The Not-Ready-For-Prime-Time TUF Guys
They were given contracts after their time on The Ultimate Fighter — and did absolutely nothing with them.
Years before he gained notoriety as the guy who derailed the Kimbo Slice hype train in EliteXC — as well as aiding the demise of the promotion itself — Seth Petruzelli was cast in the heavyweight bracket of TUF 2, and was eliminated in the semi-finals after a split-decision loss to Brad Imes. Though he didn’t compete at the TUF 2 Finale, the UFC brought Seth back a year later to face Matt Hamill, who beat him by unanimous decision in a Fight of the Night-winning performance. After picking up a rebound win outside of the UFC, Petruzelli was given another chance at UFC Fight Night 9, where he was choked out by Wilson Gouveia and released from the promotion.
The next three years brought Petruzelli renewed attention as the “Kimbo Killer” and for his cameo appearances in Tom Lawlor‘s ridiculous walk-outs and weigh-ins. Impressed by his four-fight win streak and entertaining persona, the UFC decided to sign Petruzelli once again in 2010. The Silverback swiftly got his ass whipped by Ricardo Romero (a UFC first-timer) and Karlos Vemola (who was making his light-heavyweight debut), which clinched his re-firing — a shame, considering Seth could have been the sport’s first openly-gay superstar.
Arguably the worst finalist in the show’s history, Josh Haynes made it to the end of the light-heavyweight bracket on TUF 3 thanks to an unbreakable spirit, relatively weak competition, and some generous judging. After getting past Tait Fletcher (via controversial two-round decision) and Jesse Forbes (via guillotine choke), Haynes’s luck finally ran out at the TUF 3 Finale, where he was thrashed by the far-more-skilled Michael Bisping. Haynes dropped to middleweight for his next bout, and took on his former Team Ortiz castmate Rory Singer, losing a few pints of blood en route to a gory unanimous decision loss. Haynes then dropped to welterweight and was starched by Luke Cummo. Sadly, Haynes was released before he had a chance to re-invent himself at 155, but as we mentioned before, losing UFC fights in three different weight classes is an accomplishment in itself.
Heart will only get you so far in this sport. Ross Pointon‘s gladiator spirit and willingness to fight anyone at any time has earned him respect from MMA fans, other fighters, and Dana White himself. It’s also earned him a regrettable lifetime record of 6-15, with 14 of those losses coming by stoppage.
In 2006, the British scrapper became the only fighter in TUF history to lose in two different weight classes on the same season. Originally a middleweight on Team Ortiz, Pointon was knocked out of the competition when he was submitted by eventual middleweight winner Kendall Grove. But his journey didn’t end there. When light-heavyweight Matt Hamill couldn’t advance to the semis due to injury, Ross Pointon went up in weight to replace him against Michael Bisping — an opportunity that presented itself thanks to Mike Nickels being injured, and Tait Fletcher and Kristian Rothaermel being total pussies and refusing the fight. Bisping beat the crap out of Pointon, making him tap due to strikes at 2:13 of round 1.
Pointon returned to middleweight for the TUF 3 Finale card, where he was submitted in 44 seconds by Rory Singer. Pointon then dropped to welterweight and — you guessed it — was submitted again, this time by Rich Clementi. Although his official UFC record stands at 0-2, Pointon’s overall record including TUF exhibitions was 0-4 over three weight classes. Still feel like giving it up for heart?
We might as well cover these two at the same time, since they’re both here for the exact same reason — each man went 0-3 in official UFC competition, and never made it to the second round in any of those bouts. And of course, they participated in one of the most infamous fights in Ultimate Fighter history.
By the time he joined TUF‘s “Comeback” season, Gideon Ray had already lost a doctor’s stoppage TKO to David Loiseau and gotten knocked out in 22 seconds by Mike Swick, while Edwin Dewees suffered his own pair of first-round stoppages against Rich Franklin and Chris Leben. Ray and Dewees joined the TUF 4 cast in 2006, and as fate would have it, the two fighters met in the show’s middleweight quarterfinals.
