Chris Fields talks Kone loss, Marcin Prostko and ‘Pendo’s Palace’ from Mexico

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Cathal Pendred has brought a crack team from SBG Ireland out to Mexico in preparation for his bout with Augusto ‘Dodger’ Montano on June 13 in Mexico City. Ever-present in the assembled line-up is his chief training partner and good friend Chris ‘The Killing’ Fields who will look to get back in the winning column after suffering a KO loss to Cheik Kone in February.

The former Cage Warriors champion, Fields, has been soaking up the sun in ‘Pendo’s Palace’ while getting ready for his second BAMMA bow against Marcin Prostko, who he meets on the same date Pendred takes on Montano. Joined by Peter Queally, Matt Inman, Colin Meaghar and with UFC welterweight Gunnar Nelson set to join the motley crew in Toluca, training is looking good on all fronts for the Irish abroad.

“We’ve got a great crew out here,” said Fields. “Obviously we’re not in the ‘Mac Mansion’, but we’re calling this ‘Pendo’s Palace’ out here. There’s me, Cathal and Peter Queally. We have Colin Meagher too – he’s a big, amateur guy from SBG – and we have Matt Inman out here with us as well. Training has been going great and Gunni should be out with us soon so it will only get better.

“The place we’re staying in is called Toluca, it’s about an hour outside of Mexico City. It’s an up market kind of spot, the house is in a place called Metepec. It’s really safe and to be honest I had a different idea of Mexico before I came here. It’s a massive country though, and I’m sure if Ross Kemp went to some places in Ireland he would completely turn people off visiting our country too,” he laughs.

The Dubliner also reported that Pendred is “the sharpest he’s ever looked”, in the lead up to his fourth test under the UFC banner. While visiting the country, the team has also enlisted the help of Mexican boxing coaches to help them finely tune their pugilistic skills.

“He looks great, it’s the sharpest he’s ever looked. Everyone is really doing well, our weight is down, we’re eating healthy food off the barbeque everyday. The training has been amazing, we got set up with a nice gym before we came over here. It’s a great facility and we have some Mexican boxing coaches coming over to do pads with us. It’s really cool.”

Pendred had the revelation that the altitude in Mexico City could play against him on June 13 when he was on the UFC 188 press tour in the same location earlier in the year. Although Fields was unsure whether altitude is a realistic factor at all, after training so far above sea level he believes he will boast an endurance boost when he meets Prostko in Birmingham.

“Realistically, I would’ve been coming out here to help Cathal either way but it’s awesome that we’re out here training at altitude and I think it’s something that will really stand to me. I think we’re 2600 feet above sea level and that made the first couple of days out here very tough. We were finding it hard to catch our breath.

“Honestly, I didn’t know if that was all bollocks or not until I got out here! I definitely have changed my mind having come out here and struggled for the first few days. It’s kind of weird, you spend these days struggling and then all of a sudden your fitness kicks in and you’re back to normal,” says Fields.

The Irish MMA community was anticipating Fields to reemerge after The Ultimate Fighter as one of the hottest properties on the European market. Many believed that ‘The Killing’ was one win away from getting back into the UFC’s ranks, but unfortunately for the Irish fans, Cheik Kone spoiled their party by landing a crisp right hand just 20 seconds into the bout.

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Fields felt like a new a man in the lead up to the clash at BAMMA 18, which he admits made the defeat harder to deal with. However, after taking the mandatory 28 days away from head contact, he claims that he has shown no reluctance in sparring. For Fields, what happened against Kone is the reality of the fight game, and to dwell on it wouldn’t be beneficial moving forward in his career.

“It was pretty devastating, not the actual knockout itself, but it was the fact that I was expecting the big victory that everyone else was. I got caught, but this is the sport that we participate in. I’ve been on the opposite end of that before, I’ve done that to other people.

“In no way am I trying to say it was a lucky shot. It was like an old shootout between two gunslingers, we both threw our right hands out but by the time I got there he had already drawn. It is what it is. I don’t dwell on it, I’ve got to move on.

“The rule is 28 days with no head contact, so I stuck by that but on the Monday after the fight I went straight back to gym and started rolling again. I did a lot of wrestling and other stuff like that, but avoided getting hit in the head. Obviously my brain had been scrambled quite a bit after the KO, I didn’t know where I was for about four or five minutes after the fight.

“It’s funny really because I was talking to so many people after it and they thought I was fine and dandy. My whole memory of that fight has come from watching the video of it. It’s all from a third person perspective, I don’t remember shit! I remember I was going to throw a right hand and the next thing I can recall is being beside Cathal in a medical room asking him how the fight went.

“The truth is, if you’ve got two 90 kilo gorillas in front of each other throwing punches with bad intentions that’s what inevitably will happen. Someone has got to get hurt. I didn’t sit around worrying about my chin after it because I knew what happened, I got hit in the face by a big person. In my next fight I’ll try not to get in the face by a big person, I feel like that will be a step in the right direction for me.”

Prostko carries and unbeaten record of 4-0 into his bout with Fields and the Irishman is aware of the skills the Polish charge brings to the table. The goal remains the same as it was in the lead up to the Kone fight for the SBG fighter though, to put on a complete performance.

“I’m going to be looking to put on that full display, that’s what I’m looking for out of my career now. I want to put on displays that I can be proud of. The last fight didn’t give me that. That crazy shit I did with my arms after I got hit might have been impressive to some people but that wasn’t what I was going after to be honest,” he quips.

“Wherever Prostko wants to take the fight, I’m happy to meet him there. I’ve seen fights where he’s been taken down and he didn’t look like he was up to much to be honest. I know he comes form a good gym and he’s got a good wrestling pedigree. I’ve fought a couple of guys from that gym before, but I’m ready to take the Pepsi challenge with anyone when it comes to wrestling.”

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While it’s not at the forefront of his plans, Fields relays his thoughts on where he is in respect to the UFC after the Kone loss.

“I think a win will put me back in the same position I was in before the fight, I’m sure people will look back on that fight and they’ll see it as a minor blip. The idea of UFC isn’t the be-all and end-all for me anymore. I’m doing this because I love it now, I’m not overthinking anything outside of that.

“Being in love with something, you don’t just give it up because things don’t go your way every now and again. If that is the case my wife would’ve left me a long time ago! It was a set back, there will probably be more, but once I keep enjoying myself I’ll keep doing it.

“My wife has put up with a lot since we’ve been together, she’s at home and pregnant at the moment while I’m over here in Mexico, so she has always been and continues to be very understanding. I’m blessed, I know I’m a lucky bastard but I try and make up for it when I’m home.”

Finally, Fields expressed his happiness with current promotion, BAMMA.

“BAMMA have been great to me. I couldn’t be happier with it,” he declares when asked about the remerging European brand. “I wanted a fight on that card and they bent over backwards to make it happen. It’s just different than a lot of organization I’ve been with in the past. Jude is the main guy who looks after everything for them.

“He’s a really cool guy, really down to earth. He was one of the first black belts in the UK, I don’t know if he fought that much but he definitely knows what we’re all about. I was really impressed with the production value of the last show too so I think they’re definitely in it for the long haul.”

@PetesyCarroll

Peter Carroll is Severe MMA's lead feature writer. He has been featured in many top publications and some rubbish ones too. He also writes for the Irish Daily Mirror and Vice's Fightland.