Posted on: November 9, 2008 7:44 pm

Tom is back....tell a friend...squared

Phew. First I'd like to apologize for the lack of an update for the past few episodes. If I had the opportunity to be at a computer for an elongated period of time, I would have been more than happy to develop such an update. Who would have thought that the life of a "D minus reality show celebrity" could be so taxing? I've spent the past few weeks sitting in a newly leased building in downtown Orlando, ripping out ceilings, painting walls, and inhaling dust. Coupled with traveling to corner fighters this past week and getting back in the groove with training; Thomas has been a busy boy. But my exploits lately have been less than noteworthy, but the exploits of the past few weeks of TUF 8 have garnered some attention! Let's get down to some business...

Vinny Magalhaes made Jules Bruchez look like a novice on the ground.

I've had the opportunity/displeasure of rolling with Vinny from our time spent in Vegas. By the time this episode aired, I had become his main (and sometimes only) training partner. Let me just say that he is amazing on the ground. Is Jules a terrible fighter like many interwebs nerds have claimed? No, he did beat Eric MaGee to punch his ticket in to the TUF house. Vinny is just that good on the ground.

Is Vinny better than Big Nog? In MMA, surely he is not. Vinny has the potential to be one of the best fighters in the world, but Nog's accomplishments stand for themselves. He has one of, if not THE, best BJJ game for MMA. The biggest story of that episode for most was Vinny's comments surrounding whether he was a better grappler than Nog. I never once heard Vinny say that Nog was not high level, and the fact that he said Nog's BJJ was "basic" doesn't mean he was downplaying it. How many champion boxers, wrestlers, etc. have gotten by with the basics? It has been mentioned ad nauseum but Vinny was referring to Nog's style as being basic. The comments were taken a bit out of context and caused some confusion. Vinny's grappling accomplishments speak for themselves much like Nog's do in the world of MMA.

Also Vinny's English is very good, but not to the point where he understands all of the slang translations. For example, I remember staying up late one night with Vinny, Eliot, and Kaplan talking about what cartoons crossed the borders between North and South America. One of Vinny's favorites was "The Muppets Baby". If that isn't proof that sometimes he doesn't know what he is saying, I don't know what is.

Oh yeah and before I forget, on the subject of Vinny, there are often subtle references made to this during the shows (one such is before Team Mir's run in the mountain, Kaplan references to a putrid smell): Vinny farts like no other. The man has a lot of things going for him. Great BJJ, great fighter, good physique, pretty boy.....but boy oh boy, I'm not sure if he wakes up and decides to challenge Cool Hand Luke to a hard boiled egg eating contest every morning, but at least 10 times a day it smelt as if an entire village of dirty goats had crawled up his anus and died. Just thank God that a viable option of Smell-a-vision has not really surfaced yet. Sorry if it ruins your love life a bit Vinny, but this is my small payback for almost passing out on multiple occassions.

Dave Kaplan vs. Phillipe Nover.

Now everyone knows who Dana was referring to as the next GSP. Dana said so himself, I'm not spoiling anything. I'm not sure how it can be seen through a few fights, but I'm not a talent scout...and I didn't even see Nover's next fight. What I did see was Phillipe run through Kaplan.

Much has been said about Mir/Kaplan's comments and them not taking ownership of the fact that Kaplan truly lost. I can tell you without hesitation that Dave is a better fighter than he showed. I mean really, it couldn't have been much worse, but he is a much better fighter than was seen. As you can see, Diamond Dave has a monstrous head. Some people on the show began referring to him as a mongoloid/grouper fish. Let's say that Kaplan was a super-hero, based on appearance his power would undoubtedly be the ability to either swallow whole seas of plankton whole or to run head first through mountain ranges.

I spent more time with Dave than I did with anyone else in the house, and we talked a great deal about fighting, philosophy, our affinity for different cultures, and told a lot of jokes. On the subject of fighting, from day 1 Dave said he wanted to be in "that fight". He wanted to be in a fight that people talked about for years to come. He figured that due to the size of his noggin, he could eat any punch as if it were a sea of plankton, and keep on trucking. This proved to be a fatal mistake as Phillipe has some major power in his hands. If you see Phillipe in person, he looks more like a bodybuilder than a fighter. He has veins popping out of every muscle on his body, as if during some of his night tours in the hospital he was doing curls with the decapitated heads he talked about.

Phillipe claimed he was the toughest registered nurse on the planet. He is pretty good, but I'm willing to bet there is a disgruntled 40 something woman wielding a syringe somewhere that has something to say about those comments.

Now that the fights have been mentioned, let me comment on my delicious fruit platter. I like fruit, Team Nogueira liked fruit. I ordered fruit trays every night. Team Nog didn't order fruit trays every night. I didn't eat fruit trays the next day. Team Nog did eat fruit trays the next day.

I don't see how anyone can have a problem with me urinating in my own food. Pee is sterile, and Luke Cummo is my idol. I'll never have another shot at making the TUF finals....Ryan Bader ended that dream, but that doesn't mean I can't try to emulate someone who did make the finals. I peed in my fruit with every intention of eating it if it were there for me to, unfortunately for Team Nog they didn't have the foresight to order enough food for their post-practice parties. But guess what guys?

If you are hungry, urine luck! Literally....my urine......

I'll now write random things I remember from the past few weeks of the show:

Dave Kaplan really knows every capitol of every country in the world.

Jules Bruchez: "He lived, he died, who cares?" may be my favorite written quote ever.

Phillipe's "balut" egg was something else. It tasted very odd, but smelled like something that would emanate from Vinny.

Junie trains at Xtreme Couture now. Dave trains at Xtreme Couture. Must make for some interesting sparring after what Junie told Phillipe.

Although maybe it isn't that awkward, right before Junie's training outburst Dave told him "You are hot." Perhaps a lover's quarrel more than anything?

