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Exclusive: Ed Herman Talks Going From Bartending Back To The Octagon

For The Ultimate Fighter 3 finalist Ed Herman, his life, much like his UFC career, has seen it’s fair share of ups and downs. On the heels of a two-fight losing streak in 2008, Herman bounced back with a dominant performance turned in against former title challenger David “The Crow” Loiseau at UFC 97.

Herman had the opportunity to double up when he met with burgeoning prospect Aaron Simpson at UFC 102. It was a bout that wielded a lot of pressure for Ed. He was fighting before his adopted home of Portland, Oregon representing the famed Team Quest, and it was a chance to move himself back into contention.

But what happened next was the worst case scenario for the TUF veteran.

“First-round of my fight with Aaron Simpson, it was back in August of 09′, he shot in on a takedown and it hyper-extended my knee and blew my ACL out,” Herman told

“I didn’t realize it, I didn’t know how bad it was, so I continued to fight, tried to answer the bell in the second-round. Came out to fight, I threw like a headkick or something and there was just nothing there underneath me. Me knee wasn’t there pretty much, so it folded underneath me. The ref [Yves Lavigne] called the fight. The ref told me in between rounds that he thought he saw my knee go, but he was going to let me continue if I wanted to go. My job is to fight. If the ref stops it, the ref stops it.

“So after that, we go in to get an MRI and yeah, my ACL is torn, I got some meniscus issues as well,” he continued.

“I go through surgery, the healing process, all that, and I started training again in January. A couple of weeks in, I blew my ACL out again. That was January of 2010, so that was pretty rough for me, mentally and physically–financially, everything. They had to go back in and do two different surgeries over the next three months. The last one was a success, and I gave myself a little more time to heal properly, I think I might have gotten after it a little too soon the first time.”

The ordeal left “Short Fuse” away from the Octagon for close to two years. While many people think that the life of a prize fighter is glamorous, it couldn’t be anything further from the truth. In fact, Herman was forced to humble himself and resort to his early days as a fighter, making ends meet where he can. Never really beaten, Herman however did take his fair share of lumps over the course of those 22-months in what turned out to be shots to his pride, but in the end, he feels the experience has made him a better and stronger person for it.

“Well, I went back to work bartending and doing some security, like I used to do when I was younger, when I was training and fighting”, recalled Herman.

“It was a good job to have, to train all day and work all night, but when you get more experience it’s hard to do. I had to go back to doing that, which really sucked. It was fun when I was younger and single and stuff, but now that I’m a little older and I have a family, I’m not into the party scene anymore, so… it sucked. It just wasn’t fun. Talking to people, having everybody say ‘oh you’re that guy that used to fight in the UFC! Oh man, here’s an extra buck’, people feeling sorry for me, that was hard to deal with,” he continued.

“I pushed through and I think everything happens for a reason. I grew up working all the time, working for everything I had, so I think that helped. Having to go back to that, and work on my feet, my wife had to go back to work too, she had to hold up on her school and things like that. It’s been a struggle, so me getting the fight in June and getting that big win, it helped a lot. I’ve been able to pay off some debt, and kind of get back on my feet.”

Herman faces Kyle Noke at UFC Live: Hardy vs. Lytle on August 14th from the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.