The fight game. A game that is played by two men after an agreement is reached, licenses are granted, and gloves are strapped on. Although only those two bodies are inside the cage/ring at that moment, they did not get there alone. Many times we see faces of: corner-men, training partners, cutmen, etc gathered around our favorite fighter and they go, for the most part, without any coverage or recognition. What needs to be noted is that every person involved in the professional level of mixed martial arts (combat sports in general) all bring their own specific tool to the fighters we cheer and support, none more important than, the head trainer.
Leading the squad for UFC featherweight Ricardo “The Bully” Lamas is, Mac Ramos. Mac was kind enough to speak with us after spending a snowy Chicago weekend moving and shared his thoughts on: Lamas getting passed over for a title shot, TRT & PED usage, UFC rankings and more in this exclusive interview.
FHTV: UFC on Fox, in Chicago, Lamas goes out and handles (Eric) Koch and finishes him, looks to be in line for a title shot; Anthony Pettis decides to drop down a weight class and challenge Aldo and gets the fight. How do you as a trainer feel about this all happening?
Ramos: Well you know, it’s a long road to get to where we are. After winning that fight, we were in the back and one of the UFC coordinator’s tells Ricardo like, “Make sure you go to Vegas, we have the Aldo-Edgar fight, and we’ll get you tickets.” And I am thinking, wait – if they are asking you to go there because of that fight, they are planning on giving you a title shot.
So I am sitting there, getting excited and thinking ‘oh man, here we go – he’s gonna get a title shot!’ I was happy for him and to see it all get to this. And then, to see that tweet come in and see Pettis get a shot over my guy, it’s frustrating.
It’s frustrating because I am looking at this possible title fight as the thing that could make him (Lamas) or break him, you know? I mean, he is 4-0 in the UFC and the next fight he takes, he could lose, what if that happens, where does he go then? He is in the back or pushed further away and the road starts all over again.
FHTV: Do you think Pettis deserves that privilege to get a title shot on his demand?
Ramos: I think Pettis is a great fighter, you know. I think it is a smart business move, he sells tickets, puts butts in the seats and that’s what it’s all about as a business end. But to come into a weight class he has never competed in, challenge for a title because you don’t to wait in a division he has been “ok” in – I think its not fair and undeserved but whatever – it’s bullsh*t; I can see why Dana and them did it from a business move.
FHTV: Looking at another lightweight, former champion Frankie Edgar, who dropped a class to challenge Aldo; do you think he deserved it?
Ramos: Most definitely because Edgar had already won a championship and defended it more than once. He had the right, he earned the ability to come down and challenge Jose. To me, Anthony Pettis has not.
I respect Dana White and understand the decision he made and why he made it, its business and that will sell tickets. I don’t know why though he does not like Lamas.
I wonder sometimes to myself, is it because he has lost on his off nights? Danny Castillo – that fight was the co-main event at WEC 42 and Castillo caught him; Yuri Alcantara did the same thing at WEC 53, that can happen to anyone. Maybe he thinks that my guy is not ready for the big show? I don’t know
What I do know is that he has gone on to 4-0 in the UFC and the last two people he beat were in talks for a title shot; Koch was supposed to fight for the title and look what my guy did to him, no disrespect to Koch but you saw the fight. Hatsu Hioki was in talks to get a quick title shot and we beat him decisively as well.
FHTV: Maybe because Lamas is respectful and not brash and not making attention for himself in regards to a title shot, like a Chael Sonnen figure:
Ramos: Possibly. You know I look at Lamas and say – that is someone I would want as a champion, representing my brand. He is not covered in tattoos, doesn’t even have one on his body. He does not go out there and act disrespectful, he is educated, comes from a good, solid family – I don’t know sometimes what he needs to do to get the love.
What I do know is, I got another kid at 145 right now who will be the opposite once he gets in the big show. He is gonna be the loudmouth, in your face style that gets the attention of everyone and will be a name. Maybe that is how Lamas should have been coming up, I don’t know.
FHTV: Yeah but then talking that approach for a guy like Lamas would be selling out, agreed?
Ramos: Absolutely and I know Ricardo would not do that. He does his fighting and talking in the octagon and we see what happens when he does.
FHTV: As upsetting as this losing a title fight has been, how do you feel rankings would have played a part in this? Especially now that the UFC is instituting a ranking system.
Ramos: If they stick to them and actually were to make match-ups from the rankings, sure – they would be great! But look at us, I feel Lamas is the guy to challenge for a title shot and they gave it to someone else not even in his division.
FHTV: looking at the training side of MMA, if a fighter comes up to you and asks for your thoughts on letting him use TRT legally, what do you say?
Ramos:NO WAY. I am totally against anything not natural being used to the body. I am not even for the energy drinks. It elevates the heart and if I have a guy come in that has not eaten all day but drank a red bull and then passes out doing a warm up; I do not want them hurting themselves.
I take what I do very serious and care for all my guys. This is not about money for me but making sure these guys get all they can and want out of fighting. Looking at the TRT or any type of PED, I am against it.
Who knows what it could do to the body over time. Why take that risk?
FHTV: Agreed. We thank you for this time and for following us on Facebook as well!
Ramos: Thank you man, I appreciate the support and the fans and I know Lamas does as well. We will just keep doing what we do until that title comes our way!