On a side note, I had the opportunity to train at Team Nogueira Miami this past weekend with Daniel Valverde, Efrain, Bader, and Kingsbury. Daniel was amazing on the ground and anyone who is in the MIA area would be wise to check out his gym in Downtown. Asides from being a knowledgeable and hospitable coach, Team Nog also cleaned house at a night of fights in the 305 on Thursday night. Also, thanks to Efrain,Bader, Kingsbury, and Edgar for training with me. You guys will all go far in MMA..........let's just hope that I go a bit farther=)

I'll do my best to stay up to date with my blog, but if I don't? You can't do anything about it because it is my blog!! muahahahhahahahaha.....ehh sorry, I'm abusing my power and I'll see you guys next week for another installment!!!
Posted on: October 23, 2008 11:12 am

Halfway Through?

So we are now at the midway point for TUF 8. And to think, there is sooooooo much more fun to be had in the coming weeks.

But the issue at hand right now is the incidence that everyone seems to have been waiting for; Junie Browning to step up and fight someone in the cage!

Junie has so far been involved in altercations in the house, in the gym, in the bathroom, in the hot tub, in the conservatory with a knife with Colonel Mustard, etc.  Has it all been for show? Can he back it up? This is the week that we all find out.

Last week Eliot Marshall beat Shane Primm. That gives Team Mir control for the first time. At this point, we all knew that Junie was going to self-destruct had he not just gone ahead and fought next. The other lightweights all agreed to let Junie pick the next opponent, and Junie made it quite clear that he wanted to fight Rolando.

Here are some key points that I remember from this week in The Ultimate Fighter 8 History:

1. Rolando's Black Belt- Did Rolando really have a black belt in BJJ? Yes I'm sure he does somewhere in his closet at home. Does Rolando deserve a BJJ black belt? I don't know, I'm not a qualified black belt level jiu-jitsu instructor. This is what I DO know. On my team I have the following BJJ fighters and coaches available to me: Frank Mir, Robert Drysdale, Demian Maia, Vinny Magalhaeres, Eliot Marshall. Team Big Nog has: Nog, Amaury Bitteti, Daniel Valverde, Anderson Silva, Lyoto Machida, Rolando Delgado. Is Delgado the weakest of the bunch out of the names I've listed? Sure he is. Does that mean he doesn't deserve a black belt? Not necessarily. I know that in car rides/at the house we discussed Rolando's black belt, and it seemed as if he had a tough time explaining the story of who from and how he received his belt. Couple it with the fact that the majority of the other guys I've mentioned have been national and international level BJJ'ers, left some of the other guys a bit skeptical of his skills.

There is a big difference between being a world champion black belt, and being a black belt. If you watch me vs. Bader, you see that we both have wrestling backgrounds. You also see that Bader wrestled at a D1 school and was an All-American, while I wrestled for a non-NCAA program and was a national champion. If there were belts awarded in wrestling, I'd consider myself to be a black belt. I've defeated NCAA All-Americans, national qualifiers, etc. But there was still a difference between Bader's wrestling and my own.

Is Rolando a black belt? Another black belt must have thought so.

My comments about the UPS man hand delivering Roli his belt were genuine. Perhaps skewed, but nonetheless I wasn't making a snide comment just for the sake of it, it truly is what I believed at the time.

2. Junie's Black Belt Loogie
Junie throws a black belt at Rolando during the fight announcement/staredown. Then he spits at the blackbelt as it lays on the floor. It seems as if a lot of people are upset by this. Maybe it is because I wasn't brought up in the traditional martial arts, but I don't see the belt as being some sacred almighty piece of equipment that must never be tarnished. Sure it represents hard work and dedication, but people take things too seriously. If someone came up to me and threw a pair of Asics and a singlet at me, then proceeded to crap all over them I wouldn't be upset. I would either be amazed, disgusted, both....or just laugh. Yeah I'd probably just laugh.

3. Junie's Weight Cutting
Was Junie over? Yes. Did he make weight? Yes. Did he complain and act like a child about it? Yes. Do they have scales in Kentucky? Probably not.

4. The Fight
In person, holy crap it was exciting. The build up probably added as much to the fight as anything else. Legitimately I thought that Junie would live up to his own hype and provide MMA with the first in-ring murder in the history of the sport. I didn't think there was any way in hell that Roli would win round 1, and almost squeak out a win in the end. Roli's reach proved to be a real problem for Junie, and when we all thought Roli would fold under Junie's punches, he proved us wrong. I've already seen a lot of comments regarding how the fight was "toughman-esque", and how it was horrible for the sport. The fight was a lot better live really. The excitement of all the fighters, the coaches, really doesn't come off appropriately on TV in this case. Team Nog wanted Roli to kill Junie for his crimes against the ghost of Count Maeda and the early Gracies, while I wanted Junie to win just so that it didn't make Team Mir eat crow for defending Junie.

5. The "Non" Stand-Up
In round 3, Roli is on his back with Junie pecking away at his legs with kicks and a vicious display of inactivity. This was the time when we knew Junie was going to win the decision. Every time it seemed Josh Rosenthal would step in and stand-up Roli, Junie would do just enough to keep him down. Unless you are Gegard Mousasi or Renzo Gracie, it is pretty hard to win a fight off of your back. Say what you want about Junie's possible inbred pedigree, but he played it smart and played to the rules to secure the victory with this tactic.

Next week, we have another prelim light-heavyweight fight. Will it be a Polish guy, a Brazilian, a tall order cook, or everyone's favorite portly southerner in battle next week?
Posted on: October 17, 2008 11:10 am

I got 5 on it....

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Boy, after this episode I've really gone ahead and reevaluated my life and decided that no matter what has happened in my life, I'm pretty fortunate.

What made me go ahead and have this quarter life moment of clarity?

“I didn't have any friends in high school. Maybe one”- Eliot Marshall

Heck, I am in an airport in Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati right now, awaiting a connection to Milwaukee, and I'm pretty sure I have more friends in here than one. Eliot is a good guy, so I feel kind of blessed at the way my life has turned out.....

