The Spaniard

The Fighter

The Speaker

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I know what’s it’s like to have goals, dreams and ambitions.

I also know what it’s like to fall short of those goals, dreams and ambitions because of self-doubt and limitations.

As as kid, I dreamed of greatness – state titles, straight A’s, Olympic medals, world travels, a million dollars.

I had no limits.

And then something happened…I grew up, college ended, and I stopped being me.

I allowed myself to settle into a comfort zone and lose sight of the passion, dedication, perseverance, work ethic and lifestyle that set me apart my whole life. I no longer had that “no limits” feeling from when I was a kid. Those dreams I used to have were now just shoved in the back of my brain where it was easier to not even acknowledge them, than to accept that I had let go of them. I saw the people around me feeling content with not feeling content.

I had a choice: 1. Follow suit and live with regret, or 2. Do something about it.

I chose the latter.

My message is not about changing careers or winning world titles (though it certainly could be). It’s about applying the mindset that took me from a junior high Spanish teacher to a UFC fighter to your own life. It’s about smashing self-doubt and limitations.

With the mindset I’ve acquired from a decade of professional fighting and 25+ years of setting and pursuing goals at the highest levels of sports, I will continue to smash self-doubt and limitations, both mine and yours.

Let’s do this.

– Spaniard

the fighter

In 2007, I left the comfort of my hometown and full-time job as a Spanish teacher to pursue a career in mixed martial arts.

What started out as a dream soon turned into reality. I’ve fought at every level of the industry, including an 11-fight UFC career. After upsetting #6 ranked Rick Story in 2011, my life change as I skyrocketed into the world rankings and went head-to-head with the best fighters in the world, such as UFC Champion Johny Hendricks and current top-ranked light heavyweight Anthony “Rumble” Johnson.

The key ingredient in my climb to the top – HARD WORK.

The Speaker

I’ve transitioned my experiences as a professional fighter into professional speaking and mentoring.

While illustrating specific principles and examples that helped propel me to the top of the fighting world, I provide a very real, authentic look at what it takes to succeed in life. With over two decades of winning and losing on center stage, the mission is to share my insight and perspective with practical and relatable examples to help assist you in your journey.

I’ve been knocked out cold on live television, and I’ve lived out my own “Rocky” story in front of a million people. I’ve been pursuing my own goals for 25 years, and now it’s time to help you pursue yours.


  • Frankie Edgar

    Charlie and I go back to college wrestling days, and ever since I’ve known him he has been a hard working goal driven person. We started working together early in his MMA career and he used his work ethic and passion for competing to reach his goals. Charlie has always been a class act and carries himself like a professional.

    Frankie Edgar
    UFC Fighter/Former Champion
  • Marissa Hoover

    Charlie’s six week course at PSU Harrisburg was everything, and more, than expected. Each week, he shared his first hand, real world experiences while providing a blueprint for our student-athletes to follow. Success is easy to talk about, but it was Charlie’s stories of setbacks and failures that created a sense of ease in our athletes to share, and openly discuss, their own obstacles and setbacks. Charlie’s course helped create a self-awareness among our athletes that did not previously exist.

    Marissa Hoover
    Director of Alumni Relations and Development, PSU Harrisburg
  • Ed Barton

    It was wonderful having Charlie Brenneman present to our students. He focused on traits that an individual needs to develop and apply throughout their lives in order to achieve their goals and be a productive citizen. He spoke of making choices and the consequences of those choices. Charlie’s presentation incorporated visuals and the telling of some of his specific life experiences to illustrate how these important character traits got him through the ups and downs of his life and ultimately to reach his desired goals. His message was extremely well received by the students whom talked about it days after the presentation. Students commented that they were inspired to really think about setting goals and making good choices.

    Ed Barton
    Principal, Hollidaysburg Area Jr. High
  • Maureen Letcher

    Charlie Brenneman is the guy you want!! I have been a secondary administrator for almost 15 years and have seen numerous motivational presentations throughout the years. Charlie’s, by far, exceeded them all. He is down to earth, funny and relates well with the students in both large group settings and small group settings. Through his experience, he has so many excellent messages and stories to share with students that they can use in their daily lives. I would recommend Charlie Brenneman to any school or community group. He is top-notch!!!


    Maureen Letcher
    Principal, Hollidaysburg Area Sr. High
  • Mike Harris

    “Best motivational speaker ever. Why? Because he lived it.”

    Mike Harris
    Teacher, Hollidaysburg Area Jr. High
  • Rocco Scalzi

    “I put Charlie’s presentation up there with the best I have seen over the past thirty years.”

    Rocco Scalzi
    Founder, Beating the Odds Foundation
  • Anna Corradi

    Our 16 year old son started working with Charlie in August (3 months ago).  While Mario was already naturally athletic and in good physical condition, the two times a week spent with Charlie, has visibly made a impact in his physique, definition and size-all the important attributes to a teenage athlete.  Additionally, Charlie’s customized training has improved his speed, endurance and overall performance in high school sports.  As parents, the changes that are most important to us, are the vast improvements in Mario’s initiative, accountability, time management and performance in school.

