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  • Written by MiddleEasy @MiddleEasy

Brian Ebersole talks about eating marijuana cookies and being called TWAS in our interview

Brian Ebersole, the only person with directional chest hair that gets paid to cartwheel kick people unconscious. If I was in charge of Ebersole's walk-out shirt, it would look exactly like the one above. Chest hair on a t-shirt is the future. It will do for body hair what The Matrix did for action films in 1999. It needs to happen, in fact it will happen -- but only if TWAS is behind it. If you've never visited The Underground, then TWAS is just as strange of a concept as this video of a baby monkey riding a pig, backwards. However, by the end of this exclusive interview with UFC fighter Brian Ebersole, you will not only understand the meaning of TWAS, but you will also realize that if you sleep on enough couches, mats and floors -- you too will garner a cult following.

Check out our interview with Brian Ebersole conducted by Jason Nawara, only at MiddleEasy.com.

Breakdown your entire life, in a timeline format.
1980 - Born to very young parents.
1984 - Sister, Mandy, born.
1985 - Began wrestling. Grandfather was the founder of Bradley-Bourbonnais (Illinois) Youth Wrestling Club, as a way to introduce the sport to kids before getting into the competitive high school sport.
1988 - Parents Divorced. Neither parent moved far from my hometown, making it easier for me to deal with.
1992 - Father re-married and subsequently had two other children, Elizabeth and Jacob.
1991-1994 - One of the state's better youth wrestlers, through middle school.
1997-1998 - One of the state's best wrestlers, in high school.
1998 - Earned an athletic and academic scholarship to Eastern Illinois University.
August 1998 - Got sick off of Southern Comfort in my first University drinking experience. Not meant to drink the entire bottle, apparently. Could have saved some to get me through the rest of the weekend.
October 1998 - Matt Hughes beat me up for the first time, though he'd led me through a few workouts prior that had me ready to cry -- this was the first time he'd manhandled me.
November 2000 - Arrested for a fight vs. a Southern Illinois University hockey player, who was much larger and more intoxicated than I. Led to the loss of my entire 3rd season, and I was not to return to the EIU wrestling team for my 4th/5th years either.
Mid 2001 - Charges dropped from the assault case, but the damage done. No wrestling, and a slightly depressed young Ebersole was not interested in university anymore.
2002 - Dropped out of my semester's classes and worked on a pig farm in rural Illinois, at a rate of 19k per year. 12-hour days. Punishing myself and tasting the "real world", though the hard work was slightly therapeutic.
November 2002 - Alongside Jon Fitch, I visited American Kickboxing Academy, sleeping on Bob Cook and Josh Thomson's couch.
July 2003 - Moved to California to train at American Kickboxing Academy.
2005 - Left AKA and moved on with Frank Shamrock to start his own academy.
2006 - Signed contract with IFL. Lost that contract due to the Shannon Ritch fight and suspension. Fought Kyle Noke in October and Dave Frendin in November, both in Australia.
2007 - Fought in the IFL on 11-days notice, though I was only in California to say goodbye, before moving back to Australia. Failed my drug test due to eating Marijuana cookies whilst in California (semi-legal there), and not having enough notice to clear the system.
2007-2009 - Lived in Perth, Western Australia. Worked as an MMA Coach, and competed multiple times across the country. 2010 - Traveled Australia as a coach and athlete. Lived in gyms, slept on couches, mats, etc. (had no work rights for part of the year, so I lived cheap as a tourist). Got work rights, and decided to work at multiple gyms instead of just one.
July 2010 - Defeated former UFC Champion Carlos Newton in July.
2011 - Worked for multiple gyms, taught seminars, and signed a UFC contract before defeating Chris Lytle at UFC 127.

 

Did the MMA landscape shift with Bones Jones winning -- with all of the old guard now passed?Not sure what you mean by "old guard", and figure you're quoting Elvis Sinosic who just said the same thing on another respected news website. I don't think that Jones' win was a surprise, nor the mark of any 'new era' in MMA. Wrestlers have all of the belts in the UFC, except the one held by Anderson Silva. But wrestlers had always done very, very well in MMA. That won't change.

 

You've been around, what do you think this sport is going to be like in 20 years?Better athletes with more well rounded skill sets. All of the skills have been on display since UFC 1, from the dogmatic arts and singularly focused sports (wrestling, judo, boxing, etc.). And increasingly, coaches and athletes are combining these skills in a more effective manner. The same will be done with fighting strategy/philosophy as well. The pace of fights may change. Heck, the rules will probably change also -- as in most pro sports.

 

Why did it take you so long to get to the UFC?