Speaking of Kentucky, once again on TUF this week, the state's favorite son Junie Browning narrowly escaped being kicked out of the house. After last week's submission victory over “Sugar” Shane Nelson, F Ray Ahn and Junie engaged in a war of English insults in the UFC training center. What makes this remarkable is the fact that neither Efrain or Junie speak English as a first language (Efrain was born in Mexico, and Junie was born in Kentucky).

During this battle of wits, Junie saw fit to leap the cage and storm the ring as if he were an invading army and the cage wall was the French military. But Sacre Bleu! Junie gets to stay on the show because Keith Kizer was not in attendance. Had he been, Dana is positive that Junie would have had his Athletic Commission license taken away. I'm not sure how he got one in the first place, because I succintly remember taking a drug test prior to the taping of the show.

Boredom sets in easy during time in the TUF house, as one can imagine, and much has been said about the pranks that Krystof devises. I can be seen in the background of most of these, as Krystof's accomplice. Some people think that the pranks are lame, some people think they are funny, some think they are harmless, and some (like Big Nog) think that they are detrimental to the training process. Let me explain something to those of you who have never lived in seclusion from society, with 15 other dudes; you will do ANYTHING to offset boredom. I mean, you can only escape the cameras by hiding in the shower with a bottle of lotion for so long.

Freezing someone's underwear is like the holy grail of entertainment when TV isn't available. Putting sardine juice in peoples beds? All in great fun. But I side with “Diamond” Dave Kaplan when I say that in the scheme of things it was pretty lame in execution. I'm sure some of the other guys were a bit more upset, as evidenced by Vinny's reactions, but I've had enough members of the opposite sex who emitted a similar smell in the bars I've worked at that it didn't bother me.

Anderson “The Spider” Silva came to visit Team Nog. I don't have much to say on the subject, other than I'm jealous. I'm not a big Anderson Silva fan really, but he is the best in the world at 185 currently and it looked like he really got in there with Bader and some of the other guys. With a plan to drop to 185 in my immediate future, it would have been nice to see how far away from the upper echelon I am.

A small tidbit as well. If you look closely, at last week's episode (either that or it was this week's I forget) you can see Demian Maia in the corner of Team Mir. Demian was the coolest guy I've ever met. Literally, I would be him if I could. I'm not sure if he will get a proper introduction on the show or not, as one of the themes so far seems to be the cohesion on Team Big Nog, along with the seemingly vagabond nature of Team Mir.

Eliot Marshall and Shane Primm train. They will fight. Eliot is a BJJ Black Belt (under Amal Easton), Shane is a purple under Rob Kahn (Gracie Tampa). Rob Kahn is amazing on the ground, his guard is simply amazing. Shane Primm is good, I've fought him. He is young and has a pitbull tattoo, which automatically adds toughness as soon as the ink dries.

Much has been made already of the interaction between Big Nog/Mir/Team Mir regarding the pranks and the fact that Nog wanted them to stop. Let me try to remember as much about this situation as possible. Yes, we at Team Mir began the pranks with saran wrapping the underwear, freezing it, etc. Team Nog replied with putting fish in our beds. Vinny replied by peeing on Efrain's pillow. I don't recall a concerte effort by Team Nog members to get us to stop the pranks. It was always a “we will retaliate, don't worry” attitude from te majority of the team.

If Team Nog themselves would have come to us and really asked us to stop, I'm sure that we would have been receptive. But that didn't happen before Big Nog came to us first. And really, It wasn't a situation where I remember Nog asking us all to sit down for a serious meeting. It was more like, we get home from training, start to cook and eat, and when everyone was around Nog started addressing it. You can see from the video that Team Mir isn't concentrated in one area. We are spread around the kitchen, dinner table, dining room, etc. At this point, Stankie and Big Nog started addressing the situation kind of informally.

This might be due to the fact that there is a language barrier with Nog, and sometimes us non-cultured Americans have a hard time understanding and concentrating when we can't fully understand someone. Also, and I'm not saying this disrespectfully as he was one of my favorite people to be around, but Al Stankie doesn't really lend himself to a conversation where he is trying to get something done. He talks a mile a minute, with lots of cliches, and other antecdotes, and to be honest I didn't even know what he was saying for a good portion of the time.

People can complain about Eliot, Krystof, and whoever else disrespecting Big Nog, and how if he talks everyone should listen...honestly, if you are trying to get in to the UFC and are on the cusp, one of the worst things you can do is go ahead and “idolize” someone. It is detrimental as it psychogically implies that you are not on that person's level. A good portion of the internet talk about the situation is that Nog is a legend in the sport. I agree wholeheartedly. Nog seems to be a great coach, a good, caring individual and has been through highlight reel wars for the majority of his career. I would LOVE to emulate half the success that he has had.

Does that mean that I, (and the rest of Team Mir)can't have my own opinion? Hell no. It was a conversation that occured, which implies that more than one person has the right to talk. It wasn't a formal meeting where Nog was pleading with us to stop pulling pranks, instead it seemed like being chastised by someone else's father while you are in your own home. Had the Team Nog coaching staff approached it in a different manner, the outcome may have been different.

And by the way, you can see me eating and listening intently while he talks=)

My thoughts on the fight? It sucked. Eliot dominated Shane and it made me feel bad inside. I've trained with Shane and fought him. Part of me wanted him to do good because I consider him a friend, another part of me wanted him to do good because he holds a DQ win over me, and another part of me wanted him to lose so that Team Mir could gain control.

Shane did his best Frankenstein impression right into a bodylock and did his best to re-enact the film career of [insert name of random “adult” movie actress] by giving up his back, being mounted, and getting choked before getting Eliot to finish prematurely.

Wait, I've got to go really quickly. I'm still in the airport and I've already made 7 friends who want me to hang out.

Most of them are asking me through their 4 teeth (combined) about Junie's fight next week, since we are in Northern KY, and I'll tell you what I told them all....

TUNE IN NEXT WEEK to see Junie “The Lunatik” Browning battle against Rolando “The Emaciated Beaver” in a battle of epic proportions!!

