The Incredible Journey of Brian Ebersole

Posted: December 21, 2010 in Interviews

Sometimes the most incredible stories are the ones you never hear about. And the most amazing careers sometimes fly well under the radar. That’s definitely true about MMA veteran Brian Ebersole’s long and fascinating career. He’s fought literally all over the world against some of the stars of the sport including Cung Le, Hector Lombard, Stephen Bonnar and more. He’s been in nearly 70 fights and has never been knocked out. (And, oh yeah…the Cartwheel Kick! But more on that later) Most of all, Ebersole has memories that would last 3 lifetimes. To say his journey has been astonishing is an understatement. If some day Brian decides to document all of his stories, I’ll be the first one in line. Enjoy this interview with cage warrior Brian Ebersole…

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VigilanteMMA: Thanks for joining us Brian. Let’s get started. Where do you currently train?

Brian Ebersole: I have spent the last 4 years, living and training primarily in Australia. It’s a big country and I’ve spent time in most of the capital cities, training/coaching/competing. I have a few gyms that I like to call home. KMA in Sydney, UMMA and Kimekai Martial Arts in Melbourne, The Arena in Western Australia, and the good ole Dog Factory in the tropics of Queensland. In 2010, I spent time at each of these gyms. And they were a great help in preparing for my recent win over Carlos Newton. I was lucky enough to have a good mix of training environments, through my 12-week training camp.

VigilanteMMA: You would definitely be considered a cage veteran despite still being a young guy. What are some of the countries you’ve fought in and what were your favorite places to compete?

Brian Ebersole: I don’t feel so young anymore, and looking at the new wave of 22 year olds coming into the sport, I sure feel a bit “elderly”…But yeah, I’ve had a ton of fights and have lived a good part of my life in gymnasiums and dojos. I’ve had fights in Vegas, California, throughout the Midwest, Atlantic City, Mexico, Japan, Australia, S. Africa, and Thailand. I nearly had a bout in England, but I’d had nearly a bottle of wine when we found out about the opening in the card…I still lobbied for the spot vs. one of England’s top heavyweights, Neil Grove.  I think I would have gone alright!  But it was not to be.

Favorite places to compete:  1. Japan, because of the respect and genuine interest of the crowd.  There are no people yelling like hillbillies, embarrassing themselves and their mates. No calls for the referee to stand the fighters, because all they’re doing is gay hugging each other. You can hear every movement of the fighters, the feet on the canvas, punches landing, fighters’ breathing, the cornerman’s instructions. It is/was beautiful to compete in such a serene environment. Such a drastic change from the US and Australian scene, where the fans actually think that they are part of the show and are meant to be heard.

2. Vegas.  It was an awesome feeling to fight in Vegas, a place that has hosted so many remarkable fights.  And I’d love to fight there again, because it would mean that I’m on a big card—as not many small shows occur in Vegas.

VigilanteMMA: Likewise, you’ve fought some big name guys in your career. Who are some of the fighters you’ve fought that our readers would definitely recognize?

Brian Ebersole: I’ve fought guys before they were famous. For some of them, looking at the records/dates and where they went after our bout—I was a stepping stone. I’ve fought Stephan Bonnar, Ed Herman, Nick Thomson, Tony Frykland, Cung Le, Carlos Newton, Kyle Noke, Hector Lombard, Shannon Ritch–who fought Sakuraba in Pride, and a few other talented dudes.

VigilanteMMA: You mentioned your recent win over UFC and Pride legend Carlos Newton. That gives you 10 wins in 11 fights—the only loss coming to Hector Lombard. Do you think that win sent a message to the bigger promotions that they need to pay attention to you?

Brian Ebersole: The UFC was not impressed, which I find laughable. My resume has always stood quite strong. I’ve got something like 7-8 decision losses, and I can only agree with two of them (and they were still close calls). I have never been beaten up, and that’s a bit impressive if one were to consider the fact that I took a fair few fights (some of my better opponents, actually) on very very short notice. Taking fights on short notice left me unprepared for a good number of bouts, many of which I still won. But the majority of my bouts have been fairly impressive and damn entertaining. I’m training full-time, and I don’t seek bouts when I am not training full-on…So I’ll keep winning, and when emails come–I’ll answer them. That’s all I can do.

VigilanteMMA: I heard that you recently made a run at being on the Ultimate Fighter cast. What was that process like?

Brian Ebersole: I spent a bunch of money to hire a professional videographer. I did an interview.  I had that put onto a DVD with some fight highlights, and sent it with an application–to California. Then I listened to talks about how big the tryouts in Vegas were, and how the show was only going to be welterweights (instead of the original WW/MW split).  And the rumor was that many of the contestants were pre-selected, which is not a bad thing nor a surprise…Just that coaches and other fighters had already lobbied for their fighters to gain a spot, and simply had to introduce them to Spike and the matchmaker. So I sat and waited, knowing 1/2 the spots were taken up in such a fashion. And I heard nothing…so I assume that everyone that is supposed to know about the show, knows about the show. And I look forward to spending the first quarter of 2011 in Australia, not quarantined in a “fighter house” in Vegas.

VigilanteMMA: By my records, you’ve fought in almost 60 pro fights, but you’ve remarkably never been the victim of KO or TKO.

