Life for James Krause has been completely turned on its head.
Just two weeks ago, the Kansas City-based fighter wasn't even employed with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). But now, after filling in for an injured Isaac Vallie-Flagg and turning in the performance of a lifetime against 16-fight UFC veteran Sam Stout this past weekend (June 15, 2013) at UFC 161, he's over $100,000 richer after securing"Fight of the Night" and "Submission of the Night."
Not bad for one evening's work.
Now, instead of worrying when his next fight on the local circuit will take place, Krause is busy trying to manage his finances, plan for the future and continue developing as a mixed martial artist.
The talented 27-year old spoke with MMAmania.com during a special guest appearance on The Verbal Submission last night about the fallout from his star-making performance, turning down a UFC fight and his plans for the future in this exclusive interview.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Can you put into words the last 24 hours? Has it just been complete insanity for you?
James Krause: I haven't slept in these last 24 hours and I mean that. I literally haven't slept since eight o'clock Saturday morning. I just landed in Kansas City and I just got home and it's been crazy. My phone has been blowing up. I feel like I was fighting for my entire town, like it was more than just me out there. All the support from people around the world, my wife, my teammates, it's so humbling and such an awesome experience. Even before the fight it was great.
I checked my phone an hour before I walked out to my fight and from an hour until 30 minutes after my fight, I had 286 text messages. Even I can't respond to everything, I look through it all. I try to respond but man, I got bombarded. I gained about 1000 followers on Twitter, too.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): What was it like watching the rest of the fight card knowing you had a good chance of walking away with these big bonuses?
James Krause: I didn't even really, it didn't hit me until the main event that this is quite possible I could have another 50 or 100 thousand dollars coming my way. My teammates right afterwards were telling me, "That's Fight of the Night and Submission of the Night!" and I blew it off saying, "Sure man, whatever," and then the night kept going and the odds started leaning in my favor. It still hasn't really hit me that I won those bonuses.
I still have to pass the drug test. I haven't taken an illegal drug in my entire life but all I keep thinking about is, "What if I somehow fail this drug test?" I've never smoked anything in my life and I'm worried about this test. It's unreal. It hasn't clicked for me and I don't know if it ever will that this is really happening.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): In your immediate post-fight interview with Ariel Helwani, he brought up the fact that you could still be on the hook for some bonuses and you said it would be incredible life changing money. So, now that you've won it, how much is $100,000 going to change things for you?
James Krause: Let's face it. Two weeks ago I wasn't even in the UFC and now I have over $100,000 in my bank account? It doesn't even make sense to me. It's crazy. I've worked so hard to get here and the things that I always knew could happen are finally starting to happen. It's just so surreal and awesome.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Any big plans for the $100,000? Anything crazy you want to splurge on?
James Krause: My wife just asked me the same thing, funny you should ask. I really don't think it's gonna be, I'm not gonna go spend a bunch of it. I've got a couple guys I trust and I'm gonna sit down with them and figure out what to do with that money, whether I'm gonna invest it or something. As far as going out and buying a $100,000 car or something like that, that's not gonna happen.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You actually got offered a fight in the UFC before, but you had to turn it down because you didn't have enough time to cut weight in six days, but you told Joe Silva to keep you in mind because you were going into a training camp and would be ready no matter the notice for the next one. What was it like training for a fight you didn't even know you would get?
James Krause: It was something that had to be done. The UFC rarely signs guys out of the blue. If I wanted to be 100-percent prepared for a short notice fight, I had to train for a short notice fight. It didn't matter who it was. We were going to take it. Whether it was Dan Henderson or whoever. We got a great match-up out of the gate with Sam and we liked how I matched up against him stylistically and we kinda just went with it.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): One of the big storylines from the show was your maturity as a fighter. You looked so composed in there against Stout. For the fans who hadn't seen you since your 0-2 stint in the WEC, can you put into words how different of a fighter you are compared to that guy?
James Krause: Aww man, it's not even, it's terrible. I'm not even the same guy. My last 10 fights or so have been on AXS TV which has been a big help. One of my big training partners is Tim Elliot who's in the UFC and I go with him to all of his fights so I'm there. I know the people. For me, I looked across from Sam Stout right before the fight and I turned back to my team saying, "Guys, I belong here. This is my night." I was just on. There weren't many people who were going to take it from me. I just decided I was gonna walk away the winner and that was how it was gonna be and fortunately that's the way things turned out.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You said you weren't ready for your initial run in the WEC where you went 0-2. What do you think it was where you actually felt ready to get back to the big show this time around?
James Krause: It was a combination of a bunch of different things. I've got new training partners added to my team, Zach Cummings, Tim Elliot, a boxing coach, and I'm evolving into this creative striker where you never know what's going to come. It helps my game a lot and I think mental maturity is a huge one. Just knowing that I can compete. I always had this thing in the back of my head, "Do I belong here?" Now, when I think about that, it's not a question I ask myself, it's a statement. I tell myself, "You do belong here." I finally got rid of that mental block.
James would like to thank Quest Nutrition, Dynamic Fastener, Grindhouse MMA and his manager Joe Wooster, who lined up all his sponsors on two weeks' notice while on his honeymoon. You can follow James on Twitter @TheJamesKrause.