Who will be the TUFest of the two?

Posted on: October 10, 2008 1:09 pm

Ep E Sode 4

First I'd like to apologize for being late with this entry. Traditionally I've tried to complete them for the Thursday after the show airs, but due to a myriad of factors I have not been able to up to this point.

My life has been a whirlwind since Saturday night! Those of you MMA fans who watched the EliteXC show on Saturday night may have noticed me in the corner of Seth "The Silverback" Petruzelli, for what has become one of the biggest MMA stories of the year so far! I'll talk more about the Kimbo fight when I get a chance and details regarding the situation have calmed down, but let me just say that it has been a crazy turn of events! Also for those of you in the Orlando area: Seth, BJJ blackbelt Mike Lee, and myself are in the process of opening a new training facility in the Universal Studios area called The Jungle MMA. I have been swamped with business stuff all week, so hopefully next week things return to normalcy and I'll have the blog updated promptly.

On to the show! I'll be using an experimental format this week. I will be writing much of this blog from the perspective of some of the other fighters. Here it is, in chronological order.

*Junie Browning: Hi Y'all, I be Junie Browning. Me thinks dat I'm gunna be one of der best fighters in the world one day. But 'til that day comes, I'm gunna just git drunk and throw peanuts at y'all.
- Junie Browning during his drunken peanut throwing, man hugging escapade with "Sugar" Shane Nelson

*Kyle Kingsbury: He cut me Mick!
-what Kingsbury probably said to Al Stankie after Junie threw wine in his eyes, then threw a glass at him, cutting his arm

*Shane Nelson: Hey braddah. Hey Ef-ray-ahn, I'm gonna triangle choke you braddah. You don't know how we do it in the 808 braddah. Hey Junie, get me another Bartels & James win cooler braddah, I've had 2 and I'm bombed braddah.
-Shane's comments before trying to fight all of Team Big Nog's lightweights

*Efrain Escudero: Smirk!
- Efrain's reaction to all of the events so far

*Junie: Man, why y'all gotta throw my clothes in the pool man. I thought we waz boys man. You know I can't afford my own clothes in Kentucky, man. Y'all a buncha bullies,man.
-Junie to all the 205'ers

*Krzystuff: Hey! .......Don't touch me.
-Kryzystuff doing his best impression of Brak, while Junie continually pushes him

*Ryan Bader: I'm as strong as the Incredible Hulk!
-Bader as Junie attacks him and he was able to lift him out of the water with his neck

*Efrain Escudero: Smirk!
- Efrain's reaction to all of the events so far

*Tom Lawlor: Oh crap. I just got knocked out 2 weeks in a row on national TV!
-Me after Junie hits a perfect push kick to my stomach by the pool

*Everyone: Huh? Junie ISN'T getting kicked off?!? I need to start sleeping with an ice pick handy
-The cast of TUF's reaction to Junie not being kicked off the show

*Efrain Escudero: Smirk!
- Efrain's reaction to all of the events so far

*Shane Nelson: Hey braddah don't come around me braddah. I'm gonna put a hole in your head with me fist then choke you out with a lei braddah.
-Shane's reaction to Efrain after being chosen as the 1st prelim lightweight bout

*Efrain Escudero: Smirk!
- Efrain's reaction to all of the events so far

*Junie: Man. y'all red shirts that wrestle, man it ain't the Ultimate Wrestler man. Ii'll blow all my chances on the show and argue with y'all man. I'll show y'all I don't need alcohol to be a retard man.
-Junie after admitting that Efrain caught him in a guillotine 10 times in a row while training

*Efrain Escudero: Smirk!
- Efrain's reaction to all of the events so far

Now I'll return to our regularly scheduled format.

Sans the fight between Efrain and Shane, everything that happened on the show happened prior to my fight with Bader. So after 4 nights in the house, we have already had a few fights, broken furniture, broken glass, and lots of Efrain smirking. After Junie push kicked me, and before my fight with Bader, we worked a lot on defending the kick in the training sessions. Unfortunately, as you know Bader didn't try to teep (push kick) me, instead he knocked me out. Bad game plan. Also, you can see Junie throw a cherub statue in to the pool during his furniture destroying tirade outside. I almost legitimately drowned trying to get that statue out. Being a good samaritan, I didn't want to have 2 babies drown on my watch, and dove in to save them. The statue had filled with water, but I was not going to give up and let go on those 2 little angels. Instead I treaded underwater, never advancing to the top, until a couple people had to grab me from the pool. I forget who it was, but thank you....you saved my life. Moving on....

Despite what the cameras show, Edith wasn't at the fight! I'm pretty sure that I would still be sporting an erection had she been. Shane Nelson and Efrain was a good fight. Both guys are undoubtedly talented, and I wouldn't be surprised if both guys are fighting in the UFC consistently at this time next year. The first round was pretty even, not a big advantage to either guy, but Efrain secured a takedown with about 1:30 left in the round to probably eek out a 10-9.

The 2nd round was 3 minutes of light ground and pound, affectionately known as lay 'n pray, before Shane used the cage to get back to his feet. As Efrain went for another takedown, shane scrambled for a knee bar, then a heel hook. Efrain scrambled out and ended up with Shane in his guard. I thought that for sure Shane would be able to use his skills to pass and submit Efrain, but he had to act fast. Shane's gas tank wasn't up to par, and he made a critical mistake that allowed Efrain to lock up the triangle. If you watch closely you see Shane try to push down Efrain's right knee 3 or 4 times after he gets on top. Efrain no doubt realized this and was ready the last time, as he used Shane's set-up to lead himself straight in to the triangle that finished the fight and once again.....

*Efrain Escudero: Smirk!
- Efrain's reaction to all of the events so far

Junie goes berserk, saying how boring Efrain was and how he just layed on Shane. Apparently Junie was still drunk from previous nights, because I'd say that getting a submission win is a lot different than laying on someone. I'm not sure if Junie heard Nog's comments (saying that he would be the next to be finished), or if he is just that insane, but he jumped into the cage like there was a bottle of Jack Daniels waiting for him inside and tried to fight everyone in the cage.

