Jack Brown Interview #77.5 – Kevin Randleman – The Sequel – August, 2013
This is the much-requested sequel to number seventy-seven in Jack’s series of interviews with MMA fighters and personalities. Number 77 was Jack’s epic, outrageous, and entertaining interview with the former UFC champion and Pride great, Kevin Randleman. Randleman was a legendary collegiate wrestler before becoming a legendary MMA fighter in the early days of the sport. He was also one of the first MMA fighters who became notable for his interviews, and Jack’s interview with “The Monster” a few weeks ago did not disappoint. Kevin not only agreed to do a sequel with Jack. He is also enlisting Jack’s help for his in-progress autobiography. Please enjoy the conversation below.
Jack Brown: First of all happy birthday, Kevin. Tomorrow is your birthday? You’re going to be forty-two years young, right?
Kevin Randleman: I am going to be forty-two, but I feel younger. Ever since I was ten years old, all I f---ing did was bang, wrestle, football. I played four sports so I was always f---ing doing something. And then I got to college, you know, and nothing ever changed. I was always training. For the last two years of my life, being able to raise this little f---ing monster, literally, for me was the greatest f---ing rehab. But at the same time it drove me nuts because it left a big void in my life. That was fighting. I f---ing lived for fighting for f---ing fifteen years.
JB: At forty-two, you’re still way younger than Randy Couture was when he retired. And you know all about Randy. You had a war with Randy. We already talked about that. Now with a lot of the guys who are still fighting around your age, we are hearing about testosterone exemptions and things like that. After our first talk, some of those questions came up. What do you make of testosterone replacement therapy? Is that something you’ve had to do at any point?
KR: The bottom line is if you don’t understand what it is, don’t look at it so negative. I mean a guy who’s sixty-five years old, with testosterone replacement, could have a f---ing kid. He could still run and do the things that he could do, but without the testosterone, he’ll have no testosterone because your body stops producing it. It stops producing it after like twenty-five. You stop producing as much of it. As you get older you don’t produce as much, and if you’re a guy that’s like me, I’ve been to the doctor and he said I was at zero. I just laughed at him and I’m like damn! He was like, “You get f---ing erections?” I’m like, “Yeah. I got no problem with that.” But my levels were at zero.
So at forty-two years old, I’d have to say that I would definitely seek some help or seek an exemption because I am forty-two years of age. But believe me that’s not an excuse. I’m not going to go out there and do f---ing hardcore s----. I’m going to go to a doctor that’s legal to prescribe it to me. There’s a big difference between me wanting to be able to fight and train for a fight and me wanting to be big and f---ing freakishly f---king… There’s a difference. I’m not trying to be a bodybuilder. I’m trying to be like Stitch’s slogan, “One more round.”
JB: Speaking of one more round, let me get a couple other questions out of the way, and then we’ll get to one more round. So one thing, after we spoke the first time, that I realized I had wanted to ask you about, but didn’t, was your knockout of Cro Cop. When you think back to your career and your highlights, where do you place that knockout of Cro Cop?
KR: I have a problem ever being excited about wins because I’m just kind of… And this isn’t cocky s—-. I just expect to do better. People have said that I never performed. You know I have a personal life. And my personal life is more important to me than my fighting career was. So everything kind of just overflowed into fighting. And there’s no excuse. There’s never going to be an excuse for anyone who whooped my a--. They beat my a—because they were better than me that day. That was it. That’s all I can say. I don’t give a s—-. I’m not the guy that’s going to say I had a broken neck or my f---ing ankle was sore. If you are hurt, back out of the fight. But if you step into the f---ing ring, I don’t want to hear a f---ing word about who the f---, or what happened, or the story of what happened after you were done. So what? It’s fighting! There are some warriors in the f---ing MMA game, a lot of them, f---ing just hardcore.
JB: But for people that aren’t Kevin Randleman, they think that the knockout was extremely impressive and an upset at the time. For you, you were expecting that to happen? You feel like that was what should have happened?
KR: You know what, this is how life is. If you’re not around successful, strong, f---ing pieces of steel, then how the hell do you expect to be sharp for anything you’re going to do in life that you f---ing count on for your livelihood? I had the opportunity to train with Chuck Liddell for six days before that Cro Cop fight. I got to Japan. Chuck was there. I was like, “Man, any pointers?” He was like, “I’ll help you, anything.” So he literally worked with me for five days leading up to the fight, and like the last day I said, “Can I just throw a punch and hit him?” He was like, “That’s it! That’s exactly what you’re supposed to do.” He was telling me to attack the shoulder. And he’s like, “That’s it! That’s exactly what the f--- to do.”
