TUF 26 blog episode 5: Maia vs Sarj

Saturday, July 29th

I was told that the teams would switch times half way through the season. I’ve been counting down the days! Training during mealtimes sucks… 12:00-2, and then 6:00-8. The other team got 10 AM -12, and 4 PM-6. When am I supposed to eat? And we sat around all morning, when I was most energetic, and then got home late, when my body shut down so I had crappy evening sessions. My other teammates appeared to be of the same mindset, but then when the staff said that we hade a choice and do we want to switch? Nobody seemed to jump at it. Huh? I was so confused and upset. Maybe nobody wanted to rock the boat? I was DYING to switch, but the team was like, “Whatever you guys want.”

Yesterday at our morning first practice a guy came to balloon our noses. It’s some treatment that’s supposed to help clear out blockages and help fighters breath. I do have a deviated septum so I can’t breathe out of my right nostril, actually. It happened during my fight in the last Ultimate Fighter season 18. However, I heard that the procedure can cause bleeding and you have to get it done again in the future, so I skipped it. They had come to Syndicate once. I didn’t want a ruptured nose in the middle of my fight camp.

I was the only one who seemed to feel this way, though. They were doing it in our training time, so I thought somebody would also opt out and join me to train, but no. ~_~;; I wanted to train! People kept bringing in guests during our training time. I was really annoyed, actually, but the procedure helped some people, so that’s good. It was very nice of whoever arranged it to want to help us fighters. Everything done was for our benefit. I just wished they did it in the morning at the house when we had nothing else to do but clean the kitchen.

I started doing physical training stuff like jumps onto the cage platform, an ab routine, squats, etc. :/ We finally started half an hour later. Muay Thai specialist Phil Nurse was visiting. I really liked his combos! We did jumping lows, and a pendulum-style kick with a check jab. I got to work with Karine. I didn’t really like the “batting the hand away” thing he taught, but my striking style is avoidance and blocking, rather than parrying, so it makes sense I didn’t take to it. Justin came over and said he thinks the combos will fit into my game.

Once drilling was over, the coaches started doing game-planning practice with Maia and Gillian who were fighting soon. I sparred with Rachael a bit. She wanted to kickbox with small gloves, while I wanted to either grapple with small gloves or kickbox with big gloves, so we only just did a little bit.

I was really anxious that I didn’t work hard enough that class, so I asked Karine to help shark-tank me. I would flurry on the bag really hard for 30 seconds, and then she would take me down and hold me for 1 minute and I’d have to get away. Then 30 seconds striking, repeat etc.

We did one round, and just as we were starting the second, one of the staff came over and said, “NO CONTACT FOR TWO WEEKS!” and literally pulled her off me. GRRRR I was so pissed off. I don’t get pissed off easily. Unfairness, children being harmed, my name being spelled wrong, and not being able to train how I want are pretty much the only things.

Later on, the coaches had a meeting and said that they preferred to switch training times. Their living schedules were messed up, too, and they were tired as well. I was SO relieved.

Sunday July 30th

I met Maia for the first time on the show and we made friends. From the very beginning, we enjoyed doing jiujitsu together. Actually on the first day we couldn’t go to the gym, we did jiujitsu in the den on the carpet! I knew I was fighting so she said she’d help me prepare. I love Maia! She’s so sweet and thoughtful. I hadn’t even realized her background was boxing since she was so slick on the ground.

Sarj just barely made weight. Maia made it no problem. Maia was worrying about Sarj, but I tried to tell her not to worry about it, and just focus on herself. It’s hard, though, because if Sarj couldn’t make it, she would be sent home and there would be no fight. I like Sarj and wanted to see if there was anything I could do to help or advise, but obviously I couldn’t do that for someone on the other team. Plus I wanted Maia to win.

As the time got closer to go to the weighins, I heard someone praying.

“Dang,” I thought. “Are they asking God to help them now? I bet she stopped sweating.” I felt sympathetic because I know how much weight cutting sucks, but I’ve never gotten to the point where my body stopped being able to lose fluids. That’s super extreme. But hey, at the end of the day, if you can’t make the weight, you don’t belong in that weight division.

In the fight, the weight-cut didn’t seem to affect Sarj. She still seemed sharp. Maia’s striking looked sharp and on point, too! In the end, Sarj managed to get the take down and get a submission. Maia used to fight at 115, and Sarj, at 135. That’s a three weight-class difference! And Sarj is really skilled on top of that, being a decorated black belt. Maia’s loss effected me deeply. I really made friends with Maia and I was so bummed out for a days. Even one of the camera guys, who’s not supposed to talk to us anymore than we can talk to them, whispered, “Are you okay?” to me. I know there’s nothing we can do or say to make the pain of a loss any better, only refocus the mind and cover that negative experience with positive experiences in the present. Maia has been such a great support and friend to me. I hoped I could do the same for her. She didn’t really get to show all that she could do and all her potential in this fight. I can’t wait to see her next match, whenever that may be!

This episode showed how Lauren felt like Eddie was giving her a hard time for not coming to practice. Is that an old school mentality? Even when I won my fight with zero injuries, my coaches were telling me to take a day off. Fighters need to! We put our bodies through so much stress and trauma with not only cutting weight (starving and dehydrating yourself unnaturally), and then the emotional stress taxes you FOR DAYS, and then physically beating on and getting beat on somebody using 100% of effort and physical ability? And then if you lose, you are devastated and thrown, a flaming ball of misery, into the emotional pits of Hell?

It’s not just “oh you lost the game, don’t worry, you’ll live and learn and try against next time!” No. People who say that make me upset. Please try to understand- fighting is our career and livelihood. Winning or losing means our next job is on the line. What if you worked for 6 months and didn’t know what day you would actually get paid, or if you’d make your full salary or half? If the boss likes you maybe he’ll let you work another six months but then still might not pay you? That’s the uncertainty of a fighter.

ooookay sorry that turned into a rant about my pet peeve. lol

Anyway, fighters need to rest and are notorious for not resting enough, especially after getting hit in the head. Rest that brain! I usually try and take more time off if I’m at home (meaning 5 days haha), but in the Ultimate Fighter house, there are only eight girls on the team, so if somebody is out, somebody doesn’t have a partner.

But you know what? Too bad! I remember on the last season of the Ultimate Fighter, I got slammed on my head, right? I got a concussion. I was feeling dizzy and unwell, but I was pressured by the coaches to ‘get back in the gym and help everyone train.’ In their defense, they didn’t know I had a concussion. A few weeks after that, I got an MRI and found out the news. My back, shoulders, and neck were effed up, but I still let Julianna practice guillotining me a billion times. SO when she beat Sarah Moras in the finals by THAT guillotine, you guys have no idea what ecstatic joy I felt! I was like, ‘YEAH! YEEEEEEAH! F YEAAAAAHHHHHHH!”

So I really like Eddie a lot and respect his thought process, but I totally sympathized with Lauren on this one. Sometimes you have to suck up your feelings and do stuff, but happy fighters fight well, so emotions do play a part. Being made to feel confident, cared about, etc, play a role in performance.

Shout out and many thanks to my sponsor Remove it Restoration for always supporting me. 🙂 graffitti removal, glass repair, restoration company operating out of southern Cali!