So far, so good

I have been a little down on The Ultimate Fighter since, say, the fifth season. The show has simply felt like one long rerun: same house, same personalities, same format, same jerseys, etc.

Well, now here comes a sneak peak at the upcoming ninth season, and I must say, this feels like a breathe of fresh air.

You see, you don’t have to tweak this format all that much. All it takes is a theme (USA vs. UK), a new location (Wolfslair Gym) and new jerseys (football). Ok, maybe I don’t care all that much about the jerseys, but I do think it was interesting to see both Rich Franklin and Dan Henderson at the top of the show before they competed in their TUF eliminator fight at UFC 93 (won by Hendo).

Hopefully, they don’t simply fly the eight UK winners back to Vegas and everything returns to status quo.

MMARated Radio: Patrick Schultz Reflects On His TUF Chances

The TUF 7 cast member talks about his experiences on the show

patrick_schultz-025.jpgEvery season of the “The Ultimate Fighter” always seems to have a happy-go-lucky guy who comes off as just feeling blessed to be on the show. There’s also usually a guy who gets a second chance to chase his dream due to an injury or some kind of controversy.

Just so happens that Patrick Schultz played the role of both those guys on TUF 7. The Massachusetts-native lost a prelim bout to Luke Zachrich but after Paul Bradley’s herpes epidemic, he was quickly brought back because no one wanted to see Rampage get the “heeby jeebies.”

So, there was Schultz with a golden opportunity to advance to the quarter-finals with only Cale Yarborough standing in his way. That was also his biggest problem; Cale Yarborough was in standing in his way.

Schultz lost a tough two-round affair via decision with some even thinking the bout should have gone three rounds (I, on the other hand, thought the judges made the right call).

MMARated Radio spoke to the new father (his wife gave birth to a baby girl an hour before the interview!) about his experience on the show and a few other issues:

* Finding out that he had to fight his way into the house

* What happened after the loss to Zachrich?

* How did he find out that he was back on the show?

* The reception he received from his teammates when he returned

* Training with Rampage

* What went wrong against Yarborough

* The injury he sustained in the bout

Nice to hear how genuinely happy and excited Schultz was to be on the show.

LISTEN TO THE PATRICK SCHULTZ INTERVIEW HERE 

MMARated Radio: Gerald Harris Wishes He Could Go Back

The TUF 7 fighter reflects on last night’s loss

gerald_harris_tuf_7-0060.jpgIt’s been a fairly unpredictable season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” thus far, but no result was more unexpected (in my mind at least) than Amir Sadollah’s victory over Gerald Harris on last night’s episode of the show.

Sadollah seemed to be lacking confidence going into the bout while Harris, well, he appeared to be feeling quite good about the whole situation. Oh, how we were wrong…

Of course, as is the case in many MMA fights, things can change in a flash and that’s kind of what happened when Sadollah nailed the former IFL fighter with a nice knee to the head.

Following the loss, Harris showed a ton of emotion and, really, who can blame him? He lost to a guy with an 0-0 record (1-0 if you consider the qualifying match to get on the show).

On a side note, how weird would it be if Sadollah makes it all the way to the finals with a 0-0 record? That would certainly be a first.

Anyways, we caught up with Harris to talk about last night’s fight and some other stuff:

* What was it like watching the fight with all his family and friends knowing that he was about to lose (also chronicled on Cagepotato.com quite well).

* Their reaction after the loss

* His feelings after the loss

* In hindsight, should he have done anything differently in the fight?

* Did he underestimate Amir?

* How hard was it to look at Amir at the house?

* His time in the IFL All that and much more from Harris…

LISTEN TO THE HARRIS INTERVIEW HERE 

MMARated Radio: The Misrepresentation of Jeremy May?

The TUF 7 cast member attempts to clear the air

jmpm.jpgIt wasn’t quite Gabe Ruedieger-esque but Jeremy May’s behavior on last week’s episode TUF 7 was quite the controversial one. Actually, maybe controversial isn’t the right word…annoying might be more accurate.

So, why did he pour lime juice in Matt Brown’s dip anyways? And why did the rest of the cast appear to be rooting against him?

