There’s a sense of disbelief listening to Ian McCall discuss his career. A man who has amassed a 0-2-1 record fighting the Number one and two men in the world at flyweight doesn’t and shouldn’t scream disappointment, but that’s exactly what "Uncle Creepy" conveys.
"I’m not proud of myself; I’m not happy with my career and haven’t done what I’m supposed to do. I know, along with everyone else who has seen me train that I am technically better than the other people who are in my weight class. At this level mentally, its ninety percent mental. Were all on a different level than anyone you’d ever see, but the mental aspect is the biggest part. It’s what totally screwed me up".
Whilst never blaming or showing any remorse, McCall notes a tumultuous relationship with an Ex Wife that has profoundly affected his life.
"I’m not putting all the blame on her, I married her (laughs). That pretty much ruined my life. It was a bad match up, me and she didn’t see eye to eye on anything. I got married the day after I became world champion and I haven’t won a fight since".
Mentality and mental health are a topic of attention with McCall, an addict himself who sees the relationship with fighting to be more than simply a calling.
"We like to do things to a certain extent that isn't usually healthy. Obviously we train super hard and it’s all over the top you know? It’s all getting to a degree that becomes unhealthy. I think that’s part of addiction, not to say that all fighters do drugs or drink too much or whatever I just think that we are because we are capable of taking things too far. It brings out this primal animalistic thing in them and you can feel it when you have that many people screaming your name".
Relating this to the psychological impacts of head trauma, McCall displayed a sense of accepted melancholy:
"It’s definitely not good (laughs). Getting punched in the face will kill you eventually. That’s how it goes. You get beat up enough, you either become mentally handicapped or you die. That’s how it goes. It sucks to say, but you just have to learn to run your own career and stop so that you don’t become that type of person".
This is do or die. I either win or I lose my job. And I like my job. I think I’m better than he is in everything: Kickboxing, Wrestling. Jiu Jitsu he’s a black belt, and I’m not so (laughs). He’s not a widely recognised black belt world champion or anything. Regardless, he’s a black belt so I have to be wary of that when the fight goes to the ground. It’s all about putting together a game plan and trying to finish him. I’m in a foreign county, I have to finish this fight or I’m not going to win.
McCall asserted his opinions regarding national influence: "it’s not some bias thing it’s just his home, you go to Japan you fight a Japanese guy, you go to Brazil you fight a Brazilian guy. You have to knock him out".
A noted topic McCall is renowned for is his fan friendly style that occasionally involves playing to the crowd. McCall tweeted he had learned his lesson watching Anderson Silva fall on his own sword, and recounts that:
"It cost me a fight before: in Australia. I mean even Mighty Mouse said that I could have finished him if I didn’t show off. I do things to be ironic and stupid, but I like being a dick. I like making backhanded compliments and pushing buttons. It’s just what you’re supposed to do, you know? Nobody ever bit on it, so I was like whatever".
Addressing Demetrious Johnson (a man he has gone 0-1-1 with) and indeed the flyweight division he sits atop of as champion, McCall seems convinced that the flyweights are building to a household staple. McCall’s only concern is with the man they call leader.
"He’s becoming more fans friendly. It would probably help if he had a better personality in life. We are slowly and surely getting the respect we deserve. He’s a gamer, he’s kind of a nerdy guy, and people don’t look at him and go: "Yeah! I want to meet that champion, he seems awesome!"
"It’s like yeah he’s a fucking nerd. He’s a genuinely nice guy; he’s a lot nicer than I am. I just call em like I see em. He’s a fucking nerd and that’s just how it goes but he is Champion".
McCall asserts this admission is not of jealousy, but simply:
"This is business, this is entertainment, people need to become more fan friendly. I think in fights but also outside of the cage. I guess you can’t change someone’s personality completely (laughs)".
Take away Johnson, who emerges as the top man to bring flyweights on the fans agenda?
"I would have to bring in someone else who’s entertaining like Joe Benavidez. I think another reason why people don’t like Demetrious is that he beat me and Joe. He beat the two fan favourites and people are so involved in this sport. Look at what Rampage Jackson said after he knocked out Chuck. People liked him even less, even when he was champion. People have fan favourites who they stick by very hard-core".