(‘Razor’ is looking to get back to the top, no matter what it takes.)
Three years ago “Razor” Rob McCullough was on top of the world. The WEC champion was riding a nine-fight winning streak of which eight were finishes and there seemed to be no end to his run.
Then it happened.
In the third round of his second title defense, it seemed like McCullough was close to finishing Jamie Varner. Before he could go for the kill, Varner spit out his mouthgard and got a timeout to rinse it off, which allowed him to recover. Soon after, “The Worm” caught “Razor” with a handful of punches and won via TKO.
Four fights later McCullough was fired from the WEC without much explanation, in spite of the fact that he split them 2-2.
Since being unceremoniously dropped by the promotion, Razor Rob has gone 2-0 under the Tachi Palace Fights banner and most recently defeated UFC veteran Corey Hill last weekend by unanimous decision.
According to the former WEC lightweight champ, who is enjoying life sober, married and as a father of a six-month-old son, says he’s doing what he has to do to get back on the roster of a major organization, which he reveals is likely to happen soon and he says he’ll fight anyone who wants to fight him.
We caught up with Razor this week and spoke candidly and at length about a variety of topics including his childhood, his life, his family, his new goals as a fighter and the business of MMA.
I’ll warn you that the interview is very lengthy, but it’s worth the read if you have time as it reveals a personal, thoughtful and mature side of McCullough that fans rarely get a glimpse of in his pre-fight interviews.
CAGEPOTATO: First off, Rob, thanks for taking the time to talk today and congratulations on your win Saturday night.
ROB MCCULLOUGH: My pleasure, man, and thank you.
CP: How did you feel about your performance in the fight?
RM: I was upset, after the fact, just because I wanted to finish the fight. I was like, “Aw, man.” He was awkward. Being that tall, the range was a little weird to adjust to, to be honest. I was mad at myself and everyone was like, “You won, man. Why are you upset? You’re being ridiculous.” I wanted to finish him and I couldn’t put him away. Whatever. I’ll finish the next one.
CP: Did it take a little longer to get into a rhythm because you were trying to find your range?
RM: Yeah. Trying to find my rhythm and letting my hands go was the problem. He’s like 6’ 4”. It seemed like he was like 10 feet away. I kept kicking him and I was like, “He’s barely checking [my kicks], so I’m just going to kick that leg off."
CP: It seemed that way. It kind of looked like you were maybe attacking his leg. Was that part of the game plan, to go after his weak leg?
RM: Not necessarily his weak leg, but if you’ve watched any of my fights, that’s my one go-to move. I almost think that it’s unfair sometimes ‘cos I seem to always get that one leg kick. Once I realized that leg was there for the taking and he wasn’t really defending it, I just went at it.
CP: Some people looked at that bout when it was announced as being a fight that was a lose-lose situation for you since you didn’t have a lot to gain by beating a guy with a 4-3 record and who hasn’t really beaten anyone of note. Did you have any reservations about taking the fight and did you take time to consider your other options before agreeing to it?
RM: I just looked at it like, “Hey, I want to fight.” The promoters [from Tachi Palace Fights] said they could push me off to a December card, and I was like, “Nah, I’m in shape, let’s get it going." I had called out Gabe Ruediger. He was the champion at the time and I said, “Hey, let’s do that.” Then the UFC pulled Gabe up to fight Joe Lauzon, so I lost that fight. They offered me Corey Hill as a replacement fight. My management, MMA Agents said, "Let’s put that fight together and get you some work," so we did.
CP: You mentioned Gabe making it back to the UFC after stringing together an impressive run of wins. What’s your goal at this point? Is it to get back to the WEC or the UFC or is it just to keep fighting and let things figure themselves out?