I lost fights when I was young, that could have been listed as amateur. They were listed as pro. So my numbers were never that great. I was 12-6 at one stage, and nobody noticed that I went 9-1 to come to 21-7 at one stage. I did not apply for season one of The Ultimate Fighter, which is where four of my teammates were noticed (Fitch, Swick, Koscheck, Southworth) -- though Fitch was pulled from the show last minute. I left AKA as these guys left for that show, so I was not able to ride their coattails into the UFC. Instead, I fought Cung Le in San Shou and then fought on Strikeforce's first MMA card.

Past that, moving to Australia did not exactly put me on the UFC's radar. Had I beaten Lombard, I'd have earned a contract with a major organization for 2009. But I didn't, and I had to start all over and wait for a big fight. The Newton fight was the next big fight, for me. And even then, the UFC wasn't going to sign me based on that win. As luck would have it, I got onto UFC 127 and I'll look to finish my career on the UFC's roster.

 

You're quite the globe trotter, tell us about living on people's couches.From the garage to greatness, will be the name of my book -- I figure. I began training MMA (outside of wrestling seasons) in matted garages and grassy lawns. I've never had financial comfort in my life, though I'm more than grateful for my upbringing--- in that I had all the basics (food, water, electricity, education, opportunity, and love). But money was something that was not easily accessed, as my parents often worked multiple jobs. And as a university student, money is always in short supply. When I came to Australia, I made a decent wage for the first time in my life. And when I had to return to Australia on a tourist visa, I was unable to earn money and unwilling to drain my bank account, so I bartered. I would live with students, in the gym, etc. as part of an exchange for my time on the mat. People were happy to have me train with them, and offered me a place to stay. It wasn't more than four months ago, that I was sleeping in a garage on a mattress. For one month, that was my accommodation. I was being paid a wage to teach, but there was no reason to spend it all on hotels. To ensure I have a positive bank balance, I'm quite flexible/negotiable on my sleeping arrangement.

 

You have 63 fights and you've never been KOd. Ever been KOd in training?No.

 

Have you ever been KOd doing anything?No. But 2009 Australian Karate Champion and last year's Runner-Up, Alecia Brazenall, has TKOd me after rendering me helpless -- on more than a few occasions. She has my number, apparently.

 

So your confidence in your chin is why you shave the arrow into your chest?Humor is why I shave the arrow. I know I can be hit and dropped like any human. Not having had it happen, probably helps the joke go over a bit better. But I do it for laughs.

 

How many weight classes have you fought in?

155, 170, 185, 205, 220, 265, Open weight.

A fight is a fight. And I didn't have much of a choice, when I was starting out. Promoters were scumbags, and made the matches based on what they needed that day. Not what was fair or right. So showing up with one opponent in mind, and being given another, was common.

I'm glad for the experiences, as it's allowed me a wide range of experimental knowledge and data. Both with opponents and with myself (gaining/losing weight). Always a middleweight, the drop to welterweight was merely a matter of training full-time. Dropping to lightweight was an experiment that went alright, and one that I hoped could get me into the UFC --- as I'd beat those little guys up.

 

Do you frequent MMA message boards and what not? It seems like you are pretty in tune with MMA jokes, like the Diego Sanchez 'Yes' thing.

I do. MMA.tv was the first one, and it was a great help in finding fight opportunities when I was younger. I like to get on and read the news, and every now and again I'll jump onto a thread and have a conversation. I used to get a bit worked up and respond as if I were in a conversation in a bar or living room. But I've worked to remain a bit more tempered, as I don't want to stir too much shit. And if I really want to get my opinion across, to make a difference in something, the forums aren't the optimal avenue.

But I like to hear what fans have to say, as they humor me and i hope to humor them.

Cartwheel vs. Cartwheel, meditation vs. introspective reflection. The nightmare vs. the gypsy. The weird guy vs. the strange bloke. Will we ever see it? Maybe in 2012, if I can get a few wins on the board.

 

You're a pretty hairy guy. What's that like?More of an effort than I'd prefer. But it's a tribute to my forefathers, the manliest of the cavemen.

 

I grow beards in the winter, do you shave your chest more often when you're in warm weather or do you let it grow au naturale?I only shave for fights. I tried to give it a full shave, with a razor and all, when I was in university. Ended up with red spots everywhere, for three or four days. Not attractive. Abs and a tan would have helped too, but I was pasty and didn't have a leanness to suit the look.

 

Are you aware of Mustache March?I did Mo-vember once, in Australia, to raise awareness and money for prostate cancer. I hated it.

 

Does the UFC have a monopoly?The always have. Ask a fighter where they want to fight. The UFC has always been the answer. When fans say UFC, they mean the sport of MMA. That's strong, don't you think? You never hear someone say "do you play NBA?". They understand that the NBA is the highest league/promotion for basketball. Fans do not make this distinction between UFC and mixed martial arts.

 

The cartwheel kick, explain.Cartwheel, barely modified so as to allow heel to face, just after the apex of the arc has been passed by the 2nd foot.

