With the popularity MMA has gained in recent years, it has given the opportunity for fighters to expand their horizons. As has been the case with many fighters, it seems Heath Herring has recently thrown his cowboy hat into the mix as well.
He was recently pulled from a scheduled UFC 99 fight against Cain Velasquez, stating he was forced to withdraw due to an illness. However, with his most recent comments, it should at least raise the question of where his motivation is?
Heath Herring recently sat down with MMAFanhouse.com and discussed his future as a contender in the UFC Heavyweight division. Referring to his loss against heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar, he explained how, “It doesn’t really benefit me to go backwards and fight new up-and-comer guys. It’s not really what I’m there to do, or what I’m there for.”
He continued, “It’s not that I’m not really happy with the UFC … It’s just, you know, like I said, I think that last fight just took a lot out of me. Now with acting, and things kind of taking off, it just left a bad taste in my mouth. And not necessarily with the UFC. Just with the training … you know, some of my trainers and things like that. I think I just needed a little time to step back and maybe do some other things for a little bit…”
What confuses me as a fan, is that had he fought Velasquez and won, wouldn’t that have put him right back in contention for the heavyweight title? And with the newly revamped UFC heavyweight division, there are more fights than with “new up-and-comer guys”. If my memory serves me correctly, I think Brock Lesnar was an up-and-comer in the UFC, but whatever happened with him anyways?
As has been the case with so many fighters before him, most notable Rich Franklin, Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture, MMA has given fighters the ability to branch out and earn money without getting hit in the face. But at the end of the day, they are fighters, they have all returned to what got them their acting gigs in the first place.
Currently Herring has a three fight contract remaining with the UFC, but it appears he is no hurry to return to the Octagon. He seems content with the money, B movies garnish, and will wait until the fight paydays increase.
I for one enjoy watching Heath Herring fight, and think with the restructured UFC heavyweight division, there are many intriguing fights he could take that would help his chances at a title shot. Remember, he is currently the only man to go the distance with Brock Lesnar.
Ultimately though, the decision lies with Heath Herring himself, but if he waits too long, all the acting jobs and fights, might just dry up.