Odyssey’s Steve Montgomery “Doesn’t Want a Pity Party.” He Just Wants a Fight and a Chance to Prove Himself
By Keith Harmon
The Ultimate Fighter veteran Steve “The Creepy Weasel” Montgomery steps into the ring as part of the co-main event tonight, Saturday, June 20 at Odyssey Round One: Hobbs vs Staley, which will stream as a Video on Demand on Full Contact Fighter courtesy of Go Fight Live (GFL). He meets an old opponent Anthony “the Beast” Lemon whom he previously defeated via submission at Ring of Dreams-Fight Night 10.
We had a chance to discuss life inside the TUF house and go further into his disastrous weight cutting incident while on the show, the feud between American Top Team and The Blackzillians, his multiple fight cancellations and his mullet.
Regardless of the constant fight cancellations The Creepy Weasel just wants to get into the cage and show off his skills and desire to fight. Even if it’s against a gopher.
Keith Harmon: You spent some time on TUF. What was a typical day like on the show?
Steve Montgomery: Pretty strict schedule. I actually roomed with Nate Coy. Which is awesome. For the most part it was wake up go downstairs and make a quick breakfast and plan our day. We usually knew the schedule a day in advance. We ate a lot of healthy food; we trained and talked about the upcoming fights. Everything was so dedicated to the tournament.
KH: Was it a closed environment? Were you cut off from TV, phones or the Internet?
SM: We didn’t have access to the Internet or TV. For the most part it was different than any other Ultimate Fighter. I could see all of my coaches the entire time. They could get me messages from the outside world. It was kind of like being in jail right outside your house.
KH: This season was American Top Team versus The Blackzillians. Where did that rivalry come from?
SM: In general there were a lot of different allegations. I think it was just several guys who weren’t happy with the way each other trained. So there was an inevitable split. I don’t know who was right or wrong. A lot of it was hearsay. It was better for both parties. The only thing that I think caused anything heated was the owner of the Blackzillians, Glenn Robertson, was apparently taking guys and offering them a bunch of different things. A lot of people didn’t like that. A lot of that was hearsay. People aren’t too fond of the guy. One thing I can say for sure that he shouldn’t be a coach. He’s a good owner doing things for the fighters. But based off his technical advice I heard on the show. I would not take his advice. But to me it’s just a fun heated rivalry. I’m from South Carolina. And we have the Gamecocks and Clemson rivalry. So this is an in town rivalry. With a lot of good fighters.
KH: I grew up in North Carolina. So we have UNC and Duke. So there’s that rivalry.
SM: Another thing with the show was that I never knew they would feature the owners. Dan Lambert from my gym and the Blackzillians owner. I had no idea what they would edit and what they would feature. I don’t think that people were expecting them to feature the owners so much. I feel bad for the owners I think they caught a lot of slack and people were like, “why are they featuring the owners? They’re just trying to get their names out there.” I know Dan didn’t know he would be featured. I think he just wanted to help guys get to the UFC.
KH: The big thing that occurred during the show was that you had a seizure and got released from the show. Was it a bad weight cut? Could you elaborate on that?
SM: What’s ironic is that was the easiest weight cut I ever had. I had been preparing for so long for the show and I knew what was expected of me. Everything I was doing, I think everything I did was on point. I came prepared and ready to fight on the first, second, or third week if I had to. I never knew what would happen. I was probably in peak condition walking around at 190 eating a lot of calories each day. I was ready for my fight. The only thing that I was worried about was whether if I was going to be fighting at my gym or their gym. A lot of people thought I used distilled water for the cut. When you drink that it strips the minerals out of your body and you feel tired. But a lot of it was water loading I drank a lot of water. And a few days later I was back in the gym training and thought I would make it back on the show.
KH: In a prior interview, you told Dana White that you wanted off the regional scene. How close do you think you are to getting into the UFC?
