I know exactly what you’re thinking right now. How will you find meaning in your life after this, the last ever TUF Nations Badger blog, evaporates into eternity forever? I’m sorry, only you can find that answer for yourself, but if you’re lucky I may one day reappear on the struggling Dancing with the Stars, when the supply of Australian B, C and sometimes D grade celebrities has been exhausted. More likely, you will see me in the UFC, and I’ll be sure to write about it for you. In fact, I’m currently planning the biographical novel of Richard Walsh’s life entitled “Get Rich or Lie Trying,” a collection of anecdotes which may or may not be true, as told by Filthy Rich himself. Stay tuned, it’s happening.

In all seriousness, this last TUF Nations blog symbolizes the end of a very amazing journey for all of the fighters involved, from both Australia and Canada. Regardless of outcomes, every single athlete who entered that house came out the other side a far better fighter for it. Physically, mentally and emotionally, every person was pushed to a limit, and this can only strengthen the spirit. Great bonds were created, even between members of opposing teams, and lifelong friendships made. Above all, some amazing talent was cast into the world’s view, and some people who never thought twice about the sport of mixed martial arts are now hooked.

The final week brought with it the final match, between Vik Grujic and Sheldon Westcott, two guys who’d both chalked up an extremely fast win in the preliminary round. For the rest of us, it was a mix of trying to learn as much as we could before heading home and attempting to break land-speed records in snow shoes.

There was a sort of solemn mood during the final days in the house. As tough as the experience had been, it had become much like home for a lot of us. I wasn’t sure how I’d be able to get to sleep without Tyler Manawaroa’s shocking bedtime stories, Dan Kelly’s naked renditions of “My Way,” Jake “The Celtic Kid” Matthews passing me his empty pizza tray off the top bunk like Jabba the Hutt, or Richard Walsh telling what seemed to be fictional stories that he passes off as his actual life. I love you guys.

Coming into the fight, it was no secret that Sheldon had been working around a fairly painful neck injury. No doubt this would be playing on Sheldon’s mind a little, but it may also influence Vik’s game plan or decision in the fight.

Fast forward now to the fight. We knew it should be a head-on collision of two bulls, and that’s exactly what initially occurred. Vik and Sheldon collided together, locking up in a clinch and spinning multiple times to jostle for position. Sheldon threw a knee, not much came of it, but it gave him some momentum to drive to the cage and level change for a double-leg takedown.

Vik immediately fixated onto the neck, trying to latch on to a guillotine, and Sheldon used this to pick Vik up and dump him hard. This was a critical turning point. Vik, in holding on to the neck, actually locked himself in position to be countered with a Von Flue choke, which we’d been working on with our grappling coach, Roberto Tussa Alencar, only days before. Sheldon put the choke on fast and hard, and almost immediately Vik was tapping.

It was a very disappointing ending for Team Australia, making a long trip only to see an all-Canadian finale going down. As you would imagine, every fighter on Team Aus was disappointed with their individual performances, but the only way now is forward, to keep winning and climbing the ladder to the top.

Before signing off for the last time, I’d like to sincerely thank my teammates and coaches from Team Australia. It was truly an honor to work with all of you, and I learned something off everyone, for which I’m truly grateful. Thank you also to the UFC for the opportunity to fight on such a prestigious stage, and to the production staff who made the show possible. And last and certainly least (just kidding, I love you all), I’d like to thank the fans for making it possible for us to do what we love. Without your support, we would not have a job. And even to the one guy on Twitter who told me I’m a loser, as he posed with his replica UFC belt he bought himself from Toys”R”Us…Thank you to you too, sir, because you make me remember that in a world full of people who accept mediocrity and giving up on their dreams, I never will.

You’ve probably worked out by now that for a guy who actually rarely wears sleeves, I ironically like to wear my heart on mine.

Until next time you see me throwing heat-seekers in the cage, enjoy every day, say it how it is, and keep Badgin’!!!

Brendan “Badger” O’Reilly would like to thank his cult-like supporters, his sponsors: Mass Nutrition Chermside, Sports Master Athletics, Harris Stability Systems, Battlebeard Athletics and gyms: Gamebred Combat Club, Alliance Jiu Jitsu Brisbane and Fortitude Boxing. Follow the Badger’s antics on Twitter: @oreillymma

About The Author

Brendan O'Reilly
TUF: Nations Blogger

Brendan "Badger" O'Reilly prides himself on being a physical and aggressive fighter. He is a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and is a former Greco-Roman and Freestyle wrestling state champion in Australia. Before discovering MMA, Brendan was a representative Rugby League player, while also competing in rodeos. He set aside both sports to focus solely on succeeding in mixed martial arts. Outside of competing as a professional fighter, Brendan owns and operates Gamebred Combat Club, a Cross Fit and MMA gym, in Brisbane, Australia and also boasts a degree in Applied Science.

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  • Lea W

    Team Australia have done us proud, each and every one of you guys deserve a contract. You fought with honour, dignity & respect. It has been great reading your blogs too Badger. Something has been nagging at me and I just have to ask: Did Kajan ever apologize to Tyler? I mean they are both equally black yet Kajan can sing songs with every other word being the N***** word and sing about jacking planes 9/11 but Tyler posted something as a kid and was publicly ousted as a racist & he did cop a LOT of abuse from people who have no clue about his heritage. Dying to know the answer! I hope he apologized for damaging the future of a talented young fighter and opening him to that kind of abuse. That is not cool.