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Posted on: May 22, 2009 12:26 am
 

Episodes 7&8

HERE WE ARE AT EPISODES 7&8. The reason I am combining the 2 are simple. Both of these fights took place on the same day, ALONG WITH THE "BENCHING" OF JASON PIERCE BY DANA WHITE. 

I knew from the start that something was not right with Jason Pierce. His attitude was negative and bad from day one. For some reason, I had the feeling he had no intention on fighting. There was something about him that screamed "poser" At some level he was just " scared." Theres nothing else to be said about it. He's not a true fighter. I don't mean he's incapable of fighting, he's just not capable of fighting outside his comfort zone . I'm done talking about Pierce. He's a waste of breath. 

Richie Whitson vs. Ross Pearson 
The fight was a good one. Fast paced and explosive. Richie did a great job considering he wasn't able to roll on the mats or spar with anyone for the 10 days leading up to the fight. He had impetigo on his face, which was contagious. Richie was not allowed to have any physical contact with anyone leading up to his fight. He never complained about it and did as much bag work as he could to get in shape for his fight. Richie has the heart of a future MMA champion. He actually had very little traditional MMA experience prior to being on the show. Richie comes from a small town in Alaska where he boxed and was a commercial fisherman. Richie loves this sport and he decided he would to go to Thailand for a few months to train in Muay Thai. He took a fight against Ray Cooper in Hawaii on 2 days notice and won. The victory over Cooper was the catalyst for him to move to California to train with Dan Henderson and Team Quest just prior to the show
starting.

Ross on the other hand has lots of experience in MMA. and has many more fights than Richie. Ross is a cool guy. Ross & I got along great while we were in the house. He always had a positive attitude and we were able to really understand each other's personality. Ross is a true fighter. He'll fight anybody, anytime, and is truly a funk's killer in the cage. 

They came out hard at the start of the fight and went full blast on each other. They were both exchanging punches and kicks freely. Ross took Richie down and appeared to have the better wrestling. Richie took an accidental knee from Ross when he was on the ground. I think this effected Richie's performance the rest of the fight. Ross took Richie down, got his back, and submitted him with an arm bar. Ross won the fight and is a very good fighter with a lot of potential. However, I was sad for Richie and the circumstances that he faced leading up to the fight. Ross and all the other lightweights were aided by Richie's case of impetigo. Richie never used it as an excuse, but he went into his fight with Ross rusty because the skin contrition had kept him from sparing and being fully prepared. Richie will have a great MMA career. I think if his training had not been interrupted he would be fighting to become the Lightweight TUF 9. 

Episode 7 was also the Coaches challenge. Hendo beat Bisping easily and we won an extra $1500 each. It was awesome to see Bisping get his ass whooped in something fun. Plus, I LOVED getting that extra cash! 


Episode 8: Jason Dent vs. Jeff Lawson 
Jason Dent is a weird guy, but not a bad guy. He isn't very sociable or easy to live with. Jason's a small town "leave me to my business" kind of guy. He doesn't like feed back or interaction with others. But he trains hard and is a talented and knowledgably fighter. 

Jeff on the other hand is AWESOME. Jeff is very funny, outgoing, silly and comedic. Jeff was always doing and saying silly things. The pro wrestling match he put on with Falkner and Dean is a good example. 


Their fight was good. They both showed skills, but neither really looked too impressive. Jeff has really solid ground game and funny stand up with capoeira style striking but doesn't look very damaging on his feet. Jason has good stand up skills, but just isn't very athletic. He is also a slow starter and basically got controlled the entire first round. Jeff does a lot of ground work in the 1st round, but Jason escapes everything and makes it to the 2nd round. 

In the 2nd round Jeff looks totally gassed. and basically tries whatever he can to take Jason down. Jason stuffs Jeff's shots until he locks him in an anaconda choke. Jason won the fight. but like Dana White said " not impressive." 

Prior to the fight Dana White asked Pierce how he was feeling and asked him if he wanted to fight. Pierce displayed no heart or spine. Jason was in his normal form and whined like a little girl. At the end of the episode, Dana White benches Jason Pierce. Dana talks to me and Mark Miller about taking the fight. 

