We’re all hanging by a small thread of sanity…we’ve been living in the twilight zone for years now, but in ‘reality’ only six weeks. The animal instinct in us can’t help but surface; ‘Snake’ (James Chaney) tried to eat his opponent Jon Manley. Dana White didn’t approve, so Snake did what a man does and faced it head on and told the truth that he bit Jon Manley on purpose. Snake was forgiven.

Julian’s animal came out again in the form of an emotional teenager with more crying and throwing his toys around The Ultimate Fighter house in a temper tantrum. The house can make even the most insane… even more unstable. But this living experiment is about MMA, right?

The last fight of the prelims was Dom Waters vs. Mike Ricci. Waters is pretty ripped and carried himself well around the house, so his skill in the cage had a bit of the ‘unknown’ factor. He won his fight to get into the house with a big knockout punch, which was the last image we had of him fighting. Ricci took it well that he was fighting one of the biggest guys in the house. Ricci wasn’t visibly intimidated and he fought a very smart fight. Team Carwin all supported Ricci during his fight by combing our hair styles like his notorious ‘comb-over’ with the part on the side. This must have given him the extra strength he needed in the sudden-victory round to come out on top and win the fight.

The big happening for me was the quarterfinal fight picks. These fights were decided by Dana White and the two coaches. We were called into the office to discuss who we wanted to fight. It was pretty nerve-racking standing in line waiting to face both the coaches and Dana White. Dana asked me how I was doing and I pointed to my face (which still had bad cuts and stitches) and I said, “How do I look?” Dana replied, “You look like shit, you can’t take any more damage, who do you want to fight that will be your best chance?”

I picked the Team Nelson member I figured they would choose for me anyway and that was Joey Rivera, who I really liked. I knew he was very strong and a game opponent; I thought they would pick him to fight me.

All the fighters were sitting in the bleachers waiting for Dana to call out the fight picks for the next round. It was a moment much like getting picked for the teams on the first day, but now we were getting used to the uncertainty and just ready for it to be decided.

Dana called me up first and I was just ready for him to call out Joey Rivera as my opponent…but what came next caught everyone off guard! Neil Magny…it took several moments to register for everyone that I was going to fight my own teammate. Okay, if that’s who I have to fight, then bring it!

Neil wouldn’t be my first choice to fight, but it was ironic that Dana said I couldn’t take any more damage to my face and he chooses Neil Magny—the highest percentage puncher in the house—to fight me.

Neil has a great story of triumph in his own life, coming from a single-parent household living in rough neighborhoods in New York to serving in the military and working in a center for ‘at risk’ youth. I’m a fan of his. But this is war and we need to fight each other to move on in the tournament.

My whole mindset changed since Dana White gave us the speech about not finishing fights and our sub-par efforts. I took that personally, and I was going to show him and the rest of the doubters that I was not only willing to fight, but I was going for the finish. In a sense, I was going for a ‘home run!’ I was sick and tired of the house, and the cage was the only place that reminded me why I was here in the first place.

I want a home-run knockout and I am going for it.

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.