UFC 211’s Chas Skelly says he was dealing with concussion issues leading up to his March 2016 fight with Darren Elkins.
Chas Skelly’s camp leading up to his March 2016 bout with Darren Elkins, which he would lose by decision, was a bit of a stinker. And it may have even cost him a win.
Adamant he has no excuses for coming up short, Skelly didn’t enter the Elkins bout with any major injuries. But he did, however, have to deal with lingering concussion issues during that camp, which put a halt to some of his training. And he subsequently felt under prepared going into UFC 196 last year.
“I couldn’t train,” Skelly told BloodyElbow.com’s The MMA Circus. “I needed the money, so I couldn’t not take the fight.”
Though a fighter saying he or she was in need of money and had to take a fight despite being somewhat unfit to compete always raises eyebrows, Skelly isn’t particularly upset with the amount of money he makes in mixed martial arts. He needed money at that time because he had just left his longtime home of Team Takedown, and no longer was making any income besides when he stepped inside the Octagon.
“I had no paychecks coming in anymore,” he said. “So I had to take the fight. If I was with Team Takedown at that time, getting paid from them, it wouldn’t have been an issue. I do a good job budgeting and saving my money. I’m not really complaining how I get paid. I’m just saying that at the time, I had financial needs that needed to be met.”
“The Scrapper” sat on the sidelines for six months following only the second loss of his professional career to ensure he was at full health. That layoff seemingly paid off for him, as he beat Maximo Blanco in 19 seconds last September, followed by a submission win this past February.
“I’m completely fine,” he said. “I took a long time off after that fight. Got myself back together. Took a long period of time with no contact, no sparring. Basically, I really didn’t even spar leading up to my fight (with Blanco).”
For Skelly, there were many question marks when he sparred very little in an entire fight camp. He only sparred two weeks before the fight to get his timing down. And he wasn’t truly sure how he felt and if he was ready to go until that first sparring session.
“It’s kind of a different feeling because you don’t know the preparation aspect, you just feel like, ‘Oh man, am I prepared? I’ve never done it this way.’ It’s just more a thing of not knowing,” he said. “I’d never done it this way so I didn’t know if it’s the right way to do it. I was in great shape going into that fight, I was well prepared. In the weeks leading up to that fight when I did spar, that let me know (if I was ready) — my timing was there and I felt great.”
Sparring very minimally seemed to work well for Skelly, as the Blanco fight couldn’t have gone any better. But he returned to a regular sparring schedule ahead of his last fight against Chris Gruetzemacher.
“I don’t think it’s a big issue to not spar as much, but, me, I love to spar,” he said. “During my camps, I like to spar twice a week. I just enjoy it. It’s hard to not spar when you’re on a team with people that are getting ready for fights and they need partners to spar with. For yourself, it might be something that’s kind of important, but these are people that have helped you prepare for your fight, and you need to return the favor.”
Last year, Skelly was campaigning for another shot at Elkins. But the 32-year-old has finally moved on from that loss and won’t be too upset if he never gets the rematch he once badly wanted.
“Obviously down the road, it is something that I would love to avenge; I’d love to get that loss back. I didn’t get to have a good camp for that fight, so that was something that I really regretted,” he said. “But at this point, I’m just kind of like, ‘Whatever.’ If they don’t give it to me, they don’t give it to me. If it ever comes up down the road, I’ll take it. But it’s not something I’m really seeking out anymore.”
Skelly fights Jason Knight on the preliminary card of UFC 211, which takes place live from the American Airlines Center in Dallas on Saturday night and is headlined by a heavyweight title fight between Stipe Miocic and Junior dos Santos.