· Gerald Harris ~ Reality Check
This father of two is not your typical mixed martial arts fighter. The affable Gerald Harris attended East Central High in Tulsa before attending Cleveland State University, where he received his bachelor’s degree in history. Harris has always been athletic - he wrestled all throughout college and even played semi-pro football. While he was in college, Harris pursued one of his lifelong dreams: stand up comedy. Though he was fairly successful, he realized that there just wasn’t enough money in it for him and that he needed a stable income. Harris decided to become a high school history teacher, teaching two years in Florida and for one year at his alma mater in Tulsa. He got into mixed martial arts through the recommendation of a friend who knew of his athletic prowess.
Chris McClain sits down for a one on one interview with Gerald ‘Hurricane’ Harris (9-2). The witty middleweight let loose as he discussed his training, background, Ultimate Fighter experiences, and just about anything else.
Q: You've said, in the past, that your first fight was something your friend convinced you to do for fun. What made you decide to keep going with it?
A: It wasn't fun at all! I was broke as hell and he offered me $600. I hadn't fought since the 6th grade so I relied heavily on my wrestling. I slammed the guy like three times and threw only two punches. One made him tap, then the other knocked him out.
Q: What areas of your game have you been focusing on improving?
A: Wrestling, I need to take people down and lay on them until time runs out. Just kidding. I'm becoming more well-rounded, but I can't tell you my secrets. You'll just have to watch the next fight.
Q: What are some of the positives and negatives about being a professional Mixed Martial Artist?
A: Well... more money more problems. I can see MMA going in a very positive direction, but with popularity comes trouble. More attention seekers in the media are digging deeper into the personal relationships of fighters and others such as Mr. White. I don't wanna see fighters in the tabloids, because they rarely cover good news. Other than that, I hope that they will eventually come up with a stronger judging system and other minor things that could help.
Q: Do you feel you should of received a chance in the UFC after The Ultimate Fighter had wrapped? Did Dana White say why you did not?
A: At that time, Yes. At this current moment; "hell naw". Because I finally realized I was not ready for the UFC. I actually talked to Dana, and he was cool as hell. People think he's mean, but you can't be a nice guy and run such a tough business; especially when you started it all. Getting cut was a reality check, and it was simply a blessing to be on the show. The UFC is not a place to learn how to fight. After the show, I built connections with Rampage [Quinton Jackson], Michael Bisping, Cheick Kongo, Jamie Varner, CB Dolloway, and many other fighters. I left Team Quest, and started all over. Now, I'm currently on a 4 fight win streak.
Q: How would you have felt about going against CB Dollaway for a chance at the TUF crown?
A: That's what a lot of people would have expected. I didn't know much about his fighting until I got in the house and trained with him. People underestimate him, but he's got some real talent. I think we would have been a good fight, but it didn't go down, so now we are training partners.
Q: With that win streak, has the UFC or any other major organization contacted you about fighting for them?
A: No; and they probably will not contact me. You have to really shine to get that phone call and I'm just fighting in local shows for experience and becoming better every day. I have not won any titles or major tournaments. I don't know how I will get in, but it will happen one day. I have offers from many other organizations, but I don't wanna go there. I have plans to get into the UFC.
Q: If you do receive a contract with the UFC and could pick your opponent, who would it be and why?
A: From what I understand, when you first get in, you pretty much have to shut up and fight. I'm a good fighter, but I’m not in a position to negotiate opponents until I start selling Pay Per View numbers or tickets. I know my role.
Q: Do you know when or where you next fight will be?
A: January 30th in Oklahoma. BFC Title Fight, the Barnyard Fighting Championships. I'm gonna whoop some farmer's ass!!! (joking) Really, its called C3 promotions, they take care of me.
Q: You started off training at Team Quest, any chance of going back or are you happy at Arizona Combat Sports?
A: I would never go back to Team Quest management, but I do miss the my training partners to the 10th power. They were like family to me, but I had to move on. It just didn't work out for me. I can go on with this but it would be a one sided story and I have too much respect for them to speak on it. I still talk to those guys and we are cool.
Q: Are there certain fighters that you look up to?
A: Rampage [Quinton Jackson], BJ Penn, and Kenny Florian
Q: Do you feel fighters are being paid what they are worth? Are you able to just focus on fighting or do you have to work a second job?
A: Yep, I do. As much as people complain, it's up to "you" to make money. Everyone wants things handed out to them. You have to learn the ropes and network. Hustle hard for sponsors and get a team of people that are not out for your money, but out to make money. Ten years ago people in the UFC were fighting in tournaments for $50K with no weight limits and crazy rules. I remember watching a guy tap out from haymakers to the nuts! Negotiate what your worth, and make dat money!
Q: Who do you think is the best pound for pound fighter today?
A: Fedor Emelianenko
Q: If you could pick one person to step into the cage with, past or present, who would it be and why?
A: I would like to go back in time and win the 1st UFC tournament.
Q: I read once that you do stand-up comedy in your free time, how did you get into that and do you know when you'll be performing again?
A: I have been a class clown all my life. So we went to an amateur comedy club and I got on the stage and killed it! That's when my career started. When I started teaching I slowed down. I haven't done that for a while now, because I want to eventually be an actor. Right now, I'm dedicating 100% of my time and energy towards MMA. If something comes, I'll take it, but I would love to do a movie.
Q: What sort of education do you have, and what is your degree?
A: I have a Bachelors degree in History [from Cleveland State University]. I couldn't have done it without my wrestling coaches' support; and a couple smart kids sitting in front of me on test days.
Q: Is there anything you would like to say to your fans?
A: Thanks. I get so many notes on Myspace! Just please stop by my webpage (www.geraldhurricaneharris.com) in your free time. There are videos, music, and many other things.
Q: Do you have any sponsors you may want to plug?
A: Caged-Steel. com Fight Wear
Ecko Unlimited Clothing
Ghost Dog Boxing
Arizona Combat Sports (treated me like their own)
Brookside Tattoos and Piercing in Tulsa,Ok (that's where I got my first tattoo!!!)
Q: Thanks again for taking the time to answer some questions.
A: That'll be $10, you can send it in the mail or hand it to me when I see you. I got bills man! Gas is going up!
by Chris McClain