TJ Dillashaw’s Ultimate Fighter 14 Blog: Episode 3

TUF 14’s Team Alpha Male member recaps last night’s episode

With the first featherweight fight in the books, the bantamweights made their debut Wednesday night on Spike TV.

Our bantamweight blogger TJ Dillashaw sat down with Spencer Kyte to discuss last night’s episode.

This is the Heavy MMA Ultimate Fighter Blog, Episode 3

Kyte: The first real action on this week’s episode was Michael Bisping and the coaches taking the tires off Mayhem’s car, and putting them in their locker room, retaliating for the prank from last week, and the pranks become sort of the central narrative to this episode.

Did you guys he was going to do that with the tires, and how invested did people get into the pranks? Akira seems pretty intent on being the entertainment.

Dillashaw: Akira’s definitely going to be a lot of entertainment throughout this season. He calls himself an entertainer, and he likes to be involved in all the pranks. I found myself getting involved somewhat as well, just because it’s something to do; some form of entertainment.

Bisping and Tiki (Ghosn) — I think Tiki was the main connection on all the pranks that happened. We told us about how the was going to have the car’s tires removed and all this stuff, so we showed up, and Mayhem and all his coaches are sweating in the hot sun trying to put the tires back on. It was on blocks, and they had somewhere they had to be, but of course they couldn’t get there because they had no tires.

I think that tire prank was a lot better than the tire prank they did because it affected their entire day.

Kyte: The next thing we get is your team at training, and Bisping tells you to go 60% — he wants good, technical sparring, no need to kill each other — and it turns into about 90-95% with guys going hard at each other.

Was that a regular thing, and what is your view on going hard versus working on the technical aspects of things? To me, it comes off a little bit like a dick-swinging contest; everybody wanting to show how bad they are.

Dillashaw: It’s kind of hard because you’re put into a house with a bunch of guys you could be competing with, and guys that you don’t know. You’re on national TV, you want to show your skills, and we had a bunch of very, very, very competitive guys on our team that want to be the winner of The Ultimate Fighter, and it just got to their heads a little too much.

This stuff happened a lot throughout our practices throughout the season. We have a lot of hotheads, a lot of short tempers, and I think Diego was trying to do some technique, he couldn’t take Marcus down, and kind of freaked out on him. Marcus is kind of green to where he doesn’t know how to control his power, control tempo, and kind of freaks out in practice, and it caused a little yelling match in practice.

Obviously guys are going to get angry with each other when their stuff is not working; this is their livelihood, their careers; they want everything to go perfectly for them, and it’s not.

Kyte: How do you balance those two things: you could eventually end up facing one of your teammates in the elimination round or the finals, but at the same time, you are teammates, and there is a little bit of an expectation to help each other, and not murder each other all the time?

Dillashaw: I would say that we were teammates, but really, you’re not. Yeah, you’re put on a team, but this is a complete individual thing going on. There’s a blue team and an orange team, but really, it all comes down to who wins the finals.

The way I looked at it the entire show is that there was no team. Yeah, I wanted to help my guys out to win, because I wanted control, because I wanted to pick who I was fighting. So I wanted to help out the guys who were fighting next so that they could win so that ultimately our team could push our guys onto the semis and onto the finals.

Other than that, I didn’t really care. I just cared about myself, and not getting hurt, because we’re going so hard, I tried to control my temper as well. I’ve been known to have a short fuse here at home, and get aggressive as well, so I worked really hard on not getting aggressive so the guys didn’t get aggressive back with me.

I really don’t think there was much team unity. Bisping tried to make it look that way because he’s the coach and he’s on TV and you want to look good, but as you said, it’s hard because all these guys could be fighting each other.

Kyte: The first bantamweight fight announcement is Johnny Bedford versus Josh Ferguson. We find out later that you guys knew the match-up was going to be that way, but what were your thoughts about the first pairing of guys from your division?

Dillashaw: From me going with Ferguson, and watching Bedford fight, knowing how experienced he is, I knew Bedford was going to win. Anything could happen on any day, but my prediction was that Bedford was going to win the fight, and he was going to kind of lay on him.

Kyte: Akira calls you his sidekick at one point as you two are working on a prank together. How much of that was just, as you said earlier, a way to break up the monotony of being in the house?

Dillashaw: It was definitely something to do. I’ve always been a bit of a prankster. I’ve been around a different bunch of guys, gone to hundreds of wrestling camps, been around guys who are used to pranking each other; it’s something fun to do. We still do it at our own gym, and when we go up to Point Arena, we mess around with some of the guys. It’s fun, you know?