SM: I never considered myself a part of the UFC. I made the mistake with the water loading. But I think I’m very close. I think they have their eyes on me. I’ve heard from different people with in the industry they say you have go do this or that or win that fight. And every time I’ve gone out and done it. When I fought for the AFC. They were eyeing a few people on that card. I was the main event. And Colby Covington and Valerie Letourneau were on the main card. They won and collectively got into the UFC. I won impressively and I didn’t. I wasn’t jealous but there were things about that I didn’t understand. They said go fight for Titan Fighting Championship. They told me to beat a UFC vet and I did, I beat Brock Jardine. There could be a bunch of different reasons why I didn’t get in and I plan to look past it. And prove myself.
KH: You mentioned fight cards getting canceled and fighters keep pulling out of your fights. Can you elaborate on that?
SM: I don’t like to keep being a pity party. I don’t think it’s directly happening to me. I feel like a victim of circumstance. I did the best I could given the circumstances. I was committed to the local scene. I did the best I could. I felt I was under paid for some of those fights. But I was willing to make the sacrifice. And I botched my chance to be on the Ultimate Fighter with my team and coaches. It’s frustrating but it what it is. And now I’m fighting a guy I’ve all ready beaten. And he wanted a rematch and he thinks he can beat me. But whatever, I’ll take anything right now. I’ll fight a gopher at this point.
KH: Your nickname is “The Weasel.” Why not fight a gopher?
SM: Exactly, that’s what popped into my head.
KH: Do you train with Robbie Lawler?
SM: I train within his vicinity a lot. We work together when get the chance. He does his camps and he does them smart. We have the same strength and conditioning coach. Obviously we share a lot of the same coaches and friends. And I consider him a friend and great guy. When he was getting for Matt Brown and Rory MacDonald, we trained submission grappling. We roll and hit pads from time to time. He really is a good dude.
KH: Lawler spent nearly a decade outside the UFC and had to prove himself in other promotions. And he came back and won the welterweight title. Can you relate to his situation in the past?
SM: Yeah. I mean that’s the thing why should I sit here and complain when I have all these examples of larger mountains that have been climbed. I sit here and complain or I can just do it. Complaining is a waste of my time. What he did was incredible. He got the gym after his Strikeforce contract was up. Everyone liked him; he’s a likable guy. He’s a no B.S. guy he doesn’t talk he does. No one expected him to do much in the UFC. He came and did his thing. But it turned out to be some kind of world championship vision quest. I remember when he got the Koscheck fight I thought personally they were just trying to give Koscheck an easy fight. I remember watching it and was surprised when he swept a high level fighter and knocked him out. And anything he does, he does it with confidence. He took the Bobby Voelker on short notice and knocked him out. Then he gets MacDonald, no thinks he’ll get past him. And he goes out and gets the win. He made the Hendricks fight so much more competitive than people thought. Then he beats both Matt Brown and Jake Ellenberger while they’re both on win streaks. Then he rematches Hendricks and wins the title.
KH: You’ve all ready fought Anthony Lemon. Do you think he’s a different fighter now?
SM: He’s a wild card. There are so many factors that make him beatable but dangerous. I know he’s on a losing streak now. But he’s had a lot of tough fights. But either way he’ll be dangerous but beatable. He’s going to come straight out and come out and punch and I’m going to devastate him. I plan on getting in and out. Even if I took a short notice fight this weekend with say Uriah Hall, I’d still plan the same way. Get in with him and get out with him.
KH: Last but not least, you have the mullet thing going on. Is that your signature look or is it something that just came about by accident?
SM: Just kind of happened over time. For about two years I had it growing. It began an inside joke. I read some cheesy Facebook article saying that growing you hair long is a sign of spiritual growth. And I super believed it. Since I can grow a long beard I just grew a cool mullet.
KH: Anything you want to add?
SM: Just thanks to everyone who’s stuck with me through the long roller coaster and been really supportive. Just a lot of good people out there to thank. And I can’t thank them enough.