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TUF 11 Fighter Rich Attonito’s Guest Blog: Episode 7

In the latest installment of his TUF 11 guest-blog for CagePotato.com, Team Liddell’s Rich Attonito breaks down the Seth vs. Joe matchup from last night’s episode, his chess rivalry with Charles Blanchard, and his self-destructive method of coping with being sidelined. We hope you get into treatment soon, Rich…

After Court McGee and Nick Ring’s fight, we catch a glimpse of Nick’s emerging knee problem. How bad was it, only time will tell. But it definitely was a cause of concern for him. Especially when it gave out and brought him to the ground during training. At the time, no one on our team had any idea of Nick’s injury.

The last of the preliminary fights is announced: Seth Baczynski and Joe Henle will close out the first round of competition in the house. Seth definitely seemed like the favorite in this matchup due to his experience and well-rounded skills. I remember the fight him and Court had to get into the house being a war. Seth looked like The Terminator; he never stopped coming forward the entire fight like a machine. When Chris was forced to leave due to his broken jaw, I knew they were going to bring Seth back. He was the best guy out of all of the fighters that lost, and I knew Tito wanted to bring back a guy who would only strengthen his team.

Joe, nicknamed the Geico Caveman, had only started fighting six months earlier and was very new to MMA. He pulled out a late submission in his fight to get into the house, in which he was losing. Because of that Joe was perceived to be the weak link in the house. But perception can be deceiving. While he didn’t have some of the polished skills that a lot of the guys had, he had a ton of heart and potential. You could see him absorbing the techniques we learned daily and improving rapidly. Joe’s grappling is definitely his strength and we knew that if he could ground Seth and get on top, that he could definitely win. The Terminator versus The Caveman was certainly gonna be a fight to watch.


Back at the house it was the usual repertoire to pass time. I would write in my journal to my wife every night. I missed her and my family a lot. Not being able to pick the phone up to tell people what was going on and all the exciting things that were happening was tough. There was so much you wanted to share but were unable to. I remember thinking, this certainly can’t be as bad as being locked up, but they even get phone calls in prison. I’ve never been to jail, not that it’s an accomplishment or anything, but being confined in two places every day for six weeks was bad enough, and the closest thing to prison I ever plan on experiencing.

Charles Blanchard and I would play a lot of Chess. At least ten or more games a day against each other. Some days I’d get the better of him, other days he’d get the better of me. For some reason the more I played him the more aggravated I’d get if I lost. When it was obvious he was gonna win the game, he had a way of getting under my skin like my little brother used to do when I was growing up.

For example, he’d have several power pieces on the board and I’d be left with my King and a few pawns. He’d methodically start to kill all of my pieces one by one, even if it wasn’t necessary. He’d get this little snickering laugh every time he’d kill a piece. Eventually, he’d put me in check, which was always followed by an antagonistic smile from him. So it would go, me moving my piece and Charlie saying "check", followed by the annoying smile of course. Move, check, move, check, move, check, move, check. Finally, I’d smack the chess pieces off of the board and say, "GO F— YOURSELF!" Which means "good game" in Jersey lingo.

Joe and Seth’s fight was a three-round battle. Sticking mostly to his grappling seemed to exhaust Joe by the third round. When the last round started it was obvious he didn’t have a lot of gas left in the tank. Seth grinded him out for the victory to put the team score at 4-3, still in favor of Team Liddell.

With the close of the preliminary fights there was a lot of speculation about who will be selected for the Wild Cards. Most of the guys still healthy enough to fight all had a good argument as to why they should be selected. I remember Hammortree was basically counted out of the running because of his back injury. He was bummed out and I felt for the guy. He had a great shot at being in the Wild Card fight and now he wasn’t even gonna be a consideration.

Dana announces that Kaycey and Kris will be the two wild cards. It was the first time in the competition that we would see two guys from the same team have to fight it out. Everyone knew that fighting a teammate could become a possibility on the show, now it was a reality.

