In Brock Lesnar’s third career MMA fight, and second in the UFC, he faced a veteran with over 40 career fights in “The Texas Crazy Horse” Heath Herring. The bout in Minneapolis at UFC 87 was a shockingly dominant display from Lesnar, and ended with some taunting towards Herring and his corner which Lesnar would clarify delved from pre-fight trash talk.
That fight was brought up again when Lesnar appeared on the Stone Cold Podcast with Steve Austin on the WWE network, where Lesnar talked about Herring walking past his locker room prior to the fight, promising to “show this (expletive) that this (expletive) is real.” Lesnar said that comment just minutes before the bout “lit a fire under my ass” and in part led to some of the things he did in the cage during the bout.
Herring himself was asked about that in an interview on FoxSports.com’s “Great MMA Debate” podcast, and he said that it actually wasn’t him who said anything. He says it came from someone in his entourage, and though he takes responsibility for it, he says it’s not representative of who he is and was as a fighter.
“It wasn’t me. It’s also something I’m not really proud of and unfortunately we can’t control everybody that’s with us,” Herring explained. “The buck definitely stops with me if it’s somebody in my entourage. I’ve always tried to behave as an athlete should, as a gentleman should in the ring. That’s just kind of my upbringing. That’s something that’s always kind of bothered me. I’m really embarrassed about that to be honest with you that somebody behaved like that. It reflects poorly on me.
“Did I say anything? No. There may have been somebody in my entourage that said something and I might know who it was and that’s just being honest, but I never acted that way. There might have been someone in the group that said something.”
Penick’s Analysis: Herring may not have said anything in that particular moment, but he had certainly made comments to similar effect in the build up to that fight. He showed little respect for the 1-1 Lesnar coming right into the UFC and getting big fights, and made it clear he felt Lesnar was beneath him as a fighter. That’s what made the dynamic of that bout so fascinating, as Lesnar came out and blasted Herring with the overhand right that sent him somersaulting backward across the cage. The humbling loss would be Herring’s final fight, as he fell off the map for a long time before pursuing an acting career. At any rate, whether he made the comment or not, Lesnar drew some motivation from that, and made it count in that fight at UFC 87.
[Brock Lesnar art by Grant Gould (c) MMATorch.com]