Hi this is Chuck "Cold Steel" O'Neil, alternate turned cast member of The Ultimate Fighter 13. Over the next 10 weeks, I will be guest blogging for The Ultimate Fighter 13 with bleacherreport.com. I am very excited for this opportunity to give everyone a glimpse of what went on behind the scenes each week that the cameras didn't catch.
I figure, since I came in as a alternate, I would start this blog by giving everyone a chance to get to know a little about me and my background. I am 25 years old and I'm from Bridgewater, Massachusetts. It is a town 30 minutes south of Boston. I started my training in mixed martial arts in 2005, when I was 18 years old. After watching the first season of The Ultimate Fighter, I became hooked. I promised myself I would one day make it onto The Ultimate Fighter. It looked like the most fun and exciting route to the top, which is the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
My journey to this point was very long and required a lot of hard work. I was never a stand-out athlete or the most intimidating person in the room. I had to grow, not only as a fighter, but also as a person to get to the place I am at today. Over this time, I've went 8-3 as a professional and was able to capture two local titles. Now I am getting the opportunity to watch my dream come true alongside a large national audience. Sit back and enjoy!
While watching the first episode, I was able to see the tryout process and see how ridiculous Chris Cope looked before I got there. I was not in the house for this. During this process, Myles ended up getting hurt. He tore his ACL and was deemed unable to fight. I would never wish an injury upon anyone, but this was the blessing I was wishing for. I am very thankful for getting this opportunity! While all the other guys were going through the team tryouts and media day, I was off having a very different experience.
I was originally flown out to Las Vegas with the rest of the guys on the show as an alternate, however, I was in a different hotel waiting to hear what would happen next. During this process, I had to keep my weight down because I thought I would get the chance to fight my way into the house. After a day had came and passed, I soon realized, that would not be the case. I would be flying back to Boston the next morning. I was completely crushed. I felt like I was within striking distance of my dream and it was ripped out of my hands.
On my way home, I decided to hide my disappointment by eating like a fat kid the entire flight home, as well as the following day at home. This was until I realized I had two missed calls and a voicemail from one of the main producers. He told me he hoped I hadn't gotten too fat yet. I took the pizza and bread sticks that I had just paid for and gave them to my friend. I started repacking my bags to leave for Las Vegas for the second time in four days.
When I got to Las Vegas, I had my bags searched to make sure I was not sneaking anything into the house. Needless to say, my Spiderman costume didn't make the cut. When they were done covering up all the labels on my bathroom items, they brought me to the UFC training center. My dream was officially begining.
The episode begins by showing me walking into the training area with Dana White on my way to meet my coach and team. The part that was not shown was how I entered the building. I was blindly directed into Dana White's office. I was caught off guard by Dana as he sat me down and explained why I was getting this huge opportunity. He explained how every fighter who comes up through the show elevates their talent level astronomically. Dana didn't want me to waste my time and the opportunity to do this for myself. I told him that I appreciated the opportunity to showcase my talents. I came here to win the show and planned on doing nothing less.
I was walked out to meet my team, when I was greeted by Brock Lesnar. Brock said, "Just the guy I wanted." I was very excited to see that my two good friends, Charlie Rader and Clay Harvison, were on my team. I was even more excited about this than the fact that Brock was my coach. I had gotten very friendly with Charlie and Clay during the audition process and sharing the experience with them. Having them on my team definitely made me feel at home. I jumped right into the practice which was already in progress.
I was really excited to roll with all the guys on my team. I had missed the first fight announcement and weigh-in. I was caught up on things by Charlie after practice. Back at the house I got the grand tour by Charlie and Clay. I found out my bed was right next to my boy Charlie. The most important thing I wanted to was to make sure I got the food I needed in the house to keep my diet on point and stay lean. I quickly became the cook and nutritionist for our team answering endless questions from them. Charlie got the most attention and I referred to him as my "child."
Team Dos Santos arrived home. This is the first time I was able to interact with the other team. I got the feeling they quickly became annoyed with me. They really didn't know what to make of me. To be honest, I'm a loud and abrasive guy from New England area. Not many people know how to deal with this when they first meet me. In reality, I'm just a light-hearted, fun-loving guy who may be a little loud at times.
The first fight of the show was Nordin vs. Shamar. Coming into the show, I researched most of the names I came across throughout the tryout process. I wanted to do my homework on my potential competition. I heard Shamar's name and researched him, his record, and his fighting style. I tried giving Nordin as much short notice advice and help that I could. I took him into our room and went over technique on how to cage walk up the cage as well as how to defend the take down. I knew Shamar was mainly a wrestler who grinds out a lot of his opponents. Nordin seemed to catch onto what I was showing him. He was ready for this fight.
All of us went back to the training center for the first fight. I was still completely in awe of the fact that I was actually fulfilling my dream. The fight started, and as Dana White put it, was pretty uneventful. Shamar was able to grind his way to a decision win over Nordin. Back in the locker room everyone on our team was pretty annoyed with the amount of celebration taking place from Team Dos Santos. We were all ready and eager to get practice going. Nordin was let down about the loss after the fight, but told us that he didn't feel like he lost the fight. He felt he just got snuggled and that Shamar didn't want to fight him.
The episode ends and an overview of the season is shown. Not much was given away, however, it does show a little of the wild stuff that takes place within the gym and at the house. I am shown causing trouble throwing someone's crutches into the pool. That is just a tease of the kind of stuff that is still to come. I'm really excited to watch this season with the rest of the viewers and presenting my insider perspective. I hope you enjoyed the first blog and buckle up, you're in for some fun!