WEC frontman Reed Harris: Leonard Garcia vs. The Korean Zombie was the best MMA fight I’ve ever watched
By Zach Arnold | May 26, 2010
Any time Reed appears on a radio show or does a TV interview, I always listen to what he has to say. He’s a cool customer, he knows how to promote, and more importantly he talks to the fans and gets his points across without looking down upon anyone. I wish this business had more guys like him. So, when he did this 20-minute interview on Tapout radio on Monday, it was a no-brainer to take a listen and see what he had to say about the upcoming WEC show in Edmonton and April’s event at Arco Arena in Sacramento.
Excited for the upcoming WEC 49 event in Edmonton, Albert, Canada?
“Yeah, we’re at this point just doing a little promoting and getting ready to do some media stuff this weekend at you the UFC (weekend) because that’s a pretty big card, Evans vs. Jackson, you know, and then following that we go to Vancouver and then to Edmonton, so a lot of travel you know this next couple of weeks but looking forward to it.”
“Yeah, he really is (misunderstood). And I’ll just tell you in my dealings with him he’s always been a perfect gentleman, you know. He’s you know commented on things that he’s said that maybe people didn’t take the way he meant it and you know I was up with him in Edmonton a few weeks ago and we did a media tour and I mean he did a great job, you know he was on the radio… a lot of questions were kind of centered around you know what had happened at the Strikeforce show and then what had happened at UFC with Anderson Silva and he was very diplomatic about all that stuff and you know I told him when we got done and we’re getting on the plane that I thought he did a great job. He knows that this fight is critical, you know, to his career. He’s got to win this fight.”
With your advancement into Canada, what is the next step — more shows in Canada or shows in other countries?
“Yeah, we I mean we’re always looking and you know as I mentioned before, our goals for this year to get into Canada and then maybe even try to get into Mexico. I don’t know if Mexico’s really going to happen in 2010, I mean there’s just so many logistic issues with doing a show down there. But for Canada it makes sense and Canada obviously is going to be an easier event to produce than producing in Mexico but we have a huge fan base in Mexico and I’ve been down to Mexico City a few times and went down a couple of months ago with Chuck Liddell and you know he’s well-recognized down there which means people are watching. We’ve had some real success with Miguel Torres, so I think our next milestone will be to do a show in Mexico but you know we went up to Canada like I said a few weeks ago, the response was great, we did a press conference, we had every major media outlet up there and you know the people are excited to have a big show like the WEC come and obviously after you know our success in Sacramento with Faber vs. Aldo, we’re starting to gain some momentum, you know and that’s a good thing. I mean our event was successful from every aspect, gate, the PPV, you know our ratings on Spike with the prelims and then obviously having the Garcia-Jung fight on Spike in the prelims helped us launch into the PPV and the whole night went perfectly so we were extremely satisfied with that event as I am with all the events, I can’t remember walking away from one of my events being disappointed and now we’re looking to bring this to Canada and that’s what WEC’s all about, we’re about exciting fights.”
What sets the WEC apart from other MMA organizations?
“I think it’s you know I mean I think that you know it’s a combination of a lot of things. My fighters are hungry, you know, a lot of these guys want to make a name for themselves and you know in order to compete at the lighter weight divisions, you just got to be in shape and you know Mike Brown told me this but Mike Brown says when he’s at ATT there’s like 30 guys that he trains with that are bigger than him and the only way he can even compete with them in the gym is to be better because of his size and you know those guys like when Mike Brown’s training for a fight he’s going to be rolling with guys that are in the 185, 205. I know Leonard Garcia told me he was sparring with Rashad Evans, getting ready for his fight. So I mean that’s going to make Leonard a better fighter, you know.”
What was going through your mind when you were watching the Leonard Garcia vs. Korean Zombie fight?
“I was actually standing at the table pounding on it. If you want to know the truth. And Lorenzo looked at me and I kind of got the signal that maybe I should sit down, so that’s what I did. I was really excited. It was probably the best fight that I’ve ever seen. And I know some guys have been critical about maybe the technical aspects of the fight, etc, but what I saw was two guys out there laying it all on the line, you know, giving it everything and then some and that’s really what’s fighting all about is to me is going out there and you know doing whatever it takes to try to win and like I said I’ve seen some great fights and I think that was probably the best fight I’ve ever seen.”
That fight was a much-needed shot in the arm for MMA fans after the other two big MMA events in April were so lousy.
“Dana said that at the fighter’s meeting, he said ‘please go out out there and make me forget about what’s been going on.’ Let me think about something good, let me think about fighting again. And I think that you know they all kind of smiled and I knew my guys would come through, they always do. The WEC is about the fighters, I mean that’s why the WEC’s done so well is we have the best fighters on the planet and I mean a guy like Leonard Garcia may not be considered the top guy in his weight class but that guy’s got more heart than any fighter I’ve ever met. When he’s lost fights, he’s absolutely devastated, you know what I mean? He goes into every fight, he trains his ass of and you know and I believe that Jung, while I don’t know him as well, probably does the same thing. I don’t know if you saw Jung after the decision was read but you know he was very, very upset and I think he was up until his translator translated to him that he just won $65,000 fight of the night bonus, then it turned him around a little bit. I would assume $65,000 is in Korea is like $65,000 in America, you know.”