What happens next week? Well I'm not really sure because I haven't seen the episode yet, but I bet you it is crazy! and..............

*Efrain Escudero: Smirk!
- Efrain's reaction to all of the events so far

Posted on: October 2, 2008 1:31 pm

Here one day, gone tomorrow...or still here!

Vegas! Street lights, hotels, airplanes,…and a Ginger Bread House?

That is what we are treated to as Episode 3 of the Ultimate Fighter season 8 begins!

We get an opening montage of why some are here to fight. Ryan Bader is here because he wants to advance his career. Junie Browning is here because he was raised poor, and apparently being poor leads to being tough. My thought is that this was his one chance to drink something besides bourbon, and Junie knew there would be a full liquor cabinet. Kryzstzof is here to offer everyone steak.

After the first few fights, many people were banged up. Brian McLaughlin and Karn “The Count” Gregorian were the two most notable. Keeping up with the tradition that Karn set on Sesame Street years ago, he was sporting TWO black eyes after his THREE round fight, giving him ONE fracture in his nose. I understand that Karn spends most of his time studying mathematics, but apparently he also is a student of anatomy as well. Karn informs us at the dinner table that his nose isn’t broken….it just has a crack in it. Brian “Mr. Potato Head” McLaughlin and Karn are called to the forefront of the UFC training center by Dana White, only to be informed that they were indeed going home. Well actually they were going to McCarran Airport first I assume.

And with two guys being sent home, that leaves room for someone to get a 2nd shot! That man turns out to be Kyle Kingsbury! The replacement lightweight fighter was too busy surfing the Internet and throwing up Westside signals to make his way back right away, so we will see him later.

Let me reeeeeeewind for a second back to Karn’s situation. I was in the same dressing/locker room as Karn for the prelim fights and was able to see the aftermath from his fight. After every fight a doctor comes back to the room to inspect the fighter and report any injuries that may be present. The doctor actually CLEARED Karn after the fight and Karn himself INSISTED on going to the hospital to get his nose checked. Apparently Karn actually DID know more than the Dr. seeing as how his nose was broken, but I’m sure it was a choice that Karn will be kicking himself for for a long time.

With 15 out of the 16 fighters present, the team picks were ready to be made. Dana flips a large blue Peso and it comes up Mir’s colors. Before this, Dana said “I never remember how this works”(referring to who picks first/picks the first fight) to which Al Stankie replied “If it comes up blue it’s Mir”. Pure classic Stankie. Frank Mir decides to pick the first fighter, rather than the first fight. Mir goes with experience over beauty and chooses Krazystuff Sosyzinski (I remember him telling me that is how to spell his name, so I’m going to refer to him by this from now on). Big Ant Rod Min Nog chooses Ryan B”r”ader first for his team. Nog thinks that Bader might be the champ, so I will take his advice and watch and see. Swerve? I think so. Mir had been telling Big Nog that he was not going to pick Vinny Magalhaes because a) Vinny was Brazilian and b)Nog was Vinny’s MMA hero. Well Big Nog took it to heart and didn’t choose Vinny, throwing chivalry aside, Frank decided to pick Vinny with pick #2. After that, all you need to know is that I was picked #4 for Frank Mir’s team (2nd to last overall for the light heavies) and I wore a spectacular pair of sunglasses, button down shirt, and gold chain while doing so.

Due to Mir picking the first fighter, Big Nog gets to pick the first fight. Frank can’t see us losing any matches, Big Nog sees team unity as the most important aspect of the competition. We cut to some training montages next, and come to find out that the competition has taken a different turn than I expected.

Frank Mir utters the words “Being a coach is an opportunity to expose myself to other fighters”. Yikes Frank! If I had heard this before we got a chance to roll, I would have been a lot more careful about exposing my back to you! The coaching staff for Mir consists of Ken Hahn, Robert Drysdale, and James Horne; who was not featured with his own vignette. James is a brown belt under Frank, a huge guy, and young.

After the coaches introductions, we get to see Junie Browning get drunk while he and Shane Primm give confessionals about who has the more annoying country accent.  Apparently Shane wins the competition because Junie has a nervous breakdown about the fact that he can’t even be the biggest redneck in the house. Shane Nelson has an AMAZING revelation and thinks Junie might be bi-polar?!? Shane, I know you are a psychologist and all but what on Earth would make you think that?

Shane Nelson wonders huh, who they will bring back huh as the lightweight guy huh, no ways huh? And in walks the replacement……”The Emaciated Beaver” Rolando Delgado himself! Rolando walks in and let’s us know that the Westside is the best-side by throwing up gang signals. I remember being in the hot-tub when Rolando showed up and thinking “Who the hell is that?” I also remember walking around 15 minutes later and thinking “What the hell is that?”, mostly because Rolando was standing sideways and I couldn’t decipher whether he was a human being or one if someone has misplaced one of the bamboo sticks that served as decoration in the house.

I don’t have much to say about Nog’s training sessions except that Al Stankie is the man.

We line up for the first fight announcement and Big Nog chooses Ryan to fight against…ME!!!

Ryan "Darth" Bader vs. Tom "The Filthy 'Darth Maul'-er" Lawlor!!!

The match-up makes sense to Nog because he thinks that I might out wrestle his other guys, which is true, but that Bader might out wrestle me…which is also true. Despite the beatings that Nog has taken over the years, he has the intelligence of an ancient prophet.

Look mom I’m on TV! Training with Frank Mir! Get off me Frank! Watch out James, I’m taking your back! Hey Ken, I’m punching you in the face! I don’t care if you are 150 lbs, I’m coming for you!

As you can tell from past seasons of the show, it is really easy to become bored in the house. Krazystuff came up with the great idea to shrink wrap all of Bader’s clothes to his bed, which honestly is a great prank. A lot different than peeing on beds or giving upper deckers. Bader didn’t find the shrink wrap until about midnight that night and was up late unwrapping his bed. Great prank. About the only one I could have thought up that was better and harmless would have been to undue the light bulbs in their room and take a crap in them, then put them back on so that the light burns it and it stinks. But I digress.

