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Exclusive Interview with MMA Veteran Brian Ebersole

Brian Ebersole was kind enough to talk to about his big win over Gordon Gaef at King of the Cage and his future. Brian, I’d like to thank you for taking the time out to speak with You’re coming off a big win against Gordon Gaef at King of the Cage – Perth in October 2007. What are your thoughts on that fight?

Ebersole: I knew he’d have heavy hands, and that he was a strong, athletic bloke. I didn’t think he could wrestle with me, so I proved it. It was tough though, having his teammate/coach as the referee. Tama TeHuna did a bit of a disservice to the MMA community that night, with his actions. The sport lost a bit of respect, as many knew of the situation.

All in all, I had a blast though. Talking to Tama, while laying, choking, and bashing on Gordon made me giggle a few times during the bout. I’ve always been a teacher, so I went and taught. Cheaters never win, and I doubt Gordon feels too great about the entire situation. Hopefully he’ll have the strength to keep himself out of those situations in the future. I understand you moved to Australia last year. What prompted the move?

Ebersole: I came to Australia, to fight and visit. I had a wonderful two month stay, and was offered a job selling real estate while in QLD. Hard to turn down the chance at $100k/year. Knowing I’d still fight a few times, I decided to move back in hopes of saving money and being able to resume full time training with a real bank account. Where do you train?

Ebersole: I’m living in Perth, WA. Training at Fitness n Fight Centre, just outside of the city’s centre. Do you teach any classes?

Ebersole: I teach ten classes per week, yes. That’s how I make the better part of my income now. What a blessing it is to be able to teach and train for a living. Who are you training with now?

Ebersole: Everyone I can get my hands on. I’ve got great teammates, and some very talented strikers. Daniel Dawson and Mark DeMori are two of Australia’s best boxers. Clint Joyce and Marc Oakes, proven up and coming talents in MMA. And I’ve had some awesome guys come in to train with me.

Gerald Burton Batty and Steve Kennedy came in together and have stuck around. They’ve afforded me some opportunities with other talented folks, bringing in a great freestyle wrestler and a BJJ/Judo Black Belt, both of which were my weight. And two other local BJJ mainstays have been working with me plenty, Poitr Clements and Dave Machura.

All in all, I’ve been fortunate to have such talent come through my doors without ego, and train. What is your weekly training routine like? What do you do – muay thai, jiu jitsu, cardio, etc.?

Ebersole: It varies. I’ve been an athlete all my life, and I’ve come to believe that one cannot stick with any routine for too long. I go through phases where I run and where I seek cardio elsewhere. Same with lifting weights, and again, seeking strength training through other forms.

Basics–I train twice a day, and three times a day when I’m lucky and energetic. Obviously working both striking and grappling, and the occasional sparring session to mix the two.

The treadmill has been my friend as of late, but again, I do leave it alone for days at a time (pushing myself with bagwork/mitts/wrestling to get a cardio benefit)

With my training, I take my best available workout. And by best, that depends on my health, mood, previous day’s work, and who I’m working with. You recently signed a 5 fight contract with HFC (Canada). How did that come about?

Ebersole: I had a goal, to sign a multi-fight deal for this year. I had entertained the option of signing with two organizations. I’d contacted Mike Camp, who’s been a longtime friend, and expressed my wishes. He shopped me around to a few organizations and presented me with the HFC deal via email. It worked for me, as it set out a “season’ basically. I fight every 6-8 weeks, and I’m absolutely pleased to have structure–where most MMA’ers are free-agents working from bout to bout with little to no idea of their six month outlook. Six months could bring 6 fights, or 1………….and that’s not a place to be in, when you make your living through competing. When’s your next fight and where?

Ebersole: March 29th, in Hull, Quebec Canada. In 2006, the California State Athletic Commission suspended you for what they claimed to be a fixed fight against Shannon Ritch at an FCP event. Can you explain for those that don’t know what happened and your thoughts on the subject?

Ebersole: I’ve had so many thoughts on the subject, since then. Some have been light hearted, others very sinister. Not sure when I’m going to challenge the entire CSAC to a Kumite-style tournament, but that’s my only logical solution before I can work with them again…..

But here we go, with my side…….I had an opponent pull out two weeks before the event. The matchmaker rang me and said he met Shannon Ritch at a show, and Shannon wanted the fight. I laughed out loud and told them to fill the spot and let me know who it was, Shannon or otherwise. Of course, the fight goes to Shannon “the negotiator” Ritch for a purse lower than any other opponent would have accepted on short notice.

Now, I’d fought the Cannon in Mexico, 4 years prior. Yes, he almost beat me, until I smashed him. He had a leg lock attempt that ended with him in mount, tapping to the first blow. Since then, we’ve exchanged postings in good humor, fight information (openings for fighters), and he even helped me get a $300 sponsor for a bout once. Oh, and a re-match in AZ fell through as the Commission there didn’t’ accept my New Jersey medicals for some reason. So we grappled on the event instead, in a demo/exhibition.

Fight weekend. I have a laugh with the Cannon at weigh ins and tell him I’m gonna smash him. He knows better, and so do I—He’d tap well before he took punishment.

Before the bout, I tell Frank that I’m taking the Cannon into round two. I had some things I wanted to try, and Frank gave me the OK. Truly, I wanted to half-way embarrass him. He’s only been to the 2nd round once, maybe twice. I wanted to be remembered as the guy who exposed the Cannon. Figured a few rounds of him running on the feet and flopping on the ground would do just that.

