BY MMAWeekly.com Staff
Here’s a rundown on the cast of the tenth season of “The Ultimate Fighter.”
• Scott Junk: (7-2-1) 6’1″, 30 years old. Team MMA Development in Kailua, Hi. After losing to Ricco Rodriguez in his first MMA fight in 2005, Junk moved in with BJ Penn for three months and trained with his team for a year. Blew out his knee in a UFC 76 fight with Christian Wellisch. Works full-time on the graveyard shift for a construction company working with sewage lines.
• Justin Wren: (10-1) 6’3″, 22 years old. Born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas, where he trained with Travis Lutter. Plans to move to Las Vegas after helping Frank Mir train for Brock Lesnar (where he played the part of the undisputed champ). Two-time national wrestling champ in high school. Turned down a full scholarship at Iowa State University to pursue MMA. First two MMA fights were as a fill-in for a sick friend. Raised in a conservative family, Wren hid his UFC tapes from his parents as he got into the sport. Has fought full-time for three years.
• Demico Rogers: (4-0) 6’4″, 27 years old. Trains with Ivan Salaverry and Ring Sports United in the Seattle area. Wrestled and played football (as defensive end and offensive line) in high school, all-state wrestler. Entered his first jiu-jitsu tournament after two weeks of training and won. Has worked as a master technician for Mercedes Benz for seven years. Rogers’ father passed away right before tryouts for the show. He says TUF 10 is a “make or break” situation for him.
• Marcus Jones: (4-1) 6’6″, 35 years old. Originally from North Carolina, went to University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, trains with Gracie Tampa alongside Allan Berube, Brandon Sene, Matt Arroyo, Corey Hill, and others. Training for two years. Played professional football for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1996-2002. Wears 4XL UFC gloves. A fan of the UFC during his football days – he says all of his former football teammates were as well – he began training mixed martial arts after drunken experiment with friends during vacation. Thinks current NFL player Simeon Rice would make a good fighter.
• Matt Mitrione: (2-0) 6’3″, 30 years old. Trains alongside Chris Lytle in Indianapolis. Went to school at Purdue University. Played defensive end and defensive tackle in the NFL for the N.Y. Giants (2002-2003), S.F. 49ers (2004), Minnesota Vikings (2005, 2008). Had a severe foot injury that took him out of the game for 16 months, says the experience changed him from super aggressive to a more patient person. He got started in fighting through Toughman competitions before going to Purdue – says his mouth got him into plenty of fights throughout life. After college, his friend and pro baseball player Jayson Werth put on a local MMA fight that he fought on.
• Wes Sims: (22-12-1) 6’10″, 29 years old. The most experienced of the TUF 10 cast, Sims continues to train out of Columbus, Ohio, with Mark Coleman at Team Hammer House. Went to Mt. St. Joseph College in Cincinnati for a semester before dropping out to train with Coleman as the former UFC champ prepared to face Ricardo Morais in Pride. Made his UFC debut at UFC 43, where he was disqualified for stomping a downed Frank Mir. Mir defeated Sims by knockout at UFC 46, and Sims received his walking papers after losing to Mike Kyle at UFC 47. Sims says he’s on TUF 10 to get a rubber match with Mir, or as he puts it, “a trilogy.” When he found out about the show, he called matchmaker Joe Silva and said, “I know what’s going on, and I want in.” Silva told him to send a text with the same message and he would pass it on to the show’s producers. Back home, Wes runs his own gym and runs several non-profit youth programs in Columbus.
• Zak Jensen: (11-2) 6’4″, 26 years old. Trains out of Guerilla Combat in Chanhassen, Minn. Played football and wrestled for Northern Illinois and Augsburg College. Started in MMA after he met a local promoter who in two weeks got him a fight. Lost his job as a factory worker for going to the weigh-ins of his last fight. Found out about the Monday casting call at 7 p.m. on Sunday and caught the last flight to Seattle. Four days earlier, he had been in Mexico as a chaperone for the spring break trip of a friend’s daughter, where his story gets a little crazy. A male friend of the daughter was apparently drinking heavily by himself and died after hitting his head in the bathroom. Jensen found the friend and was accused of murder by Mexican police when they arrived to find him with blood on his shirt. He was taken to a Mexican jail for 48 hours before being cleared of any wrongdoing and held in the country for a week before the Department of Immigration let him leave.
• Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson: (3-1) 6’2″, 35 years old. A man that needs no introduction – a former football player and security man for pornography company Reality Kings, Slice’s fighting career began on the Internet when Reality Kings began shooting arranged street fights. He was later signed to EliteXC, fought on the first network televised MMA event in history, and fell from grace after being knocked out by Seth Petruzelli on CBS last October. Slice was reportedly in negotiations with multiple promotions before beginning negotiations with the UFC.
