Your brain has a funny way of working when $100,000 is all but guaranteed to be heading your way. Just ask James Krause.
After accepting a late-notice bout with fellow lightweight Sam Stout (21-8-1 MMA, 8-8 UFC) this past weekend at UFC 161, Krause (20-4 MMA, 1-0 UFC) earned “Fight of the Night” and “Submission of the Night” honors after tapping out the Canadian for the first time since 2006. That guillotine choke comes with a $100,000 windfall in bonus money for the UFC newcomer.
Assuming, of course, that Krause passes his post-fight drug test.
“Yes, I am sweating it, but no, I’ve never done an illegal drug in my entire life,” he told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). “But I’m sweating it. To me, that’s a life-changing amount of money. I’m worried about the damn multivitamin I took on Friday or Monday or whatever. I’m worried about the protein bar that I had. It’s just such a life-changing amount for me that I’m worried about the gallon of water and if it had something in it.”
Krause, who earned the June 15 win in an FX-televised preliminary-card bout at MTS Centre in Winnipeg, now must just sit and wait for the drug results to come back. But his mind races as he thinks about things like cough drops or anything else that could somehow screw up the test.
“You just get paranoid,” he said. “But I should have absolutely nothing to worry about.”
Krause, who took the fight on just two weeks’ notice for injured Isaac Vallie-Flagg, said he has no grand plans for the money. His wife is graduating from nursing school next week, so he’d like to take her on a small vacation to celebrate. Otherwise, he wants the money to last as long as possible, so he’s talking to some wealthy friends and getting their advice about the best way to get the most out of it.
“I want to be smart about this and set myself up for success later on,” he said. “It may not be that long. I may go on to be a lightweight champion one day, or I may go 0-2 in my next two and get booted.”
Based on recent results, the former scenario seems more likely than the latter. Krause has now won eight straight fights. Additionally, though not with the UFC, the former WEC and Bellator fighter was competing on televised cards. Dominating the regional circuit with organizations such as Titan FC and RFA, he was a fixture on AXS TV’s MMA offerings. He’s built up quality wins, but more importantly, he’s learned not to freeze around the TV cameras or in big fights.
The UFC spotlight also wasn’t foreign to him. Krause had a brief stint on “The Ultimate Fighter 15,” and he’s often cornered teammates in UFC fights.
“I knew what to expect,” he said. “I think that helped me out a lot at UFC 161.”
In fact, Krause said the only jitters he really felt came when he entered Canada. That was a reminder that he was entering hostile territory against one of Canada’s own, for the world’s biggest MMA organization. But come fight night. everything clicked.
“I so felt like I belonged there, the entire time,” he said. “I felt like that was where I had been. That felt like my 16th fight in the UFC, not his. … I made a decision at one point in that day that I just wasn’t going to go home that day a loser. It was my night, and I was on.”
Not only did he go home a winner, he traveled back home to Missouri with the respect of his peers. Krause calls himself a hardcore MMA junkie – a true fight fan. So when fellow fighters on the UFC 161 card, including some of the bigger names, told him he belonged in the UFC and looked forward to his debut, he got the type of satisfaction that even $100,000 can’t buy him.
“Guys were saying it was overdue,” he said. “That blew me away. I didn’t know they even knew me.”
For complete coverage of UFC 161, stay tuned to the UFC Events section of the site.
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