UFC welterweight Charlie Brenneman experienced a truly rare turn of events in combat sports building up to UFC on Versus 4 and the events following it.
Brenneman came from being a lightly known welterweight commodity straight into facing a Top 10 opponent in Rick Story. The turn came after Nate Marquardt was not allowed to fight due to elevated levels of testosterone and was subsequently released from the UFC.
The 30-year-old Brenneman was removed from the UFC on Versus 4 fight card after his original opponent T.J. Grant had to bow out due to an illness. Hard times seemed to surround Brenneman, as it appeared that he wouldn’t be able to fight in his home state of Pennsylvania as planned.
“We got off the plane on Wednesday. We got checked in. Mike Constantino (Brenneman’s trainer and manager from AMA Fight Club) and I were walking around, taking in the scene and feeling good, and he got a call Wednesday afternoon from Joe Silva that T.J. wasn’t coming and that I don’t have a fight.” Brenneman told MMAWeekly Radio.
The Pennsylvanian was so down about losing the fight with Grant that he had trouble processing the fact he wouldn’t be able to fight in his home state that Sunday night.
“I honestly felt like I was dreaming, like it wasn’t real. It was like I was sleeping, I don’t even know, it didn’t feel real.”
Most people at this point may have gotten down to the point of drowning their sorrows in fast food, but Brenneman couldn’t nurse his sorrows then because the UFC officials told him he still had to make weight even with Grant being out of the fight.
“It was devastating from Wednesday, Thursday, and most of Friday I told everyone I wasn’t fighting. People were trying to sell their tickets back; they were not coming, just going to suffer the loss of the money for the ticket. I would say that at least 75-80 percent of people were still coming anyway, so it was neat to see their loyalty, but it was just devastating and obviously most of my sponsors backed out, so it wasn’t good.”
On the Friday before the fight, the AMA Fight Club member was in the sauna next to Nate Marquardt.
At approximately 40 minutes before the weigh-ins, Brenneman’s journey as a UFC fighter would take an enormous upswing as he was told that Marquardt was out of the fight and he would get to take on Story.
“Euphoric is a goofy word, but I couldn’t even comprehend the situation. It was as if the answer to every prayer that I had ever set in my life came true. At that moment it was surreal. Is this really happening?”
It was and it did.
Not only did Brenneman get to fight on his home turf, he nabbed the win as well.
It took him all three rounds, but being that guy that is always ready to step up on a moment’s notice paid off in spades. Brenneman scored a unanimous decision victory over Story, launching himself into the upper reaches of the UFC welterweight division.