TUF 18: Jessamyn Duke Fighter Blog, Episode 5

Riley KontekFeatured ColumnistOctober 2, 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 5 begins, you see Team Rousey has finally gotten our first win thanks to Jessica Rakoczy, and we were obviously excited. The ball was finally in our court. I hated that it had come at the expense of Roxanne Modafferi, somebody we all loved. As you saw, she took the loss pretty hard, but she is “The Happy Warrior” and got back to her normal fun self pretty quickly.

The next fight was between Davey Grant of our team and Louis Fisette of Team Tate. We felt Davey was ready to fight because he was peaking in training and just a beast in the gym. He was the obvious choice to fight next.

We thought Louis would be a great match for him and thought Davey would win easily. Louis lost his fight to get into the house against Chris Holdsworth. Holdsworth is legit, and we knew Louis was a tough guy, but we thought Davey was just better. 

You also saw in this episode that Team Tate was playing Truth or Dare outside, which my team wasn’t really involved in, because we had just gotten home from training. Anthony Gutierrez, who is my teammate, did get involved in the game though. He was asked who was the weakest in the house, and he said Louis. He gave a good answer to Louis as to why he thought he was the weakest, and I honestly think he did not intend any disrespect. Louis is obviously a very tough guy, but the fact he lost just made him a natural target for being labeled the weakest. 

There was also a portion of the episode which focused on how hard it was for everyone to watch their weight and resist food temptations in the house. Both Anthony and Cody were shown as struggling to keep their weight down. Eating clean and preparing to cut weight is always something you have to think about as a fighter, but on TUF its way more intense. Aside from the people that had already fought or the few that were actually walking at fight weight, anyone could be called to fight and have to make weight on extremely short notice.

In order to do that safely and effectively, you have to be monitoring it continuously. Not everyone in the house was doing that. That said, I felt like everyone there was a professional fighter, and they didn’t need me to act like their mom, so I just expected that they knew what they were doing, and it was not on me to make sure they kept their weight down. Anthony and Cody fed off each other and were always eating so that’s why they were the big focus of the episode in that regard.

This week you all got to meet Ronda’s mom, who came as a guest coach.  I loved her! She’s intense and a great competitor, which is great because that really motivated us. People don’t like having the mirror put up in their face to show their weaknesses, but she didn’t care and did it to everyone, which was extremely beneficial.

She was a great motivator. You saw the scene with her and Davey where she brought up how he would fight if somebody had threatened to hurt his kids. She has a great way of finding what motivates you and bringing it out.  Of course everybody with children like Davey, Peggy and Jessica could relate to that and they said they would do whatever it took to protect them. However, even if you don’t have children, we all have people we love.  I have three little nieces and if somebody was trying to get to them through me, I would fight with all my power to protect them. It was a great motivator and reminder as to how I should channel those emotions and feelings and fight like that all the time when in the cage—Every. Single. Second. 

As you saw on this episode Team Tate pulled off what they referred to as a “prank,” where they left a figurine of The Count with a coupon for an eyebrow wax in our locker room and wrote Edmond’s name on it. Honestly, it turned my stomach. That’s not a prank; it’s an unwarranted personal attack on Coach Edmond. Pranks are supposed to be mindless and funny. That wasn’t funny or tasteful. It was hurtful and mean and what I expect from high school bullies. What a horrible example to be setting; that making fun of someone’s appearance is funny and OK. We heard that it was Dennis Hallman who did that, but if you see the episode, Miesha Tate and Bryan Caraway were in involved. It was just stupid and I would hope that anyone watching the show sees the difference from pranking and bullying. 

Obviously, we didn’t show Edmond, because it would have enraged him. Team Tate was just trying to get him kicked off the show and get him off focus. He was really important to our team because even though Ronda was the head coach, Edmond really ran the practices and was our main strategist. Plus, Ronda had already told Dana White that we would knock off the bullsh*t, so we didn’t respond. Team Tate really took advantage of the fact that we were going to stand by our word to Dana, and as a result, really tried to bully us. 

We got down to fight time and you could see in Davey’s eyes that he was ready to get out there and win. The fight was competitive for about the first thirty seconds to a minute, but after that, Davey just imposed his will. Once he cracked Louis hard with a few punches, it was pretty much all over. Davey is just a monster, but to Louis’ credit, he didn’t give up. He was saved by the bell in the first round but he took a pretty bad beating.

We knew he was hurt between rounds, and the coaches told Davey to keep up the pressure. In the second round, once Davey got that big slam on Louis, it was just a matter of time before the fight was over. He took his back, sunk in the choke and got the tap. It was just a really impressive performance from Davey, and I think it showed everyone else in the house that he was a threat to win the entire competition.

After the fight, I was stoked. I knew if Davey won, I would be picked to fight next. There was talk of me fighting Sarah Moras before, but the coaches ended up having me fight Raquel Pennington. I figured this would be a great fight, and I was just really excited to get in the cage and compete.

When I was fighting for Invicta, Raquel’s name was thrown around as a potential opponent for my pro debut but it just didn’t work out. So this wasn’t the first time I had thought about fighting her. 

I knew Raquel wanted to fight me too. I heard that Miesha Tate had that matchup as well, so it really just worked out well. That would leave Peggy Morgan, my teammate, to fight Sarah Moras in the final quarterfinal, as they were the only two females left.

I was ready to fight and chomping at the bit. I was feeling great in training and just excited to get in there and scrap with Raquel, who I know is a tough opponent. My mindset was to just get into the cage, give my all and trust that my skills would guide me to victory. 


**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 Davey Grant and Louis Fissette as well as the next female fight pick.