An Interview with Mr. International

By TJ De Santis Jun 25, 2008
An injury forced Shonie Carter (Pictures) out of the upcoming Strikeforce card, but it could not keep "Mr. International" from speaking his mind about "Iron Ring," Kimbo Slice and his own intriguing tenure in MMA. TJ De Santis spoke with Carter in this exclusive interview.

Sherdog.com: Shonie, thanks for taking the time and talking to us. It's so hard to keep up with where you're at and what you're doing. I know you have been seen with Frank Shamrock (Pictures) when he was getting ready for Cung Le (Pictures). Are you still out with Frank?
Carter: You can't keep up with me! Damn, I do a lot of stuff! I need to take notes. I gotta blog myself sometimes. I be doing strange things. Let's see ... I worked out a bit with Frank. I worked out a little bit with AKA. Then I had to leave. I had to go down to Florida ... no! During that I got inducted into the martial arts hall of fame. That's right. Ah, yeah. It's coming back to me. I have a lot of stuff going on.

Sherdog.com: It's sort of funny. I think Frank Shamrock and Shonie Carter is sort of an odd couple.
Carter: It is the oddest couple. Dude, it's crazy. I consider him strange, and I am sure he considers me strange. You know, it was crazy. He does his thing with the Swiss balls, and I just go weight lift. I do plyometrics and cardio. I like to do focus mitts and drill throws. He doesn't like to do throwing. You know Maurice Smith (Pictures)? I discovered I have been kicking wrong. According to Maurice Smith.

Sherdog.com: What's wrong with your kicks?
Carter: Maurice says I was too much karate. I said, "Man, I am too much crazy!" I mean, it was crazy. Marlon Sims (Pictures) showed up. Some other Dutch kickboxer showed up. I mean, you name it, man. I couldn't stay out there cause, I mean, AKA ... we all know their camp. I think they looked at me like a predator or an insurgent. Couldn't figure them out. But I love them to death. You know Koscheck, Swick, Fitch. Even Baroni was there.

Sherdog.com: Let's talk a little bit about "Iron Ring." We talk about an odd couple; this seemed like a good fit. BET is trying to cash in on the mixed martial arts game. How did that come about? And what was your overall experience with the tapings?
Carter: Man, I was minding my own business, doing the whole Shonie thing. You know how I am. Shakin' and bakin'. It's another opportunity I had to be takin'. And somebody's money was being given to me, so it's something I had to be makin'. So they call me. JJ Cornell for Casca-Grossa calls me wanting me to do the damn thing. I am like, "For sure, JJ. We are homies, let's do this." Then I get down there, and these damn rappers and that little big-mouth boxer … . Let me tell you, the director, Dave Isaacs, I love him. I mean, it did its job. It got people knowing the minorities, the Hispanics, the blacks into MMA. Was it the most exemplary example? I'll let the fans decide. For me, it was a step into a different direction. Because now black folks know who I am. Did you know that? Black people do not know me in my hometown. I walk down the street, it's, "Hey, aren't you that dude from ‘Iron Ring'?"

Sherdog.com: So you have more people coming up to you after "Iron Ring," saying, "Hey, aren't you Shonie Carter?" than when you were fighting in the UFC or on "The Ultimate Fighter"?
Carter: Man, look. This is the way I am going to break it down, honestly. White folks, you all knew me from Spike TV, "The Ultimate Fighter" and the UFC. Black folks and Hispanic folks know me from "Iron Ring." And this is what I was telling people. If they had not focused so much time on the hip hop guys, and actually show what we do as athletes -- you know, focus more on the fighters instead of the damn wannabe-tough-on-the-mic rappers. You know, and those sissy bully-ass athletes that call themselves fighters, but we call them boxers -- they'd probably get a lot more positive feedback. I ain't mad at 'em! I can now walk through the ghetto and not worry about getting robbed because people know who I am now.

Sherdog.com: Let's talk about that a little bit more -- getting the African American and minority groups into MMA. I think CBS and EliteXC have a gold mine with Kimbo Slice. What are your thoughts on Kimbo?
Carter: I will respect anybody that gets in the cage or the ring and does something, puts themselves in harm's way. I don't think he is the next star. There are guys out there who've been pioneers in the stuff from the minorities. Blacks and Hispanics. I mean hell, remember Carlos Newton (Pictures)? Remember Kevin Randleman (Pictures), Maurice Smith? Oh yeah, me! They're paying him six figures, and he is 3-0. Because he is the Internet champion. I don't plug my Internet escapades on the Internet to see if I can get one hell of a pay raise. I mean, I think he is overhyped, but I respect him. He gets in there and does what most people won't do, to be willing to get an ass whooping to give an ass whooping.

Now do I think he is going to do anything? Not for a long time. And I know there is a lot of money invested in him. That is why CBS is picking and choosing his opponents. But I mean, let's face it. Ray Mercer, Tank Abbott and James Thompson (Pictures) -- hell, put 50 pounds on me and I'd kick their ass. People may get mad at me for how I say it. But if you put 45 pounds on me, I'd kick Kimbo Slice in the legs and take him out. But I respect him. I'd like to meet him and shake his hand because I give combat athletes their respect for getting in there and doing the damn thing. Do I think he is worth what they are paying him? F--- no! His underground fights, those weren't even real street fights. Those fights were rules where you can't grapple, you can't elbow, you can't kick. Hell, I've got DVDs I've been selling out where I am spiking people in the spine 27 times.

