TUF 11 Sherblog: It’s Not Always as It Seems

By Court McGee Apr 22, 2010
Everybody was now getting into the swing of practicing with new coaches, corners, and partners. Practices were pretty intense, except for the guys about to fight. They would lighten up in practice and cut weight. Everybody was a little nervous about getting hurt, so we were pushing it just enough to get a good workout and stay sharp.

There were a few people with nagging injuries, but it seemed as though none of them were really serious. Kyle Noke’s left leg was sore and he had a hard time in practice for a few days, but he jumped right back in.

Charlie Blanchard’s foot had been injured before he came to the house. He told us that he thought he might have broken it and that he wasn’t able to practice two weeks out from the show. He was definitely injured. He had a hard time shooting, sprawling, and using footwork for his standup. It felt as though he wasn’t 100 percent there because of the injury. He was definitely questioning his ability to compete at his best.

I noticed Tito’s team was constantly arguing. Jamie Yager got the reputation of being a thief. I didn’t personally see him take anything. He did tell me he took some of my hangers because he was out of them. I’m not sure if that was because he had more clothes than everybody or he just didn’t have as many hangers as everybody else. I don’t want to make him look like a bad guy, you know how it is. It’s not always as it seems. Jamie is actually a good dude, just loud and proud. Kyacey Uscola is also loud and proud.

On the less dramatic side of things, Chuck’s team had coach John Hackleman and fighter Rich Attonito’s senses of humor meshing. These two are funny on their own, but together -- even funnier. They would feed off each other’s sarcasm.

Although Rich had a good sense of humor, he’s very serious about his career and fighting. He’s 31 years old and the way he sees it, he’s got a short run at making it big. He is definitely talented. In practice, I noticed that he had good wrestling and was pretty heavy-handed. It just so happens that the boxing coach who was picked to be on the show was his boxing coach from home. They worked well together. As a matter of fact, the boxing coach, Howard Davis Jr., worked well with everybody. I noticed no matter what I was doing, Davis tried to get me to do my best. He was always asking, “Do you want to be a champion? You have to train like a champion, push it your hardest.”

I kept a journal the whole time I was there so I could write down all the good advice I was given. Howard Davis Jr. is a great coach, a great person, and now a good friend. He has the ability to get you to work your hardest, even on the sh---y days. I can see why Rich and Charlie liked him so much.

After the Rich Attonito-Kyacey Uscola fight, it was thought that Rich might have broken his hand. Kyacey was bummed that he lost and still wanted to fight. He was a little heated in the cage after the decision was made to disqualify him, but he calmed down later. Everybody thought it was a good decision, but the tension was a little high in the house for a few days, until it was Yager’s turn to fight. He got picked to fight Charlie Blanchard. Charlie had been asking the coaches if he could fight Yager since the teams were picked. Yager ended up beating Charlie.

Charlie said afterward that he failed to get the takedown and had re-injured his foot. So, when he had got hit and was down, he couldn’t get back up. I personally feel that his foot was legitimately injured, but I don’t think he went into the fight mentally 100 percent. He was absolutely devastated and moped around for days. He felt like he let the team, his family, and all of his friends down. It was hard to watch, but it gave me that much more of a drive to never give up.

In practice, Kyle Noke and Brad Tavares stuck together. Rich and Charlie stuck together, partly because they were already teammates at their home gym in Florida. Josh Bryant and I stuck together. He was a good partner, well-rounded and had a 10-0 professional record. Practices were pretty tough. Everybody was sore afterward, so I started ice-bathing in the freezing, cold pool for 12 minutes at a time. Josh would join me and it would become an everyday ritual. Chuck actually joined us once -- he’s a believer in ice-bathing.

Afterward, I would sit in the hot tub, then go eat with the team. Then we would hang out, bulls--- for a few minutes, have a cup of tea, then try and go to bed in the noisy house.
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