Interview with Shelton Graves
What do you and a UFC fighter have in common?
We know at least one thing you have in common with Shelton Graves, a UFC contender from Baltimore, Maryland – your chiropractor! We caught up with the professional athlete in between training sessions and chiropractic adjustments to find out how he went from Baltimore to the big screen in Las Vegas.
Tell us about your journey to professional fighting
“It all started watching Brock Lesnar on TV,” says Shelton Graves, a contending fighter for the UFC and a long-time patient at Carney Chiropractic Center. “I thought, somebody needs to teach me how to beat this guy up.” He went to a local martial arts studio and asked them to do just that. It was 2010 and he was already 24 years old, a late age to begin an athletic career in fighting with no prior experience. “The beginning was the most horrific thing you’ve ever seen,” Shelton says. “It was disgusting.”
But he eventually won a match. And he kept training and kept getting better. “I had to learn what some people take a lifetime to learn in a short period. That’s one of the reasons I went in so hard,” he recalls.
Each match he took his game up to the next level. He had the opportunity to train with some world class coaches who gave him sound advice both in and out of the ring. One of his coaches told him, “You’ve got to be 80% of everything and 100% of nothing” to do well in the UFC. Shelton elaborates, “Your bad becomes your good; your good becomes your better; your better becomes your great; and your great becomes your craft.”
What led you to seek treatment from a chiropractor?
“I had an old Achilles injury for about 3 years,” he starts. He had resigned to thinking it was just something we was going to have to live with – chronic pain from an old injury. But one of his coaches, Jeff Brochu, told him to go see Dr. Loomis because he believed he could help. “Within a month or so a problem I had for 3 years was gone,” Shelton proclaims. “Now any kind of nook or cranny I get (and with fighting injuries are part of the game), I come back to Dr. Loomis and he fixes me up. “ He was hooked after what he experienced. “This is something I have got to do regularly. I can’t afford not to do it. “
How has chiropractic helped your skills and/or performance in the ring?
“Chiropractic helps me train to my fullest extent,” Shelton says. He started doing resistance band training here with Dr. Loomis, and now he has worked it into his weekly routine with his coaches. “Chiropractic has really upped my game, power, strength and speed. It also increases my efficiency.” But it is a process, and a partnership with your chiropractor. “The first day I felt like it was worse,” he explains. But Dr. Loomis explained the healing process and gave him home exercises to help speed it up. Just as Shelton surrounded himself with a team of coaches and fellow athletes, Dr. Loomis became part of that team. “You’re nothing without your team,” he says. “Nobody can take care of anything in this world alone.”
What is different about Dr. Loomis compared to other doctors?
“Dr. Loomis really cares about my general well-being,” Shelton replies. “He doesn’t think he can treat everything either,” which he respects. “ He will send me to [other specialists] if he suspects a serious injury. Other docs often try to take care of everything…maybe order some x-rays, but would keep saying, ‘you’re going to be fine.’” And they sent him on his way with the same injured ankle. Chiropractic is a hand-on approach, while many doctors barely touch patients these days due to note-taking and writing prescriptions. Chiropractic in its nature requires the doctor to use his hands to perform the physical manipulations, which aid in healing the body.
What would you say to children and teens pursuing athletics as a career? What do they need to know?
“Take care of your body now because it will fail on you – it’s inevitable,” he responds. “You’re constantly doing things to push its limits. You’re always asking more of it so it can get better. ” That comes at a price on your body. He recommends getting chiropractic care on a regular basis to avoid serious injuries. He also has some life advice for our young athletes. “Don’t believe the hype. Don’t worry about what they say you can do. Just worry about your own improvement,” Shelton advises. He explains there is always some else out there working harder or doing more than you can currently do.
He also believes trying to be the best at your craft can really hold you back in both your athletic career and life in general. “Strive to be a big fish in a big pond,” he says. “The more you’re around those big fish the more you’ll become a big fish yourself,” he explains. “If you surround yourself by guppies [so you can be the best among them], you’re always going to be a guppy.”
And the UFC ring is no place for guppies. Shelton is taking his own advice to heart. But the overall impression we get from this contender? Humility. He has not let any of the fame go to his head. He loves his wife, his family and continues to give credit to everyone on his team who has helped him get this far. And so it is fitting that his last piece of advice to our readers is to “stay humble and keep striving to get better.”