RM: I recently had a child. I have a little boy who’s six months old. I‘ve gotten married. I’m sober nowadays. I don’t drink anymore or go out partying with the guys after the gym. So my goals and priorities have definitely changed. I’m definitely a new, sharpened “Razor” Rob. I get up early and I get my stuff done. I get to the gym every day to hone the skills that I realized that I’ve spent my whole life doing while having fun and joking around with it. Now it’s serious and I realize that’s how I pay the bills. The window of opportunity is closing, so at this point I want to get in as many fights as I can and try to get into the top 10 at 155. We’re looking at December for my next fight and it will likely be with a major organization.
CP: Can you say if it’s an American, Japanese or European promotion?
RM: I don’t really want to let the cat out of the bag, but I’ve had offers from promotions overseas and stateside. It’ll probably be announced soon.
CP: How is being a dad? It’s obviously been a big lifestyle change for a guy who used to party as hard as you did, but you really seem to be embracing it.
RM: It’s awesome. I had good family as a kid. I have six sisters and they all had kids, so I have a lot of nieces and nephews, so I was always around kids. Being a parent is a great thing. I doesn’t matter what you did throughout the day, whether it was a good day or a bad day, when you get home and you get to see your kid, it puts a smile on your face. It’s a cool thing. The reality is, I fight for a living and I can’t do it forever, so I need to get back in there and make that money so my son has a future.
CP: I talked to you a while back and you talked a bit about growing up in Huntington Beach and how you were living on your own fending for yourself at a pretty young age. Do you think about stuff like that when you think about your son and say to yourself, “I’m not going to push him away like my parents did?”
RM: That’s something I definitely think about. Growing up in the household I grew up in and having so many siblings and being the youngest child out of all of them and having to see my parents who were always fighting — who had this really rocky, violent relationship — it kind of robs you of a childhood. Even if you don’t notice it at the time, you get older and you start thinking about stuff like, “I hope the cops don’t come to my house again,” or “I hope my dad doesn’t get taken to jail.” Stuff like that really affects you. Like I said, it robs you of your childhood. You kind of get to the point where you’d rather go spend the night at your friends’ houses than be at home. That’s something I definitely don’t want my kid to go through.
CP: It probably desensitized you to a lot of things and maybe made you think that was a common thing most families went through and you likely were surprised when someone told you that wasn’t the norm.
RM: For sure. But when you think about it, what is normal is just your perception of things, so you don’t realize how screwed up things are at the time.
CP: Absolutely. Let’s go back to your WEC career for a minute. It seemed kind of odd that you were cut after dropping a split decision to Karen Darabedyan, especially since you were coming off a win against Marcus Hicks. What exactly happened there?
RM: I had a bit of a falling out with my manager, Ken Pavia, who had been my manager since I got back into MMA in 2005 and was also a good friend. We had a hell of a run. We got the championship, put some money away, spent a lot of money and had a good time. He wanted to raise his percentage and I was like, “Dude, I feel like you’re nickel and diming me.” I took it personally because we were friends. We butted heads on a few things and I went my way and Ken went his and I got new management.
My new management were kind of doing the same thing the same way in that they were trying to build their company around me. They were saying, “Hey, we got Razor Rob. We’re looking to build a stable, we need sponsors, we want this and that,” and they made some mistakes. They went in to talk to the WEC and were aggressively trying to re-negotiate my contract, which I still had fights on, and I think they basically rubbed the WEC the wrong way. Then I lost the split decision to Darabedyan and [the WEC] were like, “When we first signed him he went on a spree of knocking dudes out in the first round. Let’s have him get some wins in and we’ll have him back. So my management came to me and were like, “We think we should look for fights elsewhere,” and I was like, “What?!” At that point I was having fights so sporadically throughout the year that I needed to fight more often – like back-to-back, not every six months, so in the end things worked themselves out.
CP: Fighting outside the WEC likely wasn’t the thing that took adjusting to; it was probably more a case of getting used to the strain on your pocketbook that came with fighting outside the Octagon, because smaller organizations don’t pay what the larger organizations do.
RM: Oh yeah. It’s frustrating when you look at it in terms of, “Well, I know what I was getting paid and now I see what’s out there. I really did have a good contract.” I got back with MMAAgents again and I said, “Here are my priorities. They’ve adjusted and you were right on a lot of things. Let’s get this ball rollin’. If we did it once, we can do it again. My job is to get in there and finish fights and to smash guys and not worry about anything else and their job is to get me the right contracts and the right sponsors and c’est la vie.
