Kevin Randleman “The Return of the Monster” Interview
By Dave Carpinello
PDG: Kevin thanks for your time. I know you must be busy.
Kevin: No problem, you’re welcome.
PDG: You just finished up with the Paradise Warrior Retreat in San Jose, CA. How was that weekend?
Kevin: It was good, it went really well.
PDG: What was the talent level at the Retreat?
Kevin: It was amateur and experienced fighters, which was really good for the retreat because you get a chance to interact with other fighters like Shawn Tompkins and Bas Rutten. Then you get to teach the less experienced fighters. Also, I got to meet doctors, lawyers, attorneys; it was like a training and networking seminar.
PDG: How many times a year do they hold the Retreat?
Kevin: Twice a year. There will be another one in November in Washington D.C.
PDG: Since the fall of PRIDE and your last fight in October. What have you been doing?
Kevin: I’ve been training and getting healthy.
PDG: You had some medical issues earlier this year. How is everything now?
Kevin: The infection is gone; I’m healthy and strong again. I am looking forward to fighting again.
PDG: Your up for reinstatement in October, are you going to apply?
Kevin: Of course I am going to apply. It was stupid. What I tried to do. I tried to do something dishonest. I lost a year to suspension on top of all of the time that I had already lost due to the 12 or 13 surgeries I had undergone in the past. I was always trying to rush back in the ring. I could have infected someone else if my blood had gotten onto another fighter. I never thought about that. I just wanted to fight.
PDG: You’re healthy now and training full-time again…
Kevin: I have been working out at Randy Couture’s gym here in Las Vegas. I have been training a lot of jiu-jitsu. My hands are faster and I am a better fighter than before. I was UFC champion but now I would beat the shit out of the old Kevin Randleman. I am training everyday, twice a day.
PDG: How is training in Las Vegas?
Kevin: I love training here, it is incredible. At the gym there is Forrest Griffin, Marvin Eastman and others; it is hard not to get better when you’re training with this group of fighters. It also gives me a chance to help the other fighters. “I love being around the toughest fucking dogs in the yard”. I mean I have lost fights but anyone of those guys could be the Champion.
PDG: Very true, your resume is filled with superstars and champions…
Kevin: I have learned from those fights and I haven’t changed, I have IMPROVED. I have gotten calmer, a little tamer. I treat my career as a job now. It is a privilege for me to be able to fight.
PDG: Like you said, being healthy for the first time in a long time has had its benefits.
Kevin: I would say for the first time in six or seven years, “I AM HEALTHY”. My knees, elbows and biceps are 100%. When fans thought I was good before… I am better now. My hands are faster, I’m stronger, and I’m smarter. I could for 20 or 30 minutes in the ring now, it doesn’t matter. When I come back, I don’t care if I fight the Champion or the last guy in the Light Heavyweight division. In order to get back in the title picture I need to fight and beat everybody. I love running and training so that I can get to the top.
PDG: The UFC Light Heavyweight division has gotten crowded since the end of PRIDE…
Kevin: I am a dangerous fighter for anybody. I don’t care who you are, you are just hoping that you don’t get KO by me and you don’t want to get taken down because you know that you are going to be in trouble during our fight. It doesn’t matter if I am fighting Fedor Emelianenko or Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic; I always have a chance at victory.
PDG: Back to fighting, you fought both Fedor and “Cro Cop”, which fighter was the toughest?
Kevin: I am always going to go with Fedor. I like “Cro Cop”, don’t get me wrong. Only one person can be a winner in this sport. Two men enter and one man wins. Fedor beat “Cro Cop”, hands down he is the tougher one. To me though, “Cro Cop” is more dangerous because of those kicks. Fedor is more methodical; he will be in the fight and wear you down. He can beat you slow or fast but you’re still going to lose. With “Cro Cop”, if you can stop that kick you have a fair chance. There is nothing to stop with Fedor, he just wins.
PDG: Speaking of your comeback. What organizations are you looking at?
