They say that “sometimes taking a first step is the biggest and most important journey of them all.” As I discussed the other day, last Friday night Al took the most important step in this epic journey. Win your first fight and get in the house. A lot of people have asked what this now means for Iaquinta’s future. The future clearly depends on the next 12 weeks. Regardless of what happens Al’s work ethic as well as his determination is going to leave a lasting impression on his coaches, his team mates, and UFC President Dana White.
No one knows what will unfold in the next three months, and until this Friday’s episode (March 16th) no one will even know if Iaquinta will be on Team Cruz or Team Faber. Several people have been asking me when he’s going to fight? Are the fights always live? What happens if he wins or looses? Would a loss send him home?
Lets get all those important questions out of the way. Unfortunately we’ll have no idea when he’s going to fight. The weekly match ups are selected by the Team who won the previous fight. Which means we will all tune in each week to see and support Al, even though it could be several weeks before he fights again.
Second, yes the fights are always live. The show is trying a new format this year so you’ll see prerecorded material from the past week, but the weekly fight you’ll see in real time. This is the first time the reality show has ever done anything like this and will prove to be groundbreaking for the show as well as the sport.
If you’ve never watched the show before it is basically like a tournament. Win all your fights and you’ll be in Ultimate Fighter finale in June. Everyone has the highest expectations for Iaquinta but I’ve been asked “what would happen if he won his first fight or two and then suffered a loss?” Even with a loss you stay in the house. The reasoning behind this is very simple. For starters your team mates need a full team to train properly. Next the coaches as well as UFC President Dana White wants to see how you react after a loss. Are you going to roll over and just go through the motions, or are you going to continue to work hard and support your team. Also if an injury occurs a fighter can be voted back in and have a chance to fight again. The Ultimate Fighter finale under card always features fighters from the show. If you made a good impression on people like Dana White and UFC match maker Joe Silva you’ll get a shot to be on that finale, and that will ideally lead to other fights. This is why it’s so important to work hard and show how mentally tough you are should you suffer a loss, and why it was even more important for all of the 16 guys to win their fights to enter the house.
As for Al everyone knows just how tough and hard working he is. He’s going to make the best of every opportunity that comes his way. Although the competition in the house is going to be tough everyone who knows Al knows exactly what he’s capable of, and that he’ll always rise to the occasion. Make sure you tune in to FX every Friday night and watch it all unfold.