Heath Herring

Heath Herring (born March 2, 1978[2]) is an American professional mixed martial artist currently competing in the Heavyweight division of Rizin. While perhaps best known for competing in PRIDE, he has also formerly competed for the UFC and K-1.

Heath Herring
Heath Herring.png
Born (1978-03-02) March 2, 1978 (age 45)
Waco, Texas, United States
Other namesThe Texas Crazy Horse
Height6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Weight250 lb (113 kg; 17 st 12 lb)
Reach78 in (198 cm)
Fighting out ofLas Vegas, Nevada, United States
TeamGolden Glory
Las Vegas Combat Club
Xtreme Couture[1]
TrainerCor Hemmers
Years active1997–2008, 2016–present
Mixed martial arts record
By knockout10
By submission13
By decision4
By disqualification1
By knockout5
By submission1
By decision10
No contests1
Other information
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog


Herring was born in Waco, Texas and was raised in Amarillo, Texas. His mother is a psychologist working for the Texas prison system and his father is an attorney who owns two different law firms. Herring attended Amarillo High School and played competitive football while being pursued by the school's wrestling coach to try wrestling. Herring initially resisted, but in his senior year Herring began wrestling and qualified as one of the top ten wrestlers in the state for the state championships. Soon after, he began practicing sambo. Herring began training to fight in mixed martial arts when he graduated high school at the age of 18, but also continued his football career as a defensive end for West Texas A&M University's Division II program, although he did not finish his college education.[3]

Mixed martial arts careerEdit

Early careerEdit

Herring made his professional mixed martial arts debut in 1997 and compiled a record of 13-5 before being signed by PRIDE. After reaching the final of the World Vale Tudo Championship 8 tournament held in Aruba in July 1999, Herring was invited to learn kickboxing in the Netherlands by the show's Dutch promoter Bas Boone and he trained under Cor Hemmers at Golden Glory for a number of years.[4]

PRIDE Fighting ChampionshipsEdit

Herring is a longtime veteran in PRIDE, where he participated in 17 fights.[5] Herring was very popular with the Japanese crowd for his unique hairstyles and colors, as well as sporting a duster coat and cowboy hat to the ring during his entrances.[3]

Herring made his promotional debut at PRIDE 9 against wrestler Willie Peeters and won via rear-naked choke submission in the first round. Herring then followed this up with three more wins before being handed his first defeat in the promotion at the hands of Vitor Belfort via unanimous decision at PRIDE 14. Herring followed this up with an impressive TKO win over Mark Kerr before receiving a shot for the inaugural PRIDE Heavyweight Championship.

Herring took part in the first PRIDE Heavyweight Championship fight against Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira where he lost by unanimous decision. Despite his earlier championship loss to Nogueira, he was widely considered the number one contender until his first round loss to Fedor Emelianenko. After the loss to Emelianenko, Herring fought Mirko Cro Cop at PRIDE 26 and was defeated in the first round via TKO. Herring then bounced back, winning his next four consecutive fights before facing Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira in a rematch at PRIDE Critical Countdown 2004. Herring lost the rematch via anaconda choke submission in the second round. Herring would make his last appearance for the promotion at PRIDE 28 on October 31, 2004 against Hirotaka Yokoi and won via first-round TKO in under two minutes.

Herring parted ways with PRIDE in late 2004 because of management disputes.

New Year's Eve kissEdit

On December 31, 2005, Herring was involved in a memorable MMA moment during K-1's Dynamite 2005 show. During the pre-fight staredown, his opponent, Yoshihiro Nakao, leaned in and kissed him on the lips. Herring reacted, delivering a right hook to the jaw of Nakao, knocking him down. Herring was immediately disqualified and Nakao was carried from the ring. Shortly thereafter, Nakao's cornermen attacked Herring and a brief fight ensued. Herring's trainers, Ricardo Pires and Sergio Penha[6] fought with Nakao's trainers until security stopped the fight. The fight result has since been changed by K-1 from a disqualification loss for Herring to a no contest, as K-1 judges ruled that Nakao's kiss and Herring's subsequent knockout punch were both fouls.[7]

Transition to the UFCEdit

Heath Herring debuted in the UFC for UFC Fight Night 8 and lost on decision against Jake O'Brien after deciding to fight after being injured.

