Welcome back for The Ultimate Fighter 13 episode six blog with Chuck "Cold Steel" O'Neil. I will get to my fight in detail a little bit later.
However I wanted to start this blog off by saying I tip my hat to Zach for his performance. I fought like a meat head and eventually got caught up in my own game. I promise that what you are about to read won't be filled with excuses, because excuses are for losers. Now, onto the episode.
This episode starts off showing the tensions building in the Team JDS locker room between assistant coach Lew Polley and JDS. It seems like this was a recurring issue on their side much like Brock's constant nonsensical rants were on ours. The show later cuts to scenes of JDS eventually giving Lew the boot off of his team.
This was funny to me for more than one reason. First, it was interesting to see what was going on behind the scenes of their practices and the team's overall chemistry. Being on Brock's team we only knew our own practices and never knew any of their drama. Team JDS did a good job keeping their troubles away from us.
Second, I lost it listening to Junior give Lew the boot. For anyone who has ever met JDS they know he is one of the nicest and polite guys you will come across in life. As shown, he was even polite in telling Lew it was time to leave by making sure that his decision was okay with him.
After Dr. Clay's (Clay Harvison) win, our team went on an instant roller coster. We were all pumped that Clay had just won and got us the control back, but at the same time he had earned himself a free trip to the ER with his remodeling job on his pinky. We immediately got into practice after Clay's fight, where Brock had heavyweights Chris Toucher and Comprido (Rodrigo Mederios) come into the cage to work some MMA training with us.
At this point both myself and Tony felt this would be a good time to exit the cage, keeping ourselves safe from any heavyweight bodies crashing down on top of us. Good thing we did, as moments later Mr. Wildcard, Len Bentley went down with a knee injury. At this point practice was called off and all our spirits were down.
Back home we got the results of Len and Clay's evaluations. They weren't horrible but they weren't good either. Due to the injury Len was prescribed pain pills which was an awful combo to go along with his already cagey attitude. He continued to grow more and more frustrated with not getting a third round in his fight and it was eating away at him. Len really isn't a bad guy in the sense that he wouldn't ever do anything wrong to someone or willfully hurt them.
He just honestly was going crazy from the house. Some days we could sit back and laugh at it and others he would make us nervous as to what he would do next. Nobody can understand what it's like to be locked up in a house with 13 other guys until they have done it themselves, so I should cut him some slack.
The following day the final two fight picks were announced with Tony Ferguson taking on super tough alternate Justin Edwards, and myself vs Zach Davis. The coaches decided these would be the best two match ups style wise as they did research on both of our opponents. Brock came to myself and Tony to give us some "insight" which was that Justin has a good guillotine and Zach has a good thai clinch. Thanks Brock!
Something that might go over most people's heads but is worth mentioning is my "what is this strong guys or somethin'?" comment during the stare-down. It all started when one of my main training partners, Josh Grispi, sent me this hilarious video
It quickly became a big hit at one of my gyms, South Shore Sportfighting, to the point where we started calling ourselves "Team Strong Guys." I felt like I had to pay homage to it on the show somehow.
The coaches were on me and nervous about my weight. Anyone who knows me or has ever cut weight with me back home knows I'm accustomed to having rather big weight cuts. On the show I was being forced to keep my weight a lot lower than normal. I got to a point where I was under 175lbs within 12 hrs of the weigh-in, which absolutely left me in the spirit world. I cut the remaining weight after getting a little sleep and Tony did two jumping jacks, sneezed and made weight. What I would've given to have that weight cut....
After we weighed in Unky Brock and the coaching staff surprised us with a trip to the park out at Red Cliffs. Before we left he asked us in his best WWE voice possible "You guys feel like eating some S***??!!" and informed us that he's going to bring us all In 'n Out Burger. Of course I declined the offer. The vans drove us a half hour to a pretty basic park, which was a very nice change of scenery and brought us to outside people. At this point we were really starting to feel like inmates because seeing people from the outside world excited us.
I will never forget the scene of Brock pulling up to the park. He sped up, almost ran over a few members of the production crew, and parked his truck in a no parking zone. He then yells out "You guys wanna hear some F***ing music??!!", which was not allowed during production of the show. This still cracks me up thinking of it to this day.
Following Brock's grand entrance coach Erik Paulson showed up with a sling shot for us to play with. Of course I was the first person to get my hands on this bad boy. Unfortunately the producers were starting to get a hang of me and came running over, pleading me to not hit anyone with rocks. So.....I followed the rules and shot street signs and light posts like the little hooligan that I am.
