Kickin with Buddy Clinton
Recently, King Of The Cage fighter, Buddy Clinton came out to California to negotiate a new contract and get back into the cage and fight again. While he was here, I got a chance to sit down and hang out with Buddy and find out what he’s been up to since his last fight in January.
ML: What’s going on, Buddy?
BC: Not much, I’m in New York right now, doing some seminars.
ML: How’s that going for you?
BC: Going really good. After this, I head to Oklahoma for more seminars and then back to Dallas.
ML: What have you been up to for the last eight months? We haven’t seen you fight since you beat Gabe Rivas back in January.
BC: Since then I’ve been training. I had the fight in May, but it didn’t happen and then the fight in August fell apart. Right now I have an outside chance of a fight in October, but it looks like I’ll be back in the cage in December back at the San Manuel Casino in Highland, CA.
ML: What weight class will you be fighting in, and which class do you feel is more suited for you?
BC: That is still up in the air. It could be at 155 or 160, possibly a fight somewhere at 170. Right now, I’d like to go with 155, because I’m walking around closer to it. I could make 160 easily right now as well as 155. It doesn’t really matter, I’m pretty comfortable at either weight. I think the most advantageous would be 155. If the bigger guys have to make that cut, it will benefit me more.
ML: You just signed with King Of The Cage again?
BC: As far as resigning, I have verbally agreed, and I don’t plan to fight for anyone else.
ML: Who are you looking at in the 160 division? It’s a pretty stacked division in both King Of The Cage and EliteXC and you have Victor Valenzuela and KJ Noons as their respective champions, how do look at those possible match-ups?
BC: I know Noons has a lot of popularity right now, and I have already beat him, and it was six years ago, so I’m not really dying for that fight. As a personal goal, I’d rather pursue the King Of The Cage title.
ML: Do you know who your first fight will be?
BC: I don’t know what they’re going to do, I’ll really take anyone they throw at me. I feel I’ve done enough to keep me in line for a title shot, so we’ll see what happens. I’m open to any possibility. It does look like it will be at the Soaring Eagle casino, in Mt. Pleasant, MI on November 26th.
ML: What do you do in your spare time?
BC: Football. I’m from the south, so all I do is go to football games. I’m also a huge baseball fan.
BC: Football? I’m a college fan, the Oklahoma Sooners. Baseball? I’m going with the Red Sox.
ML: In your spare time aside from seminars, you also host a weekly radio show.
BC: Yes, I’m co-host of Rear Naked Radio, based out of Dallas. We were just picked up to do a nation wide syndicated show, so we’ll be heard weekly throughout the US. You can also go to rearnakedradio.com too hear the show.
ML: You had a very controversial fight with Clay French for the Lightweight title. Can you walk us through what happened?
BC: What happened was, during the second round, I pushed off of Clay’s chest. My foot slipped when he took a step back and went over his shoulder. I’m assuming that from the angle the ref had, it looked like I kicked him in the face, and in Illinois you are not allowed to up kick. I thought it would be a warning, like most fouls are. You get a warning for the first slip up. We were sent to our respective corners, the referee stopped for a second, and then took the point away. It kind of shocked me and my corner.
The fight goes on and it’s still a fight I feel I won. But when the judges gave their decision at the end, it was in favor of Clay French by split decision. I actually won the fight, but because of the point deduction, it went to French by split decision. The controversy being, with the point deduction, I think it should have been a split draw, not a loss. The deduction was questionable as well, because it wasn’t an up kick, I was pushing off of his chest with my foot and it slipped.
ML: Did you ask for the rematch right away?
BC: I was offered the rematch right away because of the circumstances. The King Of The Cage management felt the point deduction was not justified and the best thing to do was offer the rematch right away. For the most part, I didn’t feel like taking the fight only eight weeks away, but I felt I might not get the shot again, so I took it. I didn’t have the performance I wanted at the rematch and got cut early. I ended up bleeding too much and the fight was stopped. And that’s pretty much how those two fights went down.
ML: How bad was the cut in the second fight?
BC: It was about half an inch right in the right corner of my mouth. It wasn’t long, it was just in the worst spot it could be in for a fight. I fight on my guard from my left side and the cut was on the right, which meant the blood would just pour right into my mouth. If I had position, I would have to let it go, sit up and spit it out. And that’s what the referee, Herb Dean was keeping an eye on. He saw how much blood I was ingesting throughout the second round. That’s why it was stopped.
