Today TTC was able to catch up with Kris Savage McCray and ask him some questions about his experience on the The Ultimate Fighter season 11, how it has changed his life, as well as his upcoming fight with fellow TUF11 cast member Court McGee in The Ultimate Fighter finale.
TTC: How has being a cast member on The Ultimate Fighter helped you develop, often you its said that one must experience failure before success. Do you see your first loss to Josh Bryant as a failure?
Kris: Its been a blessing, I’ve definitely developed being on the show. I didn’t really look at my first loss as a failure, more of a learning experience.
TTC: How has being a member of The Ultimate Fighter affected your family, and friendships?
Kris: The Ultimate Fighter has helped me springboard my career. I’ve gotten the people who have hit me up for free tickets and stuff like that, but I stick to the people who have been with me since the beginning. I believe in the principle “It takes a family to raise a good fighter”, they support me and help me stay focused. I’m very family oriented, and my family has help me stay focused.
TTC: Are you at the point where people are stopping you in the streets for photographs and autographs?
Kris: I don’t mind giving autographs and good photos, I’m having a good time. I was once like my friends, and I want to give back. My fans have supported me, so I’d like to show them my appreciation and support by signing stuff and putting on good fights.
TTC: I read that the German government recently banned MMA after Dana White brought UFC 99 to Cologne, Germany. Being that you were born and raised in Germany, do you see yourself as possibly becoming an ambassador of the sport in Germany?
Kris: Why not!, I was talking to my mom about it, and I really don’t understand why they banned MMA over there since boxing is legal in Germany. I’d like to help anyway I can to help expand our sport and help it get recognized around the whole world. I’d like to see MMA get as big as boxing.
TTC: Recently I had the chance to talk to a producer named James Z. Feng who is working on a film called ‘Fight Life’. The film is about the struggles fighters face trying to make it to the big leagues and afterwards. What kind of struggles have you experienced?
Kris: I was trying to maintain a job and train which is very hard. I worked a government job, as a bouncer, butcher, and moving trucks. I got criticism from my family about trying to do to much, but fighting is my passion. It was hard trying to have a real job and train. I would work and train once a day for 2 hours. The thing is you can’t half ass an expect to be successful, so I put 100% into my training. When my family saw how serious I was they really start showing me support. If you put 100% into MMA it will give you 100% back.
TTC: You’ve had a couple of months to prepare for your fight with Court McGee, who have you worked with and what has your training regimen been like?
Kris: I’ve been up in Maryland in camp with Lloyd Irvin. I’ve been training 3 times a day, and I’m actually 20LBs under my normal walk around weight. Things are going good, during the show I fought five times in a row over a six week period so I was pretty roughed up! Now, I’ve had the opportunity to relax, recover, and get in some good training at the gym. Lloyd Irvin has really helped me prepare for this fight, recently fight magazine ranked his gym as one of the top 20 MMA gyms in the country.
TTC: Are you still training at Gold Medal Grappling?
Kris: I haven’t had the chance to train at Gold Medal. Gold Medal is a great start up gym, but they have the facilities to help me get ready for the level that I’m at now. Gold Medal will always be my home, and I stay in contact with those guys. Elijah Harshberger and I still talk on the phone, he hasn’t really had the time to come up to Maryland but its all good. When I get the time, I’ll visit Gold Medal and hang out with those guys! I’d recommend Gold Medal to anyone just starting out, but as far as facilities Master Lloyd has world class guys as well as a better facility for what I’m doing.
TTC: Your skilled at wrestling, but how much time have you spent working on your jiu-jitsu and striking?
Kris: I’ve worked everything with Master Lloyd, there are a lot of great guys over here helping me prepare for my fight on Saturday. Every day we worked jiu-jitsu and boxing. I’m growing as a fighter, and train like a new born! I’m absorbing everything, and doing all that I can to improve. As far as wrestling there is so much to learn, so everyday I’m working on and improving my wrestling. Also a bunch of guys just won golds for the Lloyd Irwin team at BJJ World Championships.
TTC: You fought Igor Almeida in UWC who is a brazilian jiu-jitsu blackbelt. How comfortable are you with actually rolling with a high level BJJ fighter, or someone with high level boxing or striking skills?
Kris: I’m comfortable on my feet and rolling on the mat. I’ll roll on the mats with any jiu-jitsu guy and bang it out with any boxer. I’m going to make it hard and grueling for anyone I fight. I’m like Rocky, because of my toughness! I’m going to make my fights grueling.
TTC: Is your chin super solid, or were Bryant’s punches weak?
Kris: Between Josh’s punches and my chin it was a good fight! Bryant’s punches were good, but sometimes you gotta eat them like Pac-man and keep going. My chin is solid! Not to say I can’t get knocked out, but I’m tough! I’m also consistent and will give anyone who fights me a challenge. I’m sure when Bryant was fighting me he was wondering “Why doesn’t this guy just go away”. I kept chipping away and chipping away. Although the first fight didn’t go the way I planned, I won our second fight.
TTC: Besides the controversy we saw between your teammate Jamie Yager, what happened behind the scenes that was not shown on the show?
Kris: Well you know there was a lot of pranks going on. Some of the guys were a little to serious, but it was all fun and games! You know the show is about fighting so I guess the producers wanted to cut out the behind the scenes stuff and focus on fighting, since there were so many fights. One time Brad Tavares took all the dishes and the house and threw them in the pool since no one was washing them, and Seth Baczynski got them out in washed them because a few people were pissed off.
TTC: Whats the future of the ‘Minority Report’, do you guys have any plans of establishing a fight camp like the Gilbert Melendez, Jake Shields, and the Diaz brothers in California?
Kris: We have a diverse crew, and we’re all gaining experience in the MMA business. We’re all young in our careers, Kyle Noke is the most experienced of us but he hasn’t really branched out and established any camps. We have a lot of plans such as Minority Report clothing, merchandise, and marketing. There’s a lot we can do with the Minority Report, but thats in the future.
TTC: So if you become the winner of The Ultimate Fighter season 11, what are your plans, Disney or Vegas?
Kris: Haha, I’m going home! I’ve never been to Disney World! I’m going to go home and eat me a good meal, relax, pick up my daughter and do whatever she wants to do. I think my body deserves a rest!
TTC: If you get the call from UFC matchmaker Joe Silva, who would you like to fight first?
Kris: I don’t know, it might be at 170lbs. I definitely don’t want to get thrown to the wolves.
TTC: Yeah, like Sokodjou
Kris: Yeah, I’m still a young fighter so I still have a lot of developing to do before I’m fighting the top guys!
TTC: Do you want to give any shout outs?
Kris: First I’d like to recognize all the support that I’ve gotten from my family, friends, and fans! I want to give a shoutout to Marcello Foran and the UWC for giving me the opportunity to get where I am. Gold Medal Grappling, thats my family! Master Lloyd Irvin and the rest of the camp of helping me train, and of course I want to give you guys a shout out, you guys have been at all my fights doing photography. Check out my websites www.imsavage.com, and www.krismccray.com . You can hit me up on facebook Kris Savage McCray, or on twitter @krismccray. Thanks!
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