When it comes to the last couple years for former UFC middleweight Kalib Starnes, Murphy’s Law seems to best sum up his experiences. Whatever could go wrong has gone wrong.
Forced to jump all the way up to heavyweight to find fights, Starnes has done just about everything he can to fight, but for one reason or another things have fallen apart.
Recently during preparations for his Titan FC debut, Starnes was once again found the road to competition not so easy as the promotion postponed its April 25 show to May 16.
Starnes spoke to MMAWeekly.com about what’s been going on with him and what he hopes he can accomplish as his career begins to wind down.
MMAWeekly.com: Firstly, Kalib, tell us about this past year and how you feel things have been going as you head into your Titan FC debut in May.
Kalib Starnes: I’ve been trying to fight as often as I could – if I could have fought every month last year, I would have – but it’s been really difficult for me to get fights. It’s been the same story this year. I’ve had three fights fall through and then this last one was just postponed. It’s been a real challenge to find fights this past year.
MMAWeekly.com: Why do you think it’s been difficult for you to get fights of late?
Kalib Starnes: I think it’s a combination of things.
I’ve been fighting as a heavyweight just to find fights because I can’t get fights at light heavyweight. I was trying to get a fight with Smealinho Rama, but his management said they thought the fight was too risky, whatever that means.
Then there was an opportunity to fight Sean O’Connell in the MFC, but when it came down to it, his management refused the fight and he fought Markhaile Wedderburn instead. I got ahold of Sean and asked him why he wouldn’t take the fight because it makes more sense for him to take a fight against a light heavyweight who is ranked ahead of him (in me) instead of an overweight welterweight with a losing record, and he said he would have accepted it, but then to get ahold of (MFC President) Mark Pavelich to set up the fight, I never heard back from him.
I think sometimes managers don’t want to put them in with someone like me. Or if a promotion has a guy they are trying to build up, they don’t want to put them in a risky fight. It’s hard to tell what guys’ reasons for not fighting me, but at the end of the day they’re not signing contracts (to fight me).
MMAWeekly.com: Recently the Titan show was postponed from April until May. Does the delay bother you much or do you have issue with it?
Kalib Starnes: Optimally you try to peak in a training camp so you set all this stuff up and it’s frustrating (when the fight is postponed). It’s also frustrating to not be able to go in there and get paid. You want to go to work and you’ve been training all this time and you can’t go to work.
MMAWeekly.com: When you do make your Titan debut, you’ll be facing heavyweight Dave Herman. Can you tell us your thoughts on facing him?
Kalib Starnes: The plan is to get ready to fight on the ground and get ready to fight standing. From what I’ve seen, he seems like a really great natural wrestler. He’s got great balance, he’s strong, he’s very long and tall, and he’s flexible. He’s a very gifted natural athlete and it’s what’s carried him through most of his career. He’s not the most technically skilled fighter I’ve seen, but he’s a great athlete.
I expect him to have a good chin. I expect him to be able to fight well standing and on the ground. I’ve watched him over the years and it seems to me like a lot of it depends on his attitude and training camp and how he’s working.
I’m preparing as well as I can and I want to go in there and have a great fight.
MMAWeekly.com: With everything you’ve gone through of late, can you think of the future at all or is it just best to go day by day and go from there?
Kalib Starnes: That’s the way it’s gone and that’s the way life is sometimes. We don’t all get what we expect. Sometimes you have to roll with the punches. I’m going to try to make myself available to whatever comes along. I’m working as hard as I can right now.
I know I’m an older fighter, but I’ve aged very well. I still have very good reflexes, still am in great shape, and am still strong. I don’t have that many lingering injuries, so I’m fortunate that way. So I’m pushing myself as hard as I can to see what I can do these last few years. I feel like I’ll regret it if I don’t.
I don’t want to look back and say I could have. I would rather try and have success or failure and not try than look back and think it was too late.