With the TUF 21 coming up on Sunday and the myriad of personalities that come out on many seasons of the UFC’s pet project reality show, it seemed like the right time to catch up with perhaps the most infamous former member of past casts.

Jesse “JT Money” Taylor had mowed through the competition of TUF 7 and three straight wins put him into the final. A night out on the Las Vegas Strip put an end to Taylor’s journey. He was the first TUF competitor ever kicked off the show as the result of a drunken outburst that included kicking the window out of a limo and threatening hotel security guards. Despite his prowess in the cage, the violent behavior capped Taylor’s questionable antics during the season.

It’s been seven years since Taylor was a disgraced TUF star. He did get his shot in the UFC, though that opportunity didn’t last long.

To say it has been an uphill battle for Taylor is a definite understatement.

Since departing the UFC, Taylor has fought for 22 different organizations.

Besides the United States, Taylor has fought in 10 different countries.

But his overall record, winning and losing streaks, and even daily training in the highly touted Team Quest gym aren’t as important as how Taylor is living his life today.

“My past issues only have helped me grow and become stronger,” Taylor told The MMA Corner.

“Without mistakes you don’t learn and some people learn the hard way,” Taylor said. “I think in hindsight I was just having too much fun. I was young and careless and didn’t realize that I can’t do some things.”

Taylor doesn’t deny any he had his issues, but did indicated that perhaps some creative editing by the TUF production team made it look a little worse and subsequent stories ran with the portrait.

“The media does have a way to paint the picture they want,” Taylor said. “I had a wild side when I was drinking back then, but I only drank twice on the show and they made me look like a drunk. Still, I learned that’s all it takes and I have learned from it so I consider the experience very valuable.”

Taylor has certainly moved forward with his life. But one has to wonder what might have been had he never gone out that night in Las Vegas, never gone on a rampage, and never been evicted from the TUF house.

“I’d be lying if I don’t admit that I think about that fateful night. I had the show won and in my hands,” admitted Taylor. “However, I don’t consider it unfortunate but rather a very learning experience for that time made me quite infamous around the world.

“To this day, people remember me more than any guys from that season. It made me really learn not to take things for granted and other things. Plus, it got me global fame and got me to travel the world fighting all sorts of competition. It has made me into the man I am today.”

Taylor has trekked all around the globe in keeping his MMA dreams alive. He’s fought six times in Canada, and had mixed results in high-profile clashes with Thales Leites (first-round submission loss), Tom Watson (unanimous decision win), and Denis Kang (first round submission victory).

He’s fought five times in Australia including a loss to Hector Lombard (second-round submission) and a title-bout decision win over Kendall Grove.

Taylor has had his passport stamped in Argentina, Wales, Ireland, Bahrain, Poland, Panama, Japan, and Mexico. His most-recent impressive win came with a grinding verdict over Elvis Mutapcic.

Currently in the midst of a three-fight skid, Taylor will look to get back to winning ways on August 1st when he takes on undefeated hot prospect Nick Barnes on the Smash Global card at the Hard Rock Hotel in San Diego.

“I’ve been here before and I will bounce back even better. I will not be stopped,” said Taylor, who has greatly benefited from the bigger paychecks his worldwide journeys from brought him. As of late, I’m just learning lessons but I will come back. I believe that what goes back will be launched forward.”

Taylor aims to stay on the right path. Anchoring that mission are his sons Alexander and Nikolaus.

“Meditating, training, and my children keep me on my quest,” said Taylor. “I stay busy and focus on the moment, the goals I have, and spending time with my children. “My kids play a big role in me being a great role model for them and to be the best possible person and fighter I can be.”

‘Money’s money is on Alvey: Jesse Taylor’s training partners at Team Quest in Temecula, California, include MMA legend Dan Henderson and surging talent ‘Smilen’ Sam Alvey. Taylor is a big believer in Alvey, who was also a TUF competitor and is now one of the UFC’s most popular fighters.

“I think Sam can go very far,” Taylor suggested. “He’s a great guy and very capable. He’s been working on his wrestling with me a lot and is very resilient and tough. On any given day he could become UFC champ.”

About The Author

Scott Zerr
Staff Writer

Scott joins The MMA Corner having spent the last 14 years in mixed martial arts as Director of Media & Fighter Relations for the Maximum Fighting Championship. He will provide The MMA Corner with insight on breaking news in the sport, plus an insider's perspective on business developments, matchmaking, fighter signings, and much more. In addition to his longtime work in MMA, Scott was a sports reporter before moving into media relations and marketing. After growing up and working in Edmonton, Alberta, Scott has since moved to Bakersfield, California to be with his wife Christina (an avid fight fan, thank goodness) and kids.