We reached out to May to get some answers to these questions and the responses we got were pretty interesting.

For example, the guy we spoke to on the phone seemed completely different than the one portrayed on television. Now, that might have to do with the fact that he realized how poorly he came off on television and is now trying to change his persona but, regardless, it still seemed like a different guy.

Other topics we spoke to May about included:

– The mistakes he made against Matt Brown

– His lack of cardio in the fight

– The way he was portrayed on the show

– What prompted him to pour lime juice in Brown

– His thoughts on some of his cast members

– Did he enjoy the experience of being on a reality show?

– Was he happy with the coaching he received?

– How did he end up on the show in the first place?

LISTEN TO THE JEREMY MAY INTERVIEW HERE 

MMARated.com: A Tough Pill To Swallow For Luke Zachrich

The TUF 7 cast member reflects on last night’s loss

Luke Zachrich is coming off a disappointing, yet spirited, loss to Dan Cramer on last night’s edition of “The Ultimate Fighter” and I can’t help but feel a little bad for him a day later.

You see, Zachrich’s fight was nudged right after the whole Matt Brown-Jeremy May battle with little fanfare, hype or buildup. Now we probably won’t hear much about him for the rest of the show (unless, of course, he returns as an injury replacement which is quite possible).

Regardless, he was kind enough to sit down with us today and was quite honest and sincere throughout the interview. Highlights include:

* His thoughts on the fight

* His lack of conditioning in the fight

* Would he have done anything differently

* The way he was portrayed on the show

* The fact that his fight came right after the Brown-May bout

* Does he regret doing the show in the first place?

* Will we see him in the UFC following the conclusion of the show?

Again, Zachrich had some very interesting things to say about the whole TUF experience. Definitely worth checking out.

LISTEN TO THE LUKE ZACHRICH INTERVIEW AT MMARATED.COM

MMARated.com: TUF’s Matthew Riddle Interview

The TUF 7 cast member discusses his experience on the show

When I first saw Matthew “Chipper” Riddle crush Dan Simmler’s jaw on in the second episode of TUF 7, I quickly thought to myself: “That kid’s going far in this tournament.” I think it was a mix between the smug smile on his face and the excessive TV time he received in the following episode that truly made me feel like he would be a force to be reckoned with.

Shows how much I know as Riddle suffered a second round loss via armbar submission to Tim Credeur on last week’s episode of the show. I certainly didn’t see that one coming.

Is this the last time we’ll be seeing that kid who still lives at home with his mom and doesn’t have a driver’s license fight in the Octagon again? Something tells me no. In fact, Riddle even told us that he was one of the few cast members that will be fighting on the Finale in June. A win against his yet to be announced opponent will probably ensure a several fight stay in the UFC.

MMARated Radio caught up with the 21-year-old Riddle to talk about a whole host of subjects:

* His experience on the show
* Having to fight his way into the house
* Breaking Simmler’s jaw
* Has he seen him since?
* What went wrong against Credeur
* Rampage’s reaction after the fight
* Should he have done things a little differently?
* Where he is moving to improve his game
* Will he ever got a shot at Dante Rivera?

All that and more from the not-so-surprisingly chipper Matthew “Chipper” Riddle.

LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW AT MMARATED.COM 

Hightower Hopes For A Home In The UFC

Coming into the The Ultimate Fighter 6 it was crystal clear as to who the favorites and underdogs were. Phoenix, Arizona’s Richie Hightower was no doubt viewed as a long shot to win the reality show. So, it was kind of surprising to see Hightower make it to the quarterfinals of TUF 6 and then put up a good a strong fight against highly-favored George Sotiropoulos. While he ended up losing to the lanky Australian, Hightower gained a lot of respect for his showing against Sotiropoulos.

His mildly successful performance on the show led some to believe he would defeat Troy Mandaloniz at The Ultimate Fighter Finale last year (fine, it was last month but I love saying things like that after new year’s – call me old school).

Despite the loss (and brutal KO) Hightower still believes he has a spot with the king of MMA. Take a listen as he discusses his unlikely road to the UFC, his experience as a reality TV star and his future plans in the sport.


