Chris “The Menace” Clements: Family Then Fighting
While healing a slightly torn knee ligament, suffered just minutes before his last fight against Stephen Thompson at UFC 165 in Toronto, Clements has been incredibly busy on the home front with the addition of his second child in the last three years.
“I’ve been very busy yes, I have been on top of taking care of our two year old daughter Averie while my wife has been handling the first few months with new son Liam. One kid is one thing but having two is much tougher, an entirely different story.” he laughed via phone this week.
“We don’t have a lot of extended family really close enough to help out right now, so we are quite busy right now. I also just finished renovating our new house, well the main work is finished, we just have to finish off the bells and whistle type of stuff. I am also training clients at the gym every day. I’m a full time trainer and part time fighter. I have always been a better trainer than fighter in my eyes.”
The 38-year old veteran welterweight has always been his own fighter and has always done the best he can while training himself for his fights over the years. He has eleven wins, five losses and one no contest in his professional career, with a 1-1-1 record inside the UFC Octagon. His striking style is unorthodox and ingrained, he doesn’t use a robotic, trained style, he prefers to improvise and create his own angles when he steps inside the cage.
“I’ve never really had an official trainer in my career or real technical training in jiu jitsu or wrestling due to the cost and the fact that I like to do things my own way. It’s tough sometimes fighting the elite of the sport that way but it also makes me very proud that I have gotten to where I am, mostly on my own.”
Clements teaches and trains at the Adrenaline Training Center in London and his open and aggressive striking style has made him one of the most exciting fighters in Canada for many years. Many people would think that with a new four-fight deal, he would be able to concentrate solely on training himself, but with UFC fighter pay as it is, it’s not that black and white.
“I’m certainly not complaining and but I am also under no illusions at this point in my career. I’m up there so I know I’m not going to win the UFC title anytime soon. I just want to give the fans exciting fights and experience as much as I can in the final years of fighting. I make $10K and $10K for my fights so it’s certainly not a whole lot when the expenses are all said and done. Sponsorships are scarce as well because there are so many events these days that companies can’t afford to sponsor as much as they would like to.” Just to clarify, that is $10,000 to show and then $10,000 if he is able to win. There are bonus opportunities on top of that for best performance of the night.
Clements is almost fully healed from his knee injury, and was looking forward to a possible December return on the Montreal card, but that card has recently been pulled off the UFC schedule, along with the September card in Toronto. I’m sure a disappointment for him.
“I’m more confused than anything. They never really told us a real reason those cards got pulled, but there is a slight chance I may be fighting in October if not the new year. I want to try my luck at 155-pounds because these 170-pound guys are just too tall.” he laughed.
A cut to lightweight would likely force him to wait until 2015 to return to the cage.
Adrenaline houses some of the best fighters in Canada and gym mate and friend Jesse Ronson, was just recently released by the UFC following three split decision losses in his first three attempts inside the Octagon. Clements is confident that Ronson will quickly find his way back into the big show.
“He just has to get a couple of quick finishes and he should be right back in there. Jesse was a real killer before he got to the UFC and he just has to let it go and pull the trigger like that when he gets back in there. Do what got you there. He is a very cerebral and analytical fighter, and he just needs to tone that down a bit and go with is instincts, he has very dangerous striking.”
Clements also manages and trains friend and Wallaceburg native Jesse Gross, and although Gross has stated he will be hanging up the gloves at the end of this year, Clements feels that it might not be the end for the aggressive and exciting fighter.
“Yes, Jesse told me that his next fight would possibly be his last, but I believe he is good enough for a shot in the UFC so if I can get him a fight with a guy on the cusp of the UFC and he beats him, then think he can get his shot.” The UFC is always looking for talent in the lighter weight classes, and I hope Gross sticks it out until he gets that call.
Clements has also been there from the start to witness the rise of his teammate and Chatham native Chad Laprise. The Ultimate Fighter champion has recently moved to Montreal to train full time at Tri Star, and Chad and his many fans are waiting patiently for his UFC debut.
“Chad has come such a long way. I remember when he first came up to London to train I would beat him up for fun.” he joked. “Confidence is such a huge thing with him. He has it in full now and he is one of the hardest working fighters I have ever seen. He is always at the gym. Plus he’s an extremely nice guy.”
One thing I wanted to ask him is about MMA “Superfights” a term that is getting used extremely loosely in MMA circles these days. In my opinion, a so called “Superfight” has a distinct meaning and Clements seems to agree.
“A Superfight is a match up that is special. It’s a special fight that fans would not normally get to see. Like Anderson Silva vs. GSP, two division champions who would not normally fight each other but the fans want to see it, and it is a tough fight to call. I don’t think Diaz-Silva is a Superfight because I don’t think Diaz has a chance in hell. Also, Jones-Gustafsson II is in no way a Superfight. It’s a rematch not a Superfight.”
MMA world and writers alike, please use the term correctly or not at all, or I may have to sick the Menace on you to set you straight.
Clements is back to full training now, and he is also training people full time at the gym. I was able to catch him on the phone between sessions.
Fatherhood and house renovations aside, I hope a healthy and rejuvenated Clements makes his return sooner rather than later, and at lightweight.
2015 will be the return of “The Menace.”