In the latest installment of his TUF 11 guest-blog, Team Liddell’s Rich Attonito tells you everything you need to know about hot tubs, cold pools, Chuck’s pre-dodgeball jitters, and the baffling result of last night’s fight. Enjoy.
With Team Liddell up 4-1 on Team Ortiz, we start to see some doubt arising from Tito’s squad. Kyacey felt like Kris may have been over-trained leading up to his fight. McCray seemed to gas-out in the second and third rounds, which raised some concern. Kris’s wind may have failed him, but his toughness carried him through. I haven’t seen a guy take punches like that since Vinny the Chin, the Long Island legend from YouTube.
I remember over-training being a concern in my mind going into the show. If you run your body down too much and don’t give it enough recovery time, you’ll begin to physically break down and become more susceptible to injury. I knew that both coaches would push their teams hard, which is perfectly fine because that’s what we are there for. But the lack of time in between training sessions to rest and the intensity that had to be continuously maintained, day in and day out, was definitely a cause of concern for many people. Trusting the coaches and their methodology of training and experience was critical in this setting.
To combat the effects of hard training and soreness, at night when the practices were finished for the day, everyone would jump into the pool at the house. The pool was pretty much as cold as any ice bath you could take. It was so cold it would burn when you got in. It was tougher for some guys then for others. McCray and Tavares would swim around no problem like they were in an eighty degree pool at a country club. I remember one time Kris was doing the backstroke across the pool and spitting water out of his mouth. Brad would often dive off of the hot tub and into the pool doing can-openers, suicides, and cannonballs. It wouldn’t take long before the rest of the guys starting joining in.
I no longer had to take these measures but I did submerge my swollen hand in the pool and then into the hot tub to help with the healing. My hand was so big and swollen it looked like a balloon and I could barely move my fingers. The other guys would stay in the pool for about ten minutes and then jump right into the hot tub to get the circulation going. Court McGee and Josh Bryant would take a softer approach and go between the hot tub and the pool in two minute intervals. No matter what the method was, this form of therapy was a daily ritual for every one of the guys still healthy enough to be training.
Then came the coaches challenge. This was exciting because not only did the winning coach win ten thousand dollars but everyone on his team won a thousand as well. I remember last season the fighters got fifteen hundred, and at the mere mention of it to Dana, he boosted up the winnings another five hundred for us without blinking.
Needless to say the dodgeball game was anti-climatic as Chuck and our coaches blew through the Team Punishment coaches in three straight games. We were all fired up, not only to win the money but just to beat Tito and his squad another time.
I remember Chuck telling me he was nervous the night before the coaches challenge. He couldn’t sleep well because he really wanted to win the money for us. Chuck remembered back to when fifteen hundred dollars was a lot of money to him and he knew how much it would mean to us. I could see how genuine he was about this and I thought it said a lot about him as a person. To see The Iceman nervous about a dodgeball game because of us, was not something I thought I’d ever witness in my life.
Soon it was time to pick the next fight. Chuck chose Court McGee to go in and take out Tito’s top pick, Nick Ring. At the fight announcement Nick busted out the "oh no you didn’t sister", when it was time for him and Court to square off. That was the first time I’ve ever seen one of those pulled during a face off for a fight, and it was every bit as hysterical as it looked.
The not-so-hysterical side of things was the judges’ two round decision of the fight. I truly felt that Nick won the first round without question. I remember at the time thinking that Court was going to need to win round two otherwise it would be over. I also remember wondering how in the world Court took a shot to the nuts like he did and just gritted through it. Did anyone else catch that?
In round two, Court was the more effective striker, landing the better punches with his boxing. He defended most of Nicks kicks very well and was the more aggressive fighter, coming forward and pressuring Nick for the majority of the round. Although it was a close round, I thought it was pretty obvious that Court had tied the fight up and it was going into sudden victory.
When they announced that they had come to a decision after two rounds I was confused. I didn’t see how it was possible. Guys on our team were saying we had the fight won after two rounds, but I didn’t have the same feeling. I thought it was pretty clear that Nick won the first and Court won the second. I started to wonder if I had missed something. Then the judges announced Nick the winner.
Nick did a good job so you can’t take anything away from him, but I thought they should have gone another round. It would have been interesting to see how the rest of the fight played out. It really is true what Dana says about not leaving the fight in the hands of the judges. This was just another example.