In a world where everyone is waiting for the next heavyweight MMA star to appear, anyone who can string together a few wins is going to get a lot of attention. Cain Velasquez gets considerable attention despite only being 4-0 and Brock Lesnar, the UFC heavyweight champion, needed only half as many wins to get a title shot.
In their now pointless struggle to stay relevant, Elite XC hoped that Dave “Pee Wee” Herman could blossom into a heavyweight attraction. At the time they closed their doors he seemed to be well on his way.
At 6’5” and 240 lbs, Herman not only looks the part but he also delivers the goods. He came to Elite XC with a 9-0 record and all of his opponents failed to make it out of the first round. Once in the house that Shaw built, Herman continued to tear his way through the lower levels of the division. He stopped veterans Mario Rinaldi, Ron Waterman, and Kerry Schall and looked impressive in each performance.
While Herman was experiencing so much success in the sport, the hype surrounding him remained a bit muted. This could be partly due to the fact that Herman’s training is, well, different.
In a radio interview on Sherdog’s Jordan Breen Show, Herman revealed that sometimes his training consists of him just hitting a speed bag for an hour and then leaving. When he does not feel like making his way over to the gym, he simply moves the couches out of the living room and wrestles with his buddies. Recently he has made his way out to Las Vegas a few times to train with TUF 8 assistant coach, Ken Hahn, at Striking Unlimited, which is certainly a step in the right direction.
Despite the small changes to his training, Herman was stopped by Mu Bae Choi in the second round at Sengoku’s “Seventh Battle” this past weekend in Japan. Prior to the fight, Mu Bae Choi’s most impressive fight was either a victory over a worn down Gary Goodridge or the original freak show, Giant Silva. Although Choi’s victory over Herman has garnered little media attention, the fight was a pretty big upset and an incredibly poor showing from “Pee Wee”.
Dave Herman certainly has the athletic pedigree. At the University of Indiana he walked on to the varsity wrestling team which is an accomplishment made even more impressive by the fact that he never wrestled in high school. Even with his most recent loss, he is still a 13-1 heavyweight fighter. If he dedicates himself to the sport and finds some real training he may become a force in the sport.
Natural ability will take you only so far in MMA. If Herman really wants to reach the upper echelon of MMA competition, he will have to make some changes. He was completely gassed in the second round at Sengoku 7 and he has admitted that he stopped drinking only five days before his fight with Mario Rinaldi. Let’s hope for his sake and the state of MMA’s heavyweight division that Herman is able to use this defeat and modify his attitude and career accordingly.