TUF 26 Episode 3

Wow! A lot was in this weeks episode, holy smokes.

I‘m not going to talk much here about the Performance Institute (The PI). It’s obviously bad ass, and you guys saw and heard on the episode how much we loved it. One thing I want to point out, is that the people they have running that place are high quality. When Dana said “experts”, he wasn’t exaggerating. Graduates of Notre Dame and Cornell, NCAA All American wrestlers, and physical therapists and coaches that worked with the olympic teams at the Olympic Training Center are all on staff at the PI. Also, Forrest Griffin helped design and run that place, and if you’re not a Forrest Griffin fan, I don’t know what you are doing with your life.

How can you not love this guy

Right now, the season is just starting to heat up. This is about the time during filming when most of us started to get comfortable. 14 of us still had fights coming up, so most of us were excited, and happy about our teams and training.

Well, for the most part.
Ariel was having a bad day, yeah. The competition, the house, the loneliness being away from anyone familiar…it’ll get to ya, man. Ariel definitely isn’t the only one who cried this season. Hell, she’s not even the only one that cried that day. At the EXACT same time she was in the locker room dealing with her own shit, there was another Team Alvarez fighter in the gym, who was also having herself a cry after some hard sparring rounds (No, it wasn’t me, but I do cry all the time). The takeaway here is that it’s normal to feel that way in a setting like that. TUF is a fucking pressure cooker, and almost all of us had our time where we felt overdone and ready to pop. And guess how women get that out? Yep, usually it’s through our eyeballs.

 Alice could be a TUF contestant, no problem.

You might notice there is some dude you’ve not seen before, in there talking to Ariel. He was part of a new batch of coaches Eddie brought in.
After the first week of the competition, Mark Henry, Amanda Leve, and Marlon Moraes all left. They had families and teams back home to see to, so Eddie brought in a new set of coaches.
We made Amanda and Marlon “Thank You” cards out of construction paper to thank them and wish them well before they took off, and Marlon told us he would try to come back before the show ended.

We had:

-Rich, a strength and conditioning coach. He’s the guy talking to Ariel about her panic attacks. Good dude, I liked him.
-Anderson, the guy holding mitts. Anderson was a bad ass mitt holder, but he couldn’t speak any English. The only phrases he could say were, “Let’s go”, “change speed”, and “perfetch” (perfect).
-Corey Anderson (UFC Light Heavyweight) was there, and he seemed nice. For some reason, I actually never got to work with Corey, I can’t remember why. I think I was cutting weight the day he ran practice or something.
-Dave Esposito, that’s the guy working the clinch with Ariel while she’s warming up, I worked with him once or twice and really liked him a lot.

Anyway, back to the scene.

I always thought, guys deal with stress by being assholes, and women deal with it by crying.

Adding to the stress of the competition was the fact that everyone was starting to get tired and worn down. We had all done 6 week fight camps to get ready for the show, and by the end of my camp, I was ready to start tapering my workouts down to get ready to fight.
I was also ready for a good night’s sleep. It’s fucking hard to sleep in the TUF house. Sometimes girls would go sleep in the back yard hammock, or on the couch on the porch, because it was hard to fall asleep and stay asleep. Many girls used melatonin, ear plugs or headphones. The house made weird noises at night, and people being up and moving around, and sharing rooms… sleep just wasn’t happening.

When Eddie talks to Ariel, he gave her some really good advice, that I actually still think about often. As fighters, we feel high highs and low lows. The lows aren’t the funnest parts of our lives, but without them, the high times wouldn’t be so good. The only other option, is to feel nothing at all, which means you’re dead, either literally, or figuratively. I’ll take the ups and downs of the roller coaster any day over playing it safe and boring. Thanks, Eddie.

Next, we go to Team Gaethje going out. Remember how I said women cry to relieve stress? We also like to get dolled up and feel beautiful.

When I was told they went bowling, I didn’t believe it. I thought, there’s no way anyone went out looking like that to go bowling?? They were so dressed up! I thought they went to a club or something.

Then I thought, “That’s crazy! Why would you go bowling at a time like this?! Don’t they know they all have fights coming up?!

Most of us on Team Alvarez felt super proud to be such a focused team. The women on the team I talked to felt like we were doing it right by staying home and keeping our eyes on the prize. Team Gaethje, on the other hand, was happy to go out and have a good time, and forget about the stress of the house for a while.

The episode wraps up with some home videos from the ladies, including a shot of Ariel pulling herself onto a horse without a saddle or any help at all, then riding bareback into the sunset.

You see? No saddle. No stirrups. No problem.

It’s fucking bad ass! Have you ever tried to get on a horse? Yeah, I have, and it had a saddle and stirrups and all kinds of shit to help me out, and I still looked like a hippo pole vaulting. Ariel getting up there is one of the most bad ass things I’ve seen on the show so far, and TUF sets the bar pretty high for bad ass things.

You guys saw the fight. It was a good one, I thought. Ariel did her best, but Montana’s grappling is really, really good. Montana’s long arms and legs are good for striking and jiu jitsu. Long, rangy fighters like her can be very hard to deal with standing or on the ground, unfortunately for Ariel.

Then, finally, next week’s fight picks!!

It’s ME you guys!!

I was so excited to fight, I couldn’t wait. I felt great. I was nervous too, but mostly excited. Eddie finally calls my name for the next pick and it’s my turn to go! I stepped up and faced off with Nicco to end this week’s episode. She looked right in my eyes and didn’t waver in the slightest. She was serious, and ready to fight as well. I knew right then it would be a good one.

Stay tuned fight fans! We are all actually going to watch my fight together, I haven’t seen it yet!

See you next week 🙂