Slice had this to say about being on TUF: “”I am here to be an Ultimate Fighter,” he said. “I’m street certified; now it’s time to be Ultimate Fighting certified. Being the only guy to have the bulls-eye on your back, it’s kind of like being in jail in a sense, except that these guys got skills. They know how to fight. Which is not a bad thing. Cause I’m a fighter myself. I’m a fighter whether it’s in the house, in the cage, in the ring,” he said. “I’m not gonna have a mother (expletive) disrespect me in no case whatsoever, whether it’s in the house, in jail, or the streets, or in the cage. I’m gonna me be and stand my ground to the fullest.”
• Darrell Schoonover: (10-0) 6’2″ 24 years old. Trains out of Fighter’s Forge in Coppers Cove, Texas, and dropped out of college to be on the show. Was in the Army for four years, where he worked on the Patriot missile system, and is still in active reserve. Prides himself as a meticulous game planner.
• John Madsen: (3-0) 6’0″. Trains out of the H.I.T. Squad in Granite City, Ill. Went to high school in Dublin, S.D., where he wrestled and as a sophomore, beat senior Brock Lesnar at a wrestling meet. Lesnar avenged the loss in college at South Dakota State, winning in double overtime. Madsen was a Division II wrestling champion in 2000 and a runner-up in 2001. Began training last February after falling on the wrong side of the law with several stints in prison (most recently in 2006 for his third DUI) and a series of odd jobs; says he made a lot of bad decisions growing up.
• Abe Wagner: (7-2) 6’4″, 29 years old. Left an abusive and unstable home life at 15 – his father once almost killed him with a hammer – and spent a year in foster care, then emancipated himself and lived/worked on a dairy farm until he went to college. Played football at Michigan Tech, where he played outside linebacker, and graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering. Tried to get into the NFL after school but didn’t make it. Took his first MMA fight after six months of training. Trains out of Mid-America Martial Arts in Omaha, Neb.
• Roy Nelson (13-4) 6’1″, 33 years old. Got into MMA as a fan of ninja movies, particularly American Ninja. Started doing Kung Fu as a 16-year-old growing up in Las Vegas. Began training with John Lewis in 2000 and made his professional debut in 2004. A former IFL heavyweight champion, Nelson lost only to Ben Rothwell in seven appearances for the now-defunct league. Fought Andrei Arlovski on the second network televised MMA event last October, losing by TKO in the second round. Nelson says TUF 10 is his “last hurrah” for any chance of getting into the UFC and has a goal of making ten million dollars from fighting.
• James McSweeney (12-4) 6’4″. The sole Brit of the cast, McSweeney trains with Greg Jackson in Albuquerque, N.M., and shares a house with Rashad Evans. Got into MMA three years ago after a long career in kickboxing, including K-1, that began in Thailand at age 16. Says he has over 145 kickboxing fights on his resume with 79 knockouts. Before moving to New Mexico, he ran a security company in London.
• Brendan Schaub (4-0) 6’4″, 26 years old. A native of Aurora, Colo., he played fullback for the University of Colorado before a love of the movie “Bloodsport” got him into MMA. Splits training between Jackson’s MMA and T’s KO Club in Denver; has stopped all of his opponents inside of 90 seconds. Shane Carwin is his main training partner. Thinks that he, Scott Junk, and James McSweeney are the favorites for the show.
• Wes Shivers (3-1) 6’7″ 32 years old. Walks around as heavy as 285 pounds before cutting down to the 265-pound heavyweight limit. Originally from Brandon, Miss. Played offensive guard for the Tennessee Titans and Atlanta Falcons, and got his start in MMA after he stopped playing football. Trains with with Alan Belcher at Remix MMA. A former patrol officer and breacher for SWAT teams. Admits he’s one of the less experienced fighters on the show, but believes his competitive athletic experience makes up for it. Back in Mississippi, he has a four-year-old daughter and wants to win the show for her.
• Mike Wessel (8-2) 6’1″, 31 years old. From Jonesboro, Ark. Played nose tackle for University of St. Francis in Indiana and majored in Chemistry and Special Education. Played arena football with the San Diego Riptide and Bismark Roughriders. Was the strength and conditioning coach for the Arkansas Razorbacks and got his start in MMA with Matt Hamilton and Roli Delgado in Little Rock shortly after leaving the position. When he took a fight against Antoni Hardonk at UFC 92; he had been in Vegas partying the week before and admits he wasn’t prepared for the fight. Wessel wound up losing the fight by TKO. Says his fellow castmates hate him because he’s the hottest guy in the house.