As each week goes by, you really start to see more and more of how the house starts getting to us. We were so starved for stuff to do, you see us all act like little puppies every time any of the coaches come by to visit. All greeting them at the door, wagging our tails.

Everyday, twice a day, we drove past In-N-Out Burger. The big famous one. Dieting, fighting, not being able to just go there whenever to have it…we all craved it. So, the day the last fight of the quarterfinals was done, Ronda Rousey passed a notebook around the locker room and had us all write down our orders. We knew they were coming over, so all of us that had lost in the quarters decided since we were cheating with the food, we just as well all share a shot to our misery. Ronda came in at just that time with glorious food and toasted for us. “Here’s to the best things coming from the worst things.” Such a great toast as it applied in that moment, us being all bummed about losing when we all knew we could have won. But it’s just such a great toast for life, really. It was great to just hang out with Ronda and Marina Shafir. On the show, we only really saw them in gym mode. It was fun to just hang out and be people with them.

Some of the guys couldn’t go as crazy as some of us, so they didn’t. And it was that way after pretty much every fight. A few of us would celebrate and pig out with whoever just fought, and the couple fighting next couldn’t really take part. As a fighter, I didn’t feel too bad for that, but I did feel bad for Sarah Moras, as I said in my blog last week.

Her fight was a little bit overshadowed at the time because of Cody Bollinger missing weight. And since her fight was the last one of that round, the picks for the semis were immediately following. So even the celebration of her win was overshadowed. And Juliana Pena being Miesha Tate’s friend, now her training would also be overshadowed. Such is the luck of having, or not having, your regular training partners as coaches. I’m glad Raquel Pennington was there for her, feeling the same. I’m also very glad we didn’t have that problem whatsoever on Team Rousey. Everyone helped everyone and took care of everyone when it was their time.

So, everyone that won their fights got to go to Harley boot camp. All of us that lost were bummed. Jessamyn Duke and I looked at each other as everyone left, then immediately went to share another misery shot. “Should be me,” we both were thinking without saying it. C’mon, the Sturgis rally is on my stomping grounds!!

Nate Diaz coming to train with us was a real treat. He didn’t show anything fancy or new, like he said, but kept us drilling the basics, which is exactly what should be done while preparing for a fight. Fight prep is not a time to learn crazy new things. It was great rolling with him! I had a blast! And, as all of you that are fight fans know, the Diaz boys are fighters. Fighters. Like, there’s a lot to be said about technique and athleticism and the science behind all that, but every great fighter has to still have a little bit of street in them. That little bit of down and dirty. If you are a fighter, you know what I mean. That mean brawler that doesn’t give a crap. The Diaz boys have that nailed. Nate was awesome and actually had some great advice on that.

The entire time we were filming, a little over six weeks, we weren’t allowed to sing any songs. Not from the radio, not from movies, none of it. So I wrote a song called “Sunrise and Friendships” and continually kept adding verses based on whatever was happening. I don’t want to tell the whole story of it just yet, just in case they show more verses and whatnot, but by the end, I had everyone in the house humming or singing, or even adding their own verses. It was awesome. So if you listen, you hear me singing a line from my song. And then go trend #sunriseandfriendships.

So, again, you get to see how homesick we all were. You really can’t understand what your mind can do to torture itself when locked away without any distractions or relief from the stress of combat for weeks at a time. I am not joking, I was having nightmares about my loved ones. It’s torture. You will not understand unless you have been in the situation. We were all counting the days down until we left, even if we had fights. You see the calendar we made to mark the day off every day. And I’m not joking when I say that towards the end of the show, crossing that day off was the best part of every day. And you will never understand what some of us lost to be on the show…but, sob sob, we all went through something and made sacrifices.

I truly believe that Michael Wootten has everything it takes to be very successful in the UFC. He just made a mistake. And at this level of the game, you can’t afford any reason to be off your game. I learned this all too well. But mark my words, Woot will be in the UFC. And he will be successful.

