EXCLUSIVE | Gerald Harris on Upcoming WSOF 4 Fight With Jorge Santiago: ‘I love knocking people out’
| WSOF welterweight and longtime MMA fan-favorite Gerald Harris joined our boys Chase Raymond and Kinch on this week’s episode of BJPenn.com’s Late Night Cage Side Radio. Gerald was kind enough to discuss several topics revolving around his life as a fighter, his life outside of the cage, and what the fans can expect from his upcoming fight with Jorge Santiago at WSOF 4 on August 10th. Here are some of the highlights from BJPenn.com’s Late Night Cage Side Radio interview with Gerald Harris:
Harris was first asked how training for his upcoming with Santiago was going.
“It’s going good,” he said. “Training camp is going good.”
He was then asked how his weight-cut was coming along for next week’s fight. He replied, “I haven’t really started cutting. I just try to train my butt off and whatever I naturally get down to I kind of stay there because if you try to cut too early it’ll make you feel weak. I’ve been cutting weight since I was eight years old so I’ve never had trouble. You do have trouble in dry states like California and Vegas, you have to be careful because it kind of messes with your water weight but I’ll be fine. It sucks, I haven’t weighed 170 pounds since high school so I don’t know what I was thinking when I did it but, dude, those 85 pounders are big. I weigh like 190 right now so I couldn’t fight 85, man. They’re just big, I couldn’t pull a Frankie Edgar.”
Gerald Harris then talked about how he is a stand-up comedian aside from being a fighter. He explained that he has been doing stand-up since his late teens and has been spending more time telling jokes as of late since he’s been rehabbing from an injury he sustained in his last fight. He made several analogies between fighting and stand-up comedy such as when he said, “I love knocking people out. That’s like the punch-line of a joke. If you knock somebody out that’s like, you can walk off the stage.”
When asked what he was more nervous for, his first fight or his first stand-up gig, he replied, “Probably the fight because I hadn’t had a fist fight since the sixth-grade so I didn’t know how to throw a punch.”
The boys in shop spend several more minutes talking about Harris’ standup comedy and how he balances his life between fighting and his stand-up comedy. Harris stated that it definitely keeps him busy and it’s not an easy thing to do but it’s a nice balance that allows him to live and stay above water, so to speak.
“It’s hard, because I’m a promoter and, this is the thing people don’t understand,” he began. “I book the shows, I book the event, I get the venue, I book the comics, I set up, I hire all the staff, I get a vender for alcohol, I get a vender for food, I hire all the waitresses and all of that. I put the show together, I set up the intro, all of that, and I still perform. So it’s tough. It takes me a month to do my big shows, the 500-600 [people] shows, but here’s the thing; World Series pays great. If I was fighting 2-3 times a year I wouldn’t have to do it. I love comedy regardless, but I was injured in my last fight. I tore my MCL so I was out for like 10 months and that’s how I made a living. I lived off of my comedy shows. I paid my rent and, you know, my gym is doing ok. It’s doing fine, it helps. But the comedy shows, man? You’d be shocked at how good they’re doing. I’ll never stop doing that. I can’t just fight. I’m 33 years old. I can’t just fight. If I twist my ankle it takes me like 2 months to heal, so, the comedy shows are a source of income. It’s a job, it’s not a hobby.”
Harris was then asked if he planned on continuing his stand-up after fighting or if he ever considered just focusing on his stand-up rather than fighting.
“Really, after my last fight I didn’t want to fight anymore. I was going through a lot of personal stuff, like really bad. I just, I don’t know, I keep a lot of stuff in me,” he replied. “I had a really long talk with Ali, who is a really cool guy, he’s the matchmaker, and then Rampage talked to me for like 30 minutes and I decided to not retire.”
“I can make a living off of the gym and my comedy. That’s what I’ve been doing for 10 months. What guy you know can work once a year? Regardless if you get paid 10-15 grand, it doesn’t last long. You divide it up by 10 and it’s not a lot, including the payout. So the fighting to me, right now, I still have that drive. When I watch fights I wish I was in there. I don’t want to look up when I’m 40, I can’t pull a Randy Couture, and I say, ‘I can still do this.’ Guys are peaking in their 30s. I’m not too old to do this, so I got a couple more years left and I’m hoping for the best. But I want to get that belt and keep it for a while and then retire but before I do that I have to get through some tough guys, man. They’re bringing in some good talent.”
