This is number seventy-six in Jack’s series of interviews with MMA fighters and personalities, and for this particular interview, we’re pleased to feature veteran MMA heavyweight and TUF 10 competitor, Wes Sims. Sims is no stranger to the UG, and he posts some outrageous and entertaining threads from time to time. After some time off, he is next scheduled to fight Ruben "Warpath" Villareal, on September 1st. Please enjoy the conversation below.
Jack Brown: What was your first experience with martial arts/combat sports, and how did it become more than just a hobby for you?
Wes Sims: Jack, do you remember UFC 1, 2, or 3? It's amazing how far the sport has come since that period. As unregulated as it was during that time, when I got my first taste of MMA, it was as a youth. Back then it was even more lawless than it was on the first PPV.
The year was 1984, and a young Wes Sims was much bigger and stronger than the other kids his age. So one day I decided to push the limits and play in the big kids' sandbox. This was where I ran into a kid that was much older than me. He had to have been 6 or 7 years old. I still remember his name: Josh. While playing with my green plastic army men, he decided to try and punk me out and steal my toys. At this point, I am sure you are expecting me to tell you that I got whooped and my dad put me into Karate classes. This however was not the case.
What transpired next pre-dated any UFC 1 rules and was so dangerous that even SEG realized that there wasn't a place for it during the outlaw years. I picked up my Big Wheel and used it as a weapon. I literally beat this kid merciless, and with this sent a message to the rest of the kids on the playground . As odd as this may sound, for some reason, I think that very same action repeated itself in my first appearance in the UFC.
JB: What do you recall about your first professional MMA fight, a decision loss to Dan Severn back in 2001, and how prepared do you feel you were at the time?
WS: Well, coming from a strong wrestling camp, I wanted to make a big splash in the MMA world with my first fight. At that time, no one would fight Dan, but I definitely wasn't afraid of him. The game plan was to make him work hard until the third round when my cardio would take over and I would hopefully finish him. Outside of his cheesy moustache and unforgiving lisp, I also underestimated his strength. I got pinned the entire time and had to suffer through his victory speech that no one in the entire venue could understand. LOL.
JB: After that loss, you were undefeated over your next seven fights before entering the UFC. You then debuted with a memorable disqualification loss to Frank Mir at UFC 43. What was that debut like, and now that many years have passed, how do you regard your decision to stomp a downed Mir?
WS: Nothing else on earth compares to walking through that curtain, or out from the back, to a sold-out arena with thousands of screaming fans! People all have their fixes, whatever they may be. Mine is that feeling. I was so confused and upset after, due to the fact I know I would have won had I just dropped down and pounded him! Life-lesson learned, and I can only look forward. I would love to finish that trilogy. I'm sure he has it 2-0, Mir. I have it 1-0-1, Sims. The second fight was close. I just wish I did a few things different there, like not pulling guard.
JB: Over the course of your nearly 40 pro fights, and the many organizations that you have fought for, what have been the highlights for you?
WS: Man, where do I start? Some of my best friends, that I never would have met without the sport, are still heavily involved in my life. Some countries, that would have never crossed my mind to even think about going to, I have traveled to and had awesome life experiences while there. I often tell people that the sport of MMA has given a lot of fighters geography lessons that they never wanted as well as travel plans they never dreamed of fulfilling. It's been a great ride so far!
JB: You are well-known for developing some rivalries and encountering controversies with some of your opponents. Which are the ones that still stand out for you now?
WS: True dislike in this sport is hard to come by. True sportsmen know this is a job, a business, and to take anything personally is just an annoyance. However, my favorite, that to this day I want to beat up if I see him at an event, in a parking lot, or in the woods hunting with his gun, is Tim Sylvia! The rest were products of the events and were there and gone. Though I would still like to bite Mike Kyle for his bogus antics!
Jack, a few years ago, there were a few fighters that released books that in my opinion were pretty vanilla as compared to the reality of the early years and crazy behind-the-scenes actions that everyone knew took place. I have an outline of a book that if published would literally out-sell all of the other fighter-written books to date. As much as everyone outside of the UFC likes to talk crazy about them, the UFC has always been good to me and my book mainly concentrates on Japan, Brazil, and a bunch of illegal, behind-the-cage type things that people will go to their graves swearing never happened.
JB: You were a competitor on season 10 of The Ultimate Fighter. What was that experience like for you, and how did you enjoy the colorful personalities of Big Country, Mitrione, Kimbo, Rampage, Rashad, and others?
WS: Do you know what's crazy? I hate to slam the MMA media, but there are a lot of things surrounding that season that no one has ever addressed. First off, the season was heavily edited. It was not like the other seasons though, where fighters claimed that they were painted in an unfair light and didn't really say something at the moment it was shown. Our season was edited due to the fact that right before we arrived at the house, contestant Zak Jensen was in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and murdered the boyfriend of the girl he was told to bodyguard. I know it's a bold statement. However, he was the guy that we were always picking on in the house, and more than one time, he literally broke down and sobbed uncontrollably while mentioning the murder. Every season, like clockwork, there is an episode where someone in the house finally breaks. Well Jensen was heavily edited out of the season, and when he finally broke and cried like a child, it never made the episode. Our noticing his odd behavior was a big part of living in the house, and it was never featured on the show. That was weird. Overall, I loved the whole experience and only regret getting hurt day one and not being able to compete at my best.