I am up here in Canada right now, and they wanted to bring Kimbo Slice in, but they asked for $25,000 and three first-class tickets from Hawaii. I'm like, "Are you out of your f---ing mind?" I know everyone talks about the UFC being the major and only belt in the world. But I have had 11 different world titles and six national titles. I am a former All-American wrestler. I went to the Olympic trials. People say what they want, they can degrade me, belittle what I've done. But I look at guys like a Kimbo Slice -- quote me on this: Who the f--- are you to get 25 grand to show up? Because you're tough on the Internet? I mean, hell, I would take the time to teach the young sir. He'd probably read this interview and think that I am being disrespectful. It's not about disrespect. It's called paying your dues.

Hell, who ain't been homeless? Who ain't gone through things? We all have. But to give a man a cover on ESPN when you have guys like me … people still talk about a spinning backfist that happened seven years ago. People are talking about me throwing water bottles in the swimming pool -- that happened two years ago. But they don't talk about the fights that I've done. I've got a world title from King of the Cage. People might not think that much of it. But do you remember who I fought? Jason Black (Pictures) when he was 20-0. End of that fight, he was 20-1. I was the first WEC welterweight world champion. Oops, that's right! I was the first world champion of the WEC. The first UFC veteran from Chicago. And you've got guys like Kimbo who they try to give credence and credit to? Brother, please! Keep paying your dues. But keep taking that fool's money if they going to keep paying you six figures. The next time someone sees me on TV, if it ain't six, it's going to be so damn high up there near it. You might only see me once a year now.

Sherdog.com: Is that something that bothers you, Shonie? You mentioned it. You are one of the most charismatic fighters in the sport's history. Win or lose, a Shonie Carter fight is one of the more entertaining fights on the card. Do you wish the sport's popularity now was this way five, six or seven years ago, so you could have made that money?
Carter: That's why I am not retiring anytime soon. And yeah, because I think I should get prorated for the fight of the night and knockout of the night between Matt Serra (Pictures) and myself. I mean, you've got guys out there that are getting to go to Iraq to represent the UFC and the WEC. But they were never in the military. I was in the Marines. I support the troops. I don't just sit there and wave a flag and hop up and down. I am a U.S. Marine. I was 03110811. I am a Marine. I don't pretend it. I don't pretend to be a fighter. That's why I am glad Dana White didn't say, "Do you want to be an ‘Ultimate Fighter'?" I am so old-school that I was doing this before him. I am not knocking Dana. I am off the busting-Dana-White's-balls bandwagon. God bless him. Keep your head bald, man, and keep pimpin' and pimpin'. Look at guys like me who can continually be on TV. I am doing another movie. I will be down in Louisiana filming. One of these days I am going to land a role, and it's going to be more real than me. And that's pretty damn real. But that's cool, I ain't tripping. I ain't worried about it. God bless every athlete out there. Take the money and run with it. How many world champions are out there? How many TUF fighters are out there? Do you know, TJ?

Sherdog.com: Tough fighters or TUF fighters?
Carter: Let me ask you and the people that read this: all of the "Ultimate Fighters," season one through seven, name them.

Sherdog.com: I can name them, but that might just be because of what I do for a living. I am not sure the casual fan could name all of them.
Carter: They can't! Do you know why? Because they're all rookies. I tell them, "You hot right now. But I'm a legend." I was a legend before the backfist and I am a legend after the backfist.

Sherdog.com: You obviously want to keep going. You're an entertainer in and out of the ring. At some point soon your skills are going to diminish. What are your goals for the next five, 10, 15 years?
Carter: Well let's see. I have already wrote a book. I am working on my second book. I am doing movies. I do guest appearances and seminars. Me being a sports commentator, a judge, a referee, a promoter. Well, I will never be a promoter. I've done it and I hate it. But, as far as everything else I've done, I've worked security at fight shows. I've been an usher at fight shows. I've taken tickets, sat people down. I've served drinks at fight shows. I've turned the lights on, I've turned the lights off. I've set the ring or the cage up, I've torn the ring or the cage down. Every aspect of the business. I have made contracts, I've signed contracts, I've reviewed contracts. I've been an official to watch the weigh-ins, an official for licensing. I am in certification. Every aspect of the business I can do. Step right in. How should I say this? I can use my spectacular vernacular to go by play-by-play on what happened that very day.

Sherdog.com: How about Shonie Carter the ring girl?
Carter: Man, I have done that! You've already seen the wardrobe change in between rounds one and two when I fought. I went from Cavalli to Dolce & Gabbana Speedos. I have done everything. I will shock them again. And when I am done, they can say what they want. Just as long as they say my name right: "Mr. International" Shonie Carter.

Sherdog.com: You were supposed to be in action this Friday night on Strikeforce's card, but you had to pull out due to a hand injury. When will we get to see you compete again next?
Carter: July 26th I am fighting Shannon Ritch (Pictures). August 23rd I am fighting Matt Major. September I am fighting, somewhere. October, I've been asked to fight Mark Weir (Pictures) in Cage Rage. I believe that's what it's called. November I am already talking to Tom [Atencio] about getting on that next Affliction show. I am going to win the rest of the fights this year. Then I am going to sit back and see what they got to say to me. I am not looking to do these tough fights just to be a main event and to collect a check. I want to snatch every crown from every clown. From every different country to even big cities and even small towns. Because there are too many world champions out there. That's what I need to do. Unify as many as I can, then walk away.
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