Words

A Conversation with Ian McCall

Fightland Blog

By Andreas Brauning

Photo by Buda Mendes/Zuffa LLC

Heading into UFC 183, Ian McCall is coming off a strong triumph over Brad Pickett at the legendary Fight Night in Dublin, Ireland. Having originally been slated to face John Lineker at UFC Fight Night 56: Shogun Vs. St. Preux—a night OSP stunned Shogun and finished him seconds into the first round—McCall became ill the day before the fight and was forced to pull out by the promotion’s medical experts. Now, after much anticipation, McCall finally faces Lineker in a 125 pound contest. At stake is a shot at Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson’s Ultimate Fighting Championship Flyweight Champion of the World title. 

Fightland had the distinct pleasure of spending close to an hour on the phone with Ian McCall. He’s in good spirits, prepared, healthy, and sure that he’s got this fight locked down.

On his mindset heading into his UFC 183 bout

Never felt better man. Honestly I know a lot people say that but I feel really, really good. I'm actually healthy for this one, you know. The preparation wasn't any different, I always do the same thing. You know, you work on little variables like head movement depending on your opponent—but that’s stuff my coaches worry about. My coaches— they deal with all that stuff for me, and I, I just work. I do the work I’m told to do, and I’m a good dog, I’m just looking for a pat on the head and told i did a good job. 

On his latest inspirations

What’s inspiring to me is—I am into fashion, I always have been. I’m getting into millinery, hat-making. That’s a new hobby of mine. It’s a slow process that I’m getting into. I try to do things outside of the box, I’m not like your average fighter. I do things differently. I dress differently, I act differently, I’m all around a different animal than your average athlete, I guess. 

Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

On his tattoos, and aesthetic influences

All my tattoos are done at Newport Tattoo in Newport Beach, Southern California. I used to work at a fashion design firm. I'm into fashion, I'm really into fashion. I dress aesthetically pleasing. It’s always just sort of been a hobby, I can’t focus on it too much because my sport—it’s pretty hideous when it comes to fashion. I like art. I come from Orange County—I can’t help how I was born and raised. I’m a car guy. I like cars, anything that’s art driven, I'm into. some people are like, oh are you going to make your daughter a fighter and I’m like fuck no, id rather have my daughter be a ballerina, or do opera, or you know, have her go to an art school, instead of being a martial artist. I'm sure shell be a martial artist to some extent. I grew up on the beach, I like relaxing and adventuring, things different from the average, you know, douchey fighter guy. 

On douchebaggery in the UFC

It’s not so much the guys that are in the UFC, its the guys who aspire to be to in the UFC—the way they talk about being in the UFC. Mostly guys in the UFC are great you know , of course theres douchebags in every sport. it’s just that—I just don’t have anything in common with fighters, I have more in common with my photographer friends, or my artist friends, I’m just different i guess. my mom is a chef, I'm big into food. I'm a quality guy over a quantity guy. I don’t go to buffets, I’d rather go to Ruths Chris, or I'd rather go eat something nice, instead of over engorging myself with these big meals and shit. 

On Las Vegas

I spent my youth coming out here. I started coming out here, probably when I was, like, 18 years old, you know, being a typical douchebag, flying out here privately, hanging out with people who think they’re cool, you know, like, celebrity types. And, just, doing, like—doing what people do in Vegas, they come out here to do bad things. And, you know, it’s a known fact that I’ve been quite the partier, kinda douchey playboy, when I was younger. I had a lot of fun out here, but I did a lot of damage to myself. I've done everything the city has to offer. I've done everything a young man would wanna do in life. Whether its partying or the women, or you know, the fake friends that everyone thinks are cool, I've done it all. Life’s a little simpler now, you know, I’m a dad. I’m a boyfriend, a good boyfriend—a loyal boyfriend. I only see the bad here, and that’s my own fault.

Photo by Buda Mendes/Zuffa LLC

On being a father, and his three-year-old daughter, London Juliette

Man, being a dad. You know, I never wanted to get married, I wanted to be, you know, the guy that I was, forever. A bachelor and a playboy and whatever—I use the word playboy because Brazilians use it in a negative connotation, its just your typical rich kid who does stupid things and acts like an idiot. Being a dad has changed me a lot. Especially being a single dad. Me and my dad, you know—he’s around, he helps me raise my daughter. My family is very behind me. In being a single dad, I’m not by myself. I dont do this alone—I do this with my dad, with my mom, my step mom. I have a lot of help, otherwise I wouldn't be fighting, Id be doing something else for a living. But I get to live my dream, you know, and it’s cool. But being a dad, it puts everything in perspective. I have a little girl, you know? From all the awful things I’ve done in my life, you know, concerning women—I ended up with a beautiful little daughter. It makes you realize that I literally still have no idea what women are all about, I just know how to coax them into bed. That’s the only thing I was ever good at when it came to women. It was pissing them off and getting them to sleep with me. But now I have to try and shape and mold this little girl into a proper woman. It’s really confusing—she’s me, she’s my mini me, and I just adore her, and she's so fucking spoiled and so awesome, and so smart. I didn't know that little people could be that smart, that just “on it”. 

