("I think I’ll go to Hollywood where the competition is easier.")
It’s been over two years since Heath Herring last walked into a cage or a ring to compete, which left many wondering if he would ever fight again.
Now "The Texas Crazy Horse," who walked away from the sport to pursue an acting career is going stir crazy to get back to fighting, but because of a contract dispute with the UFC is unsure of when he will be able to compete again.
After a shaky 2-3 UFC run which included a drubbing by Brock Lesnar at UFC 87 in his last fight in August of 2008, Herring’s future with the company looked bleak, especially since a losing record didn’t give him the upper hand in negotiating better paydays or a more lucrative contract.
Most assumed that he had left or been dropped by the UFC for disparaging remarks he made about the company (*see Todd Duffee), but Herring says he was offered fights by the promotion over the past two years, but because of terms of the fights and their locations, he turned them down.
If you recall, he pulled out of a UFC 99 bout with Cain Velasquez in Germany due to an undisclosed illness, which has now been identified as upyoursZuffayoucheapbastards.
“There were a couple of times [since the Lesnar fight] where the UFC wanted me to go overseas and do a fight for them, but it was tough,” Herring told Sherdog.com. “The UFC would do things like ask me to fight overseas but then only pay for one hotel room for me and my coaching staff. If I’m having to pay for hotel rooms, and they’re making as much money as they are on pay-per-views, it’s just not financially worthwhile for me to take that fight.”
He wants out of the expired contract with the Zuffa LLC-owned organization, but says that the UFC can block him from fighting elsewhere.
“I’m kind of in a weird deal with the UFC right now,” said Herring. “Supposedly I’m free and clear, but the UFC is able to match any offer I get for a year. I’ve had some offers, but I’m not sure if the UFC would let me sign somewhere else.”
I’m not sure what the market rate is for a former PRIDE fighter who hasn’t fought in two years and who is 4-5 since 2004, but he may want to check that out before walking away from the UFC for good.
In the meantime, Herring has a his busy movie career. Thankfully there is no shortage of demand for mohawked-thugs in Hollywood.
“I did quite a few movies [in 2009]. This year, I’ve done two or three movies and some reality show pilots, but the economy has really slowed things down lately," he explains. "I’m supposed to be in a movie with Jean Claude Van Damme and Wesley Snipes called ‘Havana Heat’ that we’re going to shoot in Colombia, but I think that’s going to be put off until after the holidays.”
Wait. Aren’t you supposed to do reality shows AFTER your acting career has fizzled out? Maybe SAG the rates for "bar fighter # 6" aren’t as good as they used to be.
Whatever the reason for his wanting to return to the fight game, I’m not going to count him out until he starts telling everyone that "the old Heath Herring is back."
Heath has always been a supporter of the military, so you have to give him props for that. We’ll just have to wait and see what kind of fighter Hollywood has turned him into. It didn’t do much for Cung Le.
“I definitely miss fighting. I didn’t know anything else for 14 years, and everything I have comes from mixed martial arts. This isn’t what I’m used to doing. Sometimes it gets me down, but I’ve been in eight movies in about two years. It’s weird to not have a fight to look forward to, but I try to keep myself busy with work and have a goal to work towards," he explains. "Still, sometimes it’s hard not to go stir crazy. I’m working out all the time, but there’s a clear difference between training just to stay in shape and training to get ready for a fight,” said Herring. “I’ve been making ends meet. I know I’ll be doing more seminars, and I might be going to Korea to work with the troops over there. I like working with the troops and working with people.”