The conversation then shifted back to Harris’ lighter side and commented on his funny and sometimes whacky twitter rants. He explained, “If you hear anything negative come out of my mouth just laugh because I’m really just messing with people. I just love to see people argue over stuff they don’t know what they’re talking about.”
Harris is preparing for his bout with another veteran of the sport in Jorge Santiago on August 10th at WSOF 4. It will be the first fight for Harris since losing to Josh Burkman in November of 2012 and he was asked how excited he was to get back into the cage. He stated, “It feels good to get back in there with a good opponent. It’s a good fight to come off of the loss and try to kind of, not make up for the loss but at least show that you belong in there.”
Harris was also asked to comment on what he thought of WSOF president Ray Sefo also fighting on the upcoming WSOF 4 event in Ontario next weekend. Gerald laughingly replied, “That’s insane. How cool is it be the guy fighting your damn boss? Like, what are you doing?”
Then Gerald was asked what he thought about working for WSOF. He explained, “I say this all the time, I don’t feel like I’m losing my job. My contract expires next month and I’m ready to resign so negotiations are determined on this next fight, so there is pressure going into this fight. It’s either sink or swim. That’s how this sport goes. You can cry about it if you want to but you dictate your future.”
Of course Harris also had to be asked about his release from the UFC at the end of 2010. Harris, who went 3-1 in his UFC run, was cut following a unanimous decision loss. It was the first loss for Harris in the promotion and many fans were baffled at why he was let go. When asked about why he felt he was let go Harris explained, “I was just a sacrificial lamb. There’s no excuse. I’m not Clay Guida, I’m not Melvin Guillard, you know, I guess you could call me a knock-out artists, but I didn’t deserve it. It was wrong. There’s guys right now that are 1-4, 0-5, failing drug tests, getting arrested. I didn’t do any of that stuff man. I mean, I had a bad fight. Put me on the prelims.”
“My UFC career was jacked up from the beginning,” he continued, “I fought 4 newcomers. It’s impossible to make your name off of newcomers.”
Harris went on explaining why it’s hard for fighters to loosen up and let their skills take over when he explained, “You can’t expect guys to go out there guns blazing when the risk is greater than the reward.”
“We literally have to win. The only thing that can guarantee you keeping your job is winning, not excitement.”
He then commented on what he thought should change in order for fighters to feel more comfortable and secure in their job with the UFC. He said, “I had a six fight deal. If you get a six fight deal, no matter…even if you get your ass kicked six times in a row, you should get six fights. That’s all I’m saying.”
Harris was then asked to comment on his upcoming opponent, Jorge Santiago, and what he is expecting him to bring to their fight next week.
“He’s a tough dude. I’ve trained with him before down in Florida. He’s a cool guy. I just expect him to come out and do his best. He’s consistent. He’s had some losses but he’s consistent. You know, he doesn’t go out there and get tired or just doesn’t show up. That dude shows up for every fight so we’ve been training our asses off. We’ll be ready.”
Harris was also asked to give his game plan heading into the fight. He said he didn’t want to give any information away and then laughingly said, “I’m gonna go fight.”
When asked if he wanted a possible title shot in a rematch with Burkman if those stars lined up he admitted, “I do look ahead, I want to get this W and get back in the win column.”
But he assured the fans here at BJPenn.com that he was not planning on calling Burkman out if he wins next weekend. He said, “I don’t call people out because 99% of the time when you call someone out you end up getting your ass kicked so I’m gonna let that kind of play out.”
“A rematch wouldn’t be bad sometime down the road but it would be ridiculous to look past Santiago in any way, so I’m 100% focused on him.”
He then told the fans why they should tune in to watch him face Jorge Santiago next Saturday on NBC Sports Network:
“If you’re a fan of MMA tune in because basically we’re two very experienced veterans, you know, we’re gonna go in there and pretty much do it all.”