by David Snipes
Chris Bell has had a standout career in the Louisiana and Texas regions since turning pro in 2008 (after a 4-1 amateur record).
Bell is currently 10-1 – and still young for a fighter at 24 – Bell harbors ambitions well beyond his current status.
Bell fights out of Center, Texas, and has fought for organizations such as the Cage Kings, Global Fighting Alliance, LFC and the Cajun Fighting Championship. He is currently the 185 and 205-pound title-holder for a variety of local promotions.
Bell met with David Snipes, Drew Griggs and Ryan Harris and spoke with them for over an hour on his MMA career, his background and his shot at TUF 10, where he made the show but was dropped when Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson joined the cast and the show focused on heavyweights only.
This is my first interview with a fighter, so to be honest with you we just kind of sat back and talked, Chris is HIGHLY personable and easy to talk to, and we just let the conversation flow wherever it went. I tried to learn a bit about MMA training from Chris, so you’ll get some comparisons from me to football, as Chris played as well, I felt more of my audience has played football than trained MMA.
- David Snipes
David: How long have you held those titles?
Chris: I been holding this one for like a year (205 LFC Light Heavyweight Title), no one challenging me, this one since March (Louisiana Fighting Championship 185 title).
David: So if you lose do you have to give them back?
Chris: Well if he beats me . . .
David: No if you move on to the UFC or out of the area.
Chris: If I was to make it to a big organization I would just say here, they wouldn’t mean that much to me, if I was to make it to the UFC, I would say here.
David: You wouldn’t try to see how much they cost to keep them?
Chris: Like a hundred bucks
David: Not going to put them on the wall? I would think something like that I’d want to keep.
Chris: I might get to keep them forever, no one challenging me.
David: Are you a better fighter for that loss?
Chris: That loss taught me something- I can still get beat. I lost my first fight as an amateur- I had 5 amateur fights so it’s been 2 years since I’ve lost and It taught me I can get beat If I’m not focused. I’ve got to stay focused and all this mental Drama I need to just push away. All that mental shit that doesn’t involve fighting just keep it away and stay away from all that.
David: So it made you a better fighter?
Chris: 100 TIMES better. When I walked out of that loss that night I knew I messed up and I come back and my next fight is the next month in Shreveport, so I’m like let’s do this and that fight showed me – and that fight in June showed me that I messed up. That loss I didn’t throw no knees or kicks I just let him take me down and have his way with me- everything he wanted to do to me I let him – I just was not mentally in the fight. I came out ready to fight but when it started I was not ready in my mind- but since then my mind is right, my family is good and the guys around me are good. So I am like ready to destroy this guy!
David: Your last fight was supposed to be a catchweight at 195?
Chris: I was so nervous for that fight, I was dealing with some personal issues- I asked him to meet me at a catchweight, but once I started- the weight just came off.
David: What is your walking around weight?
Chris: When I’m lazy 215, good shape 205, and I mean real lazy- eating pizza, It’s a Mental game, cutting weight and the any little thing can throw you off, you are on a diet and it smells so good and it is not that protein shake and chicken breasts or vegetables, but it is more mental than physical- on the outside, on the inside (of the cage) it is more physical but its how you handle it- and I think I do a pretty good job, once I get on my diet I stay on it – and the weight just comes off.
Ever since I came back from the (UFC) tryouts I’ve been on a mission – and that’s to get back to the UFC.
Either they are going to let me in or I am going to kick the door in ’cause I can compete with those guys, I’ve trained with those guys Forrest Griffith and Wanderlei Silva – a whole week we trained with them, I learned some stuff with them.
I just feel like it’s time to take my game to the next level and once I get there, that’s my home, once you make it to the big leagues, it’s not over, this right here (waving his arms to the side), all this little fame, people recognizing me, that’s a small step, to be prepared so when I make it to the big time I know how to handle it so I’m not like all caught up in the drama and forget about the fight.
- Chris Bell
|David: Did you do any sports at all in school
Chris: Well you know in Texas Football, I played a little basketball and track, but no wrestling. I just picked up the wrestling you know, I played linebacker all through High School. When you have a 200-300 pound lineman hitting you, you learn how to move.
David: How did you get started in MMA?
Chris: I was just watching it at home, then I was like man I want to try that! I was just tired of the work-home, work-home, work-home you know? It’s real easy for me and it was a battlecage 360 show- and I came back here and asked if they were on the show and they said yes, and I was like cool, I’m going to come back in like 2 hours and train with ya’ll. Came back, 10 minutes and I’m throwing up, I didn’t quit- I never quit, I give 100% every time- even if you are a new guy I’m not going to take it easy on you. If this is something you want to do- then that guy is not going to take it easy on you. It’s my job to show you everything that they did to me I’m going to do to you- I have been making history for going on 4 years
David: What goes through your mind when you are standing across from the cage from someone before the fight starts? I played football-SS- no matter what I had a few seconds before anything I did mattered normally, but vs. a guy like Caol Uno, you have what? 2 seconds and a foot could be on your chin, what goes through your mind when the ref says GO?
Chris: For me, its do whatever you need to do to win, whatever you got to do- When that ref asks are you ready, then I’ve got to go destroy.
