Touch gloves, and good fight!
I don't normally post fighter blogs from TUF (There are so many of them out there if you look), but I have been following CB's over on Junkie and this boy can not only fight but boy can he write. All of his blogs this season have been stellar but he out did himself this week. Amazing, insightful and funny as hell and worth a read. Can't wait to see him finally get in the ring this season!
Enjoy (and remember not to drink anything while reading this so you don't spit it all up on your screen laughing.)
I am learning there is more than meets the eye when it comes to becoming a top-level fighter. It takes more than physical attributes to rise to the top.
Being home for a few weeks and six episodes into "TUF 7," I can't say that I am feeling what the top-level guys feel. What I can say is that my less than 60 seconds on TV spread out over six episodes has already changed my life in ways I would have never imagined.
It is not like I have people coming up and asking for my autograph or anything like that. I get the "haven't I seen you somewhere before?" or the "who the hell do you think you are" more often than not. April 30 is a great example of the strangeness that follows me
This past Wednesday Matthew Riddle, Ryan Bader and a few of my buddies from ASU headed out to Mill Avenue to hit a few bars. We are all training and not drinking a whole bunch – we had maybe two or three Bud Lights throughout the evening. So we called it a night at around midnight and headed to a local late-night sandwich shop to grab a bite. I had just come from my "TUF" appearance at the Baer's Den, so I was wearing my free UFC clothes. Matthew? Well, he might of had zero pieces of clothes before the show because the only thing I have seen him wear since he got to Arizona is TapouT and UFC gear. So here we are in the sandwich shop, in full TapouT and UFC gear, looking as obnoxious as you can imagine. We looked like our moms had just won a UFC prize pack. To make sure we were even more obnoxious looking, we had a camera guy out with us gathering footage for my website.
As we sit down to await our late-night meals and laugh at whatever story Riddle is about to tell, we notice three guys approaching us. One can't walk, as he is 10-sheets-to-the-wind drunk. He is flanked/supported by "David and Goliath," as we called them. Goliath was about 6-foot-8, and his buddy was a much shorter 5-foot-9. Riddle had a bright read hand print dyed in his hair, and I was certain that it wasn't going to be an autograph request.
The drunkest guy speaks first, and it is along the lines of, "What are you pussies looking at?" Well, the cameraman jumps up first and attempts to defuse the situation in a calm and respectful manner. He told them we were just there to eat and that we hadn't even noticed them and that we mean or meant no harm.
That seemed to make things worse as we, the supposed UFC and TapouT posers, are sitting down and leave a cameraman to work out the peace accord. Truth be told, I gave them more leeway than usual; I am pretty respectful and don't get along well with those that are not. These three guys were looking for trouble.
The guys continue on about us "mad-dogging them" and that they are going to "kick our asses." The cameraman once more asks for peace (he was wearing a Ron Paul shirt), and Goliath responds by grabbing him and putting him into a sandwich-shop guillotine. My boys and I jump up and try to save the poor cameraman.
David (the short one) swings on me, and I duck out of the way and put him in a rear-naked choke. While Riddle and the rest of the guys pull Goliath off the cameraman, they quickly realize I am still chocking this guy, and they begin to peel me off him.
The guys run out as the clerk says the cops are on the way. We got our order and attended to the cameraman's bloodied nose until the police arrived. They asked us if we wanted to press charges, and when we said no, that was the end of the day.
The fact is everything is changing for me, and I have not even fought my preliminary bout yet. I wonder what the guys that have been getting the majority of the camera time are experiencing. I hope they had more clothes then Riddle, or who knows how many fights they are getting into.
We were simply minding our own business and something about the way we looked made random people not like us. To me this is going to be the hardest part about being on the show. I have not even really been seen yet, and here I am dealing with drunk guys like I'm Pam Anderson. What if I had actually thrown blows with the guys and got arrested? Would I lose my sponsors if I got arrested for defending myself? Am I going to hurt someone with my training? What would the UFC say? While I know I am not on "American Idol," I doubt the UFC wants its fighters fighting in bars -- let alone sandwich shops.
The only thing that will rile the drunks up more the wearing of TapouT and UFC clothing head to toe is the reciting of my "masterful" martial arts techniques. As a wrestler I meet a lot of guys that used that BS on me. Like saying, "I am a triple black belt in flying Tiger Sholin." I would be like, "I am whopping that ass and take them down for some dirty ground and pound." My life is getting more and more hectic and all because I am following my dream.
A warning to you late-night sandwich shop gangs: do not let the TapouT apparel throw you. There are 16 fighters that were and are so freaking poor that if Burger King gave us employee uniforms, we would be wearing them in the streets. So be careful: don't assume that a guy dressed like a rejected UFC or TapouT model is an easy mark to pick a fight with.
With that said, let's move on to the latest "TUF" episode.
This season you are seeing a lot of fights and not so much house time. I am one of the few people still supporting Jeremy May at this point. Riddle and others are telling me I am crazy and the guy is bad news. I feel like we need a win, and I really do not care who it comes from. In my years of wrestling, I had many teammates with whom I did not see eye to eye, but I needed -- the team needed -- their six points. To me Jeremy was no different. I did not have to love him to want him to win for us. He was not going to get invited to Arizona to hang out with me anytime soon. But he was standing between us having control and not having control. For that reason alone, I was willing to tolerate him and his antics.
The weigh-ins for his fight with Matt Brown reminded me of a cheesy high school fight. Pretty lame showmanship, and May was showing cracks in his exterior. The thing with Matt is that he is a real fighter -- in life and in the octagon.