Next Dana decided that Court would take my place in the quarterfinals due to the circumstances of his fight. I was happy Court was gonna fill my spot and felt like he really deserved it. I thought to myself that maybe my injury was unfortunate for me, but a blessing in disguise for Court. God works in mysterious ways and this could certainly be one of those circumstances. At least that’s what I chose to believe, and it helped keep things in perspective for me. My only hope was that he was going to be able to capitalize on the opportunity and go all the way. I knew all three guys who were revived from their losses and still alive in the competition, were back in the mix, and as dangerous as ever.

With the Wild Card fight in the waiting, the rest of the guys prepped themselves for what was surely to be an eventful quarterfinal round. As for myself, I did what I could to compensate for being sidelined. Everyone has different coping mechanisms, the most obvious one being alcohol, which there was certainly no shortage of in the house. Being the wild man that I am, I saw this as my opportunity to let loose. So I ate a lot of mint chocolate chip ice cream, with whip cream and walnuts on top. Wow, look out world cause I’m reckless!

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JCVD as Timecop- May 14, 2010 at 8:52 am
I fucking love mint chocolate chip! Best blog.
HokeyPokeyLikeAoki- May 13, 2010 at 10:18 pm
Move to Cali. Shit's changing for the better in that way.
wifey- May 13, 2010 at 9:17 pm
I used to know that effect, and I sometimes miss it.
HokeyPokeyLikeAoki- May 13, 2010 at 9:14 pm
@ wifey:

Um no, i was being a little serious actually. smoking has that effect, lol!
Mr_Misanthropy- May 13, 2010 at 8:26 pm
Ain't a dago by I don't hafta wop my kids...

Ratel- May 13, 2010 at 7:56 pm
I submit (once again) that it should be forbidden for any person who has ever been a contestant on TUF to be a coach.

I don't give a shit if the person became champion or not. If you think of it, would guys like Koscheck or Evans or Bonnar be in the UFC? Maybe. Some would make it while others struggled to earn a spot in the UFC while fighting in smaller promotions.

Anyway, no matter how anyone reasons for or against it, I think it's just stupid to have former contestants coming back a couple of years later as coaches.

It's gay.

Like Patrick.
wifey- May 13, 2010 at 7:56 pm
Hokey, I especially like your East Coast vs. West Coast idea, but only if fighters have to walk out to the appropriate style of hip hop.

I don't know if you were being facetious with that post - I've worked 15 hours today on 3 hours of sleep and my brain has no ability left to pick up on that shit - but I'd totally watch that show. Bound to have more entertaining fights than some on TUF.
HokeyPokeyLikeAoki- May 13, 2010 at 7:36 pm
Awesome! At least one person is interested, lol! Makes me wish I had a couple million dollars to invest. And if i did... you know who I'd call? The FX channel! (pats self on back)
justscrappin- May 13, 2010 at 7:29 pm
I'm down Hokey.
HokeyPokeyLikeAoki- May 13, 2010 at 6:46 pm
I'm kinda stealing ideas here from above posts, but here's how i would do the next season of The Ultimate Fighter:

1. East Coast vs. West Coast.
2. Instead of a house, it's the coaches home training camps.
3. And instead of guys with professional records, they train no one above the level of gym rat. Just some guys that have been wanting to step into the cage, but haven't had a professional or amateur fight yet.