Akira — they didn’t show this — but Akira tried pranking everyone by putting saran wrap over the toilet. He didn’t do a very good job of it; I was the first one he tried to get, and I noticed it, so I had to show him how to do a better job of it.

After that, we just kind of turned out to be pranking buddies. I thought it was just funny to watch his stupid ideas and listen to his jokes. It was just a form of escaping the every day routine of training with the guys and not having any form of entertainment.

Kyte: Dustin Neace seemed to enjoy the first one with the pool ball in his glove, but then we see back at the house — and there is probably a bunch of stuff we don’t see thanks to the wonders of editing — but suddenly he’s pissed off at Akira and decides to get back at him. It eventually boils over to a “I’m gonna to show you/No I’m gonna show you” routine —

Dillashaw: That’s the worst.

Kyte: How much heat was there really between them, and how much of it just from that built up frustration of being in a house with a guy like Akira who is always trying to get under your skin?

Dillashaw: That’s the thing — you only see a little bit of it on the show. You don’t see that every day, Akira is trying to get under Neace’s skin; saying things about him. There are probably more pranks that we did to him than they could show.

Neace takes everything very personal. He’s kind of an immature guy; he takes everything very, very, very personal, so he’s an easy target. Really nice guy, and eventually it just gets to him, so he feels he’s got to stand up for himself. He tries pranking him back and it became very heated, which I think we’ll see later in the season.

They kind of dislike each other — I think more on Neace’s side; I think Akira is just having fun with an easy target.

Kyte: After that stuff, we find out that Louis, John Dodson, and Ferguson have formed a little alliance — no pun intended — and that’s how Ferguson knew he would be fighting Johnny Bedford.

What are your thoughts on it in terms of the competition itself and in general from a competitive standpoint? You don’t strike me as a guy who is going to go out of his way to help someone who could eventually be an opponent down the road.

Dillashaw: I think Dodson saw it as maybe that Louis could have been an easier fight, so why not help the guy out that is the underdog and could maybe be an easier fight for him in the long run?

He’s trying to help him out so that he doesn’t have to fight Dustin Pague or any of the guys on his team that could possibly be the match-up. I think Dodson had some tougher teammates than I did, and he’s kind of looking out for his own back, and he’s kind of being a snake, telling everybody what they want to hear, but ultimately, he’s looking out for himself.

Kyte: Everybody weighs in fine, there’s a little yapping between coaches, and Josh Ferguson mentions something that you had mentioned earlier: that this is a competition, and ultimately, it’s about looking out for yourself.

We get the fight — it went the way you expected it, it went the way I expected it. Just a matter of not sticking to the game plan on Josh’s part? He seemed to get the better of it in space, but the minute they clinch, it becomes a battle of size and strength, and he’s screwed.

Dillashaw: That’s why they picked that match-up, because of how much bigger Bedford was than Ferguson. Pretty much, yeah, Ferguson turned it into too much of a brawl when he could have picked him apart a little bit more.

He’s faster than him, has quicker hands, seemed technically better on his feet, but he just turned it into too much of an aggressive brawl that went into Bedford’s favor to use his jiu-jitsu.

Kyte: How much do you take away as you’re sitting there watching guys that are in your weight class, in terms of making scouting reports about what Johnny brings to the table?

Dillashaw: I’m always looking; even during practice. I’m always trying to pick guys apart. I see Bedford’s fight; see what he’s good at, see what he’s not good at.

I feel like watching Bedford, I could have beat him in any area of a fight, so I wasn’t really too worried about it. I’m too athletic for him, I think I could have picked him apart on my feet, and there is no way he’s taking me down like that. My jits is better than his as well, just because of the gym I train at.

Kyte: That was something I meant to ask you after last episode — how much different is it for you being in the gym with these guys versus being at home with Urijah, Chad, Joseph Benavidez; a bunch of top 3, top 5 guys in the weight class?

Dillashaw: It’s definitely a step back from our practice. I was missing — you have no idea how much I was missing my team. Just to have them there because of the fact of the workouts that I get here. I think the biggest thing I learned is that my camp is the best around, you know?

All these guys are all over the nation, coming, bringing things to practice, and it doesn’t compare to any of the levels we have at our gym. I was definitely missing our team, just because of the level of workout I can get, and being pushed by them, which also made me feel more confident in the competition.

Me rolling and sparring with the guys at my weight class on my team showed me that really, I don’t think any of these guys have anything to offer me.

Kyte: Well I’m looking forward to seeing how some of that in the next couple episodes. I’ll be sure to get this out to you on Twitter.

Dillashaw: For sure — @TJDillashaw. Hit me up.