Though his UFC record stands at 3-1 and he has been the recipient of two Knockout of the Night bonuses, Gerald Harris was released from the UFC following his lackluster loss to Octagon newcomer Maiquel Falcao at UFC 123. Speaking with MMAJunkie.com recently, Harris explained that he is not angry and did not take his dismissal personally. Rather, he places the fault on his own shoulders and is determined to learn from his mistakes and find his way back into the UFC.
“I messed up,” Harris said. “I had the biggest opportunity in the world, and I didn’t seize the day. I didn’t take advantage of the situation I was in. I don’t feel sorry for myself in a sense of being cut. I’m more disappointed with my performance than anything. That’s what hurts me the most.”
Harris and Falcao fought for three rounds–though both have taken criticism for a drop-off in action during the third frame–and it was the Brazilian making his UFC debut that dominated the action throughout. Harris made no excuses for his admittedly uninspired performance and issued a warning to all other UFC fighters to not make his same mistake, lest they risk losing their jobs.
“I didn’t show enough initiative to win the fight,” Harris said. “If it was a [preliminary-card] fight, I probably wouldn’t be in that much trouble, but they gave me the opportunity of a lifetime (on pay-per-view), and I blew it. I really blew it. I have nothing to blame it on. I’m not blaming it on the choke. I had a great training camp. Everything was great other than the fight. I have no excuses, none at all… They’ve made it clear that they’re not going to accept that type of performance. I don’t care who you are; they don’t accept that kind of performance on the big stage.”
An alumni from the seventh season of The Ultimate Fighter, Harris explained his interaction with UFC President Dana White post-UFC 123. He described White’s end of the conversation thusly: “‘You looked like [expletive], and you need to go home and think about it,'” and explained that he is not upset with the UFC or White for giving him a pink slip.
“It wasn’t personal,” Harris said. “It was just a business decision. I can’t disagree with a business decision when there’s money involved. We’re paid to perform, and I did not perform on that night. I know what I have to do. I promise you this: The next time you see me fight, you’re going to see a different person. I consider being cut a negative thing, but I’m going to try and make it a positive. This can give me an opportunity to fight in my hometown. This can give me the opportunity to make the changes I need to become a champion.”
Harris’ overall professional record stands at 17-3. He is 31-years old.