Team Nelson was shown drawing straws for their fight pick…once again I’m not surprised how chaotic things are run. Roy Nelson thought that it was a good idea to give the decision to his fighters on who they wanted to fight. Julian Lane drew the shortest straw and had the choice of who he fought.
Once again Team Carwin is on ice; we were left speculating on who will be picked to fight. We tried to figure out who would be logical, but then again what’s been logical about the way Team Nelson has been organized? We thought Matt Secor might be picked simply because his mouth runs constantly and he appeared to be the biggest target…
The morning of fight pick I woke up with the feeling that I was getting chosen to fight. I acted on this by cutting my calories. For breakfast I had three egg whites and some spinach. My weight was at 187 pounds. I knew I could make weight but it wouldn’t be easy. It was only my second time getting to 170 pounds in the last 12 years.
The teams were ushered into our bleachers for the fight pick and I just knew I’d get picked! Roy stood up and mumbled something to the effect that they drew straws and Julian Lane won. Once I saw Julian standing up front, I was confused. I expected to fight until I saw Julian. I thought, ‘I must not be fighting now; the match-up with Julian doesn’t make sense for them.’ Before I could really figure out what was happening, Roy said my name to fight Julian. What a roller coaster, the whole fight pick is a mind warp. I didn’t expect to fight Julian at all, what a surprise!
OKAY, IT’S ON!!! My demeanor changed, it’s fight time and the ‘nice, easy-going Bristol’ was gone. I really wanted to walk up and knock Julian out right there. Julian picking me legitimately pissed me off and I wanted to fight right then. I walked right up to him and stood staring into his eyes. For production we have to hold our face off for a good 3-4 minutes for the cameras. This gave me extra time to stare him down and show him how serious I was. Julian began breathing heavy and looked away. I heard shouting from Pat ‘HD’ Barry in the background, “OOHHHH, you smell that? … Big mistake.” For several minutes, my whole team joined in making hilarious comments all at Julian’s expense. Julian breathing continued to escalate and he postured up higher to make up for all the jeering. The production crew called break and I let Julian move first, he started walking away and I kept staring him down, he lost the stare down and I told him, “big mistake” and turned back to my team… my family.
Right after the fight announcement I walked to the scale and weighed 185 pounds. To some fighters it may not be a big deal, but I had already made this weight cut two and a half weeks ago. I was hoping that my body would release the water-weight easy and cut me a break…
Luckily it was 106 degrees outside in Vegas this made for a hot weight cut. My cut started in the hot tub 24 hours before weigh-ins. The first minute I hated life and was instantly miserable. I knew the next 24 hours were going to suck, no more water and very little food. I shed my first nine pounds and at this point I’m boiling hot and jumped into the pool; it felt like paradise. I just laid in the pool for hours, cooling off and enjoying the peace and quiet by myself. I finished off the last six pounds the following morning of weigh-ins.
Roy Nelson, I made weight at 170 pounds. Apparently he thought the Nevada State Athletic Commission was giving me a break and weighed me in light. I’m a professional; I’ve never missed weight and I don’t conduct myself otherwise. (Glad we cleared that up). After we stepped off the scale we did another fighter face-off. Again I stared Julian down and again, Barry hollered, “OOHHHH BIG MISTAKE!” I wish it would have made the episode on TV. It was really funny and I had to work hard not to crack a smile. Julian looked like he was going to hyperventilate. Team Carwin was hooting and hollering like a pack of wild animals; I sure appreciated them at this moment.
Rehydrating was the best feeling in the world. After 24hours and more than 15 pounds of water, I wasted no time in gaining it all back. Nothing makes you appreciate food and water like not having it for two days. I weighed myself six hours later and tipped the scale at 190 pounds. I’m back!
I was hoping for a good night of sleep, which was rare, but at least I wasn’t starving. But the games continued from Team Nelson. Nic Webb, my roommate, kept me up until 2 a.m. ‘slopping’ away at his peanut butter he ate in bed for some reason. He was noisy and I lied awake, dozing off late in the morning…thinking of all the violent things I wanted to do…
I was getting sick of the house and the garbage conversations, so the fight was a chance for me to get everything off my chest. Inside the cage would be the most ‘normal’ I’d felt since coming to the house. Finally my chance was here; I was getting good and warmed up, ready to walk out to my fight! Trevor Wittman was holding pads for me warming me up and I accidently gave him a left hook to the mouth and nearly knocked him out! Damn, Coach T can take a punch! The conditions, the messed up sleeping and pressures of the house made it hard to ‘feel’ ready, but I was there to fight!
It was a great feeling to push open the ‘double doors’ into the TUF training room. I’ve seen it played out so many times on TV and now it was my turn! A million thoughts were racing through my mind, but it’s more of a dull throb of voices and instructions because the adrenaline dumping into my veins. I felt like I could smash through a wall; I prepared myself to destroy this guy. Looking back, I probably would have told myself to relax and stay loose, but in the moment I could only see what was in front of me and I felt the pressure to pull off a win at all cost.
Staring at Julian across the cage, I knew he was going to throw everything he had at me, and I wasn’t going to make the mistake of underestimating him. I felt pressure from Dana White and the TV executives to ‘finish’ the fight and make it exciting. Finally the fight!
I moved forward looking for knees and found my mark. I heard Julian yell in pain and it’s such a great feeling knowing you hurt your opponent. It gave me a huge boost in energy. I continued looking for the clinch and he ended up kneeing me in the nose, cutting me open. Soon after our heads collided, cutting me again on my eyebrow!
I could feel blood running down my face, but I already prepared myself to keep fighting no matter what happened. It was a minor speed bump, and it actually fired me up. What can this guy do to me, cut me? If you don’t kill me, I’ll continue to fight.
I won the fight. It was sloppy and I wasn’t very ‘proud’ of it, but nothing’s right in the house. I moved on and that’s what matters. Now I have to contend with my face being sewn together with 30 stitches! The hardest part was going to the doctor to get my stitches; his office is very close to mine and it was torture knowing my family was so close. It almost broke me, but I had more work to do in the house. I buried the home sickness; I couldn’t let my guard down, not in the house.
Returning to the house was surprisingly depressing. I was ready to party and celebrate, but it was quiet and the other fighters went about their business. Luckily my team had a big dinner prepared and we all ate together and enjoyed a glass of red wine. After dinner I felt really lost and confused. I was ready to go home, my fight was violent and I was exhausted from cutting weight. We had over three weeks left in the house! It felt like an eternity.
I lied in bed that night tossing and turning. I was awake until the sun started coming up; my thought was “I better get back to the gym in a few hours I’m going to be fighting again soon…”
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Photo: Bristol Marunde (BristolMarunde.com)