Dana, Nog, and Frank give us their thoughts on me vs. Bader. Dana thinks whoever has better hands will win, Nog thinks it might be a knockout or a submission or maybe a decision, and Frank thinks that it is a good chance for Team Mir to pick off Bader now. I do my best pregnant woman/John L. Sullivan impression during the weigh-ins and stare down.

Let me address the family/team aspect that they then show of Team Nog. It is true that Team Nog ate more often as a group than we did. It is also true that none of Team Nog’s coaches are native to Las Vegas, so they did not have their wives,children,etc in town to worry about. Frank, James, Ken are all guys who live in Vegas and have these things to worry about. Just my .02 cents and I’m sure it will be addressed more in the future.

Bader is bigger than me, stronger than me, faster than me, and my haircut sucks. These are all true statements. I’m also beautiful, which is probably the most true statement I uttered in my pre-fight interviews.

Bader gives me some good advice. Tells me that he loves me, and that he is going to put “it” on me. What “it” is, I’m not really sure at this point but I’m thinking that it resembles something along the lines of what he did while he was carrying a light-saber in his infamous TUF 8 tryout video.

Hey we have the same reach but I’m 2 inches shorter! And the fight begins with me stuffing 2 of Bader’s shots and landing some punches/counterpunches in the process. A little clinch work and then Bader gets a beautiful double leg that drives me across the cage! I guess him and Nog have a crystal ball because they both said he would out wrestle me. Someone from the red corner yells to “Put your hands on his throat”, I believe signaling the return of the ever powerful rape choke. At this point I did what I should have done more often, and fought hard to get the underhook and stand-up. On bottom I wasn’t being hurt by Bader, but I wasn’t offensive either. Ryan had great control and was simply overpowering me with his weight while he was on top. Very heavy.

We stand back up, throw some punches, get in the clinch and exchange knees, then throw some more punches. At this point I got overzealous and went for the kill, which ended up being a bad idea!

In retrospect stuffing Bader’s early takedowns may have been detrimental to me, as my confidence in stopping his shot and keeping it standing grew. I thought  the force was with me and I could be the Tom Skywalker to Ryan’s “Darth” Bader, but as I threw a Jabba the Hut sized punch at his head he threw me to the ground as if I was Princess Leia. Bader controlled me from on top a little more until….

Honestly, I don’t remember. Even after watching the fight I have a few theories as to what happened:

a) Really…Bader is a good looking guy. I am a frequent visitor of MatBattle.com and thought that this was a great way to test out if I had what it takes to be featured on that site. A combination of being away from females for a week, and Bader’s studliness may have caused me to get a slight erection…causing the blood to shift from my head to my genitals, and Bader threw a phantom punch. It didn’t really hit me, but the blood loss made me pass out, or….

b) Bader hit me so hard that I went unconscious.

Oh yeah, I also had contracted Dengue Fever before the fight.

Regardless, I went nighty-night and my chance at the six figure UFC contract went bye-bye.

We get my post fight reaction, where I congratulate Ryan on his performance. And just like I said then Ryan, my hat is off to you! Possibly because you did a great job and I was disappointed yet accepting of my loss, but more than likely because your right hand swelled my already oversized head up and the hat was killing me.

And I’ll go ahead and leave everyone with these few final thoughts. I cried for about 5-10 minutes following the loss. Call me a baby (I do cry and crap my pants quite often), call me a wimp, say whatever you want….I’ll just use it as motivation. Then drink alone in the corner of my room while I keep crying.

The worst part about fighting was that I didn't get to choose entrance music. I am accustomed to getting on the ramp, dancing like a moron, singing, stripping, etc (check www.tomlawlor.net for videos). I was out of my element without it.

I have NO clue where my gear is from my win over Ryan Lopez. Gloves? Don’t know. Shorts? In a bag somewhere, but I have my gloves and hand-wraps from my loss hanging proudly in my room.

It sucks being the 1st guy eliminated, but that just means 6 weeks of free partying and world class training! And with the economy in such a slump, I’m more than excited about the free food!

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again………get ready for a wild ride on TUF 8. I may have been kicked out of shotgun by Bader, but I’m definitely still along for the ride!

P.S. I'll be doing a blog this weekend on my experience cornering Seth "The Silverback" Petruzelli at the Oct. 4 EliteXC card for his fight vs. Aaron Rosa!
Posted on: September 25, 2008 3:34 pm

The time has come...

After last week's edition of The Ultimate Fighter we have 8 fighters who have punched their ticket to free food, free training, and lots of women clamoring for their attention simply because they are a fighter.

And we are off and running on Episode 2! Again this episode focuses almost solely on the fights so let us get right down to it.

John Polakowski vs. Wesley Murch
Wesley is from Britain. I lived there for a summer and let me say that if I was from there, I would be fighting 100% for a vacation. Their food is all fried and none of their women liked me. They did drink a lot which is up my alley, but whatever. John Polakowski quickly introduces himself as a hippie. Wesley hits a nice judo throw (it has to be judo because England has like 0 wrestling) and gets the takedown on our Polish friend. The best coaching I have heard so far comes from Frank Mir when Murch stands up in John's guard. "No don't do that, well O.K." As Wesley goes for a failed leglock that lands him on bottom. The fight is good back and forth action until Murch brings a low kick all the way from the chunnel and gets it blocked, leaving him in pain. In what can only be described as the best possible gameplan when having a hurt leg, Murch leaps in the air to throw a knee and lands hard on said leg. Fight over.  Polakowski then celebrates like a rabies infested bird and hugs everyone.