On Saturday, April 7, 2007, at UFC 69 Heath faced off against The Ultimate Fighter 2 Heavyweight finalist Brad Imes. Herring won the match by unanimous decision after 3 rounds.

At UFC 73, Herring lost via unanimous decision to Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira, but not before he landed a left high kick to Nogueira's head late in the first round. Nogueira was sent to the ground, visibly stunned, but Herring did not engage him and attempt to finish the fight, opting to stand up shortly after the kick and beckoned Nogueira to stand as well. The referee motioned Noguiera to stand up after the brief flurry on the ground, giving Herring the advantage but Herring was not able to finish the fight in the first round.

At UFC 82 Heath won a three round split-decision against rising contender Cheick Kongo. While both are considered strikers, much of the fight took place on the ground. After the fight Heath said he was not happy with the fight, he wanted to give the fans a stand-up fight and Kongo refused to stand with him. Herring also said after the fight that he did not even train at all for the ground game.

Herring fought Brock Lesnar at UFC 87 after Mark Coleman was forced to withdraw due to a knee injury.[8] The fight went the full 3 rounds and Lesnar was declared winner by unanimous decision. Herring was knocked down early in the first round with a straight right. According to Heath Herring's official Facebook profile in a note titled "6 Months To Rest", Herring is said to have suffered a broken orbital bone from the first punch of the fight. Herring was scheduled to fight Cain Velasquez at UFC 99, but was forced to withdraw due to an undisclosed illness.

Herring stated in November 2010 that he wants to fight as soon as possible. He was still under contract with the UFC and was expected to make his return.[9]

In September 2011, responding to a question asked via Twitter, UFC President Dana White commented that Herring "...retired after the Lesnar fight".[10]

Herring has taken up the hobby of playing poker since his retirement from MMA[11] and is also a commentator for Rizin Fighting Federation.[12]

Joining Rizin FF Openweight tournamentEdit

After eight years away from the sport, the 38-year-old Herring ended his retirement and signed with the Japanese promotion Rizin Fighting Federation. He faced Amir Aliakbari, an Iranian wrestling standout, in the quarter-final round of the openweight grand prix, replacing fellow former UFC fighter Shane Carwin. Herring lost the bout by unanimous decision.

Film careerEdit

Heath Herring starred in Never Surrender, released by Lions Gate Entertainment in 2009 as well as Circle of Pain. He has also appeared in Hell's Chain, Unrivaled, Beatdown, and Division III: Football's Finest.

Personal lifeEdit

Herring was married when he was 18 years old and has a daughter, but the marriage ended in divorce. In August 2014 he remarried, to TV presenter Sarah Grant.[13] They had a daughter in 2019. Herring's brother also competed in MMA, holding an undefeated 5-0 record before attending Baylor University to play football as an offensive tackle. Herring currently lives in Las Vegas. Before becoming a professional fighter, he worked as a computer programmer.

In the last eight years, all through his thirties, Herring has dabbled in stunt work in Hollywood, tried his hand at professional poker and launched a mixed martial arts promotion in Argentina.[3]

Championships and accomplishmentsEdit

Mixed martial artsEdit

  • World Vale Tudo Championship
    • WVC 9 Heavyweight Tournament Winner
    • WVC 8 Heavyweight Tournament Runner Up
  • Superbrawl
    • Superbrawl 13 Heavyweight Tournament Semifinalist
  • Bas Rutten Invitational
    • Bas Rutten Invitational 3 Tournament Winner

