If you saw this past week’s episode of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Lesnar vs. Team dos Santos you saw Team Lesnar’s Charlie Rader (15-4) take on Team dos Santos’ glee-filled gladiator Ramsey Nijem (4-0).
Coach Lesnar and his team were quite confident that their boy Charlie would run through Ramsey, but come fight time Ramsey used his wrestling to repeatedly take the fight to the ground where he controlled the action and ultimately got the rear-naked choke submission early in the second round.
It was a disappointing loss for Charlie and he took quite a bit of criticism for a quick tap out. Although, it was revealed later on that he had actually injured his shoulder at the beginning of round two.
ProMMAnow.com caught up with the 29-year-old New Orleans fighter this week to get his thoughts on the fight with Ramsey, find out more about his injury and what effect it had on him tapping out.
We also get Charlie’s reaction to Coach Lesnar’s post-fight ass-chewing and UFC President Dana White’s post-fight comments. Charlie also fills us in on why no one is going to want to miss the rest of the season, and a lot more. Without further ado, this is Mr. Charlie “Superstar” Rader…
PRO MMA NOW: Hi Charlie, thank you for taking time to speak with us at ProMMAnow.com. How have these last few weeks been for you watching The Ultimate Fighter and have you been going anywhere to watch it or are you just watching it at home?
CHARLIE RADER: Thanks ProMMAnow.com. The last few weeks watching the show have been really good. I have gotten alot of support from all over and it’s definitely been a great experience. I have been watching the fights at a local bar/restaurant called Pip’s. They set up a viewing party for me every Wednesday night starting at 8 p.m. until the end of the season (Call 504-456-9234 if you’re in the Metairie-New Orleans area and want to come out).
PRO MMA NOW: Have you found that you are getting recognized more out in public since the show began and what has that been like?
CHARLIE RADER: I have been getting recognized a lot more since the show has aired, and its been a cool feeling.
PRO MMA NOW: You are from New Orleans. Did you and Pat Barry ever train together or do you know him? Was he someone you looked up to and what was his reputation like around New Orleans growing up?
CHARLIE RADER: Yes I do know Pat Barry, he’s a good friend of mine. I train with him anytime he’s in New Orleans now and its always a great but painful experience. (laughs) Kickboxing with him has to be one of the worst things to do as everyone knows what kind of a striker he is. He is also a really tough guy to wrestle and grapple with, which I know the world hasn’t really seen yet but believe me he has good wrestling and Jitz. Pat is someone I look up to but not just for his fighting, he has one of the best attitudes you can come across. He’s always in a good mood and will always take the time out to help anyone. His rep around New Orleans was a good one as a person, as far as fighting was concerned DONT STAND WITH HIM!
PRO MMA NOW: It looks like the UFC is planning a show for New Orleans later this year. Are you hoping to get on that card and have you had any discussions with Joe Silva or anyone about it?
CHARLIE RADER: Yes the UFC is coming to New Orleans Sept. 17th and I definitely hope that I am lucky enough to be on it. To be able to fight in the UFC on a show in my home town would be a dream come true.
PRO MMA NOW: Alright, let’s talk about your fight with Ramsey. Do you think the way he acted and portrayed himself caused you to underestimate him at all and what was your impression of him as a person?
CHARLIE RADER: My fight with Ramsey was horrible, all I can say is that wasn’t me in the cage! Ramsey being a goof ball in the house didn’t make me underestimate him at all. I treat everyone the same I’m going to fight and that’s that they’re dangerous and if I don’t take them serious they will win.
PRO MMA NOW: Brock said before the fight it would be a disgrace to lose to Ramsey because he paints his toenails. What are your thoughts on him saying that, and did you look at it that way too?
CHARLIE RADER: Brock saying it would be a disgrace to lose to Ramsey cause of painted toe nails went in one ear and out the other. Maybe he thinks if ya have color on ya nails that effects ya fighting but I don’t. Plus it’s TV so I figured that guys would be a little loud to express themselves and get fans.
PRO MMA NOW: What are your thoughts on the fight overall and were you pleased with your performance — did anything about Ramsey surprise you?