Kevin: “I WANT TO FIGHT FOR THE UFC”. I want to fight Quentin Jackson; I want to fight Chuck Liddell. I am only 35 so I have 5 more strong years ahead of me. Considering how good I was and that people said that I needed to work on my ground game. That is what I have been doing. My wrestling is as strong as it has ever been but my jiu-jitsu is better now. I’m no black belt, more of a pink belt but I know everything I need to know to keep me out of trouble in a match. Like my match with Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. If I knew then what I know now that match would have gone different. So I have taken this last year to learn everything, even more about myself. Because a year away from your job-it’s tough, you want to go back. You’re training for a year with nothing on the horizon. The UFC is where I want to go. I believe that I am a marketable fighter. I would be good for their image, my trouble days are over.
PDG: The NSAC stated that you would need full medical clearance before they review your reinstatement. Have you gotten that yet?
Kevin: My doctors have cleared me. My CPK levels are normal. No more infections. The commission just wants to make sure I am healthy again. Everything just came to a head. I wasn’t thinking clearly. “I JUST WANTED TO FIGHT”. I wanted to show everyone how tough I was and I wasn’t thinking about my long-term health. The best thing to happen to me was to get suspended because I would have kept rushing my body and it could have had long term effects. You live and you learn.
PDG: Recently there has been a lot of fighters testing positive for various illegal substances… Do you think it is more users or just more fighters getting caught?
Kevin: As far as everyone getting caught, I don’t understand. It’s everywhere. I’m not condoning it or speaking against it. Hell, I know men that are 65 yrs old that without a little testosterone they wouldn’t be as healthy and active as they are. I believe that anything in moderation can help you but some people go overboard with stuff. People look at me and say “Randleman’s a big roid user” but I have been tested throughout my whole career and have never been positive. Granted I did give a fake specimen and I am very sorry. I screwed up. I apologize for that and I served my suspension. The reason for that was the amount of pain pills I was taking, my shoulder was still torn and in that fight with Shogun, my shoulder was still bleeding. So that is why I was taking all those pain pills. I just can’t wait to get back so that they can test me. Otherwise it is always hanging over your head. If the commissioner wants to crack down on something… like now it is steroids. You’ve got the Barry Bonds situation… its (steroids) been around for a long time. Just like cocaine and marijuana use. Any of the athletes that are indulging in this behavior are going to have understand the consequences involved.
PDG: Back to the Cage/Ring. Randy has a big title defense coming up later this month. I know your answer but who is your pick Couture or Gonzaga?
Kevin: Randy Couture. All day.
PDG: So you were not impressed by Gonzaga’s victory over “Cro Cop”?
Kevin: No. I am impressed with his fighting ability though. I picked Gonzaga to win that fight when I was in Japan. I love CC and almost all the other fighters not including Tito Ortiz. That’s what I mean, put into the 205lbs division and that’s at least one beat down of Tito and whoever else wants to fight me.
PDG: I would like to see you fight Tito. The biggest question is if Dana White will resign him after his next fight.
Kevin: Dana wants Tito to get his ass whooped. He likes to see that. Dana is a great businessman and if keeping Ortiz and signing me to fight him will make money then he will do it. A lot of people hate on Dana but he knows how to run a business. I would kick Tito’s ass.
PDG: Hopefully the fans will get to see that fight. What’s next before the appeal?
Kevin: You know about the Retreats. I am also doing a wrestling camp this weekend in Vegas with kids. Then I will be going back to Ohio to train with OSU Wrestling team. Staying busy.
PDG: Are you going to be doing the Monster Kids Tournament in Ohio again this year?
Kevin: Of course, wrestling is what got me on the stage. I wouldn’t be the man I am today without it. Wrestling taught me to be a tougher person.
PDG: Anything else for your fans?
Kevin: I have been doing quite a bit of professional wrestling for the last year. Wrestling in Japan and even talked a little with WWE. I want to say to everyone. Keep your eyes and ears open and come the end of this year I will be back fighting. You know how I’ll come… Somebody will be getting KTFO and it will be exciting. I feel like I have been reborn.
“TO BE SUCCESSFUL… YOU HAVE TO EARN IT.”
PDG: Thanks again Kevin and good luck in the future.
Kevin: Thanks Dave and God Bless.
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