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...
SPOILERS FOR EPISODE 2
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!