(Harris [right] rocks Fabio Leopoldo during their IFL match last April.)
Gerald “Hurricane” Harris, who fought in the IFL (as a member of the Portland Wolfpack) and the Freestyle Cage Fighting organization before being chosen for The Ultimate Fighter: Team Rampage vs. Team Forrest, has agreed to be a super-special CagePotato guest blogger for the rest of this season of TUF. Tune in every Thursday morning as the Team Quest fighter and Tulsa, Oklahoma native gives his reactions to each new episode (Wednesdays, 10 p.m., SpikeTV). If you haven’t been keeping up, Gerald recaps the first four episodes below. Enjoy…
Surprise (Episode #1)
I‘ll start by saying that I was one of the “smart” ones who thought I was flying to Vegas to move into the house. In the past, people have had this privilege and thrown it away for a girlfriend, small injury, or because they couldn’t make weight. This year Dana White had a solution for that. He described those past cast members as “pussies and poseurs” — and I don’t fit either one of those names.
In the first episode, 16 fighters entered the UFC building with high-fives and hugs, only to be met by another 16 competitors in the gym. It was so quiet you could hear a flea fart. At first I told myself, “look at those 16 alternates,” until Dana announced that the 32 men standing in the gym would fight each other to get into the house. It didn’t really affect most fighters until he said we had to make weight in 24 hours and fight in 48. Some of the fighters had gained a lot of weight since we arrived the day before. I was lucky enough to only be six pounds over, along with many others. Also, I wrestled all my life — so cutting weight has never been a problem. Losing would have been devastating, because I came to the show with $67 in the bank and I planned on being the next Ultimate Fighter!
The day of elimination fights started off with a bang. Mike Dolce hit Prince McClean so hard he dropped as if he was hit with a taser. I felt bad for McClean, but Dolce is a fellow Team Quest member so I was rooting for him. In other action, Cale Yarbrough battled with Clark in a scramble-filled bout that was going well until Clark proved that his weight cutting had an effect on him. Yarbrough punished the extremely fatigued Clark with haymakers and wild kicks until the stoppage. With one UFC fight already under his belt, Steve Byrnes was seen as a guaranteed cast member. But in a back and forth match, he was eventually stopped with an armbar by Amir Sadollah, who had never had a pro fight.
A little drama began when Jeremy May faced Rampage Jackson’s high school wrestling teammate and best friend Dave Roberts. Before the bout May was caught watching Roberts drill with Rampage and was told to “mind ya bizness.” In the fight May handled his business by dropping Roberts with a hard left hand and finishing him in an arm bar. As May walked past Rampage, he told him to “mind ya bizness” with a smirk on his face. The other four bouts were highlighted, showing CB Dollaway quickly defeating David Baggett, Dante Rivera defeating John Wood by kimura, Nick Kleins winning via triangle submission over David Newborn, and finally the explosive Paul Bradley dominating Reggie Orr.
The Other Half (Episode #2)
Matthew Riddle was unknown to many as he faced the highly respected Dan Simmler in a fast-paced fight. As the second round started, Simmler seemed tired and his hands were near his waist. Riddle took full advantage of his bad position and cracked him with a right hand that hurt everybody in the building. As Riddle celebrated, Simmler layed there moaning like a wounded animal and there was a dead silence in the room. Once Riddle’s adrenaline came down he noticed what had happened and joined everyone else in their concern and worry for their fellow athlete. Simmler didn’t even know where he was and was rushed off to the hospital to get his jaw wired shut. That’s a tough act to follow, but the rest of the fights played out well.
Luke Zachrich finished Patrick Schultz with a rear-naked choke. Tim Creduer showed his BJJ skills by quickly armbarring Erik Charles. Brandon Sene and Aaron Meisner beat the hell out of each other, but Sene showed his toughness and won by RNC. Dan Cramer made his presence known as he hit Mississippi’s Jeremiah Riggs with every strike known to man for the entire two rounds. In a quick highlight segment, I was shown dominating Mike Marrello with strikes, slams, and GnP. The night ended with Team Quest members Jesse Taylor and Josh Hall battling Nick Rossborough and Matt Brown. Taylor wasted no time taking down Rossborough and choking him out, but Josh Hall had a war on his hands with Brown. Hall seemed to have the fight won until he showed fatigue, then Brown fought tough and damaged Hall with numerous shots until the referee stopped the action. In the end, the 16 cast members earned their spot into the house the hard way.
