Monday, February 1, 2010
“Fighting for Respect”
WEC’s Jamie “C-4” Varner learned from an early age growing up in central Phoenix, Arizona to fight for respect. With a 16-3-2 record, Varner is his toughest critic as he fights in the 155lb division; stating “there is a lot of pressure, you have to be 100% and you have to be perfect.” If the pressure of fighting isn’t enough, Varner also gets slammed for his lack of etiquette. Even Ryan Bader said “he’s a good guy, but he rubs the fans the wrong way.” Question is will Jamie continue to embrace the bad guy image?
MMA Scraps Radio host Travis McPherson and co-host Pat Barry got up close and personal with Varner on his unfiltered motivation. Love him or hate him Varner owns up to the fact that he wears his heart on his sleeve. “I don’t have a filter on my mouth which shows my age and I don’t think before I speak. I just let it rip.” Jamie then reflects on his recent title defense against Ben Henderson saying “I felt young and stupid and got impatient; I didn’t feel like a champion. The fight didn’t go the way I wanted it to, definitely didn’t end the way I wanted to. I was at 99% not 100%...hats off to Ben Henderson.”
As the discussion continues, Travis jokes “you’re almost coming across as a really great guy.” Jamie laughs and states he “isn’t as big of a jerk” as he leads you to believe. Pat agrees that sometimes people just make a judgment based on a person’s presentation, swagger or the look on their face. In response to his bad guy image Varner answers “some people don’t like me, I can’t please everyone. At least respect me for what I do. I’m a fighter, I’m a performer and I bring it in every fight.”
Jamie later shares his enthusiasm as a partner for Varner’s Combat Academy. The 5000sq. ft facility in Centereach, NY is devoted to teaching MMA to diverse experience levels from amateur to pro fight teams and also offers classes to over one hundred members.
What’s on the Horizon for Varner? Although he expresses disappointment in not securing upcoming main card events, Varner is looking forward to future fights and feels that he is one of the best lightweight fighters in WEC. Who to fight next? Varner expresses an interest in a fight against Donald Cerrone and possibly a Ben Henderson rematch. Varner simply states “I want to fight someone who puts me in title contention…whoever that may be.” Varner goes on to explain “The most important thing right now is winning fights; I’m just going to be me. I’m not going to focus on the PR, not going to focus on clearing my name. I’m going to let my fighting speak for its self.”
And while trying to gain the respect of fans is on his radar, he feels like he still needs to gain the respect of the WEC as well. Despite coming off of a world title fight, the WEC only offer for an upcoming card was for an untelevised prelim fight. Varner feels that this will not only make it hard for him to make money from sponsors, it's a show of a lack of respect by the WEC.
To hear the interview in it's entirety, check out the show link which also contains an interview with the UFC's Clay Guida.