Richie Hightower – 1/2/07

A TUF Review & A WEC Preview

Another busy week for the Zuffa family as Saturday night they held the The Ultimate Fighter Finale on Spike TV and this Wednesday on Versus is another blockbuster World Extreme Cagefighting offering.

Guida vs. Huerta certainly lived up to the hype and while I presume a ton of MMA fans lost some coin as a result of the Guida Huerta victory no one lost more than Ryan Harkness of FightLinker.com. His extreme confidence in Guida failed to pay off as he was forced to live up (or is it live down?) to his highly-publicized bet with Kid Nate of bloodyelbow.com.

I reached out to Ryan to get his thoughts on the now-infamous bet, the TUF Finale and what can be done to revamp The Ultimate Fighter show, in general.

In addition, we also previewed the WEC card which showcases three title fights and one huge debut. I think this card has a solid shot at “show of the year” with Faber vs. Curran for the Featherweight title, Filho vs. Sonnen for the Middleweight belt and Marshall vs. ARIEL(!) Gandulla for the Light Heavyweight crown. Throw in the debuting Jens Pulver vs. Cub Swanson and I know what I’m doing this Wednesday night.

Below is our discussion.


Ryan Harkness – 12/10/07

(Can’t listen to the interview right now? Download this one and all of our great interviews by clicking on the iTunes or Odeo link at the top right of the page.)

Park Prognostication: The Ultimate Fighter Finale

After interviewing Andrei Arlovski’s better half, Patrycja Mikula, last week I realized that this girl really knows her UFC. So, I offered her a lucrative long-term deal to become The Park’s official Swami. I think this was a great move on my part.

Before every UFC show, Patrycja will make her picks and post them on this here site. I will also post mine, too. Who knows maybe the beast will finally outsmart the beauty.

I encourage everyone to write-in their own picks as well. At the end of the year the person with the most correct selections will win a special prize. Post yours in the comments section below. For the full card click here.

Patrycja’s Prognostication:
1. Roger Huerta
2. Tommy Speer
3. Jared Rollins
4. Geore Sotiropoulos
5. John Kolosci
6. Richie Hightower
7. Ben Saunders
8. Dorian Price
9. Paul Georgieff

JarryPark’s Picks:
1. Roger Huerta
2. Mac Danzig
3. Jared Rollins
4. George Sotiropoulos
5. Matt Arroyo
6. Troy Mandaloniz
7. Ben Saunders
8. Roman Mitichyan
9. Jonathan Goulet

Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments below. Good luck!

A TUF Night To Predict

Sure, it’s no Hatton-Mayweather but if you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to fill your appetite of combat sports tomorrow night you must check out the The Ultimate Fighter Finale on Spike TV (9 PM ET/PT). Guida vs. Huerta. Danzig vs. Speer. Some other filler matches include the return of Jonathan Goulet (Is it me or does Goulet seem out of place on this card? In any event, he needs a win ASAP so I guess he’ll take what he can get).

Anyhow, trying to predict Guida-Huerta is tough. I just believe that the UFC has too much invested in Roger “The Latin Sensation” Huerta to let him lose. No, the fight won’t be fixed but I have a feeling who Dana & Co. will be rooting for tomorrow night.

Danzig vs. Speer, on the other hand, seems a little more cut and dry. I haven’t seen anyone predict a Tommy Speer victory but, then again, no one even thought he would make it this far.

The official card:

Roger Huerta Vs. Clay Guida
Tommy Speer vs. Mac Danzig
Jared Rollins Vs. John Koppenhaver
Billy Miles vs. George Sotiropoulos
Matt Arroyo vs. John Kolosci
Troy Mandaloniz Vs. Richie Hightower
Ben Saunders vs. Dan Barrera
Roman Mitichyan Vs. Dorian Price
Paul Georgieff Vs. Jonathan Goulet

Below is audio from yesterday’s press conference which involved the likes of Roger Huerta, Clay Guida, Matt Hughes, Mac Danzig, Tommy Speer and Brian Diamond – Senior Vice President of Sports & Specials for Spike TV. Please excuse the semi-poor audio quality. The problem wasn’t on our end.


TUF 6 Finale Press Conference

Stay Tuned for The Park’s TUF predictions coming tomorrow.