Be sure to continue to watch and see who is picked to take Pierce's spot to fight Falkner.
Posted on: May 8, 2009 6:00 pm
 

My Fight versus James Wilks

The episode starts off with Dean & Cameron in the kitchen talking over Dean's fight. Jason Pierce is also in the kitchen and over hears their conversation. Jason waits until Cameron leaves the area and begins talking shit about him to Mark Miller. In my opinion, Jason Pierce is a complete waste. The guy would never have said that to Cameron's face. 

After Demarques beat Dean it was Team UK's turn to pick the next match-up. Bisping chooses Martin Stepleton versus Cameron Dent. I knew from the very moment the fight was picked that Cameron would win that fight. Cameron has a really good ground game. People think he is not very good on his feet, but he is extremely strong. Also, his awkward style is hard to adjust to. His combinations aren't always the greatest, but when he connects it HURTS!! 

Cameron acknowledges his fears about fighting during the pre-fight interviews. We all feel it to differing degrees and deal with it in varying ways. Obviously, Cameron handled it well! Dollar & Steeps come out and size each other up to start the fight. Steeps lands a nice jab and Cameron circles before throwing a big kick to the body. Steeps catches it, but decides to let it go, and continue the fight on the feet! Soon after that Cameron lands a big right hook on the back of the ear which puts Steeps down. Cameron eventually gets his back and ends the fight quickly with a choke. Steeps never seemed to get his rhythm in the fight. I think that shot to the head that Cam caught him with really disoriented Steeps. He never fully recovered before Cameron got him with the choke! 

We were tied 2-2 with Team UK and starting coming together as a team.
The next fight choice was ours. Coach Henderson choose me to fight against James Wilkes. During my time with Dan Henderson, I came to understand that he is a very confident person and a true expert in our sport. I had complete and utter trust in whatever Dan thought was best for me & best for the team. So, I began to prepare for James Wilks. 

Preparing for the fight we believed his striking abilities were limited. However, this ended up not being the case. James is a solid fighter in all aspects and proved to be a tough competitor. 

The Fight: We came out and touched gloves. I quickly began moving because I wanted this fight to remain on our feet. I have heavy hands and a good chin. The game plan was Sprawl& Brawl!!! We exchanged some jabs, but nothing to solid. James threw some good leg kicks, which I began to reach for, which was completely stupid on my part. James kinda rushed in and I was able to catch him with a good right hand left hook combo. Nothing to bad, but he felt them for sure. James did well maintaining his attack. I finally hit him with a big power shot left hook on the chin which put him down. I immediately began going for the ground and pound. In retrospect, too aggressively and not controlled, because James was able to roll into a heel hook attempt. He actually had my leg secured, which made me transition from attack mode to defensive escape mode. I did whatever I could to get myself out of it! We scrambled and James recovered quite quickly. He ended up
with a takedown. We spent some time on the ground and went through some transitions until I scrambled. James tried jumping into a guillotine attempt. I slipped out and let James get back to his feet. That's where I believed I had the best chance to win the fight.

Back on our feet, we exchanged some good strikes. James tied me up and put me back against the fence. He landed some BIG knee's to my head. I remember the knee that knocked out my bridge and broke the teeth it was attached to. I felt the teeth snap, and the mouth guard popping out of my mouth. I was rocked. I did my best to hold on and suck my mouth guard back in while regaining my composure. James did a good job on his control of the thai clinch and worked until he got the takedown. He took me down and was going for a arm triangle when the bell sounded to end the 1st round. 

In between rounds, I tried to tell my coaches that my teeth had been knocked out. They didn't realize I meant that they were also stuck in my mouth guard. There is a controversy in some circles about the comments Damarques made in a van ride home from the gym about a $100 per tooth he would pay for any of James's teeth that were knocked out. My only reaction was a slight smile. I never said I was looking to knock James's teeth out. I talked some shit, as part of the pre fight hype, and Damarques was playing and trying to pump me up. The comments by both of us were partially fueled by James's annoying arrogance that he and Team UK were so much better than us. I never disrespected James in anyway before or after the fight. I immediately shook his hand and congratulated him on a job well done after the fight. I'm not in this sport for any other reason than its' challenges and extreme nature. I respect everyone who enters the cage to fight. 

