Last week, Kyacey Uscola made an impression as he fought his way into the house of The Ultimate Fighter for Season 11.
A hearty congratulations go out to him as his chance at making it big in MMA have been long in coming and has not been without it’s highs, lows and everything in between.
I consider Kyacey a friend, and I would hope that he feels the same, but I am distanced enough to say, that his fighting style, like a diamond in the raw, was, at least at one point, pretty rough around the edges.
Coach Kiser has worked much more closely with Uscola than I, flying out to train him during his stint at the Lions Den and dedicating his time to working personally with Kyacey during his brief stays here in Utah. He’s cornered for many of Kyacey’s fights, some during the Bodog Era (and I use the term “Era” very loosely here).
(I apologize for the quality of this video, it was one of our first, it was taken two or three years ago and we’ve since lost the original footage)
But I have been around long enough to see some back stage tirades. I’ve seen him underestimate opponents, and make poor decisions during pivotal moments in his fights.
I’ve seen him win and seen him loose. I’ve seen him more or less try and dominate a locker room, telling complete strangers, fighters on the same card to “sit the #%$@ down and shut the @#%(*! up” because their pacing and nervous chatter was aggravating him.
I’ve been to dinner with the man and heard how he got that nasty scar above his eye, and came to understand how fighting another, unarmed man in a cage with rules, medics and a ref is really nothing all that nerve racking to someone like Kyacey.
I’m not saying I’m his good buddy, or even close by any stretch of the imagination. I mean, I’m a pretty up tight bugger. Especially when it comes to fight training and cornering people.
I like to do things my way, and so does Kyacey and never the twain shall meet.
I respect him on a personal and professional level, but not having that much input and involvement with Kyacey’s day to day training, I’d just as soon root for him from the comfort of my living room couch. I think he is full of skill, but from a personal point of view, I just don’t like working in environments where I’m not in a position of control.
But when your best friend (Coach Kiser) calls you up and asks you to have his back when it comes time to be cage side, what’s a brother to do? And this is for the most part, how I’ve come to know Uscola. That is, as a glorified spit bucket holder… What’s that they say about no small parts. Yeah, well, last I checked, I fall into the Asian category.
At any rate, the last time I saw Kyacey, I saw a different man. One with more life experience and dare I say, self awareness.
In fact, during the long wait before the main event, Kiser even shared with me the fact that Kyacey had been listening to Self Meditation and Self Help CD’s.
He expressed to me a determination to better himself, physically and mentally, both as a human being as well as a fighter. I felt his sincerity and could sense a noticeable difference in him.
And come to think of it, that night, when the inevitable new fighters were kicking pads and bull dogging anything that moved 4 hours before the first fight even started annoying the veterans and Kyacey alike, Kyacey’s attempts at owning the locker room sounded more like the diner scene of Pulp Fiction “Normally, both your @$$es would be dead as $&#*@! fried chicken, but you happen to pull this $#!T while I’m in a transitional period so I don’t wanna kill you, I wanna help you… So PLEASE sit the #%@)! down and shut the $%@*! up.”
I sincerely hope that the new leash on life that Kyacey has found and the new direction he is taking in his approach to life, stick. I hope that he has learned from the mistakes of the past and that the experiences and motivation he has will allow him to overcome the challenges before him. The TUF House can break even the most disciplined of men.
And after all, who of us have not made poor choices during pivotal moments in life as well as in fights? Who of us can say with any honesty that our character isn’t without it’s flaws and rough edges? And as for the tirades, they only came as the result of the immense amount of passion that Kyacey fights with. He never fights half heartedly as can be seen in his fight to get into the House.
Kyacey made mention in the show about his spotty fight record. And all I have to say about that is that Kyacey has a true fighters spirit. He never backs down and has no fear. Not of his opponents, and certainly not of some piece of paper with tally marks on one side or the other. He embodies the essence of Roosevelt’s sermon:
“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotion, spends himself in a worthy cause; who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who have never tasted victory or defeat.”
With any luck, the heat and pressure that is The Ultimate Fighter House, just might polish this fighter’s raw talent and forge a sparkling diamond out of what was once a diamond in the rough.
Either way, the Fans are going to get their money’s worth from watching Kyacey Uscola. I can’t think of a more entertaining character to have on the show. God Speed my friend. I’ll be rooting for you… from the comfort of my living room couch.