by Jeff Cain – MMAWeekly.com
“The Ultimate Fighter 3” winner Kendall Grove publicly criticized the Spike
TV reality show, then apologized, but not before the television network reacted
and pulled his “UFC 116: Lesnar vs. Carwin” preliminary bout off the network’s telecast
set for July 3.
In an appearance on TapouT Radio, Grove
criticized “The Ultimate Fighter,” which is heading into its twelfth season.
“Like anything (‘The Ultimate Fighter’) evolves, but it evolved… I’m not
badmouthing it, but calling it like I see it. It’s just my opinion, but it’s
all about picking the cast. Like a lot of the cast members now, and you see it,
and I’ve been saying this for the last five seasons, guys get on there just to
get their face on TV and act stupid in the house,” said Grove.
“I hate saying it, but using myself as an example, I knew why I was there.
I was there to become a fighter and fight for the biggest organization in the
world. I knew I wasn’t the best fighter there at the time, but I knew I could
be. And I took advantage of every time I had with my coach and the better
people on my team. I’m not bragging, but I’m a good example of what the show
can do to somebody’s career.”
Grove criticized the motives of cast members and said he hasn’t watched the
popular reality show since it’s sixth season.
“Right now, there’s great fighters that go on the show, but it seems like
they’re not there to be fighters. They’re there to be actors, or they’re there
to get their 15 minutes of fame. I could be wrong, but that’s just what I see.
And that’s why I hardly watch ‘The Ultimate Fighter.’ I couldn’t tell you who
was the winner of the last five seasons,” said the 27-year-old.
“I might know one or two of them, but I haven’t followed the seasons
because of that reason. I followed the first season, the second season, the
third season for obvious reasons, the fourth season, the fifth season. After
the sixth season I kind of lost that drive to watch it. I know it’s kind of sad
to say because I’m an Ultimate Fighter alumni and an Ultimate Fighter winner. I
should support it, but it’s hard to support something that… If I’m not
interested in watching it, why should I fake and say, ‘oh yeah, go watch it. It’s
a great show.’ To me, it’s kind of losing its drive.”
Grove didn’t stop there. He questioned the selection process and Spike TV’s
influence over the show.
“It’s a business. Before they used to pick, like in the first couple of
seasons, they’d pick up and comers who just hadn’t had their shot yet. The Joe
Stevensons, the Diegos, the Forrests, the Koschecks. Most of the first season’s
staff, a lot of them are hanging strong. A lot of them are top contenders,”
commented the Hawaiian.
“It’s a business to these guys, to Spike TV. That’s who runs it, Spike TV.
Dana (White), this is just a theory of mine, but Spike TV pretty much runs
everything for The Ultimate Fighter. I guess they could be subleasing the UFC
name. I’m sure the UFC is getting a nice little paycheck from Spike, but other
than that Spike runs the thing. It’s not Dana who chooses who is going to be on
the show. It’s Spike executives. And from when even I was on there they were
picking more fighters and maybe a couple of guys to be the scape goats and be
like the couple of funny guys, the personalities.”
Grove added that “it’s all about ratings” and alleged that Spike TV doesn’t
care about the fighters or their careers.
“I admit. I’m pretty sure I got on there not just because of my good looks,
but because of I had a pretty good personality and a funny personality.
Everything is ratings to these guys and what’s going to sell ratings,” said
Grove. “They could care two-(expletive) about our career. They just care about the
time we’re there and the six weeks that they’re shooting and trying to get as
much drama and stupidity out of us. That’s all we are to them, just cattle and
“The way they run things, they’re slowly controlling us to be like that.”
Grove went so far as to classify the reality show as “corrupted.”
“For The Ultimate Fighter show, any Tom, Dick or Harry can sign up and say
they‘ve been fighting. If you can edit a damn good video of you shadow boxing
in your garage and punching a bag in your garage and have one amateur fight and
get on and possibly win The Ultimate Fighter. That’s just the way it is,” said
the Season 3 winner.
“I think during my season, I think one or two of those guys would get on
the show and the rest were all known fighters, guys who had accomplished stuff
in this sport. Now I don’t want to say it, it’s not a joke because there are
good fighters that come on The Ultimate Fighter still today. There’re are good
fighters and great fighters, but the rest of them are spoiling it for us. And
it sucks. I’ll say it and I’ll spit in the guy’s face if they want to come up
and question me on that.”
Grove later retracted his comments and apologized, but not before ruffling
the feathers of some influential people who decided to bump his UFC 116 bout
with Goran Reljic off the Spike TV “UFC 116 Prelims Live” telecast and replace
it with Seth Petruzelli vs. Ricardo Romero.
“First off all I’d like to say, a lot of it wasn’t fact,” said the
apologetic Grove. “I’d like to apologize if I rubbed anybody the wrong way or
disrespected or insulted anybody from Spike TV or the UFC. After all, I wouldn’t
be here if it wasn’t for them, Spike TV giving me the shot on ‘The Ultimate
fighter’ and the UFC for keeping me around to fight my eleventh fight this
weekend. If I insulted anybody, if I disrespected anybody in the wrong way in
what I said… after all it was just a theory, an assumption.
“I’d like to send out my deepest apologies to the producers of Spike,”
continued Grove. “The show does wonders for careers and it did for mine. I’m
sorry. I meant no disrespect. After all they gave me my shot, and I wouldn’t be
here if it wasn’t for them.
“I hope they can accept my apology,” he added. “I’m very sorry, and I
probably won’t be doing any interviews anytime soon.
“Once again, I’m sorry Spike producers, the UFC, Joe Silva, Dana White, if
I offended anybody. My intentions weren’t towards that. And hopefully you guys
can find it in your heart to forgive a Hawaiian.”
The situation is most unfortunate for Goran Reljic, who was caught in the
middle, and whose fight will likely not be seen unless he’s able to pull off a