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Bloody Elbow’s Most Wanted: Spencer Fisher

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Bloody Elbow readers submitted their questions to a UFC trailblazer. Check out what they asked and what Spencer ‘The King’ Fisher had to say.

Esther Lin / MMAfighting

A few months ago we asked y’all what you liked about how we cover the UFC, as well as how we might improve. It was fascinating reading, and thank you all who chimed in. Among the comments was a request that we interview more men and women who have either left the UFC or have retired from fighting altogether. Awesome, I thought - I can do that. But since this request came from readers, I also thought why not invite you all into the process? So I asked which UFC veteran do you all want me to interview the most?

The responses to that were wonderful! Among the many fighters requested was Spencer Fisher, who finished his career with a record of 24-9. Fisher, who is now 40 years old, fought in the UFC 17 times, taking notable wins over Tim Means, Thiago Alves, and Jeremy Stephens. Fisher is also one of the few UFC fighters to have a trilogy under his belt, his coming against Sam Stout. The second bout in that trilogy, which happened on June 12th, 2007, is one of the greatest UFC fights ever. Fisher’s third fight with Stout was also his last - that went down in 2012.

Fisher was delighted to be selected by Bloody Elbow’s readers. Once he confirmed, I again appealed to the BE community. This time, I asked if you had questions for Fisher. Below, check out what Spencer Fisher had to say in response to our questions.

Tim Bissell: First off, how does it feel to be one of the UFC veterans that readers of Bloody Elbow most wanted me to interview?

Spencer Fisher: It makes me happy to know that I’m still relevant. So thanks to all my fans out there.

Are you officially retired from MMA (question from Doctor von Octagon)?

Yes, I’m officially retired.

Are you still under any kind of contract with the UFC (Doctor von Octagon)?

I still work with the UFC, I do PR stuff with them, still.

How much do you keep up to date with what’s happening in the world of MMA and the UFC?

With the UFC, I usually just watch if I know the guy personally or if there is someone I have a personal interest in.

Any favorite fighters who you like to watch nowadays?

Yeah, I like Nate Diaz, I like the Diaz brothers, I actually like the way Conor McGregor fights as well, but the Diaz brothers, I like them, they seem to be the same people as when they started. So I can appreciate that. I like Jake Shields too, I like that whole group of guys that train up there in California.

Do you feel the fight game has changed a lot since you last stepped into the octagon (Doctor von Octagon)?

One-hundred-percent yeah, I think these guys are more ‘athletes’ than they are ‘fighters’ and they have a different mentality. I think today’s guys, the martial arts part of it has been taken out a little bit. I think today it’s more of a ‘thing’ to say you’re an MMA fighter/UFC fighter than it was back in my day. Whenever we fought, we did it because we loved it.

Do you wish there were more ‘martial artists’ and less ‘athletes’ competing today in the UFC?

Um, yeah, but of course there’s a handful of guys who are like the guys from my era, who come to fight every time, they get out there and get to it. I can still respect anyone who goes in there because it’s the UFC and it’s the best competition in the world, still. And, I think anyone who gets in there deserves to be in there, staying in there is the tricky part.

If you were in your prime fighting shape right now, is there an opponent from today’s UFC would you love to fight (Doctor von Octagon)?

Oh yeah, without a doubt, probably [Conor] McGregor. I’d choose him because I think – stylistically – that would be a fun fight to watch, you know, we have a lot of similarities. He’s a taller, bigger man than I am, but I think I’m faster than he is and I put more punches together.

How would you do with the trash talk back and forth with McGregor?

Oh man, back in the day, I was talking to guys when I fought them. I’d tell them they were done just before the fight was over. I’ve heard Nate Diaz in there and he’s not doing anything new, he’s just being more loud than the old fighters were and he’s doing a good job at it!

Is there a fight which never came together while you were in your prime that you wish would have happened?

Yeah, absolutely. Takanori Gomi. That would have been a fight. You know, back in his prime, back in my prime, that’s the fight that I wanted. He’s the Fireball Kid, arguably the best of the Japanese fighters that came out of Japan in the lightweight division.

What is your opinion on your legacy, are you happy with what you achieved in the sport (Doctor von Octagon)?

Yeah, there were two times I was really close to a title, and of course fighting for the title is special, anyone who says they don’t want to fight for a title - that’s bullshit. And I was right there, I suffered two losses, if I had beaten Hermes Franca I would have fought for the title against Sean Sherk, and if I beat Joe Stevenson I would have probably gone on to fight for the title, but, you know, it happened that way so...

