It’s gonna seem like I’m complaining a lot this week. But it is what it is.

It’s a strange experience being on TUF, as you know. You are immediately thrown into a training regimen that is unfamiliar, working with coaches and training partners that don’t know you or how you operate, or the signs to look for if you are having a bad day and just need a pick-me-up or whatever. So it must be nice, right? To have your friends, training partners and coaches on TUF. Both Chris Holdsworth and Juliana Pena had that—people that they were comfortable with training-wise to be there on that crazy journey.

I stated in last week’s blog how bad I felt for Sarah Moras, kinda getting lost in the shuffle of all the drama. It’s a stressful state to be in, constantly on the verge of combat. And Sarah had just fought. And had to fight again right away. None of her coaches or regular friends there. Being lost in the shuffle of Juliana and Miesha Tate being friends. And I’m not bagging on Miesha for that happening. It will happen naturally just because that’s how the circumstances were. But yeah, must be nice…

So the joke in the house after my fight was that I was, in fact, the most hated person there. Not because of the same reasons all of you guys hated me, but because I didn’t shut Juliana up when I should have so we all had to put up with her. Sorry guys. I know I will get a lot of heat about all that, but in a house full of 15 other people with an opinion, how likely is it that the 14 are wrong and the one is right? Seriously, Juliana fights her balls off in the cage, but for whatever reason, in that environment, she got on all our nerves. She’s a head case. You see her in practice wanting all the attention and not being understanding of the fact that both people should get time.

This is another problem we didn’t have on Team Rousey. Davey Grant and Anthony Gutierrez got matched up, and all the coaches said they were going to coach them both during practice, but that they would have to find their own corners. No problems hanging out or training together.

In the days leading to the fight, Juliana would be less and less friendly to Sarah, who had hung out with her and been friends with her the entire time we were there. It’s crazy to me how non-understanding she was of how the coaches were going to talk to both of them. It makes sense, right? They had coached them this entire time. And they train together. And we are all adults, and this is a job afterall. Or maybe I just came from a time when the girls that were at the top of the sport were few and far between, and we were all friends. All fighting each other at the same time. I mean, I told you in the first blog, Tara LaRosa is one of my closest friends in the sport, and we beat the snot out of each other, no biggie. But Juliana was a head case, really. Mad at the coaches, mad at all of us. It didn’t make sense.

Raquel Pennington was a lot more upset about all the noise Juliana would make than they even showed on the episode. I remember her talking about it during “Late Night Club.” And things like that are going to happen. There’s 16 of us living all over each other’s space and lives. But when things are brought up, the fact that Juliana would never take responsibility for those things is what was ultimately annoying, I think. She just didn’t think anything she did was wrong or annoying or whatever, and thought everyone else in the house should just get over it. I guess we are all “dumb broads” and “brats” and even Roxanne Modafferi is “boojie” for trying to make her realize it after already trying to tell her nicely. (Seriously, hate us all you want, but don’t knock on Rox. Like, seriously.)

“Cheesecake” had beaten Juliana once before. And Juliana getting on everyone’s nerves in the house, we were all pulling for Sarah. Looking back and watching the episode, I wonder if the pressure of all of us pulling for her didn’t affect her mentally.

Ronda Rousey came over one night and made all our shirts “Rondafied.” She started off by saying she was going to show us how, but we basically just all went and picked out a shirt and then lined up and let her make our shirts look more awesome. She did it for everyone. She even asked where Rox and Juliana were. Rox just wasn’t into wearing her shirts like that, but really, Juliana didn’t hang around us ever. It’s sort of a bummer, because one of the best things I took from my experience on TUF was the friendships that I made, the deeper bonds that were built simply from this shared experience. One of the best things from the entire ordeal is the fact that I can call any of my homies from the show up right now and they will answer. If I am in the same town for any amount of time, they will more than likely find time to meet up to train or even just hang. They are the main reason I am glad I went through it and don’t regret my time spent. I feel like she missed out on a good portion of the entire experience. The best portion.

I really do think deep down in there, Juliana is a good person. And she can fight. Skill or not, brawling, whatever, she fights her ass off. Fights for her life. And for whatever reason, it was her time. She showed up at just the right time, when the rest of us that fought her didn’t. Props to her. Pulling off a huge upset, avenging a loss and landing a spot in the finale. I can stomp my feet and complain all I want, but all that really matters at the end of the day is that she won when she was supposed to.

