September 12th 2015
Name – Chris Tramell
Nickname – Head Trauma
Weight – 187 Pounds
Record – 5 wins 1 loss
Team – Easton Training Center
Where are you from ?
I’m from Austin TX, but have always kinda been a nomad of sorts, a ronin lol. I’ve lived all around Texas, lived in Vegas for a few years, and I live in Boulder Colorado now.
How long have you been training ?
I’ve been training 27 of my 35 years. I remember as a young child wadding up balls of paper in my room, tossing them up, and throwing high kicks at them for hours at night. I started Tae Kwon Do at 8 years old, Muay Thai around 12-13, boxing at 16, BJJ at 18.
How did you get in to Combat sports ?
I only compete in kickboxing and muay thai nowadays, but I started with mma, turning pro at 24. I was living in Austin around the time the first Ultimate Fighter on Spike aired. I had already watched the first UFC live when I was 12, and knew what I wanted to do with my life. I packed everything in my Mustang and moved to Las Vegas where it seemed everyone who was anyone was training. I trained out of Las Vegas Combat Club, Master Toddys, and Xyience Training Center before was eventually invited by John Wood, now owner of Syndicate MMA in Vegas, to private pro training sessions. That’s when I became teammates with a slew of big name fighters under the guidance of Randy Couture, and trained with that group 3 to 4 times a day. Forrest Griffin was a daily war lol. My career in fight sports sprang from those days of grinding with legends.
Tell us about your nickname how did you get it ?
Again John Wood lol. I used to get cut a lot in training and always in fights. My boxing coach at the time Ron Frazier used to joke that I would bleed at the weigh ins. Finally Wood decided to call me Head Trauma Tramell and that stuck with all the guys. Now, 10 years later its stuck permanently. It’s shortened to Trauma a lot and people actually call me that instead of my name in real life lol. I like to think nowadays I earn it by doling out the Trauma more than receiving it
What was the defining moment for you when you knew you wanted to become a fighter ?
I can seriously 100% say that this has been present in me since I became self-aware and started breathing air. So much so I damn near believe I’m a warrior soul many times reincarnated. I don’t even know how I would fit into the modern world without this life. I’m a fucking Samurai G.
Were your family and friends supportive when you decided to enter the world of mma/kickboxing ?
I’ve always been kinda the black sheep of my family. I have a good relationship with them, but I just pretty much took off on my own early and never looked back. In terms of support, I like to think my family is proud of me. They always get behind me and root for me (via the internet, from the various places they all live). In terms of friends, nearly all my friends are martial artists or fighters, as I spend the majority of my time teaching, training others, and preparing myself for combat. Not much time to make a ton of friends outside of that, though of course I have some. I’ve come to find over the years that the people you meet in the martial arts seem to share a common thread of respect and a desire to improve themselves. The friends I’ve made have always really had my back, and likewise I would walk through a hurricane of broken glass for them.
What is your current record ?
My current professional kickboxing record is 5-1
What is your favorite strike ?
My favorite strike has to be the left hook to the liver. It makes such a sweet pop when you hit it, and you just see the life force go right out of people.
Who is your biggest inspiration ?
My biggest inspirations are some of the coaches I’ve had who taught me not only how to fight, but how to be a better person. Beyond that they taught me how to teach others, and I try to do the same with my students. Randy Couture taught me a lot about work ethic and what being a professional means. Edy Ngamkhao inspired me to dig deeper within myself, and bring to the forefront dormant qualities of body and mind. Rodney Solis taught me the foundations of my technique and how to be tough, and Andrew Goldthwaite drilled with me endlessly during my early twenties. These guys are all still with me in fighting spirit.
What team do you train with ?
I currently train out of Easton Training Center, mostly at our Boulder location. My coach is Tony Cummings of Elevate Striking Systems. Tony is a ninja. I’ve gone a huge portion of my career without a coach, and having Tony around to reign in my bad habits has been phenomenal. As soon as I get all crazy and start doing jump spinning backflip kicks and acting like I’m Roy Jones JR with my hands down, Tony’s stern voice reminds me to tighten the fuck up and use high percentage techniques and better defense. I couldn’t be happier with my squad. Soon I will also be heading out to train with Phuket Top Team in Thailand. I really look forward to adding to my fight family, and plan on representing them strongly as well
What does being a fighter mean to you ?
Being a fighter means discipline. You can be one without it, but not a very good one. It means being in the moment, because focusing on the past and or too much on the future can be inhibit the ability to manifest full potential in the NOW. It means being humble and maintaining honor in victory, yet being resilient and enduring with positivity in defeat.
What weight do you fight at ?
I fight n the middleweight range, which for Glory will be the 187 lb weight class
what do you think separates you from other fighters in your division ?
My will to win. I won’t be broken mentally or emotionally in the ring. My spirit for battle is strong, even if it means long hours in hospitals for months after. In Samurai fashion, when faced with a win or die situation, I will take either over losing. My opponents need to be prepared to go through hell.
If you could have one dream fight who would it be against ?
I’m not gonna say it’s a dream fight, but I recently had a near miss opportunity to fight Phil Baroni in BKB Boxing. I really like the BKB open circle format, and Baroni is an old sparring partner of mine from the mid-2000s. I have the utmost respect for him, and would really have liked that fight.
Who has been your toughest fight to date ?
