Written By: Barry Laminack
Photos Courtesy: Fighter Portraits
Houston’s Carlo Prater (24-7-1) has been chomping at the bit to climb back in to the cage and compete. Assuming everything goes smoothly for Shine Promotions this Friday September the 10th in Norman, Oklahoma he’ll get his chance. Carlo is one of 8 fighters scheduled to compete in Shine Fights Lightweight Grand Prix tournament.
His last fight back in October of 2009 was against Antonio McKee. He lost that fight, but it should have been for the MFC (Maximum Fighting Championship) Lightweight title. The problem was that Prater missed weight by 3 pounds so the bout was changed to a non-title fight.
“I weighed in at 154.5 so I was right on point,” He said when I asked him if he made weight for the Shine Gran Prix tournament. At the time of our interview 7 hours had passed and Prater had already gained 18.5 pounds back. “I bumped up 10 pounds within the first hour. That’s usual; most guys are like that so it’s not out of the ordinary.”
This isn’t the first time that Carlo has been scheduled to fight for Shine. “I was scheduled to fight Milton Vieira last year and then one thing led to another and I eventually got pulled from that Shine Fights 2 card.” They obviously kept a keen eye on Prater because shortly after they announced today’s 8 man tournament, Prater was on a plane headed to ink a deal with Sine to be in the Grand Prix.
Given Shine’s recent struggles in trying to get “Worlds Collide” off the ground (details here); Prater still likes what he sees from the organization. “I’m not one who just believes everything I read,” he said. “I try and do my research so I know what happened with everything this year. Also, I was going off the way I was treated last year. I know that they hired Jason Chambers after that debacle back in May and Jason is a super great guy and an MMA veteran and they also put Santino Defranco on board, another MMA veteran. So I basically did it off my trust and confidence that they were going to do the right thing and it wasn’t the old Shine, it was the new Shine. You have to understand, it’s so hard to come back from something like that, and they are doing it. This is really a historical event they are pulling off. I give them all props.”
A professional fighter since 2003, Carlo is no stranger to the tournament style fights, thought he admits he’s not done an MMA grand prix. “I’ve done a couple of tournaments. One out in California where I fought Drew Fickett [a fellow fighter in the 8 man Grand Prix] and I’ve done a couple of 8 man kickboxing tournaments, but no I’ve never done an 8 man MMA format. “
“Basically, you have to multiply everything you do by three. Before, when I would spar I’d go 4 or 5 rounds. Now I would go 9 or 10 rounds, 5 minutes each, and face a new fresh guy every time.” He said of his 2 month training camp in preparation for the Grand Prix.
All of that training has to take a toll on him thought right? Not so says Prater. “I’m right where I need to be. I have the best support system possible and I’m extremely blessed. I have a great team, a great crew I work with and great sponsors. It sounds clichÃ© but I feel better than ever. I can’t wait!”
Prater isn’t the only veteran with big show experience. His opening round matchup is with former UFC and WEC vet Rich Crunkilton. When asked who he felt was the fighter to beat in the tourney, Prater took the high road, “I’m just taking it one fight at a time. My first fight is against Rich Crunkilton. He’s a tough kid and I’m just thinking about him right now. “
Carlo said his training has gone well, especially after making the move to Paradigm Training Center. “It’s been awesome! Nothing but great things have happened. We’re all injury free. Everything has been so great. We’ve been training harder than ever and learning some great techniques. I love Paradigm.”
Will Houston fight fans ever get to see Prater fight here in town for a local promotion? If he has his way they would. “I’d love to fight here. I’ve always stated that I would love to. I’ve never been approached by any of them [local Houston promotions] hint hint!”
“It’s much more open now,” he said of the Houston MMA landscape in 2010 as compared to 2003 when he started. “There are a lot more promotions and I think it’s great for the sport. I think it’s in a great phase now and it’s spawning new talent. The whole scene is very conducive to MMA right now. Early on Houston was a boxing town with a boxing culture, but I think now even the boxing promoters are becoming interested in MMA.”
You can catch the Shine 8 man grand prix championship live on Pay Per view for $29.95. Call your cable or satellite provider for details.
Carlo would like to thank the following sponsors:
- Paradigm Training Center
- Vindication Clothing
- Superchongo Tatoo
- Proformance Mouthguards
- Triangle Iron
- Brave New Books in Austin
- Brand New Media
- MMA Agents