The state of the UFC and MMA in general is very different from the era you fought in. Tell me, what do you think of the introduction of USADA to the UFC (RECE ROCK)?

I think it’s good for the sport. Personally, I don’t know anybody that cheats. I can’t call anybody a cheater, I have nothing to say about that, but I definitely think they are making sure that the people who are getting in there, are doing it on an even playing field. I don’t think the juice really helps, I don’t think steroids really help people win fights in the octagon. I think it might give them a little edge, possibly, and help them do a few more reps or whatever, but at the end of the day the better fighter is still gonna win.

What do you think of the UFC’s purchase by WME/IMG. Do you think that will be good for the sport (RECE ROCK)?

That remains to be seen, I guess.

What do you think of the Reebok deal and the uniforms (RECE ROCK)?

Well, I was a fan of the board shorts myself. But you know, I’d wear whatever the company told me. But I was in there for a while so I guess it wouldn’t have been so bad for me. But, I know a lot of guys depend on that sponsor money, so I can see both sides.

One of the stories of this year has been matchmaking in the UFC and how the rankings seem to be losing significance because of so-called ‘money fights’, especially at the top of the divisions. What’s your opinion on this development (RECE ROCK)?

I don’t know because I’m not in that position anymore, but I think that if you fight and you win your fights, you deserve the position that you’re at. But, you know, styles make fights, so just because one guy loses to another guy it doesn’t mean that he won’t beat a champion in a different stylistic match-up. I think money fights are good, otherwise you may not ever see that fight, ever. So I think they do have their place.

When you fought in the UFC there were no women’s divisions. Since then women’s MMA has exploded. What do you think of this (RECE ROCK)?

I’m a fan of it. I think that the women have the most exciting fights. Every show I go to, I usually pay closer attention to the women’s fights because they usually leave it all out there.

Despite not fighting anymore, do you still train a lot (Ben Kohn)?

Just jiu-jitsu now.

Do you have a gym/academy?

No, I basically help out with a few fighters, I train with guys now and then, just roll around.

Any other kinds of business ventures you’ve either gotten into or want to get into (Ben Kohn)?

I’d like to stay with the UFC if possible, they’ve always been good to me and I’ve always enjoyed being with them. Dana is a smart business man, like I said, he’s always been good to me, so I’d like to stay under contract with the UFC.

If we wanted to watch the best ever version of Spencer Fisher, which of your old fights should we watch?

Without a doubt, inside the UFC, it was my second fight with Sam Stout. Mostly because I really worked my butt off for that fight and Sam was the North American kickboxing champion and I wanted to prove a point that I could stand and bang with him, because that first fight, you know, it was a short notice fight and I still went out there and got to it. Outside the UFC my best fight was probably against Josh Neer [at VFC 7 Showdown, March 6th, 2004]. We had a five-round fight that not a lot of people know about, but a lot of people say it was the best fight that they’d ever seen, out of any organization.

What’s your relationship with Sam Stout like?

After I was done fighting, I got a hold of him, I asked if he wanted to come out, just wanted to get to know the guy who I spent so much time in the ring with. All that blood, sweat, and tears, we put a lot of time in together, and every time we fought we always got honors of the night, we always got mentioned for our fight, so we always put on great fights. When you put that kind of time in, you can’t help but bond with someone. All the trash talk aside, he’s a fighter’s fighter, he fought everyone they put in front of him and I really respected him and I wanted to get to know the guy. When I had a gym, I invited him out to a seminar and we got to hang out and talk, it was a real good time. So I don’t have a bad thing to say about Sam Stout.

Who was the toughest opponent, you ever faced, the guy who gave you the most trouble?

[Stout or Neer] for sure, and I say one of them because we spent so much time in there which each other. Josh and I only fought once but it was a five-round fight and it was a real close decision I won, both guys were just super tough. I hit them both with everything I had and they were still there, but we took life off of each other.

Do you have anything you’d like to add, to say to your fans and those who wanted me to interview you?

Just keep supporting fighters and let them know that you’re still there supporting them. Do whatever you can to to let them know, because this is a short-lived career and we have to make the best of it while we are there. That goes out to all the fighters as well. Make the best of it, and train safe, and plan for the future.

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Look out soon for the next installment of Bloody Elbow’s Most Wanted featuring Cody McKenzie. And keep an eye out for more fanposts giving you the chance to submit questions to UFC veterans.

If there is a veteran you especially want to hear from, let me know in the comments below - or hit me up on twitter @timothybissell.