I recently had the opportunity to speak with up and coming EliteXC heavyweight Dave Herman about his upcoming fight with Kerry Schall, his career, his thoughts on Kimbo Slice, and his decision to train more or less by himself. Herman pulls no punches. He may not have much to say at times but he is as honest a fighter as they come. While he may not have a whole lot to say on some subjects he will tell you the truth and doesn’t put a sugar coating on anything, even his drinking habits before some of his old fights. Below is the interview in its entirety.
Adam Morgan: You’re a newer face to a lot of people in MMA so tell us a little bit about your background and how you got into MMA.
Dave Herman: Well I wrestled in college and one of my friends wanted to watch a fight once, I thought it would be fun to give it a try. That’s about it.
Adam Morgan: Was your first fight right out of college?
Dave Herman: I was still in college. It was Halloween, my first amateur fight was, and that’s going on almost two years ago.
Adam Morgan: How did you get the nickname “Pee Wee”?
Dave Herman: I kind of did it as a joke. Somebody said something stupid and was like “how about Pee Wee” and I just kind of went with it after that.
Adam Morgan: Have you ever thought about changing it?
Dave Herman: I don’t know. Prior to that I wasn’t actually planning on having a nickname but it’s kind of funny, I like it.
Adam Morgan: You mean you don’t want to change it to “Blueberry Muffin” after your interview with Goldberg?
Dave Herman: Nah, I was just joking. I was just messing around.
Adam Morgan: That seemed like a pretty awkward interview. Was it?
Dave Herman: I dunno, it was…short.
Adam Morgan: Sean McCorkle is always on the UG before your fights talking about how little you train before each fight. Is there any truth to that or is there anything you’d like to say to refute those claims?
Dave Herman: There’s some. My last fight I worked out pretty hard for and did a lot of conditioning. My first five amateur fights I mostly did a lot of drinking.
Adam Morgan: So is McCorkle halfway correct?
Dave Herman: Partially, sure.
Adam Morgan: Okay, so give me an example. For the fight against Mario Rinaldi how much did you train?
Dave Herman: Well, I only knew two weeks ahead of time that I even had the fight. Actually, one week before, the Saturday before we grilled out steaks on the fire and played beer pong all day.
Adam Morgan: And this was one week before the fight?
Dave Herman: Yeah and I actually threw up that night and all the next morning. At night you can’t really see if the steaks are cooked and I think I ate like five raw steaks. That’s what it looked like in the sink in the morning anyways.
Adam Morgan: And then the very next week you came out against Rinaldi and put on a pretty dominant performance?
Dave Herman: Yeah, I was a little tired. I probably could have conditioned a little better but it worked out okay.
Adam Morgan: As far as this upcoming fight what has your training regimen been like?
Dave Herman: I actually just went to Las Vegas to spar with people and do some striking work with Ken Hahn at Striking Unlimited. Other than that I’ve just been working on conditioning.
Adam Morgan: Tell me about your time with Ken Hahn out at Striking Unlimited.
Dave Herman: It was fun, I felt like it would probably be a big help if I had a striking coach for sure. I got along good with Ken and he showed me some stuff. Hopefully I can retain what he showed me (laughs).
Adam Morgan: How did you get hooked up with Ken Hahn?
Dave Herman: One of my managers just asked me if I wanted to fly out to Vegas and I said yes. American Standup actually brought me out to train with Striking Unlimited.
Adam Morgan: And as for the drinking, has that come to a stop?
Dave Herman: Yeah, I quit drinking. I quit drinking before the last fight.
Adam Morgan: You whipped out a crane kick in your last fight. Where did that come from?
Dave Herman: I just kind of made that up. I’ve been working on that since I was like six years old so there it was. When I was six I thought that would be a fun kick to do. That’s the first time I ever did that.
Adam Morgan: What’s your opinion of Kimbo Slice and all the attention he’s getting?
