Former UFC heavyweight Sean McCorkle reflects on his professional mixed martial arts career. He speaks with Tony Reid of MyMMANews.com.
Tony Reid – If you could choose one fight from your career that every MMA fan should see which fight would you choose and why?
Sean McCorkle – “It’s definitely the (Mark) Hunt fight. That was me at my best. I went through a really hard time in my life for a few years leading up to that. To be in my hometown, to win as quickly as I did, for it to be my first fight in the UFC that was pretty special. It was one of the best memories of my entire life really.”
TR – You were the guy that gave keyboard warriors everywhere a reason to stick their chest out a bit. Can you walk us through the whole UG lead up to eventually getting the fight in the UFC?
SM – “I never really planned on making a career out of fighting. It was more of a hobby. It was something I knew I would be good at. I trained with guys that were really good so I knew I could fight. A lot of people thought it was all just internet talk. Obviously, I wasn’t as good as I claimed to be on the internet.”
TR – You are a very open and opinionated guy. What are your thoughts on the pay scale in the UFC right now?
SM – “The guys at the top rung get paid what they are worth. They get a couple million per fight, so that seems fair. The bottom line is that you have so many guys willing to fight in the organization for so cheap just for fame alone, which that one fight in the UFC will get you, but I think the pay scale is ridiculous. I think everyone in the UFC should be a full time fighter. I don’t know of anyone in the NBA or NFL…even the worst player in the NFL or NBA is making upwards of a million dollars a year. I think the fighters need a union. I don’t think it will happen until the government gets involved but the fighters might be better off with a union. It’s a double edged sword though. The UFC does it well and is very smart about the way they run business. That’s how I would do it as a promoter but it’s not very good for the fighters.”
TR – You had NBA and NFL aspirations as a younger man. Although never making it to the big show in basketball or football you have reached the pinnacle of the sport in MMA. Do you take some solace in that?
SM – “I always tell people I’m living the dream- just not mine. I never dreamed of fighting in the UFC. Not that it wasn’t a big deal but people were like ‘Oh, man it must be so awesome!’ Well, not if that wasn’t what you wanted to do. I didn’t grow up dreaming of becoming an astronaut so walking on the moon wouldn’t be that big of a deal for me. I dreamed of playing in the NFL and I really wanted to play football growing up. I played basketball in college but I was too short and too slow to be in the NBA. I made it to the UFC past my physical prime at 34 but I was glad I finally used my size and ability for something. If I would be ten years younger I would be all about MMA but at my age… I’m not getting any more athletic and any less sore. I was realistic with myself, I wasn’t going to go in there, win one fight and start calling out world champions. I may seem delusional in interviews but not with myself.”
TR – In what direction and what ways do you see the sport evolving?
SM – “It’s funny I watched a video of Jon Jones trying to dunk a basketball and that has to be the most unathletic dude I have ever seen in my life. I mean he looked so clumsy, so unathletic but it’s like he was born to fight. I don’t think he works that hard. I just think he’s naturally gifted in that sense. It looks like Jones is just on a different speed than everyone else, just like great athletes in other sports. I just think there will be more and more guys like him in the future. Also, if you get someone as naturally gifted as Jon Jones who would start training at 5 years old, that would just be phenomenal. You just learn so fast as a kid. That’s the time to learn. Not when you are an adult with all kinds of other responsibilities.”
TR – Who is the one guy you would pick a fight with in MMA and why?
SM – “I always wanted to fight Fedor. He was my all-time favorite fighter. I almost had the Fedor fight but they chose Jeff Monson instead. I got a call from Monte (Cox) and he said he put my name in for the fight with Fedor and that it would be a payday of $60,000. I said “Absolutely!” Not that I’m going to sit here and say I would beat him but it’s like playing 1 on 1 with Michael Jordan.”
TR – What is the one thing you would want the masses to know about you that they might not yet know?
SM – “It amazes me that people just don’t get it sometimes. I can sit here with a straight face and say how handsome I am or how charming I am and people don’t get the joke. I don’t necessarily think that about myself. It’s all supposed to be funny, even when it’s not. I guess I just wish the people knew the joke was on them. You then become a victim of your own reputation. I said to someone the other day that I cringe at the legacy I’m leaving for my kids. If you Google my name the first thing that pops up is ‘Sean McCorkle will do gay porn for the right price.’ Then its ‘Sean McCorkle will sleep with your dad.’ My kids are old enough to get online now and I tell them to never Google my name. I can do in-depth interviews and if asked a question I’m going to answer and of course the most outrageous answer becomes the headline of the whole interview. I said in an interview that I wanted to fight Oprah Winfrey because I want to soccer kick her in the head, just joking and the headline reads ‘Sean McCorkle Wants to Soccer Kick Oprah Winfrey in the Head’.
“Man, I would fight an animal for the right price. Someone asked me the other day if I would fight a Rottweiler. I said yes, for $25,000. I would fight a Rottweiler for $25,000 as long as I could wear something over my face. I can’t mess up the face.”
TR – Would you fight a Grizzly Bear?
SM – “I don’t want to die. I have kids. I would like to see Tom Erikson wrestle a Grizzly Bear. I train with him. Hell, I don’t even call it training. I call it having my manhood taken. I’m a big strong dude but going with him it’s humiliating for me. It’s like a dad wrestling his kid. It’s a situation where he grabs you and you just want to quit. I say this with all sincerity. An in shape Tom Erikson right now pushing 60 could take about 75% of the heavyweights in the UFC.”
TR – Is there anything you want to say before we sign off?
SM – “I always like to thank myself for all of my hard work and dedication and without me none of this would be possible but then Chael stole that line. Actually, Chael is my favorite fighter, his sense of humor is right up my alley.”