This Sunday night, Jan. 10, 2010, World Extreme Cagefighting returns to Arco Arena in Sacramento, Calif. with “WEC 46: Varner vs. Henderson”. Fighting at bantamweight on the card, and making his fourth WEC appearance, will be Coty “Ox” Wheeler (10-2).
ProMMA.info (www.promma.info) had the pleasure of speaking to Coty this week about his upcoming fight with Will Campuzano (6-1), how it feels to work with the “Fighters Only 2009 Coach of the Year”, where he got his nickname, and what animal he may have been in a previous life (it’s not an ox).
It’s the little man with big personality, the Apache kid, the fighter who was almost named “Two Dogs Humping”, Mr. Coty “Ox” Wheeler…
WWW.PROMMA.INFO: Thank you for talking to us today Coty. How did you get the nickname “Ox”?
COTY “OX” WHEELER: Well I got the name at birth, when I was born that was the first animal my parents saw when they walked out of the tee-pee. I’m just glad it was not two dogs humpin when they walked out… (laughs) I’m joking. I got the name from my Mom and Dad, it started off as Cotox because my name is Coty. There is some history behind all this, when my Dad was a kid he hung out with Gordy, Bud, and other kids from the Lapwai Reservation in North Idaho and they ended all their names with OX. Such as Harrox, Gordox, and Buddox.. (laughs) I thought it was funny but when I was born my folks said I was named after his good friend Gordy “Papa OX”. I did not like my name as a kid but it grew on to me and now I have it tattooed on my stomach.. (laughs)
WWW.PROMMA.INFO: You are fighting Will Campuzano this weekend at WEC 46. How much have you seen of Will’s fights and how do you match up?
COTY “OX” WHEELER: Will is a tough fighter and we match up well, I watch all of his fights on Youtube and did my home work. Thanks to Ian Mcall. I never studied film, Ian studied me and beat me. After that fight I took all my fights off the net, and when I retire and quit fighting I will keep all previous fights off the net.
WWW.PROMMA.INFO: What aspect of his game, if any, most impresses you?
COTY “OX” WHEELER: Will gots good stand up and I got to watch out for those long dancer legs. (laughs) He is an upcoming fighter and he is hungry just like the rest of us. I will tell you this much NOBODY trains to walk in that cage to lose, I sure as HELL don’t. But back to Will he is a cool cat, I like the guy.
WWW.PROMMA.INFO: OK, what is it with you and flying armbars? In 12 professional fights, you finished three by flying armbar, right? Were you born to fly – maybe you were a bird in a previous life?
COTY “OX” WHEELER: (laughs) I think I was a Crow in my previous life.. Yes, I do have three flying arm bars in three pro sanctioned cards. The first was against Vincent Ramos in “Ring of Fire 25” in Vale, Col. Number two was against Ceasar Rodriguez in “Fightworld 13” in Albuquerque, N.M. And the third was against Del Hawkins in WEC 32 in Albuquerque, N.M. I will tell you this much those moves never get old and when you land them they are better than winning lottery tickets. I remember my first one I landed I was so hyped up I could not sleep. I could not wait to get back to Albuquerque and let everybody know what I have just done… And when I did tell everybody nobody believed me. (laughs) Then I got the video and I was the MAN!
WWW.PROMMA.INFO: That is hilarious! I read where you said MMA had helped to keep you out of trouble when you were younger. Can you talk a little about that, what it was like growing up where you lived and how you got into martial arts?
COTY “OX” WHEELER: Well I grew up on the Mescalero Apache Reservation and fighting there is a given, growing up there everybody fights and if you did not stand up for yourself people would keep running over you. I got into a lot of trouble as a kid and I remember having to go to court for the first time when I was 12-years-old and the ball kept rolling until I really started getting in trouble and YES! MMA saved my life with the help of my Mom, Dad, and my girlfriend (Sarah). Without the combination of people and incidents happening in my earlier years I probably would be in prison or dead. And with MMA being my new stress ball I don’t care to get into trouble because I have structure in my life, MMA is good for the mind, body, and soul. I remember renting the first UFC videos and we would have to watch what my Mom rented first and then we could watch the UFC videos. I would be too tired and my Dad would stay up and watch them and I could hear him trying to keep his cheers and cussing toned down because everybody was asleep. The next day he would be talking about Tank Abbot and Royce Gracie how those are some bad Dudes. I just want to be one of those bad dudes.
WWW.PROMMA.INFO: That is so awesome. Growing up where you did, have you ever had to use your martial arts training outside of the cage? If so, could you tell us what happened?
COTY “OX” WHEELER: It’s funny because now that I’m trained to hurt and break I have not got a chance to use it in the streets, not that I want to. But it’s like insurance I guess you don’t know when you’re gonna need it and when you do need to use it, you have it.
WWW.PROMMA.INFO: Well that’s good to hear actually. On a different note, what do you think about the WEC doing pay-per-views in the future? Is that something you think they are ready for?
COTY “OX” WHEELER: Man!! I think that is awesome, that would just push us lighter weights into a bigger spotlight. It is a big plus for WEC.
WWW.PROMMA.INFO: You train at Jackson/Winklejohn in Albuquerque. Greg Jackson was just awarded “coach of the year” at the Fighters Only MMA Awards. How do you feel about that, and what has he meant to you as a coach?
COTY “OX” WHEELER: Greg Jackson is not only the Coach of the Year, but also one of the greatest people I have met in my life. He is the MAN! He treats everybody the same and he is about producing great fighters and it shows. And I’m not saying that because I borrowed some money from him neither… (laughs) I’m joking.
WWW.PROMMA.INFO: Can you tell our readers why they should watch WEC 46 this Sunday night on VERSUS?
COTY “OX” WHEELER: Tune in because every WEC & UFC card is stacked and worth watching, plus it’s free now and you don’t have to pay for it yet.
WWW.PROMMA.INFO: Coty, thanks for talking to us. We wish you the best of luck this weekend. Is there anyone you want to shout out or any sponsors you want to thank?
COTY “OX” WHEELER: Coach WinkleJohn, Coach Jackson, Coach Diego Baca (Parsai Speed School), Coach Tony Sigala, all my training partners at Jackson/Winklejohn’s gym, Rich Chavez, David Proa, Jeff Schnapps, Dr. Frosty, Tornado Foran, Dirty “D” Page, East Los Condit, and to all my sponsors thank you guys… Oh yeah and for the ones who doubted me sorry to let you down…Tootle Loo..
By: Jack Bratcher