“Win or lose I want to put on the best show I can put on“
Charley “Darkness” Witbeck
Interview and Photos by: Richard Burmaster
Challenges are nothing new to Charley Witbeck. Walking into a gym known for high paced fighters is a huge challenge when you have no prior training. Add to that, you are out of shape and weigh over 300lbs and the challenge becomes even harder. If you watch Charley train for just a few minutes, you can see how he was able to take this challenges head on and win.
His coaches at 4oz Fight Club describe him as a “hard working grinder who just does not know how to stop or quit.” Â This type of mindset allowed him to overcome his weight issues to become the type of fighter that not many people want to face. A hard working guy who will always be in your face, and no matter how hard you hit him he just keeps coming forward, pressing the action. When you have overcome the challenges Charley has, the fight in the cage is the easy part.
I was able to pull Charley away from his training for a few minutes to sit down with me.
TCD.net: How did you get started in MMA?
Charley: My buddy actually got me into it. He had been training for a little while, and he had lost some weight. I thought it was cool, and said I would give it a try. After the first class I came right back in the next day and signed right up. I am glad I did because itâ€™s like a big family here.
TCD.net: How long have you been training?
Charley: About a year and a half
TCD.net: Had you done any martial arts training before?
Charley: Not really. I had done karate when I was around 9, but that was mainly to keep me out of trouble [laughs]
TCD.net: When you first started training you were close to 300lbs?
Charley: At my heaviest, I was around 320 lbs. Right now I am about 200lbs, so thatâ€™s like losing another person.
TCD.net: How did you manage to lose that much weight?
Charley: I managed it through hard work and discipline. I came into the gym everyday, sometimes twice a day. Sometimes I would call into work sick just so I could get into the gym and train [laughs]
TCD.net: When people lose a lot of weight like that its almost like a new lease on life, how has the change been for you?
Charley: Every time I look into the mirror I feel really accomplished. I keep my old jeans around just as a reminder, so that I never get back to that stage.
TCD.net: Have you seen any footage of your opponent John Malbrough?
Charley: I watched his last 2 fights. He actually was on the September Lonestar Beatdown card that I was on. Â He looks like he likes to bang, and thatâ€™s what I like to do. Â Hopefully we get to stand and bang.
TCD.net: Anything you would like to say to John?
Charley: Just to keep his chin tucked.
TCD.net: How will this fight end?
Charley: I want it to be fight of the night. Win or lose I want to put on the best show I can put on.
TCD.net: Who are your favorite fighters?
Charley: Rampage. Mayhem Miller. I just like their personalities in and out of the cage. Big influences on me are my friends Daniel Pineada, Steve Garcia, and Jesus Rivera. Those guys really help me out a lot and have taken me under their wings.
TCD.net: Anyone you would like to thank?
Charley: Iâ€™d like to thank all my teammates up here at 4oz Fight Club, my parents for putting up with my bull, and thanks to Mick for putting me on the card, all my friends for coming out and supporting me, and the city of Houston for coming to watch me fight.