(This guy’s first mistake? Getting that close to Wes Sims. His second mistake? Not running away when he realized that Wes could squash his head like a grape.)
If you ever get the chance to sit down and talk with Wes Sims, don’t pass it up. The guy has as unique a personality as anyone you’re ever likely to meet, and he has some good stories to tell, too. In this exclusive interview, Sims talks with us about going from homeless ex-UFC fighter to reality TV contestant, what it was like living with the very hungry Roy Nelson, and how he used a text message to land his spot on season ten of “The Ultimate Fighter.” Trust me, you don’t want to miss this one.
CagePotato.com: Thanks for talking with me, Wes. So tell me, how did you like living in the “Ultimate Fighter” house?
Oh, it was great. I didn’t want to leave that house.
Yeah. If you would have seen where I was before, I literally had to pack up all my belongings to move in to the house. It’s been okay since then, but when I was out there I didn’t want to leave the house.
I think you’re the only person from that show to ever say that.
It seems like there were a range of backgrounds and experience levels with this cast. As a guy who’s been in this sport for a long time, what did you make of that?
Let me put it like this: it’s going to be a very entertaining season, with a lot of different personalities. The NFL players, those guys were pretty cool. You had guys who have fought in the bigger shows. You had Kimbo Slice. Yeah, a lot of personality in there.
I saw a video where you and Kimbo seemed pretty friendly. Did you guys become buddies over the course of the season?
I don’t know. What have you heard?
I just saw a video with you two kind of talking and looking like you liked, or at least tolerated one another. You seemed like friends.
Well, I don’t know about that. To be honest with you, we went out there on May 31. We filmed all through June and July. It’s September now. I’m going to be as shocked as the fans are, because I don’t remember nothing. I have a horrible memory. I don’t really remember how I did, myself.
You must remember the fights.
Like I said, I’m going to be pretty surprised. I don’t remember much. I’m excited to see it. Are you excited to see it?
I am now.
So am I, man.
Did you think that the NFL guys deserved to be there, or do you think it was kind of a PR gimmick by the UFC?
A little bit of both. They didn’t come in with 0-0 records. They had been fighting. It wasn’t just, let’s go out and get some guys from the NFL. It was guys who had been fighting and got their shot, and what better way than to do it on the TV show?
I feel fortunate because everybody I meet who knows I was in the UFC always asks me, ‘Have you been on the Ultimate Fighter?’ I knew how it worked and I realized that they weren’t bringing in guys who had already been in the UFC. So when season ten came out with heavyweights, as a joke, I sent a text to Joe Silva saying that I knew what was going on and I wanted in. He laughed, and he told me he’d send word to the producers because he thought my personality would be good for the show.
And I thought, is that it? Is that all I had to do? That’s a lot easier than trying to locate this house and jump the wall and take on all comers. Don’t get me wrong, I would have done it. I would have tried, anyway.
Did you learn a lot from the coaches on the show?
Oh, yeah. There was a lot of learning. There was a lot of shit-talking, too. A lot of shit-talking.
That’s what I’ve heard. Did you get the impression that Rashad and Rampage really hate each other?
Well, there’s definitely not going to be any Christmas cards getting sent back and forth. Let’s just say that.
Were you ever worried about the stigma of getting back into the UFC via the reality show? Or did you just think that whatever got you in the UFC was worth it?
No, people understand. Good or bad, there’s nothing that’s going to hurt Wes Sims. I’m a certified black man when I want to be. I’ve been on BET. I was on the “Iron Ring” for God’s sakes.
You were? I didn’t know that. I guess I didn’t watch much of that show.
Yeah, if you did know that you wouldn’t have asked me that question. What’s going to hurt my career after that? Negative press? Bring it on! I was on “Iron Ring”! And David Isaac, if you read this, you still owe me money, fool.
Who owes you money?
The producer, what’s his name, David Isaac.
They didn’t pay you?
They didn’t do anything. They’re bad for the sport. For real. They put on all these little tryouts all over the country to put together a good little reality, no, they put on a reality show. I won’t say it was good.
Where were you training before joining this season of TUF? I know you started out with Hammer House…
I’ve always been with Hammer House. Mark [Coleman] got me in this sport, and I’m loyal. I know my roots. I’ve cross-trained other places, trying to learn and get better. I went to Houston and trained with Saul Solis. I trained out in Vegas with Randy Couture. I trained in the streets under I-55 in Cicero for a while, where I was living.
You were living under I-55, as in, on the street?
Yeah, that’s why when you asked me how I liked the house I said it was great compared to where I was living. I was living pretty much in a garbage bag and not even a tent, just a sleeping bag.
So you went from living on the street to moving directly into the Ultimate Fighter house?
How did it come to that? How did you end up homeless?
Well, I had ups and downs in my career. You make a little money and spend a little money. There are highs and lows in this sport. This is obviously a high and I’m riding it out. It’s only going to get better from here.
A lot of people may remember you only as the guy who got disqualified for stomping Frank Mir at UFC 43. What would you say to those people?
Any time you make a mistake, people are judgmental and you’re not going to change that. Like me or hate me, everybody’s a fan. The person who likes me and takes the time to post something positive or come up and shake my hand, the person who hates me goes to the same effort to say something negative.
Do you ever think maybe your career might have gone differently if not for that incident?
In the grand scheme of things, everything happens for a reason. Obviously, I would have rather had a win than a loss that night. But at the time, I mean, no one ever talks about how he gouged my eyes. I was just getting back at him by stomping his head.
What surprised you the most during your experience on TUF?
I’m surprised how much food was eaten in that house. I’m surprised that, of that food, so much of it was eaten by Roy Nelson. And there’s a lot of surprises, but you’ll have to wait probably until week three or four for the big ones.
Was this one of the seasons where people got drunk and destroyed the house, or were you guys more well-behaved than that?
I don’t know. They’re telling you, Spike’s telling you, everyone who’s seen it is telling you that this is one of the best seasons ever. I can guarantee that if everybody was well-behaved you wouldn’t be hearing that. I think there were a bunch of obnoxious pigs in there if you’re asking me, personally.
Fair enough. Anything else you’d like to add?
Like I said, I’m as excited as the fans are to see this on September 16. The next day, September 17, I’m giving back to the city of Chicago. I’m having a Wes Sims fan expo over there. It’s under the highway, I-55 in Cicero, where I lived, and it’s from 2-4 pm. I’m going to be giving a bunch of stuff away to give back to the community, so come down and see me.