A bible verse really sticks out to me that I feel really pertains to this:

“I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.” – Ecc. 9:11

Anyone, no matter how much the underdog, can win on any given day. And that is why it’s so important to fight every single second, even if you are “supposed” to lose. Hell, even if you are “supposed” to win. In this sport, more than any other sport, the best person does not always win. But in that moment, on that day, that person happens to be the best. Oftentimes, it can’t be explained. And unfortunately, there are more “experts” in this sport than any other as well. All Sarah and I can do—all any of us can do—is know that we have great things in store. That our skill will take us so much further than anyone else but ourselves could imagine. Sarah will get a shot. Same as me. We’ll be there. I’ll be there.

And the first order of business after I take over the world: abolishing mornings. Yuck.

Photo: Shayna Baszler (L) battles at Invicta 3 (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

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.

  • Always really enjoy these blogs. Can’t wait until Shayna fights on the finale!

    • wjd

      This. Shayna is a great writer. These blogs have shown that, much as I suspected, things in the house weren’t being portrayed with perfect accuracy. I can see what people are saying about Julianna. She isn’t an asshole, but she isn’t likeable either. I hope Raquel or Jessica (whoever wins the semi-final) beats her when the finale comes. I also hope Shayna’s in the finale, she deserves a spot in the UFC way more then Rosi Sexton, Alexandra Albu, Julie Kedzie, Amanda Nunes, or that dutch fighter whose name I can’t spell and am too lazy to look up. I get this sad feeling that they just aren’t taking women’s fights seriously in the UFC when they don’t have all the top ten fighters but they’re letting no-name 1-0 fighters like Albu in because she’s attractive. Personally, I’d like to see Baszler vs. Carmouche.

    • lizzybet1

      Beautifully said. Your blog really has shown what a great observer you are, of people and situations but also what a great writer. Will miss reading these as the show comes to its close. Nice work Shayna.

  • Michelle

    love these blogs. well said.

  • Michele gutierrez

    Shayner wise words as usual . You are a fighter a good person and now an awesome writer . Much respect as usual

  • pegson

    another good read

  • kgfighter

    i hope you keep this up after the show ends.your a very good writer and i like your perspective on things.thanks again.

  • I just found this blog, very cool.. I have watched TUF since like the 3rd season or so, this season has been great… and not to de value the guys, but the women have gotten most of the attention, on camera anyway.. The guys have fought hard, but the ladies go in there and wreck each other for 15minutes straight, or less depending…

  • Luck818

    Really, all I keep hearing from Shayna is how great she is and how she should have won her fight against Julie. YOU LOST Shayna! Maybe you aren’t as good as you think? I happen to think you are the annoying one, along with that josh dude and especially Louis. I hope you’re the one who loses if you should be so lucky to fight in the UFC again…..Now do you see how bad it sounds to talk such crap about people?

    • ucitelica

      Is that you Julianna writing under the moniker of Luck 818? How funny and juvenile – just like you.

      • darbycrash81

        Is that you louis wriiting under the moniker ucitel..(stupidest user name ever)
        being a jackass and making wrong fight predictions as usual. who dismisses julianna skills (2-0 so far) while not seeing the lack of skills in his game (0-2)

  • Alexa

    It’s funny how Juliana could annoy all the other people in the house. Bunch of cry babies.

    I wonder if Shayna finished eating the humble pie that Juliana served her. Will she say again that someone doesn’t belong in the same righ as her?

  • ucitelica

    I suppose if you put a rabid dog in a cage – the odds are it would win.

  • MMAFan

    I really do think deep down in there, Juliana is a good person

    Awww, how condescending of you Shayna.

    You say Juliana fights for her life. What about you? Didn’t you say you wanted to prove how good you were? You did have strong motivations to go and put up a great performance against Juliana but you lost, and came with lame excuses. You are a sore loser.

  • darbycrash81

    Shayna you make excuses for everyones performance except juli and chris. How do you think juli felt sensing the hate from everyone in the house, watching her own team-mates openly root against her. You honestly think that it didnt effect her mental well being? The difference is she managed to keep it together and take care of business. That said i hope you get a second chance to prove yourself at the finales. And of all the fighters blogs yours is the best written and most insightful.

  • Dean

    Awesome Blog! To the point, from the heart and sincere.
    I felt bad for Sarah M. I think she would have been even better prepared if she had the same amount of training time Juliana got with the “coaches”, people don’t see that it’s a natural reaction when one gets special attention in a group, the group get’s divided (maybe it didn’t show it on tv or maybe they didn’t assign other coaches to work with the rest of the group during training when Tate was so immersed with Juliana and the other guy but what little segment they showed, it was obvious the group saw it clearly what was up) as a leader, teacher, trainer, coach. One has to remember you’re working with or on people who is looking to you for direction, advice, to be better mentally, physically, emotionally, psychologically. I’ve been in that spot before, when you’re left out in the cold and the other is being showered with warmth and attention, so I think team Tate’s group had good hearts and they just saw what was not fair.