CP: It’s not like you had any terrible showings with the WEC, you had that split decision and you dropped another decision to Donald Cerrone and other than that you had the loss to Varner, which was the first time you’d ever been stopped in a fight.
RM: And towards the end I was training my butt off, but my mind wasn’t right. It wasn’t where it needed to be and I was coming into fights injured and I was like, “I’ll be fine.” That’s not the way to get into fights, especially for fights where a lot is on the line. I learned the hard way that I can’t do that when they were like, “You’re not knocking guys out any more, so go get a couple refresher fights and we’ll get you back in there.” The reality is, I like to fight and I’d much rather do it in the cage where I’m gonna get paid, than somewhere that’s gonna get me arrested. At the end of the day, a fight is a fight and I just want to get paid and have fun, wherever it’s at.
CP: I guess your situation proves the important of good management. People think it’s an easy thing to do and some fighters try to manage themselves and eventually go back to letting someone else negotiate for them. There are pluses and minuses to having a manager, but you learned that having a GOOD manager is very important. It’s like buying a used car thinking you have a handle on what to look for because you have a driver’s license. The promoter is going to try to sell you on whatever makes him more money. Unless you’re a mechanic, you won’t know what little things to look for, which is what a manager should know.
RM: For sure. That’s the perfect way to describe it. That’s an awesome analogy.
CP: Talking about how the WEC want to see you fight and finish fights like you used to, there’s kind of a general agreement amongst fans and the media that you seem to have lost that killer instinct you used to have when you were knocking guys out left right and center. Is there anything to that theory and if so have you addressed the psychological aspect of your game or is it simply because you got to comfortable with your training regimen and partners?
RM: I went and searched out different camps to train with to try to find out what the problem was. I trained at Xtreme Couture with guys like Gray Maynard, Tyson Griffin, Mac Danzig, Sam Stout, Evan Dunham – all these guys on a daily basis and I tried to gauge where I was at. I wanted to make sure I was doing what I needed to be doing or whether I needed to pack up. It was a great experience and I wouldn’t trade it for the world, but I needed to get back home to my gym. The reality is, when I’m in my gym I’m making money teaching and training and I have the luxury of pulling in any guys I need to help me in my camp. I’m not just in a random pro practice; I’m specifically tailoring my training around me and my fights. That way it’s way more beneficial for me.
CP: Do you find that your teaching duties and the responsibilities of running your gym are like a double-edged sword in that you have a pool of talent to draw from, but you find that your training time isn’t as much as you’d like it to be?
RM: I’ve worked throughout my whole career. I’d either be teaching in the morning or the evening or I’d pick up a few personal clients on the weekends and that’s what kept me in the gym, when I’d want to be somewhere else. I figured I may as well run one more mile while I’m here or do some extra ab work or shadowbox for an hour. As I started making those stacked paychecks from the WEC, I started cutting teaching out and it kind of made me, I don’t know, like a little slower and I’d be like, “I’ll go to the gym later and train,” and sometimes I just wouldn’t go. I like being busy and working. I’d much rather have too much going on than not enough. An idle mind opens itself to the devil, so I like to stay busy.
CP: You hear guys say they stop progressing when they’re the top dog at the gym. Who do you have at your gym that you train with on a regular basis?
RM: Rampage is at our gym right now training. I ‘m fortunate to have a lot of top guys come in and do camps or spend days training with us and I have a lot of up-and-comers at the gym who I pull in to help me get ready for my fights. Sometimes when I’m working with guys, I’ll say, “Hey. Be at practice at this time and we’ll work on this or go over that.
CP: And you don’t want these young guys showing you up, so you probably have a little extra motivation to outspar them.
