Former "Ultimate Fighter" star Junie "The Lunatik" Browning has resurfaced. Browning, who has had no trouble living up to his moniker, has signed a contract with the MMA Big Show promotion and will be returning to the MMA world this weekend.
Certainly more known for his wild behavior as a member of Team Mir on the UFC reality show than his fighting, Browning looks to begin the long road to MMA notoriety. He will be facing 3rd degree Tae Kwon Do black belt Scott Cornwell on Saturday in the main event of the MMA Big Show ONSLAUGHT card at the Belterra Casino in Florence, Indiana.
While recognizable for his antics, Browning does possess the skills necessary to be successful. His mental state seems to be his major setback.
While competing on TUF, Browning was never short on confidence. He was often talking of his greatness, and was never shy with his opinions. He was exposed as a loose cannon while going on numerous drunken rampages. He would show blind rage followed by uncontrolled sorrow. Several cast mates, coaches, and even UFC president Dana White were disturbed by his mental breakdowns.
Convinced that he was the best fighter on the show, Junie swore that he would win the competition with ease. He appeared capable of backing up his talk, defeating Jose Aguilar and Rolondo Delgado in convincing fashion. He certainly appeared on the fast track, in spite of his instability.
Browning was extremely uncomplimentary of fellow TUF contender Efrain Escudero, and attempted a physical confrontation while hurling verbal blows at the Jiu-Jitsu prodigy. Escudero vowed to let his skills in the cage speak for themselves, and did so, defeating Junie in a fairly one sided matchup. While Escudero went on to win the lightweight portion of the show, Browning vowed to work on his game and return.
His next appearance would be in the "Ultimate Finale" show against former Team Mir teammate Dave Kaplan. Browning, who had begun training at the Extreme Couture facility, had shown marked improvement. His striking appeared crisp, and his conditioning was much improved. Browning defeated Kaplan via armbar in what would be named Fight of the Night, earning both fighters a $25,000 bonus. Junie Browning made good on his promise, and looked forward to a bright future.
The old Junie Browning returned to fight Cole Miller at UFC Fight Night 18. Browning insulted and questioned Miller's skills, and swore the fight would end quickly. While he was correct about the length of the fight, Browning was embarrassed after being caught in a Guillotine early in the first round, forcing him to tap out. Immediately after the win, Miller asked "Who's overrated now?" to his still downed opponent, much to the delight of the crowd, many of whom disliked Junie.
This would be Browning's final UFC appearance. He was taken to a Henderson, Nevada hospital in October after ingesting 16 pills of Klonopin, a drug used for anxiety. While under treatment for his alleged attempt at harm to himself, Browning assaulted three separate staff members. During his tirade, Browning punched, kicked, and shoved multiple nurses while asking "Do you know who I am?" and vowing to "kill you and rape your family!"
After hearing of Junie's legal difficulties, Dana White had finally seen enough of the loose cannon known as "The Lunatik," and Browning's UFC contract was terminated immediately. He disappeared briefly, and was wanted by Las Vegas police after missing his court date for the assaults.
Now, after finally resolving his legal issues and hopefully getting his personal life on track, Junie Browning begins the next phase of his once promising MMA career. Only time will tell if this talented fighter will ever realize his goals in the world of professional fighting. One thing is for certain, he will need to work very hard to prove himself a changed man if he ever hopes to achieve success on the biggest stage of them all, the UFC.
If history is an indicator, Dana White is willing to give second, third, and sometimes fourth chances. Maybe one day we will see a happy ending to this compelling and often times sad story.