"It was an absolute nightmare, I wanted to sue for psychological damage, I wasn't the same person," Ricci said. "I actually thought I had a case, ‘I'm not the same person, I can do this and win.' But, I felt like don't get me wrong, I knew what I was getting into I knew how I was going to react. Even some of the producers in the house toward the end were like, ‘Geez, you're the most institutionalized fighter we've ever seen, we've done 11 seasons and we've never seen anyone like you, you're like a robot now.'
"I was taken away from my family and from my friends and from life, you literally, you vanish, you're gone, there's no sign of you whatsoever," Ricci continued. "Its almost like to everyone in the outside world you're dead and you're gone. There's no sign of you whatsoever. And, things like for instance I didn't know what was happening with my people on the outside, it was upsetting, people had gotten new jobs or changed their hairstyle or experienced different things I missed out on, it iust upset me. It still upsets me to this day."
Ricci has watched himself on TUF as the season has aired, but he says doing so is a difficult task.
"I watch it and it brings back a lot of emotions for me," he said. "It's hard to watch, when I watch it I don't even realize it, five minutes into the show I'm frowning and my eyebrows get lower and I have this look on my face and I'm getting right back where I was just by watching. But, and also with my situation it was even harder, I was the smallest guy in the house, lightweight, looking the way I look and being quiet it just kind of made me a target for the jokes in the house and being picked on and whatnot. It made my situation a lot harder."
All of this begs the question: Why did Ricci join TUF in the first place? According to the fighter, in the long run, the opportunity to gain the same benefits so many other TUF winners have gained over the years outweighed the negatives.
"I feel it was an opportunity for me to get ahead and go faster than I would have by the usual route, fighting your way up on undercards," Ricci said. "I know that it was a lot of work that was going to be crammed into a short amount of time, but if I looked good and was successful ... I feel like I brought in just as much exposure and gone as far forward fighting four fights for TUF than I would have four fights outside of TUF. But the time status is those four fights could be in a year, and I did it all in the span of a summer. That's why I did it."