There are two stories in particular that I want to talk about this week. One being the story behind my top hat. The other about Ronda Rousey and her mental capacity and responsibility for us, her team.

First, I don’t need to reiterate to you how mentally challenging cutting weight is. You literally have to tell your body to ignore the things it is telling you about how it thinks it’s dying. It really does think it is dying. There is nothing worse than thirst. And knowing, that as horrible and thirsty as you feel, it will get worse. But I said it during Cody Bollinger’s episode: I get paid to cut weight. I would fight for free.

I want to get it out of the way: Anthony Gutierrez is my homie. I love the kid. We still talk pro wrestling to this day. He was a member of the Late Night Club. But like I said on the episode, I can’t defend him. There’s no excuse for not making weight, and even less for quitting. I felt so bad. I stick up for my friends, but what could I say? All I could say was this: as much as everyone was razzing him for what he was eating, he still could’ve made the weight. Could he have eaten better to make it easier? Sure. But he still could have made it. And Ronda did it, just to prove it.

So you get to see Ronda trying to tell Dana White why she needed to do it, but it doesn’t show that she did it. She started at 152 pounds, without water loading, without eating a diet to prepare for it, and made weight the next day. And if you didn’t know she was doing it, you wouldn’t even have noticed. You didn’t notice, did you? Because the coaches’ challenge, we left from the gym and went straight there. So when Ronda wins the climbing challenge, she did so after having cut almost 10 pounds already. She cut the rest, and then gave Jessica “Rage-koczy” a good hard warm-up the next day before grabbing Dana and stepping on the scale. You would’ve never known in the warm-up room that she was depleted and dehydrated.

I felt terrible for Davey Grant. He wanted so badly just to fight. To show Dana what he could do. Dana was gone when Davey had his first fight, as he had to be at a UFC event at the time. So he really wanted to show him his skill. And, as we all know by now, he loves his kids. Just wanted to give them the good, hard-fought, victorious road to be proud of. They should still be proud. He’s a great guy, a great fighter, and I know he’s a great father. Maybe some of you don’t understand that. Davey should still be happy. He made it to the finals. But when you work so hard, you dream for so long…at the heart of it, we are performers. Yes, we are athletes. Yes, we are fighters. But we train until we have to crawl out of the gym. We kill ourselves dieting. We put our social lives on hold because we must rest. We go on a television show and expose ourselves to all of you. And all we want is the moment we know we can shine. We want at least that chance to shine for you. It makes all the hell of training and fight camp worth it. Davey got robbed worse than Johny Hendricks, believe me.

Here’s the deal about the top hat. Jessamyn Duke’s birthday was in June while we were in the house. So, secretly for her birthday, I had ordered a top hat, a cape, some speedos, bow ties and confetti poppers. At the end of the night, I put my getup on right outside the door to the patio by the fireplace. I started in on some speech about Houdini being my favorite magician of all time, but how this magic was like nothing that he did. When I knew the guys were ready, I put my cape up in front of the doorway. When I dropped it out of the way, there appeared Josh Hill and Anthony in speedos and bow ties to give her a lap dance. All the rest of the people were out there beatboxing some music and popping confetti. I am a great magician, a great friend, and I give good birthday presents to my friends, even while in the prison that it the TUF house.

(For the record, Jessamyn got me a badass zombie-killing knife for my birthday. An equal trade by all accounts. Check back on my Instagram: qospades for a picture!)

Photo: Shayna Baszler (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.

  • Andy

    Shayna, another terrific blog. Thank you so much for this great insight. I can’t help but think that had you beaten Pena, you’d have made it to the finals and won it all.

  • Another reason why RR is the best (and another reason why her over-reactionary fake haters despise her).

    • Look dude! Haters r people around you not spectators? If you like these chicks(RR)(Spade)whooo cares! The fact is neither one of you’re picks have to be of my taste. That they go around saying dumb things who cares? It’s only weird if it doesn’t work! So the facts r for me these chicks don’t deliver! In RR she called out cyborg but was never gonna do it! The queen also just talking! Got beat by a rookie. So how is that hating? How dumb! You and everyone knows action speaks for it self. People speak what they observe not what isn’t real! The fight between RR and Tate again waste of precious time! There’s just no one out there for RR than a challenger with back to back losses get real, how sad if this nobody defeats this super world champion! Where would this land her?.

  • Ginny

    You’re such an awesome individual. This world needs more people like you!

  • I Heard about Ronda’s weight cut, didn’t know it was related to the show… nice. Prove that kid wrong.. I was very dissapointed,I realize what we see on TV and what is really going on is pretty different, but at the same time, he spent half his time eating crap and taking break, while he should have kept himself going… and that last minute chance, he could have just sat in the sauna and complained… why leave? I can’t imagine the pressure to cut weight so fast, but with an opportunity like TUF… I dont know what to say.

  • George Brazzel

    I love Ronda Rousey. I dig her intensity and determination, as well as her dedication to both mma and her TUF18 team. She’s an inspiration to women not just in mma, but in sports and athletics in general.
    That, and she’s just plain sexy.
    I have heated discussions on Twitter and Facebook defending Rousey pretty much all the time, even before the first episode of TUF18 aired. Some people seem to associate her confidence and grittiness for just being a bitch. I disagree. She’s real, she’s honest, she’s a class act. The respect Ronda is given, she more than earned. The disrespect she’s given, it comes from jealousy, prudes, and people that either never competed in anything, or they’re just obliv.to reality.
    Short and sweet, Rousey is the real deal, the total package in wmma. Haters gonna hate, so let ‘em.
    As far as Gutierrez’s not making weight, there’s no reason or excuse for it. What a letdown.

    • Vanessa C

      She’s real, she’s honest.

      Class act? Not exactly what I would call snarling f you’s and middle fingers at your defeated opponent (coach’s challenge). But she’s youngish, the show was edited, and she has experienced more loss in her life than many of us have. She still has time to mature.

  • I really like this season of TUF, but I will say I was looking forward to seeing Cody fighting. Anthony on the other hand, looks like a straight up poser (and time waster) and I would have loved seeing Davey knock the idiot out. If you compare Chris H (or any of you) to Anthony its hard not to laugh at him.

  • Bruno

    Shayna, you write very well. Believe it or not, your style of writing is something that has kept me reading your blogs since week one. Not only are you candid, but also really good at conveying your emotions, even though you’re writing this months after it happened. I love how well you get along with the cast (except Julianna, cause… who would get along with her, right?), but yeah, all and all you’ve gone from being a fantastic fighter to me, to being a fantastic person overall. Much love.

  • Thanks George, you said everything that is the Truth, DAMM man I Allways knew Ronda was a badass, but man ,my girl is on another fuckin planet compared to these other fighters even the men she deserves nothing but respect,she is as REAL as it gets ,these fucks on fb ,Twitter are fake ass ppl who are over fucking weight, I’m sure they are ugly as well so of course they are gonna sit like bitches behind a keyboard lol… Keep it real homie,your my favorite fighter” and of course NATE Diaz.and fuck all the haters…..TEAM REAL MEAN……

  • Excellent blog Shayna. It’s great getting some additional insight on things that happen but aren’t shown during the episode.

  • Oh! My the best darn champion in the galaxy is proving the Einstein’s of the world she’s about to step back in the cage with a challenger coming of back to back losses! Yeah! Sounds like she’s in a world of trouble! But how funny if she get’s her beat! I’m so into waiting to see and read what happens?.