by Jeff Cain – MMAWeekly.com
Junie Browning became one of the most polarizing figures in the eight seasons of The Ultimate Fighter, gaining notoriety for his aggressive fighting style and one liners before generating endless discussion on mixed martial arts forums and around water coolers for his drunken exploits and short temper. Browning wants to put the reality show persona behind him and focus on becoming a better fighter.
In the Spike TV reality show’s final episode, America saw Browning breakdown mentally and assault Shane Prim, nearly getting thrown off the show for a third time. Browning admitted he shouldn’t have thrown the glass at Prim, but maintains the producers didn’t show the entire incident on television. “They didn’t show all the stuff. There was a lot more stuff said,” commented the Kentucky lightweight fighter. “Prim, he’s a cool guy and stuff, but they didn’t show some of the stuff he was saying. Afterward, he knew I had anger problems and he knew he shouldn’t have said some stuff. But I shouldn’t have thrown the glass.”
“We were outside debating the fights and stuff. All of us were debating more or less the fights like how buddies would at a football game or a boxing match or something. Just talking about the fights, and it was all cool,” added Browning. “He’s actually the one who sort of instigated all the taking stuff personally. We started talking about my fight. I was like I don’t think he can do this or this. Prim was like, we’ll see. I hope he kicks your (expletive). I mean, literally saying that stuff to me. Of course I’m going to get angry after that.”
“I was so used to drinking out of plastic that I forget it was glass on the show,” Browning joked. “I’ve always ate off Dixie.”
Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White was called to the house, again, and Browning thought he was going to be kicked off the show, again. “I thought I was gone, for a third time,” said Browning.
White left Browning’s fate in the hands of the other cast members who decided they’d rather see Efrain Escudero have the opportunity to send Browning packing rather than kicking him off the show before the semi final match up. Escudero defeated Browning by D’Arce choke in the second round advancing to the finals to face Phillipe Nover on Dec. 13.
“Going into the fight, I honestly knew I was going to lose anyway,” said the 24-year old fighter. “I knew 100% that he was going to be in shape. He was training with Nogueira’s team. I saw the way they trained. They came home from practice everyday and fell asleep. I came home from practice and was throwing (expletive) off the balcony. I knew I was out of shape.”
Browning’s coach, Frank Mir, commented after the bout that he felt like Browning quit in the fight, but Browning disagrees. “He caught me. The drive and explosiveness to get out of certain submissions that I normally would, I didn’t have it. When you have lack of cardio and stuff, you almost just kind of lay there. That’s the way I felt,” explained Browning. “To be honest with you too, I didn’t know he even knew what a submission was let alone a D’Arce. I was actually going to pull my butterfly hook in and he just trapped the arm and got it. I didn’t think it was really that deep, so I didn’t really fight it that hard. He had it in pretty deep.”
Looking back on the season, Browning regrets having been on Team Mir. “It wasn’t necessarily just Mir,” said Browning. “Mir just trains differently. He’s just more open to let you do whatever, but I’m the kind of person, I need someone to push me. At least I’m disciplined enough to know I need someone to push me. He’d be like, you should be doing your own cardio and stuff. Everyone doesn’t just work like that. I need someone to give me that extra push and make me do it. That’s what coaches are for.”
At the end of the day, Browning got what he wanted out of The Ultimate Fighter 8. People now know his name.
Since the filming of The Ultimate Fighter, Browning has uprooted from Lexington, KY and made the move to Las Vegas, joining Extreme Couture where he hopes to hone his skills and become known for his fighting ability rather than his reality television persona. “There’s so much stuff that I still have to learn. And I’m getting better. I’m trying to learn. I’m taking stuff more serious. I’m not like throwing glass at people in the club or anything,” stated Browning. “I’m taking (expletive) serious. I’m not going to be (expletive) around or anything. I’m done with that. The show is over.”