One of our main sponsors here at PRO MMA (http://promma.info) is Chess Game Fight Gear. They have great fight apparel for men and women and some of the highest quality fight shorts on the market. The newest addition to Chess Game’s fight team is the Reality Fighting Welterweight Champion, Chuck “Cold Steel” O’Neil. Chuck trains with Team Aggression with the Lauzon brothers, coach Joe Pomfret, and all the guys at Lauzon MMA in Bridgewater, Massachusetts.
PRO MMA (http://promma.info) got the chance to speak with Chuck this past weekend as he and Team Lauzon made the trek down to Tampa for Joe’s main event, UFC Fight Night 17, fight against Jeremy Stephens. Chuck gave us an insider’s look into the days and hours leading up to Fight Night 17 as well as how the team celebrated Joe’s victory.
Chuck O’Neil is 23 years-old, 6’2″ and is currently 5-2 as a professional MMA fighter. For someone who had no wrestling, boxing, or martial arts experience prior to 2005, had his first pro fight in 2006, and has already won the welterweight championship of a regional promotion, he definitely has a ton of natural ability and is doing quite well. Combine that with a full time training regimen at one of the top gyms in the country alongside some of the best fighters in MMA and you can understand why Chess Game Fight Gear was excited to sponsor Chuck O’Neil and why we were excited to speak with him.
PRO MMA: How did you get started in MMA, what is your background?
CHUCK: I first got into the MMA world in September of 2005 when i was 19 years old. I had no prior experience with any sort of martial arts or boxing and came from a town on the Cape which had no wrestling program so I was pretty green outside of being an overly aggressive kid growing up who got in quite a few fights in my day. I found my gym, now named Lauzon MMA, through MassMMA, when i read all the school reviews I called the owner, Joe Pomfret, and was instantly hooked. My first day in the gym I walked in at 235 lbs., looked around at all these light weight guys, laughed to myself thinking I would run house, then ended up leaving beaten down. Since then there’s been no looking back, fighting and MMA is my life!
PRO MMA: So what is it like being in Lauzon’s camp the day before a big fight? What takes place, what part do you play in the preparation for Joe leading up to his fight with Jeremy Stephens?
CHUCK: Being part of Joe’s camp is a great experience. The whole part of it shows me a lot and helps me grow as a fighter. Joe is a highly talented, and genuine good guy. He is someone I definetly look up to in this sport and I enjoy every part of being in his camp and part of his team. Since we’ve been out here Joe has been doing a million things for the press and media since he is the main event for Saturday. We have a bunch of guys out here so we have been having fun throughout the week while Joe does his interviews. As I said, Joe has been busy with those so not too much training taking place but when he needed someone here or there I jumped in.
PRO MMA: How did the weigh ins go?
CHUCK: The weigh ins went very well I went with Joe to cut weight and it only took like an hour. It was weird for me to see us in the same sauna with Joe’s opponent Jeremy Stephens and Hermes Franca when there are clearly issues which should bring separation but nothing happened, everyone stayed civil. Once at the weigh ins, the UFC moved everything along smoothly and Joe made 156, got the best of the stare down and all that’s left is the fight.
PRO MMA: By the way, you were getting down in Joe’s video blog with that song and dance!
CHUCK: Yeah I’m glad you liked my karaoke skills.
PRO MMA: So you guys were in the sauna with Jeremy Stephens and Hermes Franca? Why was Hermes in the sauna? Was he there just to try and play some mental games or something?
CHUCK: Yeah all the UFC fighters are all staying in the same hotel which again is kind of weird at times but they were all using the same gym’s sauna which was like five minutes away from the hotel. So they all needed to be to the weigh in at a specific time so it comes down to fighters all weighing in at the same location at the same time. Joe was very professional with all the BS which Hermes was starting but Joe is always going to be the one to take the higher road within any situation he comes across. Hermes was in there to support Jeremy as they are training partners and good friends. Jeremy actually had been helping out with Hermes’ training camp, helping him get ready for the fight with Joe until he got hurt at that point Stephens jumped at the opportunity.
PRO MMA: How is it hanging out with Dan Lauzon? Has he been wearing any lamp shades on this trip?