Her name is London Juliette and she’s three. Somehow, I ended up with a beach-going cowgirl. My mom’s got a ranch and horses, and her other grandma, on the other side, they play horse polo. They actually have like 50 horses, big beautiful thoroughbreds. 32 at their ranch in Florida—two of those are actually my daughter’s, she just came home from visiting her grandparents there—she goes, “Daddy, Daddy I finally got my two horses.” And grandma sends me this picture and she has these two, you know, giant fucking race horses. And you know, my daughter’s three and she’s on there alone. Whatever. There’s professionals around, you know, Grandma’s professional polo player boyfriend, and Grandmas a polo player herself, so she’s in good hands. But horses just scare the shit out of me. I like looking at horses—they're beautiful—but they scare me. It’s a respect thing. I know what they’re capable of and I know what I’m capable of. And it’s a giant animal, I can’t do anything to it. This animal does not love me—it’s a horse. You know? It’s a simple minded creature who just wants to eat, and fuck and run and doesn't want to listen to me, that’s for sure.

Photo by Buda Mendes/Zuffa LLC

On Jon Jones’ Scandal

You know, you’re dealing with a bunch of savages. Jon’s not the only one. You're dealing with guys who put their lives on the line, all the time. Like, yeah, we don’t make NBA money or MLB money or anything, but we’re twice, three times the athlete those guys are. The things we put our bodies through, compared to the amount of money we make, it just—it pales in comparison to anything else. The amount of things that we’re capable of—the mental and physical fortitude we have—we’re in a different realm than other athletes. That also translates into anything we do. Whether its training for a fight or partying, or, you know, going after women. It’s all the same. We do it full tilt. People are like oh you’re doing cocaine and this and that—I’m like, let’s just take a step back. Because everyones pointing their finger and going like the guy got caught. Well, ok, he got caught 29 days before his fight. So the guy was partying 29 days before his fight, or 30 days before his fight. And he still is the greatest on the planet. That goes to show the guy is incredible. Is he my favorite person in the world? No. I think a lot of the stuff he does is pretty stupid, but thats on a personal level. Theres a lot of people I don’t like, personally, but you got to respect them. The whole, you know, drug thing—maybe it’s our generation? People party more? I mean, I know our parents partied a lot. I mean, look at guys like Michael Jordan. Degenerate gambler. Charles Barkley, degenerate gambler. Well, if you’re a degenerate gambler, you do a bunch of other degenerate shit, too. It’s not just gambling. Most likely you got millions of dollars, you’re a womanizer, you’re a party animal. It’s just nowadays with social media and the fact that—people are just quick to roll on each other these days. We’re dealing with a new monster. The human condition is the same, people are always up to trouble. It’s just we have greater access to putting people on blast, getting people into trouble. Not just for causing trouble, but people get caught a lot easier, and it’s because of the internet and things like that. Something we’re just going to have to learn to live with. 

I don’t think it’s a big deal. If the guy wants to party, let him party. I think it was an asshole move for them to drug test him when they had no business drug testing him like that, and to put him on blast like that. That’s kind of private shit, like, you know, I felt bad for him in that sense. It’s probably a good thing, because the whole world—or at least, you know, the MMA world—knew that the guy parties a lot. Like, he doesn’t hide it. So, speaking as a former addict—you know, I’ve been in a couple of rehabs in my day, I died of a drug overdose—it is good for him. He’s up on his high-horse and he thinks he can get away with anything. Well, listen man, you can’t. You can’t do that stuff. If you’re going to do it, at least cough up to it. Don’t be this god fearing guy who talks about Jesus and all this other shit, but then you're going to go out and do all this—I hate to say it, but—hood rat shit. You crashed your Bentley, you got a DUI with two random white girls who weren’t your wife, you know, or your chick. All the signs are there, the guy just got caught and screwed up. Hopefully he’ll learn from it. At least, you know, you’re going to stop stepping on your dick and cover your tracks, if you’re going to keep partying. You got to figure out something. He needs a babysitter or something, I guess.

On fighting on the same card as Anderson Silva’s return

I asked for it. It’s an honor. To be able to fight on the same night as Anderson’s comeback—I pined for this, I asked for it. Granted they kind of slighted me on my position on the card, my placement, but whatever. I’m here, I get to fight. It’s really cool to be part of something historic. I don’t think Silva could beat Weidman, I think we found his kryptonite and it’s this big gorilla, this smashing machine—but that’s OK. It’s just the evolution of the sport, and Anderson’s passed the torch on. I don’t want him to fight Chris Weidman again, I think he’d crush him. I do want him to fight people like Nick Diaz, because then you're going to see their art come out. You’re going to see him paint a beautiful masterpiece. I think he’s gonna beat Nick. I think he’s just going to put on one of those beautiful shows, where he’s going to make it so pretty and so cool. 

Nick can beat anyone. It’s just pure pressure. Anderson, he lives in the Matrix, I think we all know that. Nick’s boxing, it works for MMA—you got the small gloves, tons and tons of pressure and cardio—as far as boxing goes, he’s genius. And Anderson will exploit that. I’m hoping Anderson comes through with everything, but you should never discount Nick. He’s a savage, he’s been doing this for a really long time. 

I think it’ll end in a finish in the second. You never know, but Anderson’s hungry. He got knocked out, then he snapped his leg in half. Now he’s back for more. To show himself that he’s still got it.

 

Check out these related stories:

Flyweights Beware: Ian McCall Is Back in the Saddle

To Live and Die in MMA: An Interview with Ian McCall

 

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