“Bloody” doesn’t begin to describe the fight that transpired; during the second round, Ray elbowed a gash into Dewees’s forehead that caused gallons of the red stuff to spurt all over the canvas. Incredibly, the injury turned out to be a bigger disadvantage for Ray himself. As we previously wrote in our Greatest Bloodbaths list, Dewees “spent much of the last frame on top of Ray, with blood squirting from his head directly into the nose and mouth of his opponent. Ray was visibly freaked out, and was unable to mount an effective offense.” Horrible, right? Dewees went on to win by unanimous decision, but was outpointed in the semi-finals by Patrick Cote.
Both fighters got a chance to prove themselves on the season 4 finale card, and once again they were unable to escape the first round; Ray was armbarred by Charles McCarthy, while Dewees was TKO’d by Jorge Rivera. Ray and Dewees were released by the UFC, and have compiled losing records in regional promotions since then.
To say that Jeremy Jackson has poor judgment when it comes to women is a profound understatement. Though he first entered the Octagon at UFC 44 in 2003, losing a rubber match against Nick Diaz — the two had fought twice before in regional promotions — Jackson is best known to MMA fans as the bonehead who got kicked off TUF 4 for sneaking out of the house to meet up with a female lifeguard. The UFC was kind enough to bring him back at the finale show, where he was neck-cranked by Pete Spratt, and released from the promotion.
And that was pretty much the last we heard about Jeremy Jackson, until he was arrested for multiple counts of rape, kidnapping, and assault in July 2008. The details of his alleged crime were horrific, and suddenly Jeremy’s girl-crazy reputation took on a much darker tone. He originally plead not-guilty to the charges. And then, the bizarre twist —Jackson was reportedly on the verge of beating the case due to the accuser’s questionable credibility, but then decided he’d had enough of life as a free man, and changed his plea to guilty against the advice of his lawyer, “because he was depressed and wanted the trial to end,” according to a juror. He’s currently serving 25-years-to-life in prison.
Without Andy Wang, we wouldn’t have a clever phrase to describe a grappling specialist who idiotically decides to slug it out with his striker opponent. Now, we know this strategy as the “Stand-and-Wang.” So thanks, Andy.
A BJJ black belt under Egan Inoue, Wang came into TUF 5 with a sub-par record of 5-6, with all but one of his fights going to decision. In the season’s opening round, Wang was matched up with Brandon Melendez, who held an eight-inch reach advantage against him. Despite coach BJ Penn‘s perfectly logical pre-fight instructions for Wang to take Melendez down and work his jiu-jitsu — as well BJ’s repeated pleas during the fight — Andy insisted on standing-and-wanging, and wound up being dominated to a decision loss. Afterwards, Wang bawled uncontrollably, and Penn brutally mocked him for it.
Though he certainly didn’t deserve the opportunity, Wang was blessed with a spot on the TUF 5 Finale card against Cole Miller. Wang promised to use his jiu-jitsu this time, and Miller decided to just knock him the fuck out. That kind of wise game-planning explains why Miller still has a job in the UFC, and why Wang remains one of TUF’s most reliable punchlines.
In a way, Gabe Ruediger is fortunate that he’s mostly remembered for colonics, cake, and crying, because otherwise he’d just be known for taking savage beatings. Ruediger didn’t just fall short of victory in his UFC career — he got hurt, very badly, all three times he stepped inside the Octagon.
Like fellow castmate Joe Lauzon, Gabe’s first UFC appearance was actually at UFC 63, four months before TUF 5 started filming. But unlike Lauzon’s thrilling upset of Jens Pulver on that card, Ruediger was gut-shotted to death by Melvin Guillard. On The Ultimate Fighter, he didn’t even get a chance to compete; a fiasco of a botched weight cut led to his dismissal from the show and the promotion, and he wouldn’t strap on a pair of UFC gloves for another four years.