CHARLIE RADER: My thoughts on the fight are disgust! I didn’t do anything and mentally I just wasn’t there. I hated the way we trained and didn’t take a lot of things with training serious. All of my coaches attitudes towards Ramsey were just there’s no way he can beat you and I felt the way they prepared me for the fight just wasn’t serious enough. I like a specific way of training, and preparing for a fight and I take everyone serious. When I didn’t get that it just messed me up mentally. My whole team was complaining leading up to the fight about the same thing. Ramsey didn’t surprise me, his game plan was very simple — take me down.
PRO MMA NOW: What exactly was your injury, when did you hurt it and did it cause you to tap faster than you may have normally? — How is it today, are you all healed?
CHARLIE RADER: My injury was a torn Labrum, and it happened on the first takedown in the second round. I panicked cause I didn’t really know what was wrong at the time, I just felt my shoulder and arm go numb. It definitely had a factor on me tapping as fast as I did, but Ramsey locked up the choke good and with one arm what can I do.
PRO MMA NOW: What did you think about Dana saying you just gave up?
CHARLIE RADER: Dana’s thought after the fight was probably the hardest thing about the loss. Dana is the boss and if he isn’t happy with you, then you don’t have a job in the UFC. Now I had talked to Dana after we all found out about my shoulder and it was all good.
PRO MMA NOW: How did you deal with the ass-chewing from Brock after the fight and do you think Len Bentley handled it the right way? Did the whole “chicken [expletive]” statements ever bother you?
CHARLIE RADER: Brock chewing us out after the fight was deserved because of my performance or lack thereof. My fight was supposed to light a fire under our team, and when I failed to do that Brock had to do something. Len is an emotional guy and walking out prob wasn’t the right thing to do but I understood he was still mad at Brock for not being at his fight. His “chicken [expletive]” comments were aggravating as hell. We felt that he always talked as if we were crap and didn’t belong there and it just pushed us away from him.
PRO MMA NOW: Talk about your relationship with “Cold Steel” O’Neil a little bit. How did you guys first meet and how did it help you to have such a good friend going through the experience with you?
CHARLIE RADER: Chuck and I actually met at medicals a month before the show started and we just clicked. We stayed in touch through the whole waiting process for the show and at first when I made it and he didn’t it sucked. Once he got on as an alternate and was on Brock’s team I definitely thought it would be a great season. Chuck’s a goofball and just likes to have fun but knows when to be serious and get down to business. He had my diet perfect and weight down the whole time and taught me a lot about nutrition.
PRO MMA NOW: Talent-wise how do you think the guys on your season stack up against previous seasons?
CHARLIE RADER: I think talent-wise the guys on the show stack up good against previous seasons. The show is a lot harder then what people think and just because some guys don’t look that good on the show doesn’t mean they can’t fight or don’t belong in the UFC. Guys like Nordine, he is a great fighter and in that first fight just didn’t get to do alot.
PRO MMA NOW: There’s a lot of great fighters in the UFC who started out on TUF. It sort of seems the amount of TUF fighters who end up getting contracts with the UFC even if they don’t win the show has decreased in recent seasons. What do you think about the guys on your season, who are some of the guys you think are good enough to be legit UFC welterweight fighters at this point?
CHARLIE RADER: Guys on this season that I definitely think deserve a contract regardless of the outcome of the show are probably everyone on my team for sure. Every one of them had a good attitude about training and would fight anyone to get that contract. The other team was good too, a couple of their guys will probably fight at 55 in the future though.
PRO MMA NOW: What can TUF fans expect the rest of the season?
CHARLIE RADER: The rest of the season is really good, there are some crazy finishes to some exciting fights. The fights so far haven’t been the best but I promise they get a lot better. Also as a lot of people saw the previews for the season there is a big fight in the house and its definitely one of the worst incidents in the house ever. So no one should miss that.
PRO MMA NOW: Thanks so much for your time Charlie. I hope we see you back in the UFC Octagon soon. Anything else you wanted to add or any final words of wisdom for us? Is there anyone you want to thank or shout out?
CHARLIE RADER: Thanks for the interview had a great time answering the questions and I will definitely prove that I belong in the UFC and that wasn’t me in the cage with Ramsey. I definitely want to say thanks to everyone who has supported me through all of this.
UFC fans can follow Charlie Rader on Twitter @CharlieRaderMMA.