I was ready but could not come out immediately to start the 2nd round, because of the problem with my mouth guard. As soon as we were able to get the mouth guard back into my mouth the round began. I did my best not to let the fact that my bridge/teeth had just been knocked out affect me. I don't remember all of the 2nd round clearly. I remember trying my best to fight through it. I knew my team was depending on me to take the lead for the 1st time and I didn't want to let them down. Watching the film, I actually think that that I began fighting better in the 2nd round. I believe I settled down a little bit and began throwing more technical punches. I remember exchanging and landing some and taking some punches. I was trying my best to stay on my feet. James was relentless about wanting the fight to go to the ground and with the damage I took in the 1st round it looked like my cardio began to give out on me. James fought hard and well. He got the
fight to the ground and ended up submitting me with an armbar. 

All I really have to say about the fight is that I feel I didn't fight to my full potential. I can't describe how disappointed I was with my performance. I am not taking anything away from how James Wilks fought. He fought a great fight. I respect James and we continue to have a friendly relationship after the show. 

My philosophy is that MMA is a sport where a little sh-- talking before an event is the norm. If people choose to criticize me or any other fighter who talks a lil smack before a fight as part of their prep, and to build some hype leading up to the event, it is their prerogative. But in my mind... as someone who will actually get into the cage and slug it out with anyone in my weight class without hesitation.. it's a f--king sport and a f--ing battle between two fighters.. we talk a little smack.. we do our best to beat the sh-- out of each other while we are in the cage( never with the intent of causing serious injury).. but after the fight is over we shake the hand of our opponent and pay them our respects.

Interested in hearing your views. Will post again in a week!
Posted on: April 29, 2009 7:55 pm
 

Episode 5.. The Ultimate Fighter 9



Welcome to episode 5!!  Its starting to get interesting now!! Note how they start the episode showing Jason Pierce saying "Since the UK won the 1st fight, It's really opened my eyes!" Also, soon after the episode starts Jason is seen inside the confessional booth talking about how he's been hanging out a lot with Team UK.  He says that David Falkner and him are friends and that they will continue to be long after the show is over. I consider his blathering just a bunch of  bull----!  Jason Pierce was scared shitless to fight any of the Brits. He was constantly saying that he doesn't do well against short stocky guys. Coach Henderson told us at the park what match-ups he thought were the best for us as a team: Demarques vs. Dean, Me vs Wilkes and Pierce vs Falkner. As soon as Jason P. heard that, without even considering Hendo's advice, he immediately dismissed it as an option! I don't know what to say about Jason Pierce. I will express my feelings
more on this subject as the season progresses. Also, I will be interested in hearing the views of others.

Lets get to the 1st fight selection.  Team UK decides to put Andre Winner up against one of our light weight veterans Santino Defranco. Santino was a huge mentor to me in the house. I always went to him when I needed advice about anything that was going on or for encouragement. Santino is a true survivor in life, as well as in this sport.  He was always optimistic and an outstanding teammate and friend to everyone on Team USA.  I can't say enough about what an awesome person Santino Defranco is. 
Santino was calm and composed  preparing for the fight against Andre.  He doesnt have any issues making weight at 155lb and was able to eat all the way up to weigh-ins. We spoke the night before and he felt good about the match up. Santino in training is one of the most technical and experienced guys I have had the chance to work with. He has great skills in training, but it seems to take him awhile to apply them during his fights. We all saw his fight to get into the house. He took a real beating the entire 1st round before taking over the fight in the second round.  Santino never really seemed to find his rythem against Andre.  That's what I find disappointing about his loss. Not the loss itself, but that Santino didn't trust his stand-up (which is AWESOME) and throwdown until someone got knocked out.  Santino has been through a lot in his life and has dealt with having brain surgery.   Just the fact that he is fighting again is a victory for
him and an inspiration to me.    I think Santino needs to work on his mental preparation leading up to his fights and to figure out how to overcome his slow starts.  I love and respect Santino and it was very hard to watch him lose the fight the way he did.  However, I know he will be back. Nothing can keep him down.  

