Friday, July 04, 2008

theMMAcraze Exclusive: Dale Hartt Interview

By Brian Holt,

Dale Hartt, who is set to make his UFC debut on July 19th at UFC Fight Night 14, was recently able to take some time out to talk with theMMAcraze. Hartt currently sports a 5-0 professional record after making his pro debut in 2004 at Mass Destruction 18 with a win by submission. Since then he has finished all of his fights with none going past the second round.

Dale discussed a variety of topics ranging from training with Team Irish and Marcus Davis to his 450 pound dead lift and his opponents dislike for getting hit in the face. Needless to say, there was nothing boring about this interview.

theMMAcraze: So who is it you are training with to prepare for this fight, still with Team Irish?

Hartt: Yeah, I train with Marcus Davis, I started to train in Florida with Tom Burke and Lionel Perez, then moved to Maine in like December 2003. I started to train with big bad Marcus Davis and the rest is history. I also train with Mark DellaGrotte of Sityodtong.

theMMAcraze: How did you get started in mixed martial arts?

Hartt: Well, I was at my buddy’s house and he had ordered the first UFC and I’m kind of embarrassed to tell you this but I used to do Tae Kwon Do and so I thought it was going to be something like pro wrestling or some pro wrestling scam. So I was watching and this guy gets kicked in the face and I see a tooth go flying like before the even show the instant replay, and I honestly, I took my chair right up to the TV screen and I didn’t move for like the next 3 hours. I was like, man …..honestly, this is the greatest thing since sliced bread.

theMMAcraze: So, you started training in Florida and then you moved up to Maine start training with Marcus Davis and Team Irish?

Hartt: Yeah, I like Florida a lot and I absolutely love training down there. Marcus wasn’t even here in Bangor when I first got here; he was in Portland which is about 2 hours away. But I started out in Bangor, my family is here, and I moved back to be close to them. To be perfectly honest I moved back for a girl, but she gave me an ultimatum, her or fighting… was time for her to go when she started saying that . I graduated from University of North Florida still training full time, ever since I found a gym I could train at, I’ve been a gym ever since. I did an internship at UBS Paine Weber and they offered me a job for like $70,000 a year but I turned them down to go work at a Gym for like $10.00 an hour so I could train. I’ve always had jobs, I worked at bars a lot-bouncing and temporary jobs and stuff but they were always my “other jobs” and they would have to accommodate me and my training schedule and if they didn’t then I wasn’t going to work for them. I call it my fighting vow of poverty, pretty similar to being a monk.

theMMAcraze: How did you end up on the fight night card?

Hartt: I have to give Ken Pavia some of the credit for that. I thought I was fighting in X1 at end of July and then I thought that was scrapped and a few weeks ago he called and said hey you’re in the UFC, next thing I know I’m getting ready to be in the UFC. It’s very special to me for a couple reasons. One, because it’s the one I started watching from the beginning and that’s the one who got me started in it and now I’m going to be fighting in it. That’s pretty amazing to me. I’m a fighter but I’m also a big fan. I love fighting, I love watching fighting, I love everything about fighting.

theMMAcraze: Now, your upcoming event you’re fighting Shannon Gugerty. He’s a 10-2 fighter who’s also new to the UFC. I know that 7 out of 10 of his fights he’s won by submission, have you been able to find much to help you prepare?

Hartt: Yeah well I’ve watched a lot of his fights, he’s a brown belt in Muay Thai, he’s got good kicks, he likes stand up but doesn’t like to get hit in the face. Which may be a self evident thing – who does like to get hit in the face, but you can’t really be an effective puncher if you’re afraid to get hit in the face. You can tell, the way he holds himself, he leans back, he throws really good kicks, he takes their backs a lot but the guys backs he’s taking I don’t think are the most successful fighters I’ve seen in my life. I’m not saying he won’t take my back because I give up my back a lot. I’d rather give them my back then have a boring fight.

theMMAcraze: What about with the time frame? I know you only found out about this fight a few weeks ago, do you feel as though you are pretty well into your training camp right now, you feel like you have plenty of time to get ready?

