Thursday, August 5, 2010

Let me introduce you to...

Many of you know that I train in Judo and Ju Jitsu. My training in these arts, my love of MMA, and me being a professional photographer naturally lead to photographing MMA events.

In my experience, I've been exposed to many fighters. One of which I'd like to introduce you to is Charlie Brenneman. Charlie is a Holidaysburg PA native, a pros vs joes season winner, an outstanding wrestler, an educator and a hell of a human being. What he is also is a UFC MMA fighter. MMA is mixed martial arts. A lot of people in their ignorance don't realize that MMA is a sport and not "human cock fighting".

It combines all martial arts, Judo, Ju Jitsu, Karate, Muay Thai, Wrestling, Sombo and the like under a unified rules match and a fighter pits his skills against another.

Charlie Brenneman is an elite MMA fighter. Sporting a record of 12 wins and 1 loss, Charlie is a UFC fighter. I've had the pleasure of photographing him in his MMA infancy at several events. I've got to meet Charlie several times, and can tell you he's a great guy.

Some of you know that I do photography for submission to different websites. I also write articles for a well known MMA site. Well something happened recently. I interviewed Charlie Brenneman, and submitted the interview to a guy named Peter. He's an editor. The article was changed from a Q and A to an editorial. Long story short, things that I asked Charlie weren't represented the way that Charlie and I intended.

I explained to Charlie that it was posted in an edited version and one that I wasn't pleased with. So here, I'm posting THE ORIGINAL interview, the one that I submitted on my website. I also want to take this as my public forum to apologize for the malarke that happened when the interview was changed.

Here's various pictures of Charlie through the years (I've got tons of photographs of Charlie) and the article.

Q: Since your recent victory inside the UFC octagon, what have you been up to?

A:I took a few days off, but then got right back into the gym. I try to maintain steady training. You never know when you'll get an opportunity.

Q: Your scheduled to fight at UFC 117 August 7, in California. Taking a look at that card, it is stacked! How does it feel to fight on a card with so many big names, and how does it feel to see the growth from fighting in the smaller shows to making it in the big-time?

A:I couldn't have picked a better card to be on. It's a cool thing, going from being a fan of these guys, to being a coworker. I'm being given a huge opportunity by the UFC, and I'm going to make the most of it.

Q: Your current opponent is Johnny Hendricks. What are your thoughts on Hendricks?
A:I love the matchup. I really didn't see it coming, but I have zero complaints.

Q: From what I understand, there’s some history between you two from both of your wrestling days. If this is true, how does it feel to get a fight against him?

A:Was this one that you went looking for, or were just presented with? He actually beat me in the round of 12 at NCAA's my senior year. I hold no hard feelings. It was a different time, in a different sport. I'm looking at this from strictly a fighting point of view, and career wise, it's a great situation. We were presented the matchup, and we jumped on it.

Q: When you have someone that has such a great wrestling pedigree, and is strong where you are strong, what kind of training do you mix into your program?

A:I train daily to be a great fighter. I've mixed my wrestling in well w/ my other skills. I'm obviously working on my hands, and I really feel conditioning and standup will be the most important factors in this fight.

Q: Where is/are your training camp(s) for this fight?

A:I'm training at AMA Fightclub in Whippany, NJ. I may mix it up at a few other gyms a bit, but AMA is my home.

Q: How is the strength program going? I’ve seen the videos and the workouts do not look fun at all.

A: A huge thanks to my strength coach Don Messing ( He's helped me put on some solid weight, and we're at it four or five times a week in the gym. We do a good job of mixing up weight training, as well as endurance training. And no, they are not fun!

Q: How have the fans been treating you since you signed to the UFC?

A:On a local and regional level, it's been great. I'm lucky to have such loyal, supportive fans. I actually get a good bit of fan mail too, which is pretty cool. On the national scene, I do get noticed here and there, but nothing major. Hopefully come Aug. 7, that will change!

Q:I personally know how popular you are in my area and your name has been spreading this town like wildfire. I think it’s great too, because you’re the kind of guy that helps give a good face to the sport. A lot of folks who haven’t been exposed to the sport think it’s just mush heads beating on each other. They don’t realize that today’s fighters are highly intelligent individuals. How have people been reacting to you since you’ve moved from education to mixed martial arts?

A: First, thank you. Secondly, it's been a good reception. I can remember trying to explain to people why I was leaving my teaching position, and how many blank stares and confused nods I got. I finished up my Master's too at East Stroudsburg Univ. (per the request of my mom), where I also coach wrestling. I just try to be the best version of me on a daily basis, and hopefully that sends out a positive msg.

Q; UFC 117 is host to a great fight card, and one that I’m very excited for. Do you have any picks for the fights of the evening?

A:I'm working that night, so there's only one fight on my mind!

Q: Do you have anything that you would like to say to your fans, or anyone else?

A:Thanks for the continued support. I've come across some great people who have helped me out a great deal, so thank you to those people. Also, I put everything up online via my site (, blog, facebook, and twitter (SpaniardMMA), so please check them out and spread the word!!!

Q: Do you have any sponsors?

A:I am sponsored during my fights, so please check out my website for the links! Most of my current sponsors are fight by fight. I'm always looking, so feel free to contact me!

Q: Is there anyone that you would like to thank/mention?

A:I would like to thank my strength coach Don Messing ( for the huge gains I've had over the last few months, as well as Dr. Tom Boorujy who helps keep me aligned and ready to go ( And thanks to all of my supporters!!!

Charlie, I want to publicly apologize for the previous version that Peter changed. I didn't know he was going to do that. Good luck on the fight, and I am confident the W is there any way you want it. Be it sub, KO, TKO, or UD.

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