Shane Primm vs. Sean O'Connell
Primm says he will be around for a long time. I wish him continued health. He also says that being in a cage with him could be one of thr worst places to be. I disagree, I think that having to live with him and listen to him proclaim his greatness would be worse. Sean is from Salt Lake City so no doubt he is a polygamist. Sean gets an early takedown but Shane transitions to every submission in the book and gets the tap with a rear naked choke. I didn't get to see the fight live because I was warming up, but if I had seen it live I would have thought about throwing my fight just to not deal with Shane for 6 weeks.

Ido Pariente vs. Efrain Escudero
Ido comes all the way from Tel Aviv, Israel. Efrain is from Arizona. Efrain smirks a lot. Efrain does a lot of takedowns. Efrain takes Ido's back, just like he said he would....and gets the rear naked choke....just like he said he would. Well actually it looked more like a neck crank.

Ryan Lopez is a bounty hunter by day, fighter by evening, model by...whenever he has time I guess. Frank Mir likes his athleticism and jumping ability. Tom Lawlor has the worst haircut in mma history. He also smiles when he walks out to the ring, then looks like he blows kisses as well. I'm not scurred by anyone or their size! Ryan does what any red blooded American fighting a wrestler should do and throws a kick. I get the takedown and remember my hatred for Dog the Bounty Hunter and proceed to take Ryan's back, lock up the rear naked, slip Herb Dean a $20 to say my name loud and clear. Yay! I get free food, training, and women! I rule.

George Roop vs. Roli Delgado
Striker vs. Grappler. We get the clipped version of the fight. Which is a plus for all of you viewers. Frank Mir likes the fact that Roop is coachable. I wonder if he also likes the fact that Roop has a tattoo that says "Dopey" across his stomach and looks like an emaciated Jim Carrey. Roop wins by superior musculature, but Roli was tough despite his lack of any muscle mass.

Ryan Bader vs. Kyle Kingsbury
Good fight. Kingsbury is like 8 ft tall. Bader is a tough wrestler from ASU. He was one of the names I expected to be there before leaving for the prelim fights in Vegas. Both guys delivered, with the former KOTC champion Kingsbury keeping Bader at bay with his long limbs. Bader gets the takedown after a tough round 1 and is able to lock up a head and arm choke and get the win. Kingsbury looked very good in the loss, but fighting one of the favorites in the competition in your first fight at 205 isn't a good recipe for success. What is a good recipe for success? Steak and Chicken!!

Shane Nelson vs. Charles Diaz
Like Mir said, Diaz was great at selling himself. If I was a University  would hire him to teach marketing at the college level. Shane Nelson is from Hawaii and is reppin the humahumanukunukuapuaa. Shane batters Diaz, who cut a HUUUUUUGGGE amount of weight and then packed it back on with delicious watermelon smoothies. No joke. Diaz looked like he took full advantage of the hotel food and fried chicken catering that was at the UFC center that day, and probably weighed more than me come fight time. I'm thinking it worked to he detriment since he looked sluggish, and like his good pal and roommate was upset in the prelims. "Sugar" Shane gets to bring his pigeon talk to national tv.

Eliot Marshall vs. Karn Gregorian
Eliot is a bjj black belt from Colorado. Karn is best remembered for his starring role on Sesame Street as "The Count". Karn comes out like a ball of fire and tries to throw ONE big haymaker to give Eliot TWO black-eyes to make sure it doesn't go to round THREE. Both guys role around on the ground for rounds 1 and two. Karn throws bombs, goes for submissions, Eliot has crisper standup and goes for submissions. Round three!!! Eliot goes for the takedown but Karn has a great whizzer counter and gets on top. Eliot attempts his best Kama Sutra impression and tries to pull his leg over his own head, before using it to transition to mount. Karn is able to reverse and is covered in blood. Frank Mir tells Eliot he just made it into the house. The judges and Dana White announce otherwise! Eliot is noticeably disappointed and Karn brings the ever entertaining Armenian flavor to TUF 8.

Fortunately for Eliot, Antwain Britt broke his hand on Ryan Jimmo's head and Eliot gets to return to the competition!! Dana White undoubtedly makes an enemy of Eliot's wife by saying this is the best day of Eliot's life and we are told to make the most of our opportunity.
Foreshadowing in the previews? SOME MAY NOT BE ABLE TO CONTINUE!!! IS IT BY CHOICE? BY FORCE?


Who will become, the NEXT Ultimate Fighter? I don't know because the Finale hasn't happened, but i'll be here to update you each and every week on what HAS gone down!
Posted on: September 18, 2008 2:17 pm

1 In the Hole

Alright everyone let me try to piece together what I can about the first few days of the whole Ultimate Fighter 8 experience. Unfortunately as I write this I am recovering from what all 32 men who had a shot at the contract should have: a hangover!

In the days/weeks leading up to leaving for Las Vegas, my mind was filled with questions. Will I have to fight to make it to the final 16 and a spot in the TUF house? If I have to fight, who will I be matched up against? How do we get food? How many free Tapout shirts will I receive? Will there be any hot women on the airplane with me? Ya know, only the real pertinent stuff.

Upon landing in Vegas I, and I assume every other fighter, was quickly whisked off to the UFC training center to weigh-in. Both the Light-Heavies and Lightweights were instructed to come in within a few pounds of their respective weight-classes. Making weight was no problem for me, even though I had stuffed my face the day before with chicken wings, nachos, jalapeno poppers, and anything else that I could find in the Orlando metropolitan area. Heck, I even went to a beer festival the day before I left and had a few non-alcoholic beers!

Now this is where the drama, and Jason Guida's problem with making weight, probably began (I'll addess this first since it seems to be the "hot topic"). After weighing in, we were sent in to seclusion in a Vegas hotel.....with free room service at our disposal. Now I'm not Jason Guida obviously, but I can only imagine that he took full advantage of this and was trying to replenish his body with the delicious meals provided to us. My belief is that he probably cut weight to get around 210 and bulked back up thinking he could just cut the weight again in a few days. Anyone who has cut weight knows it can be extremely taxing on your body, and cutting, then bulking then cutting again really takes it's toll on you. He was afforded the chance to leave the training center, use a sauna/steam room, and still could not make weight on his tries. From my recollection he was not given the 1 hour time normally afforded after missing weight, but with the Doctor deeming him unable to safely cut any more weight it is a moot point.

