MIKE DOLCE: WHAT IS AN ULTIMATE FIGHTER?
Thursday, June 05, 2008 - by Mike Dolce for MMAWeekly.com
Mike Dolce’s Ultimate Fighter 7 Blog: Week 10
First off, allow me to apologize for not submitting last week’s blog. I love writing this piece and was personally disappointed in not being able to fulfill my weekly commitment to you and to this web site, BUT (there’s always a BUT isn’t there?) I truly have a good reason.
You see, I’m currently training in the mountains of Big Bear Lake, Calif. with the UFC light heavyweight champion of the world, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. And, as well equipped as Big Bear is for helping athletes prepare for major sporting events, it is poorly equipped for out-of-towners who are accustomed to “fancy” cable television and even fancier high-speed Internet access. I was simply unable to watch the show until this Monday when my good friends at Spike TV were able to rush me out a copy.
Briefly, last week’s episode was pretty much just about the fights, which were comprised of Team Forrest versus Team Forrest in a double feature. Dante Rivera was defeated by Jesse Taylor and Matt Brown was defeated by Amir Sadollah.
For some on Team Rampage, these fights were anti-climactic, as there was not a vested interest in the outcome. But not for me.
I was honored to be asked by both Dante and Matt to corner them for their bouts. I have said this before, but when one of your peers asks you to step into battle with them, there is no higher compliment and thus far, I have cornered every single fight on “The Ultimate Fighter 7,” even when my own “team” was not fighting. This fact makes me very proud.
Moving on to this week’s episode, what can I say?
At the risk of pissing a bunch of people off, I’m going to tell you.
Personally, I knew something was seriously wrong with this production when, as a sequestered, professional athlete in the midst of a major sporting event, I could not obtain a free range chicken breast for almost 48 hours of repeated requests, but a bottle of tequila, a half rack of beer and a funnel could be delivered in twenty minutes at any time of day or night with a single belligerent phone call. All under the guise of trying to determine just who was The Ultimate Fighter…the epitome of professional athletics.
To me The Ultimate Fighter is a term that should be reserved for a gentleman-athlete who stands above his peers, not just in his ability to perform within the confines of competition, but within the confines of civility and life.
Call me an old-fashioned square but, “It is the Ul-ti-mate,” right?
That is a very definite term with no room for flaws, inside the cage or not.
Is Spike TV, The Ultimate Fighter, the UFC or our rapidly growing fan-base really interested in finding the next great representative that can cause the most destruction to a rented home while getting drunk, pissing his pants and sacrificing his dignity?
I don’t think so.
Are they looking for a house full of socially inept, moral delinquents that couldn’t channel their mental energy into anything more meaningful than a wall mural of penises and vaginas?
What was once a ground-breaking format that introduced the world to the most exciting combat sport in history, has slowly degraded into a low-brow compilation of alcohol induced, frat boy antics that could serve to destroy the very concept it was intended to create.
I have an idea.
Take the alcohol out of the house that is supposed to be filled with the next generation of professional athletes. Fine the athletes for any destruction of property or lewd conduct, or better yet, send them home. Force the athletes to treat the set, the production and the sport with the respect it deserves and then see who makes it through.
In essence, turn this into a test of mental and physical fortitude while bringing out the best in each competitor. Do not coerce the worst.
It still baffles me that I could not bring a Bible onto the set with me. Not even for fifteen minutes on a Sunday morning. But, if I wanted, I could consume as much top-shelf alcohol as I wanted, for free, twenty-four hours a day?
As a testament to that option, would you believe that some of the cast members showed up to the fights drunk? Some made it a point to get trashed just to go to the weigh-ins and fight-picks? Would you even believe that some of my fellow cast members showed up to team practices too drunk to participate in any meaningful capacity other than captivating the cameras with their slurred speech and bouts of random uselessness?
Believe it friends, because it happened, often!
Funny as it might have seemed in their minds at that time, I found that type of behavior to be disrespectful. It made a mockery of the UFC and every athlete that has sacrificed so much for an outside chance of making it as a professional mixed martial artist. Privately, each showed remorse for their behavior. Unfortunately, not so much for their own self-respect, but with concern for, “How do you think that will look on TV?”
“Why the heck are these guys even here?” I thought to myself daily.
Though, I didn’t have to think long. Most of these guys were here simply to be on television.
I must have forgotten that. I was just there to become “The Ultimate Fighter.”
Mike Dolce is a cast member of Spike TV’s “The Ultimate Fighter 7.” He is also a strength coach, sports nutritionist and author of “The DOLCE Diet: Living Lean.” For more information go to his website Mike Dolce