Next up was the beginning of our training sessions with Jean Charles Skarbowsky. He is a kickboxing champion from France, but he spent most of his career training and fighting in Thailand. Georges gave us a little background information on Jean Charles before he came in. He let us know that Jean Charles was a unique guy, and he is used to a different lifestyle in Thailand – drinking, smoking and fighting all the time. Honestly, it was really frustrating that first day.
Apparently, Jean Charles was under the impression that he came in to teach us all a lesson, like we were all just a bunch of punks that needed to be put in their place. He kept calling it "The Contender." He didn't even know the show was called "The Ultimate Fighter."
So, Jean Charles showed up drunk, and he started beating the crap out of us. And what's worse, I guess he decided to leave his shin pads back in France. He was only wearing gloves, so every time he would hit us with a shin or throw us around, it was painful. He was just completely rag-dolling us, and you couldn't do anything to retaliate.
I remember this being one of the few times on the show where I really lost my temper. I was fresh off my fight with Andy Main and was still a little beat up. I could smell the liquor on Jean Charles, and we were going at it. He hit me with a brutal knee right in the ribs with no gear on. I dropped down, and he grabbed me, pulled me up real close and said in my ear, "Did that hurt?" I was like, "Yeah." He replied, "Just wait for the next one," and he continued going hard.
At one point, he dropped me again, and as I was trying to hold my gloves up and tell him, "Hey, man, take it easy; I've got to fight again soon," he just kept punching me in the face. When he was finished, I contemplated throwing my gloves across the gym, but I held my composure. I was so angry. I wasn’t going to train with a guy who shows up drunk and just beats the [expletive] out of us. You can't ask me to respect someone like that.
Before Jean Charles got there, Georges and John Danaher sat us down and explained that he was a different kind of person – a little insane – but to treat him with respect. That's cool, but he needs to respect me, too. Beating the [expletive] out of us and trying to hurt us before we have to fight isn't respectful.
I pretty much had my mind made up that I didn't like this guy at all, and I wasn’t going to train with him. However, I think Georges saw what happened in practice and pulled him aside. The next day, Jean Charles came in and was completely different. Besides being sober, he took us over to the heavy bags and showed us some solid technique. He was telling jokes, acting cool, and I wish he would have started out that way the day before.
It got better after that, and he trained with us for about a week. I think he figured out what he was really there to do, and we were able to pick up some technique and and appreciate his skills once he toned it down.
Despite Jean Charles' look and demeanor, he was an amazing striker. However, with his little potbelly, French accent, and short Thai shorts, you could tell Koscheck was dying to hassle him as soon as he saw him. Jean Charles was very friendly with him and didn’t even know Josh was making fun of him. I just wish I could have witnessed a sparring session between Jean Charles and Josh. Then he might have been a little more respectful to him.