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Interview: Wes Sims on Homelessness, Highs and Lows, and Being a “Certified Black Man”

(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. 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.

Well before, natural weather was a horrible thing for me.  When it rained, I got wet.  When it snowed, I was cold.  Pretty much the bottom of the barrel.  That house, in Vegas?  That was great.

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.


Cagepotato Comments

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britty from L town- November 11, 2010 at 10:11 am
you can do anything and at that moment he needed that maybe more than anything for his career and communication look where he is now just except it
stingrza- September 9, 2009 at 6:00 pm
Homeless with a cell phone? That seems odd.
High Left Kick- September 9, 2009 at 3:53 pm

it was a flying triangle arm bar, get your shit together mang. And the only reason Kimbo was able to pull it off was due to Cock Chestner holding Wes Sims' nuts to his ankles.

Just ask Cheeto
jamesbrktt- September 9, 2009 at 2:26 pm
Awwwww...Wes is sweet,he got his boyfriends name tatooed on his hand.
tysonmcneely- September 9, 2009 at 2:22 pm
This post needed to be ended with a link of him on Blind date
Da Spied Her- September 9, 2009 at 1:09 pm
TacoMafia: that's very close! Just go down Cicero Ave there (Rt 50) to where it goes under I-55. That's where all the homeless hang out, bothering the traffic. Anyone else, just take I-55 north and get off at Cicero Ave exit, the main exit for Midway Airport. If you're flying in for the expo, fly in to Midway and it's not that far away! But take a taxi, because you'll probably get mugged walking there.
Da Spied Her- September 9, 2009 at 1:05 pm
I-55 in Cicero? I bet he's washed my windshield before. And I want my dollar back, he did a shitty job.
One Two- September 9, 2009 at 12:44 pm
they're just not allowed to say anything, contracts. Wes Sims sucks I unfortunately did see him in iron ring, then afterwords saw him lose to a couple no namers in small orgs where he gassed in seconds.
ReDx- September 9, 2009 at 12:21 pm
If he was under an overpass, then how did he get wet when it rained?

Also, he doesn't remember anything about the show, especially how he did, but he remembers that Roy Nelson ate a lot of food.

TacoMafia- September 9, 2009 at 11:46 am
Wes Sims fan expo:

mynameisalsoben- September 9, 2009 at 11:27 am
"Wes Sims Fan Expo" is really the "Wes Sims Garage Sale" (but without the garage, of course)
Horror Fighter- September 9, 2009 at 11:03 am
On the Ultimate Fighter: The Comeback, Jeremy Jackson claimed that he was living out of his car. And after the show, his career really took off, and his life got on track. I think. Like Wes, I don't remember much.
NomadRip- September 9, 2009 at 10:55 am
I'm sure having that extra 3 bucks a month in savings is all that was keeping him from coming up with $500 for rent. You don't need a roof to be able to get a job, but it's pretty tough to get one without a way to let anyone get ahold of you.
Smitty- September 9, 2009 at 10:44 am
He's going nowhere.
portland mma- September 9, 2009 at 10:27 am
Wasn't Sims one of Hendo's coaches last year on TUF?
GetUpAndKill- September 9, 2009 at 10:23 am
Sounds like a _____path to me...fill in the blanks. Sounds like a story teller more than anything. How was he as living homeless under an overpass but still owning a cellphone??? Dunno about you but my cellphone is GD expensive. If he had any friends they would let him couch hop and not let him kick it in the streets. Great interview to read but highly suspicious.
SpecC- September 9, 2009 at 10:19 am
Asian guy to his friend : Hey take a picture of me with the guy who has "douchebag" tattooed to his palm!
Jugger- September 9, 2009 at 10:16 am
This guy is a complete idiot who has carved himself out a niche as the court jester of MMA. He better not sell that card board box. He'll probably be right back in it in about 6 months to a year.
TheHuytonHandGrenade- September 9, 2009 at 10:12 am
He and Kimbo are good friends he used to let Kimbo fight with his friends in his bedroom, i like Wes hes nice
Catalyst8487- September 9, 2009 at 10:12 am
@High Left Kick

I heard that Kimbo did a flying armbar submission on him in the first few seconds of the fight. I even heard that Brock is training to do exactly that against Carwin in their fight...

C-Bus Allstar- September 9, 2009 at 9:41 am
Homeless and he's giving stuff away under an overpass in Cicero? Sounds like my ex-heroin dealer.
High Left Kick- September 9, 2009 at 9:37 am
I heard Wes Sims knocked out Kimbo in his first fight with a head kick. True story fellas, Tito told me so
Frank Mur- September 9, 2009 at 9:28 am
Anyone have directions to his (overpass) house?
MGalactic- September 9, 2009 at 9:28 am
First? I saw him at Art of War in Austin, Tx. He was a fucking dick, flicking off the crowd, antagonizing virtually everyone. And on top of that, he lost to someone nobody from Austin after he failed to finish him in the first round.

Not a nice guy.
WhiteOnRice- September 9, 2009 at 9:27 am
Glad to see his priorities are in order. Good thing he had a text messaging plan while he was homeless and living under a bridge.