Last week, it was reported that Brandon “The Truth” Vera’s eight year relationship with the UFC had ended.
It wasn’t due to a social media controversy, Vera explains, and it wasn’t due to personal reasons.
“The UFC made me an offer, and we said no,” Vera says in a telephone interview from his California home. “They said they’d boot me, and I said, boot me!”
The ex-heavyweight contender, who had later enjoyed a career at light heavyweight, laughs.
“Dana White called me and said, let’s talk next week. Let’s figure it out. After that, the letter (stating the parting of ways) was released to the media. I haven’t heard from them since, but it’s only Wednesday. I’ll wait until Friday before making any decisions.”
So he, understandably, can’t describe what’s coming next.
“I have a great relationship with Dana White,” Vera says. “He was straight-up. He said, if this was five or six years ago, I would been the one talking to you to re-negotiate. But they’re going so fast, traveling all around the world; it’s growing so fast. He has places he needs to be and I understand that. But, he said to me he wanted to find out what’s going on, especially since I’ve been with the company so long. So I’ll wait until Friday.”
Reminded of the case of Jason High, the UFC lightweight who reported that he discovered he had been released on social media, Vera laughs again. “That s— happens too. It’s awesome, this whole game is awesome.”
Vera is also considering a return to competitive grappling, where he was runner-up at Pan American Jiu-Jitsu Championships at brown belt and a champion at purple. Vera expresses interest in both gi and no-gi competition.
“I talked to the owner of Grapplers Quest, Brian Cimins,” Vera says. “He’s a really good friend of mine. It’s something I’ve been thinking about a while, but I was too busy. Now that I have time I’d love to get on the circuit again.”
But he says his MMA career is far from over, even if it’s too early to go into details.Vera fought in his last UFC bout back in August of 2013. That night, he would fall via round three TKO to Ben Rothwell. Rothwell would later fail post-fight drug testing and be suspended.
The scenario was well-trodden ground for Vera, whose 2011 decision loss to Thiago Silva was overturned after Silva falsified his post-fight urine sample.
Vera remembers these with typical candor. But his take on it may surprise. Mention the end of the “Testosterone Replacement Therapy” era and the recent implementation of new random drug testing, and you might expect Vera to be excited for the steps in the right direction. Instead, you find yourself preaching to a choir who just won’t sing the same old tune.
“It’s all a joke,” Vera sighs. “Smoke and mirrors baby. Athletes are so far into the game, that game has evolved so much now. It’s part of the gig, just let everybody do it, and it’s a level playing field. Let everybody do it and call it a day. It’s retarded. It’s a joke trying to catch somebody.”
He likens ending PED use to US prohibition of alcohol, adding: “It’s going to happen either way, regardless.”
He’s more excited to describe a new business venture, with Kannaway, an organization that sells hemp products.
“It’s products you use every day which have CBD (cannibidiol), which is derived from the cannibus plant,” he describes. “It’s not marijuana. I’ve been with them for about seven months now, helping talk about the benefits of a healthier lifestyle.” Among the products are an anti-inflammatory which has helped Vera with persistent back pain. He has set up a website, jointhetruth.com, to spread the word about Kannaway and CBD. “I want to spread the word about what CBD’s can do.”
He describes his UFC career as “an amazing ride.”
“I’m blessed, I can take my time,” Vera says. “I don’t have to take a contract I don’t like. That’s because of how I’ve lived my life, my fighting style, and by Kannaway.” He adds, “I won’t be going hungry any time soon, let’s put it that way.”