TUF 18: Jessamyn Duke Fighter Blog, Episode 11

Riley KontekFeatured ColumnistNovember 13, 2013


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


This week's episode focused primarily on one person: Julianna. Normally, that might be considered a good thing, but I think we can all agree that this episode didn't necessarily portray her in the best light. This episode does a lot to help explain why, at this point, none of us in the house really liked living with Julianna. There were moments where it seemed like she could get along with everyone, but they were brief and usually ended with her doing something kind of offensive to remind us why no one wanted to be around her.

Enough about that, though there was plenty of it in the episode. Another moment of interest was shown; the infamous elbow that Sarah hit Roxy with. None of us on Team Rousey actually saw the elbow happen, but we definitely saw the damage it did since Roxy was staying in our room. I was glad to see that it was actually caught on film so we could assess for ourselves. Sarah swore that it barely grazed her and it was a freak accident, but Roxy's face didn't reflect that. What they showed on the TV doesn't even come close to showing how bad that black eye was either. It was bigger and more swollen on one side than even I was after my fight. And after seeing the elbow hit you could definitely tell that it hit hard.

It made me mad for Roxy all over again. I remember all of us talking to Sarah about control during training and how its really not cool to be THAT rough in training all the time. One of my favorite sayings is, "If you break all your toys, you'll have nothing to play with," and when you're on a team of fighters, that's a really important thing to remember.

We need each other to train with, and if you have a reputation of hurting people all the time, no one is going to want to train with you. If no one wants to train with you, your progress really starts to be hindered and your skills suffer. In Sarah's defense though, she did apologize to Roxy. And we all at one point or another have needed to be told to tone it down a little bit. So I'm not holding it against her or anything.

On to the fight. It was advertised as, "This one is personal," and I suppose it kind of was. Meisha playing favorites with Julianna was a topic that came up often during this time. Not only did it make Sarah want to beat her even more, it made the whole house want to see her get beat too. It wasn't like it could just be blamed on Miesha either.

Julianna would get upset if the coaches were helping someone else. She was super paranoid and acted like she was entitled to the coaches' attention more than Sarah and that's just ridiculous. Sarah made it to the semis just like she did, and deserved equal attention. It's unprofessional on the coaches' end to have made Sarah feel that way and I am sure that it sucked going into the biggest fight of your life breaking down like that just a couple days before. I really felt sorry for Sarah.

I'm not trying to make excuses for her though. I'm just pointing out that the levels of stress she was going through are not to be underestimated. Training in that environment, cutting weight and the pressure of the show. Feeling neglected in training on top of that affects you mentally, and in my opinion, the mental side of the sport is more important than the physical.

Sarah had a really off day. She's a great fighter. She beat a WMMA legend to get into the house and then fought the biggest female bantamweight in the world only a few weeks later. She just had a bad day with Julianna, and Julianna was there to capitalize on it.

She hit Sarah really hard, controlled her on the ground and landed some really nasty ground-and-pound. Sarah did try to throw up some attacks off her back, but Julianna just smashed her guard and kept hitting hard. She opened up a cut on Sarah that bled like crazy too, and in the second round snagged a choke that she pulled guard to finish and got the tap. You gotta give credit where credit is due.

Next week, Davey and Anthony are up. I remember when this match up was announced, I was super excited for it. Davey had grown on me so much in the house, and I just loved his fighting style. He's rough, strong, aggressive, and he fights hard the whole time.

Anthony hadn't had a fight yet, so I was excited to finally see him get in there. You have to remember Anthony was the only person who hadn't fought yet since the elimination fights, and his fight with Davey was on the last day of filming. So we had all waited six weeks to finally see him fight.

It sucked that teammates were fighting, but that's just the way things work. Our coaches had agreed to step out for cornering. They would train both fighters equally, with no specific game planning and then the guys would pick teammates to be in their corner instead.

As you can see from the preview, some drama is brewing. It's not a just a tease. Don't miss next week's episode to watch what goes down just before filming is wrapped.


**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 Anthony Gutierrez.