Well on my way to clowning the Cannon, two minutes into Rd. 1—Armando Garcia is in my corner telling Frank and my best friend from University that I “need to do something”. Mind you, I’d already taken him down and pounded on him against the cage, and had some fun standing. 4 min. into the bout, I take Shannon’s back, flatten him and arch up. Uncomfortable position, especially with my Shonie Carter cup in his back. Looking for the choke, I was, when he screamed and verbally submitted. Much to my displeasure, I took my place center ring and had my hand raised. I truly wasn’t done, and this was the 2nd time I’ve had a disappointing finish with the guy.

As I step out of the cage, the CSAC commissioners engage me with displeasure and announce I’m suspended. What!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Frank speaks with Mr. Garcia, I refuse to sign the suspension document, and I don’t receive my purse. And with the suspension, I lose my opportunity to fight in the IFL, with which I was the Razorclaw captain with a nice contract. The meetings with the CSAC didn’t yield a result, and I was forced to pay a $2,500 fine before competing in March of the next year on an IFL event (as a replacement at 205). Fun ride, but without it, I’d not be in Australia. Blessings come from tragedy………………… The CSAC has also been criticized by other fighters such as Sean Sherk for lacking appropriate procedures to appeal suspensions. What changes do you think the CSAC should make to be more in line with other athletic commissions?

Ebersole: In my case, they didn’t’ make an appeal or even a resolution possible. They brought me in to talk (long drive to Sacramento), and Mr. Garcia basically gave me the bad cop treatment, as his other commissioner played good cop. Trying to see if my answers would toe the line, I guess. I think they need to attend a workshop/seminar or ten, where other long-standing commissions/commissioners discuss policy and procedure. They’re a closed-minded arrogant bunch. Who do you think are the top 5 fighters in your division?

Ebersole: In no particular order—Dan Henderson, Anderson Silva, Frank Shamrock, Nate Marquardt, Paulo Fihlo. Who do you pick Henderson or Anderson Silva and why?

Ebersole: I picked Henderson, because of my wrestlers’ heart. But Anderson’s skill set is amazing, and he’d dangerous everywhere. What a fight it was, to watch. What are your thoughts on the Couture/UFC dispute?

Ebersole: I don’t have enough information on the subject. I would speak on points that may not be the sticking points. Randy makes a good payday, each outing. The UFC is turning a profit. If money is the only issue, I’d be surprised. Who wins Randy or Fedor?

Ebersole: Fedor wins 7 of 10 right now, but three years ago…Randy wins 6 of 10 I believe. If you had the choice to fight anyone, who would it be and why?

Ebersole: Frank Shamrock. Because I love him, and I could live with myself if he beat me. Plus, it would make me famous, and maybe land us on a highlight reel for years to come.

Besides Frank, maybe Bob Sapp. I think I’d do just fine. And again, famous and highlight reels…………………… In the IFL, you were with Frank Shamrock’s team. Do you still train with him at all when you are in the US?

Ebersole: I haven’t been able to travel back to the US since moving to Australia, save my cousin’s Illinois wedding. I would love to have the flexibility and resources to train with Frank and the team before bouts. But I don’t’ have that luxury unfortunately, as I have teaching commitments here in Perth, WA. Leaving for too long would not sit well with my team, boss, or myself for that matter. But I do hope to take a holiday and see my family and my “mma family” sometime early ’09. Frank has announced several upcoming fights against Ken Shamrock and Cung Le. How do you think he matches up against both of them?

Ebersole: He’s a phenomenal athlete, so not too many can match him there. Cung isn’t tough enough to beat Frank. He can wrestle and he has kicks, but not a complete game. He has the information on the game, as his camp at American Kickboxing Academy is strong. But having it in your head and having your body “know” something are two different things. He’ll find himself thinking too much vs. Frank, and Frank will take advantage.

Vs. Ken. Well, has Ken had a real fight in the last two years??? Just dobbed one in the UK, from all accounts. Dobbed one vs. Franklin in the UFC. I know he went at Tito, but he was hopelessly outmatched as he could never get past a wrestling match with Ortiz. I think Frank would keep him standing and punish him for all the B.S. he was put through as a young boy at the Lion’s Den. I didn’t think Frank would ever consider fighting Ken, but I can see why he’d want a crack at him in a public forum. Ken deserves the beating Frank could give….. What are your thoughts on the IFL?

Ebersole: Not too sure what to think of them, as they’ve re-structured everything. The ’07 set-up was great to me. I love the team concept. And they treated the fighters very well. Purse, accommodation, food allowance, professional interviews, and a great production. We’ll see what the changes bring for them, as they continue to find themselves as an organization. There certainly are enough talented fighters to make an interesting year. Any other news you’d like to get out there?

Ebersole: I’ve found a great place, here in Perth. With my knowledge and experience in MMA, Fitness n Fight Centre’s training facilities, and the networking I’ve done—I have a great situation for fighters to come train. I’d like to start advertising Fight Camps/Training Camps.

Housing, training, possibility for work, and certainly for professional bouts are all available. Whether from Australia or overseas, beginning or experienced, there’s a place for you here (short term or long term) to improve your skill set and learn about the game. Let alone, have a bit of a “working holiday”. Any sponsors you’d like to plug?

Ebersole: I’d like to thank VAS, for there support. I’d met the family behind the company during my first months in Australia, and have come to respect all that they stand for. They’re truly patrons of the art. They put in much more than they receive, by sponsoring individual fighters and entire events. They’ve helped Australian MMA from behind the scenes, and without their support some of Australia’s larger shows may not be around today. grab a T-shirt folks……. Brian, I’d like to thank you again for speaking with me. Any final words for your fans?

Ebersole: I’m sorry. They won’t let me compete without the shorts, or I would. I’ve tried to seek an organization with “looser standards”, but nobody is willing to budge. You’ll just have to look out for locker room footage, floating around the internet. It’s there, where are you???