Ian McCall had three fights scheduled in 2016, but none of them happened. For the first two bouts, it wasn’t the flyweight veteran’s fault. Justin Scoggins pulled out just days before UFC 201. Ray Borg fell ill during UFC 203 fight week. But the last situation was the worst of them all.
McCall came down with a case of food poisoning while in Belfast, Northern Ireland just days before his scheduled UFC Fight Night 99 bout with Neil Seery. Initially, he thought his symptoms (which included throwing up) were a result of water loading in advance of his weight cut. But he later realized that the UFC’s complimentary breakfast he ate did not mix well with his system and that that meal was what caused the food poisoning.
He tried to work around the illness, but eventually enough was enough, and a scheduled bout of his was scrapped during fight week for the third time in less than half a year.
“All I had was eggs and vegetables,” he told BloodyElbow.com’s Nick Baldwin in his San Clemente, California, home. “It was nothing crazy. By the time I was done eating, I had to go upstairs, I threw everything up, went back downstairs, was talking to my coaches and team, went upstairs again, kept throwing up.
“So then I went to press day. I didn’t know how bad I looked, but I didn’t look very good. I went back home, I tried to have him cook me more food. He cooked me very bland — very healthy, but very bland — food, because I was already throwing up. I think I threw up three or four meals he tried to cook me the rest of that day.”
Even after that, he didn’t stop cutting weight. He kept at it, but obviously didn’t feel good at all. It wasn’t until weigh-in day his fight preparations were halted.
“I think it was an hour to 90 minutes before weigh-ins, and my body just shut down,” he said. “I started throwing up, and I thought I was having a stroke at one point. My whole face went weirdly numb and droopy. I couldn’t move, really. It was a really strange feeling. Once I thought I was having a stroke, I just said, ‘Go get a doctor. There’s something wrong with me.’ By the time they went and got the doctor and came back, I was throwing up and I was a mess, so then they just said, ‘You’re not going to fight.’”
Since getting over having yet another fight cancelled in 2016 and his bout with food poisoning, McCall has made a potentially career-changing move.
“Uncle Creepy” has been part of Team Oyama in Irvine, California, for the majority of his 14-year-long career, and has developed many life-lasting relationships along the way. But he packed up his bags and recently started training at RVCA in Costa Mesa, one of the many other mixed martial arts gyms in South California.
At RVCA, his striking coach is renowned trainer Jason Parillo, and Darryl Christian coaches the 32-year-old’s wrestling. McCall still visits 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu to work on his grappling game. His strength and conditioning coach did not change; it’s still Corey Beasley, who he’s worked with for the past seven years.
“I just needed a change,” he said. “I’ve spent pretty much my whole professional career with Colin Oyama at Team Oyama. It was nothing bad; I just woke up one day and needed a change.
“I couldn’t leave the state, because I have a child, a girlfriend, and a house, and I’m just not that kind of person. The next option was to go see my friends at RVCA. It’s an amazing facility. It’s more tailored to just a single person, and that’s kind of what I wanted. I’ve had a long relationship with guys like B.J. Penn and Jason Parillo, who’s a coach there, so it was a natural fit.”
McCall left Team Oyama on good terms.
“I got the blessing from Coach,” he said. “If I didn’t have such a good relationship with my own father — he’s one of my best friends — I would look to Coach as a father figure. I mean, he is, realistically. He’s taught me so much in life. I’m so loyal but I needed a change in life.”