In The House (Episode #3)
After I won my bout I was breakdancing butt-naked in the shower until I saw the camera over my head. Cameras were everywhere, but we got used to them quickly. As we picked our rooms and checked out the huge house, the cameras followed. I ended up with Mike Dolce and Ricardo Almeida student Dante Rivera as roommates. We somehow got a nice little room in the corner that seemed to be separate from the crowd.
When we woke up, team picks were set along with our first workouts. I was a little pissed about being picked 5th, but I wanted to prove myself to Rampage. I worked out with Forrest a year ago and he beat me like I owed him money, so I figured that he wouldn’t pick me anyway. We felt like we had the strongest team and Rampage gave up the first fight pick to take CB Dollaway as his first fighter. This we definitely a chess match, but Forrest was ready. He is the original Ultimate Fighter, so we respected his knowledge of the formula to winning this show.
Before we started our workout, everyone noticed that Paul Bradley had some “funk” on his neck and no one wanted to train with him. We were unsure about his condition until the doc came in and confirmed that it’s contagious. Now, this is a competition but I hate to see another man’s dreams crushed by something he couldn’t control. On the other hand, it was a hazard to everyone in the cycle of trainers, fighters, and coaches, so it was best for him to leave. Bradley expressed his true commitment when he broke down to Dana explaining how he quit his job to do what he loved, but there was no solution but to go home.
After the drama, we continued to work out and wonder who was going to fight first. To all of our surprise, Forrest chose Jesse Taylor to fight Mike Dolce. Taylor was a wrestler and GnP fighter, while Dolce had great takedown defense and knockout power. Both fighters seemed confident, but as the fight went on Dolce showed signs of being worn down. Dolce is the strength and conditioning coach for Team Quest (Portland), so it was weird to see him like that. His preparation for this bout was not normal, he was driven past his limit and it was evident in his bout. Taylor ended up squeezing a rear-naked choke until Dolce passed out. Mike woke up disappointed, but determined.
The New Guy (Episode 4)
We all wondered who they were going to bring back to replace Paul Bradley. Everyone agreed that if it was someone that didn’t fight to get into the house, we were going to torture him until he left. It was like we had a chip on our shoulder because we had to earn our way in. Everyone was pretty cool until team picks were made — then you could notice a little separation from the “Brownnosers” and the Blue Team. Most people remained cool, but there was some tension. Dante teased Matt Riddle about being young and inexperienced. Riddle told Dante that he would knock him out if they fought, and Dante promised that he’d retire if that ever happened. At that point everyone wanted to see those two fight, but we had to wait on the New Guy. As we worked out, the barely tanned, spiky haired, Boston native Pat Schultz entered the building. Some of the guys didn’t think he deserved to come back, but I thought he was cool as hell, so I was happy to see him.
As things calmed down, people teased Schulz about sleeping in Bradley’s old bed. Schultz was so happy to be back that he would have slept outside, so it didn’t bother him. In our first workout, Rampage put Schultz to the test. In long rounds with multiple partners, he took a lot of punishment and showed his strengths and weaknesses. We all figured that he’s going to be chosen as an easy target by Forrest, because they had the fighter who defeated him to get into the house. Fight picks were announced, and we were surprised again as Tim Creduer was chosen to fight Matthew Riddle. Creduer was a veteran of the sport and Riddle was in his first year. I personally felt that Creduer chose a fighter who he believed would be an easy fight, but we’d have to wait and see.
Fight day comes and it’s on. Riddle enters the cage smiling and waving as if he was in a parade. Creduer’s mood is the total opposite, as he comes in yelling with a mean mug on his face. The ref starts the bout and they waste no time getting to it. Riddle starts off with nice takedowns and strikes, and Creduer also gets some good shots in, along with some GnP from the mount near the end that won him the round. In round two, Riddle turned it on as his opponent faded, but Credeur maintained composure. At one point Riddle swung wildly as Creduer seemed to turn away. Rampage yelled to keep it standing, but Riddle took it to the ground and Creduer showed his experience by hitting an arm bar that forced Riddle to tap. In the end, Riddle earned a lot of respect from everyone, but Creduer earned $10,000 and a place in the quarterfinals.