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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
One of the UFC's newest signees, middleweight Sean Loeffler, is a longtime veteran of the sport and a man of many tales. In a career that has spanned 12 years and countless organizations all over the place, Loeffler has seen a few things and experienced even more. In an interview last week as he was biding his time until ankle surgery this week, Loeffler regaled MMATorch with a couple of crazy, at times hard to believe stories. Here's one hell of a tale, the way Loeffler remembers it:
"I've had crazy things happen that a lot of people don't know about, that I haven't really told anybody; not because it's a secret, but because I probably haven't thought back to stuff.
I had a fight in Mexico in maybe 2004 - which is still not really early days, but it was kind of the early days and it was still Tijuana, Mexico. I go there and show up and I was fighting some real tough guy who was training at Team Quest; he was 2-0, I had more fights than him but I knew he was a tough guy. I don't love fighting wrestlers, anybody knows as a jiu jitsu guy with knockout power, wrestlers are kind of [my] nemesis. They're the only type of fighter that can make me seem not as exciting as what I am, so I'm not a huge fan of going against wrestlers. They don't want to strike with you, when you're on the ground they don't want to ever create enough space where you can do anything, they have good bases; so good for them, they can win a fight by being a duvet. But I was fighting this wrestler, I knew it was going to be a war, and it ended up going to a decision.
We get down to Mexico, and my dad gives my coach a couple hundred bucks; they put us up in this hotel in Tijuana, and [my dad told him], 'Ok, let Sean sleep in until 12:01, then get Sean to breakfast and to the arena.'
My coach says, 'cool.' Then he woke up around 9AM before I woke up and went to walk around TJ.
My dad starts calling my cell phone, which doesn't work down there, so he starts calling the hotel. The hotel people came up and said 'someone's trying to get a hold of you.' I go down to the lobby because my room phone didn't work and it's probably 4:30PM.
My dad's freaking out, he's like 'where the f*** are you?'
I said 'I'm at the hotel.'
He said 'what do you mean you're at the hotel? Where's Bob?'
I go, 'I don't know, I haven't seen him since I went to sleep last night, what are you talking about?'
He said, 'what do you mean you haven't seen him?'
I said, 'I don't f***ing know, dad. I'm in Mexico. I don't know where f***ing Bob is.'
He goes, 'Oh, Jesus. I gave him $200 and told him to get you a cab, and food before your fight and to wake you up by 1.'
I just said, 'Well, I haven't seen him. What do you want me to do?'
So he called some of my friends and said, 'you gotta go pick Sean up and get him to the arena, he's late. Check ins were at 3, it's 4:30 and he's still at the f***ing hotel 20 minutes away from the arena.'
They get me there late, and the promoter is definitely mafia run, like Tijuana-cartel guy. He just looks at me and he's furious, and said 'You're the main event, what are you doing, man? What do you think you're doing?'
I said, 'F***, I'm not from here, I don't speak this language, I'm just here to fight, bro.'
He said, 'If you needed to fight, you should be on time, man.'
I'm like, 'F***, I get it, where's the locker room?'
So we go up to the locker room. My dad brings me this sh***y plate of carne asada - which was probably dog meat - and I'm eating before I warm up. Then they take an intermission right before my fight; I'm all warm, we're in the top floor of this arena. These stupid, stupid f***ing people down in Mexico running this organization lit off fireworks in the building before the main event. They lit all this f***ing shit off, and we're on the top floor warming up. They don't have any ventilation system up there, so it was just pure smoke in my locker room for ten minutes straight. I thought the building was on fire.
My coaches are trying to find our bags and we're going 'holy s***!' And then these guys are like 'don't worry about it, it was just fireworks.'
We're like 'why the f*** are you lighting fireworks inside of closed doors?'
'We didn't think that through, we got fans coming though. Don't worry man, we'll give you another intermission.'
I'm like, 'This is f***ed.'
He says, 'Just chill out, man, just have a beer or something.'
I'm like, 'I'm about to fight, and it's all f***ing smoky in here!'
So they bring us down to this basement, and I'm terrified now because I was thinking they were just gonna kill us. They're just going to take us to a back room and kill us and just say we set fire to the arena or some s*** like that.
Now, the guys that are cornering me were just two of my friends, they know nothing about fighting. They don't know one f***ing thing about fighting. I knew I was fighting a tough guy, and this guy in his corner had every stud wrestler you could imagine; I think Randy Couture was even down at the event.
