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Exclusive: TUF’s Amir Sadollah Talks Reality TV, Being the Guy People Want to Fight, and More

Amir Sadollah came into season seven of “The Ultimate Fighter” without a single professional MMA bout to his credit, and yet with the show winding down he finds himself in the semifinals and (though he can’t say in what capacity just yet) fighting on the Spike TV season finale card on June 21. Though he’s been portrayed as the lovable, self-deprecating underdog on the show, Sadollah now has his shot at a UFC career thanks to reality stardom.

In this exclusive interview, Sadollah talks to Cage Potato about being the man people want to fight, leaving his job to pursue his passion, and what he learned from his time on the show. Thanks for taking the time to talk with me, Amir. What’s it like now to sit down and watch the show and see it all edited together? Does it seem accurate to you?

It’s kind of crazy. We were there and we lived it so on some level it’s familiar, but seeing it on TV just sort of reinforces for you that it really happened. It’s strange though, to see something you lived through on TV.

For the most part it’s pretty accurate. So much is left out just because they don’t have time to show it all, I guess. Obviously, they didn’t show anything that didn’t happen, but they definitely did show the things they wanted to in order to help them make people look a certain way. If they wanted to cast you a certain way, they made sure to show the stuff that helped them do that.

I’ve talked to some TUF contestants who said that a lot of the footage has been taken out of order. Stuff that happened in week six was shown in week one, that kind of thing. Is that true?

A lot of the stuff is out of order, and some things they purposely left out to make certain points. But I think everything they did was for a reason. At least I hope so. I don’t know, I’m not a TV editor or anything.

They’re really good at getting you to believe what they want you to believe as you’re watching it. It makes me think twice now whenever I watch another reality show. I know now that it isn’t necessarily really how things were, but how they made what happened into what they wanted it to be.

Can you give me an example of that?

Now you’re going to make me back up my statements? Aw, man. Well, okay, definitely in the confessionals is where they did a lot of the scripting of the show. Not that they told you what to say or anything, but they would ask these very leading questions, like, ‘do you think this guy is scared?’ And you don’t get to hear the questions when you watch the show, just the answers. It gives it a different feel when you think someone is just saying something, rather than answering a specific question.

Obviously, you saw previous season of the show before you went on it. What did you think about it then, and what made you decide that you wanted to be on the show?

It was a combination of things. I remember watching the show and thinking, ‘Wow, wouldn’t it be great to get to fight on this someday?’ But I guess I didn’t really think it would happen.

I remember vividly the moment I decided to do it. I was power-washing my deck, actually, and one of my friends told me that they were having tryouts for “The Ultimate Fighter” and they were going to go down and try out. I just thought, okay. Let’s go for it. I called in to work and went down there and then I made it on.

Does it ever seem strange to you that a guy like yourself, who has relatively little MMA experience, is able to get into the UFC because of this reality show?

Yeah, I do think about that a lot actually, how I just kind of shot right in there. On one hand I definitely appreciate the opportunity and I’m grateful for that. But I know there are a lot of guys who’ve been trying for years to get into the UFC and they haven’t got that chance, so it’s weird. It’s definitely something I’m mindful of and I think it’s great that it gives us all this chance.

It seems like there are some major gaps in people’s experience level on the show. Some guys have over ten fights, some have only a couple or none at all. Did that create any tension among you guys? Were you all aware of those differences while the show was going on?

Kind of. We were aware of it, but having all the guys fight just to get in the house definitely made us all respect each other. Everyone had a tough fight just to be there, so you knew it wasn’t as if anyone got a free pass.

Of course, you’re aware that some guys have a bunch of fights and others might not, but there was never any tension over it because everyone had proved themselves. You also find out in training who’s tough and who can do what.

What was it like to see everyone come in and talk about who they wanted to fight in the semis? It seemed like the consensus was that you might be the easier fight for any of the other three guys.

