Wrapping up TUF 26

I know, I know. I haven’t written a blog in weeks.

I’ve been, um, busy.

I’ll sum up as quick as I can so we can all move on.

I didn’t write about the last two episodes of TUF 26, and I actually didn’t even bother to watch the last episode at all. By the time that one came out, I was SO over it. I was over all the manufactured bullshit that is The Ultimate Fighter, over being the bad guy of the season, and over explaining myself.

The second to last episode featured a fight between Barb and Nicco that was probably fight of the season. It opened my eyes to what a bad mofo Nicco really is, because Barb is a tough and technical fighter, and Nicco whooped on her. It shocked me, and also, I selfishly felt relieved to know that the person who beat me would be fighting for the title. I mean, if you’re going to lose, you definitely want to lose to the champ (at that point, I figured she would be).

I didn’t watch the last episode where Sijara fights Roxanne. I was so annoyed with Sijara by then I didn’t care to.
I was annoyed because Sijara was acting so offended about the sauna scene- on TUF Talk, on Instagram, anytime she could. When I say she was acting, I mean she was acting.

When it happened, she was fine. Afterward, we joked about it, reenacted it, laughed about it. She understood that it’s a competition and that it was the right thing for a competitor to do. If she had missed, it would have been a great chance for someone to get back in the tournament- she even said in the episode that she would have done the same thing!
But when the episode aired, she started acting like she was really offended all of a sudden, which to me just seems fake and shitty. What is the point of acting offended by something you weren’t offended by, until it aires on TV? It reminds me of the story, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, when the little brother Edmund pretends that Narnia is made up, even though he had been there, just to hurt his sister Lucy’s feelings. Throwing someone else under the bus is a quick way to get fans, get ahead, and feel good about yourself, I guess. I’m glad it eventually backfired on her.

Edmund straight up just being a dick

By the way, I’m still not sorry I was in that sauna. It’s a COMPETITON. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE that had lost but was still able to compete should have been watching their weight in case Sijara – or anyone- missed weight, got hurt, got sent home, whatever. It happens all the time on TUF. But let’s be honest, odds were best Sijara would be the one to miss.

As dumb as it sounds, it actually really hurt that the TUF editors framed those situations the way they did. I received a lot of hate for those scenes.
I had friends and training partners tell me that they talked to people who haven’t met me, and that those people “hate” me. Hate me? For what? Because I took a rest day? Because I stayed competitive? Because I “blamed” Eddie for my loss? To be honest, I’m not even sure what that means, that I “blamed” Eddie. The dude was a dick to me. Should I have put up with it? Not said anything? Should fighters just put up with bullshit from anyone who tries to coach them? I had a hard time understanding how people could be so hateful toward someone on a reality show. I mean, they don’t know me. People who have literally never met me, hate me. It’s fucking bizarre.

I felt really resentful about it, and it’s been hard not to take it personally. Those situations could have easily been framed as what they were- me standing up for myself, or taking care of myself, or being competitive. There were a lot of interviews and scenes they didn’t show, that might have showed things in a different light. For instance, Sijara would go to bed at night, and she would put peanut butter and chocolate chips in cup, and then she would use pretzels as a spoon and eat the peanut butter chocolate mixture while laying in bed. It’s insane to do that days before you have to make weight. She did it almost every night. I think if people could have seen that, they would have seen the situation for what it really was: Sijara being undisciplined with her diet and blowing her own opportunity, not me “stealing” it. If Sijara had missed weight, the viewers would have seen an entirely different season- they would have seen the pretzel peanut butter bullshit, for sure. I would have been framed as the hero, not the villain, yet my actions would have been no different.

The TUF producers told me that I am the only person who has gone on TUF, who actually did stay on weight and cut weight for all three rounds, even after losing (I don’t know if that’s true, but that’s what they told me). They actually encourage everyone to stay ready, in case someone misses weight or gets hurt or something. They said people TALK about it all the time but no one has ever actually done it. I felt really proud that I actually did, because it really wasn’t easy. I felt like I had done something admirable. OF COURSE Sijara was going to miss weight, look at how she had been managing her weight cut, I thought. People will see that and understand.

So, when the episodes came out and I would get hated on, I felt like the TUF producers played me for an idiot. I felt stupid for ever thinking that I, who had lost, would look admirable compared to the woman who was on a win streak. I felt dumb for ever thinking the TUF producers, the people we talked to every day, the people I cried to when I lost, interviewed with every day for six weeks, talked about my family, and loneliness, and past with, had cared about me even a little. They acted like they did, and I forgot that at the end of the day, they are just doing a job.

I spent quite a bit of time after TUF thinking that I must be a shitty person. I saw a lot of comments from people who would say things like, “Ugh, I HATE Lauren Murphy”, or, “I can’t stand her”, or, “she’s a shitty person.” I FELT like a shitty person. As I watched TUF, I realized I wouldn’t like me either, if I were the average viewer. In the moment, I felt like I had done the right things, but then I would think, “If everyone hates me for doing the right thing, maybe I have a fucked up idea of what’s right. Maybe I AM a shitty person.” Watching the show reduced everything about me -my personality, my self worth, everything- down to the 15-30 second clips of me TUF showed. Not just for the people watching, but for me too. I actually got pretty down for a while. When people would say they watched me on the show, I would cringe. My extended family watched the show, every episode, and when they talked to me about it, I felt ashamed and embarrassed. I hated it. I still do. I hated the way I look, I hated the way I sounded, I hated the things I said. I hated the things they showed and hated the things they left out. When people bring it up, I don’t have much nice to say, although I suppose that might change over time.
Like I said, it’s been difficult to not take personally, but I’m trying to keep in mind that the people who produce TUF have a job to do, and that it’s NOT personal. Their job is to create drama, and characters, and reasons to watch, and a bunch of women being nice to each other and talking about our dogs isn’t exactly going to enthrall the average viewer. Still, the show was hard for me. Hard to do, hard to watch, hard to accept. But, it’s slowly getting better. I stopped checking my notifications on Twitter, and that has helped immensely. I’m not on Facebook as much, and when I am, I don’t read any comments about me. I am surrounded by people who love me and I am becoming proud of who I am again. I’m really grateful to my husband, son, and team, who have been massive supports to me through it all.

Anyway, FINALLY the show wrapped up and we all got ready to head into fight week for the finale.

Everyone on the show was offered fights on the finale. However, the craziness and drama continued into fight week, which none of us really expected. Also unexpectedly, all the bullshit I went through, throughout the 12 weeks that the show aired, came to a head and I got a little bit of vindication. It was one of the best weeks of my life, which kicked off one of the best months of my life, which I feel confident is kicking off one of the best years of my life.

I will cover all that in my next blog 🙂
Thanks for following along.