Lions, crocodiles and sharks — Inside the home of Oktagon MMA legend Karlos Vémola

There are two things Karlos Vémola loves fighting and animals. And ahead of Oktagon MMA 45, he graciously gave Sporf a tour around his wonderful home, featuring lions, sharks and crocodiles.

With a terrifying skill set and a 205-pound frame, the Czech legend is one of the scariest men on the planet, and he has the animals to match.

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In a moment of perfect timing, Vémola answered my call while feeding his beloved lionesses, Elsa and Princess.

Explaining his fascination with exotic animals, he said: “The first one, I rescued. And it went from there because lions breed a lot. There are not many spaces for the lions, so she came to my house. I provided her with a home and got her a little mate to make sure she wouldn’t be lonely. Then I saw Mike Tyson, with the white tiger. So I thought, ‘I wanna have a white tiger too’, and I got myself a white tiger.

“Don’t ask me how I got the crocodiles because that was just crazy. When I was a kid, I couldn’t have animals. My parents were strict, and I couldn’t even have a hamster. So when I grew up, I thought, ‘When I was young, I couldn’t have it, but now I can’.

“And once, I was with my ex-partner and my son at the zoo, and my son saw a crocodile. He said, ‘Dad, can we get a crocodile? And she goes. ‘Of course not. Are you crazy’? I said, ‘No, he’s not. Listen, if my son wants a crocodile, he will have a crocodile’. And within two weeks, I had a four-meter crocodile swimming in my living room.”

With an incredible array of pets, there’s only one animal left for the MMA icon to get his hands on.

He laughed: “I’ve got all the big animals, so the next step might have to be an elephant.”


Oktagon star, Karlos Vémola, adores his animals

While some may be intimidated by the dangerous beasts he has in his home, Vémola has much greater concerns.

He joked: “The scariest thing in my house has to be my wife.

“The animals are great. I believe you get from them what you give to them. If you behave badly with them, you will have bad animals. I have lions and tigers, and you’d think they eat me alive, but they’re good.

“They’re nice because I’ve spent so much time with them.

“They keep me busy as well. Sometimes you come home tired after work and want to be lazy. But I can’t be. I can’t not feed my lions because the next day they will eat me.”

“I always say statistically; there is more chance I get killed by my wife than by my animals.”

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Karlos Vémola has had an incredible journey to Oktagon MMA 45

After showing us his sharks and crocodiles, which swim around his living room, the 38-year-old reminisced about his road to becoming the Oktagon light heavyweight champion. And it’s a stark reminder of why you shouldn’t ever mess with a bouncer.

“I didn’t even know about the sport. I was working the doors at the Opera House in London, and I threw two MMA fighters out. And their manager from CFC said, ‘If you can do this to my top boys, you can do this for a living’. Two weeks later, I was in the cage.”

Possessing remarkable talent and a formidable fighting spirit, Vémola quickly rose through the ranks, eventually becoming the first Czech to sign for The UFC, simultaneously tattooing his name into the history books while also winning the love and respect of people from every corner of his country.

After leaving the promotion, he signed with Oktagon, winning the light heavyweight championship and embarking on a series of epic rivalries.

In his last outing, he dropped a razor-thin decision to Patrik Kincl, a man whom he still holds a grudge against.

Speaking on whether he’d be interested in a trilogy, Vémola asserted: “Yes and no. I think I’m at the end of my career now. The first fight was five years ago, and now he’s just being a silly bo**ocks saying I’ve got to wait another five years for the rematch like he did. I’m not waiting for no one, I’m doing my own thing. I don’t think I want to be cutting down to middleweight anymore because I nearly killed myself. I’m not gonna be chasing after him like he did for five years and begging. F**k him.”

Karlos Vémola is ready to make a statement at Oktagon MMA 45

So what does the future hold for the pioneer of Czech MMA?

Firstly, he’ll take on Lucas Alsina on Saturday evening at OKTAGON Štvanice on DAZN in ‘The Most Beautiful Event of the Year’. Providing he wins that, he’ll defend his belt against arch-nemesis Attila Végh.

And if UK fight enthusiasts are really lucky, we’ll see him in Manchester on November 4.

The powerhouse beamed: “I hope my UK fans haven’t forgotten about me. With a bit of luck. I will be on that card, and I will be fighting back in my second home.

I’m looking forward to seeing my English fans.”

But before he left us, Vémola couldn’t resist jumping into the cage with his lions.

I wrestle with them every f*****g day. Every time I go in the cage, they jump on me and try to get me down. They are very playful. I’ll show you. It’s gonna be very hard to do it with one hand. Having a phone in my other hand. But every time you get into the cage. They just jump on you like little kids. You can’t step back and show them you are weaker than them.

 “She’s overfed now, but in a minute, they’re gonna be jumping all over me. She’s like 300 pounds.” 

Featured Image Credit: Karlos Vémola