In the second episode, I was pleased to see it portrayed exactly how we felt it was going. We did our best to come in organized and stay organized for the entire season. We knew that organization and consistency were the keys to getting the guys to buy into what we said and also to get the fighters to believe in us as coaches.
The birthday present to Neil was a shocker to our entire coaching staff. We felt like Neil was overall a better fighter than Cameron. Cameron definitely posed a huge threat on the ground, but Neil’s speed/pace/athleticism could win this fight. We couldn’t have been happier with this fight pick.
It was interesting to hear Roy’s team question their training. Based on looks alone, you would think that Roy is a guy that doesn’t take his own training/career seriously. However, you can’t ever make the mistake of judging a fighter based on looks. He has had a lot of success and whatever he is doing seems to work for him.
Roy brought in some excellent striking coaches in Frazier, Mayweather, and Brown, and he knows his stuff on the ground. They definitely had a solid foundation to build on. We will have to see how the show plays out to see if the guys were right or wrong about their frustrations and direction of their training.
The team concept to us was huge. In this episode, you can see how the guys really bought into what we were saying. We knew that these fighters come from their own teams. To hear them saying that they liked what we were saying and doing was definitely nice.
Then you got to see Bristol Marunde talking to Neil at the house. Bristol has trained with Cameron before, but now he had Neil as a teammate. He gave Neil advice and I think genuinely wanted to see Neil and Team Carwin win. Bristol couldn’t have been happier to be a part of Team Carwin.
Going into this fight, we knew that Neil had to take control early. One of the main things for the fighters that is different about this show is that the fights are two rounds. In Neil’s fight to get in the house, he lost the first round and came back impressively to win the second and third rounds. We needed him to win the first round and take the momentum of the fight.
Shane decided before we got there that Trevor Wittman, Nate Marquardt, and myself would corner all of the fights because we had the most experience doing so. Shane has never cornered a fighter before and didn’t want to start during the biggest opportunity of the guys’ lives. Coaches don’t win or lose fights for guys, but the way you talk to them during the fights and in between rounds definitely makes a difference. I thought this was a good and honorable decision.
The fight went exactly how we thought it would go. Neil outworked him on the feet, fought through some dangerous positions on the ground (that had us nervous!), and I think if there was a third round, he may have been able to finish the fight. He did exactly what we talked about doing and stuck to the game plan 100 percent. That fight was fun to watch!
The one thing that bothered me about this episode is Roy basically blaming Cameron for losing the fight by not listening. Roy as a fighter knows that when you are in there you can only hear and do so much. Yeah, Cameron is a BJJ guy and definitely had the edge on the ground. Roy is also a BJJ guy, I wonder why he didn’t just take down dos Santos down and submit him when they fought? Easier said than done sometimes.
I felt like those comments (in front of all of his team) showed his lack of experience as a coach. As coaches, we are there with our fighter win or lose. No fighter steps into that cage to lose a fight. Sure sometimes guys have an off night. Those nights are when fighters really need their coaches. It is easy to go to the after party with a win and celebrate. When guys lose, though, that is when they really need you. I’m proud of every guy I’ve ever cornered for going out there and putting it on the line, win or lose. It takes a lot more than most people will ever know to do what they do.
You can see now that the prank wars are about to start. The flour on Mike Ricci was a good one and he played it off well. I don’t think it would have been as funny if it happened to anyone else! By the end of the episode it is interesting to see how the teams are becoming a little split from each other.
Stay tuned. It will only get better from here…
Leister Bowling: Wrestling/MMA Coach at Grudge Training Center and Easton BJJ. You can follow Leister on Twitter @LeisterBowling or Email [email protected] for training tips/seminar information.
(Photo courtesy of Leister Bowling)