ML: How did you get interested in martial arts and how did you hook up with Royce Gracie?
BC: I met up with Royce through a friend of mine named Pat Hardy. Anybody that has followed my fights, he is the older, bald headed, gentleman that’s with me that’s referred to as my father, because he is a father figure to me. Everyone knows him as Pops. He introduced me to Royce in 2000, and I actually started training Jiu Jitsu in 1996 after college football didn’t work out. I wanted to fight and I wasn’t getting very many opportunities in Dallas at the time, it was geared more towards Jiu Jitsu. Pops asked if I was really interested in fighting, and if I was, he could put me in touch with Royce. We were introduced in late 2000 and as they say, the rest is history.
Royce and I became the best of friends. I started training with him consistently, flying out to California to help him with his fights and he would help with mine. We meet up all over the country at different school to train and do seminars. Royce really helped me get my start. Royce’s manager at the time is the one that got me in touch with Terry Trebilcock and got me my first fight with King Of The Cage on September 5th, 2003.
ML: With the history of the Gracie family, what did it mean to be the first student under Royce to receive a black belt?
BC: I was part of the first group, there were five of us. I was very humbled. I was 16 years old when I first saw UFC 2 and being in high school in Texas, it’s all about football. And I thought, man, that’s impressive that a guy the size of Royce can do to the bigger opponents. And when football didn’t work out, I wanted to pursue a sport that you didn’t have to be a big, massive athlete to do, so I went back and watched some of the old UFC’s again. That’s when I said ok, football isn’t going to work out for me, let’s go this route, and thirteen years later, this is where I’m at. It’s my full time job and I love it.
ML: Can you tell me about your experience fighting Charles “Krazy Horse” Bennett?
BC: With the little bit of a fighting career that I have, the only fight of mine that you can see online, is the fight with Krazy Horse. There’s not a school I do a seminar at or a gym I train at that someone doesn’t come up to me and say “I love that Krazy Horse fight!”, “I’m so glad you choked him out in 18 seconds!”. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t want me to say this, but he’s known as being King Of The Cage’s version of Tito with his antics and some of the stuff he does and he’s very open with some of the comments he makes. But he’s really a nice human being and a great person to be around when the camera is off. I know he wants to keep his image, but he’s really a good guy.
Here’s a little story about him, the funny thing about him sniffing me before our fight, is that I didn’t know that was his new thing to do before a fight. I thought he was going to try to kiss me. Remember, this was only two months after the incident in PrideFC where Yoshihiro Nakao kissed Heath Herring, and I got a little nervous. I didn’t know if he was going to kiss me and it took everything I had to not hit him right there. And that’s why I went after him so fast, he kind of pissed me off a little.
ML: Looking at the 160 lb division in EliteXC, you have Krazy Horse in there and KJ Noons holding the title. You fought KJ Noons early in your career and beat him, and you also have the win over Krazy Horse. Where do you think you fit in to the rankings for EliteXC?
BC: I don’t know, but I will give KJ some credit. I fought KJ early in his career when he was mainly a striker with not much knowledge of grappling. I have no problem with KJ, I just think it was kind of funny that during a Sherdog interview, he said over and over, and tried to swear that our fight was amateur right before his fight with Krazy Horse. He actually had our fight pulled off of his professional record for two days. I noticed it and informed Sherdog that it was professional at the time in Texas. So they called the Texas Boxing Commission and verified it was a professional fight and Sherdog put it back on. So in a round about way, he lost twice in two days, because the record was reinstated on Friday and he was KO’d by Krazy Horse the next night on Saturday. You can go back and archive that interview still on Sherdog. He was just trying to get out of a loss.
ML: Sponsors and people that you would like to thank?
BC: dymatize.com, txmma.com, guymezger.com, travislutter.com, roycegracie.tv, rearnakedradio.com, atomic.com, Pat Hardy, Royce Gracie, Travis Lutter, Guy Mezger, Chris Bowles, Brett Bosler, Brad Rehore, David Douglas, Ray Wright, all of the students at Guy Mezger’s Combat Sports Club and all of the students at Travis Lutters Brazillian Jiu Jitsu Academy. And of course, Terry Trebilcock, Mike Low, Shingo Kashiwagi, and the rest of the staff at King Of The Cage, minus one fat ass from Indiana and he knows who he is.