RM: That’s the thing. When some of the guys get a shot in or take me down, they’re going home and starting a career in their minds like, “I got the better of Razor Rob. It’s on. I could be the man.” That’s always a factor that motivates me to train and spar hard. One thing I’ve started to do is, Brady Fink, who is one of my trainers, he got a group together that travels around to the different gyms in the area to train together. He’s got a pretty eclectic group of guys and we get together every Friday and we go at it. It’s MMA sparring and he keeps putting fresh guys in to go at it with me. I don’t know any of these guys, so I don’t feel bad teeing off on them. They know who I am, but it’s like, hey, whatever. It’s fun and it’s been really beneficial for me. That’s kind of getting my killer instinct back. You train with guys who are your buddies and you kind of feel bad teeing off on them. You’ll be like, “Dude, I’m sorry about that.” “No, it’s okay.” “You sure?” “Yeah.” When I’m in a room with a bunch of strangers I don’t feel bad throwin’ down with them.
CP: One interesting stat that not a lot of people realize is that, even though your base is kickboxing, you have never been submitted, which is a pretty outstanding. Usually that’s a striker’s Achilles’ heel. Do you spend a lot of time working on your ground game or is your focus more on your stand-up?
RM: When I was on fire, I spent a lot of time working on my weaknesses – you know, working a lot of wrestling on the side. I was working on stuffing the takedown and climbing the fence to get back to my feet. Then, when I started getting a little more into it, I started taking a fancy to jiu-jitsu and the ground game. I was like, “This is fun.” It is literally like a chess match when you start thinking two or three moves ahead of your opponent. Then I realized that my training had shifted to the point where I was spending way more time on grappling than I was my striking. I was like, “I’m a striker. I already know how to fight on my feet.” The reality is people aren’t coming to watch me take guys down and submit them. They’re coming to watch me knock guys out. That’s when I had to turn my camp around and I had to say, “Let’s get in there and spend more time sparring and doing mitt work. The jiu-jitsu, the ground game, the wrestling – that’s all something I really like to do, but the reality is people aren’t buying tickets or watching Versus to see me take guys down and sub them. They want to see me kick a guy in the face and knock him out.
CP: It almost seems like the sport is getting away from that style of fighting more and more. We had Cole Miller on our radio show last week and he attributed it to guys wanting to be safe and fight for points instead of fighting to finish the fight. Do you agree that it seems more guys are taking that approach?
RM: I read that article and I think Aoki said the same thing that MMA scoring is kind of ridiculous. You know what’s funny is, being a striker and — I kind of passed over the question you asked earlier – but, being a striker and having never been submitted, knock on wood, basically I think it’s a lot easier to teach a grappler to strike than it is to teach a striker to grapple and not get submitted. I’ve been fortunate to be surrounded by such good guys that I could learn from.
It’s a gut check and a test of your humility to be able to put everything aside and train as a white belt. I may have fought in K-1 and done this and done that, but when you hit the mat , it doesn’t matter what kickboxing things I did, it only matters what I’ve done to prepare for the ground. Putting yourself in that situation and learning from it and being an open book, not “I know what I’m doing . I know what I’m doing. Once this fight gets back to the feet, I’m gonna knock this guy out.” You need to put yourself in those bad situations in training and start mounted and start side-mounted – start in horrible positions and figure out how you’re going to get out or reverse the position or how you’re going to finish the fight. That’s how I’ve been fortunate, working with such great submission guys.
CP: What’s your contract status right now? Are you locked up with Tachi Palace Fights?
RM: Right now I have some pretty big organizations that are talking to my management team and they’re like, “Hey, let’s get something going." As far as Tachi Palace, I do have one fight remaining with them, but they said they’re willing to let me fight elsewhere as long as I come back to do that last fight. They’re being cool about it. I’m stoked on that end, which is kind of why we got into an agreement with them in the first place. At this point what it comes down to is me being able to get in there and fight, pay my bills and feed my family. Whatever’s going to be the best for Razor Rob’s family is what I’m going to do.
