(Photo courtesy of Rich’s Facebook page.)
In the latest installment of his TUF 11 guest-blog for CagePotato.com, Team Liddell’s Rich Attonito recaps the fights from last night’s episode, reveals Nick Ring’s house nickname, gives his thoughts on Court McGee, and reminds everyone how awful it is to be stuck in the TUF house when you’re out of the competition.
The Wild Card fight is under way and the match-up is Uscola-McCray. Right before their fight Kaycey got the good news that his son was born. Everybody knew how much Kaycey was anticipating the birth of his child since we got into the house. Now the moment had finally arrived, but there wasn’t much time for reflection because his fight with The Savage was looming. It was the first time we were gonna see two guys on the same team go at it and everyone was anticipating how it would play out. I personally felt like Kaycey would take this one. But I wondered if the birth of Kaycey’s child was going to be a distraction for him going in.
In the end, McCray walked away with the victory by submission early in round two. Kaycey hurt Kris’s knee early with some well-timed leg stomps, but he got overzealous and charged in, allowing Kris to lock him up and recover from the pain he was in. McCray’s got a pretty sick body lock and he put it on display in this fight, as he eventually used it to ground Kaycey and finish him off.
With the Wild Card round finished the quarterfinal match-ups were announced. One of the key fights was going to be the rematch of Nick versus Court. Everyone really wanted to see the continuation of this fight. I know Court was excited for the opportunity to set the record straight after the controversial two round loss he had suffered just a few days before.
One night while we were hanging around the house doing our usual, whole lot of nothing, Forrest Griffin dropped by. He was wearing a long black trench coat and rocking a full beard. He looked like a mix of Van Helsing and Wolverine. Which is interesting because both characters are played by Hugh Jackman, yet Forrest doesn’t look anything like him. What an awkward observation for me to make. Anyways, things got a little more awkward as he started reaching into his pants and pulling something out from his groin area. I started to wonder what the hell was gonna happen, until he finally brandished the new UFC game.
Soon the TV’s were rolled out and Forrest let us know we were gonna be allowed to play the game for two hours. Everyone was fired up, it was a major break from the normal everyday routine. We weren’t allowed to watch TV, listen to music, read magazines or books, nor talk on the phone, for the entire time we were in the house. So you can imagine how exciting it was to be able to play a video game.
It was cool to sit back and get to kick it with Forrest. I’ve been watching him fight since he was on the show and now here he is hanging out with us playing video games. Forrest is a real funny down to earth guy with a goofy personality and I think everyone found him to be hysterical.
The not so hysterical side of things was Brad Tavares laying the smack down on everyone. He was the man to beat, and he ran through everyone in the house. Apparently he plays a lot of video games cause he put a whooping on everyone and didn’t get beat once. To get an idea of how boring life in the house can get, I remember being happily entertained just watching people playing each other. I didn’t even mind if I played or not, it was like a two-hour video game paradise.
Another night at the house we got another visit, this time from Dana White. Dana wasn’t rocking a trench coat and he certainly didn’t bring over any video game for us to play, so we knew something serious was up. He pulled everyone together and announced that Nick had torn his ACL and was out of the competition. The whole room was in shock. I remember thinking back a few days at one of the early warning signs that something was up with Nick. He had deviated from his usual diet and was eating junk food, cookies, and even some ice cream. I took notice and found it to be out of the ordinary because he was always super strict with his diet. He had been nicknamed "Fish and Berries" because that was all he seemed to ever eat. I remember seeing him eat grilled salmon with vegetables and berries for breakfast, which to me just doesn’t seem much like breakfast food.
With everyone still in awe of Dana’s announcement, Hammortree struck while the iron was hot and jumped all over the opportunity to step up and fill Nick’s slot. Joe Henle wasn’t too happy at all and paid the price for not asserting himself immediately. I remember Joe was so pissed he stormed around outside by the pool for a while, eventually ending up in the sauna that was outside, riding the bike. He was out there for at least an hour and looked like the angry caveman version of Lance Armstrong, minus the the Tour De France biker suit and a missing testicle.
I stop and think about how many injuries have happened since the start of this show and it amazes me. I don’t think there has ever been this many injuries on any other season of TUF. I felt for Nick because I know what it’s like to be on the injured side of the fence, it sucks. Things are completely out of your control and your fate has been sealed. Its frustrating and depressing, you know some one has to win this whole thing, its just not gonna be you. You watch practice after practice go by, and you can’t even participate in that. You feel like you’re just doing time, nothing left to do except follow the practice schedule and wait until fight day so you can be one step closer to going home.
So now the first quarterfinal match up was set with Court pitted to face the reborn Hammortree. After a hard-fought first round, Court capitalized on a poor shot by Hammortree and finished him with a standing guillotine. Just as fast as the round had started, the fight was over and Team Liddell’s lead on Team Ortiz was further extended.
I was real happy for Court. I knew he had overcome a lot of adversity in his past with overcoming drug addiction. He had been sober nearly four years and every day he would keep himself focused on staying sober and what his purpose was, not only as a fighter but as a person. He told me that his occupation was a fighter, but his job was to be of maximum service to other people. I knew he had a lot of people back home that he sponsored in AA that counted on him for support. I felt like Court had a strong message to tell the world and I knew after the show was over he would use his exposure from the show for very unselfish reasons, and that was to help and benefit people. Getting to know him a little more each day I definitely became a Court McGee fan and was rooting for him to go all the way.