Veteran middleweight Ed Herman said he would’ve fought Kevin Holland at UFC Vegas 5 if given the option. But when his fight with Gerald Meerschaert was canceled to due Meerschaert’s positive COVID-19 test, he was told a replacement couldn’t be found.
“Basically, I was told my fight is off,” Herman told MMA Fighting on Tuesday. “I said can you guarantee my fight? Can you find anybody else? They said no.”
After hearing Holland’s recent comments on Twitter, Holland is his leading choice for a future opponent.
“I kind of want to punch Kevin in the face if he’s still talking sh*t,” Herman told MMA Fighting on Tuesday. “I would have fought him, no problem, and he’s trying to act like I’m afraid of him. I don’t know what’s up with that.”
Holland, whose UFC Vegas 5 bout was also canceled when his opponent Trevin Giles briefly passed out backstage, blamed Herman for not accepting when the UFC attempted to pair them despite their different weight classes. Responding to a tweet about the promotion’s compensation offer to Herman for his canceled bout, Holland said Herman should have fought.
Well he coulda got that disclosed show money if he.....ya know SHOWED UP to fight me. https://t.co/TZOZd06RCC— Kevin Holland (@Trailblaze2top) August 4, 2020
Herman takes some responsibility for not sticking around. But after hearing the bad news of his canceled fight with Meerschaert, he was upset and decided to blow off some steam.
“I started drinking margaritas in the pool and had my phone off,” he said.
When he checked his phone around 6:30 p.m. on fight day, he said, there were several missed calls from UFC matchmaker Mick Maynard and president Dana White.
“I called Mick immediately, and he said, ‘Hey, can you come and fight Kevin Holland?’ I’m like, ‘Yep I can, but I’ve had about three margaritas,’” Herman said. “And they said, ‘Well, we can’t really do that.’ That was the first I’d heard of it.
“I would have loved to have stepped in there and fought Kevin so we both had the opportunity to go make some money. That’s why we’re doing this. For me, it was just a big punch to the face and the gut. I couldn’t believe what had happened, and lost my focus from that point. I hit in the pool and the margaritas. That kind of f*cked me.
“I should have stayed in place. I wish they’d said, ‘Hey, stick around, something could happen, stay here,’ but the less level-headed side of me... I probably should have done that, but I didn’t. I was just frustrated.”
At the post-fight press conference, White confirmed Herman was none too happy his fight with Meerschaert was canceled.
“Ed Herman’s nickname is ‘Short Fuse’ for a reason,” White told reporters. “He was pissed off about the fight today, and he was going crazy. Then this thing happens and we’re trying to get him back, and how should I put this, let’s just say he couldn’t come back. He had moved on.”
As for compensation to the fighters whose bouts were canceled through no fault of their own, White said, “They got paid some money, and we’re trying to turn them around. I think Holland’s going to fight next week. They got paid some money; they didn’t get their show money, though.”
Herman declined to comment on the amount he was offered. Multiple people with knowledge of the situation told MMA Fighting the figure was $10,000, but negotiations were still underway to get him rebooked.
UFC Vegas 5 took place at the promotion’s APEX facility in Las Vegas and was regulated by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. The commission has strict COVID-19 protocols to prevent the spread of the virus; Herman’s departure from the hotel may have ruled him out of the event. Promoters in Nevada are under no obligation to pay fighters whose bouts have been canceled.
If Herman wants to fight Holland, he’s going to have to wait. The standout is set to face Joaquin Buckley on Saturday at UFC Vegas 6.
Herman isn’t sure when he can fight again, but definitely not that soon. After a previous booking with Da Un Jung was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, he’s taking on significant wear and tear.
“I’m trying to figure out something when I can get there again,” Herman said. “It’s been a tough, long two camps in a row with two fights canceled in a row with no f*cking payday, so it’s been pretty frustrating trying to make the right decision.
“I’ve got to get my head right and talk to my staff, figure out when my coaches are available. Everybody’s so busy right now, I can’t just jump on a hat and fight tomorrow without my staff.
“[A short-notice booking] turns an eight-week camp into a 12-week camp, I’m 39 years old, man. These camps, that’s where the work is done. The fighting is a bonus, my reward. The continual training is where I earn my money, busting my ass for weeks and weeks at a time. Everyone says just jump back in there. It’s a little different when you’re the one doing it.”
Responding on Twitter, Holland wasn’t impressed by Herman’s story.
“Too slow bro,” he wrote. “Slow to answer your phone last week. Slow to sign up to fight this week. Probably slow at sipping on those margaritas also.”