Hartt: I think I’ll come in about 75%, maybe 80%.

theMMAcraze: And is that enough for the win?

Hartt: Well, I can tell you this. I’m bringing the heat. Fighting for me is almost spiritual and although I never promise victory, I’m very confident, I think it’s bad karma and bad faith to be like oh I’m gonna go in there an kill this guy. I mean how many times have you seen some guy talking about a fight and then the tiniest thing happens and then changes it all around. Ya know, I think the only attitude to go into this game with is an attitude where I’m going to go in there and I’m gonna give it everything I have, I’m gonna put my heart and soul in it, I’m gonna leave everything I have on the table and no matter what happens I’m gonna go home and sleep like a baby. As long as inside I know, I don’t care if he knocks me out in 10 seconds, I don’t care what happens as long as I give it everything I have. And I think and hope that people enjoy watching me fight, I think I’m an exciting guy. I do not like to have boring fights. I bring it, I like to be exciting, it’s not one of those boring fights. I’m pretty well rounded, I’m a pretty good athlete, I’m a pretty strong guy, I’m gonna be a pretty good size 155’er. And I’m excited. It’s an opportunity for me, an opportunity for my family, and everybody who’s supported me.

theMMAcraze: You mentioned fighting at 155 – you’ve been fighting heavier than that previously right?

Hartt: Yes and no, I’ve been fighting at catch weights. I’ve been fighting between 155 and 170. I’m walking around a lot lighter now. I went on the Ethiopian diet for a while.

theMMAcraze: Oh yea, I don’t think I’m familiar with that one, what exactly is that?

Hartt: Well, yea, that’s when you just stop eating food. No, but I did lose a lot of weight. I did the ultimate fighter try out and lost some weight for that and I’ve been trying real hard to keep it off.

theMMAcraze: So what are you walking around at now?

Hartt: Well, I got up first thing this morning and I’m at 175 which is pretty perfect for me. I expect to get down to about 170 maybe 169 and I’ll cut from there.

theMMAcraze: So you mentioned working with Mark DellaGrotte and I know you’re into striking and in your Matt Lee fight you seem like you’re pretty comfortable on your feet, do you think you’re more of a stand up fighter then a ground fighter?

Hartt: I consider myself, and everybody says it, but I’m one of the guys who is truly well rounded. I’m like a 7 across the board. I’m not a 10 in anything but I’m not a 2 in anything either and I have a bit of athleticism and that kind of helps. I was never a wrester and thought, oh I want to fight, I was never a jiu jitsu guy who was like, oh I want to fight. I’ve been all about learning everything right from the beginning.

theMMAcraze: So in your training, regardless of your opponent, do you still train all over, like wrestling, jiu jitsu, striking , you pretty much do everything or do you concentrate in one area?

Hartt: At different times I may concentrate a little more on one thing or another but like right now I’m concentrating on my stand up and wrestling a little more, but it’s a little more just coincidental because I mean I’m training with Mark DellaGrotte and the guy’s like a stand up genius. And he’s helping me out. And this guy named Moose, he’s from Pakistan, and he’s a human killer….he’s a mean bastard. That’s all I have to say about him. He likes to throw me on my head. A Lot! There’s days where I have to do like 5 rounds with him and when I’m already tired, it’s just murder.

theMMAcraze: What is a typical training day like for you?

Hartt: I get my conditioning first thing in the morning – first thing meaning 9:00 – 10:00, when I’m home I run blocks at like 6am, but here, Mark DellaGrotte doesn’t let me get out of the gym until like 10pm, so by the time I eat and everything it’s midnight,
so I’ve been doing my strength and conditioning at like 10 o’clock with Kevin Kerns. I do a lot of the resistance bands and things along that nature, I train a lot of free weights but not right now. The time leading up to my fight I cut down on free weights a lot.

theMMAcraze: Yeah, I saw your dead lift video on You Tube. 450 pounds was it?

Hartt: Yeah, you wanna hear the story on that video? Me and Dan Lauzon had been talking about fighting, he had been beating a bunch of guys that belonged in the 145 pounds weight class and so when he and I were supposed to fight I took that video and sent it to him as a private message on my space and wrote no more 145er’s for you. Now I hope the UFC brings him up and I can get that fight in the UFC, that’d be great.

theMMAcraze: So, I hear you’re a vegetarian is that right?

