TUF Nations: Luke Harris Fighter Blog, Episode 9

Riley Kontek@@BigRIlesMMAFeatured ColumnistMarch 20, 2014

Credit: Luke Harris' Twitter

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

Since last week was a recap, I had the week off from writing this blog. Thanks for tuning back in and rejoining me this week.

Episode 10 starts out with showing my busted-up face and the ride back from the fights. Man, I'm glad that I'm already married, I'm getting ugly! 

I talk about my disappointment with the loss. Really, I'm more disappointed in my performance and that I didn't get a chance to show my ability. A fight is a fight, and there always has to be a winner and a loser. I take some solace in the fact that I really just got caught before I was able to implement my game plan.

Love it or hate it, it's just my style of fighting. I have 14 fights and I've never gone out of the first round...and I don't ever plan to. On to the next one!

In this episode, guys in the semis got to make their fight picks to Dana White. I have to admit that it would have been way cooler to do this in person rather than Skype. It kind of made us feel that we were the ugly redheaded stepchild of The Ultimate Fighter rather than the TUF series.

Dana tells the guys to pick the easiest path. It's a bit ironic because I think TUF is actually one of the most difficult ways into the UFC. All of us could have easily just continued our careers fighting in smaller shows and ended up there, but we chose to put it all on the line and go way out of our comfort zone. Props to every guy on the season for that. So, here are the picks...

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  • Kajan picks Richard, mainly because he doesn't want to fight a teammate.
  • Richard picks Kajan, saying it's because of his big mouth and that he beat his teammate (Badger).
  • Oli picks Richard, but afterward, Kyle Noke tells everyone that Oli picked someone from Team Canada (maybe just to cause some drama).
  • Elias picks his stepbrother Tyler.
  • Tyler picks Elias.
  • Sheldon picks Vik.
  • Vik picks Sheldon.

Patrick Cote and Kyle Noke announce the fight picks, and first up is Kajan Johnson vs. Chad Laprise. Damn. This doesn't sit well with me. These are two of my favorite teammates, and they need to fight each other.

Elias gets Tyler. Tyler predicts that he will KO Elias. Elias says that Tyler can't handle his pace.

Oli gets matched up with Richard. Oli says TKO, but I don't believe him! He's gonna go for the submission!

Sheldon gets Vik, who makes fun of Sheldon's neck injury during the faceoff. The joke is on Vik, as there is no injury!

It's time for Kajan and Chad to prepare for their fights. Kajan is quick to ask Fabio Holanda to corner him. Great move, as Fabio could have possibly really helped Chad in his corner. Kajan knows that Kru Ash is tight with Chad and that he will probably corner him. Cote is off limits, as he's the coach of Team Canada, although this episode shows which guy Cote would probably rather corner.

Chad asks Team Australia's Brazilian jiu-jitsu coach Tussa for help, as he could use a BJJ guy in his corner and doesn't want to ask teammates to choose sides. The whole situation is just strange.

Kajan mentioned to me that he would like me in his corner along with Nordine, but I had to tell him that I couldn't choose between teammates. The way things played out, I really feel bad about that, but I truly really like both guys and could never choose one over the other.

Kajan tells his story. He really had a difficult path to get here. He's a pioneer of MMA in Canada, and we've crossed paths many times over the years fighting on the Canadian circuit. Kajan has more metal in his face than Iron Man and is still living fight to fight in pursuit of his dream.

You really have to respect that.

Chad opens up and tells his story about growing up in an abusive household. He turned his anger into love for God, and he devotedly practices what he preaches. He's a good person. Love both these guys and really hate to see them fight each other. Everyone has a different fight path that has led us here.

Both guys are 100 percent genuine.

It has to be very hard to fight a teammate, especially because these guys are friends. They were going to flip a coin to see who got the Canadian change room, but Kajan gave it to Chad.

Richard gives his reasoning for wanting to fight Kajan. Simply, the Australians don't like him. Kajan speaks his mind, and this rubs some people the wrong way. Team dynamics have changed a lot. It's not team vs. team anymore. It's every individual for himself. Some guys have been this way all along, but for the majority of us, it's a very strange feeling.

I can't choose between the two guys. I won't be in either corner. I will help them make weight if they need it, but when fight time comes, I will remain silent. Kajan says it's a good matchup stylistically. Olympic wrestler David Zimmerman jumps into Chad's corner as the third man. My count is three to one, which doesn't seem very fair.

Cote gives Chad some advice, which is his prerogative. He's staying neutral by not going in either corner. Kajan asks David Zimmerman to be in his corner, and David responds that he'll be in Chad's corner. It was really an awkward situation. Chad says 15 minutes of business, but I know his heart is heavy fighting a friend.

The fight commences, and Chad and Kajan start to exchange. Lots of cheering for Chad but nothing for Kajan. I am silent watching the fight.  It was mostly the Aussies cheering, as Team Canada was quiet. Chad stuffs a takedown, but I see the first round as very even. In Kajan's corner, Fabio says 40 seconds then 30 seconds, and that's the first we've heard from him. It's a very close round.

At the end of the round, Yves Lavigne tells Chad that he will deduct a point next time he grabs the cage. Between rounds, Fabio tells Kajan to go for the takedown.

In Round 2, the guys begin to exchange. Kajan throws some head kicks. He's got so many tools. Chad is really timing Kajan and is a very accurate striker. Chad then lands a big overhand right that drops Kajan and follows up with a couple of more punches. It's so hard to watch. My friend just got KO'd, and my other friend just KO'd him to make it to the Finale. What a weird mix of emotions.

Then I find out out Kajan is hurt, which is the worst-case scenario. I lost my fight, but luckily all I had were superficial cuts. Kajan is seriously injured. Chad feels guilty about being happy, and Kajan feels alienated and alone. It's just a messed-up situation.

At times like this I feel like we're just pawns who are being sacrificed for the amusement of the king. Kajan has been through so much—so many injuries and so many years of hard life. This sport is unforgiving, but glory is forever. Next up is Elias vs. Tyler.

*Tune in next week to hear Luke's thoughts on the continued tension between teams, more in-depth stories from the house, and his thoughts on the fight between Elias Theodorou and Tyler Manawaroa. Follow Luke on Twitter@HayabusaHarris and follow his gym @Hayabusa_TC.