I admit I was slightly interested watching that. I don’t take it personally though. They were choices based on styles more than anything else. No one takes it personally. Like Dana said on the show, it’s just everyone thinking of the best path for them to get into the finals. By that point, we’ve all proved why we belong there.

Tell me about your life before going on the show. I heard you worked in a hospital as a surgery technician. How did you wind up doing that? What does that involve?

The short explanation is, I am the guy who hands the surgeon the knife. There’s definitely more involved than that, but that’s the easy way to put it. It’s really making sure all the equipment is laid out, keeping a sterile environment, all that.

I was kind of tooling around in life, working in a hospital delivering packages and such. A friend of mine told me about the program to become a surgical tech and it sounded good. It’s a really high-demand job and the hours were pretty flexible. They were always really cool about my training and my fighting. I was just getting out of school for this program when I really got into training, so both those things kind of started for me at the same time.

Did you ever worry about leaving that job to try and become a fighter? What if it doesn’t work out?

I wasn’t worried about trying and failing. I was worried about not trying. Even if I tried and failed, and even if I had to move back home and had no job, at least I tried. At least I gave it a shot. That, I could live with.

What made you want to be a fighter in the first place?

That’s a good question. I guess it’s kind of the question. But I think like a lot of fighters, I don’t really know. For me, as soon as I started training and as soon as I got into it, it was the only thing I wanted to do. It was the only thing I cared enough about to really try to be good at it. I guess that’s the best way I can explain it.

On the show they seem to want to portray you as the honest, open guy who says whatever he’s feeling, even if it doesn’t make him look so tough at times. It seems odd compared to the other guys, who all come of sounding very confident or stoic. Is that really how you are, or is that a result of the editing?

I’d actually say that’s pretty accurate. That’s kind of how I am. I’m pretty open about how I’m feeling and what I’m thinking, and I guess talking about it helps me to deal with it. I’m not one to keep it all inside. I just let it out and that helps me process it and work through stuff.

What’s it like to get to come in and train with guys like Forrest Griffin and all the other fighters on your team? What does that do as far as improving your overall skill level?

It was huge. Just being exposed to guys from all these recognized fight camps and seeing how they do things and what they do that I don’t do, it showed me a lot. Not that I didn’t have good coaches before, but just being around all these guys and seeing these different things made a big difference for me. I think that really helps everyone.


Cagepotato Comments

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oldschoolwrestler- June 11, 2008 at 5:52 am
Well, there's Jesse's win in the bag ... Now next week we should see CB outclass another opponent and the finale will be set.
cumjockey- June 10, 2008 at 10:02 pm
amir is the best guy on the show, he has such a great personality, and will go far. i hope he murders wes sims with a dreidel
Dagnut- June 10, 2008 at 9:45 pm
Good luck to Amir, even if he doesn't win this or beat that sh!tbird CB he has a big future..stays calm at all times even when getting punched by matt brown..can also bang..but he improves so quickly in each fight..technique can be taught intelligence can't..good luck to you Amir


BIG CHRIS- June 10, 2008 at 9:35 pm
Amir is going to smash DB....IMO Db isn't that impressive, I feel like Amir has fought the more challenging fighters and proved he has more of what it takes to be successful in the UFC. I pick Amir by 2nd round TKO....
Clue-by-Four- June 10, 2008 at 9:26 pm
curtis: you guys need to read better. amir is IN the finale. which sort of IMPLIES he beats CB….

No, it doesn't. The TUF7 Finale has several fighters who lost during the show.
old schoolwrestler- June 10, 2008 at 9:06 pm
And yeah, fighting at the finale doesn't automatically mean that he's in the finals.

IMHO it'll be CB vs Jesse (if he can avoid getting sloppy and caught in something by Tim, that is) in the finale for the big contract.
oldschooldwrestler- June 10, 2008 at 8:55 pm
All due respect, but Amir was losing badly to Gerald Harris up until he landed the one strike that changed the fight. IMHO CB will get him down early and just pound on him until the fight has to be stopped.

