a situation you looked at over the years, whether to become a little more lean, or did you think that’s where you should be at?

Ron: You have to look at your opponent and you have to lay it out and say “Well, if I go in there and I’m a little bit stronger with this guy I think that I’ve got a great chance to finish him in the first round, I’ll be fine”.  Or this guys going to be hard to submit so I need to go in a little bit leaner and make sure I can fight for a hard 15 minutes.  It’s one of those things that goes opponent by opponent.

Me: Are you looking to do anything in particular as far as a post-fight career?

Ron: I’ve thought a lot about opening a school and a training facility, especially as much as this sports growing and in the area that I live out here in Colorado there’s really not any big name fighters that have a school.  It’s certainly been a thought of mine, but that’s as far as it’s gone really, is just put some thought into it.

Me: Would it allow you to go back and do something like Team impact full time, or continue with ministries in some other fashion?

Ron: That would certainly be an option for me, open up a lot of things.  Right now with me just starting a real estate business and career, I’ve got a lot on the table right now.  One of my downfalls is that I tend to get myself over extended, so I have to be careful (laughs).

Me: (laughs) It’s a really tricky time to enter the real estate market...

Ron: Yes, especially out here in Colorado, we’ve got so many foreclosures it’s just a nightmare to try to sell a house, but a great time to buy if you’re an investor.  It’s a hard time to break into this business, that’s for sure.

Me: Ron, were there any funny fighting memories for you?  Anything pre or post fight that comes to mind?

Ron: You know, nothing really comes to mind when you asked me that (laughs).

Me: (laughs) Never had anything like shorts come down?

Ron: No, never had that...

Me: Do you have a favorite fight, whether it was a win or a loss?

Ron: I think one of the big highlights for me was the Kevin Randleman fight, because it was such a big venue, and there were so many people there.  It was a real rewarding win especially after being down on the bottom for almost 8 minutes and then coming back and submitting Kevin. That was a big win for me and I remember that one more than most.

Me: Kevin at one point was a friend and teammate, how difficult is it to set that aside and concentrate on business?

Ron: It’s weird to even take that fight.  When I was offered that fight, it was like “Gosh, Kevin is a friend of mine, we have totally similar styles”, it was really strange.  Sometimes you just have to say “You know what, this is just another competition, we’re not fighting because we dislike each other, it’s just a competition”.  Definitely a little bit different though when you’re fighting someone out there that you consider a pretty good friend.

Me: Kevin, a lot smaller even than Mario Rinaldi, came out and hoists you up like you were nothing and takes you down...

Ron (laughs) Picks me up off the ground...

Me: That was frightening..

Ron: Yeah, and I just towered over Kevin...gosh.

Me: Your fight with Crocop, you were smart, you got that takedown early, you were really putting your weight on him and working him on top...

Ron: Yeah, when I went down (after the big head kick) I should have just rolled back into guard, instead I just kind of covered up, anticipating that big kick coming... (laughs)  Hindsight again...

Me: Your first Pride fight with Valentijn Overeem, that was just you overpowering him, and he had nowhere to go in the corner, and you slapped on the keylock and that was it.

Ron: Yeah, I’ve had a lot of luck with my keylock (laughs).

Me: And that’s another misconception, most people think you’re ground and pound, but you have a lot of submissions.

Ron: That’s what I would prefer, is to submit someone any day over ground and pound.

Me: Ron, do you get as much press coverage as you think you should, being a veteran and “name” in the sport?

Ron: I get quite a few interviews, actually.  I get people all the time calling and asking for interviews and stories, so I do quite a few of them, as many as I think I need to.  Again, I’m not out there trying to promote myself in that way, but I appreciate people who write articles and get my name out there at the same time.

* This was a follow up question submitted by e-mail.  The rest of the interview was conducted over telephone.

                    Part 2 2010

1.)  You fought Analu Brash in X-1 for their heavyweight belt. At the time Brash was an undefeated up and comer.  What were your thoughts on that fight and your experience with X-1?

I watched Brash's former fights so had a lot of confidence I could win! X1 was a great company to fight for and I hope to defend my belt this year for them.

