TUF 18: Jessamyn Duke Fighter Blog, Episode 3

Riley KontekFeatured ColumnistSeptember 18, 2013


Note: All quotes and material were obtained firsthand by Bleacher Report through one-on-one between Jessamyn Duke and Bleacher Report's Riley Kontek.


When episode three begins, the shock of Shayna's loss was still lingering for pretty much everyone in the house. Despite that, no one could deny that Julianna had done exactly what she needed to do to win and that it was still an exciting match. Afterwards, Miesha brought some treats to the house for Julianna but also brought something for Shayna, which I thought was a nice gesture.

Those of us on Team Rousey didn't get to hang out with the other coaches that much, and even though Miesha came over to the house to bring post-fight treats, she was still there to support her fighter and not hang with everyone else. I didn't really know Miesha going into the show and, being on Ronda's team, I didn't really get to interact with her much. Most of what I know about her came from what the other team said about her, but she seemed nice enough.

As our time in the house progressed, Julianna's personality began to rub a lot of people the wrong way. She liked attention, and it showed, but I don't think she really cared what kind of attention it was. One second she would be fine and the next she would turn around and say something vulgar or inappropriate.

She was also vocal in the fact that she didn't care what people thought of her. She would randomly blurt out stuff like, "I don't give a f*ck what you guys think of me," in the middle of an otherwise pleasant group conversation. We would be like, "we don't care, we didn't ask you."

She made it really difficult to hang out with her. What they showed in the episode was really just the beginning. The guys even had a sign on their door that said, "Julianna stay out!" that they all signed. She would regularly go through their room late at night and early in the morning to use their bathroom, which really got under their skin.

The day after Shayna's fight, Ronda gave us a very motivational speech, but they didn't show the whole thing. The gist of what she said to us was that you have to own every single second of your fight. You can't lose focus.

Going into TUF, I was already focused and ready to go, but some wind was taken out of everyone's sails after seeing Shayna lose. It was very sobering to see what could happen if you don't truly own every single second.

After hearing what Ronda had to say, I was completely inspired, focused and ready to go. "Every Single Second," became our team mantra. It was like someone hit the reset button. She brought the team back together after a devastating loss, and it still felt like we were the better, more cohesive team.

Ronda is just a natural leader, and we all responded to what she said to us that day. Training after that was incredible. Everyone was pushing it to new levels. Even Shayna was right there training with us the next day after her loss because she had promised Ronda that she would be the hardest-working fighter in practice.

The other team accusing Julianna of giving away fight picks was hilarious. What actually happened wasn't even remotely close to the treason the other team imagined. First off, there are only a handful of female fighters there to pick from. You have eight girls, four on each team, two of which had just fought. That means only six of us are left, so it wasn't exactly rocket science to picture likely matchups.

Everyone had to constantly be ready to weigh in because the fight picks are so close together. You could be chosen and not even know it, so everyone was constantly making sure to keep their weight down. I saw Raquel Pennington on the scale checking her weight, so I jokingly said, "I know what you're doing there checking your weight!"

Raquel replied nervously, "What are you talking about?" Cody Bollinger and Sarah Moras overheard me saying that and thought I had inside information. I think that's where they thought I knew the matchups. But in reality, we were all checking our weight and making sure we were ready for a fight in the next couple of days.

I think Cody was really just looking for a reason to give Julianna crap, so he called her out in the van. When Julianna turned it on Roxanne Modafferi, there was an uproar. To think that Roxy would betray her team was ridiculous. She was easily the most honorable character of anyone in the house, so everyone got defensive of her.

The entire premise was ridiculous. I mean seriously, if I knew anything, I certainly wasn't going to tell their team. I'd tell my team and make sure they didn't have a clue. So while I feel bad Roxanne got some unwarranted heat, it was kind of funny that one small comment caused such a stir for Team Tate.

Am I the only one that found Julianna and Chris Holdsworth flirting to be extremely awkward? I hadn't seen a lot of flirting between them, but I heard she wrote him a "love letter" before Chris' fight. When we would talk to Chris about it, he played it off like it was nothing. From watching the footage, though, he really was enjoying flirting with her!

That was really the only male-female flirting interaction that I noticed on the show, but I found it funny when Holdsworth mentioned "friends with benefits," and Julianna's response was, "Yep, all about it." Well, she did say she wasn't looking to find a boyfriend on the show.

