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Corey Anderson Finds Zen in the Outdoors

On a cool January afternoon, Corey Anderson took a call while out in his yard spending time with his children. They were laughing and running around, a whirlwind of activity not unlike their father who was trying to get them to play for a few moments while he did an interview.

The 33-year-old laughed when it was noted that he sounded busy, with the kids and family, a new job at Marion University as a wrestling coach in Indiana, a new house, hunting deer and filming for his YouTube channel, and resumption of training for his MMA career as the Bellator top-ranked light-heavyweight fighter.

“Every day, man … that’s why they call me Overtime,” he said, laughing. “I don’t do things just a little bit. There’s always something going on. I worked out with one of my college guys today and he asked me when I was going to sit still. But I can’t. You have to get up and get after it every day.”

Anderson believes in making hay while the sun’s shining, which is one reason he rarely slows down. After a successful collegiate wrestling career, he found his way into the MMA game and began the ascent through the ranks. Before signing with Bellator MMA, he competed in the Ultimate Fighting Championship and won the light-heavyweight division in the The Ultimate Fighter: Team Edgar vs. Team Penn. Anderson was a Top 5 UFC contender, and then signed with Bellator MMA where he continued his climb.

In April 2022 while fighting Russian champion Vadim Nemkof for the Bellator light-heavyweight title, the two inadvertently butted heads with five seconds left in the third round. A deep cut in Nemkov’s forehead began bleeding. Anderson notified the referee of the accidental foul and injury. The ringside doctor said Nemkof couldn’t continue because the cut was too deep, and the fight was declared a no-contest.

For his honesty, Anderson received accolades from many for doing the right thing. But it cost him the title, as the match didn’t get into the fifth round. It also cost him a $1 million payday, too, for not winning the Bellator Grand Prix final. It would’ve been his biggest event, his first title and biggest payday. But it wasn’t meant to be. Anderson stewed for a bit and then got back to work in the ring. Letting five seconds slide for a payday wasn’t, and isn’t, in his character.

“I look back on it and I think I would do the same thing again,” Anderson told the Wall Street Journal in November 2022 before a rematch with Nemkof. “I want to be a good sport. When I win, I want to win fair and square. There’s no extra cheating. I didn’t throw weights in the [fish]. I didn’t deflate a football. I got there the right way.”

Anderson and Nemkof fought again, with the latter winning a unanimous decision. Yet Anderson still maintains that stance about the April bout, saying other fighters he knows said they would’ve covered the injury or let the clock run out. That’s not how he approaches things. When he’s in the arena or training in the gym, he’s on 100 percent max speed. At home or elsewhere, the job stays behind.

“It’s hard to turn it on and off sometimes, especially when you lose and are trying to figure out what was going on, trying to separate those emotions and all of it,” he said. “My biggest thing, though, is that my family didn’t do anything and there’s no reason for me to be uptight with them or anyone else. You just have to leave your job at the door. Don’t bring your work home. Me and my best friend, back in 2016, agreed that we don’t talk about the gym or fights outside the gym or fights. Once I leave the arena or gym, I leave it there. I just try to block it out when I’m not in that atmosphere. I’m a husband and father who fights for a career.

“Last November after the rematch, I’ve taken time off to spend with my family, recover mentally and physically, do some hunting, enjoy the holidays and all of that. I’ve never really done that before, never took the time to really rest. I was always training or fighting or doing something, and you have to give yourself some time to relax and heal. You have to let injuries heal. It’s tough to learn to do that, but you have to. This is the first time I’ve done it and I really feel good. I’ve been training, getting back going again, and when I think the time is right, I’ll let my agent know that it’s time to ramp up things for whatever is next.”

Hunting Is An Escape

Anderson’s popular, and growing, YouTube channel is Outdoors with Overtime and he’s 100 percent authentic on it. Some shows are self-filmed. Some, he has a videographer. He makes mistakes, has successes and celebrates being outdoors just like anyone else in camo. That started at a young age, thanks to his father and elders.

“I’ve been hunting since I was a kid,” he said. “My father grew up in St. Louis and his grandfather taught him how fish and to hunt rabbits and coons. When we were growing up, we hunted or fished on the weekends. Dad taught us growing up about firearms safety, the gun parts, carrying it the right way, all the things about gun safety. I got into deer hunting and archery when 16 in high school. Was 3D shooting with my dad, and a friend of mine asked if I hunted deer. I didn’t know that we could, and he took me and I was hooked.”

Anderson said learning about hunting, figuring out what to do or not do, making mistakes and just watching deer and other wildlife “was a breath of fresh air, and it still is.”

“When I became professional athlete I got more deeply into the outdoors,” he said. “I realized it was my escape from the world. I lost two big knockout fights and things kinda broke off … injuries, trying to get back in the gym, just a whole lot of things going on. That was about 2017, I think, and my trainer told me that I couldn’t come back to the gym until the next year so I could let my head clear. He wouldn’t let me get back in there for several months. It was hunting season, so I figured I’d take advantage of it.

“I finally got into the woods and got situated, and the first squirrel I heard running around made me completely forget about everything. It really did. I saw a little buck with a broken rack, more squirrels, and I listened and watched everything. I completely relaxed and forgot about everything in the ring and media, what everyone was thinking about or talking about, and it was great.

“Some athletes smoke weed or do other things to relax, but I don’t do those. I just get on the water in my NuCanoe Frontier 12 kayak or get in the woods and completely relax. Whenever I get a little wired up my wife will tell me to get in the woods, go hunting or hang cameras or stands or whatever. Or I may go fishing for bass, catfish, bluegills, crappie, whatever, I just enjoy catching them, throwing them back and being out in nature.”

With a move to Indiana last autumn, Anderson hasn’t had time yet to effectively scout his property and get acquainted with it. But thanks to several Moultrie Mobile cellular cameras and this off-season, he’s ready to get going with a new plot for the 2023 season. Anderson bowhunts with a PSE EVO XS 33 set at 75 pounds.

“I usually run my cameras year-round because I want to see what’s going on,” he said. “I’ll take them down for a month or so in early summer to do any maintenance, check everything and replace the cards with fresh ones. It’s important to have good SD cards in there, and the right ones recommended for the camera, to get the best images and video.

“I’ll put my cameras back out in June when the deer are in velvet and are feeding in summer. That gives me a chance to study their behavior and learn what’s going on with them. I know that things change between summer and hunting season when they break up and move around, but I think it’s still good to get that intel. Plus, it’s enjoyable to watch them and see what is happening.”

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