How about those Korean Zombie t-shirt sales?
“By the way I called that guy and made sure that he was getting part of that, you see that’s the kind of the guy as I am as a promoter you know, I called that t-shirt guy and said, ‘now you making sure this dude is getting some?’ and absolutely, I had a long conversation with him. It’s all good, so buy those shirts.”
“Yeah, I was surprised. You know I don’t know if blown away would be the right, I’ve seen a lot of fights and styles make some fights and Jose just had the perfect game plan for Urijah. I really thought that Urijah would be able to get ijn there and take him down and it seemed like Aldo was able to just bale to neutralize that aspect of Urijah’s game. I thought Urijah won the first round but Aldo just continued to go out there and followed this game plan and take his legs out, you know, and once again we see like I just said with Garcia to me it’s about their heart and you can’t teach that, they have it or they don’t and Urijah Faber’s certainly got heart and you know I’ve been talking to Urijah’s people and you know he was actually going to head over to Thailand. He is on a quest to become the best fighter in the world and he realized from that fight that he needs to work on some things and that’s what makes a guy like Urijah Faber great is he doesn’t walk away from that and doesn’t get up or decide that he can’t win or you know he walked away from that going you know there’s things I need to work on. I can be the best in the world, you know.”
The WEC Featherweight division has a lot of top guys like Mike Brown, Manny Gamburyan, Urijah Faber, and Jose Aldo.
“Yeah, and I’m going to say something that may sound controversial but I believe that anyone of those guys can beat anyone of those other guys depending on the night because that’s what I believe MMA’s about. When you get guys that are in the Top 5 in the world fighting each other, it’s a matter of having your hand a quarter-inch away from your chin or a half-inch away from your chin, you know what I mean? It determined whether you get knocked out or if you block it. It’s really about milliseconds and millimeters and any one of those guys as we saw with Manny Gamburyan knocking out Mike Brown which shocked everybody other than Manny and again it’s just you know these guys are all such high-level athletes and are so well-trained that anything can happen which is why it’s the fastest growing sport in the world. When guys go out rarely do we know, who thought (Mauricio) Shogun was going to be able to take it to (Lyoto) Machida like that? I sure didn’t. I thought we were in for last a three, four round fight. No one was expecting Rampage to knock Chuck out, you know, but he did, you know, and you know that makes this sports so interesting. Going into this weekend, Evans vs. Jackson, I’ve got arguments why either one of those guys can win that fight and you know nobody on the planet knows for sure what’s going to happen. Other than if you talk to Rampage, he’ll probably tell you! I mean they’re both great fighters, they’re both guys who can finish fights. They’re both guys who can go 5 rounds, it’s not a 5 round fight, but I mean those guys are both guys that are dangerous, you know Rampage is really dangerous you know. Rashad is very fast, has knockout power, excellent condition, very very fast and so I can’t wait. I mean this is to me one of the biggest fighters of the year, by the way, I’ve been waiting to see this fight for a long, long time.”
Would you consider bringing in Cole Escovedo into WEC?
“Cole’s a friend of mine, too, I’d love to see him in the WEC. Sure, absolutely. We look at all fighters and Cole’s been doing really well. Obviously Cole you know had some health issues which he himself told me he needed to overcome before he would even consider coming back. It looks to me like he’s overcome them and has you had some pretty good fights. I think he’s fighting again at the Tachi Palace in June or July, I think he’s got a fight coming up there and we’ll see what happens. I know the last fight he did very, very well. In fact I talked to him after that. I talk to Cole about once a month. He was my former champion.”
It seems like you know everyone in MMA and talk to everyone constantly.
“Well I mean that’s not really because there’s a lot of guys out there but I just try to you know I try to make these guys know that they’re not just guys that work for us. You know what I mean? That they’re part of our organization, they’re part of our family and a guy like Cole you know listen Cole taught my kids jiu-jitsu years ago. I stay in touch with all the guys from those days at the Palace, I mean we were a pretty tight-knit group and I stay in touch with most of the fighters that fight for us. It’s part of what I do, I mean you know the fighters want to hear from us, they want to know what’s going on. We talk to them about potential fighters, we talk to them about health issues and things like that. I’ve got a ton coming in for the Expo. I’m meeting with Leonard Garcia in fact Friday morning. You know and so and I’m going to see them all at the Expo, we’re going to hang out and have a good time. And by the way, I enjoy it, I enjoy these guys. These guys you know are good people and they’re people that you’d hang out if you knew them, so…”