And the fight was going on and I knew I didn’t want to take a kick from someone like that. I’m on the shorter side of 5’ 10” so any kick he throws is landing, head to toe. I’d rather it be my toe than my head. Well, anyway, long story short, I got into the fight and I stayed away, and then I stayed away some more. Chuck gave me every little bit to watch. He said that, “His foot has got to open up in order to throw the kick.” He was like, “Attack the shoulder as soon as you see it. As soon as you see him open up his hips or his foot step out, attack.” And when I knocked him out, I wasn’t even excited about it. Like I was walking around and I looked at him and I was watching him. I was like, “S—-, that f---er is out. Damn. I’m f---ing glad that s—- is over.” And I was just walking around and Chuck jumped in and was like, “What the f--- is wrong with you? You just knocked motherf---in’ Cro Cop’s a—out! Go crazy, man!” I’m like, “Yeah! I’m f---ing crazy man!”
I don’t know. I just don’t think I’m the best. I don’t think I was the best fighter. I think that I was one of those guys that will go down as a great showman.
JB: So going back to our first interview, people want to know, who is “Motherf---er number two?” Is this somebody from your personal life or somebody that we’re all familiar with?
KR: No. This was somebody from a long time ago. It was someone from f---ing Ohio who didn’t whoop my a--, but deserved to have his a—whooped because of what kind of person he was.
JB: Well I’ll tell you who they guessed, and then you can tell me what the deal is with you and this person. Some people wanted it to be, and thought it was, Matt Riddle. Is there still any animosity with you and Matt Riddle? What was that all about?
KR: I think, as far as I’m concerned, I squashed that with Matt Riddle a long time ago with the help of a gentleman. And that was it. I really don’t have beefs. Listen, I’m not the biggest mother---er on this planet, but if you f--- with me, I’m the worst motherf---er you’ll ever f---ing want to f---ing piss off. Because I really don’t give a f---, and my wife hates this about me! If you f--- with me, thinking that you can f--- with me, then understand I don’t care about you or anyone in your vicinity. I don’t care about you, and if they’re your friends, then they’re just a bunch of pussies like you. Everyone’s tough when you’re in a crowd. I walk by myself everywhere I go. Oh, I’m sorry. I got on a tangent. S—t.
JB: No that’s good. From what I could tell, people really like it when you go on a tangent. But let me jump in. Let’s get to the main point. Are you telling me that earlier today, when I told you that Tito Ortiz and Quinton Jackson are crossing over to wrestling, that was the first time that you heard that they’re doing pro wrestling?
KR: You know what? F---. I didn’t even know they were fighting!
JB: You just called out Tito Ortiz and didn’t know that he was fighting?
KR: I don’t care who Tito Ortiz fights. I just think he’s such a f---ing phony kind of guy. When you f---ing hear him talk, you just hear phony s—-. It’s like he stands at a mirror f---ing rehearsing s—-. I lived the life that I lived. So everything that comes out of my mouth is as real as a motherf---er. And sometimes it will be a bulls—- f---ing thing that I’m saying because it’s a bulls—- thing that I’m talking about, but so what?
JB: So how do you feel about getting the same deal that these two have? In Bellator, they’re going to do MMA fights, and then they’re going to cross over and also do professional wrestling. And they’re getting paid for both. Do you want that deal?
KR: The reason why I’m not as current with everything right now is because I’ve been taking care of a two year old since he came out my wife. She works and so she went back to work. I never got to raise any of my kids. I never was there because I wasn’t with the mothers. I really wanted to f---ing enjoy this. And I wanted my son to get my f---ing personality as well as his mother’s.
I don’t know how many kids on this planet, at two years old, have f---ing veins running through their f---ing chest, their feet, and their hands. And biceps, he’s got f---ing veins in his biceps. How is that possible for a two year old?
But the bottom line is, all the things I’m doing, I’m bored. I could easily be in wrestling shape in two months, but as far as being in fight shape, I need six months. I’m not coming back to fail. I’m coming back to win. And if you’re telling me the opportunity is to f---ing fight Tito Ortiz, one time in my lifetime? When I said that, “Dana White was his angel,” it’s because at the time Tito was in whatever, his reign of terror. I still f---ing say, “F--- that. It was a f---ing pussy-a—reign of terror.” Dana needed Tito because of his ratings. Mexican fans, he was a big f---ing draw. I understand business, and that’s why I said Tito was one of the greatest f---ing business minds MMA has ever seen. If you don’t know the history and you don’t know behind the scenes, then you just don’t know this s—-. But he’s a genius in that respect because he listened to his advisors and everything else. But as far as a person goes, man, he’s not even on my f---ing level as a person.