Dave Herman: I don’t know, I don’t really know what to say. He’s only had three pro fights and he’s making a lot more than probably everybody else who is 3-0 besides maybe Brock Lesnar. The UFC is kind of doing the same thing with him that EliteXC is doing with Kimbo. They’re not really getting paid for their fighting skills. There’s other people that are just as talented that don’t get paid anything just because they weren’t already there, you know what I mean?
Adam Morgan: Is it something that is a jealousy thing or more just that Kimbo hasn’t paid his dues and he’s getting paid all this money or what is it?
Dave Herman: I don’t know, if I was in his situation I would do the very same thing so I can’t really say anything bad. I’m just waiting for him to fight somebody good I guess.
Adam Morgan: Do you think there’s any chance that Ken Shamrock will expose him?
Dave Herman: I don’t know. I’m no expert when it comes to critiquing other people but I guess we’ll find out. It looked like he had a little trouble with wrestling so if Shamrock goes out looking to wrestle then he might have some trouble, I don’t know.
Adam Morgan: Has EliteXC ever talked to you about a possible fight with Kimbo?
Dave Herman: Not that I’m aware of.
Adam Morgan: Would you like to fight him?
Dave Herman: I don’t really care. Whoever they put me against is fine with me.
Adam Morgan: Has the UFC ever approached you about fighting for them?
Dave Herman: They’ve never approached me personally. I think they might have said something to my manager but it was after I’d already signed with EliteXC. They never said anything prior to that, no.
Adam Morgan: Are you happy with how EliteXC has treated you so far and how they’re bringing you along?
Dave Herman: Yeah. It’d be nice to get paid a little more but that will come with time.
Adam Morgan: Do you see EliteXC as a long-term contender to be able to compete with UFC?
Dave Herman: Hopefully. Competition is good for everybody, really, especially the fighters.
Adam Morgan: Have you ever given serious thought to joining one of the top MMA teams to hone your skills?
Dave Herman: What, like a gym? Possibly.
Adam Morgan: Who are you training with now?
Dave Herman: Well, I went out to Vegas to work out with Ken Hahn for a week. Other than that I just work out at my house.
Adam Morgan: So you’ve never trained with a team?
Dave Herman: No. I actually just got done wrestling with one of my friends in the living room. Usually I go and wrestle on the wrestling mats in the wrestling room at Indiana University but I didn’t really feel like going all the way over there so we just moved the couch out of the way.
Adam Morgan: Is there any particular reason that you’ve never trained with a team?
Dave Herman: It’s just more convenient. I mean, where’s a good team at that’s close to here?
Adam Morgan: Good point. What does it feel like to be in your first main event on Showtime?
Dave Herman: About the same. I just have to wait longer to fight now.
Adam Morgan: Is there anything in particular that you have to be worried about when facing a guy like Kerry Schall?
Dave Herman: I don’t know, I don’t really know much about him. I might look into a little bit in a week or two.
Adam Morgan: So are you one of these guys that’s holding down a job and then training when you can?
Dave Herman: No, I don’t have a job.
Adam Morgan: Okay, so take me through a regular day in Dave Herman’s world.
Dave Herman: Well, today I got up and ran and then I went and helped out one of my buddies move some stuff. Then I went to the pool for a few hours. What else did I do today? There’s not a whole lot going on over
here. We wrestled in the living room.
Adam Morgan: So you don’t have like a strict training regimen or anything?
Dave Herman: No. Sometimes we go back to the quarries and do some cliff diving and swimming.
Adam Morgan: You’ve never given any serious thought to going balls to the wall and training MMA all day, every day?
Dave Herman: That just sounds terrible, actually. (laughs) But I would like to, with some good coaches, learn some more techniques and stuff.
Adam Morgan: Would you ever consider leaving Indiana to do that?
Dave Herman: Yeah, I’m on a lease here until next August but after that I’m probably going to go somewhere, I don’t know where. This year I’m going to try to travel around, see what my options are, and make a move next year. I’m not in a hurry.
Adam Morgan: Anyone you’d like to thank or anyone you want to give a shout out to?
Dave Herman: American Standup for flying me out to Vegas. It was a good experience, got to meet a lot of top fighters and stuff. That was kind of cool.