EP: If you know about Vale Tudo, that's basically no rules, they can do groin kicks and stomp on heads while people are down. So as far as him, I think he was in the heat of the moment and just saw an opening and took it. I understand, but at the time it hurt. Actually, a doctor told me I was going to have to have surgery, but I went and got a second opinion and that doctor said just wait and see how my testicle heals up with the contusion that happened. Thank God I just waited.
As far as my kick with him, I honestly just tried to land an axe kick to his solar plexus. I missed. I was a little bit further away because, fighting him before and seeing him fight, I was worried about him kicking my knee, my lead leg. So I was a couple inches further back than I should have been. And then when I threw the axe kick, I came up short and landed in the groin. Five inches higher and it would have landed in the solar plexus and it probably would have been a short night for me. Landing a devastating kick like that, especially with as much power as I have in my legs and my hands, it would have been a good night. But I made a mistake and I definitely won't be throwing that kick again. And I learned my lesson.
But I don't know how a more deliberate kick earns a "No Contest," but throwing an axe kick, which is a harder kick to pinpoint, gets a "Disqualification," basically a loss. I don't understand the ruling. I think that should be finalized. But like I said, it is what it is. I respect Bellator and the referee that judged me in that fight. I understand that he had a job to do. It definitely gives me a point to look back to when I'm into a fight and I get ready to throw an inside leg kick. I think I'll make sure and hit him in the best place versus hitting him and getting disqualified again.
JB: Where are you currently training in Arizona and who has been working with you?
EP: I've been training a couple places. The Lab has been my main gym here. My home gym is CSW, Combat Submission Wrestling, in California, with Erik Paulson. That's my main gym, but he understands that I can't travel there all the time. So I've been training out here at The Lab and the Fight Ready gym. Also, there's a new gym, the UFC Gym. I've been training there with Shannon Ritch. I've been doing a lot of sparring with Gooch and a couple other guys at The Lab. Joe Riggs is there. Henderson's there. So there are some real good guys and some real good coaches to learn from. I'm just doing a lot of strength training, getting strong again, and getting ready to fight.
JB: Erik Paulson’s always seemed like a fascinating guy. Do you have any Erik Paulson stories?
EP: One time I was rolling with him, and he's so phenomenal, like an encyclopedia of MMA and the ground game, he probably tapped me out like fifteen times in a minute. And I'm 6' 5", 300 pounds, and I'm strong. He'll act like he's going for an armbar and then he'll get a wristlock. I wish I could know an eighth of what he knows. I'd be the world champion right now. He's a phenomenal guy. I love him. He's a great dude.
JB: What's next for you in your fighting career and who are some of the fighters out there that you'd like to be matched up with?
EP: Right now I'm kind of fielding offers. Bellator hopefully will let me fight since they have that heavyweight four-man tournament coming up. I'm not in it. I wanted to be in it, but hopefully they'll let me be an alternate or something. Hopefully I'll get an offer that works well and is worth the risk. Hopefully I'll get out there and fight soon.