CP: You mentioned that you had your eye on Gabe Ruediger. Now that Gabe is gone, are there any other guys in Tachi Palace that you have your eye on or are there any fighters anywhere else that you want to throw down with?
RM: Whoever they say they want me to fight, it’s on against. There are a lot of tough young guys with pretty good games. That Ross Pearson guy is tough in the UFC. He has a similar style to mine and I’d like to fight him.
(*editors note: the interview was conducted prior to Pearson losing to Cole Miler at UFN 22)
CP: He’s fighting Cole Miller tonight.
RM: That’s going to be a good one. I can’t wait for that fight.
CP: So is it safe to say it isn’t about the big names so much as it is exciting fights for you now?
RM: At this point in my career, it’s about fighting anyone who is going to put on an exciting fight and who will stand and trade, balls to the wall and just do it. It’s like having a music career in a lot of ways. People remember you for your last fight. I was the WEC lightweight champion, which was cool, but that wasn’t my last fight. That’s the reality of it.
CP: I think the expectations are similar too in that everyone expects you to perform like you did in your best fights like they’re your greatest hits. Not every fight is going to be gold. It has to be tough when that kind of pressure is heaped on you as far as how people expect you to perform.
RM: It’s funny. Even when I started kickboxing and I was knocking guys out in the first round, my mom would tell me, “You have to let the fights go a bit longer. You’re having people drive out here and you’re done too quickly.” I’m like, “Really?”
CP: Damned if you do.
RM: Damned if you don’t.
CP: You can’t please everyone. Every successful person has his or her detractors.
CP: You seem to still have a strong fan base. Do you get a lot of fan mail and words of encouragement online?
RM: I do. I get it mostly through Facebook or Twiter. It used to be MySpace, but nobody’s on there anymore except for spammers and pervs. No offense to anyone who’s still on MySpace.
CP: It’s become the bag cell phone of social media.
RM: It’s like Beta Max.
CP: Who is the biggest douchebag in all of MMA in your opinion, not even necessarily a fighter or someone you want to fight?
RM: I’d say Jamie Varner.
CP: You and Cowboy, both.
RM: Yeah, right?
CP: Did you hear about that situation?
RM: I heard some of what was going on.
CP: Basically, Donald made an appearance on TapouT Radio and made some comments about Jamie. He referred to him as a fag and mentioned that he wanted him to suffer the first MMA-related death when they fight at the end of the month and the WEC distanced themselves from Cerrone’s poor choice of words by issuing a statement condemning his actions.
RM: I wouldn’t go that far by calling Jamie Varner a faggot. I would have called him a pussy if anything.
CP: That’s kind of the context he was using it in, but he chose his words poorly. It’s like when people say things that are stupid are “retarded” or “gay” and people take offence to it, even though it’s really just slang. He was basically calling Varner a bitch and he was saying he looks for a way out of fights like asking for timeouts and playing up injuries and fouls to sell the disqualification.
RM: Yeah, right?
CP: It sounds like you agree. Is that a fight you want to do again?
RM: Yeah. That’s a fight I’d love to do again. I’d do it for free if I had to.
CP: If Cowboy beats him this time around, it could set up an interesting scenario where you come back and do the grudge match do-over.
RM: For sure.
CP: What makes Varner so unlikeable? He seems to have a lot of guys who can’t stand him, which may be his MO, given his nickname.
RM: I think when he goes to Thanksgiving dinner with his family, he probably gets booed. It’s exactly what Cowboy said, when you watch him fight, he always seems to be looking for an easy way out of the fight. He’s like, “Oh! Timeout, my nuts are sore…I got kneed in the face. Let’s go to the cards.” When people are paying good money to see you fight, they want to see you go for it, so go for it. Finish this fight and go in there and do whatever you have to do to get it done and just do it. Not, “I can’t see. Let’s go to the cards,” or “Timeout while I rinse off my mouthpiece.” He’s that guy who’s always looking for a way to squeak things out and he talks shit, but when you run into him he’s like, “What’s up, bro?” I’m like, “What?” If you don’t like me, then say it to my face, don’t act like we’re all buddy-buddy when you see me. It’s kind of being a pussy.
