Interview: MMA Fighter Chad Mendes Talks Hunting and What’s Next
OutdoorHub Reporters 08.23.16
What got you into hunting and fishing, and more importantly what made the outdoors lifestyle a passion of yours?
I started hunting with my dad as long as I can remember, I was probably six or seven years old and we grew up in central California, so we used to hunt up in the Sierras like above Fresno area, chasing little, tiny, California black tail. I remember walking through the woods with my dad as a little kid and him teaching me how to be quite, what to look for and animal signs, stuff like that. I still remember taking my hunters safety course for the first time, and just being so excited to be able to hunt for the first time for myself, and going with my dad, getting in the woods and chasing the black tails. It’s definitely where I started as far as being a hunter, and fishing. I grew up fishing with my dad as well, trout fishing anytime that we could. Me and him have been pretty close our entire lives. Last year we got to go on a Utah elk hunt, and we were sitting in a blind over a water hole on one of my buddy’s properties that lives there and have this really big, beautiful 6×7 in full velvet walk in and my dad ended up smoking him with this bow at twenty yards, and I got to film it, it was pretty cool.
Are your passions for both MMA and the outdoors related? Do they come from a similar place inside you?
Yeah, my drive to compete, my drive to push my body to the limit and try to test myself in the octagon and any type of sport that I’ve ever done is something that can translate to my hunting and fishing. When I’m preparing for a hunt – I have a hunt in Alaska this year for moose and I want to make sure I’m in the best possible shape that I can be in. I have to start using my heavy pack and doing some hill stuff with it, getting prepped. Luckily for me, my job is to be in shape, so that definitely transfers over to making myself into an awesome hunter. I think the competition in the octagon is translatable to the competition when you’re hunting, at least for me.
What’s your favorite hunt of all time, and what’s still on your bucket list?
As far as bucket list, I’d say a moose hunt in Alaska is definitely one of them. I got lucky, I’ve never put in for this area before, I think they only give out two tags to non-residents, and with no points, first time putting in and we got lucky and got drawn. I feel super lucky to be able to go do this. I have a buddy that lives there, that has hunted the area for years, and knows the area really well, so I’m going to go with him as soon as we get up over there, so I’m pretty pumped about it.
What’s in your Freezer?
I have a huge freezer in my garage that’s stocked full of all kinds of wild game year round: California deer, Utah deer, fallow deer, red stag, wild boar, turkey, just caught hundreds of pounds of yellowtail, and lingcod. It’s awesome having a wide array of options to choose from when deciding what to eat at night. I’d say wild game is about 90% of my diet, it’s something I eat through all of my training camps. I love free-range, organic meat; normally you buy that stuff from the store and it’s outrageously priced, it’s just such a great feeling to be able to go out and hunt this animal myself, harvest it and fill my freezer, feed my family, and use the meat for myself through my training camps. It’s something I pride myself on being able to do, there’s a lot of people that still talk trash about it that are so disconnected from their food. I’ll post a picture of me with an animal that I just killed or me cooking and get the “why don’t you just buy your meat from the grocery store like everybody else where no animals were harmed?” You just have to shake your head at these people, they just have no clue. But yeah wild game is definitely something I love to eat, I’m always trying to come up with cool new recipes to cook it. My fiancé loves it too; she doesn’t even eat store bought meat anymore.
Can you tell me more about Finz and Featherz
Finz and Featherz is a business me and my buddy started and launched back in December. Basically what it is, we call it a celebrity hunt service; we team up with outfitters all over the world – we were just in New Zealand this year – and we put together a hunt through one of our cool outfitters, put one of our celebrity pro-staff members on the trip with them and the clients book up and get to hang-out with the celebrity.
What’s your favorite gear to hunt with?
I’ve been with Weatherby for five, maybe six years now and absolutely love them. They just came out with a 6 1/2 .300 which is in my opinion one of the best long range guns, I shot an antelope with it. It’s insanely flat shooting and fast. I also have a .338 Lapua, it’s a lot of fun it’s a big gun. I have a .30-378 which is another big gun, but a lot of fun to shoot and then a couple .300’s as well.
How does it feel to be suspended for two years for using a psoriasis cream? Are you frustrated or angry or have you just accepted it?
I was planning on taking a year off to let my body heal up anyways, and focus on Finz and Featherz. The one thing I wanted to clarify from a recent interview was that there’s a difference in taking steroids and using a substance that’s on the banned list, and that’s what happened. I was using a topical cream that has a peptide in it – no performance enhancers in it.
You can learn more about Chad Mendes in the CarbonTV original series American Elements