I was hoping for our sake that he was letting the emotions of the events get to him. At this point I had decided that Jeremy had better be the best freaking fighter in the house because he was not training with us. He would ride the bike and talk crap all day long. So either he had something up his sleeve or he was going to be destroyed.
The day before the fight they showed Riddle and Jeremy drinking a bit and partying. That was actually two days before the fight. I remember that because the following day Rampage took us to a local park to run and play volleyball. He brought his HUGE dog with him, and he made Riddle run with the dog. (Well, I should say the dog dragged Riddle around for the day.)
Playing volleyball and just getting out of the house and away from the gym was a much-needed mental break. Rampage said this dog cost him $25,000. (Obviously he overpaid as the Doberman is the best breed.)
That evening, I was shown kicking a volleyball full speed into Jeremy's face. That did not happen pre-fight and instead took place after his fight, which made it feel even better. I will explain how that went down and how it felt later in the blog.
So leading into Jeremy's fight, he was not training and was really separating himself from the team. We were all there for a single contract, so to me, that did not really bother me. Everyday he separated himself more and more, and it was getting harder and harder to defend the guy.
During the pre-fight events, you see assistant coach Juanito Ibarra applying his "secret concoction" to Jeremy's face. I know that "Stitch" Duran is the best cut guy in MMA, but that may be because whatever it is that is in Juanito's concoction seems to really work.
According to Rampage, Juanito won't tell anyone what's in it. He said he really doesn't care as long as it keeps working the way it does. I will admit as a team, we had far less cuts then Team Forrest, so he may be onto something.
As the fight begins, we see that "Jeremy Jitsu" is the art of allowing your opponent to take you down and get full mount at will. Jeremy was saddled up and mounted like a horse. This might be the first martial art that is officially geared toward losing. I think the three guys from the sandwich shop were black belts in Jeremy Jitsu. The drunkest one surely had JJ-type moves.
Toward the end of round one, in a move not often seen in Jeremy Jitsu, Master Jeremy pulls off a "lure kick" to the face. That is where you leave your guard down and lure your opponent to kick you in the face. I think the referee in the fight was not up to speed on Jeremy Jitsu and thought Jeremy was in trouble and called the fight. In Jeremy Jitsu, getting KTFO is a part of the art form.
At that point both teams join in and celebrate Matt's victory. Matt dominated Jeremy from start to finish.
In all seriousness, Jeremy was lucky he was not hurt, seeing how that was one of the most vicious head kicks to the jaw I have seen.
After that bout, I'm thinking I am ready to fight and I want to be next. When they show that Forrest was flipping coins, it was just to see who on his team was fighting next. They were not picking our guys with a coin; they were strategic in how they were picking us, and it was paying off in spades.
The next fight puts my fellow MMAjunkie.com blogger, Luke Zachrich, against Dan Cramer. Cramer has hardly had any camera time, and while the show makes him out to be some sweet wholesome boy, he is a real fighter. Cramer was a hard worker and trained hard for Team Rampage. He was respectful to the coaches and did what he was asked to do. He gave 110 percent in practice, and I thought we had a great chance at stealing back control.
The fight began with both guys engaging and going for the win. They held each other and punched like hockey players, and both guys seemed to inflict damage. For those of you that do not train or fight, it takes a lot of energy out of you when you're striking like that. When you get struck, especially struck hard, it takes a lot of energy from you. These guys were simply spending a ton of energy. This fight was full of power shoots from both fighters. They were tired from the exchange -- not a lack of stamina.
At the start of round two, the noise level was to a point that you could not hear yourself think. There was no way either fighter could hear what the corner was saying and no way that any of us were going to be quiet. I was thinking the whole time that it was a gift to see the fight live. What a great scrap, and what it lacked in technicality was made up for with pure entertainment. They both showed a ton of heart, and thankfully for Team Rampage, we are now in control with Cramer's win.
At this point, I am trying to figure out how I get picked to fight. I want to be in the octagon again and soon. It was weird waiting and not knowing, but I knew I was going to get an answer soon enough because we're getting to the final first-round fights.
Anyway, after Jeremy's loss he was playing soccer in the house trying to stay relevant to the cameras. He was kicking the volleyball and doing all sorts of stupid and annoying things. So I grabbed the volleyball and loaded up and unleashed it. The ball was filled with karma -- not air -- so when it traveled off my foot, it headed straight for Jeremy's face. He was sitting there nursing a broken nose, and out of nowhere, this volleyball smashes him in the face.
I will admit that I rewound that scene and played it over and over again and laughed. Good times -- and what a great volleyball. I think a bonus round in the UFC video game should be kicking Jeremy May in the face with balls. It would be great fun for the whole family.
Speaking of video games, the Xbox Tim Credeur promised Riddle arrived last week. Tim had it and was waiting for a permanent address to send it to. Tim is a classy dude, and if you are going to lose to anyone, why not lose to a guy that hooks you up with great parting gifts?
As a reminder, you can catch some of my MTX Audio MMA Team members and myself every Wednesday night at the Baers Den in Tempe, Ariz. This is a local bar that is near ASU. You will be sitting with me and enjoying the show. Last week we even had the WEC world champ Jamie Varner in the house.
Also, do me a favor and visit MTXAudio.com and let them know you appreciate them supporting the sport. They have been paying me monthly, which has allowed me to train and compete at the highest levels since I began MMA. They are not your typical MMA sponsor. They do not sell anything direct to consumers (except our MMA shirts), so they need to hear from you, the fans. Tell them to keep supporting the sport and especially unknown MMA fighters who are potentially the stars of tomorrow. They have been building the names you will come to know and love without asking what they get in return. If it weren't for them, none of this would be possible. When you are in the market for some quality sound for you car, hit them up at a fine retailer near you.