We were down 0-2 to Team UK after Santino lost.  I can't describe to you the feeling of anger and frustration I felt being down like that.  Bisping, added to the frustration,  by screaming " 2-null boys- how do you like that" immediately after the referee stopped the fight.  I was burning hot.   I was sad to see Santino get beat and it seemed like our team was starting to unravel.  

Coach Henderson had the next pick and decided that he liked Demarques vs. Dean. Dan swore that it was a guaranteed win.  It didn't matter who Hendo said he was fighting, Demarques would've smiled and said "Ok, lets do it!"  Demarques is a true warrior and a f--king tough bastard. He will fight anybody at anytime. 

DEAN! Mr.T!! The black guy with the mohawk with a bald spot as Demarques so elegantly puts it in his pre-fight interview. We all called him Dean-o in the house. Dean is a super cool guy.  We are the same age and seemed to get along quite well inside the house. I felt you can be friends with the Brits and still keep your desire to fight them hard. MMA is a sport, but not a f--king bloodsport! Dean-o is a very big welterweight and the only problem I thought he could possibly offer up to Demarques was his strength. However, I knew Demarques was gonna win the fight. 

Demarques and Dean came out and engaged each other immediately.  Dean landed a very big leg kick and then went for another. However, Demarques caught it and Dean was quickly on his back.  Demarques couldn't keep him down  and Dean was back on his feet and landed a good knee.  Dean decided he didn't like the stand-up that was going on and took Demarques down with a decent single leg and ended up in guard. Demarques immediately grabbed the kimura and seemed to have it, but Dean muscled through it and went back to guard. Then in a blink of an eye, Demarques locked in a triangle.  Dean tried to pick Demarques up and slam him, but it didn't work. Dean tapped soon after that.  Dean fought hard, but Demarques completely took over the fight when it hit the ground. Demarques has great BJJ skills and he demonstrated them during this fight. 

The day ended with UK 2 and USA 1.  Inside the house, our team was struggling.  Myself, Demarques, Mark Miller and Cameron were all in one room with Richie and Santino in the room next door.  The six of us got along great.  Pierce and Dent were upstairs in a room together.    The two Jason's were developing their own little f--ked up world inside the house. They were becoming pessimistic and negative and isolating themselves. The rest of us were loving our experience in the house and were grateful for the opportunity.  You will see over the next several weeks how this situation develops. I will be interested in hearing your thoughts and comments.

Until next week guys, Im signing off. Keep WATCHING! THIS GETS BETTER AND BETTER AS IT GOES ON!! 
Posted on: April 24, 2009 2:11 pm
 

TUF 9 Episode 4 Mark VS Nick



So here we are at episode 4. This was the 1st episode where both teams had all 8 members decided,  training began in earnest and the true competition started.  Team USA won the original coin toss which decided which team would choose the first fight and from then on each fight alternates between the two teams. Coach Henderson asked us who wanted to fight first and what everyone's weight was at.   He decided to go with Mark Miller against Nick Ocispcek. Mark was happy to accept the fight and immediately began preparing during training.  One of the things the coaches worked on with Mark was him standing and trading with a southpaw.  I was surprised to see Nick come out in a conventional stance during the fight.   So chalk 1 up to Nick for a little tomfoolery.


A comment on the house antics.  They started out when we were just sitting around the house, bored out of our minds, and Demarques found a Team UK t-shirt left out.  We got together and decided that we would start a lil battle between the teams by marking any clothing articles that were left in common areas.  Honestly, we weren't doing it to be pricks to the UK guys. It was meant as a friendly game and also as a way to break the monotony of the house when we were not training. I am very hyperactive and being in the house with absolutely nothing to do almost all day, other than to train, became very frustrating.    Everyday we were in the house it seemed to become smaller and smaller.