Luckily enough not everything from this time span made its way to the episode. The hot sun along with being rehydrated and fed didn't sit too well with me. This led to me violently puking before getting back into the van. What a great way to start my recovery process from making weight!
Onto the fight day. This was the first time this season there was a double header fight schedule as well as early afternoon fights. The schedule had Tony fighting at 12 PM and my fight was right after his. Watching this episode was the first time that I saw Tony and Justin's fight and man did I ever miss a good fight! Those two went at it from the start of the fight. By far the most impressive first round fight.
There were so many hard punches landed clean to each of their faces and they just kept it coming. Justin came out early and was taking the fight to Tony, even scoring two take downs on the higher level wrestler. Justin seemed to be controlling the fight before Tony landed the most ridiculous strike ever landed in TUF history, thus giving Tony the most ridiculous knockout in TUF history! Dana was super impressed with both fighter's performances and they both had good showings.
During the actual fight I was kept in the back room with Charlie Rader and Comprido. Charlie would keep coming back and forth checking in on the fight until the KO happen. Charlie came running back giving me the details of the outcome and after that everything moved really fast. Next thing I knew I was in the cage staring across from a very game Gary Busey....ughhh I mean Zach Davis.
I remember going into the fight, I had the vision of the fight being a very exciting stand up war. Zach had told me he had been to thailand, not to mention had a Vale Tudo tattoo on his leg. I was obviously left thinking this guy is going to come out swinging. Unfortunately for me I planted my feet too much, trying to dig in for a hard punch and wound up on my back within the first five seconds. I worked my way back up the cage only to continue to get pinned there, while I tried to out muscle everything and use zero technique.
Zach worked to get me back to the ground into my guard. This is usually where I feel pretty confident, however Justin gave Zach some insight on me before the fight, letting him know I have a tricky triangle. I eventually worked my way back up and through a scramble ended up on top. This is the only point where I did anything offensive and productive in the fight landing a few decent shots. They were all in vain however, as Zach jumped my shoulder and caught me up in my own game, snapping on a super fast and tight triangle. This brought on a fast tap as much long legged BJJ fighters do.
After the fight I was left pissed off and beside myself in the cage. I'm sure most could gather that through the constant bleeping out taking place. Brock was let down and Dana was impressed with Zach but surprisingly with me as well. He liked that we were going back and forth trying to finish each other on the ground. As seen, when heading back into the locker room, Dana tried telling me "good fight kid" which I wanted no part of.
I'm a very proud person and I work very hard at what I do and I don't think I deserve praise for getting submitted in the first round. In my mind I'd just had my opportunity stripped away from me for the second time and again I had no control over the matter.
Minutes after the last two fights, the producers took the seven losing fighters into Dana's office one by one. In his office both Brock, JDS and Dana were waiting to hear us all out. Now on the episode Dana said nobody really showed they wanted the wild card slot all that much. I know from my end I had told Dana, after he told me I had a good performance again, that if given the opportunity to fight again I won't let him down. I will show him how I really fight and he will then be truly impressed.
After the meeting with Dana I 100% thought it would be alternate vs alternate for the wild card spot because Dana was pumped about myself and Justin's fight . Unfortunately for Justin he was having the worst luck ever that day and was suspended for the KO.
Brock brought up the match up of myself vs Len Bentley for the wild card fight. He made it sound like if we were to fight Len would beat me quite easily. I was a lot bigger than Len and there wasn't much he was able to do to me in practice, but I suppose Brock had to support his number one pick.
Talking to Len afterwards he admitted that his knee wasn't ready to go at that point. It was pretty funny watching Len talk to Dana. He just seemed completely out of it, living on a different planet. He was pretty nonchalant about wanting the wild card spot. Not especially enthusiastic, and if anything cocky because he thought he had it in the bag.
Luckily enough for me both coaches along with Dana saw something in me that they wanted to see more of. I was granted my now third chance at this competition going from alternate, to losing, to getting the wild card slot. I will be fighting the very tough Javier Torres on next weeks episode to see who moves onto the quarterfinals. This is all great news besides the fact I had to make weight and fight four days after my fight that I just had with Zach.
That does it for this weeks blog. Make sure to tune in and buckle up for next weeks episode as the rest of the season is going to be very entertaining! Make sure to check back next week for the episode seven blog with the new look Chuck "Cold Steel" O'Neil!