David: Are you watching a particular part of him? We were taught to look at the hips in football, Are there any “tell” that you watch?
Chris: I’m watching the whole picture, if I’m looking at his hips, what about his hands? So I come out and I’m looking at all of him- his head movement his whole picture, when I’m looking over at him before we start and he’s looking around- that’s a tell-tale sign that he might not be as ready as you. We looking at each other just like I’m looking at you- then I know he’s ready and we are going to do this. But I’m looking at the whole picture- cause if he comes in low then I have to be ready to sprawl.
David: So coming into MMA what’s the hardest part to learn?
Chris: The Ju-Jitsu part of the game- cause I can teach anyone how to box- it’s likecheckers, I jump you, you jump me- But jiu-jitsu is different, it’s like chess- I’m trying to set you up- That triangle that you are defending could just be a setup for an arm-bar. That’s how I got submitted- He set me up for an arm-bar, so that’s why I think the ground game is the hardest. The problem people run into is once they learn two or three submissions they want to learn more.
David: On this level there is not a lot of film on most opponents- even if there is, it may not be that good, How do you prepare for an opponent you may have never seen before?
Chris: Trusting in myself, Treat him like he’s great at everything. If I only see him KO someone, I can’t treat him like he has no ground game, I have to treat him like he has an excellent ground game, If I have no tape I have to treat him as dangerous everywhere- I have to take him out before he takes me out.
David: How much does your mindset change from standup to ground?
Chris: Instantly, I’ll stand with you- but if we stand you are telling me you want me to knock you out- If we go to the ground, you are telling me, Chris – this is where I want to be. Then I work my ground and pound, my Jiu-Jitsu skills, whatever, I’m looking to punish you with my knees and elbows.
David: How much MMA do you watch?
Chris: A LOT
David: UFC or does it matter?
Chris: Every time some things on, I don’t care if its 5 years old, I’m watching, cause it can help me, this is a sport where if you feel that you know it all, if you stop learning all the time, that’s where you get beat down.
David: Do you watch it like a training film or can you enjoy it?
Chris: I’m watching to enjoy it, but I am also viewing it as training, I’m breaking down mistakes this guy made if he got caught in a triangle- I’m like what did he do? Oh look, that was his mistake right there and how he got caught. I’m looking at a way to perfect my game cause this is an organization that I want to be in so these guys are showing me that. Weather it is on TV or the UFC DVDs they put out I’m watching constantly, Every time they give a word of advice, I’m eating it up- They are not doing anything but trying to help me- I might as well take it, everything to help me get to the next level.
David: Do you ever wonder about facing a legend or someone you have watched on TV that first time? Like if you face Wanderlei Silva, a fighter whom anyone would consider a legend – across the cage from you?
Chris: I’m here now, I’m here to take your job, I wouldn’t be like GSP, Matt Hughes was his idol and he couldn’t look him in the eye, cause I mean Anderson Silva is my favorite fighter, in my weight class he is the guy, the king, and If I’m going to be the 185 Champ he is the one I have to take out. But I don’t think I’ll be like ‘WOW” look who that is! They are here just like I am, I’m in the UFC, just like they are, They have been here longer, they have pair their dies, just like I am trying to pay my dues, but it’s not going to bother me. I want to perform like those guys, 3-4 years down the road however long it takes me, I’m there and once I’m there I have to start building my house, so one day when its challenger vs. champ- I’m the new champ!
David: So how far did you get in the Ultimate Fighter (10)?
David: To the Final 32?
David: Did they have a final 32?
Chris: I really can’t go into all the details, but they told us they were not going to do the tryout fights. I was DEEP into it- It is what it is -I can’t do anything about it. I have to wait my turn, that’s just God testing my patience – I’m going to get my shot see- when I went up there for a week and saw what Vegas is like – How are you going to handle all that? I handled it.
David: Did you meet the coaches- Rampage or Rashad Evans?
Chris: I didn’t meet them but I met Forrest Griffith and Wanderlei Silva some of the other guys like the gatekeepers but those are the main people I got to meet and train with that week. And that’s one place I want to be, I have an open invitation to come back and train there. Any time I want to go back just call them up
David: What was it like to meet someone who has the career you want to have? Wanderlei is in your weight class, and obvious Hall of Famer, and I’m sure if given the choice- you would gladly have his career if you could
Chris: It was awesome, when I walked into the gym; it was like I was part of the team part of the family. Strap up we about to go, couldn’t ask for anything more, I got to see it at a higher level- I got to see it, That’s why in my heart of hearts, I have what it takes to compete at that level.
David: Did you have any idea who the coaches were for that season?
Chris: Nobody told us.
David: Were you worried about what kind of coaches you were going to get? That seems to come into play- take season 3, Ken Shamrock was portrayed as a lousy couch and several of those fighters blamed him for their lack of success, while most of Tito’s fighters came out improved. There is only one guy on Ken’s team still in the UFC for example.