LT Nelson came to mind first, as it was the only time in my career that I cut to 170, or about 47 lbs from my walking weight. LT and I had a war of a fight and I just remember my whole body, head to toe, being busted up after. Without a single doubt though, my toughest fight was my second fight against Brian Scraper https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OoMMYdjZNYs
Brian broke two of my ribs within the first minute of the fight. My breathing shut down, pulse skyrocketed, and I literally felt I was gonna have a heart attack and die. Then he kicked me about 700 more times in the body. It’s not my prettiest performance, but I pulled out a KO victory with just 27 seconds left to win the SCL Middleweight Muay Thai title. I just remember fighting that fight two or three breaths at a time, getting just enough air each time to bite down on my mouthpiece and throw the hardest two shots I could. Both of our fights were nominated for SCL fight of the year, and we won for our 2nd bout. Brian and are now friends and he has been a great training partner helping me prepare for Zack Wells at Glory 24.
What is your mindset going in to a fight ?
It’s always a little different. Sometimes I head into fights giving no fucks, barely even thinking about it. I find those havent been my best performances though. I end up brawling and being a tough guy more than i should. When I’m scared shitless right beforehand it seems to work out better for me, I’m much sharper and on my game. So basically I need big scary challenges to get the best out of myself.
Who are you fighting next ?
My next fight is against Zack Wells at Glory 24 Oct 9th
what holes or weaknesses do you see in his game that you can exploit ?
Gotta keep my ninja secrets to myself on this one lol. Zack will be a tough fight and I’ll need to be at my best for sure.
What promotion are you fighting for ?
Glory Superfight Series on Oct 9th, airing on CBS later. Deals are in the works for LegacyKB in November as well, fingers crossed. Opponent has accepted as of this date.
Date and time of your next fight ?
Oct 9th Glory, not sure of start time just yet.
What do you want to be remembered for at the end of your career ?
I want to be remembered as a fighter that lived and breathed martial arts. To be a modern-day Miyamoto Musashi is about where I’ve set my bar. He was a poet, a philosopher, an artist, and a warrior without parallel. I would like to be remembered above all as a fighter that would rather die in combat before letting his will be broken. Thats me.
What has been your biggest accomplishment in the sport so far ?
Getting to fight for the USA twice abroad, in Ireland and Beijing, was definitely a highlight. As a professional it would be winning the SCL Middleweight title by KO despite suffering broken ribs, then going on to win the SCL 2014 Muay Thai Fighter of the Year award and sharing the 2014 Fight of the Year award with Brian Scraper.
Who has been most influential to you in your career ?
I would have to say a few names. I’ll never forget the example of manliness I saw training those years with Randy Couture, Forrest Griffin, and others. My first and most lasting Muay Thai influences were Rodney Solis and Andrew Goldthwaite. And the mentor image that holds most strongly in my mind is that of Edy Ngamkhao. Edy has a way of showing you a lot by showing you something small, of saying a lot by using just a few choice words. He’s my spirit Kru.
Who do you feel has had the biggest impact on the sport ?
I feel like mainstream kickboxing is still waiting on its Mike Tyson or Muhammad Ali. There are amazing old school names to throw out – Rob Kaman, Ramon Dekkers, Ernesto Hoost, John Wayne Parr, etc, and there are so many legendary Thai fighters like Buakaw, Sanchai, Yodsonklai, and even older going back to Apidej and Deisel Noi’s days; but I don’t think anyone has become a big enough force yet on the current world stage to say they impacted the sport. Kickboxing needs that person
How would you describe your fighting style ?
I’m technical and game to scrap. I can be deceptive, fluid, and mobile, but when I throw a strike I explode. I think I have a good combination of dexterity, technical ability, speed, and power – plus the willingness to engage and the fortitude to endure damage and move forward.
What drives or motivates you ?
I want to know something deeper about the life and reality we all share. The martial path is one of self discovery, tests of will, and ultimately a measure of understanding. I have been a lot of dark places in my time here on earth, very human places that many have been or are currently at. In the end I just want to inspire those around me not to give up or give in, but instead to look deeper in the mystery and awe of life, and be awakened in heart.
What is something people might not know about you ?
I’m a leap year baby, so I am technically only 9 and a half years old. Shhhhh….don’t tell the boxing commission.
When you are not in the gym training what do you like to do in your free time ?
I train and teach so much that my free time is the 6 or 7 hours I sleep every night lol. Seriously though, I live in Boulder Colorado and love it to death. Riding my bike, going hiking, going to a bookstore….anything in this beautiful place. REALLY though….in my free time I like to eat….everything in sight. Everything.
What do you think you would be doing if you hadn’t become a fighter ?
I would be the host of a television travel show. Some network would pay me to travel to the sickest destinations on earth, eat all the awesome food, see all the kick ass sights, and then basically brag to everyone watching about how great it all is.
What gets you hyped up for a fight do you have any pre fight rituals that get you ready to go to battle ?
I like to put on the National Geographic Battle for Yellowstone dvd. I skip forward to the part where the buffalo and bighorn sheep fight during mating season. I turn the volume way up and listen the snorts and clashing of the ram and buffalo horns. True story
Where do you see the sport of kickboxing in 5-10 years ?
I would love to see the sport of kickboxing enjoy the same level of success as the UFC. I think to do that in the US we need American stars that the people gravitate towards, stars that are also talented enough to hang with the European kickboxers that have long dominated K-1/Glory rules type bouts.
Who is your favorite fighter ?
Mike Tyson. Forever. Hands down. Will never change.
Is there anyone you want to thank or give a shout out to ?
I could thank a million people because so many have been there throughout my life. It would be unfair to name names, and I would forget people, but I hope all who read this know who they are. I would like to specifically thank Amal, Mike, and Eliot of Easton Training Center for hiring me a few years ago and giving me a new lease on this fighting life. Also Sean Madden, Tyler Toner, and Tony Cummings, 3 guys that I’ve learned an immense amount of new material from in the last two years. Thanks everyone!