Now let us rewind. Before even all the Guida-weight soap opera, the fights had to be announced. The crew of the show brought 16 fighters in to the UFC training center the day after everyone arrived in Vegas. We still had not been informed that we were going to fight for a shot to live in the house. After the cameras were all set, in rolls Dana White himself to inform us that we were the final 16 and had made it!......or did we? Dana tried to trick us, and instead another 16 gentlemen come waltzing on to the mat. Right off the bat everyone's emotions got going and you could tell the atmosphere went from a feeling of being ecstatic, to being angry, anxious, and annoyed in one small moment.
I recognized a few of the guys who walked through the door and was wondering who I was going to be paired up with. I was 100% certain that myself and Gracie Tampa's Shane Primm would be matched up due to the fact we had already fought once. If you want to know what happened in the fight, do some research=) It will probably lead you to TomLawlor.net and help me out. But anyways, the fights start being announced and my suspicions become closer and closer to being realized.....Did we have a rematch to see who would represent the state of FL at 205? WATCH NEXT WEEK SINCE WE WEREN'T FEATURED ON THIS WEEK'S EPISODE!

After the match-ups were announced we were sent back to the hotel and afforded the chance to come back to the training center to cut weight, since the weigh-ins were the next day and the fights were the following day. I only went to the training center 1 more time between the match-ups and the fights, seeing as how I didn't have to cut weight I wanted to relax. When I did go to the training center I just ran some and screwed around on the heavy bag. However I did get to witness the man that the internet deemed to be the front-runner for the "next Anderson Silva award" Joe Duarte and his buddy Charles Diaz cutting a good amount of weight and proclaiming that they make the best watermelon slushies on the planet. Both guys were probably cutting about 20 lbs, and sometimes it may be a detriment to the fighters. Both guys looked huge for 155, but as we saw last night Phillipe Nover was able to handle the larger Duarte despite having passed out two days before. It was a good fight but seeing as how I'm not a huge advocate of massive weight-cutting it may have hindered Duarte, who is a stud, in the actual fight.

The fights that were shown on the first episode weren't necessarily in any order. All 16 fights took place on one day, in rapid fire succession and have been edited to fight time constraints for your viewing pleasure....so my rundown of each fight won't be in any chronological order, but rather random things I can remember from that day!

Krystof Sosy..uhhh...scary Polish guy vs. Mike Stewart.
Let me preface this by saying Krystof is a scary looking guy. Probably the prototype for what an MMA fighter would look like. Let me also say that if you had a chance to talk to Mike Stewart you would quickly realize that he is an internet legend the size of Kimbo. How you ask? Easy....He (or at least his voice) is the star of the Youtube videos described as "My New Haircut"! Check it out. Either way, Krystof picked him apart quickly with power punches. Stewart is a good wrestler but I can only imagine being thrown in at the last minute to face one of the favorites in the competition didn't help his nerves or his chances.

Vinicius Magalahaes vs. Lance Evans.
The most boring fight in the history of man. Everyone should write SpikeTV a thank you letter for the fact that they heavily edited the fight. One thing that is of note, and doesn't translate to TV, is how HARD Vini was throwing his strikes. Granted, he only threw 3 strikes the entire 1st round, but one of them was powerful enough to injure Lance's ribs and force him to bow out. I think I would have had to be killed before quitting in that fight to get into the house, but I've never been injured in a fight so I'm not knocking Lance.

Dave Kaplan vs. Fernando Bernstein
Kaplan is in it for the money....100%. Don't get it twisted....the man told me before the fights that he won "The Singing Bee" girl power episode. Fernando Bernstein, as many people have noted, has a tremendously confusing name but he was game. He threw some hard strikes, but due to the pure size of Kaplan's head he was able to absorb everything Bernstein threw. Eventually a takedown and a rear naked choke followed and Kaplan had proved that honor and respect aren't the only motivating factors to fight.

Junie Browning vs. Jose Aguilar.
Junie is from Kentucky. I've never been, but all stereotypes of the state were reassured by his accent and his comments. I digress however, as any state that brands itself as "KY" is good in my book. Aguilar tells us he belongs with the likes of Hitler, Napolean, Alexander,etc. Dog. Bro. I understand what he was trying to say (I took a course on ebonics in college), but c'mon man.... Maybe he meant he belongs 6 ft under with the rest of the conquerors, as he was absolutely murdered by Junie in this fight. Unfortunately we weren't treated to Aguilar getting Junie pregnant to my knowledge (he would be in his 2nd trimester now if anyone can confirm this), Junie gets to sleep under a roof for the first time, Aguilar goes home....I hope neither man reads this and comes after me, dog.

Jules Bruchez vs. Eric Magee
Jules Bruchez proved he was there to win. And he didn't even throw one punch. Take note. Great physique.

What other fights were shown?
If I can't remember they must not have been exciting.....or my mind is drawing a blank from the alcohol I drank last night. Regardless, I will leave everyone with a few spoilers for next weeks show....and i will update the blog when I get back from the gym...


Tom Lawlor fights! He will be cornered by either the Team Big Nog or the Team Mir coaching staff! Dana, Frank, Antonio Rodrigo will be in attendance! Someone will make it in to the house!! Watch SPIKETV next wednesday at 10 pm!
Posted on: September 15, 2008 3:20 pm


Welcome everyone to my The Ultimate Fighter 8 blog! As some of you may know I have been chosen as one of the final 32 men fighting for 2 contracts on SpikeTV. I feel that it is my civic duty to provide all of you readers at home with some insight as the show unfolds. Episode 1 airs Wednesday night September 17 at 10 pm sharp right after an edition of UFC's Ultimate Fight Night! Check back after the episode has aired for an update on the blog, providing some more information about how, why, and exactly what went down on this season of TUF 8!
Category: Mixed Martial Arts
Tags: mma, tuf, ufc
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com