It's definitely a credit to Amir that he's made it so far into the show with so little experience, but I don't think he has the skills to handle a guy like Dollaway.
rolltide- June 10, 2008 at 7:57 pm
Hope Amir leaves CB a bloody mess. It'd be nice to see him win the whole thing.
KG- June 10, 2008 at 7:30 pm
My wife watches TUF with me most of the time, but when CB comes on the screen she looks away in disgust... funniest comment ever by her was when she said "wouldnt that suck if our kid came out looking like that" (shes pregant with our first baby boy)

True. I would curse my DNA if I gave birth to a mongloid like CB.
Aryan- June 10, 2008 at 7:12 pm
Amir's awesome he's good for the sport..
Dota- June 10, 2008 at 7:09 pm
belveyd you are correct he looks like a fucked up vanilla ice
Anonymous- June 10, 2008 at 6:58 pm
curtis Says:

June 11th, 2008 at 11:47 am
you guys need to read better. amir is IN the finale. which sort of IMPLIES he beats CB….


Not to say you're wrong, which I hope you're not, but a few of the guys are fighting in the finale (Matt 'Immortal' Brown, Matt Riddle, Rumors are Jeremy May...which sucks) So being a 'crowd favorite', Amir will be fighting, one way or another. So him admitting he fights in the finale is not a real *spoiler*
Hexdizzle- June 10, 2008 at 6:55 pm
I agree with that last statment, this looks like the end of the road for Amir but it also looked that way when he was about to fight Matt. He out worked Matt and made Matt look not as tuff as the others made him out to be. CB is full of himself and thats why I hope he gets taken out, but the truth is that he does have more experience and that sometimes counts in the end.
Good luck Amir!
Tings- June 10, 2008 at 6:51 pm
Amir is pretty well rounded considering how little fights he has, and i do think he is going to beat CB in a extra round
Spacealias- June 10, 2008 at 6:29 pm
I don't get Dana White. If he really thinks Amir is the best fighter as he stated to Forrest, why would he match him up with the Golden Boy, CB, right after he had a street fight with Matt Brown, while CB barely broke a sweat with that dork Cale. It doesn't make sense. The Jesse Taylor vs. Tim Credeur fight is going to be a boring wrestling match. And unfortunately for Amir, this is the end of the line... CB has too much experience and balance to beat by Amir.
belveyd- June 10, 2008 at 6:14 pm
is it just me or do you hate the way cb talks, with his upper lip all curled up. I hope amir cracks him in his stupid mouth ..
sol- June 10, 2008 at 6:04 pm
there are only 3 fights booked for the televised portion of the finale, that leaves two fights, if you read the article it says he is fighting in the finale in one capacity or another, meaning he is either in the final or on the show because he is 1 of the few guys who are actually good.

That being said, Amir is the only guy i liked on the whole show from the first episode to the most recent. In CB's first match, i think it was Zachrich, CB seemed prone to getting caught in submissions, in the second match he seemed prone to being caught. I think Amir can beat CB.
curtis- June 10, 2008 at 5:47 pm
you guys need to read better. amir is IN the finale. which sort of IMPLIES he beats CB....
The Survivalist- June 10, 2008 at 4:56 pm
Amir is my number 1 pick from the get go. He is going to win!
lolwut- June 10, 2008 at 4:48 pm
no chance cb will dominate him but either way i like them both.
C-Bus Allstar- June 10, 2008 at 4:37 pm
Teachbug, I have a feeling you're right. I think he has the potential to beat CB.
teachbug- June 10, 2008 at 4:20 pm
call me crazy, but I can actually see amir beating CB, and going on to fight in the final fight for the contract...and I think if he does beat CB he will indeed win the whole thing.
ksgbobo- June 10, 2008 at 3:56 pm
great interview CP...thanks
Alex- June 10, 2008 at 3:04 pm
Amir is the only likeable guy on the show. I'm kind of pissed that they matched him up with CB in the semis, I'd have liked that fight to be the final.