Matt Serra on his reality show with Dana White: ‘Chemistry is everything’
When UFC president Dana White first approached former welterweight champion Matt Serra about doing a reality show together, he wasn’t sure what to expect.
Unlike the typical employer/employee relationship, Serra had always looked at White as a friend as much as a promoter, so the chance to join him on a new adventure where the goal was to discover new talent for the UFC while enjoying the very best of every location they visited sounded like a fun idea.
"I’ve always considered him kind of a friend. I’m that kind of guy," Serra told FOX Sports about his relationship with White. "I’m not that business kind of guy where I keep it separate, but so it wasn’t that much of a transition. Every time I’d see him we’d be busting chops so it was sort of a natural progression. It didn’t feel like a big change."
Serra was soon joined by Nick "The Tooth" Gullo –a long-time friend of White’s who the former UFC champion calls “The Kramer” of the group — and the three of them ventured off into the unknown to produce a series looking for fighters, and no one in the trio knew what exactly to expect.
Three episodes later, the UFC has a hit on its hands with "Looking for a Fight" and Serra chalks the success of the show up to one thing — chemistry.
"Anything in life, especially in entertainment, it comes down to chemistry," Serra said.
"Chemistry is everything and I think we have a good chemistry. The three of us. "The Tooth" is such a wacky guy and Dana’s funny. It’s fun to watch and I think that’s what people are picking up on."
In the first episode of the series, Serra, White and Gullo traveled to Texas where they first crossed paths with 19-year-old phenom Sage Northcutt, who dazzled in his fight that night to secure a UFC contract with a win.
The second episode saw local New York fighter Randy Brown pick up an impressive win over one of Serra’s own students, and he also did enough to earn a UFC contract.
Serra says the talent that they’ve seen so far has been great, but the real test has been watching how the fighters perform under the spotlight knowing that White is sitting cage side with the ability to change their lives with one stroke of a pen.
"When we’re going there, they know we’re going there. That’s a good thing. Because fighting is all about pressure, it’s all about performing under pressure," Serra said.
"So now you’ve got to perform with some guys in the audience — the opportunity is knocking. Are you going to pull the trigger? Are you going to freeze? We’ve seen guys do both."
The show is not just about fighting either, as Serra and the crew have also engaged in some incredible local food and more than a few adventures in the towns they’ve visited thus far.
Serra has now experienced “The Polar Bear plunge”, where he’s jumped into freezing water with no shirt on and in the latest episode that just debuted on Wednesday, he found out what it’s like to lead a team of sled dogs across the Alaskan plains.
All told, Serra says he’s been having a ton of fun along the way although he could definitely deal without taking his shirt off now that he’s north of 40 and no longer a professional fighter cutting weight these days.
"It’s been quite the adventure so far. I’m not going to let any cats out of the bag, but we’ve been doing some crazy stuff on there," Serra said.
"This show should be called mid-life crisis is what it should be called. Guys in their 40’s doing dumb s–t. It is funny."
Right now the series has been planned for 12 episodes with a new one dropping every month this year and they’ve continued filming over the past few weeks with shows consistently coming out in 2016.
As of now, there are no concrete plans for the future but Serra would love to see "Looking for a Fight" going global because that would open up an even bigger array of talent and certainly more misadventures for this trio.
"Hopefully, next season we go global. Let’s travel the world," Serra said. "It’s not my budget, let’s go!"
The newest episode of "Looking for a Fight" debuts on YouTube on Wednesday as Serra, White and "The Tooth" travel to Alaska for some fights, a unique eating challenge and somehow the former welterweight champion ends up back in freezing cold water again.
Quite the adventure indeed.