Hartt: Yeah, I am a vegetarian, it’s tough. It’s really tough.

theMMAcraze: I’d imagine with all your training and the amount of exercise you’re getting being a vegetarian is probably a difficult thing to do.

Hartt: Yeah, I’m not a vegan which allows me to eat whey protein, eggs and both of those things make life a lot easier. I read a lot about a guy, who’s a strength and conditioning coach, and his vegetarian diet and he kind of made me think it was possible.
I’m a little PETA activist too. You’d find it funny if you knew where I was from. I line in Bangor, Maine and there’s not a lot of PETA activity. It’s common to see people with their deer or whatever they just got done shooting. And people hunting doesn’t bother me, it’s the fact that those slaughter houses and keeping those animals in those tiny cages that they can’t even turn around in all for the purpose of me eating it. From my point of view for me it’s kind of pompous.

theMMAcraze: I know you mentioned earlier, you don’t like to promise and make predictions; do you have any thoughts or feelings on the fight you got coming up?

Hartt: You know when I meet him at the weigh in, I’m gonna ask him, what do you think about tying some rope, we’ll go ankle to ankle, we can just sit there and we can just swap it out until one of us goes down and I think everybody would like that and I think we’ll get fight of the night, I’m sure he needs it and I need it. And, I think that’s the way to go right there.

I’m sure in his head he thinks that my jiu jitsu is not as good as it is and as long as, I have to be able to fight my fight, I have to be able to go in there and make the deal 100% that the deal can be and if I do that, then he’s going to have a hard time. I mean, I’ve trained with Kenny Florian, I’ve trained with Marcus, other than BJ Penn, I don’t think there’s any guy that has better jiu jitsu than Kenny Florian at 155 pounds. And Kenny doesn’t catch me very often. And you know, like I said its just bad karma. I mean maybe Shannon does catch me, but I’ll tell you right now, he’s gonna have to break something cause I’m not saying I’ll never tap, tapping’s a smart thing to do, but I don’t like to tap cause I don’t like to lose but yeah, it’s gonna take a lot.

It’s like this for me, fighting is very spiritual for me and I just want to go in there and I just want to give it everything I have. I want to put everything I have on the line and I just hope for one of those fights where I can just feel his will and my will colliding and going back and forth. That’s the kind of fight I want to have. If I know and people talk and say man that was a really great fight, you guys put it all out there on the line, I’ll be happy. If people come up to me and have like crazy eyes because of my fight, then that’s what I want. That’s even more important to me, honestly than a $20,000 fight of the night bonus.

theMMAcraze: How long or how many fights are you signed for with the UFC?

Hartt: 4 fights. Hopefully everything goes well and I fight well and the UFC says that’s the kind of guy we want to have, and if things don’t go well then hey, I’ll keep fighting and keep going in smaller shows until I get another shot and I’ll give it everything I’ve got and we’ll do it again. I’ll keep trucking no matter what happens. You look at a guy like, I’m not going to say I’m half as exciting a fighter as Clay Guida because he’s an exciting fighter. Like he’s lost a lot and a lot of guys don’t get that chance to lose that much. But I know that every time I watch Clay Guida, you know it’s going to be exciting. I would watch that guy lose like 50 times just because every single time, he brings it, he never quits, he never gives up and he never takes a step back and to me, that’s worth a lot to me. I’d rather watch him then someone who wins but doesn’t go for it.

theMMAcraze: Is there anyone you would like to thank or any other comments you would like to make?

Hartt: I have a friend named Scott Trayhorn and I’d really like to thank him, he’s like my moral compass, he’s a school teacher and he fights for Xtreme Couture in Washington. He’s my best friend and guidance and everything you could ask for in a friend. And Marcus Davis and Mark DellaGrotte. And also which is my website. I’m trying to have a fitness revolution and my website, that’s my attempt.
I just feel lucky. I feel like one of the luckiest guys on the planet right now. Everything is going so well and everything is so great and I’m really to that point. It’s just unbelievable.



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