In the wake of Rich Attonito discusses the frustrations of being sidelined due to injury (yet stuck in the prison-like environment of the TUF house), and how underestimating Josh Bryant turned out to be Kris McCray‘s downfall.
The Wild Card speculations begin and everyone’s curious to see who the picks could possibly be. None of this had any impact on me anymore since I had a broken hand. I was going to have to sit by and watch the entire competition unfold in front of me and there was nothing I could do about it. I tried to remain positive and be as helpful to the guys on my team as I could. Mostly giving them some pointers with their wrestling, since that was what my background was in.
I spent a lot of time doing cardio and trying to exercise the rest of my body as best I could. I had to keep myself in as best of shape as possible so that eventually when my hand healed my transition back to training would be easier. Also, the only relief from the monotony of the house was when it was training time. Now I was barely even going to be afforded that luxury, as it was near impossible to do anything with my hand being as badly broken as it was.
Clayton was another member of the walking wounded in the house. After re-visiting the doctor he found out he was going to need shoulder surgery. I remember he didn’t want to get it done because he was still thinking about having a chance for a Wild Card spot. But after a little time he realized that his injury was severe and the only thing to do was go under the knife to get it fixed.
Soon after Team Ortiz’s victory it was time to pick the next fight. Tito chose Kris McCray to take on Josh Bryant. I knew the other team was going to be severely underestimating Josh.
At first glance he looked too nice to be a fighter. He didn’t have the typical persona you would expect a fighter to have. Josh never walked around with a single degree of machismo, in fact he didn’t even seem to have a mean streak in him. However, when it was time to train it didn’t take long before you realized why his nickname is The Beast. He was strong, aggressive, and well rounded. He also sported an undefeated record of 10-0 with some significant wins over proven opponents. It would be a mistake to underestimate a guy like this and I knew that he would take Kris by surprise.
I knew Kris had a strong reputation coming into the house for finishing guys fast in the first round. In his fight to get into the house he lived up to it by dispatching his opponent within the first minute of his fight. Kris is definitely a beast himself.
I remember the night before the fight some of the guys from Team Ortiz were making bets with their Tapout & UFC shirts as to how fast Kris was going to finish Josh. It was like the same betting system used in prison, except they had to use t-shirts instead of cigarettes. I think underestimating someone is the ultimate mistake for anybody to make and I’m sure that it only fed Kris’s confidence in thinking he would take Josh out easily and early in the fight.
In the end, Josh shocked Tito and the rest of his team by pulling out a win in a three-round war. Kris came out in the first round and dominated early. But Josh came back to take rounds two and three as Kris seemed to struggle with his conditioning through the rest of the fight. I think he unloaded too much energy in the first round trying to take Josh out and never was able to get his wind back.
McCray’s got a hell of a chin, to say the least. I watched as he took shot after shot without going down. Most other guys would have gotten dropped by some of those shots and been laid out. But he just kept coming until he had nothing left. Both guys emptied their tanks and fought with everything they had; Josh just had a little more fuel left.
With another win for Team Liddell, control moved back to our side and we would pick the next fight. Tito’s frustration mounted and everyone began to get the feeling he would only push his team harder and harder to make up for the losses. The only question was if he was over-training his fighters.