After a long career of not overly enjoying the fight business, veteran Gerald Harris is finally happy now that he’s fighting in Bellator.
Stepping into Bellator 198 this past April as a late replacement for John Salter against Rafael Lovato Jr., Harris had a genuinely good experience, even if was on the losing end of the fight.
“I said this after the fight and a lot of people didn’t believe me; I had fun,” Harris told MMAWeekly.com. “That was the first time I stepped in the cage and didn’t feel any pressure, I wasn’t worried about winning or losing, I was just going in there to put on a show.
“I’m really excited with Bellator to go out there and build my fan base. And if it’s a long, crazy, 15 or 25 minute fight, or a hard knockout, I’m in. They brought me in, paid me what I asked for, and gave me a contract – everything that lead up to that fight felt so good, and I still feel the same way to this day.”
Harris explains that because he looked at fighting as a business, the uncertainties of consistent pay in the lower ranks of the sport had him in a constant state of stress and worry.
“I got into MMA to make money and feed my family,” said Harris. “I used to fight so scared because if I lost a fight I would only get half my money.
“I never enjoyed MMA because of the way we got paid. But when I got to Bellator there’s been no fear. They want you to go out there and perform. Don’t go out there and put the fans to sleep. I’m glad I’m here. This is what I’ve been looking for.”
Harris (25-6) will make his return to Bellator this Friday against Yaroslav Amosov (19-0) in a preliminary 170-pound bout in Thackerville, Okla.
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“This guy is 19-0 and has never tasted defeat,” Harris said of Amosov. “I’m not going to say he’s never fought anyone like me and all that stuff you hear all the time. I just say I have to be the first person to put that 1 where that 0 is.
“He’s younger. He’s going to be hungry. This is his moment to prove himself. I’ve heard that nobody wanted to fight this guy for a long time, but I don’t turn down fights. We’re going to get the job done.”
Having previously competed at middleweight, Harris is moving down in weight with an eye towards making his mark in the 170lb division in the coming year.
“The goal is the Welterweight Grand Prix,” said Harris. “That’s what I want to do. If I don’t do that, I’ll be back at middleweight.
“Just witnessing the heavyweight grand prix, we (the welterweights) deliver the same amount of action and excitement. People love tournaments. You want to see who is the best? You don’t pick ‘em and let them fight for the title. You put eight to 12 dudes in there and let them fight for it – that way there’s no argument.”