Chris Kelades is one of the few fighters who have declined a bout with the UFC. Kelades did so not once, but twice!
When the UFC announced they would be heading to Nova Scotia for UFC Fight Night Halifax, Kelades wasn’t pleased that he was buying tickets for the event, instead of fighting on it. As things do, they worked out, and Kelades found himself fighting Paddy Holohan on the card, in front of his hometown crowd.
He spoke to Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour about his debut.
“When my wife and I were buying the tickets, I was sitting there, upset. I was like man, I want to be fighting on this card, don’t want to spend money right now to buy these tickets. In the end, it all worked out.”
“It’s definitely a dream. It’s one of those things you think about in your wild imagination, but you never expect every intricate detail to actually happen the way it did. I’d be lying if I said I never thought about it happening this way, but, you never really expect it to, But, I’m definitely ecstatic.”
“Even a few weeks before, UFC Connecticut, where someone got injured, and someone had contacted me about if I wanted to throw my name in to fight [bantamweight] Chris Beal at the time. I had just fought in July, I was beat up and nursing some wounds. I was like, I don’t know, at a heavier weight, maybe I should just pass on it.”
“Fast forward a few weeks, Mitch Gagnon’s opponent falls out, and someone asks, do you want to throw your name in, let’s see if we can get yourself on the card against Mitch. I’m thinking, the guy that’s in Mitch’s corner I just trained with a couple weeks ago, Mitch is a beast, I’m thinking, I don’t know if that’s really the right step.”
“I’m saying no again and I’m kicking myself in the ass thinking, can I actually say no again? This is my hometown. 15 hours later, someone sends a tweet to my coach about [Gaudinot] being out, and I’m like, get me on that card, get me against that guy, I’d love to fight that guy.”
After a brutal weight cut, Kelades not only made weight, but successfully made his UFC debut, defeating Paddy Holohan via unanimous decision that would win him ‘Fight Of The Night’ honors from the UFC.
“The timing was kind of good, because I took that opportunity and I was like, you know what? This is the year to kind of run with this and do what I can. Everything kind of worked out, it’s great.”