After Ruediger cobbled together a six-fight win streak in the California regional circuit — and helped turn Paris Hilton into a straight-up killing machine — the UFC brought ‘Godzilla’ back as an injury replacement against Lauzon at UFC 118. J-Lau thoroughly dominated Ruediger, and Ruediger was kind of a dick about it afterwards. But since Gabe helped the UFC out by coming in on short-notice, they gave him another shot against Paul Taylor. Once again, Ruediger took a terrible, terrible beating, and was released from the promotion. After getting knocked out again at a BAMMA event earlier this year, Ruediger retired from the sport. He is currently preparing for his celebrity boxing debut.
44. Dave Kaplan (0-2)
Final appearance: UFC 98, 5/23/09
Even without his pair of official losses in the UFC, former Singing Bee champ Dave Kaplan did enough to humiliate himself on The Ultimate Fighter to clinch a place on this list. He was the guy who accidentally ate semen-coated sushi, for starters. And after being choked out by Phillipe Nover in TUF 8‘s lightweight quarterfinals, he went on a drinking bender that culminated in him cornering Tom Lawlor in a bathroom, demanding to be hit in the face. Lawlor one-punch KO’d him, and despite the fact that we could all hear Kaplan snoring, he would later insist that he never lost consciousness.
Kaplan was given a spot on the TUF 8 Finale card due in large part to his wacky persona, and he rose to the occasion, dancing out to “Tenderness” by General Public and getting armbarred by Junie Browning in the event’s Fight of the Night. Losing to “the Lunatik” should have automatically earned Kaplan his walking papers, but he re-appeared five months later at UFC 98, where he was out-struck by George Roop to a split-decision loss. Kaplan was finally released from the UFC, and went on to lose one more fight for the Tachi Palace Fights promotion before walking away from the sport with a 3-4 record.
For a while, Kimbo Slice was the biggest name in mixed martial arts — bigger than Tito Ortiz, bigger than Brock Lesnar, bigger than anybody. That’s especially impressive when you consider that he was never really a mixed martial artist to begin with. Kimbo’s fame resulted from a once-in-a-lifetime convergence of the old-school (bare-knuckle boxing, a sport that civilization had outgrown a century ago) and the new-school (YouTube, which could turn a backyard brawler from Florida into a worldwide sensation, provided that he had a cool beard and enough punching power to dislocate an eyeball).
Kimbo had already been exposed as an MMA fighter by the time he was brought into the UFC by way of TUF 10 in 2009, but as they say, money talks. And if he’d been initially paired up against one of the cast’s less-accomplished prospects — Wes Shivers and Marcus “Big Baby” Jones come to mind — things might have turned out differently. Instead, his first opponent was former IFL champ Roy Nelson, the season’s token ringer, who crucified Kimbo with little effort.
There was no question that Slice was going to be brought back for the finale show, but in a transparent bit of bet-hedging, the UFC booked him against equally one-dimensional slugger Houston Alexander, rather than another TUF 10 cast-member who might take him down and out-grapple him again. What was supposed to be a meat-and-potatoes brawl turned into Alexander doing a pretty faithful Kalib Starnes impression for three rounds. The fight was kind of an embarrassment, but Kimbo squeaked out a decision win, earning another chance in the Octagon.
At UFC 113, it was finally time to pay the piper. Unlike his 2008 loss to Seth Petruzelli in EliteXC, there was nothing fluke-ish about Kimbo Slice’s defeat at the hands of TUF 10 standout Matt Mitrione. Slice did his best to bully Mitrione in the opening minute of the fight, but was simply outclassed on every level. Eventually, Kimbo ran out of gas and suffered an ugly second-round TKO via strikes on the ground. It was the end of his MMA career. Kimbo now competes as a professional boxer — with gloves and everything — and once again, the biggest draw in MMA is some clean-shaven white guy.