Hopefully, next week, they show more of my song. I need a good No. 1 hit to mark that off my bucket list.

Photo: Shayna Baszler (Esther Lin/Invicta FC)

About The Author

Shayna Baszler
TUF 18 Blogger

Shayna Baszler, also known as the “Queen of Spades,” is a veteran fighter and a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu brown belt who is competing on season 18 of The Ultimate Fighter. She made her professional debut in 2003 and has appeared in such notable promotions as Strikeforce, Invicta FC and EliteXC. Baszler has faced many of the sport’s most notable names, including Tara LaRosa, Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino, Sarah Kaufman, Sara McMann, Julie Kedzie, Roxanne Modafferi and Sarah D’Alelio. Training with Josh Barnett at CSW, she has a background in catch wrestling and is widely considered to be a top-10 bantamweight fighter. Outside of the cage, the South Dakota native is a certified EMT and counts roller derby and heavy metal among her interests.

  • Michelle

    This is the best part of the week reading your blogs, it gives us in site into what really goes on. I was wanting to ask you what song to you come out to? when is your next fight? thanks so much for your time…

  • pegson

    I hope to see Baszler back from her injury and fighting in the ufc come early new year

  • Oh! What a hearth warming story! Rewarded for loosing a fight! Emotional pain is known to be a stress eater to nurture the painful depression timeline. The good news is that one’s you entered the ufc, no doubt you’ll become a major regular, and no matter how many times you get defeated in the ufc,they’ll never run out burgers! Just keep us posted maybe “DANA” will included into you’re contract! In the meantime we will have to wait for the next time you get inside the ring,may be you will accomplish Micheal Bisping status! How’s that for a brilliant ufc future?

  • Can’t win fights now she’s a hell of musician without any fame! I was so wrong about you! Your not just a pretty crying face around the cage! You go Einstein! T,!,T

    • Ryan72

      Haha. Shayna Baszler has more win in her career than the final 4 TUF women combined… 15-8 to their 11-9-0-1. So if she sucks, what does that say about them?

      Also using your logic, Pena’s win over Baszler must suck as well. After all, Julianna did nothing but beat a women who can’t win fights. Isn’t that right?

      • Nick

        Two of the final four have a better win percentage than her and two don’t. Pennington has lost to great competition. Rakoczy was a champion boxer and came into MMA with no ground game so she lost her first three fights. She’s learned more about it now, though.

        • Ryan72

          Baszler has fought Cyborg, Kaufman, Davis x2, McMann, D’Alelio, Modafferi, Buckner, and Maxwell. They were all top ten and in their prime when she fought them. How do you think the final 4 women would fare against that level of competition?

          BTW, Baszler also fought a prime Tara LaRosa. Remember that Moras barely beat a washed up Tara to get into the TUF house. Now imagine Sarah against a Tara in peak fighting condition.

          • Nick

            What’s your point? She got stopped by that prime Larosa and lost to Cyborg, Kaufman, McMann and Buckner. Maybe at that point Baszler was prime and now she isn’t? We can both play that game. The semifinalists are growing and moving up but Baszler is likely as good as she’ll ever be.

          • Ryan72

            Did you see the poster I was responding to? They said that Baszler can’t win fights now. Yet she beat the top ten ranked D’Alelio last year and lost a controversial decision to the undefeated McMann. She also beat the 5-4 Schneider to get into the house. So how does Baszler suck? Because she lost to a top 5 bantamweight in Davis and the now much hyped Pena?

      • Nick

        I should add that if you count wins from the show, it puts Shayna at 16-9 (64% win ratio) and the four semi-finalists at 19-9-0-1 overall (68% win ratio). Or, if you include what hasn’t aired yet, 21-11-0-1.