Actually, this shouldn't even be called the Ultimate Fighter. It should be a new show with a completely different name.
joeyroberts- May 13, 2010 at 5:56 pm
Sux about the broken hand rich, would of been interestin to c how u wuld of finished this show out
TheGreenBlurr- May 13, 2010 at 5:38 pm
Rich's a tool
justscrappin- May 13, 2010 at 5:33 pm
Yes Wifey....I have been training bjj since i was 17...in 1999. I live in Buffalo NY though...and there were no schools here back then. I ended up joining the army...and trained Judo and Bjj in D.C., where there were alot more schools..but then moved back home. Now I train with a really good school..but have 3 kids...and a decent paying day job. I also understand wanting to punch people. If I don't train...like when I get busy with the kids around the holidays...I get stir crazy. I would love to give it everything I got for a year..cuz local pro fighters come in...and my grappling is way ahead of theirs...and they are talking about winning fights with subs in like 40 secs in a pro fight. Obviously cuz I'm in New York...the "pro-fights" are on reservations...and don't have the weight a fight would have in like mass, or ohio..cuz mma is sanctioned there. I would still get some good experience though..and train regularly with friends that have had pro fights...and think I'm close to skill-wise. I just have to blast the cardio...but don't have the time to do it.
PurplePickle- May 13, 2010 at 5:23 pm
I also understand that the TUF coaches are a big draw and the squabbling between them hypes their requisite post-show fight, but there are other ways to hype fights. Last nights Rampage/Evans countdown had me hooked as did the GSP/Hardy show. I geek out for that kind of shit. Not so much for TUF. It's old and tired, and unfortunately it's cheap to produce and still pulls ratings.
wifey- May 13, 2010 at 5:12 pm
@justscrappin - pisan! I'm a wop too! I think that would be a great idea for a show, especially here in the midwest where there are tons of guys chomping at the bit to fight. My husband and his buddy trained for quite a while. He's pretty talented, but had to take a break when he started moving up in his day job. Showing up at meetings with executives looking like, well, you just got into a fight isn't always the best career move.

I've been bugging him to get back to it and take a chance though. He's much happier when he gets to punch people in the face on a regular basis.
justscrappin- May 13, 2010 at 5:00 pm
How about them sponsoring someone that wants to fight..but has a family and can't take the chance of their career not panning out..and their family not eating. Like someone with a 40hr a week job that has trained for a while..but can't dedicate themselves...cuz of the low pay that guys starting out, get in the small shows. They could figure out the guys budget...and cover his bills...and let him train with a major camp. Let me know if you need my number Ultimate Fighter...I will be your guinea pig. Which is fitting cuz I'm Italian.......(insert rimshot.)
Seriously though..if they made us care about someone real, who is willing to learn the proper technique..and work to have the necessary cardio..instead of getting half-ass fighters with big personalities...then they would have more prospects.
PurplePickle- May 13, 2010 at 4:56 pm
Thanks wifey. I am not disparaging the fighters, I just want to see something different. Like you, I like seeing the types of training and the dedication that goes into fighting. I also think it is stupid that you would take family, books, internet, games, and tv away from adults in order to have them focus on fighting, and then provide alcohol and hype idiotic behavior for the cameras.
Almost North- May 13, 2010 at 4:51 pm
Ah there we go. Specifics about training would be fantastic. How much they are lifting, how far they are running. All that jazz. Dana you reading this?
PurplePickle- May 13, 2010 at 4:50 pm
@Almost North

Exactly. Maybe put the guys in certain camps, or follow their training and do a little bio on each guy. Just get rid of the coaches smashing doors and acting like assholes because they lost a shot at ten grand in a kickball contest. And make the TUF fights three round pro fights that are reflected on their record.
wifey- May 13, 2010 at 4:46 pm
I think that's a great idea, Pickle. I'd also like to see more in depth coverage of the training these fellas endure. It's got to be brutal, and fascinating, but most of the time it's glossed over like an afterthought.
Almost North- May 13, 2010 at 4:37 pm
I like where you are going with that, Bellator style TUF.
PurplePickle- May 13, 2010 at 4:33 pm
No offense to Mr. Attonito, but TUF is getting moldy. I watched last nights episode in half the time because I fast forwarded through everything but the fight and the wild card picks. This show needs a serious overhaul and it is not the fault of the fighters. The living in the same house gimmick is dumb and uninteresting.

Select the fighters and then give us a live tournament style fight night to see every Wednesday night. Just kill off the manufactured drama and let these guys fight.
HokeyPokeyLikeAoki- May 13, 2010 at 3:15 pm
Good write up. Makes the show worth watching.

Also, can you tell us if Ring is gay? Not ok? Is that not ok to ask?
Almost North- May 13, 2010 at 2:53 pm
You guys sound a little hurt, don't let mean Mr Patrick make you feel bad.
Viva Hate- May 13, 2010 at 2:12 pm
@GUI-uh-TEEN,
How can you be so ignorant? What are you a caveman or something? Yada yada yada, pc garbage, be better than this yada yada yada hypocrite. You get the point.
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