Mark Kerr The Specimen
Exclusive! Mark The Specimen Kerr makes Carl Fisher a very happy man
Carl Fisher : When did you get here Mark?
Mark Kerr : A couple of days ago and this is my third trip over here
What do you like about Abu Dhabi Mark?
Mark Kerr : I think stereotypically what you usually think of them as an American in the Middle East, but my first trip here totally changed my respect for them; the people, culture and environment - its a pretty miraculous place.
Who have you been training with in preparation for the fight?
Mark Kerr : Ive been training a lot with Rigan Machado and I have a new set of trainers that concentrate on me outside wrestling, the conditioning stuff. I havent really trained whilst I have been in Abu Dhabi, but I will be doing a little training Wednesday and Thursday and then I want to get into the Superfight.
What are your thoughts on Sperry?
Mark Kerr : Hes really good and has a reputation of being really aggressive and I want to go out there and have a good battle. I think his only weakness is he hasnt fought anyone my size physically and skill wise
How big an influence has your wrestling been to you in this arena Mark?
Mark Kerr : Its been my only influence Carl to a point. You know when I first started I said I didnt know how to fight, I was just a good athlete, but my wrestling is what enables me to do what I do.
Why is it so hard to take you down Mark?
Mark Kerr : I think working with so many great technical guys who were incredible at the takedowns and being able to defend against them; my submissions are coming along through training with Rigan and hes been an incredible influence for me.
What are your thoughts on the tournament this year?
Mark Kerr : Its always a toss up over here as they keep the line a secret as long as they can, so I dont really know the full line up in any division, so its hard for me to say really, but its usually a toss up between at least four good fighters.
How have you managed to bounce back after Pride?
Mark Kerr : Last year was a tough battle for me in Pride with two losses, so this year I am not putting too much pressure on myself and try to get myself healthy and make the right choices this year.
What next after Abu Dhabi?
Mark Kerr : I may end up doing a Pride show at the end of May and maybe a UFC show in June I dont even know who I will fight, its early days.
How do you stay focused year after year?
Mark Kerr : This year is a little harder as I have just sold my house in Phoenix and I live in LA now; its been a tough year but I am glad its finished as I have learnt a lot about myself and this year I am just taking my time.
What do you think about Sakuraba and his loss at the hands and feet of Silva?
Mark Kerr : Well they changed the rules that made it hard and it doesnt really protect the fighter, especially when your face is down and you cannot see and you are able to take kicks and knees and stuff; I know they want it exciting and stuff, but its not safe for the fighters at all.
You have cleared up here at Abu Dhabi since the event began Mark - where do you see yourself heading? Would you come back next year?
Mark Kerr : I think I am going to go after the heavyweight belt in UFC or Pride. They were two things I said I wanted to do last year and this year I am in a better position health-wise to do them.
Whos been your toughest opponent?
Mark Kerr : Myself really.
How do you handle the nerves Mark?
Mark Kerr : I get nervous and throw up before a bout; sometimes I have to make myself throw up as my stomach hurts so much. I use visualisation and deep breathing to try and relax and enter a different zone.
Do you follow a diet at all?
Mark Kerr : Yes pretty much so - not too much proteins and carbs; I have whats known as a duel metabolism so I take a wide variety of stuff.
Still a firm advocate in cross training?
Mark Kerr : Its the only way to go - when you concentrate too much on one area; you know theres been a resurgence of really good hand skills and they have good takedown defence to keep the game stood up, but they have to spend time wrestling to make it more balanced - Ill always be a believer in cross training.
Hows Ricco coming along?
Mark Kerr : Hes doing real well - as long as when he steps on the mats on Thursday and that his body feels good, I think Ricco can win it.
Who made you leave wrestling and enter the NHB arena?
Mark Kerr : It was a guy from Phoenix who asked me if I could do it and I said yeah, Ill give it a try and that was it.
How do they treat you in Japan Mark?
Mark Kerr : Its incredible the Japanese they do a huge production with over 30,000 people there. Its a great show.
What do you to relax?
Mark Kerr : I like to play golf when I get the time (laughs).
Are we set to see any academies open in the future Mark?
Mark Kerr : It would probably be about three years down the line if I opened up somewhere in LA, no earlier than that.
What advice would you give to fighters wanting to enter the NHB arena?
Mark Kerr : Just be willing to learn you know; in this sport there is a time and place to have the attitude and ego and its usually not when in youre in the learning mode.
What makes you sit and up and listen Mark?
Mark Kerr : You know characters like Sakuraba and Gracie; when Renzo took the mike after being beaten and said hands up to you, tonight you were the better guy and he said some classy things. I like the guys who can put it in perspective and take responsibility for winning or losing and not blame it on something else.
Do think that NHB will become mainstream in the US?
Mark Kerr : It has the potential to and be able to survive. People want to see the human nature kind of thing on television and this is the ultimate you know part of that, an incredible reality.
Any last words Mark?
Mark Kerr : I appreciate all the people who support this industry and I cant imagine doing anything else for a living; the people who love it and follow it, they are the real backbone of the sport
Carl Fisher - "The European voice of MMA News "
submitted 25 April 2001
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