Team Alpha Male member recaps last night’s episode
Episode 2 saw the fighters make their way to the house, teams were chosen, and the first fight took place.
This is the Heavy MMA Ultimate Fighter blog with TJ Dillashaw, Episode 2
Kyte: First thoughts when you see that house and you get in there, get a chance to run around ad check it out?
Dillashaw: It was a little overwhelming. The house is 15,000 square feet, so it was coming into a mansion.
Kyte: What’s the set-up in terms of rooms: divided by weight classes, teams, not divided at all?
Dillashaw: Yeah, it was just a free-for-all. Everybody went in, looked what room they wanted to be in, and anybody could be anywhere. The first thing for me, I had to get in the house — they had us in the van for a while getting ready to get in there — I had to go to the bathroom so bad, so by then, all the rooms were taken up. It wasn’t a big deal to me; I didn’t really care.
Kyte: The first activity they show is everybody grabbing food and figuring out there are a few days before anybody had to make weight. When I saw it, I thought, “TJ strikes me as the kind of guy that will take part, but still stay focused on maintaining his weight.” Am I right?
Dillashaw: Yeah, pretty much. I still indulged a little bit — let loose and had some food — but not anywhere as much as any of the other guys. I still ate healthy. The house was full of food — like ridiculous amounts of food, and drinks, and everything. You could have had anything you wanted to choose from to eat or drink.
I kept it pretty healthy and ready to make weight because I didn’t know who would be fighting or how soon. We had a schedule of what was going on, but no one knew if it was going to be a ’35 pound fight or a ’45 pound fight. You just had to be ready.
So yeah, I was definitely one of the guys that was under control in the eating department. There were some guys there that let loose and gain — some of the featherweights got up to 178 pounds throughout the show and were killing themselves to make weight; same with the bantamweights. Me, I kept my weight within seven or eight pounds for the entire show because I didn’t know when I would be fighting.
Kyte: Well, it ended up becoming one of the storylines of this episode and the first fight that Marcus (Brimage) had 12 pounds to deal with in two or three days, so staying close to weight seems like a smart decision to me as a guy who has never had to go through the agony of the process.
Dillashaw: Him as an MMA fighter, he’s a little ignorant to everything that goes on in the background. It’s not just all about the skills; it’s the lifestyle, the diet, and the mentality of knowing that you’ve got to be disciplined at all times.
Kyte: We’ll get to the fight in a minute. Team selection — did it matter you to where you got picked, what team you were on or anything like that? Where you happy in terms of the guys that ended up on your team and the guys you might be facing?
Dillashaw: I wasn’t really too worried about the order we were picked in. I didn’t really care what the coaches thought about how good I was, but at first I wanted to be on Mayhem Miller’s team just because of Mark Munoz. He was my wrestling coach, I’ve known him for a while, and he trains with Mayhem. I’ve gone down there and rolled with Mayhem a couple times. Just me knowing him a little bit, and because of Mark, I wanted to be on his team, but after the night of those (first) fights, I felt Bisping’s corner was a little more boisterous and had better things to say. So really, it was kind of up in the air for me; I didn’t have a favorite as to what team I was going to be on.
I was a little afraid to be on Bisping’s team because of the way he’s portrayed in the past to be a jerk and no one really liked him that much — which he is. He really is a jerk, but he wasn’t like that with the team, so it’s really not that big a deal.
The way the order went down, I didn’t really agree with. I didn’t care, but I didn’t agree with who he picked, talent-wise, but ultimately it’s his decision.
Like I said, I was kind of worried about being on Bisping’s team because he’s a jerk and whatnot on TV and I don’t really know the guy. Then I got to know him, and he’s still a jerk, but I actually like the guy. He’s a really nice guy. If you’re on his side, he’s got you all the way. He really cared about us. He cared about how we did in the competition, he made sure that we had everything that we needed. He’s a really good guy.