Chris: No, because for example- some of these coaches have not been that well rounded- you can’t blame that on Ken, you can’t blame that on Tito, you want to blame someone, blame yourself, you got to use those 6 weeks , you should be busting your ass. If I make it on the show, I’m not there to be your friend, I’m not there to be your buddy, and I’m there to work. When its all over we can exchange numbers and all that, I know do your thing to get the ratings and all that but when it comes down to it, soak it up get your thing done, I mean look at the coaches- how many of those guys are like really well rounded as coaches anyway- other than Randy Couture or Matt Hughes- but even those guys have flaws, If I’m a really good Jiu-Jitsu guy, and you give me a wrestler- that’s not going to help my ground game any.
David: So did the UFC tell you that they might call you for one of the other shows?
Chris: They could call me, they have all my info- like for 103 or something like that it would be great (there is a fight Night in Oklahoma) Yeah, I’d take that too. If I could get there without having to go the TUF, that would be excellent, I wouldn’t have to deal with all that talk but if I have to go through TUF to get to the UFC I’m game.
David: So does it matter where you go? Dream, UFC, Strikeforce?
Chris: If I get the opportunity to go to one of those places before the UFC- I would take it, you would be a fool not to; it’s only giving you exposure. If Dream called me, and I went overseas for 2 years, ok – I’m overseas. The UFC is going to be looking at me- they watch that over there – and they will be saying “This guy is over there kicking ass – why don’t we have him?” That’s what I want- I’ve been kicking ass for 3 years. I’m going to continue to pay my dues, so when they call me, I’ll know it was worth it. You give me a chance- They call me now and ask me- do you want a fight at 103? I don’t care it can be undercard, PPV, just get me there to show you what I can do- and we can go from there.
David: Does it irritate you that some of these guys might not be as good as you? That you know you are better than some of these guys on TV?
Chris: I don’t think it irritates me- it might bother me, but it don’t irritate me. This game is about whom you know, the connections. I’m not going to get mad- or talk about you because you know some guy that gets you there faster than me. I’m going to keep on doing what I’m doing, it just lets me know to work harder and harder, if I keep winning fights, I cannot be denied.
David: Do People recognize you?
Chris: There are people that see me, I have as many fans in Texas as I do in LA, they come up to me and say keep up the good work, that’s that drive, if I fuck up I have to deal with it, but I don’t want to let down the people that supported me. I gotta go out there and perform and train to be the best. I’m going to make sure I perform to be the best, if they are going to put me on a pedestal- I am going to make sure I am worth being on that pedestal.
David: Does that make you act differently?
Chris: Do I? (Chris looks over at his Sensei- who laughs and shakes his head) No, when I am out on the street I act normal, but when I fight, people expect a show.
David: How long does it take for you to recover from a fight?
Chris: 2-3 days, sometimes a week.
David: Does it matter that kind of fighter?
Chris: In this sport you have to know everything, standup, Ju-ju, boxing, you have to know it all. So it doesn’t matter. I’m training for it all- I want to work a Ju-ju guy, but I’m not looking for just one type of guy. I’m looking for those wars- these guys that are battle testing me and getting me ready for those wars for when I get to the UFC.
David: Does that bother you for a fight to be finished quickly? I mean you took 1 kick in one fight I saw you in, and you trained all that time, the diet and everything?
Chris: As long as he is a worthy opponent, it’s ok. But once I saw that he didn’t want to get hit- I thought, go ahead and put him away. I don’t want an easy fight- a person someone in the audience could beat. I don’t mean no disrespect; he was 6-2 after all.
David: But do you ever walkout saying it wasn’t worth my time?
Chris: No. I didn’t give my fans what they came for- 2 second KO is great for TV but a 2 hour drive to see you walk in walk out.
POST FIGHT: At the Global Fighting Alliance 4 show- Chris defeated Tony Fernandez
David: Ok, first question- What took you so long? Shad (teammate Shad Jenkins, fought in the opening bout) won his fight in 12 seconds!
Chris: I wanted to establish my standup – I wanted to establish my reach, I didn’t want it to end quickly, I wanted to let my fists go- sometimes it takes longer, I’m a professional, he’s an amateur- he is trying to get where I’m at and I want to show why I am a professional.
David: It looked to me, during the fight, that it stopped early- but during the replay he did look out after the high kick, does it bother you when people think a fight is stopped early?
Chris: It’s the ref’s job to stop the fight, no one has a better view than he does and that’s what he is for, do you think if he didn’t pull me off I would not have kept hitting him? If he is that angry they still have the cage up, we can go back out there, if he is still in the building.
David: (Chris is getting his wraps cut off by his trainer, and he is being carefully putting them in his bag) Do you keep all your wraps from your fights?
Chris: I keep all my wraps in a box at my house, that way I can show my kids these when they get older and they will know Daddy did something.
David: When is your next fight?
Chris: Maybe October, I have a Jui-jitsu tournament coming up and then I will have to work on getting back into the Cage.
Note: Bell went on to place first in the Gi tournament, and second in the No-Gi tournament, despite only training for 2 years in Jiu-jitsu. Bell made it to the TUF 11 cast – which will feature Middleweights – but injured his knee right before leaving for the show.
Chris Bell’s Professional Record
Chris Bell’s Amateur Record
2010 17 Jan
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