Heavy.com’s TUF blogger breaks down the final two quarterfinal fights and the chaos that ensued afterward.
Here we go with the second to last installment of this blog.
I thought it was unfair that Zach had to fight the same guy that he’d just beaten in 40 seconds, but I was confident that he’d beat Chuck again…if he took it to the ground. He was talking about wanting to stand and bang with him and show his other talents; Zach’s very well rounded, but he’s pretty slow on his feet. So I was a little worried that Chuck might counter-punch him a little.
The situation with Charlie and Chuck was mostly between them. Everyone could tell that they were close friends, that they like each other a lot, and I thought it was cool that Chuck wanted to take care of him. Charlie did bring up the situation back home with his son, but we didn’t know Chuck was going to do what he did from a financial standpoint.
As the weeks wore on, Chuck definitely seemed more real. He really did have a transformation after his first fight with Zach; he was more real, more pleasant to be around.
Going into the fight, because Junior was okay with him starting out standing and eventually taking Chuck down, I think Zach figured he’d be fine on the feet, and if he needed to, if he got in trouble, he could take him down again.
In any fight, you have to set up your takedowns. I was a little concerned. Like I said, Zach’s stand up is slow, and as the fight progressed, he got slower. I didn’t see him being able to set up his takedowns or land too many strikes either. I wouldn’t say it was a bad game plan, but I think it needed to be implemented better.
I really thought that Zach needed an extra burst of explosiveness for the takedown, but staying around the outside against a counter-puncher isn’t a good idea either, especially if you’re not as fast as he is. The real problem was Zach wasn’t changing anything up. At some point, it was pretty obvious that he was losing, and he wasn’t changing anything up, so at that point, it’s pretty hard to watch.
Being out of the competition and watching from the sidelines wasn’t that difficult. Watching those guys, I knew they were all good fighters, I just thought that, especially if I were healthy, they’re all fights I could have won. It’s just difficult watching the fights that I wanted to be a part of taking place in the cage. I saw myself competing in the finals, so that’s difficult. But at the same time, anybody that wants to be successful has to move forward, and I was and I still am moving forward and ready for the next fight.
It was definitely eye-opening and sobering to see a guy that I spent my entire experience on the show with, training with, have to retire. I still feel that he was having and would have had a great career, and it just came to an abrupt stop after one fight. You just don’t know, you can’t take anything for granted. You don’t know if you’re going to come out the same way you went in.
Zach and I spent a lot of time together after that because he couldn’t practice and I couldn’t practice, and it was really sobering to me and motivating to me as well. Knowing that even though I had a serious injury, I had a chance to get healthy and compete again was definitely a motivating factor for me.
Zach handled it like a champ; I’ve got a lot of respect for Zach for how he handled it.
That was his main way to make a living and he’d sacrificed a lot to get to this point. He started evaluating his life a lot, and I don’t know what’s next for him, but he definitely started evaluating his life, looking at the bigger picture, and looking at his career and his experience on The Ultimate Fighter as a blessing. I gained a lot more respect for him from how he dealt with the whole thing.
I think Ryan did his best to handle being away from his daughter. He wasn’t like some of the other guys where they constantly talked about who they missed and they couldn’t wait to get home, but you could tell it was weighing on him.
Ryan’s whole attitude changed; he went to bed early every day, and at times he got more negative. You could tell that he was not enjoying himself. You could tell that something was affecting him a couple weeks before that fight, so I was interested to see if he was going to channel that as positive energy or negative energy into his fight.
With his fight, it’s hard to really be too critical of Ryan’s performance because he just got beat to the punch. He was in a tough spot because he was facing a wrestler with good hands. He’s probably not going to take Tony down, and he doesn’t know if Tony’s going to take him down or stand and bang with him, so really, Ryan had no choice but to trade with him and maybe hope to get a submission off his back, but Tony beat him to the punch.
I was happy that Ramsey got paired up with Cope; he was my roommate and if anybody was going to get a chance at beating Cope, I wanted it to be somebody from our team. I think that Ramsey has the opportunity to learn from my fight, and know that Cope is going to run away a lot, so you just have to basically charge in.
I was happy with that matchup, and Tony and Chuck is an interesting one. They both have good hands; Chuck has good ground, and Tony has good wrestling, so that’s an interesting matchup as well.
The craziness at the end of the episode played out over a lot more time than we see; they didn’t really show that it was a long night.
First, we had “Stripper Ramsey” stripping on the pool table and running around the house chasing other guys. They actually all came after me and tried to get me on the ground. I’m ticklish and they all started tickling me. Long story short, somebody got a little too physical and I lost it. They didn’t show that, and the testosterone got a little higher after that. Guys got a little more drunk, and people started dogging on each other. It was sort of a game of who could dog on each other the most.
Everybody started going to bed after that took place, but then we got woken up. I guess Charlie and Tony and some other guys decided to drink a little bit more, and that’s when Charlie and Tony got into it.
It’s one thing to be drunk; you can squash it and it’s between the two people that are involved. But when you call out somebody’s son in a threatening manner, especially when that guy is battling for custody, that’s overboard whether you’re drunk or not. A lot of people lost respect for Tony after that.
The frustrating thing is that it would defuse and they would go their separate ways, then Tony would come after Charlie or Charlie would go find Tony somewhere. It went on and on, all night long, three, four, five times. So it was at the point where a lot of people were like “whatever man. If Tony wants to throw this away, go ahead. Maybe I’ll get back into the competition.”
At the end of the day, those guys were just blowing smoke; saying some hurtful things that were uncalled for, but blowing smoke. Nobody was going to be throwing any hands in that one.
On that note, I’ll see you next week.