Former Ultimate Fighter Season 16 contestant Bristol Marunde is ready for his second shot at the big show tonight as he takes on another Ultimate Fighter contestant, TUF 17’s Clint Hester. Marunde was Coach Shane Carwin’s second overall pick, and is best known for defeating the always entertaining Julian Lane. Marunde’s run was eventually put to an end after losing a decision to Neil Magny in the quarterfinal round. Caged Insider’s Sean Beanblossom was able to talk to Marunde to get the inside scoop on the business side of his career, what the TUF house is like, his game plan for Hester tonight, and a pretty epic story that led him to becoming an outstanding citizen.
I know you’re the owner of Reign Promotions which promotes fights throughout Northwest Washington, so not only are you a fighter but you’re a businessesman as well. Can you tell us a little bit about your promotion?
“Promoting is what fighting is to the business world. It’s very volatile and you have to approach it just like a fight. Fortunately I surround myself with good people to work with, so promoting fights gives me a great opportunity to expand my business and also to help young fighters. That’s where the passion comes in for me. I can help young fighters enter the professional world and then send them off. That’s my vision for the company, I want to grow a business but I also want to help fighters.”
“When I’m done fighting I’m going to promote MMA full-time. I still enjoy training and sparring, and doing the things I’ve done forever, but I’ll be in the sport forever as far as the actual fighting and the business side. I don’t know where the business future will go but I will always be involved with the business side whether it’s promoting my own show or working for the UFC. Who knows where things will go but I really enjoy promoting the sport.”
I read a pretty fascinating story about you that involved a run-in you had with a wanted rapist. Can you expand on that story?
“This was when I was living in Washington. I was getting ready for bed, it was about 11:30 at night. I heard my neighbor in the apartment next to me screaming for help, it sounded like she was getting murdered just by the sheer fear I picked up from her voice. So I just had this moment of fear myself. I thought somebody was being killed. I ran outside and I saw this big guy push past me and run down the street. I looked in her apartment and she was laying on her back, eyes as wide as can be in full panic. I felt the need to chase this guy down. I was only wearing shorts I had no shirt or shoes on, and for some reason I felt compelled to chase this guy down. He was running down the street in this busy intersection and I caught up to him. I chased up behind him and I pushed him and knocked him down. At this point we were on the corner of a gas station and a busy intersection, so we started attracting a crowd. He stood up and he put his hands up as if he was going to fight, and I just didn’t give him a chance. I landed, to this day, the best roundhouse kick to the face I’ve ever thrown. I caught him right on the side of the jaw, this big loud slap, knocked him down. I then got on top of him and held him down with my fist clinched and told him if you get up I’m going to kill you. He didn’t respond because he went completely limp. It was great, there was a crowd, man everybody was on their cell phones calling the cops standing around me, it was wild. The chief of police and the mayor gave me an outstanding citizen award. So justice prevailed.”
You’re well-known for being a contestant on the Ultimate Fighter: Team Carwin vs. Team Nelson, you had an impressive run defeating George Lockhart and Julian Lane. Can you tell us what it was like to be able to get those wins and just the entire experience of getting to live inside the house and be able to fight on national television?
“I had just come off a really busy summer of promoting fights. I was in Seattle two weeks before the event, and I had never fought at 170 before, so right off the bat I was in enemy territory. I actually thought the show was going to be a lot more fun and a lot more of a party. I quickly found out it was like entering the Twilight Zone. You step into that show and you’re pretty much isolated, you’re cut off from the real world, and you’re a one man army. You have no support from your corners, from your family and friends, you’re really on your own. The show makes or breaks you mentally. It is part vacation, part prison. A few days is fine, but after six or seven weeks it starts to wear down on you. You definitely come out of there a stronger person.”
“So me taking this Hester fight on short notice, this is the first time they have called me to fight on a week’s notice. It does help coming off the show because the whole experience of the Ultimate Fighter is a shock. You don’t know if you’re going to fight the next day or not, which is probably the worst scenario for being a professional athlete as possible. Being stuck in the house you have to fight multiple times a month.”
“The weight cut was difficult. I felt that defiantly hurt me. It was stressful because I couldn’t eat normally and I had to really cut down a lot. The key of the show is that you really have to stay relaxed, but I was never able to. I always felt the need to do something. Personally I always like to stay busy with work, family, I have a two-year-old son. So for me to go on the show and not have anything to do, but to watch my back from the other team and pranks, it was a crazy experience. There wasn’t much privacy with all the cameras and everyone in the house. It was a difficult scenario.”
Up next for you is Clint Hester, who was a contestant on TUF 17. We’ve seen Clint get submitted by Jimmy Quinlan on the show. What game plan do you have going into this fight? Are you looking to keep it standing up, do you want to take it to the ground, or are you just prepared for whatever happens?
“Coming into this fight on a week’s notice I haven’t really had a lot of time to game plan. I haven’t even really had a training camp. So once again, the key is to stay relaxed. I don’t really want to stand with Clint and bang it out on the feet, and I don’t really want to try and force this to get to the ground either. Clint is very athletic and he has a size advantage on me. I’m a true welterweight now, and I don’t really have to cut weight to get 185. So it is important for me to stay really elusive. I’m going to have to do what I should have done on the Ultimate Fighter and that is be more patient. I’m going to show a lot more maturity inside the cage, and I think that is a smart game plan in itself. I felt so much pressure on the show to finish fights, and that hurt my mentality trying to force the knockout. I’m going to really set this fight up and fight an intelligent fight.”
If you get past Hester will you call out Uriah Hall?
(Laughs) “I saw him weigh in yesterday and he is like 203 pounds. The UFC won’t give me him, they’re going to make him fight some high-level guys. But the UFC knows if they call me I won’t say no.”
Photo By: Greg Bartram- USA Today Sports