JB: Does the pro wrestling part excite you? You were telling me earlier some of the things that you can do in pro wrestling.
KR: I wrestled in Japan for five years. I worked with The Steiner Brothers. I wrestled with a lot of big names, Goldberg and them. We had a lot of fun. I wrestled The Great Khali, the f---ing crazy f---. I mean wrestling is dangerous as hell. Man I really f---ed my neck up twice. I f---ed my neck up twice and needed surgery once because of wrestling. It’s very dangerous. I swear I’ve never felt fear in my life in an MMA fight. I’ve felt not fear, but I’ve felt that anxiousness or f---ing nervousness about f---ing taking a kick from Cro Cop to the head and wondering whether I’m going to know who the f--- my girl is. But wrestling’s simple. I’m an athlete. I’m agile. I can jump out of a f---ing room. So as far as wrestling goes, I do all the moves - Frankensteiners, f---ing turnbuckle jumps, all that, backflips. The bottom line is you know what I do.
JB: I think that people got really excited about that because I saw that the interview was picked up by not just MMA websites, but by wrestling websites too. So I think you’ve got two audiences that are dying to see you.
KR: You know, it’s funny because I wrestled with Kurt Angle once. He was on the same card. Obviously, he was the card, but we worked in behind him. We were national champions together in college when he was at Clarion and I was at Ohio State. So I definitely have a history of it and I think that he understands that I know how to do some of the stuff. Actually, I can do anything. You give me twelve hours to learn it and someone that knows what they’re doing. Because I’m not breaking my f---ing neck to do anything. My wife likes to have sex the way that she’s had it all of her life until we f---ing die, and me breaking my neck is not on the f---ing agenda.
Listen, there’s a book that I’m writing, and it sucks because I got to keep s—- out of it. There are things I can’t put into it because it’ll hurt someone’s feelings or this person changed and he’s not like that anymore. The weirdest thing about my life is that I f---ed up so many times that I’m the greatest motherf---ing life advisor for any f---ing body that wants to be f---ing okay and handle the pressure of a career. I didn’t have those people around me. Everyone around me was a f---up. Not everyone around me was a f---up, but everyone around me was doing crazy s—-. The sport was new and fresh. We didn’t know what was going on. But I see the evolution of the sport, and believe me, I can’t wait for fights four years from now when guys like Pettis… Their style is evolving still. They’re like Jon Jones. He’s another one. He’s just like evolving. I’m fans of those guys because of how they fight. It’s a grind and they’re action grinds. They ain’t slowing down.
JB: I did want to ask you specifically about Jon Jones. We didn’t talk about him last time. I would imagine that if you were new to the sport right now, Jon Jones would be the guy who is the champ of your weight class. You’d probably be a light heavyweight, and that would be the guy who’d you eventually have to fight. What do you make of Jon Jones? What do you think of him as a fighter?
KR: Jon Jones is the king of the heap right now. There’s nobody that can f---ing touch him. Nobody. I shouldn’t say that because everyone’s vulnerable.
JB: There’s something else I wanted to ask you about. I know you don’t go on the forums, but there are certain things that get talked about all the time. One thing that’s getting talked about a lot right now is women’s MMA. What do you think of women’s MMA?
KR: I’m sorry if I made it seem like I don’t follow MMA. I watch pay-per-views, and anybody fresh and new, I’m definitely following them. I want to see if they’re going to represent. Ronda Rousey is an Olympian and deserves attention. She’s f---ing legit! She goes out and f---ing does her business. She can take a punch and she loves giving them. So what the f---? Until I saw her fight with Miesha Tate, the only other fight that was kind of good for me was Gina and Cyborg. But that fight made me a fan of women’s MMA. I wasn’t up until then, but I’m not ever going to say a woman can’t do something. That’s not my job. It’s their job to f---ing say what they’re going to do, and if they’re going to f---ing do it, they can do it. But I wasn’t ever impressed with any of the fights until this new crop of young ladies have f---ing stepped onto the scene. Cat Zingano, that fight with her and Miesha Tate, if that fight wasn’t f---ing fight of the night, somebody needs to get smacked. That s--- is exactly why I’ll watch women’s fights. I was like, “Getting top billing like that and being on the main card, you got to produce.” And I was very happy that they produced because every woman that’s fighting in MMA right now is paving the f---ing way. Like Gina Carano and Cyborg, they started it, but now there are some tough chicks. There’s more lateral toughness instead of just one at the top and one underneath. There are a lot of tough chicks out there and Cyborg’s not just the toughest chick. But she is the toughest chick right now. But there are others out there training.
