There’s a very good chance that Tony Ferguson will be the next winner of The Ultimate Fighter. So it’s a shame that his primary legacy from the show — at least for the people who actually watched it — is the moment from this week’s episode when he attacked his own teammate Charlie Rader then needled Rader about having his son taken from him. It was particularly shocking because Ferguson hadn’t previously shown any signs of being a mean-spirited drunk. Now, he has to expect a small chorus of boos when he enters the Octagon at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas next Saturday. In his guest blog for SBNation.com, Ferguson tried to explain the circumstances that transformed him from humble front-runner to TUF 13‘s biggest heel:
You first have to understand we started drinking not long after we had just got done fighting. We had also done the semi-final picks. I think part of me brought the fight home since my real fight with Ryan ended so fast. When you bring alcohol into the mix, it was just bad from there.
We all drank a lot. It started out with shots of Patron and moved to Jim Beam. Miller Lites were mixed in the entire time. We weren’t just drinking to relax. We were going hard core. Everyone was drinking, too, although maybe not as much as some of us.
Things got out of hand fast. My adrenaline was still going. Things were beginning to escalate around me. They didn’t show this, but Shamar Bailey got pissed after Ramsey started dancing on him. That helped to set things in motion.
Throughout the show, I tried to keep calm and poised. I excused myself from a lot of conversations or just insane bulls–t. I was trying to stay focused.
That all went away fast. Charlie Rader poured water on my head, but at the time I thought it was beer. I couldn’t understand why he would do something like that, even as minor as it may seem now. I had a short fuse. I’m usually not like that. When I saw myself, it was honestly kind of creepy.
Unfortunately, everyone saw The Boogeyman came out. That’s a side of my personality I usually only see in the cage, but somehow Charlie brought it out in real life. Something just snapped and I thought “This guy is your enemy now”. Rather than try to bring people close to me, I was pushing everyone away.
Why did I bring up Charlie’s son? I have no idea, but I have a guess. My birth father wasn’t there for me growing up. Somehow Charlie’s situation mixed in with my adrenaline from fighting and the booze all worked together to bring up my own issues. I learned a lot about myself watching that on tape and how I felt about certain things in my life. I was under a lot of pressure, I was trying to bottle up frustration and it didn’t work. Well, it worked for a while, but ultimately did not.
I said some things I shouldn’t have said. I was in a weird place. I was having crazy dreams in that house. The entire experience took me out of my own independence and removed all of my release valves.
I really regret saying what I said to Charlie and we’ve talked about it since the incident. I’ve spoke to Clay Harvison and Chuck, too. We are in a better place now than we were that night.
Part of me feels like this is what the producers wanted. Every season there is someone who cracks. It sucks it had to be me, but I’ve never lived in a house full of fighters competing against each other. That alcohol is also there for a reason. Maybe subconsciously I needed that to happen so I could fight Charlie and Chuck who were my friends in the house at the time.
The really weird part was how drunk I got. When I woke up the next morning, I didn’t remember much. I had a scar on my left arm, didn’t know where it came from. I started cleaning up and was basically none the wiser. But no one wanted to talk to me and who can blame them?
The last I will say is maybe all of this is related to me growing up angry. I only met my father two years ago. But I never wanted to bore anyone with my stories. My attitude was that no one cares about my problems, so I’ll just keep them to myself. That didn’t work, but that’s what I was working with when I was in the house at that time.
I’m sorry to all who I disappointed, but I want you all to know I haven’t had a drink at all during this camp. I’m training hard and staying on track. I’m living a healthy life, physically and emotionally. Thanks for all of the support over these past few weeks and watching me fight. If you want to contact me, get at me on Twitter or Facebook.