    Not only is Charlie a proven athlete, he is a gentleman with core values beyond reproach that make for an excellent role model and mentor.  We are firm believers in providing as many positive life experiences for our children and we know the investment in Charlie’s program, will be life changing for Mario.

    Anna Corradi
  • Jason Knisely

    Mr. Brenneman provided our students with an exciting, energetic and authentic assembly on what it takes to be successful in school and, more importantly, in life.  His message of perseverance through adversity, improving yourself daily, and working hard to achieve your dreams resonated with ALL of our students from kindergarten to sixth grade.  Mr. Brenneman’s interactions with students is upbeat and focused on improving in all areas of life. The positive comments I have received from students, staff and parents has been unparalleled compared to other assemblies. I would highly recommend Mr. Brenneman to any school looking to share a real life success story and the journey it entails.  THANK YOU SPANIARD!

    Jason Knisely
    Principal, Center Elementary School
  • Chris Schiffert

    Charlie Brenneman has an ease by which he connects with young adults. He keeps things very real, and doesn’t sugarcoat what it takes to be successful in life. Being someone who has competed at the highest levels as an athlete, but also someone who has achieved academically, provides the perfect platform in speaking with kids. Among so many roles, Charlie is first and foremost a dedicated father and husband. When Charlie speaks, he refers often to his connection to and the importance of his family. He is in my opinion a genuine role model. He has spoken several times at my school, and each time my kids and teachers tell me that he was one of the best speakers they have ever engaged with. I recommend Charlie without reservation, as he will not disappoint. He takes great care in preparing his presentation toward his specific audience and is very approachable. Don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions regarding Charlie Brenneman.

    Chris Schiffert
    Principal, Whitehall High School
  • Justin Greskiewicz

    Charlie Brenneman is nothing short of a super hero whose mutant power is his simple unquestioning belief that he can accomplish absolutely anything he decides to. Infectious passion, unshakable determination, insatiable hunger for knowledge, and an outrageous work ethic put any task within his reach. He is the most genuinely authentic human being I know… so much so that I’m sure he is an alien.

    Justin Greskiewicz
    Trainer, Stay Fly Muay Thai
  • Mike Constantino

    I have known Charlie for approximately 7 years. I have been at his side for so many ups & downs that life has thrown his way and I am most impressed at how Charlie handled both adversity & bliss. Charlie has such strong family & moral values and is highly intelligent, charming and physically gifted as an athlete. He truly is the total package which makes it even more impressive considering his never ending thirst for additional knowledge and continued betterment. I am very blessed to have shared so many of life’s special moments with such a great person.

    Mike Constantino
  • Louie Sheetz

    Undoubtedly it’s a person’s upbringing and support that builds core character. Charlie had one of the finest in each regard. Parents who guided and encouraged him and a family as well as community that provided sustained levels of assistance and approval. But the drive and accomplishment has been all his own. Charlie embodies the true nature of budding ambition and determination. Mixed with a strong curiosity to see what else is possible he has experienced and accomplished many extraordinary things in his life. We are all very proud of him.

    Louie Sheetz
    Sheetz, Inc.
  • Scott Moore

    We recently had Charlie Brenneman as our keynote speaker for our end of the year awards banquet at Lock Haven. His preparation and poise during the presentation captivated the audience’s attention from the first word. His ability to relate to the diverse audience while sending a powerful message to the student-athletes in the room was on point. Having wrestled at Lock Haven, Charlie’s passion for the sport and character that it builds showed in his emotions as he told his story of success and failure throughout his journey in the UFC. As he told his story, a consistent message of integrity, character and passion exhumed from his body, something he had learned from over twenty years of competing in the great sport of wrestling and martial arts. A true success story and proud LHU Alum doing what he does best, entertaining the audience

    Scott Moore
    Head Wrestling Coach, Lock Haven University
  • Rusty Amato

    On behalf of the EPC SAC Council we thank you for speaking to our student athletes last Wednesday. Your journey is one that student athletes can relate to and your presentation is one that captures and keeps their attention. As I watched the student’s faces they were captivated… listening, laughing, raising their hands and connecting your stories to their own lives. Some speakers just present a power point and a message while you made the lesson come alive.

    Rusty Amato
    Assistant Principal, Nazareth Area High School
  • Don Friday

    In my 25 years of collegiate coaching I’ve had countless opportunities to hear professional development speakers address student-athlete performance in both the classroom and sport venue.  Charlie “The Spaniard” Brenneman delivers a fantastic presentation – he connects with people.  Charlie recently spent 6 weeks working with our Penn State Harrisburg student-athletes & coaches.  Based on his own successes and setbacks, he analyzes how we can mentally prepare ourselves to meet our highest aspirations.  He speaks of his own experiences as an NCAA collegiate wrestler, a public school educator, and UFC professional fighter. I, along with my players, made an immediate connection with Charlie.  His concepts are thought-provoking, prompting you to look inward at habits, behaviors and attitudes and the results they yield.   I strongly recommend Charlie Brenneman to anyone looking to gain a competitive advantage whether they are in sports, business, or community service.

    Don Friday
    Head Men's Basketball Coach, PSU Harrisburg