JB: What do you think of Cyborg vs. Rousey? Do you think it will ever happen?
KR: Okay. I know for a fact that fight will happen because someone will want that fight to happen. They’re going to make sure that the money is there for that fight to happen. Dana White has not taken a two million dollar company to a billion dollar business by being a dumb-a--. No one has ever called him that. A smart-a--, maybe, but he knows that if the fans Tweet it enough and talk about it enough and if the MMA web-sites pick it up enough, it’s being made as we speak. Dana White’s just sitting back, waiting for two f---ing million people to do something. Then he’ll f---ing make it happen. Cyborg’s going to fight in the UFC.
JB: You know who her manager is?
JB: Come on! It’s Tito Ortiz! Tito Ortiz is Cyborg’s manager!
KR: Oh my f---ing God! Are you serious?
JB: I am 100% serious. He is her manager.
KR: Tell that girl that she needs to run because I saw that motherf---er’s double-leg takedown f---ing technique on YouTube and I f---ing laughed my a—off and sent it to about sixteen of my boys.
JB: He’s not her trainer. He’s her manager.
KR: Tito Ortiz should leave the professional s—- to the professionals.
JB: Maybe she’s brilliant because she’s doing exactly what you said. She might only be using him for his management ability and maybe she’s really going to make out on this deal. Tito won’t be easy to deal with for the UFC.
KR: Okay. I get it. When it comes to business, I think that Tito f---ing Ortiz has studied well behind some people. Other than that, f--- him. If that’s what she’s doing, awesome. When it comes to business for Cyborg, if Tito Ortiz f---ing puts his f---ing personal feelings or whatever rift with the UFC on it, then that motherf---er needs to get fired. If he’s a good businessman, then he understands that there’s not going to be a rift. He’s going to smooth whatever rift there is over when it comes to Cyborg because she deserves to be in the UFC. She is female’s UFC. Her and Ronda Rousey, Miesha Tate, and Cat Zingano, they’re all very tough women and they deserve to have their limelight. But I’m telling you that this s—- doesn’t work if you don’t have that tough-a—chick in there to f---ing be there. There will always be the questions. Is Ronda Rousey the toughest one? Is she the best one? She was an Olympian, but then Cyborg’s this big, f---ing solid, powerful, barrio, f---ing warrior from Brazil. We want to see it. You want to see it. F---ing Dana wants to see it too. But he’s got to have some s—- in place before that s—- takes place.
JB: So I don’t know if you know this, but in a few weeks it’s the debut of the 18th season of The Ultimate Fighter and Ronda’s coaching opposite Miesha because Cat got hurt. This is going to be a season of The Ultimate Fighter where there are females and males. They’re not fighting each other obviously, but they’re both going to be on the season. That makes me think about reality television and why we have not had a Kevin Randleman reality television experience. Has that ever been something that you’ve thought about doing?
KR: Believe it or not, I don’t like the fame, my man. I f---ing love the money. But we’ve been pitched it before. My wife and I were pitched it on two different occasions. We kind of talked about it and were like, “You know them motherf---ers are going to be up our a--. I’m going to be brushing my teeth and there’s going to be a f---ing camera in my mouth.” I said, “If we’re in for a penny, we’re in for a dollar. We’ll have no f---ing privacy in this motherf---er.” We talked about it and weighed the pros and cons. We have a two year old boy. Do we really want to have him involved in that s—- that early?
My son’s a soldier. Anybody that sees my son when he’s eighteen years old is going to know that he’s going to be champion one day, and I don’t mean fighting. Whether it’s wrestling, basketball, he’s a leader and he’s got the qualities of both his parents because we were both here the whole time he was growing up. And believe me when I say that he is strong and does pull-ups. Two years old and doing three pull-ups?
JB: That’s crazy. How about broadcasting? You’d have to be on cable because I don’t think you could deal with the censorship. But you’ve done broadcasting before. You’ve commentated on fights. Is that something that you’d be interested in doing again in the future?
KR: You know what? I would love to be in broadcasting. First of all, I’m a good-looking motherf---ing guy. I’m articulate and I know what the f--- I’m talking about. Believe me, if you want to get rid of the F-bombs, I can take them out. There will be no more F-bombs this whole time. I won’t even cuss again this whole f---ing time after that time. Ha-ha.
JB: Ha-ha. You can keep cussing with me.
KR: No. I want to make sure that everyone understands that if you want me to be more intelligent and more articulate, then I can be that way. Given the opportunity, I think that I would do well. I don’t have any enemies, and when it comes to business, I know how to separate business from pleasure and business from friendship. They don’t cross over. There’s no overflow into any part of my life. I got balance right now.