CP: You hear about guys trying to win by any means possible, whether it be cheating by using grease or PEDs or painkillers or whatever, I’m sure you’ve heard your share of stories over the years. There will likely be a Jose Conseco-like book come out years from now that will blow the lid off the sport and all of the shadiness that has gone on behind the scenes. It’s ironic that the sport is based around martial arts, whose primary tenet is honor and dignity, yet there seems to still be cheating going on. That’s what happens when someone’s livelihood is determined by competition.
RM: I think that’s what irks me the most about it. I come from a muay thai background, which is a traditional martial art based around respect and honor. I got into it because I was an angry kid and I needed to learn respect and discipline. Getting to the gym turned off the anger so I could learn something and forget about all the crap that was happening outside the gym. All I thought about while I was there was finishing practice and making myself a better fighter. That kept me on the straight and narrow and thank god it helped get me to where I’m at in my career. I have a beautiful family, I’ve traveled the world – fighting has paid the bills and given me a good life. When I see guys like that, it gets so frustrating. It’s like, “Dude are you in there to fight or because you like to be a fighter?”
CP: Something we talked about on our show the other day as well was a possible change in the rules regarding fighters who cheat or who don’t want to fight. Do you think there needs to be rules implemented like yellow cards for stalling, skirting the rules and fouls?
RM: I definitely think it would help. There’s a new generation of fighters out there who are very well rounded, who don’t come from a single discipline with some skills in the other areas. They’re good at everything because they train MMA, but because they aren’t martial artists, they’re missing out on the honor component of fighting. There are exceptions, but some guys just want to be a fighter and be on TV so they can have a cool story to help them get chicks. You have to get to a point where guys start getting hit in the pocketbook with fines for stalling or yellow cards for faking injuries so they can have a rest. That’s going to make more guys go in there and push it to finish fights. I always tell guys to not leave it to the judges because it can go terribly wrong.
The reality is, MMA has kind of gotten to a point where guys will hold you down and do what they have to do to win, even if it means that they aren’t finishing. I don’t blame them completely. You have to learn how to get out of those situations and turn the tide in your favor and try to finish it for yourself because the judges aren’t going to do you any favors. Grappling is a whole other sport in itself, which is why a lot of strikers have trouble learning it . That’s why wrestlers are doing so well, I think. They already have the takedowns and the grappling down and they pick up a few punches and kicks and they smash guys. For a striker to learn wrestling and jiu-jitsu it can take years.
CP: Have you thought about going back to K-1?
RM: No, not really. I’ve devoted so many years and so much time to MMA. If K-1 came to me and said, “Hey, want to fight?” you never know. Kickboxing was my passion and the reason I got into MMA. I definitely wouldn’t turn it down.
CP: One route some guys who have fought for the UFC or the WEC in the past or who have fought for other big promotions have taken is to go The Ultimate Fighter route. Is that something you’ve considered?
RM: I was Tito Ortiz’s assistant coach on last season of the show and, man, seeing those guys in that house kind of blew my mind. I don’t know if I could do that. That’s some serious…I mean, they take their phones away, they can’t watch any TV, listen to any radio or read any magazines. I don’t know. I’ll do whatever I have to do to get things going, but I don’t know. That’s a rough one. The show is no joke. It’s crazy.
CP: I’m sure the possibility of unknowingly ingesting some guy’s bodily fluids doesn’t appeal to you.
RM: Man, I know, right? I’m not going to the tryouts any time soon, but if they did another comeback show, that would be an interesting option.
CP: What about doing a reality show? You and your wife [former adult film star Lexxi Tyler] are both somewhat famous and I’m sure you have some interesting lives, maybe not as much now that you’ve become domesticated, but I’m sure there’s some stories you could tell. Has there been any interest from networks in you and Lexxi doing a TV show?
RM: I’ve gotten offers, but where I’m at now in my life it’s like, “Meh.” My wife and I have a good thing going for us and I don’t need to display it for the world.
