“Obviously I have a big advantage on the ground, but I’m not an easy guy to stand with.”
Interview by: Lance Edwards
People new to the Houston MMA scene might only known Randy Hauer as a referee. Touted as the world most exciting referee by announcers, Hauer is known for keeping the action moving and clamping down on stalling. Hauer, however, has been around the MMA games longer than most. After serious injury sidelined him for a number of years, he recently returned to competition and plans to overturn his losing streak now that he is fully fit again. He will be taking on Jesus Rivera at Legacy Fighting Championship 9.
Hauer: It feels good to be back to myself. I wasn’t happy for a while not being able to fight or train. Now I’m finally back to 100%, albeit thirty thousand dollars in medical bills later. I feel happy to be back. I keep getting chances and this time I’m going to take advantage of it.
TCD: So what was exactly was wrong?
Hauer: I tore my ACL, and I had to have reconstructive surgery where they took tissue from my left side and replaced it. The injury was a long time ago, in ’06 to be exact, and it took four years for me to get back.
TCD: Ligaments can take a long time to heal as there isn’t a great blood supply to them, how did you deal with that.
Hauer: I tried to stay away from the game. I had made a lot of sacrifices to get to the point that I was at. The biggest thing was the mental challenge. A serious injury really affects you and it’s hard to deal with. I’m lucky to be able to have another opportunity.
TCD: So how did you get involved with MMA?
Hauer: I started out wrestling. My dad, who was a Navy Seal, wrestled. My grandfather had been a pro wrestler. I had a twin brother and we used to wrestle together, he passed away in ’06, the same time I injured myself. Part of my driving force came from my brother. It’s been a tough time. My dad has cancer, my mom has emphysema and my younger brother isn’t doing a lot. It puts a lot of pressure on me as I’m supporting them. It feels good though that I’m able to make a living doing what I’m doing, teaching and fighting.
TCD: Is it true you wrestled with Sean Sherk?
Hauer: That’s right. He was my high school rival. He beat me during states, and I fought him again. Back in the day they called him Shoot, Sean ‘Shoot’ Sherk.
TCD: How did you make the move from wrestling to MMA?
Hauer: Well I’d wrestled, and I decided to go to Vegas to make a go of it. I’d been competing in grappling tournaments like NAGA. I had $350, an old school ’86 Mercedes Benz and a Chihuahua. I had been introduced to Brian Summers, who used to do NAGA, then went on to do Grapplers Quest. I was training at John Lewis’ gym. It was a hotspot at the time. Everyone from Ricco Rodriguez to Marvin Eastman, before the UFC that’s where they would all go to train and get ready.
TCD: Wasn’t it through Ricco you met Saul (Soliz, Metro Fight Club)?
Hauer: Yeah, Ricco and I became friends. Saul was training the Team Punishment guys, and I decided I needed to move to where Saul was. It was actually a good move for me, coming from a small town in Minnesota. Vegas would have sucked me in and eaten me up.
TCD: Now although your record has a number of losses, you have taken on some really tough opponents.
Hauer: The guys I lost to weren’t just tough, they were A class. I wasn’t fighting B class fighters. I was fighting the top guys, guys who are now at the top of the UFC. I wasn’t just a local level guy, I was a high level guy, so I fought high level opponents. Guys like Carlos Condit, Spencer Fisher, Clay Guida, tough A class fighters. I’ve fought the toughest dudes back to back. I trained with Yves Edwards too when I moved here. I did Thugjitsu. There weren’t a lot of us doing MMA. I was too good for a low level.
People don’t realize I didn’t stop training while I was injured. I kept improving, I kept getting better. I had to work harder than the next guy to get back. I’m still friends with Ricco Rodriguez. We talk all the time, and my brother from another mother, Carlo Prater. I still train with Lee King, we are like a tight knit family.Mike B also helped me prepare. I hope Jesus is ready, it would be easy for him to underestimate me, and I’m not Rey Trujillo. I respect him, but I’ve fought tougher guys than him, I’m not a C or D class fighter. If I hadn’t got injured I’d have fought in the WEC twice. I was close but no cigar. This time I’m going to light the opportunity up and smoke it.
TCD: You’ve opened a school in Galveston. How’s that going?
Hauer: Great, I took a fight with JC Pennington. It was a bad fight. I should have won it, and I was moving to San Diego. A friend of mine told me to come down and stay for a week as I was moving away. I ended up really liking the people. I love the surfing, and I met the local surfers. They said that they’d like to train and they wanted me to train them. There was a guy who had a nutrition place, and we opened a place together. It’s great. It’s on the sea front. I travel back and forth from Houston everyday to train with Saul.
TCD: What’s your school called?
Hauer: CSI, the Combat Sports Institute. My part is the Randy Hauer MMA Island Combat Club. I teach the Muay Thai and MMA. We have Even Gideon, he’s a great BJJ guy. I’m a good grappler and he folds me up like a chair.
TCD: Any predictions for the fight with Jesus?
Hauer: Obviously I have a big advantage on the ground, but I’m not an easy guy to stand with. I’m different than Rey. I won’t just stand there. I use angles and that’s what I’m good at, I’m all about angles. I’m doing this, and my motivation is to win. I know I’m supposed to be in a better place than I am, and this is my first step on that path. This isn’t about TV and money. It’s about personal glory. It’s about my achievements for myself. My blood is pumping right now. I’m ready to get back on the journey.
TCD: Anyone you’d like to thank?
Hauer: Thecagedoor.net. I’ve seen you guys grow, and I really appreciate the support and not leaving my side. You’ve been there as the scene has grown. All the guys in Galveston. The people who believe in me; Saul and Metro, Carlo, Lee, Mike B and everyone else.