Before one arrives to the NFL, there’s the collegiate level to showcase one’s skills. In the NBA, one must adventure through the college scenery before their name can be called to the big stage. In the sport of mixed martial arts, there was nothing. That was, however, until the birth of The Ultimate Fighter.

Now, more than ever, martial artists have the opportunity to arrive to the premier stage through what some might refer to as a reality show. Summed up, The Ultimate Fighter allows a handful of guys to live together in a high-level house for a few weeks. There, these selected individuals fight, not to stay alive, but to remain relevant to the world of mixed martial arts.

With one single loss, these individual’s lives could be changed forever. Their opportunity to arrive to the UFC could be gone with a blink of an eye. While it’s every up-and-coming fighter’s dream to make this opportunity become a reality, few get selected.

For Max Griffin, this opportunity was as likely as hitting the lottery. In other words, Griffin felt like he had an ice cube’s chance in Hades to receive the lucky phone call. Fortunately for Griffin, he was wrong.

Griffin (Facebook)

“I work for Blue Shield in California for the facilities department,” shared Griffin in an exclusive interview with The MMA Corner. “They are very supportive of my dreams and goals, despite never thinking I would actually get the phone call.

“But, I was at work and had a missed call from Las Vegas. After the call, I checked my voicemail and it said, ‘this is so-and-so from The Ultimate Fighter, please call me back as soon as possible’,” said Griffin. “I sprinted out of the office and called the number back.

“I actually thought it was a prank call at first. They asked me if I was interested and if I was available to fly to Vegas the very next weekend. I told them I was absolutely available. I gave them my email and we hung up the phone. I started to scream and yell in excitement. People thought I was crazy,” laughed Griffin. “I felt like I just won the lottery.”

As an early Christmas present, Griffin will now take part in the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter on FX, which will begin airing on Friday, Sept. 14. While one may up and leave their current location for a chance to showcase their skills on The Ultimate Fighter, Griffin had more at stake.

With a full family on hand, Griffin knew his decision to leave his loved ones behind wouldn’t be an easy task at all. But, due to the rarity of the opportunity, Griffin knew this was an opportunity he couldn’t afford to pass up. After all, it was a chance to become known to the world, but more importantly, a way to provide a greater amount of support for his family.

Griffin (Facebook)

“I’m married to my beautiful wife, Adrianne, who is my high school sweetheart,” said Griffin. “It was an extremely hard decision to leave for The Ultimate Fighter show, but we all know it’s for the future and for the best.

“I also have a son who’s just 16 months. His name is Julian, and it’s been difficult at times. It was a surreal moment as I found out I was only allowed three photographs of family members, that’s it. It was hard at first, then it was just a regular thing as I got used to it,” admitted Griffin. “When I look at the pictures of my family, it takes me back to what I’m fighting for in the first place.”

As Griffin embarks on a new beginning, he hopes to not only change the financial state of his family, but promote his name for the world to know. It’s one step at a time for Griffin.

“Winning The Ultimate Fighter would mean the world to me. It’s a fighter’s dream. It would push me one step closer to my ultimate dream of becoming a UFC champion,” said Griffin.

“This is an opportunity of a lifetime and everyone knows it. Fighting in the UFC would let me fight full-time, which would give me a more flexible schedule to spend time with my family. Also, the money would be great,” said Griffin. “I want to be one of the best who ever lived, I want to be remembered forever.”

Griffin would like to thank his family, friends and fans. He’d also like to thank his sponsors: Jaco Clothing, Illicit apparel, Max Nutrition, and his gyms, Marinobles MMA and Kickboxing and Morrisey’s Elite Training Center. In addition, Griffin is appreciative to all of his training partners, coaches, and the UFC for giving him this special opportunity.

Photo: Max Griffin (Twitter.com/maxpain916)