We may have missed it at the live show, but home viewers who kept HDNet on after Ryan Schultz’s shocking defeat of Chris Horodecki at the IFL’s World Grand Prix witnessed the pre-recorded heavyweight championship match, where the charmingly chubby Roy “Big Country” Nelson became the IFL’s first 265-pound title-holder with a stunning knockout victory over Antoine Jaoude. We were wondering how the last two weeks have been treating Nelson and how things are looking for 2008, so we called him up, and found ourselves in a discussion about Taco Bell, Ken Shamrock, Celine Dion and what life is really like for an IFL fighter. (Spoiler: It’s maybe not as glamorous as it looks.)
CagePotato: We know you’re a great grappler, but you had a monster K.O. to win the belt. Is striking something you’ve been concentrating on more lately?
Roy Nelson: Yeah, I’ve just tried to keep improving it. It’s always been the weak part of my offense, but overall, I try to improve everything from my wrestling, to my grappling, and now I’m trying to implement my striking. Kind of like the old Chuck Liddell, where you knew he could wrestle, but it’s a lot easier and a lot faster to get the ref to stop it, or stop it with your hands.
We’ve seen you joke about gunning for sponsorships from Taco Bell and Burger King. Do you really live off of Extra Value Meals when you’re training?
I pretty much just eat clean food — you can go to fast food places and eat kinda’ clean, depending on what you’re eating. But normally, I cook my own food. I live life, and I’m glad I’m not a lightweight where I can’t enjoy myself.
There’s been a lot of talk about the IFL’s financial struggles as of late. What’s the inside scoop?
I’m just as lost as you are. Every time we ask anything, you know, like, “What’s going on?” or “What are we gonna do?”, we kinda’ get put in the dark. You know, finding out about how the new matches are going to be, the new team format and all that good stuff — I actually heard from the press, not from them telling us.
The IFL announced a while back that their business plan involved sharing profits with the fighters, as well as providing salaries and health benefits to train and fight. Has this been the case?
Yes and no. What I mean is, if you complained enough they would help with the medical stuff but you’d have to be all over them.
Are you on salary?
The 2007 season, a lot of people were on salary. But now they’re trying to go backwards and just pay for fights.
We assume since the IFL is not turning profits, there has not been much by way of profit sharing, correct?
Correct. I think they used that method how a pimp does with his girl. Holding that carrot out at the end of the rainbow.