Charles Bennett – call him Krazy Horse, he pleads – admits to a bit of trouble in his 27 years.
But, he says innocently, a bit of trouble should not be that unexpected for a guy with crazy in his name.
The “bit of trouble” Bennett refers to is the matter of, oh, 25 or so arrests. He's not sure how many. They've ranged from traffic violations to more serious charges such as the sale of cocaine, kidnapping and battery upon a pregnant female.
He knows his way around the courthouse and the jailhouse nearly as well as Perry Mason. He's just not sure how often he has walked through those doors and heard them clang shut behind him.
"Twenty-something," he says, helpfully. "Maybe more. I don't know. Maybe it was less. A lot. Leave it at that. Been arrested a lot."
And so when he's free, this guy who yearns to be a star – "I need to get me in a movie, because my life story is a winner," he says, trying desperately to convince you he believes that himself – is a fighter. Part-time fighter? Perhaps. Full-time convict? Well, even Bennett admits to having had enough of Marion County, Fla.'s hospitality.
With two children to support and stardom to pursue, the inside of a correctional facility is the last place Bennett says he wants to be.
So he says he has to concentrate on making his free time – outside of prison – count. And he says that despite spending time in jail as recently as June, when he was incarcerated on two probation violations, he's prepared for his lightweight bout on a Showtime mixed martial arts card Saturday in Vicksburg, Miss., against Victor “Joe Boxer” Valenzuela.
They fought to a draw on Aug. 5, 2005, a bout which Bennett admittedly remembers little because of a concussion suffered in the first two minutes.
Still, he remembers enough to dispute Valenzuela's account.
Valenzuela says he won the fight and that Bennett was given a gift decision.
Bennett was flat on his back at the end of the two-round bout. Valenzuela said he was unconscious. Bennett says it was simply exhaustion.
"He was done, fried, toasted," Valenzuela said. "Any other fight, the ref stops it. I plan on shutting him up once and for all. Fighting on his home turf, I don’t have faith I can win a decision, so I will be going for a knockout for sure. I am really going to try and knock him out this time around. I have waited a long time for this."
They were scheduled to fight on a June 22 pay-per-view card in San Jose, Calif., but Bennett was, shall we say, temporarily indisposed.
He was jailed for two violations of his probation. One was for battery and the other was for tampering with a witness.
"Misunderstanding," says Bennett, who was once dubbed a Ph.D. in showmanship by Pride blow-by-blow announcer Mauro Ranallo.
Bennett's relationship with Valenzuela is no misunderstanding, though. There is nothing good that can be said about their feelings toward each other.
Bennett said Valenzuela can't handle alcohol and frequently approaches him in bars, trying to begin a fight.
"The guy reeks – is that the word I want? – of alcohol every time I see him," Bennett says. "He's a worthless and delusional little (expletive, expletive). I should rip his heart out right there, but he ain't worth wasting my time on unless I get paid." Valenzuela says he barely drinks and says he's never abusive to Bennett.
Whether he is is beside the point because he is in Bennett's mind and that's all that matters.
Bennett, an Ocala native, believes he needs to stay out of trouble and reel off some victories so someone will decide to investigate his life story.
It was a life without love, he says, the far-too-common story of children from the inner city. His mother abused drugs and his father was rarely around.
He is determined, though, to make a life for his children which he didn't have. He's looking for a four-bedroom house so there is one room for him, and one for each of his children and another to train in.
He wants to train in secret, at home, so nobody will know what he's working on. It's part of becoming the best fighter he can, he says.
"I ain't going to cure cancer or win the Nobel Prize, so I gotta do what I do," he said. "That's fighting. … People buy tickets to these things because they want to see someone getting their (expletive) head knocked off.
"I'll do that for you . That's why they bring me back."
And it's also his story. It's almost inconceivable he can maintain a career, let alone go 18-13-2 and fight some of the biggest names in the sport, as often as he's been in jail.
He's become something of a cult figure to some MMA fans, one of whom created a video on YouTube meant to be a tribute to Bennett.
It features a collection of his police booking mug shots rotating across the screen as the song, “I Fought the Law," by Social Distortion is played in the background.
It's been viewed nearly 11,000 times since it was posted June 19 and has been marked as a favorite 28 times.
There have been 26 comments on the video by viewers, through Wednesday. The 25th came from Bennett himself.
There won't be any more pictures to add to the list, though. He insists he has had his fill of jail.
"Too much for me to do out here," Bennett said. "But first thing I gotta do is kick me some (expletive butt). Joe Boxer, this dude in some serious trouble. I'm serious now. You just ain't seen nothing yet."