He still has that asshole side to him where he likes to be punk, but I kind of like the guy.
Kyte: I understand completely. I’m sure there are a lot of people who have described me in the same way at some point over the course of my life. “If you’re with him, he’s great, but if you’re against him, everyone thinks he’s a dick.”
Dillashaw: (laughing) Exactly.
Kyte: In terms guys that are on your team, guys that are on the opposite team — any concerns? Anybody you look at and think they’re a good match-up or is it just get in there, do the work, and smash whoever they give me?
Dillashaw: There really wasn’t much concern to me with who was going to be on the team. It turned out to be that we got the guys that are the jokesters, a little bit more relaxed about everything, and didn’t take everything to heart, and weren’t so serious. I knew that was going to make the mood a little bit easier on our team; we were going to be joking and having fun.
I know how to be serious — it wasn’t going to throw me off track, but at the same time, it was good comic relief having some of the guys on our team. The other team seemed a little bit more serious, and shy, and, I guess you can say they were all kind of squares.
Kyte: You mentioned you’re teamed with guys that are a little more relaxed. One of the guys you’re not teamed with is your sorta-kinda teammate Bryan Caraway. We talked about him last time as being the “Nervous Nancy” and it comes up in the episode.
I loved it — it was one of the first things Mayhem says about him, and then he kind of dropped it. What did you think of his performance and what did you take away from the first opportunity to see a fight and see how your coaches work in terms of preparation and throughout the fight?
Dillashaw: Getting back to the point of Bryan being on the other team, it was actually kind of nice because he couldn’t rely on me for all his stability, me giving him confidence and whatnot. He had to get that from his team, and I didn’t have to be bothered with it. I got to worry about myself, and what was going on in my situation.
The first fight? His team let him pick the first fight because he was so nervous being there. His whole team, they talked about it, and they realized he was so nervous and worried about who he was going to fight, and when he was going to fight that they let him pick whoever they wanted, and he got to fight first.
It’s a little unfair to some of the other guys, but he was such a head case that they let him do that. He picked out Marcus Brimage, a stand-up fighter that didn’t have any ground game. I thought it was a pretty dangerous fight for him because Marcus actually had some pretty good takedown defense in practice, and has real heavy hands.
I was a little worried for Bryan on what was going to happen there, just because of the fact that he was so desperate for a takedown that he didn’t want to stand up and strike with Marcus at all. If Marcus was any more of a veteran, he would have been ready for the takedown at all times and countered it. Bryan just took advantage of his inexperience.
Kyte: In terms of the preparation — I know there’s not a ton of time between the fight pick and the fight…
Dillashaw: Just one day.
I would say preparation-wise, it felt good. Bisping came out of his way and helped Marcus lose the weight, gave him some tips because he didn’t actually know what he was doing, and it helped him a lot. He lost 11 pounds in an hour. I was actually pretty surprised. That’s a lot of weight to lose that fast, which can’t be that healthy and you’re obviously going to feel it the next day, but at least Bisping came over and gave him some positive reinforcement. I see that as a plus for our team that Bisping cared, like I said.
Mayhem also showed a little bit of interest with his team. They came over and brought over the pressure, the machines that push all the bad blood out of your system and supposedly replenish it with new blood. I wasn’t too keen on that; I’d never seen them before. I called the “space legs.” I didn’t really know what they were, so I kind of made fun of the other guys for using them, but that’s just because we didn’t get to.
Kyte: It looks like the prank war has already gotten started. They got you with the tires. Can we expect all kinds of shenanigans the rest of the way out?
Dillashaw: You can definitely expect a lot of shenanigans. They started it, so it’s definitely our turn to retaliate, and I just know that they didn’t have the smarts or the pranksters on their team like we did on our team, so just be ready for us to retaliate. I feel like we’re going to get the better of them, but we’ll just have to wait and see.
Kyte: Cool man, we’ll keep an eye out for it next week.