This week’s episode saw the awkward situation happen that can sometimes occur at the TUF semifinal stage—two teammates who had been training side by side for the last five weeks were set to square off against each other.

Corey Anderson and Pat Walsh of Team Frankie Edgar would have seen each other’s strengths and weakness on a daily basis. However, that is easy to get over when you remember what’s on the line. What is not as easy to get over is the fact that you have to continue to train with each other at the same practice sessions in the lead-up to the fight!

As we saw in the episode, Corey and Pat actually ended up sparring each other in one of the sessions leading up to their fight. I couldn’t even imagine how this would make me feel. To practice your fighting technique against the person you will fight makes no sense and would really bother any professional fighter.

Pat was obviously uncomfortable with the situation, and seeing as he wasn’t facing off against anyone from Team B.J. Penn, he decided to take the opportunity to learn from the other coaches and workout with some different bodies. But first, he went to his coaching staff to ask if this would be okay with them. They agreed that this would be fine.

Pat came over to train with us for a session. He did some pad work with Jason Parillo and some wrestling work with Mark Coleman and I. That was it. The next day, the whole drama which we saw on the episode unfolded. Pat was given a hard time by the rest of the guys on Team Edgar for getting the extra training in, and the coaching staff held a team meeting of sorts in the locker room to address it. Pat was visibly upset about this, and understandably so.

My take on this is: Pat asked if it was okay if he go train with Team Penn, and the coaches said yes, it was. So he was given the green light. If there was a problem with it, then it should have been said there and then. Pat (like any of the rest of us) was in this competition for himself. He was in this competition to win the contract. The whole team thing is part of the show, but it’s a temporary thing. These people aren’t your teammates before the show starts. They are your teammates for six weeks during the filing of the show. After that, you are no longer teammates again. You are not brothers in arms. And, as nice as it is to be part of a team while you are there, everyone is still there for their own selfish reasons.

Pat wanted to get extra sessions in with some people he hadn’t had the chance to work with. He went about it the right way and asked if this was okay, and he only did so because he was told it was okay. Pat was training with our team for that one practice for his own selfish reasons. He was there to increase his chances of winning, and he certainly wasn’t there to tell people on the opposing team how to beat their opponents from Team Edgar.

After the team meeting, it was decided that Pat wasn’t allowed to train with Team Penn. That was fair enough, but it could have been decided before, when he had asked if it was okay. That would have saved Pat from that whole emotional drama before his fight.

Anyway, the fight eventually came around. Frankie and the rest of the coaching staff agreed to wash their hands of both fighters in terms of cornering duty. So, each fighter chose a couple of teammates to corner them.

The fight itself played out like this for most of the three rounds. Pat had a brawly type of stand-up game where he liked to get in tight and swing for the fences. Unfortunately for him, Corey had a significant reach advantage and he was able to use this to keep Pat at bay for most of the fight while landing shots from a distance. There were some takedowns, but as it happens often when two high-level wrestlers compete against each other, they seemed to use their wrestling to cancel each other’s out. So, the fight was fought predominantly in the stand-up range where Corey came out on top, like I said, because of his use of his reach advantage.

Next week’s episode is the final episode and features two semifinals, so stay tuned.

About The Author

Cathal “The Punisher” Pendred is a 26-year-old martial artist hailing from Dublin, Ireland. He was born in Boston while his father was studying law overseas. Pendred moved to Ireland at age five and took part in judo and taekwondo, before finding rugby. At the age of 19, Pendred turned his attention to MMA. He holds wins over UFC veterans Che Mills, David Bielkheden and Nicholas Musoke and was the Cage Warriors welterweight champion prior to joining the cast of The Ultimate Fighter. Pendred trains alongside current UFC fighter Conor McGregor and fellow TUF 19 competitor Chris Fields at SBG Ireland.