The building he spent plenty of time in as a youth had his face on the front door on Monday, a little reminder of where Andre Harrison is now from a place he comes from.
Posters promoting Harrison's next fight were on the doors both outside and inside the Freeport Recreation Center. Harrison is now a mixed martial arts fighter in the Professional Fighters League who grew up in Freeport and still lives on Long Island. He will fight at NYCB Live's Nassau Coliseum on May 23 in his first bout of the PFL's second season.
But on Monday, the featherweight Harrison who won titles in four different promotions before joining the PFL, was there to talk with kids at the Freeport facility who had assembled there for basketball and other activities with schools off for spring break.
"I grew up 10 minutes from here, I used to come in here all the time. It’s fun. It’s like back to your roots," Harrison, 30, said. “I might have to steal one of those posters, put it in my bedroom to remember it.”
Harrison's talk was brief and he answered several questions from the youths before giving out free PFL swag to those in attendance.
"You got a bunch of little eyes looking at you," Harrison said. "The majority of them, they’re here to play their basketball and burn off their energy. I try to give them a little something quick before their attention span flies off.”
The PFL is in its second year and offers a format unique to MMA. The league has a regular season where each fighter competes twice and earns points for wins and finishes. The top eight fighters in each weight class advance to the playoffs.
Harrison (20-1) will fight Brazilian Freddy Assuncao (10-1) at the Coliseum in the second of three straight events for the PFL at Long Island's main arena. Islip lightweight Chris Wade (14-5) also will compete that night against Nate Andrews (15-1).
“Between the two of us," Harrison said of he and Wade, "we’re gonna have a lot of people there.”