CHUCK: Dan is a fun time, all the time. He is always going to be himself no matter who is around and that is a fun loving party animal. But he’s always doing stuff to make us all laugh. I mostly train with Joe and Dan as I’ll come in to do their sparring rounds when they are getting ready for their fights and they always return the favor when I have my fights coming up. So I feel like I’m closest to both Joe and Dan training wise but I’m also good friends with both of them outside of training. Needless to say, I enjoy my adventures with Dan even though I don’t drink.
PRO MMA: So how did you hook up with the Chess Game guys, how will they be assisting you?
CHUCK: I got hooked up with Chess Game through one of my training partners, Lorenzo, who is best friends with the owner of the company, Jeff Baker. Lorenzo had mentioned me to Baker about sponsorship and Baker was on board. He is a good guy who is just a real person. He’s going to be hooking me up with a bunch of gear for my fights and a ton of support by being there for me and helping to promote me and my name through interviews and photoshoots so I’m pretty excited for this relationship as we go forward with it.
PRO MMA: I wanted to say congratulations to Team Lauzon on Joe’s victory. So what did you guys do after Joe’s big win Saturday? How did you celebrate?
CHUCK: Hey man thanks, it was a great night for Joe and he showed once again why he is an elite fighter and a stand up guy to go with it. After Joe’s fight we went to a club called Prana down in Tampa. There were around 50 people who came down to support Joe by coming to the fight and most of them were teammates so everyone was treated to a wild night of VIP action. It was wild yet a very fun night as everyone got to be together at one event and all take in the big win together, so overall it was a very good time.
PRO MMA: I was checking out your record and some of the cards you have been on and noticed how many fighters had won by submission including yourself. What is it with Massachusetts and grappling? It almost seems like the unsung grappling capital of the U.S., have you noticed that?
CHUCK: I would definitely say you are right, that Massachusetts has an endless list of badass grapplers, along with a huge number of very talented and tough fighters who have bright futures in the sport. When it comes to me in a fight, to tell you the complete truth I’d absolutely love to be on the feet throwing down in my fights but in my last three fights, my opponents were the ones looking to get the fight to the ground. This is MMA, to be successful in this sport you have to have a fine set of skills on the feet and on the ground and I came to understand this when I took a year off between taking a fight between 07-08. During that year I learned a lot about the sport, myself and what I needed to work on. Along with all that, I learned from my head trainer, Joe Pomfret, that in a fight, it’s not about how you win, it’s just about winning overall.
PRO MMA: What are your MMA goals for 2009? And then what are your ultimate goals, what do you want to achieve in MMA?
CHUCK: My goals I am looking to accomplish within 2009 is to continue on my winning ways and defend my title successfully, ultimately looking to climb the ranks and hopefully fight in a bigger show before the year is over. My overall goals within the sport are the obvious, to make it to a big time promotion and make it easy for myself to be able to be a full-time fighter, although I train currently full time for fighting, I would just like it to come a little easier for me to train full time and not worry about money.
PRO MMA: Finally, Can you let everyone know, when is your next fight?
CHUCK: My next fight is scheduled for march 14th in Wilmington, Massachusetts, for WCF, but my opponent just dropped out, so we are waiting on a replacement. I’m booked and scheduled to fight May 2nd in Plymouth, Massachusetts vs. Tim Pinney, I’ll be defending my Reality Fighting 170 lb title.
PRO MMA: Do you have a website or Myspace people can check out and do you have any shout outs or final words or anything people should know about you?
CHUCK: I do have a Myspace which you can check out by going to www.myspace.com/coldsteelkills. I’m also on Facebook and you can find me by searching Chuck O’Neil. I would just like to give a shout out to Chess Game Fight Gear (www.chessgamefightgear.com), my sponsor, for all their support. They are a great company ran by great guys and have quality gear. I would also like to give shout outs to some of my main training partners, Joe and Dan Lauzon, Fred Mello, Tony Leate, Greg Pomfred, Dan Conway, and John White among many others and a thank you to my head trainer, Joe Pomfret, for getting me going in this sport and always sticking by me and my manager, Chris Palmquist.
By: Jack Bratcher