(EDITOR’S NOTE: Len Bentley files a weekly blog for MMADieHards.com and appears Thursdays on Punch Drunk Radio on the MMADieHards Radio Network)
My expectations coming into the TUF 13 house were through the roof.
When Brock Lesnar made me the first pick out of anybody, things were going according to plan. But it all began turning against me when my fight against Ryan McGillivray did not go my way and I did not get that third round to earn the win.
By Episode 6, things were getting ridiculous.
We knew there were four guys left who had not fought, and that meant those fights were going to happen and the wild cards would get picked. You saw me talking to Brock, and it looked like a no-brainer.
One of those wild card spots was mine.
Next thing I knew, I was in pain on the mat when my left knee popped. You’re always thinking it’s the worst, and it sure as hell felt like it. They showed me getting wheeled into the emergency room with Clay Harvison, and somehow we each got the best possible news, considering what happened. My ACL was not torn, but the tendon under my kneecap was stretched out and there were no structural damage. Pain and soreness were not going to keep me from fighting. Clay’s bone had popped through the skin, but it turned out his pinkie was only dislocated. I did not know that was even possible, and it definitely looked gross. A couple of stitches later, he was good to go.
Remember, in this blog for MMADieHards.com I’m only talking about what was going through my head up to what you have seen on Spike. But to this day I still cannot figure out how I did not get one of the wild card spots. They must have thought my injury was a lot worse than it was, because of the simple fact I had to go to the ER. I guess they didn’t like what I said when they brought me in.
The drama on the other team with Junior dos Santos kicking out his assistant coach, Lew Polley, was lost on me. I was sitting there watching my dream of winning this show fall apart when I was right there, in perfect position. In just a few days, I had gone from getting ready for a third round to basically needing someone to get hurt to get me back into it when the whole time I felt like I had earned something better.
Before I learned my fate, my teammate Tony Ferguson scored a sick win over Justin Edwards. In the first round, Tony was on his back and defending in guard. When Justin postured up for a punch, Tony blasted him with an upkick for the knockout. I guess Justin didn’t like getting elbowed in the head.
I didn’t know it at the time, but the next fight was the one that sealed the deal for me. My teammate Chuck O’Neil fought Zach Davis. Like the first fight of the episode, it was up-tempo and exciting, with Chuck nearly hitting a triangle, an armbar and some ground and pound. But then he got caught in a triangle and tapped out to Zach.
Yes, it was an exciting fight, but Chuck got finished. I was entertaining in my fight and mostly everyone agreed I should have been given a third round. When they announced Chuck and Javier Torres as the wild cards, I was completely confused. Chuck was flat-out beaten in the first round by his own move, and when Javier got the chance at the third round I did not get, he failed. To see that Justin would also have been picked ahead of me made it even more perplexing. On top of that, Brock had reassured me, and they made it look like he was even pitching for me to Dana White.
Forget about the look on my face at the announcement and what your saw in the trailer for next week. A part of me was very happy for Chuck to get one of the spots.
But for me, call it what you want: confused, pissed. It was insult to injury.