TUF 13 cast member Shamar Bailey joins Heavy
Shamar will join HeavyMMA.com every Thursday morning to share his thoughts on each episode of the upcoming season.
The son of a pastor, Bailey was home-schooled for most of his life. He didn’t start his athletic career until his senior year of high school, when he was finally able to attend a public school for the first time. Bailey chose wrestling and went undefeated that year.
Bailey’s father encouraged him to attend a Christian college after high school. The options for Christian colleges that offered wrestling were limited, but Bailey ultimately settled at Maranatha Baptist Bible College in Wisconsin, where the wrestling team was coached by 1976 Olypmic gold medalist Ben Peterson. Bailey was the first wrestler in school history to qualify for the NCAA tournament.
When college ended, Bailey figured his athletic career was over. He returned home and, while looking for a place to stay in shape, walked into the gym where UFC veteran Chris Lytle trained in the sport of mixed martial arts.
“After that, one thing led to another,” Bailey says. “I started training with him, started working on the fire department with him as well, got a few fights and one thing led to another.”
Bailey’s 10-3 record contains notable victories over Waachiim Spiritwolf and John Kolosci; he also appeared on two Strikeforce Challengers cards.
The decision to try out for The Ultimate Fighter was spurred in part by difficulties with Bailey’s training camp in Indianapolis. “Getting on TUF was huge for me. I had drama with a couple trainers here in Indianapolis where basically they weren’t helping me improve as a complete mixed martial artist. They were relying so heavily on my wrestling, which to me is limited, but I find a way to use it well in the sport,” Bailey says. “I really wanted to improve as a mixed martial artist and be an exciting fighter for the fans, so nobody was really helping me improve here in Indianapolis.”
Bailey got the call to join the cast for the 13th season of the Ultimate Fighter. He thought he knew what to expect going into the famed TUF house, but quickly realized that his perceptions weren’t accurate.
“What I expected was a little bit different then what actually took place,” Bailey says. “What I expected was to not really make friends with anybody and just really be focused on my goal. I know what I bring to the table, I know what I’m capable of and I didn’t want any distractions.
“When I got there, you don’t realize until you go through the experience that being in the house puts you on the same level as everyone you’re competing against. You all live there together, you sleep in the same house, everybody sees what the other person’s eating, what their diet is, so all the little advantages that you gain when you’re in your own individual camp, all that’s negated when you’re training together, eating together, you see guys get better and the supplements they’re taking.”
Bailey says that he hopes to use his time in the TUF house to positively impact the people watching him at home.
“I’m very thankful for this opportunity (to be on TUF) and I hope that people that watch the show will see a person that’s very driven to be successful, but also using the talents that God’s given me to honor him and to positively impact other people in life.”