THUG NASTY - THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER: SEASON 27 BLOG - EPISODE 4

I know a lot of you have been waiting for this episode and so have I.  I couldn’t wait to see it and give all of you the inside scoop.  This whole experience has been awesome so far and I’m happy and grateful for everything and everyone.  Tonight was the first time my mom has watched a full fight of mine.    

Now let’s talk about what happened in episode 4…

LUIS PENA POST FIGHT

We were pretty pumped up after his fight and being up 3-0, but again, we expected this.  When DC said he wasn’t going to be there for my fight, it didn’t really affect us that much.  We love DC, but when he left it didn’t phase us one bit because we still had Cain (Velasquez) and the rest of the coaching staff there.  Bob Cook was probably my favorite coach.  They call him ‘Crazy Bob Cook.’  He is more of a striking coach, but because the whole coaching staff was there we were cool with everything and Bob helped me out a lot. 

PENA’S INJURY

We felt bad for him.  It sucked because at the time, that was the best fight of the season so far.  Two days before he went to the doctor, he was hopping around because he didn’t have crutches.  It took him like three days to get crutches and he was hobbling around with a pimp walk. 

The meeting that he called after he got the news threw me off guard.  I’m not going to lie, it really did.  I was just chilling and he came in the house very intense.  It sucks and everyone knew where he was coming from. 

JAY CUCCINIELLO

They spent a lot of time talking about both of us since we were fighting next.  I love Jay.  He’s a good dude and was one of the toughest guys there.  I got along with him in the house.  If he were in town, I would definitely let him stay with me for as long as he wanted.  It would be awesome to train with him. 

THE BOW

It was my first night in the house when this took place.  Remember, we were locked up in the Palace Station hotel for two weeks and I was bored out of my mind.  So when I got out of that hotel, I decided to make a bow and arrow.  I stayed up all night making that thing.  I probably started making it around 7 pm and it was about five in the morning before I went to bed.  One of the producers of the show (Joey) is the ring announcer from the World Series of Fighting and we already knew each other and he said that I was crazy and needed to go to bed. I stay up until three or four every night though so it was no big deal to me. 

I’ve been making bows since I was a kid.  The guys all thought it was cool and took turns shooting it.  But what they didn’t show was when I first made it, I also made an arrow with a sharp edge.  When I was ready to start shooting it, I woke up JoJo and showed him the arrow and told him ‘this will f someone up bro’ and the producers could hear me.  They have staff there 24/7 and we were always wearing microphones so they could hear everything we said.  Right when I was about to shoot the bow and arrow, they (the staff) all surrounded me.  They told me that because of  liability purposes, I couldn’t have it.  When the cameramen and everyone walked off, I threw it in the bushes and there were like a hundred bushes in the yard, it was huge.  When they asked for it, I told them that I threw it over the wall and the producer didn’t believe me and knew I hid it in the bushes and I told him ‘Good luck finding it.’  I then said, ‘You filmed me making that bow all night and now you want to take it away from me!’ 

I ended up making a compromise and the rule was that I couldn’t use my sharpened arrow and had to use an arrow with a dull tip.   What I ended up doing was using a coin, dental floss and duct tape at the end of the arrow to make it dull and just shot that.  But for insurance and liability purposes I could not shoot the pointed one because it could hurt someone.  And like I said, there was a lot of staff there so we just made the compromise.  The guys still got a kick out of it. 

HOME VIDEO

They showed both me and Jay and what things are like in our everyday lives back home.  What they did was sent us a flip camera in the mail and said we had to film ourselves with at least two hours of footage and send it back to them.  I only used 20 minutes of footage and they pretty much used all of the footage that I shot.  I gave them so little that they used every video that I sent.  It’s not my job to video, it’s theirs, so I gave them 20 minutes.  Haha

MY DREAM

I had no idea where that dream came from.  But I decided to tell my teammates about it.  Duran thought my dream was funky and the others were like ‘What the hell?’

I feel that dreams have meaning and in this dream I was in my back yard of my childhood home at the house that I grew up in.  I think it had some type of meaning but I didn’t know what that meaning was.  We lived on a steep hill and at the bottom there was this stream and when it rained it flooded.  In this dream the ground was flooded everywhere and that was the most squirrels that I have ever seen.  And when the deer stepped in front of me I just grabbed it and started to pet it.  Maybe the dream was telling me that I was getting homesick or something like that.  But the guys got a kick out of it. 

