Some of Carlo Prater's colleagues had long implored him to make a trip to Coconut Creek, Fla.
The Brazilian, who fights Marcus LeVesseur at Friday's UFC on FX 5 event, finally took up their offer and based his fight camp at the famed American Top Team.
"All I needed to do is put a little money together, purchase a flight and show up," Prater told MMAjunkie.com (UFC blog for UFC news, UFC rumors, fighter interviews and event previews/recaps | MMAjunkie.com
). "I'm really enjoying it here. I'm not leaving this team."
Prater (30-11-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) and LeVesseur (21-6 MMA, 0-1 UFC) meet in a lightweight fight that streams on Facebook from Minneapolis' Target Center. Additional prelims air on FUEL TV prior to the night's FX-televised main card.
Prater ended up in an untelevised prelim likely due to his recent performances. Erick Silva dominated him for 29 seconds at UFC 142, but the ref declared him disqualified for hitting the rocked Prater with illegal shots to the back of the head. Prater then followed that dubious victory with a decision loss to the suddenly surging T.J. Grant at UFC on FUEL TV 3 earlier this year.
With the former WEC fighter's career now hanging in the balance, Prater finally listened to Ricardo Liborio, Marcos "Parrumpinha" da Matta, Thiago Alves, Gleison Tibau and other longtime friends, including "Thugjitsu" popularizer Yves Edwards, and held his camp at ATT in Florida. The veteran camp has churned out some of the biggest names in MMA over the years.
"I knew most of the guys beforehand," Prater said. "Since I am a 'Thugjitsu' practitioner, my partner Yves Edwards had always been telling me, 'Hey, Prater, you need to come to our gym. Everyone is waiting for you.' The invitation had been extended a long time ago."
"It's been the best camp I've ever had," said Prater, who plans to host future fight camps at the gym.