Over the weekend, we got treated to watching UFC in Brazil. It was super nice that they brought us to the Red Rock to get out of the house and watch the fights. We really got the royal treatment. They brought in all this fancy food, had an open bar and it was really cool.

However, they did this on a Saturday, and Beal and Holdsworth had to weigh in the next day. We all knew the next women's matchup would be announced Monday, with the weigh-in on Tuesday. So, the girls couldn't really enjoy the food either because we had an impending weigh-in.

That being said, we destroyed the fruit and veggy platers. They had pizza and stuff like that, but that was off limits to people watching their weight. As for the drinking, some people had a few drinks, but didn't get too ripped. I don't drink during fight camp, so I didn't go near it. Most of us were just thinking about our upcoming fights.

Of course the major event from the Red Rock was the confrontation between Miesha and Ronda. There was a major change of energy in the air and everything went from watching the fights on TV to the one at the bar. I couldn't hear what they were talking about, but I saw Ronda at the bar and saw Miesha wedge herself between her and Bryan Caraway.

Their body language told the story. Then I heard Ronda call for coach Edmond and the Armenian mafia, as we called them. It was intense because they just came through the crowd and we thought a brawl was going to break out.

All of the assistant coaches from each team were involved. It was a much bigger crowd than it seemed on the episode. It appeared that Bryan mouthed off to Ronda, so she mouthed off right back. Then Miesha showed up to defend her boyfriend, and we all know Ronda's feeling on that situation, so things intensified.

The comments about Ronda's lack of striking in combination with Bryan's comments a year ago about knocking Ronda's teeth down her throat set Edmond off, and he was ready to throw down right there.

Miesha knows exactly how to push Ronda's buttons, and Ronda isn't afraid to react. The cameras were always focused on Ronda's reaction, though, so usually what people see is her going off and think it's unwarranted. If you piss Ronda off, she'll tell you. She won't hold back. So in that situation, Miesha knew how to push her buttons and Ronda reacted. Luckily the situation defused, but it wasn't the end.

Fight time came around and Chris Holdsworth took on my teammate Chris Beal. Once the cage door closed, you could tell Beal wasn't himself. If you've ever watched him fight, he just throws bombs. When he got in there, he was hesitating and letting the longer fighter hit him with punches.

You could really tell his hand was hurt. He did a good job defending takedowns and moving in the cage, but you could tell he was holding back. He thought he was going to be able to throw his hand, but he just couldn't.

Team Tate got what they were counting on. They knew his hand was hurt and that he couldn't throw at 100 percent. That's not to take away from Holdsworth's performance though, because he did a great job. He threw crisp punches and set up takedowns well. He did exactly what he needed to do, and when he dropped Beal, he went for the kill with that guillotine choke.

He showed great striking, timing and submission ability in that fight. However, it was still hard to see Beal lose and not be himself. That's the first loss he's ever experienced, and he was forced to go through it without the normal support system. So, Team Rousey rallied around him, and we worked together to pick him back up after a hard loss.

Fight picks came and Miesha picked Roxanne to face Jessica Rakoczy. Had we won that fight, Ronda told me I was fighting next. I didn't know who against, but Marina Shafir hinted it might be Sarah Moras. So, I was really ready to fight and had been cutting weight. I was prepared to weigh in 24 hours later, but my weight cuts aren't easy.

However, when Beal lost, I was confident I wasn't going to be next. Constantly staying on weight was extremely taxing on my body and one of the things about the show I didn't anticipate. But, it was part of the game and it was our job to adapt.

Miesha's picks didn't really surprise us because both fighters were the two smallest girls. They wanted to give Roxanne the best fight they could, especially because Peggy and I were the only other two options, and we are huge (6'1" and 5'11" respectively).

That being said, Jessica vs. Roxy would have been the fight we would have picked, just not next. We wanted to give Jessica more time to train for various reasons.

Roxanne is one of the most legit ground fighters on the show and a veteran of the sport. Jessica is an extremely decorated boxer with nearly 40 pro boxing bouts and eight world titles. The fight would be the ultimate striker vs. grappler match and when I heard Jessica tell Ronda, "I got this," I believed her.


**Tune in next week to hear Jessamyn's thoughts on the continued tension between coaching staffs, more in-depth stories from the house and her thoughts on the fight between Roxanne Modafferi and Jessica Rakoczy, as well as the next male fight pick.