MY FIGHT PREP

The game plan was to punch as much as I had to until I could go in for the takedown and that is what we worked on at practice.  They showed me in the cage preparing for the fight, but I wasn’t in there the whole time.  We practiced with team and did everything that they did, but they would pull you aside and work with you individually some too.  You just got more attention when you have a fight, but you still do the same thing as everyone else. 

WEIGH-IN

This weight cut was my best one ever and I woke up on weight.  I think it had a lot to do with me eating the best type of food because we could order whatever we wanted.  There was a sauna at the house and I was planning on using it and cutting the last couple of pounds the morning of the weigh-in, but I couldn’t sleep at all and was tossing and turning all night and ended up losing four pounds overnight, which is unusual.  So I woke up on weight and didn’t have to cut.        

The weigh-in was at noon.  I got there at 10 and just chilled.  After weigh-ins, they would bring us whatever we wanted.  I got Olive Garden.  Team DC practiced right after we weighed in and I stayed and watched. 

FIGHT DAY

We are totally isolated from society when we filmed the show.  No television, no radio, no cell phones, nothing.  Some of guys had watches with an alarm on it to wake them up, but the rest of us would just tell someone a time to wake us up since they had staff there 24/7 and we couldn’t use an alarm on a cell phone or radio. 

On fight day I asked that they wake me up at 7 am.  Cain told me to run when I wake up and that will get my heart rate up, will open up my lungs and get my adrenaline going.  He also said it would help avoid an adrenaline dump in the fight.  So I woke up and ran for about 15 minutes around the yard since we couldn’t leave the property.   I felt really good. 

The van picked me up at 10 am.  We always rode to our fights alone.  It was the fighter, the driver and two cameramen in the van.  They showed me not talking in the van, but once they got their footage, I talked to one of the camera guys (Jose) about fishing the whole way there.

So I get to the TUF Gym at around 10:30 and this was the worst pre-fight preparation that I have ever been a part of.  Once I got there it was rushed and terrible, the worst ever!  My coaches were running late and behind schedule and when the commission came in and said I have 15 minutes until fight time, I only had one hand wrapped and didn’t get to do a full warm up.  That is the first time it was that bad and I had no time to get ready.    

Because we were rushed, my hands were taped super tight.  Because of my adrenaline running, it didn’t affect me during the fight, but afterwards when they took my gloves off, my hands were all purple from loss of circulation and I couldn’t open and close them.  No proper warm up, not enough stretching, hands wrapped too tight, it was awful.  But I rolled with the punches and couldn’t let it affect me.    

When Dana (White) peaked his head in the door and said ‘Good luck,’ that was the first time that I ever talked to him.  He’s always so busy. 

Anyone who has followed my fight career knows that I always wear and fight in camo.  My coaches surprised me with the camo bandana and I thought it was AWESOME!  After seeing me always wear my jacket, they put two and two together and felt I needed to walk out in that.  If not for that, that would have been the first time that I ever walked out without any camo.  I was soooo happy and shocked. 

Duran had a great grandpa from Jonesboro, Arkansas and has ties there so he was yelling ‘ARKANSAS BLOOD’ as I was walking out and that pumped me up.      

THUG NASTY VS JAY CUCCINIELLO

I executed the game plan and was able to punch my way in to get the takedown.  I messed up on one of the takedowns and that bothered me some, but overall I was pleased with my performance.  I really wanted to finish him and get the $2,500 bonus.  I messed up on the grip on the arm bar.  Hats off to Jay, he’s a super tough dude. 

In between rounds I actually talked to Dana for the second time.  I turned and said to him “Hey, you see that s---?’ and he started laughing. 

So now we are up 4-0, but none of us are surprised.    

POST FIGHT

After the fight I was getting my medical attention.  I got cut above my eye in the fight, so afterwards they immediately took me to the doctor to get stitched up.  The doctor was awesome and did a great job on me. But because of that, I missed everything.  I didn’t know Dulani got into it with my team and I didn’t attend the fight announcement for the fifth fight.  I was happy to see that Luis talked to Dana.  He saw an opportunity and took advantage of it.  I’m happy for him.      

So we are up 4-0 and two featherweights from Team DC have advanced to the semi-finals.  Stay tuned, there is still a lot of season left and things start to get interesting!

- Thug Nasty