Mixed martial arts recordEdit

Professional record breakdown
45 matches 28 wins 16 losses
By knockout 10 5
By submission 13 1
By decision 4 10
By disqualification 1 0
No contests 1
Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Loss 28–16 (1) Satoshi Ishii Decision (unanimous) Rizin FF 5: Sakura April 16, 2017 2 5:00 Yokohama, Japan
Loss 28–15 (1) Amir Aliakbari Decision (unanimous) Rizin World Grand-Prix 2016: 2nd Round December 29, 2016 2 5:00 Saitama, Japan 2016 Rizin World Grand Prix Quarterfinals.
Loss 28–14 (1) Brock Lesnar Decision (unanimous) UFC 87 August 9, 2008 3 5:00 Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
Win 28–13 (1) Cheick Kongo Decision (split) UFC 82 March 1, 2008 3 5:00 Columbus, Ohio, United States
Loss 27–13 (1) Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira Decision (unanimous) UFC 73 July 7, 2007 3 5:00 Sacramento, California, United States
Win 27–12 (1) Brad Imes Decision (unanimous) UFC 69 April 7, 2007 3 5:00 Houston, Texas, United States
Loss 26–12 (1) Jake O'Brien Decision (unanimous) UFC Fight Night: Evans vs Salmon January 25, 2007 3 5:00 Hollywood, Florida, United States
Win 26–11 (1) Gary Goodridge TKO (punches) Hero's 4 March 15, 2006 2 1:55 Tokyo, Japan
NC 25–11 (1) Yoshihiro Nakao No Contest K-1 PREMIUM 2005 Dynamite!! December 31, 2005 1 0:00 Osaka, Japan Nakao kissed Herring during the pre-match stare-down, after which Herring knocked him out with a punch rendering him unable to continue. Originally ruled a DQ and overturned to a NC.
Loss 25–11 Sam Greco TKO (knee injury) HERO'S 1 March 26, 2005 1 2:24 Saitama, Japan
Win 25–10 Hirotaka Yokoi TKO (knees) PRIDE 28 October 31, 2004 1 1:55 Saitama, Japan
Loss 24–10 Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira Submission (anaconda choke) PRIDE Critical Countdown 2004 June 20, 2004 2 0:30 Saitama, Japan 2004 PRIDE Heavyweight Grand Prix Quarterfinals.
Win 24–9 Kazuo Takahashi TKO (punches) PRIDE Total Elimination 2004 April 25, 2004 1 4:53 Saitama, Japan 2004 PRIDE Heavyweight Grand Prix First Round.
Win 23–9 Gan McGee Decision (split) PRIDE 27 February 1, 2004 3 5:00 Osaka, Japan
Win 22–9 Paulo Cesar Silva Submission (rear-naked choke) PRIDE Shockwave 2003 December 31, 2003 3 0:35 Saitama, Japan
Win 21–9 Yoshihisa Yamamoto Submission (rear-naked choke) PRIDE Final Conflict 2003 November 9, 2003 3 2:29 Tokyo, Japan
Loss 20–9 Mirko Cro Cop TKO (body kick and punches) PRIDE 26 June 8, 2003 1 3:17 Yokohama, Japan
Loss 20–8 Fedor Emelianenko TKO (doctor stoppage) PRIDE 23 November 24, 2002 1 10:00 Tokyo, Japan
Win 20–7 Yuriy Kochkine TKO (knees) PRIDE 22 September 29, 2002 1 7:31 Nagoya, Japan
Win 19–7 Igor Vovchanchyn Decision (unanimous) PRIDE 19 February 24, 2002 3 5:00 Saitama, Japan
Loss 18–7 Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira Decision (unanimous) PRIDE 17 November 3, 2001 3 5:00 Tokyo, Japan For the PRIDE Heavyweight Championship.
Win 18–6 Mark Kerr TKO (knees) PRIDE 15 July 29, 2001 2 4:56 Saitama, Japan
Loss 17–6 Vitor Belfort Decision (unanimous) PRIDE 14 May 27, 2001 3 5:00 Yokohama, Japan
Win 17–5 Denis Sobolev Submission (americana) PRIDE 13 March 25, 2001 1 0:22 Saitama, Japan
Win 16–5 Enson Inoue TKO (knees) PRIDE 12 December 9, 2000 1 4:52 Saitama, Japan
Win 15–5 Tom Erikson Submission (rear-naked choke) PRIDE 11 October 31, 2000 1 6:17 Osaka, Japan
Win 14–5 Willie Peeters Submission (rear-naked choke) PRIDE 9 June 4, 2000 1 0:48 Nagoya, Japan
Loss 13–5 Ramazan Mezhidov TKO (doctor stoppage) IAFC: Pankration World Championship 2000 Day 2 April 29, 2000 1 4:55 Moscow, Russia Doctor stoppage due to cut.
Win 13–4 Rene Rooze DQ (excessive fouling) 2 Hot 2 Handle 1 March 5, 2000 1 3:20 Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Win 12–4 Bob Schrijber TKO (punches) World Vale Tudo Championship 9 September 27, 1999 1 2:19 Aruba Won the World Vale Tudo Championship 9 Tournament.
Win 11–4 Sean McCully Submission (kimura) 1 0:43 World Vale Tudo Championship 9 Tournament Semifinals.
Win 10–4 Michael Tielrooy Submission (americana) 1 1:14 World Vale Tudo Championship 9 Tournament Quarterfinals.
Loss 9–4 Bobby Hoffman Decision (unanimous) SuperBrawl 13 September 7, 1999 2 5:00 Honolulu, Hawaii, United States Superbrawl 13 Heavyweight Tournament Semifinals.
Win 9–3 Rocky Batastini Submission (rear-naked choke) 1 1:00 Superbrawl 13 Heavyweight Tournament Quarterfinals.
Loss 8–3 Alexandre Ferreira Decision (split) World Vale Tudo Championship 8 July 1, 1999 1 30:00 Aruba World Vale Tudo Championship 8 Finals.
Win 8–2 Kavkaz Soultanmagomedov TKO (submission to punches) 1 1:18 World Vale Tudo Championship 8 Semifinals.
Win 7–2 Erwin van den Steen TKO (submission to punches) 1 4:33 World Vale Tudo Championship 8 Quarterfinals.
Win 6–2 Gabe Beauperthy Submission (armlock) Bas Rutten Invitational 3 June 1, 1999 1 4:43 Colorado, United States Won the Bas Rutten Invitational 3 Heavyweight Tournament.
Win 5–2 Hoss Carter Submission (americana) 1 1:07 Bas Rutten Invitational 3 Heavyweight Tournament Quarterfinals.
Loss 4–2 Travis Fulton Decision (unanimous) Extreme Challenge 24 May 15, 1999 1 12:00 Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
Win 4–1 Phil Deason Submission (americana) WVF: Durango April 17, 1999 1 0:13 Durango, Colorado, United States
Win 3–1 Nik Bickle TKO (submission to punches) 1 0:32
Win 2–1 Evan Tanner Submission (rear-naked choke) PSDA November 22, 1997 1 8:20 Texas, United States
Loss 1–1 Evan Tanner TKO (exhaustion) Unified Shoot Wrestling Federation 7 October 18, 1997 1 6:19 Amarillo, Texas, United States
Win 1–0 Chris Guillen Submission (rear-naked choke) Unified Shoot Wrestling Federation 4 April 12, 1997 1 2:10 Amarillo, Texas, United States


