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This Traeger Pro and MMA Champion fighter hails from Hanford, California where his professional career in the MMA circuit began. His many successes in high school earned him an athletic scholarship to Cal-Poly San Luis Obispo. During his collegiate career, Chad was a two-time All-American and finalist in the NCAA Division I National Wrestling Tournament in 2008. Upon graduating, Chad received an invitation to join Team Alpha Male which is well-known as one of the best and most badass mixed martial arts teams in the world. His love for the sport quickly flourished and Chad became an unstoppable force in the MMA circuit. He was signed with the WEC (now UFC) and competed in three world title fights, including headlining five main events.
Since stepping out of the cage, Mendes decided to continue the pursuit of his lifelong passion for the outdoors. Chad founded a hunting guide service called Finz & Featherz that focuses on providing world-class hunting and fishing trips and creating awesome lifelong memories along the way. He’s been featured on several hunting television shows and serves as a brand ambassador for numerous outdoor sporting companies.
His passion for hunting, fishing, and harvesting the meat, led Chad to become a field-to-table or as we like to call it, a “field-to-Traeger” guy. Chad has become a serious master of wild-game smokin’ on his Timberline 850 and can now add wood-fired pro to his long list of accolades. Chad continues to bring people together outdoors to share his passion for the hunt, show the importance of natural harvest, and crank out ridiculously awesome food time and time again. We won’t fight that.
Tell us about your most memorable day on the water, in the woods, or in the octagon?
My 2016 DIY Alaska Moose Hunt is my most memorable day on the water and in the woods. My friend Pat and I took his boat 140 miles up the Koyukuk River. We would cruise the river, park the boat, and hike in to look for moose. We were back on the boat and just about done for the day when we came around a bend and spotted my 163 inch moose. I made a clean shot and he went down about 30 yds from where we spotted him. It took us over 10 hrs to process and pack him out. This is a day I will never forget. All of the meat harvested from this hunt will be feeding friends and family for my upcoming wedding. This moose hunt was dedicated to my good buddy who had passed a couple months prior. I felt his presence that day and know he had a hand in making it all come together for me.
Who do you credit with helping you most in your career, any mentors or people you look up to?
I credit my Dad as my biggest mentor in my career and in life. He started me out with athletics at a young age and coached me up until the high school level. He continued to be a huge impact as my wrestling and fighting career progressed. He also introduced me to the outdoors at a young age and taught me everything he knew about hunting and fishing. We still love to hunt and fish together and are always finding new places to explore.
For beginner fighters or outdoorsman what’s the one bit of advice you would give?
Start small, learn and perfect the basics, build a good foundation to grow from and never stop learning.