For those of you who didn't understand me when I looked into the camera and began speaking in my "bisping" accent. I was saying "too much spotted dick for Michael Bisping" I was referring to his weight. (Spotted Dick is a suet pudding popular in Britain).  Michael was walking around at about 220lbs while he was on the show.  We gave him crap because during a photo shoot he refused to take off his shirt.  That's why in the team pictures both coaches are wearing their jerseys. Plus, I JUST LIKED TO DO ANYTHING THAT WOULD PISS "Michael Bisping" OFF.  I tried to talk as much sh-- as I could to him, as often as I could, because he never let up for a second about how "his" team was gonna whip our asses!  Another thing and I would never admit this to him, I gained a lot of respect for him over the course of the show.


Mark and Nick's fight was a tough one. Both of them showed tremendous heart throughout the entire fight. Mark landed some big punches on Nick, but Nick always seemed to have an answer. I hadn't seen Nick or Mark's fights to get into the house so this was the first time I had the opportunity to watch them both fight.  I was impressed by both of them.  I truly believe that Mark is a great fighter and that he will continue to have a great career in MMA.  However,  I think he should consider dropping to 155lbs.   He can handle most 170lbs fighters, but I believe at the top level in this sport he may be at to much of a height and reach disadvantage. That's just my opinion.  Mark has a great record at welterweight, so staying at 170 is a legitimate option as well.  Nick, on the other hand, is tall and lean at 170lbs.  He may look skinny, but I believe he has a perfect combination of size, height, and reach to do really well at welterweight.  Nick's a tough guy, and at only 24 years old you can tell he's gonna do great in MMA.


The competition really started to build up after we were handed our 1st loss.  Also, we were dealing with a lot of different personalities inside the house and different responses to the result of the fight.   I believe it will make for interesting viewing in the next episode!

 

Posted on: April 15, 2009 11:59 pm
Edited on: April 16, 2009 12:41 pm
 

Intro to myself& The Ultimate Fighter 9 Episode 3

What's going on America?!? My name is Frank Lester, and I am a professional Mixed Martial Artist. A few facts about me: I am 24 years old, 5 ft 11 inches and fight at 170lbs; I am the proud father of Jordan Marie Lester, a beautiful 20 month old baby girl who is the love of my life; I have been working as a personal trainer and training MMA for about the last 2.5 years; prior to that I served as a US Army Infantryman for 3 years which included service in Operation Iraqi Freedom. 

I am the guy who comes in at the very end of episode 2 as an alternate. I got the call for the welterweight division when Christian Fulguim was not able to make weight. Yes, I am an alternate.  NO I am not Lil' f---in Junie Browning!!  Me & Rob may both have been alternates, but that's as far as any similarities go. What should be known about Rob Browning is that he isn't the way he was acting. Everything he did in the house was an act!  He told me himself that he was going to do as much crazy, retarded, attention grabbing stunts he could think of while he was in the house.  His brother told him that was the best way to get noticed. I think the saying goes "Any publicity is good publicity" and  he did enough stupid stuff  to get his desired 15 minutes of fame on The Ultimate Fighter. That's the last time I will mention his name. As far as I was concerned, I was there for one reason, and that was to "Fight". 

I got the call from TUF on Friday asking me what my weight was and if I could make 170 by Sunday would I like to try and fight my way into the house as an alternate.   I told them that I would love the opportunity to fight on The Ultimate Fighter and that I was about 10 pounds over on weight. I "stretched the truth on that one" and was walking around at 186 at that exact moment. I was told that I would be leaving San Diego the very next morning at 6am.   I immediately began cutting weight. I threw on my sweat suit and headed over to the gym down the street from my house and began running on the treadmill. I ran 8 miles in 2 hours at a relatively slow pace and managed to drop 6 lbs. I knew after I weighed myself following that run that I was going to make weight with no problem.