JB: I just thought about something else that I wanted to ask you about. It’s totally unrelated, but it’s about a guy that was fighting when you fought, back in the Pride days especially. What do you think about Gary Goodridge? Gary Goodridge has come out and talked about some of the cognitive issues that he has. Have you followed that, and how do you feel that you are holding up? You sound amazing, but how do you think you’re holding up cognitively compared to some of your peers?
KR: If you ever watch any of my fights, I’ve never taken any head trauma. The only time I ever took it was Quinton f---ing Jackson. Quinton Jackson is the only motherf---er that ever hit me and I can’t remember s—- about that f---ing day. Every time I watch that fight, it’s like watching it for the first f---ing time. It blows my mind when I watch it. I’m like, “Wow, that s—- was crazy. I’ve watched this before, but I can’t believe I can’t remember it.”
JB: A fan commented on the interview that Jackson said the same thing. Obviously, you didn’t knock him out, but he supposedly commented that you hit him so hard that he has trouble remembering that day.
KR: He’s being nice. He’s giving me a little respect. I appreciate that, an old warrior like myself. It was fun. It was fun fighting Quinton. We knew that we were going to fight and we even talked about it f---ing the day that I was fighting Bas Rutten back in Alabama. He was just getting on the scene and we talked and walked maybe about forty-five minutes to an hour around Alabama. I fought, lost, and s—- he was there. We talked about s—- then and I was just being real then. If they want us to fight, we fight. We’ll put on the best show we can. We can be friends afterwards. F--- it. That’s how business is. And it did, and we were, and that’s how it is.
I separate it all, but I just don’t like people that are foul. You going to talk s—- and be this tough-a—dude, make sure you’re tough every f---ing where you are in the world. My home life, I’m a nicer dude, but I’m still a f---ing mean motherf---er. I mean, I joke around, but I don’t like to play around at all. I don’t f---ing joke with people. I don’t talk about motherf---er’s gender or whatever the f--- their preference is. And I don’t like motherf---ers that throw it out there. Granted, sometimes I let it slip, and I’ll use words that I shouldn’t and I feel like a f---ing a—hole for it. Thank God no one is filming it. But I know who I am. For the last two years I’ve f---ing struggled to figure out what I’m going to do after fighting. When I walk away from stuff, I never usually go back. It’s just over.
I was never bored with fighting. It was all seventeen of the f---ing surgeries that I had over the seven years. I was in a coma. I was f---ing fighting for my life f---ing three or four different times in 2000. That’s why my career slowed down. I should have waited before I came back and fought, but I needed money. I like money. I love it. And I like hearing the f---ing roar of the crowd when we fight.
JB: That’s something that people wanted me to ask you about too. What happened to your crazy staph? Any lingering effects of that staph?
KR: S—t. It looks like I got an a—hole stuck underneath my f---ing armpit. It’s nasty-looking. It was bad. They cut my s—- off. They cut all my muscles off. They cut my chest muscle off. They cut my lat muscle completely off. And I had to build that s—- back up over the last four or five years.
But man, I don’t make excuses. I still feel like right now that I can knock any f---ing body out that’s standing in front of me and I haven’t done s—- in two years and I weigh 205 pounds. My mind is the same. Maybe I’m not as strong as I used to be, but it’s not too hard to get that s—- back. Why? It’s f---ing being a soldier. I have to be ready to f---ing get ready and I have to be ready for war at any f---ing time in my life. And I’m still that way right now in my f---ing retired days. A f---er f---s with my family and it’s f---ing over right there. I don’t give a f--- who you are. It’s just who I am. My environment raised me, made me hard, but life has softened me up like a pebble in the water. The river is running over me and I’m a little softer, but I’m still ready for f---ing battle. Trust me.
Thank you so much for reading and please follow Kevin Randleman and Jack Brown on Twitter.
Visit JackJohnBrownMMA on Facebook for links to all of Jack’s past interviews. Previous interviews include: Dan Hardy, Rose Namajunas, Joe Lauzon, War Machine, Tom Lawlor, Bas Rutten, Chris Leben, Phil Baroni, Julie Kedzie, Michael Bisping, Duane Ludwig, Sara McMann, Matt Lindland, Duke Roufus, Pat Miletich, Jens Pulver, Dan Severn, Nate Quarry, Ken Shamrock, Matt Serra, Jeremy Horn, Ray Longo, Dennis Hallman, and dozens more.
Thank you to @KirikJenness for @theUG.