2.)  You were chosen as an alternate for the Yamma Pit Fighting show.  You were ultimately not needed to fight, but how was it to serve as an alternate, having to be ready at all times to face an unknown opponent?

It was different, especially with the 2 week notice I was given, but again I felt very confident I could have beaten any of the opponents on the card, so felt at ease. It was good to see some of the guys in that show, it had been years since I had spent any time with Oleg, Pat Smith, Mark Kerr, John Peretti.  It was fun even though I didn't get to compete.

3.)  Your next fight was the high profile EliteXC organization.  Again you had a young undefeated up and comer in Dave Herman, which turned out to be a tough fight.  Take me through that bout and your experience with EliteXC.

Another great organization that treated me very well.  I trained very hard for the Herman fight and felt very prepared. Herman surprised me a little with his stand up and ability to scramble on the ground.  Not sure where he has been lately I thought I would see him getting a shot in the UFC? He is a tough kid with a lot of potential if used right.

4.)  Your most recent bout at the end of 2008 was a win against Mark "The Bear" Smith.  In another interview you had said you had trouble with this promotion, an issue of non-payment.  Did things ever get resolved?

Very frustrating as the promoter was a "friend" of mine. I was promised a two fight contract which was signed for a good amount of money. Again I trained very hard and won the main event fight with an Arm triangle early in the 2nd round. Well the check which was issued to me by the Colorado Boxing commission bounced. I was given the run around for a couple months and finally issued a law suit. To this day I haven't been given a dime for the fight.  First time for everything, hope it doesn't happen again to me or anyone. God is faithful and will always provide, I'm not the one who has to have that on my shoulders every day.

5.)  You had gotten busy and taken some time off from Team Impact.  You are currently back with them and touring again?

I am traveling with TI about once a month now. I just got back from India where I spent 8 days. It was an amazing week. Everyone needs to spend time in a 3rd world country to appreciate all we have her at home. It's humbling and eye opening! We had 25 thousand people walk to our program the last night and we saw over 7,000 give there lives to the Lord. Praise God

6.) A fight with Bobby Lashley had been in the works in a couple different promotions but never materialized.  Has anything popped up again as far as an opportunity to finally face him?  I know Strikeforce has him lined up for a fight soon, have you been considered?

I know my name has been in the mix, I'm really not sure what's going on with him. I was offered the fight in Denver with him last December and accepted it. Trained for it but he never signed? It was then moved to Strikeforce but I didn't get notification until 7 days before the fight was supposed to take place. Frustrating. I have heard through the grapevine I will be considered for his next fight but hope I'm given more than a week notice this time. I have several jobs and need time to prepare correctly for big fights.

7.)  How has it been watching long time friend/training partner Shane Carwin advance in the UFC, especially with his 1st round win over Frank Mir this past weekend?

It's been Great Shane has worked hard his whole life to get were he is. He works a full time job has a wife and family and still trains 7 days a week and hour away from home. I don't know how he does it. I am proud of him and wish him all the success in the world. He is a great person and good things happen to good people. His MMA game has improved so much sense we first started training in Greeley West's Wrestling room. He is a well rounded fighter now and doesn't have many weaknesses!

8.)  Any other fights brewing for you?  Anything else new or interesting going on or on the horizon?

I don't currently have any fights booked. At 44 years old I can't take fights like I used to for little paydays. It takes a lot of time training and preparing so I have to make it worth my while. I'm still in great shape and feel confident I can compete with anyone, I never take time off from training. I teach cardio classes and spend a minimum of 2 hours in the gym every day. Age is just a number for me not a deterrent. My Real Estate Company is doing very well and my time with my boys in invaluable. God is so good!

9.) Final thoughts/comments?

I am engaged to be married, probably this summer sometime so I am excited about that and ready to start a new life with a wonderful woman. My boys are growing up fast and it's so neat to see them develop into great young men.
I have been managed by Phyllis Lee since I began this sport 12 years ago and she continues to do a great job for me.  Not too many giving and caring people like her in this business, I owe her so much for doing so much over the years. The great times, travel and experiences we have had are life memories one just doesn't forget! Thanks Evan, Blessings to you my friend!

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