I then went home and with the help of a close friend began packing up everything I thought I would need over the next 6 weeks.  I truly believed that I was gonna make it into the house. I had no idea who my opponent would be, but I felt as if it was my time.   My marriage had recently ended and I missed my daughter immensely.  This was the big break I had always wanted and I got it at the time I needed it the most.

When I got in to Las Vegas nobody from the show would tell me exactly what was going on. They just took all my old clothes and provided me with what was allowed to be worn on the show. I was taken to the ultimate fighting training center, put in a room and told to wait  This room ended up being Team USA's locker room of sorts.  The room was completely empty except for the overwhelming smell of sweat and numerous pairs of cut-off bloody hand wraps on the floor. There was also a large hole in the wall where somebody had obviously punched right through a picture of Chuck Liddell that was hanging up. I'll be honest and admit that I was somewhat overwhelmed by the experience that was unfolding.

Shortly after my arrival, I was told that it was time and that they wanted me to walk through a certain set of doors. I had no idea what was waiting for me behind those doors. My heart started to race as soon as I  walked in the room and saw Dana White, Dan Henderson and his coaching staff, and a group of guys already in Team USA jerseys.   Dana, quickly explained what was going on and called me out to face off with Kiel Reed, who was to be my opponent to earn my spot in the house. I was not there for any of the other American fights to get into the house. All I witnessed was the aftermath of those fights on the faces of the guys that had won and earned their place on Team USA. I wanted to feel the same pride I saw in their faces. 

After Kiel and I faced off,  we were all bussed to the house. It sucked being in the house for 3 days and not having earned my spot yet.  I was constantly around Kiel Reed.  It seemed like no matter where I went in the house he was always around. It was an uncomfortable situation for all four of us who had not yet won our spot on the team.   I heard Kiel was telling people that there was no way I was gonna win the fight because I was from California and I lived the easy life in the sun. Whereas he was from Iowa where it's cold and had lived a harder life.   After the fight when I looked into the camera and started saying "Cali baby.. what?!" that's what I referencing.  Kiel came off as arrogant as hell to me and I hate  guys who act like that.

Warming up before the fight , I felt a little nervous. However, once I got in the cage I calmed down a bit.  Kiel came out tough and hit me with a big right hook right on the button that dropped me.  His ground and pound wasn't very good and gave me enough time to recover.   To be honest, he wasn't nearly as strong as I thought he would be.  Once I felt I had fully recovered from the right hand,  I started to make my way back to my feet. Kiel must have thought I wasn't very tough and decided that going for a standing guillotine choke was a good idea.   In reality, all he did was help me to fully stand back up and  take over the thai clinch, so that I could start my own attack.  I took over the clinch, hit him with a knee in the forehead, and then a big left hook which I could tell hurt him. 

He immediately tried to take me down again. As he went for the takedown, I began to crossface and sprawl.  Kiel drove me into the fence, which actually helped me re-gain my base. He then switched from double to an outside single, so I reached for the kimura looking to sweep. Instead of him letting go of the single leg knowing I had the Kimura locked in, Kiel decided to try and  muscle through it.  He did not know the deal! My former coach and training partner used to drill this Kimura sweep from the single leg with me every week!!  I knew exactly what I was going to do when he continued to hold that single and power through it. Did I know he was gonna get knocked out as I scissor swept him with the Kimura, No. However, I did know that Kiel was either gonna tap from the pressure I put on his shoulder and elbow joints, or that I was gonna roll him, end up in top position and ground pound him until the ref stopped it! 

I tried to shake Kiel's hand after the fight, but he refused. That type of  poor sportsman is rarely seen in MMA. We all talk smack before a fight, so I do not hold it against him that he said in interviews Lester will be heading to the hospital after the fight. Remember, after the fight was stopped Dan Henderson says Kiel was lucky he didn't break his arm. Maybe Kiel wasn't so lucky?! One of us did go to the hospital after the fight.  It wasn't me.  I got my USA Team jersey and moved into the house. For the next 6 weeks I represented my country while Kiel was recuperating.

 

 

Posted on: April 2, 2009 6:06 pm
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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com