CP: Besides being a fighter, you’re a somewhat successful businessman with a gym and a clothing company among other ventures. Have you ever thought about promoting? It would make sense considering you have a pool of fighters in the Huntington Beach Ultimate Training Center to draw from.
RM: Actually, I did start a promotion company called “Honor Fights,” which you can check out at www.honorfights.com. It’s a new California-based amateur MMA organization, which runs under the California Amateur Mixed Martial Arts umbrella. We had so many guys here in California who wanted to fight who had some thai boxing experience or who wrestled in high school, but they didn’t want to turn pro until they had some experience under their belts. What was happening is we were seeing all of these lopsided cards because guys with no experience were fighting guys with a ton of experience. The guys with less experience were getting beaten and saying, “Man, I wish I had a little more experience before I went pro,” There was no amateur league they could fight in. Now CAMO has come along and made it so that guys can go in there and fight three two-minute rounds and hone their skills for the future when and if they decide to turn pro. They can work out the kinks as an amateur and get some experience very similar to the way USA Boxing is doing for its fighters through its amateur program. You look at high-level boxers like Mayweather and De La Hoya, those guys amassed hundreds of amateur fights before they ever competed as a pro, which is very different to what’s happening in mixed martial arts. You get these guys in the doldrums hanging out who maybe should have had a lot more amateur experience before jumping up to pro. They have less than ten fights, whether they were underground or smokers and maybe they’re only 3-3 and they rushed to fight as a pro because they didn’t have any other options. That’s why we started Honor Fights – to give guys a place to get some seasoning. We have an event this Saturday at the Irvine Marriott, which will decide the Orange County bracket of the state CAMO championships. The fights are all recorded and the guys need to be licensed under CAMO. You can go to www.camomma.org and fill out the fighter profile.
CP: What are the differences between these fights and pro fights?
RM: You have to do blood work and stuff, but there are places that we have that you can get it done inexpensively. The fighters wear seven-ounce MMA gloves and they either get a blue or a red rash guard to wear depending on their corner. There are three two-minute rounds and the fights take place in a cage. There are no knees to the face on the ground or elbows. Usually we get guys in there who want to fight and they get in there and do their thing. They get a crowd of their teammates, their buddies and their girlfriends and they have a good time and figure out the skills they need to become a pro.
CP: Now, is this just a regional circuit for California-based fighters or can fighters from other states pr countries compete for Honor Fights?
RM: No, people from other states and countries can compete, they just have to be licensed by CAMO. This Saturday is the Orange County bracket, to decide who the best fighter in Orange County is and that guy will fight the L.A. County guy and the Riverside County guy and we’ll do a state championships down the road where the winners of those brackets will fight each other and we will crown the California CAMO champion.
CP: What’s something about you that people find surprising when they get to know you?
RM: That I’m half Hispanic. A lot of people are surprised when I tell them that. They’re like, “Really? But your last name’s McCullough.” I’m Irish too.
CP: What traits from your heritage do you recognize in yourself?
RM: I love to fight. I used to drink – like to the point where I didn’t remember things that happened. Other than that, having kids and making a family.
CP: Well, man, as always It’s been great talking with you. Thanks for taking the time.
RM: Thanks for having me, bro.
CP: Any plugs you’d like to make?
RM: This Saturday night at the Irvine Marriott in Irvine, California Honor Fights is co-promoting the Orange County bracket of the California state amateur MMA championships with CAMO. Come check it out and watch these guys scrap. They’re the future of MMA. Fights start at 6 pm.
CP: Putting the promoter hat on for the night.
RM: I’m a man with many hats.
CP: How’s the clothing line going?
RM: It’s going well, especially with the state of the economy. A lot of companies have had to pull the plug. I’m still selling stuff to my fans online and everyone is happy with the service and the quality and I’m having fun and it’s keeping me in the game.
CP: Glad to hear things are going well for you, man. Being a dad and a husband has had a good effect.
RM: For sure. I feel like a grown-up now when I get up in the morning.