Some of you may remember, back in January, I wrote a piece on a then relatively unknown fighter named Michael Hill. Since then, Michael “the Messenger” Hill has made significant progress on realizing his dream of becoming a fighter in the UFC.
Michael was one of 32 fighters to get a chance at making it into the house on season 16 of The Ultimate Fighter. Not only did he win his elimination bout, but he did it dramatically with a first round KO that impressed both Dana White and this season’s coaches, Shane Carwin and Roy Nelson. Michael has very graciously accepted my offer to collaborate with me on documenting his journey through the gauntlet that is The Ultimte Fighter.
This was not the first season that Mike had tryed out for TUF. He had actually been to two other TUF tryouts before getting the call to fight for the right to enter the house this season. As Mom of TUF 14′s Dennis Bermudez, Mike had been in touch with me with questions about the process, I know how hard he worked to get there.
“Yea, it’s been a huge roller coaster since the tryouts in December” he said ” I honestly couldn’t have done it without meeting my now girlfriend, but a very special girl at the time. I had to choose between leaving for tryouts or my job, which also meant my place of stay. An injury when I got home kept me from training for some time. No job. No house and a bad injury, hahaha all for a 2 day try out and them (TUF judges) choosing 55’s. But I did what I had to do to get better, stay on track, stay focused and then that phone call rang 7 months later. I was the happiest kid ever!”
Hit the jump for more, including thoughts on his elimination fight, who he wants to fight on the show, and if he likes being with his coach!
“For my elimination fight I felt like I do every fight. You saw the episode!? Happy! I was smiling. Excited and ready to do what I do best. Even though there wasn’t a crowd I pretended like there was one. I was waving and high fiving! My coach David Lea is the best in Canada at preparing us and although he wasn’t there I felt like he was right behind me and with him behind me I’m untouchable. I’m calm. I pick my shots and I hit hard.”
“The feeling I had after I won was unlike any feeling I’ve ever had. I was so excited; I was again screaming to the crowd ” Maaandalay Baay waaadd up!” I had reached my dream; I was going in the house! I was happy, so happy I had tears of joy. For everyone that always doubted me it just goes to show what hard work can do.”
I asked him if there were any particular fighter that he’d want on his team and if he cared which coach he got.
“I didn’t care who I was teamed up with. I didn’t even watch, I was busy helping my Canadian bud Mike Ricci out with his warm up. I watched him and ate food; I knew I was in. I knew I’d have to fight anyone or everyone so I didn’t care. I knew two Canadians were in the house and it could benefit us both.”
“I had no preference for what team. I knew being on Carwin’s or Nelson’s either one would help me out huge. I’m a striker I like to hit and be hit. My ju jitzu and wrestling both struggled due to my injury so I could use help in both.”
“I’m happy with Nelson, but is Nelson ever happy! Hahaha”
Now for the drama…Jesse Barret VS Colton Smith. The bout begins, they walk to center ring, gloves raised for the glove tap, then Colton drops his glove and in a very unsportsman like way and shoots on Neil. Mike was very vocal about his feelings about this on the show. “Yea Colton took a cheap shot, and it was against a friend of mine Jesse Barret. I was upset Colton was picked on my team. Revenge my friends’ loss…. guess you’ll all have to wait until the next episode to see what happens!”
That’s a wrap for episode 1. See you next week as Mike and I continue to keep you posted on TUF 16 as it unfolds.