  1. ^ "Fight Finder: Heath Herring". Sherdog. 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-15.
  2. ^ Mohapatra, Pramit (2007-04-02). "One-on-one with UFC heavyweight Heath Herring". baltimoresun.com. Retrieved 2012-02-10.
  3. ^ a b c "UFC Fighter Heath Herring Interview With Jenny Woo". gambling911.com.
  4. ^ "In Depth: HEATH HERRING Interview". Bodybuilding.com.
  5. ^ Sherdog.com. "Heath "The Texas Crazy Horse" Herring MMA Stats, Pictures, News, Videos, Biography". Sherdog.com. Retrieved 2012-02-10.
  6. ^ "Rio Pro Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu - Cleveland's Premier BJJ Academy". Ricardopiresbjj.com. Archived from the original on 2011-12-14. Retrieved 2012-02-10.
  7. ^ "Herring-Nakao Result Changed to No Contest". Sherdog.com. Retrieved 2012-10-17.
  8. ^ "Heath Herring To Face Brock Lesnar At UFC 87". MMAweekly.com. 2008-05-24.
  9. ^ "Heath Herring "I Definitely Miss Fighting" – Looks To Fight As Soon As Possible". MMA Resolutions. 2010-11-02. Archived from the original on 2012-03-16. Retrieved 2012-02-10.
  10. ^ "Twitter". twitter.com.
  11. ^ "MMA Life: Heath Herring Turns from MMA to Poker". mmaweekly.com. February 12, 2012. Retrieved February 12, 2012.
  12. ^ "RIZIN Fighting World Grand Prix 2016: 1st Round | MMA Event". Tapology.
  13. ^ "Sarah Herring on Twitter". Twitter.

External linksEdit