Brian Ebersole: Your records are close. I’m over 70 now, combining all fights/sports. I’ve boxed, kickboxed, fought Thai in Thailand, San Shou-ed vs. Cung Le, and even fought an X-rules bout where the rules changed every round. The X-rules bout turned into a highlight, as I scored a cartwheel kick KO. The clip is 1/2 famous on YouTube, by now.

But yeah, like I’d said earlier–I haven’t been beaten up, and don’t really consider any of the blows I’ve taken in competition to have been “big”.  I’ve been hit clean a couple of times, but haven’t had to step back and take inventory on my face to make sure all the parts were still there. I think it’s more of the fact that I move constantly, and cover tightly. When people are throwing power at me, I cover well. So nobody has found my chin yet, that’s all. I’ve been shaving arrows into my body hair, pointing at my chin. Trying to give a clue. But nobody has found it. Must be my hidden treasure—and I hope to keep it that way.

VigilanteMMA: Let’s talk about that Cartwheel Kick KO. It is without question one of the craziest knockouts I’ve ever seen, and if any of our readers haven’t seen it yet, you absolutely HAVE to watch it. Can you walk us through the Cartwheel Kick?

Brian Ebersole: The rules for the bout were to change each round, X-rules fight. MMA gloves.  Round 1, K-1 kickboxing rules. No real clinching, no elbows, no grappling. Round 2, San Shou/Thai Boxing. Takedowns were allowed, elbows were allowed, clinching was allowed, and even standing submissions. Round 3 was meant to be modified MMA, but the bout ended in Round 2.

I’d picked the guy (Otto Merling) up a few times, dumping him hard to the mat. The next 3 clinches, my opponent just fell to the floor instead of fighting back and having me throw him again. So I got bored/frustrated. After one of the “flops”, the ref separated us. I came out from my corner, walked to the center and just went for the cartwheel. As I put my hands down, he was throwing an inside leg kick. So it looks like I cartwheel over his kick, and plant my heel in his eye-socket. My foot hurt when I landed, so I knew he was hurt—even if it was his forearm, I damaged him. I get up and he’s holding his eye, near crying, and waving the ref away. Shocked moving toward excited, I celebrate a ridiculous victory.

Best part—whilst drinking wine after a remarkable dinner, I was telling my sponsor and my cornerman that I would use this cartwheel kick in the fight. My corner proceeded to tell me that I’d been drinking too much, and that I was getting silly. I kept on about the cartwheel, and how I’d nearly landed it in a few other fights. My cornerman took my glass of wine from me. I only got it back after promising that it would be my last one and that I would head to bed. At breakfast, my cornerman became irate as I got back to talking about this cartwheel kick. He told me that if I embarrassed him, he’d make me pay. He was really angry, thinking I was just trying to bother him by talking about it. That I was just meaning to annoy him.

So, I land a cartwheel kick. It ends the fight. Guess who brought me a beer, into the ring? Said cornerman. No official apology, but the beer was his way of saying “you told me so”.

VigilanteMMA: That story makes the KO even more remarkable. So what’s next for you? Do you currently have a fight lined up?

Brian Ebersole: I plan to fight in February and March, both in Australia. March will be a title defense and I do not have an opponent signed. But it will be a tough one, as again, it’s a title fight. No easy championship bouts, so January sees me get serious with fitness and training.

VigilanteMMA: Finally, what are your career goals for the next couple years?

Brian Ebersole: I figure to have another 5 years of competition left.  10-15 fights, at most.  My real goals are to finish my career, proud of each and every performance.  I’ve got a ton of fights, and I haven’t been beaten up.  Never been KO’d or TKO’d.  And I’m not embarrassed to show the video of any one of my bouts……  But that doesn’t mean to say that I was proud of the circumstances with which I entered each bout….or the performance put forth.  I took too many bouts, just for the payday, on short notice.  And I wasn’t the athlete that I should have been, on a number of occassions.  So now, my goal is to train and compete to the best of my ability.  Leave myself no excuse or regret, looking back on a performance.  I have a few bouts that I really want to take back, have a “do over”, or just go back and say “no” to the fight because I wasn’t in shape.  My aim is to never feel that again.  Finish my career as a professional, with honor and respect for the sport, each bout, and myself as an athlete.  The fights, the opportunities, the media, the rewards, etc…  They will all play out according to the “big plan”.  I’m content to do my part, best I can, and allow the flow to carry me forth.

VigilanteMMA: Lastly, are there any shout outs before we let you go?

Brian Ebersole: I’d like to thank my sponsors Hayabusa Fight Gear, Century Martial Arts, Kimekai Martial Arts, Melbourne, UMMA in Melbourne, KMA—Melbourne and Sydney, The Arena in Rockingham, Western Australia, The Dog Factory in Townsville, Queensland.

VigilanteMMA: Thanks Brian for your time. I appreciate you spending some time to chat with us at VigilanteMMA.

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Comments
  1. Great Interview! You Guys Rock!

  2. vigilantemma says:

    Thanks Mayhem…you’re not so bad yourself!
    $$

  3. PEET VAN BREDA says:

    GREAT STUFF WARRIOR.GREAT STUFF.

    • The Fight game is not a easy road to travel and sometimes greatness goes undiscovered. It is the love for the game that keep us on a road to test ourselfs against all odds. Brian now is your time.

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