Saturday, March 27, 2010 at 6:26 a.m.
Charles Blanchard likes to punch men in the face -- and he gets paid for it.
The Jacksonville native is a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter and is making his big debut Wednesday on Spike TV's show Ultimate Fighter
There are some moves he wishes he could smack down on his opponent, but he refrains in order to keep paying the bills and doing what he loves to do.
To get rid of any preconceived notions. Blanchard talked to the Juice recently and explained that not all MMA fighters are meatheads.
MMA had a bad rep at first. Has it lived that down?
It's unfortunate that's how the sport had to be brought about. They didn't think it was going to be a sport at first. A couple of guys got together and wanted to see what the dominant style of fighting would be.
That aspect has changed. Some people still have the sense from the beginning where everything was brutal, like human cock fighting. Now there's a governing body with rules
and regulations. It's an international sport.
We have doctors in place to make sure we're all healthy to fight. Every guy who's training to be a fighter is an athlete. It's not brutal street fighting. Everyone has great respect for each other. Every time I've ever fought anyone, we're friends afterwards. Hopefully people will be more and more educated every day. I really wish it didn't have the beginning cock-fighting appearance that left a bad taste in everybody's mouth.
What's the typical MMA fighter like?
If I take you to a gym and I have you beat on a gym and beat on somebody for six hours, when you leave, you're in a great mood. You're euphoric. Most fighters are calm. This "full of testosterone" thing is wrong. The last thing I want to do is be aggressive unless I'm in the cage. Most guys, you'd be surprised, are extremely mellow and calm. Bar fights are ridiculous. I'm not getting paid for it, and I'll hurt my hand in some way, so you try to avoid that at all costs. You don't have to prove you're tough, because when you're a pro fighter, you know you are.
What's it like when you tell people what you do?
Everyone has a different response. Some guys, like alpha males, automatically try to prove who's the bigger, tougher guy. They're like, "Oh I can fight." Other people are really into it, and they want to talk and ask a bunch of questions. Other people find it brutal and disgusting and something that should be banned, and that really pisses me off.
I train for six hours a day when I'm training for a fight. Some people don't consider it a sport. I train a lot harder than a lot of professional athletes do. As mainstream as it's become, there's still a lot of people who don't know about MMA.
What can't you do when you fight that you wish you could?
I wish I could give a purple-nurple, like a titty-twister. You can't bite, pull, or torque skin. You can't do a fish hook, eye gouge, eye poke, or groin shots. There's a couple of rules I wish they would change that were made at the beginning of UFC because the governing body didn't quite understand fighting. In Japan, they do kicks to the head on a down opponent. I wish they would allow that because some fighters take advantage of certain positions. If I have a fighter in a headlock, they'll put their hand on the ground so I can't hit them. But I'm sure that law will get corrected in the next two years.
Does it pay the bills?
It used to not, but it does now that I've gotten on the show. Once you get into the UFC, they pay a lot more than a small organization. When I first started professional fighting, I got paid $500 per fight. You can't live off of that. When you're training for three months prior, that doesn't amount to anything. Getting into the UFC is a main goal for all fighters because you can't pay your bills unless compensated.