We walk down to the cage, we get into the cage and start fighting. We're having a good fight back and forth. I'm dominating on the ground, passing his guard; now, this guy looked completely Mexican even though he was training at Team Quest, and the crowd just f***ing hates me. I'm some white guy with tattoos, my cornerman are just two of my homies with wife beaters on. The crowd's just livid.
In between the first and second round I'm exhausted. There's smoke everywhere, I warmed up the complete wrong way. I looked at my dad and asked who had the round timer. He said he had it on his watch. He looked down and went, 'F***! That was a ten minute round!' He ran up to talk to the promoter. They stopped the timekeeper's clock at the end of the first round, but the guy went to take a piss at the end of the first round and they never hit the bell so we went ten minutes.
I knew I was more tired than I was supposed to be. I'm just sucking wind. I'm yelling at the guys that are cornering me to throw me a f***ing water bottle. Nobody was handing me anything, nobody knew what they were doing; they were still on the outside of the cage. They finally hand me a stool over the cage after a minute.
My dad finally comes back and says, 'Ok, the next two rounds are going to be three minutes apiece. So instead of three fives you're going to do a ten and two threes.'
I'm just like 'F***ing Mexico. This is bulls***.'
30 seconds later, the referee starts yelling at somebody, and I see my coach Bob on the side of the arena with a beer in his hand.
I yelled, 'Where the f*** have you been?!' The ref was telling me to get ready to fight, and I just said, 'F*** that, where have you been?' The ref's telling him he needs to get out of the cage as he's trying to get in with a beer in his hand.
Bob says, 'You didn't need me here, you got this, you won that round, I was watching!'
I just said, 'F*** him.'
So we go through the second round. I hear my dad say the time at 3:39, and I'm like '3:39? It was supposed to be a three minute round!' They finally stop the round around 3:48, realizing they f***ed up again. So I go to get back into my corner and Bob comes into the corner, drinking, and he sits on my stool.
I said, 'Let me sit down.'
He says, 'No, stand up, we don't want your legs to get tired.'
I'm like, 'my legs are tired, I need to sit down. You just want to sit on my stool, why am I even arguing with you right now?'
My dad is livid at this point. He said 'Bob you f***ing stand the f*** up right now!'
So he gets up and he just starts patting me on my back. Now, he's one of the best cornermen in the world, but he's been drinking in Mexico all day. He's just patting me on the back and just saying 'You got this. You got this.'
The third round starts, and I look at the ref and just say, 'Is this going to be a three minute round? I'm exhausted, please make sure it's a three minute round.'
I look over at my opponent, and he's dying too. We just did a ten minute round with a two and a half minute break, a four minute round with a 45 second break, and he's looking at me and we both start to laugh. Now I never touch gloves, and we actually touched gloves at the start of round three and we're just laughing, like 'This is f***ing ridiculous. The arena's filled with smoke, the rounds are all f***ed up.'
We start up, he landed a big knee as I shot a double. I get to mount, and the whole crowd is now chanting 'Gonzalez, Gonzalez" - that's not even his name, by the way - and I'm realizing that these people think he's some hometown guy.
As the round is nearing an end I go for an Americana, and I feel this stinging on my leg, by the top of my foot. I look down, and some f***ing drunk Mexican had thrown a cigar at me, because "Gonzalez" their boy was losing - he wasn't even their f***ing guy! So I let go of the Americana, swipe the f***ing cigar away and then the round ends.
I helped him up, he gave me a big hug, he's covered in blood. I went to talk to one of the ring girls who spoke English because I'm just disgusted and didn't want to talk to anyone in my corner. I'm super pissed off at my friends for not giving me water, my dad for arguing with the timekeeper, and Bob for just being f***ing drunk the whole time. Then I'm irritated at the crowd for throwing cigars at me at the end of the fight because I'm beating up their guy, who isn't even their f***ing guy.
I go back to the locker room completely exhausted, and then they paid me one third of the money that I was supposed to get. I walked back to my hotel room two miles because I didn't want to be around anyone else. I walk back across the border to get my car. As I go to get my car from the American side of the border, I notice something hanging out the back of my trunk. My car had been broken into and the stereo had been taking. Unf***ingbelievable.
I went down there, I made $275. The next day I went to Audio World and bought a new speaker system for like $260. So I basically broke even, got a burn on my f***ing foot from a cigar, and fought some guy named "Gonzalez" that doesn't exist.
I've got so many stories like that in the early days of MMA that people wouldn't believe. But then all the fighters that know me and have fought in the day, we can go hours with the 'I remember this one time back in the day…' stories with Bas Rutten, Tito Ortiz, Dan Severn, Travis Fulton, and others with all the crazy s*** that's happened in cage fights that you just wouldn't believe."
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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