The Natural Born Killer and the Angel in his Corner
Don’t believe all the Mixed Martial Arts hype about Ultimate Fighting Championship’s recently-crowned interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit --- one of the best strikers in his division --- known professionally as “The Natural Born Killer.”
There’s a lesser-known softer side to the 27-year-old New Mexico resident who admittedly can be an ogre in the octagon. “His fight nickname just doesn’t fit his non-fight personality,” says the angel at his side, his wife, Seager, who comes from a Cherokee/Chickasaw background.
As mother of their 2-year-old son, Owen --- and herself a personal trainer --- Seager says: “If I had known his nickname prior to meeting him, I’d have laughed.” In an interview for the Mixed Martial Arts MMA Wives web page “Strength Behind the Strong,” she referred to Carlos as, “A sweetie pie…a real romantic guy at heart.”
“When they’re outside the cage, UFC fighters are just normal guys, family men with other cares, concerns, and responsibilities. Off duty, Carlos is all about hanging out with his family and his dog. He’s humble, low-key, and will give you the shirt off his back. That’s the day-to-day differentiation between regular life and fight camp mode. Once he gets in the cave and switches personas leading up to fight day, he’s not the same guy.”
The last time he had his fight face on for a February UFC match in Las Vegas, Condit (28-5 with 13 TKOs and 13 submissions) brought home the interim middleweight championship belt by defeating Nick Diaz in a unanimous decision. Diaz said of Condit’s game plan to elude a pressure attack --- “He ran the whole fight” --- but referee Steve Mazzagatti and judges disagreed and Condit went home with that win and another item for the family trophy case to sit beside his World Extreme Cagefighting Welterweight championship belt. “While the fight response was mixed, I was happy with my performance and excited about winning another belt,” says Carlos.
Although Condit was slated to face current UFC 170-pound titleholder Georges St. Pierre later this year, just days after the Diaz decision, he agreed to a rematch but that fight will not take place because the Nevada State Athletic Commission announced Diaz had tested positive for marijuana after the Condit fight.
Another brawler, Jake Ellenberger, is campaigning for a match with Condit sometime in June-July to keep the division moving as St. Pierre recovers from a knee injury before resuming full training in July and aiming for a November bout with Condit. “That most likely won’t happen between now and a GSP match-up,” Condit says. “I fought Ellenberger before and beat him and have my heart set on fighting St. Pierre. He’s the biggest star in the sport and it would do major league big things to my career to beat him.” Not to mention that’s where the big money would be --- far greater than the admission fees for 10,000 ringside fans at the Diaz-Condit dust-off that also pulled in a live gate of $2.3 million.
A recent posting on Fightline.com quotes Inside MMA as indicating Condit will hold out for GSP: “I have my heart set on fighting St. Pierre and I’m waiting for him. Perhaps if he’s not ready to fight until 2013, I will entertain the idea of taking on somebody else.”
Apparently both men have professional respect for each other. Acccording to UFC Ultimate Insider, St. Pierre has said that, “Carlos Condit will be the best fighter I have faced.” Condit says: “I have a lot of respect for George. I’ve admired him throughout my career and take his evaluation of my skills as a compliment.”
In the meantime, Carlos and Seager are riding high with the succession of events that have changed their lives. “It was hard to let it all soak in but we’re finally starting to relax and enjoy it a bit,” she says. “The best way to describe it is to liken it to a roller coaster ride, up one day, down the next, with higher highs and lower lows and we’re very much trying to stay in the moment and capitalize on the opportunities the interim title has brought.”
The fighter expresses it differently: “That fight was quite an experience and I’m still on cloud nine.”
Husband and wife are in tune with each other and work in tandem toward their goals. “This type of career is a bit different than the normal nine-to-five career and three hundred plus work days that allow stress to be spread out. Our stress accumulates in the 2 month period of a fight camp."
“I’ve been totally in tune with Carlos on fight days over the past seven years. Some days he wants me around to talk to, other days he’d rather have some alone time to finalize strategy and psyche himself into fight mode so I’ll be with friends and family while he gets mentally prepared.”
In addition to his wife’s personal support and encouragement, the cager has benefitted from Seager’s American Indian background and her close ties to Navajo Nation where her mother was general manager of KTNN radio station in Window Rock. “This past fight, my uncle, a Navajo, offered a blessing for safety and success and both things happened.”
Says Condit: “There is a spiritual aspect involved in what I do and I definitely draw some of that from my wife and her family. One of my best friends is Native American as well and I’ve received blessings from his medicine man. Honestly, fighting at the level I am right now, I can use all the help I can get.”
Although Carlos and Seager initially met in a fight gym where he was an instructor and she was giving kick boxing lessons, Seager will leave the grappling and puglistics to her husband. “I have a passion for the MMA in general and have been watching it since I was 10-years-old, but I’d never step into the ring to fight,” she says. “I used to spar and train with girls who did fight, but I never had the urge to join them. I know it’s a great way to get in shape and a cool way to keep the fitness level up, it gets out aggression and is empowering…but for me, that’s where it ends.”
Carlos says he’s “blessed beyond imagination to have such a supportive wife and a beautiful family” and once the work day is done, he turns into a family man. “I don’t know what I did to deserve a wife like Seager and a son as cool as Owen. They’re my motivation. I love what I do but that’s not nearly enough to get me through the rigors of training for an MMA bout. I fall back on the love of my family (which also includes two dogs, a Jack Russell terrier and a lab/pit bull mix) and that’s where I draw my energy from.
“Aside from the way I make my living, I’m a pretty normal guy. It just happens my job isn’t in an office or a factory, it’s in the ring. I show up for my job pretty much like anyone else would --- it’s just that my work involves fighting in a cage in front of millions of people.”
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