Nick Ring’s Ultimate Fighter 11 Blog: Episode 8

By Nick Ring

Kyacey Has a Baby

Charles Champ Uscola is the name of Kyacey’s brand new baby boy. We found out about Charles Uscola’s birth when one of Tito’s assistant coaches, Saul Soliz, told us prior to one of the training sessions. He told us the news in a really unusual way that took us all by surprise.

He requested for us to gather around into a circle and join hands for a prayer before the practice. This was something that he had never asked us to do in the past so it was unusual but we all complied with his request and we joined hands. Saul proceeded to lead us into prayer and said many of the typical things you would say in a prayer and then he ended it by telling us to bless Kyacey’s new first born son, born just hours before.

Kyacey broke out into a laughter/almost cry/pure joy type of emotion which was, for me, a little hard to not get caught up in myself. I gave Kyacey my congratulations and everybody else did as well and I felt really happy for my team-mate at that moment. I don’t have any kids myself so I can only imagine Kyacey’s elation at hearing the news. I found it very uplifting to see the look in his eyes and to see his mind racing as he thought about his new life as a father.

I was also very impressed with Hackleman in this particular situation because he went above and beyond the call of duty in for Kyacey, even though Kyacey was very clearly not on the blue team. John very generously showed Kyacey a picture of Kyacey’s new-born child. John Hackleman had clearly taken the time to have the image forwarded to his cell phone specifically for Kyacey to see which was quite nice of him to do.

Remember that being in the Ultimate Fighter house you are to have no communication with the outside world including the ban of all media technology and reading materials so for Hackleman to do this for Kyacey was quite a big favor. In fact, Hackleman even got in trouble with the Spike TV producers for showing Kyacey the picture of his child. In my opinion I thought that made Hackleman 100% cooler.

Fight Day – Uscola vs. McCray

While training with Kris, I found that he is unusually strong and he has really good takedown ability. I also found that Kris’s striking is very unorthodox and his punches come from strange angles that don’t look like they should be able to hit you when you are standing in front of him, but somehow they still do .

While awkward striking might not sound like a good thing on the surface, he does really know how to use it to his advantage. Combining his unorthodox striking with his natural power and excellent sense of timing, Kris McCray is a dangerous competitor who I think can catch many people off guard. Watching Kris you may not realize how powerful he actually is but I can personally testify that once he gets ahold of you, he feels like a gorilla on steroids.

Kyacey on the other hand, while not as physically strong as Kris, makes up for it with his technical striking ability, strong wrestling background, and vast experience base. Besides his skill in the cage, Kyacey also possesses a fearless attitude combined with the love to fight. I think if he was not involved in cage-fighting he would probably be doing some other sport where he would be risking life and limb because he is just that type of guy — he is an adrenaline junkie and he loves excitement. I think his natural tendency to “go for it” is one of his best qualities and it is what makes him the good fighter he is. No guts/no glory – and trust me when I tell you that Kyacey Uscola has guts.

The Fight

During the fight I thought that both athletes performed well, but like I said before, once Kris gets a hold of you he can be very hard to deal with. Once he got the keylock on Kyacey, he was not going anywhere and Kyacey was forced to tap out. I was both happy for Kris and sad for Kyacey.

I felt bad for Kyacey seeing him lose like that to Kris because I know that he had a lot riding on this fight emotionally and it would have meant the world to him to win the match. But too bad, I guess – that is what we sign up for and despite the loss I think that Kyacey is still a great fighter. If you are a fighter, losing matches is just a cost of doing business.

Side note: I also want to say that I was very impressed with Kris in training after his loss to Josh Bryant. Kris did not for even one day mope around and feel sorry for himself — he just picked himself up and dusted himself off and started training. It wasn’t just that he was training, however — there was definitely something different in Kris from that point on – and it was very apparent to me that he was committed to learning now.

I watched Kris as he worked one-on-one with Tito’s coaches. He was asking them questions with his ears open and was making changes in his game whereever he needed to. Kris was making a concerted effort to become better and I watched him totally immerse himself in martial arts, and he was getting better every single day. He was proving to me that he has what it takes to become a great fighter, and it wasn’t because of his physical gifts (which he has plenty of) – it was all in his attitude.

Quarter Final Fights

For all Chuck’s bitching about my fight with Court and how I should have lost the fight and what a horrible fighter I am, he sure was reluctant to put Court back against me in the quarter finals. What is Chuck’s problem?

He sure likes to waffle back and forth on his position, doesn’t he? One minute he will go off about what a pussy I am and then the very next minute he doesn’t want to match his fighter with me. Make up your mind, dude!

Nick Ring versus Court McGee – We have a re-match which was fine by me!

Kyle Noke versus Kris McCray – It is bit of a coincidence but these two are from the same hometown and train at the same gym (Greg Jackson’s). This was not a good coincidence, however, and I gotta say I think it would have sucked to be forced to fight one of your close friends.

Brad Tavares versus Seth Baczynski – Two strikers and I was interested in seeing it. I predict a stand-up war.

Jamie Yager versus Josh Bryant – I was really looking forward to this fight because Josh had already proven me wrong once before and I was not going to underestimate him for a second time. However, the fact is that Yager is still quite explosive and I felt like he would have a good chance of catching Josh at some point, especially in the first round.

My official predictions for this fight was that Yager would win early on with a knockout but Josh would have a better chance of winning the longer the fight went. Make sure you guys tune in for this one, it was a good one.

Video Games – BLAAAAAHHH!!! Who Cares!!

It was a welcome change of scenery to have the video games come to the house, but I am not a big video game person myself so I didn’t bother playing. Who cares?

