I was tossing and turning in bed. I couldn’t sleep because Nic Webb was coughing super loud all throughout the night! We were all sick and there was no escape! What the hell did I get myself into? I wanted to go sleep in my own bed. I was stuck in the house for what seemed like an eternity!

There were two different ways to view time: time in the house and time outside the house. Time inside the house ran about 10 times slower than time outside the house! If you’ve ever seen or read the books about Narnia, that’s what it’s like… four days on the inside is what four months is like on the outside. Most people think six weeks is a breeze, but six weeks felt more like six months. There’s a point to all of it, a UFC contract at the end! At least that’s what we reminded each other on a daily basis. It kept our sanity.

Training… was actually pretty horrible with 30 stitches and fresh cuts. I had to stay in shape, but one touch to my face and I would start bleeding. Grappling wasn’t an option; all I could do was strength and conditioning to maintain some kind of cardio shape for my next fight, which was about two weeks away! I previously told myself, ‘once I win my first fight inside the house everything would get easier and I’d suddenly feel no pressure.’ That turned out to be bogus because my weight was even harder to maintain and now I had a face that looked like “Frankenstein”—which my team began calling me.

Team Carwin chose Igor Araujo to fight Nic Webb for the next fight, which was a logical choice because Nic seemed to want to fight on the ground and Igor is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Igor and I bonded as friends because we are both family men and fathers to toddler boys. We would talk for hours about our families and how bad we missed them. I knew so much about his two boys and he about mine that we would sit and dream about seeing them out by the fire pit at night. The home sickness got so bad that we would sing Mickey Mouse songs like the Hot Dog, Hot Dog, Hot Diggity Dog song to each other just so we could remember what it’s like watching cartoons with our sons. Time was ticking at an extremely slow pace while in the ‘Twilight Zone’; our biggest fear was that life on the outside was passing us by while we sat and dreamt of our families.

The van rides to and from the gym were about 35 minutes each way, which totaled two hours of van rides every day. In the van we weren’t allowed to have music, so Igor would sing songs for us. He grew up in Brazil, but for some reason, knew all the words to every song, and most often in Portuguese too. We would entertain ourselves by singing every song we could remember the words to, it’s more difficult than you might think; we didn’t have Google, remember? Unfortunately, the one song that would get sung every day was I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing by Aerosmith… yes, the one from the movie “Armageddon”! What the hell were eight professional fighters doing singing at the top of their lungs such a cheesy love song? Hopefully this gives you a clue on how crazy the house made every one of us.

When I left home, I didn’t say goodbye to my girlfriend on the greatest of terms and now after several weeks of no contact, the time began eating away at me. It can break down even the most stubborn person. It gave me a lot to think about. I wanted to know how Aubrey and my son Kale were doing. I hoped they hadn’t forgotten about me, and equally as bad, I wanted to tell them how much I missed them. Even though I knew my mind was playing tricks on me, it was hard because there was nothing I could do about it. I realized during this time that the house wasn’t about fighting for me; it was more about my personal life and about my family. I no longer cared about money, about my position or what kind of car I drove. I didn’t miss my cell phone or Facebook, or even my best friends. All I wanted was my family, my girlfriend and my son. It was a bittersweet moment for me; I had to be stuck in the Ultimate Fighter house to realize it, but it changed my focus. All that matters is family. Nothing in life can compare to the relationship I have with my girlfriend and my baby boy. What made it difficult was not being able to tell them how much I loved and missed them. The old saying ‘Absence makes the heart grow fonder’ absolutely applied to me. All I could do was hope and pray they were healthy and safe.

My focus had to remain on the fight game even though the distractions were tremendous. I was there on a mission and that’s exactly how I viewed it. I was sent to show up and fight. A simple plan is the best plan.

Check out Bristol’s video blog as well:

Photo: Bristol Marunde (Paul Thatcher/Fight! Magazine)

About The Author

Bristol Marunde
TUF Blogger

Bristol Marunde is an American mixed martial artist who is competing on The Ultimate Fighter season 16. He was formerly signed with Strikeforce and is the current Superior Cage Combat (SCC) middleweight champion. Bristol holds notable wins over Jay Silva, Victor Moreno, Chuck Grigsby, Shane Primm and Rich Attonito. He currently resides in Las Vegas where he trains at Throwdown Training Center. Bristol also owns Reign Promotions in Washington state. Each week during the reality show, the Team Carwin member will blog about his experience, leading up to the finale on Saturday, Dec. 15, where the show's winner will be crowned.