        • Ryan72

          Before TUF…

          Baszler – 15-8 (65.22%)
          Final 4 – 11-9-0-1 (52.38%)

          After the TUF fights up to now…

          Baszler – 16-9 (64.0%)
          Final 4 – 19-9-0-1 (65.52%)

          After the semi-finals…

          Baszler – 16-9 (64.0%)
          Final 4 – 21-11-0-1 (63.64%)

          After the TUF final…

          Baszler – 16-9 (64.0%)
          Final 4 – 22-12-0-1 (62.86%)

          Baszler’s record and winning percentage is clearly better. It’s also far more impressive when you consider the competition they have all faced.

          • Nick

            Ok, and the winner of the competition… Let’s say it is Moras. She is 3-1 going into the tournament with her only loss to Pennington, another of the semifinalists. If she wins the show, she could basically be considered 7-1 (87.5% percentage). Ronda Rousey is 7-0. Rousey > Baszler.

            Baszler has a “better” record because she fought before the competition was as strong as it is now. She has an experience advantage, much like some of the other vets on the show, but each and every one of them were eliminated fairly early. Baszler and Modafferi won their elimination fights and nothing else, barely making it on the show. Tara Larosa didn’t even make it on to the show. Your point about Baszler having a “better record” than the TUF semifinalists is a facile and irrelevant one. Roxanne Modaferri also has a better record than they do collectively, but she dropped five professional bouts in a row coming into the house. And again, the fact that Pennington and especially Rakoczy have “bad” records is the major reason it is even true. Pennington lost to good competition and Rakoczy is a boxing import just learning the ground game.

            Even more to the point, Pena beat her in a fair fight. I suppose that doesn’t count because Baszler outclassed her so much? lol

          • Ryan72

            Cat Zingano dominated and finished Pennington. The 6-3 Leslie Smith bullied her their entire fight. Raquel’s war with the 2-0-1 Duke would be impressive if I didn’t already see Nakamoto destroy Duke without breaking a sweat. And what is Pennington’s biggest win up to this point? Tonya Evinger. A woman whose career highlight is getting submitted by Gina Carano in two minutes.

            Let’s talk about Sarah Moras. Other than Pena, who has Sara beaten to prove she is great? 0-4 Helena Martin, 0-2 Christina Barry, 2-0 Peggy Morgan, and a washed up LaRosa (who is on a 3 fight losing streak)?

            And it’s funny you mention Modaferri’s five fight losing streak. Because that is Rakoczy’s best win in her MMA career.

            Pena’s best win to date? Shayna Baszler. A woman who has been trashed on her own blog as a washed up nobody.

            So am I supposed to be impressed by this? All I see are women who have beaten almost no legit competition. Could one of the final 4 go on and beat some top contenders in the future like Davis, Zingano, McMann, etc? Certainly. But the odds are more likely they will be career gatekeepers at best.

          • Nick

            The more you argue that the semifinalists suck, the worse you are making Shayna look since they all went further in the tournament than her. Moras owns a win over Pena, the girl who beat her, and Pennington owns a win over her, in turn. I’ve argued many of the points you mention below, btw. I know about the records of the TUF semifinalists. They are all relatively young in their careers. A fighter’s career tends to follow the path of an arc. Most of them are on the earlier portion of their career arc. They are learning and getting better. They may go far, they may not. The question is whether Shayna is still on the upward portion or whether she has peaked. We shall see. If she’s already peaked, she was just beaten by someone no better than a journeyman fighter in your estimation so gatekeeper may just be where she stays, herself.

          • Ryan72

            Nope. I said they’re unproven at this point. Holdsworth is clearly the best fighter from this season, yet even he has a slim chance at ever being champ. I really think it’s important to not read too much into what happens on the show. There have been way too many TUF contestants that did well on there only to fade into obscurity afterwards. Look at Uriah Hall from last season. He was seen as a huge star in the making, and has done nothing since except get into an altercation with Mayhem. Who is to say the same thing doesn’t happen to Pena and company in 6 months? That’s certainly more likely than any of them ever reaching the top.