 

What was it like fighting Hector Lombard?

Excitingly scary. I knew I could only lose by being hit in the face, but I was good at not getting hit in the face. It was the biggest fight Australia had ever seen, whether folks gave it that recognition or not. It was my super-fight. I had to take it, even tough I'd dropped to welterweight through diet and full-time training. So it was a great opportunity for me, and a night that I wish I could have to replay again. After the first round, my confidence was through the roof. He couldn't land flush, nor hold me down. It was only my laziness and wanting to tire him out, that led me to stay on bottom (hoping he would unload and blow his gas tank) in round three, leading to a short elbow that cut me.

The knee that had been bothering me through training, and fired electrical shocks of pain since late in round one/early round two was my downfall that night. It lists the loss as "submission to strikes", which couldn't be further from the truth. Submission by, "I want to have a career that goes to 2015" is more like it. I couldn't justify tearing my knee up, just to go through another seven minutes and say that I went the distance. I pulled the plug on the machine that night, scared that I would tear my knee trying to wrestle. Healthy knee, I stand right back up after the failed takedown--- and get back in Hector's face (or hips).

 

You're a pretty weird guy aren't you?

I've been told that all of my life. I act out when others are shy. I'm shy, as others act out. I look for the humor and the truth, in daily interaction.

I have a way of looking at things that others understand when I explain it --- but very few respond by saying, 'Exactly. That's how I figure it, that's how I see it, that's how I thought of it too.'

I'm aware that there is no such thing as normal, and that allows me to embrace my 'weirdness'. Normal is just people's view of political correctness and not causing a ripple in the placid pools of social interaction. Which is absolute bullshit, when you look at the world and how it moves. We're judgmental of little ripples of the individual, but we allow our organizations/groups/industries/etc. to cause goddamn tidal waves with their actions and policies? We can't disagree with our parents, politicians, employers in a way that is respected or a way that could lead to a synthesis of ideas, thus evolution of process or policy. We can't support things that could 'take away the personal liberties of others', even if it's for the greater good relating to a humanitarian cause. Yet, our governments take away personal liberties. We tell people that they aren't good enough/wealthy enough/deserving enough of a higher education. Our parents are just normal people with an extraordinary burden of being your be all/end all influence for 18 years --- but they never qualified for the job. Some never wanted the job, most don't embrace the job, nor do they research the job. Are they honest with their performance at that job? Is it normal to meet with someone in a 5-star hotel to talk business, and attack his entire family a few days later? Yet war is normal? It's been standard operating procedure for how many centuries? And has it ever worked? If being unconscious and uncaring about the real issues of this world is normal, and walking through life saying/doing what others deem appropriate is normal. Consider me weird. Being aware may be a bit of a burden, as issues arise that require some consideration. But I'd rather my mind stewed over real issues, than whether or not Bill and Bob are going to get married in Vermont. Whether or not McDonald's will bring back the McRib this year. Will interest rates to up/down next month? And all the other stupid shit put on television and billboards, which take their attention and energy. And leave us malleable to the policies created by others, leave us only with the opportunities given, and leave us helpless to effect real change in a world where 1% of the population truly controls everything. Is it weird, not being complacent in a world such as this?

But hey, I've got an arrow on my chest and I wrestle for a living. Don't mind me, unless it's for a quick laugh or facetious comment.

 

Matt Mitrione, discuss.

He doesn't like how I fight, but is helpless to stop me from being me. His words will not change me. His opinion does not bother me. And if I were able to fight him, I would. Just to give him the chance to show me how bothered he is . Tell me a goofy guy like that, with his certain lack of social grace and towering size, was not a bully. I dare someone to say that he did not retaliate with verbal threats and a physical presence, anytime he was ever teased, questioned, or bothered.

Outspoken and ridiculous, that's what I think of him.

 

Tell us about The White Anderson Silva (TWAS). How did you start getting called that?

The White Anderson Silva is a recently signed UFC fighter, who's antics and ridiculousness have a slight resemblance to the UFC middleweight champion. A bit of shaking, jazz, elusiveness, and aloofness caused people to make the comparison -- I presume. TWAS humbly accepts the reference, and will aim to keep his UFC record as untainted as that of the champion to whom he's compared.

The internet forums were the birthplace of TWAS. And the term has been widely used, as of late. There will be a tee shirt, soon released on www.australianfightdistributors.com.au and www.ebersolemma.com, paying homage to both the Arrow of Destiny, and the thoughts/words of TWAS.

I'd like to thank my UFC cornermen Ed Bavelock, Fari Salievski, and Taff Davies. My manager Justin Lawrence and my sponsors Hayabusa, Cage Fitness, Nutrition Underground, and Mass Suit Australia Also, Bradley, Illinois for believing in my dream and sharing the 20 minutes of Octagon time with me! I felt you there with me, and I am grateful for LOVE!

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