Shamar Bailey Talks TUF 13 Episode 8

Recapping Ramsey’s win and discussing my disappointing results

Obviously I’ve got a bit more to say this week than normal, so let’s get right into it.

First and foremost, I’m not looking to make excuses. The honest truth is that I hurt my back pretty bad a couple days after my fight. We were doing a strength and conditioning exercise with these weighted vests, and just the exercise we were doing, the vest kept pulling on my back and I felt it give out.

Me being the person that I am, I didn’t stop. I told the coaches that my back didn’t feel good, but I also told them that I could keep going. Anybody on my team can verify that I was hurting but I pushed through it. Eventually, it just got to the point where I had to roll out of bed in the morning and stretch out on the floor just so I could get up and walk around. I had to put on my pants by leaning against the wall. I couldn’t lean forward to put my shoes on, and I wore a back brace underneath my shirt so I could stand up and sit down without the other team picking up on it.

I was on 800mg of ibuprofen three times a day just trying to take care of it. The bottom line is that I didn’t practice for two weeks; I’d try to practice and it would give out on me again. The feeling was do you go to the doctor and risk him sending me home or do you suck it up and fight through it, and I chose to fight through it.

Unfortunately, the show didn’t show a whole lot of that, but I wasn’t 100% and it was really hard. I’m not making excuses, but the injury had an impact on our game plan and who we picked. That was the whole motive behind me singling out Chris Cope more than anything.

I’m not mad about the way it was played out though. There is no way the cameras can catch every conversation that we had and every single thing that went down. This is TV; we signed up to put our lives on, to be exposed, so I’m not too worried about that. I know what happened and that’s good enough for me, so for me it’s just hard, especially at this point, to watch somebody move on that I thought I beat, but it is what it is.

I don’t know how much of an influence having Brian Stann come in had on everyone else, but it meant something to me. I think everybody saw that here’s a guy with his head on straight, but the biggest thing that stood out I think was that he isn’t a champion yet.

Obviously, we all respect champions, but we also respect a guy that is traveling the road that we’re trying to get on. Not only that, but he’s experienced some setbacks in his career, and has pushed through that and found a way to continue to be successful.

This game of fighting has a lot of ups and downs, not all ups, and I definitely respect Brian not only for what he’s accomplished in the military, but also in the sport, and the way that he pointed out, things that can help us when we get back to training; the importance of keeping good people around us, positive people around us as soon as we get out of the show. For me, it’s nice to see that not everyone has that party mindset; train hard, fight hard, party hard. This guy was all business and I can really relate to somebody like that.

As his roommate, I can tell you that “Stripper Ramsey” is just Ramsey. I think that back home, that’s how he has fun, that’s how he and his friends play around, and for whatever reason, he enjoys playing with the attention and affection of other men.

He knew that I wasn’t a big fan of that, and as roommates, we actually spent a lot of time reflecting on training. That was the time to get serious, to reflect on who we were fighting, what we were trying to accomplish, where we were trying to get to. We actually had some great talks at night when the cameras were off and “Stripper Ramsey” was ready to go to sleep.

His fight with Clay went exactly I as expected it to go. Ramsey and I had both wrestled with Clay and Chris during the evaluations, and knew that neither one of them had very good wrestling, so it made sense to attack a guy’s weakness and that’s what Ramsey did.

Clay had a glaring weakness, and unlike myself, Ramsey wasn’t suffering from any injuries that would prevent him from using his wrestling, so at that point, it was a no-brainer to take him down and do what Ramsey does best, and choke him out.

I’m not a technical wrestler like Ramsey is; that’s what Junior means when he says Ramsey is the best wrestler there. I’m a guy that’s going to explode; I’m going to lift you up and slam you. Unfortunately, every time I got in on Chris, I had to put him on the cage because I had no strength to lift anybody; I could barely bend over.

They didn’t show much of that stuff. They didn’t show that guys were carrying my bags in for me or that I was spending 20 minutes of every practice in an inverse chair, handing upside down just to stretch my back out. There were a lot of things they didn’t show, but anybody from my team can definitely tell you that my back was hurt, bad.

Even with that, going back through the fight, it’s difficult. At the end of the day, that’s why they say, “You can’t leave it in the hands of the judges” and that was my mistake. Just like Clay went in there with a broken finger, I ended up going in there with two slipped discs; I didn’t complain, I didn’t tell anybody other than my coaches, and I did my best. I felt that I did enough to win even if it wasn’t a knockout or I wasn’t slamming anybody like I normally do, so it’s definitely difficult to see it again now.

I went out there and put it on the line. It would have been easier for me to put my back against the cage and hit Chris Cope with a bunch of little baby taps if I knew the judges were gonna score that as a victory in my favor. It’s difficult, but at the end of the day, its spilled milk and I can’t do anything about it now.

All I can do is learn from it; there were things that I could have done different even though I was injured, and I’ve taken notes on that and implemented that in my training. I’m going to learn from it and make sure that something like this never happens again.

Watching myself and seeing what I was able to do with a bad back, I’m really excited to see what I can do with a healthy back now. With everything I’ve been doing in training, I’m looking forward to seeing what I can do in my next performance.

After watching things back, I don’t know where Dana is going with his comments. I do know that I don’t take any of it personal, and that he’s the President, so he can say whatever he wants. I think that he thinks he knows me, and the reality of it is that most people think wrestlers can only wrestlers.

I am a wrestler, but I’m a wrestler who can stand up with anybody in that competition. The funny thing is Dana is sitting there saying I was scared of Chris’ hands, when in reality, I felt I was beating Chris on the feet and didn’t have to use my wrestling. The game plan was to use my wrestling to establish control of the cage since I couldn’t take him down.

It just seems to me that Dana was coming at me with his comments from a biased perspective; that I was only a wrestler and I wasn’t comfortable with doing anything else. In my mind, I was comfortable doing whatever I needed to win the fight, and that I was winning the stand-up exchanges as well.

If you scored it just as a boxing match, and you scored just the punches landed, I feel that I landed more punches and slipped almost all of his, and you don’t score points for punches that don’t land. I don’t think Chris was fast enough to land too many of his.

Honestly, I don’t know where Dana was going with his comments, but again, I don’t take it personal. Maybe he expected more from me, and hopefully I’ll get a chance to show him.

Let’s hope that’s at the TUF 13 Finale in Las Vegas in a couple weeks.