JB: You last fought a year ago, in June 2012, in Bulgaria. Your account of this fight and the circumstances surrounding it are rather infamous. What actually happened, and what have you been doing since then?
WS: This fight and its circumstances tended to get murky based on Ken Pavia making things up and press-releasing them for the organization in order to try and defray the craziness surrounding the fight and the promotion itself. Whenever you go into a foreign country, just assume that the promotion is mafia-run. In this instance, some of the promotion's employees, as well as my opponent, were being arrested for murder and cocaine trafficking during the days leading up to the day of the fight. It was crazy to get your food per diem from a guy that the next day was on the front page of the newspaper for his involvement in the Eastern European drug trade. The promoter/money guy/mafia figure also happened to be the ref during the fight, and they did everything they could in order to intimidate me. I was followed the entire time I was there, and on more than one occasion, I was set up and shaken down by the police at the behest of the promotion. The only video that exists is one the promotion released, and that is heavily edited in order to make something that was clearly not a fair fight palatable for the average jerk-off that thinks he's smarter than everyone else. I have been around this sport for a long time, and I am street savvy enough to know when I was set up. I may joke around and troll online occasionally, but please believe me when I tell you the following. In the very near future, I am going to have to go to court in order to defend myself due to the fact that I beat Ken Pavia. My sole defense for my actions will be an email that he wrote to me in which he forgot to edit the previous conversations with a separate party, confirming that he was the one that instructed the promotion to stiff me on my money and place a gun to my head. I swear I will have a court date involving telephone tough guy, Ken Pavia.
JB: What is next for you in your fighting career?
WS: Unfortunately, the fighting life isn't for everyone. Many people see it as something glamorous, but the truth is that while struggling to make it to the next level, you are literally a day or two away from losing your house. Due to this fact, I took a lot of stupid fights that I literally had very little to no time to train for. Now however, although my life is at times chaotic, I have a strong enough foundation so that I can get enough gym time in order to compete at my best. My next fight is against Warpath, in Gladiator Challenge, on Sept 1st, and I promise I will have a good showing and make my fans proud.
JB: Who are the individuals who have supported you most in life?
WS: The individual that has helped me the most has got to be my mentor, trainer, and best friend, Mark Coleman. He has always been there for me. Besides him, my doctor, close friends Jamey and Donny, and family, have helped me a lot. I also want to take a minute and thank my sponsors - Lancaster Bingo Company, Reliable Auto Sales, R&L Upholestry, Precise Automotive, The Patino Diet, HeadCase, and all the fans who enjoy my humor!
JB: Last question, Wes, and thanks for taking the time to do this. What does it mean to you to be a fighter and how much do you enjoy it?
WS: As a community, we are a bunch of people that never really fit in to the average everyday norms of society. I am proud to be a part of it, and have done numerous things that I prefer not to publicize in order to help those in need that are somehow connected to the sport. If I were to shed some light on one of those actions, I would talk about someone that has never asked for any publicity, but in my opinion deserves more than he gets. It's a kid out of Chicago named Jeff Dunbar. A few years ago, he fought for a low-end promotion run by scumbags, and he became paralyzed during his fight. When I first heard about this, it affected me in a way that I had never previously felt before. While trying to figure out what I could do to help, I ended up over at Coleman's house and explained to him the situation. Although I didn't have much money, I did the only reasonable thing I knew would make a fellow MMA fan in need of help happy. I went through the stack of unopened fan mail in his house and I took any memorabilia of importance, had Mark sign it, and drove it to Chicago. I can't explain the emotional difficulty I had sitting next to Jeff in the hospital, talking MMA, and was honestly surprised at how knowledgeable of the sport he was. This kid was an expert. If anyone of any substance is reading this,I believe that it is your obligation as a person and a fighter to do things like this throughout your life. If you are ever in Chicago, please find a way to visit Jeff. Having a conversation with him literally changed my life and made his day. I challenge you guys to track him down and treat him as you would want to be treated if you were in his position.
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Visit JackJohnBrownMMA on Facebook for links to all of Jack’s past interviews. Previous interviews include: Dan Hardy, Rose Namajunas, Joe Lauzon, War Machine, Tom Lawlor, Bas Rutten, Chris Leben, Phil Baroni, Julie Kedzie, Michael Bisping, Duane Ludwig, Sara McMann, Matt Lindland, Duke Roufus, Pat Miletich, Jens Pulver, Dan Severn, Nate Quarry, Ken Shamrock, Matt Serra, Jeremy Horn, Ray Longo, and dozens more.
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