            As far as Shayna, it remains to be seen what happens to her career. She’s at the same age when Fedor fell off a cliff. Maybe the same thing happens to her and she goes on a losing streak. Or the Pena loss could be her Mirko/Randleman moment. Where she underestimated an opponent, paid the price, and comes back stronger. Only the future can say who is right.

  • Competition is about wins.Today tomorrow is what counts. Loud mouths just talking. If you don’t back up what you say, then you ain’t nothing!. Deliver with action,being so tuff and ruff beforehand is yesterday’s topic. Fake storytelling by Special olympics(Dumb and Dumber,Rousey!&Shayna.The new topic is she can defeat CAIN VELASQUEZ! Wow,if her fans can’t see how fake she is. The time she called out cyborg?no delivery?she’s just talking! Again.The spider Silva had 4 losses prior to ufc,but he became undefeated in his ufc bouts. Is Shayna and special gonna do the same,I think not! Please Ronda stop embarrassing yourself! Ronda reminds me of an old saying,she was pretty attractive till she started selling wolf tickets!

    • Ryan72

      Funny you should say that. Julianna Pena thinks she can beat Ronda, Miesha, and Fedor. According to her most recent TUF blog…

      Bohica007 asks: 1. Who wins between Tate and Rousey? What round will it occur in? 2. Do you think you could beat either coach and why?

      Pena: 1. Miesha by armbar in round one! (Laughs.)

      2. As a fighter, you’ve got to be willing to fight anybody, so in my mind, the way that my mind works, I’ll fight Fedor tomorrow and whip his ass. So yes, the answer is yes. I could fight those girls and I could beat them on any given Sunday.

      http://www.mmafighting.com/2013/11/7/5073898/tuf-18-blog-with-julianna-pena-episode-10-teammates-accusations-of?login=1383921005

      • Nick

        Looks like you missed the point she was making. She was saying that in every fight, even if she should lose on paper, she will go into the fight with the belief she can win. Would you disagree with that point? Notice the phrase “on any given Sunday.” That means you can never totally count out an underdog. She only used Fedor’s name as a hyperbole to make her point.

        • Ryan72

          Pena has more of a chance of giving birth to Bigfoot than she does of hurting Fedor. Even the old retired current version would permanently retire her.

          And I doubt even her own parents would bet their life savings on her if she ever fought Ronda or Miesha.

          • Nick

            Again, you are taking it literally and it wasn’t meant that way.

            Funny that you point out that she could never beat Ronda or Miesha. Does that mean that Shayna isn’t in their league? lol

          • Ryan72

            The funny thing is that it’s not even guaranteed that Pena won her semifinal fight, and people are already talking about her beating Ronda and Miesha. It reminds me of last season when fans were claiming Uriah Hall would beat Anderson.

          • Nick

            It doesn’t matter if she won it or lost it. You just made the point above that winning in TUF doesn’t determine your career in defense of Shayna.

          • Ryan72

            Of course it matters if Pena wins her next few fights. She needs to make an impression on Dana if she’s going to be signed to the UFC. It’s not like she has a great resume to fall back on if she comes up short on TUF. MMA fans are also terribly fickle. If she loses her next few, most fans will quickly forget about her and jump on some new bandwagon.

          • Nick

            Of course she has to get wins, but she’ll be given that opportunity. And the fact remains that she wasn’t afraid to fight Shayna and she beat her. If she went into a fight with Miesha, Ronda or even Fedor, expecting to lose, her chances of winning would be much lower. And beating Shayna proves that she is in striking distance of beating either Miesha or Ronda. Or do you think that Shayna is so far beneath them that it isn’t even comparable?

  • Poppinfresh

    Juanito Cabbage,
    Learn how to spell and use proper grammar before you criticize women for opening their mouths. You should consider not embarrassing yourself, mister cliche misogynist. Shayna and any one of the other women on TUF could take you to school, both physically and mentally.

    Mi espanol es mejor que tuyo tambien,
    Poppinfresh

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