The Savage Returns: Kris McCray Looks to Be the Next Ultimate Fighter

Joshua CareySenior Analyst IJune 17, 2010

The Palms in Las Vegas, Nevada will play host to The Ultimate Fighter Season 11 Finale live on Spike TV this Saturday night.


After another successful season of TUF, it is time for the live finale, which will pit two finalists in the main event in hopes of earning the six-figure UFC contract.


Kris McCray (5-0), will step into the Octagon against Court McGee (10-1), to determine who is the Ultimate Fighter for Season 11 and champion.


The main event for the finale was originally scheduled to be Keith Jardine versus Matt Hamill. However, McCray and McGee were relentless in their quest to make it to the finale, and McCray feels that is why they got promoted to the main event.


“We’re deserving of the main event spot. It’s a good feeling, if you watched the show then you know that we fought bell to bell and it’s going to be a good fight. That’s definitely what the fans want to see and I think we have a lot to fight for.”


McCray fought a staggering five times while on the show to make it to the final matchup against McGee. But what exactly does a fighter go through when they have to step into action that amount of times in such a short time frame? 


“You go through a lot physically and mentally, you just have to be prepared for that before you even step into the house and want it more than anybody else around you. I had my first loss and I was able to bounce back from that, dealing with all the team BS. You got to know that my goal is to win every week and win this thing,” McCray said.


In order to continue winning, he knew that he had to put the team “BS” behind him and bounce back from that initial loss. McCray explains that it was something inside of him that helped him persevere.


“That was the Savage in me, that dude is non-stop in there. You have to have that mindset that it’s just a man in front of you. I was like, I’m going to throw everything at these guys and try to make them as uncomfortable as I can,” McCray explained.


“Because on the show, I have to keep winning and as long as I’m controlling the fights and scoring then I’m doing that. I took some big shots from Josh (Bryant) in that last fight and I gave some back too. Definitely, a different fighter and it was fun, I would do it again.”


The Savage that he speaks of is his nickname and, according to him, it was his six years in the Army Reserves that helped groom him to be a professional fighter.


“My training out there in the fields, eating MRE (Meal, Ready-to-Eat) cold with just hot sauce and ranch dressing out there. Everybody would tell me if I’m going to war I want to go to war with you. And, people like to see that kind of stuff, a hard working guy that came in there (TUF) and walked away victorious."


That mindset is what helped McCray through his final fight on the show, as his coach was let go from his duties with a week remaining, and Rich Franklin stepped in to fill the void. Listening to him tell it, there is a lot you can learn from a man in a week.


“He’s amazing, he wanted to make sure I was ready. Making sure my diet was right, my weight was right, my head was in the right place, and kind of tweaked a few things that I was doing with Tito. He jumped right in and I could take a lot from his attitude and how he prepares for fights. I talked to him (Rich) about getting him in there so you’ll probably see him in my corner.”


Since filming on the show has concluded, McCray returned home to train with Coach Lloyd Irvin, whom gives praise and expresses what he takes away from the training. 


“He’s done a lot, he breaks you down to build you up. I’m still early in this sport and I want to soak it up. I want to continue to learn more things and improve everyday. It’s definitely fun,” Coach Irvin said.


The Ultimate Fighter Finalist explains that, while training may be fun, the fight is still the part of the sport in which he finds the most enjoyment.


“You get to get into the cage and just put it all together. Everything else is grueling when you’re preparing for the fight. The weigh cut and everything, so definitely the fight.”


On Saturday night, Kris McCray will once again get to enjoy the best part of his profession and he gives fans an idea of what they can expect to see when tuning in.


McCray said to anticipate a high energy fight from him. He likes to jump on his

opponents early, so expect that from bell to bell.


McCray has made it much farther than many men before him and he looks to cement his place in the Ultimate Fighting Championship on Saturday night.