Stevie Ray Starts Up Braveheart MMA While He Awaits UFC Contract News
UFC lightweight Stevie Ray is currently out of contract with the UFC and is waiting to hear when or if he will be offered a new deal.
Ray was last in action back in July when he faced Paul Felder at UFC Fight Night Glasgow. That evening, things didn’t go to plan and Ray was defeated via TKO in the first round. After going through a bit of a rought period following the defeat, the Scot has picked himself up and spoke to MMANytt.com exclusively about his new venture, Braveheart MMA.
“I’ve always been one to want to start my own coaching and run my own club so that’s what I’ve done,” Ray said. “I’m waiting on the UFC to get back to me so I thought I’d be proactive and try and build something up now. I’m just renting a studio room at a gym at the moment, but I’ve got it all matted out. It’s not the biggest place, but it’s been good to get Braveheart up and running and I’m already getting some good numbers in.
“I need a bigger place already though. It’s been busy, but it’s only been a week. I’ll see what numbers are like after the original launch and see where I can take it from there. To be honest, it’s been a nice distraction for me. Waiting around to hear from the UFC hasn’t been fun. It’s been good to be busy and have my mind on something else. Once I get a fight, I’ll figure out how I can work it around my fights and stuff.”
Waiting on the UFC hasn’t been an easy thing for Ray to do. Having gambled on running down his last deal in order to get a better re-up, he found himself out of contract after his loss to Felder and that’s the way it’s been since July.
“I spoke to Sean Shelby and he was basically saying to me that I’m out of contract, and that’s my own fault for fighting out my contract, and he’s obligated to get guys that are in contract by a certain deadline, so he can’t offer me a contract right now while he has other guys that he has to get fights,” Ray said. “I understand Sean is a very busy guy and he’s got a massive roster of fighters to deal with. He’s always been great when dealing with me and I know he’s a good guy, so I’m hoping he sorts out my contract situation soon.
“It’s about waiting around for the right time and the right place. I’m staying in shape and staying in training, but that’s easier said than done. I’ve asked him about London, but he’s saying it’s about too early to speaking about that.
“He said he’s hopeful he can get me on the London card, but he’s not said that I definitely getting on it so it’s just a matter of waiting it out.”
Contemplating life outside of the UFC
Waiting around isn’t something that Ray can do forever. With a young family to support, Ray, like anyone in the world, needs money coming in and he’s set a deadline on when he might have to look elsewhere for fights outside of the UFC.
“I’ve been offered other stuff elsewhere, but I’d 100-percent rather stay with the UFC,” Ray said. “Obviously, I can’t wait around forever so I’m pretty much waiting around for the London card.
“If I don’t get on the London card, then I’m going to have to sign with somebody else.”
“If I don’t get a fight there then I can’t wait around waiting to get another fight.
“If I don’t fight in March, that will be almost a year. I love fighting in the UFC, but the reality is I need to make money and the only time I make money is when I fight. That’s another reason why I’ve opened up the gym.”
I’ll fight anyone
Matching Ray won’t be a difficult task according to the Scot. Ray says he’s open to fighting anyone, any time and he’s not fussy where the fight takes place.
“I was trying to pick a fight and I found a few guys that wanted it, but when they contacted Sean he just told then the same thing that they told me–I’m out of contract,” Ray said. “It made me look like an arse so I just stopped calling people out because I could’ve called out the whole roster by the time I actually myself a fight.
“There’s loads of guys I want to fight though. Clay Guida, having seen him beat Joe Lauzon, he’s an exciting fighter. I’d happily fight him in March, but I’ve also had a bit of beef with Marc Diakiese, but he’s already got a fight at the end of the year, so we got to see what happens there.
“To be honest, I’m just game to fight anybody. I’m just waiting on this contract.”
UFC is a way of life
Being out in the cold and struggling along isn’t something new to Ray. He’s been there before, but admits that having tasted what it’s like to fight under the UFC banner, it’s hard imagining life going back to the way it was before he fought in the organization.
“I’ve been in this position before where I’ve had to struggle and I’ve had to dig deep,” Ray said. “I’m just having to do it again. The only thing now is that I’ve been in the UFC and I’ve been making good money. Once you start earning that money you start living the lifestyle. Now it’s probably worse than before I was in the UFC. I’ve still got some money coming in, but I’ve got more outgoings.
“I’m hoping to hear back from them before the end of the year, but I’m guessing it will be January now. I’m hoping they can tell me this year that I’m on the London card so I can enjoy my Christmas a bit. Then I can start my camp in January. I’ll go away so there’s no distractions.
“Trust me though, the guy that steps in there with me, he’s going to feel all the frustration and pain I’m going through.”