Pete “Drago” Sell is self admittedly on cloud nine following his decision victory at UFC 90 over the extremely experienced and always dangerous Josh Burkman. When Fiveouncesofpain.com had the chance to catch up with Sell he was beaming with an amount of positive energy that is impossible to ignore and how could you blame him? Here’s a guy that was on a four fight loss streak in the UFC right before he tore his shoulder which forced him to the sidelines for over a year before looking impressive with a big win over a big fighter in Josh Burkman.
One would assume that after such terrible bad luck, Sell had took the time away from the sport to get his head back on straight but as he explains, there was a lot more to the story.
“The reason I took the time off was because after my second fight with Nate Quarry I ended up with a torn labrum,” Sell explained. “I tore my shoulder so I was out for a bit. I didn’t get back to training until about February. I was in really bad shape and depressed. It was tough because I couldn’t do a lot of things. It was very upsetting.”
Sell took the time off as an opportunity to get things straightened out in his life and more specifically, in his training. Pete Sell admitted to drinking a lot more than he should have between fights and for a long period of time during his fighting career, he didn’t train at all.
“I feel like between those fights I didn’t do the right thing,” Sell said. “Even when I got back from the Ultimate Fighter I was partying too much. My whole career I did that. I was too much into the drinking and there was one point in time that I wasn’t even training, any type of training. Through my whole career I was doing it and getting away with it and still winning. I was 5-0 and then 6-0. I fought Phil Baroni in the UFC on pay-per-view when I was 22 years old and won so I was like, man, “If it aint broke don’t fix it”. I wanted to have my cake and eat it too. But you know what, eventually that stuff doesn’t work out and I paid for it in the long run. If I would have used all of that time in between fights to put to getting my skills better maybe I’d be a different fighter these days. I don’t want to ever have to say that again so I’m going down to the gym today and I’m going to do my thing”
Sell spent his entire career at 185 pounds before making the move down to 170 pounds to challenge Burkman in the welterweight division. A drop in weight class is always a major concern when done for the first time but Sells says the move to welterweight was a relatively painless transition.
“I did it the right way over a long period of time,” Sell said. “I went really strict with my diet and lost the body fat instead of just trying to kill myself with the water weight. I got really lean for that fight, I mean I got so lean for that fight, I had striations coming out that I never knew I had. I’ve never been that ripped in my life.
Just because Sell was able to make the weight fairly easily doesn’t mean that he would still feel strong and explosive the way he did at 185 but as Sell sees it, he’s better than ever at the new weight.
“I feel like it’s a good weight for me,” Sell said. “I’m stronger, I’m faster, I’m excited about it and I can’t wait to do it again”.
Even the punching power doesn’t seem to have left Sell in his new division. So many guys lose that snap in their punch after leaning down but that doesn’t seem to be the case with Sell.
“The punching power feels good,” Sell said. “Burkman told me after the fight, “Not many people punch as hard as you at 170″. That was a very nice compliment coming from him because he’s as tough as nails and he’s fought a lot of people.”
Even though Sell is beyond ecstatic about his rejuvenation in the UFC when asked about how he felt about his performance against Burkman he was surprisingly hard on himself.
“To be honest with you, I was upset at my performance in the fight,” Sell said. “I wanted to end the fight in the first round. I wanted to come out to 170 like BOOM, I’m here, I took the guy out, but it didn’t go that way. He ended up winning the first round.”
As Pete Sell returned to his corner after a round that he knew he had lost he was flooded with all of the feelings that he had bottled up since his four straight losses and decided that there was no way that he had worked so hard to have it end in defeat. He was going to have to do something and do something right then.
“At this point point it would have been like my fourth or fifth loss in a row and it would have drove me nuts,” Sell explained. “He won the first round and I was like, “This isn’t happening right now. I’ve put too much into this and he’s gonna have to kill me”. So I came back in the fight and won the next two rounds and almost finished it right before the bell rang.”
Sell is a self described changed man. He wants to use his positive experience to help anyone that is struggling with any kind of problem to overcome their barriers.
“I’m a new guy. I know what I have to do now and I’m motivated it just goes to show that nobody should ever give up,” Sell said. “If you believe in yourself and stay positive, eventually everything will work out for you. No matter what you’re dealing with.”
The future seem bright for Pete Sell once again and it’s been a long time coming for a man that has overcome so many obstacles in his career. Sell will figure out who he faces next in the coming weeks but for right now he’s going to soak it up and take it one step at a time.
“Right now I’m just happy to be back,” Sell said. “I’m enjoying some nice meals because I’ve been dieting really hard because of the weight class. I came home and had my girl cook me some Italian food, you know, I’m just hanging out. I might take a week to mentally get back to square one. I’m just really positive about everything and I’m sitting on cloud nine.”
“Sometimes after you fight and you lose it’s hard to get up and train,” explains Sell. “You put your time in on training and sparring and you put your body through hell and you still come out losing and just losing for years. Two and a half years! It’s tough mentally to get through that and then when I get to the Burkman fight and lost the first round and push through to win in the end, it’s awesome! I just really kept a positive attitude the whole time and really pushed through it and it worked out for me. I just want to spread that word that nobody should give up in life and you should just keep doing your thing because it will happen for you. Hard work and dedication, it will pay off.”
Pete Sell would like to thank Sprawl, Denaro Sports Marketing, Serra Competition Team, Lifetime Chimney Supply, and Ashman Eat Me Premium Broccoli for all of their support.