I actually would have been way happier to get to read a book on organic chemistry or on dung beetles than to play the stupid game. Maybe that’s just me.

I Tore My ACL

Immediately after the quarter-final match-ups I was taken away to see the doctor about my knee. I have had problems with this knee in the past and I knew I had done something seriously wrong when it blew in training. I was not extremely surprised to hear from the doctor that I had torn my ACL again — he told me that I would now need a third reconstruction.

Even though I wasn’t that surprised by the news, it was still a little bit hard for me to swallow. To hear that I would need surgery again and having been through this a few times already it was very frustrating to me. It bothers me to keep having surgery over and over again, and to keep having to put my dreams on hold over and over and over again.

I don’t know what else to say about this. Despite this knee bullshit, I am planning to make a full-recovery and fight again as soon as my body will allow. I had the knee surgery on april 7th and I am spending my time doing my physio-therapy, lifting weights, and trying to make a living while I heal.

It sucks to go through this again, but I am looking forward to working my way back up to being an athlete again.

A Hard Talk With Dana White

Dana came to the house to talk with me. It was a hard talk to have because I had to pull out of the tournament. Dana was talking to me and asking me if I want to fight. I knew that from his perspective the best answer would have been “yes, of course I will fight”, but I knew that was just not realistically possible . The risks way outweighed the rewards.

I had to put my testosterone aside and do what was best for my body and my career over the long-term. I had to put my ego aside and listen to my brain. I knew that the damage I would do to my leg fighting Court would not be reparable and it would likely be the last fight I ever did.

Doctor’s Orders?

I did not hear the conversation that Dana had with the doctor where he said that I could still take a fight with a torn ACL, but if that is what the doctor told Dana then I think it was pretty negligent on his part.

He obviously doesn’t give a fuck about my health and if that is the kind of medical advice he is giving, then he should probably stop giving medical advice completely and go do something else for work – like maybe construction or mall security.

I do sincerely hope that when he and Dana had talked that there was a massive miscommunication and that Dana had just imagined that the doctor told him that me fighting on a torn ACL was a good idea. If it wasn’t a complete miscommunication, then you had better watch yourself if you are a patient of this guy and you might want to yourself another doctor before you get seriously hurt.

Anterior Cruciate Ligament

I will state for the record here that fighting on a torn ACL in an MMA match is basically impossible – and with my reliance on kicks it is bsolutely impossible.
The ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) connects the back of your femur to the front of your tibia (shin bone). This is one of two ligaments in your knee that allows an athlete to pivot during a competition – without an ACL you cannot pivot.

If you try to pivot on a knee that does not have an ACL your leg will buckle out from underneath you and if you are unlucky you will have destroyed some of the other supporting structures in your knee.

From a surgical standpoint an ACL is relatively easy to fix and you may come back to your sport after a few months of rehab. If you damage or destroy the other structures in your knee because you foolishly tried to ignore an ACL tear, you will likely never play sports again. You might be lucky to even walk normally again.

I know that destroying my knee (and fight career) would have probably made for good television, but I wasn’t about to let that happen. Remember that these are the same doctors that let McKinney continue even though there was something very obviously wrong with his shoulder – and in light of that I was not going to be entrusting myself to their advice on my health.

McKinney ended up needing shoulder surgery after following their advice to continue on and I think that listening to my own body rather than some “expert” who doesn’t give a fuck about me was probably the right decision.

I was sorry to have to leave this opportunity but it was the only course of action that would allow me to have an opportunity in the future. You cannot be a fighter if you don’t have your health.

A Closed Mouth Don’t Get Fed

Dana pulled all of us fighters into the living room to announce that I had pulled out of the tournament and that he and the other coaches would be holding a meeting to figure out who would be taking my place in the fight against Court McGee.

Dana then walked out to leave to the house. After he left the room I had everyone coming up to me to console me and to ask me what was wrong with my knee. I remember specifically Court and Tavares showing me a lot of compassion for my situation and I will always be grateful to them for that. In fact, everybody was very cool with me about my situation, and while I hate getting pity from people I was glad that they were all understanding of me.

While I was telling the fighters in the house what had happened to me, which must have spanned maybe 2 minutes, Dana was now back in the room and he had a new announcement – Hammortree was going to be taking my place in the tournament. He apparently had chased him outside to say that he wanted the spot.

I thought that was really cool that Hammortree had the balls to get up out of his chair and corner Dana and ask for exactly what he wanted. I totally see why Dana gave him the spot – by Hammortree doing that, he communicated many positive things about himself and I know that Dana was impressed.

Hammortree’s actions clearly told Dana that he wasn’t going to wait around for a miracle and he was willing to take fate into his own hands and create his own opportunities. I don’t know how you can’t be impressed by that. I know I was.

Joe freaks out

Joe was stomping around the house at this point and was bitching about how Hammortree was “politicking” to get what he wanted. While I didn’t agree with his temper-tantrums, I do see things from Joe’s point of view.

Upon hearing Dana’s first announcement that they would be picking someone to take my place in the tournament, Joe was going to take the “wait and see” approach and let the due process of the coaches meeting give him another shot to come back into the tournament.

Obviously the “wait and see” approach cost him a huge opportunity – that is one of those mistakes in life that you hopefully only make once. Opportunities are made, not waited for – they will always go to the person who is willing to make them. Better luck next time, Joe.

James Hammortree versus Court McGee

Good first round with Court being the aggressor and I would say winning it handily. Round 2 was a quick finish with Hammortree getting guillotined after attempting a takedown on Court. That must have been disappointing for Hammortree but easy come, easy go, I guess.