It isn’t news to anyone that the jokes Anistavio Gasparzinho has been making on the first season of the Ultimate Fighter Brazil are often criticized by his training partner, Rodrigo Damm. The jiu-jitsu and wrestling expert comes across as a buzz killer for Gasparzinho, who has been Damm’s target throughout the show, even when the rest of the competitors are joking as well.
Named by the fans as the boring one, or the old one in the house, Damm explains that his serious focus, as seen on the reality show, doesn’t produce pure boredom.
“People are thinking that I am serious, and I really am,” he says. “But I relax at the right moment and focus in the moments I need to. And with the daily training, diet, pain, tiredness and pressure, you can’t forget that, in there, there’s no one joking. My concern with TUF Brazil is not to be seen as the funny or nice guy, it’s to be seen as a professional fighter, centered and focused, with an established, clear goal.”
To many, Damm doesn’t like Gasparzinho, and every time he has the chance to draw his attention, he doesn’t waste it. But he makes it clear it’s all a matter of limits, and Gasparzinho goes overboard with the jokes many times. A family guy, Rodrigo marks his spot in the TUF house to be more than just a champion; he wants to set an example to three kids in particular that watch him on TV.
“We had great fun and games moments. I have no problem with him or any other athlete in the house, But Gaspar crosses the line many times,” says Damm. “The joke starts well, but he can’t stop at the limit someone else imposes to him and that is the reason of our discussions. I’m a married man, I have three kids that watch this show. I worry about the example I’m passing to them, so based on that, all I ask is for good behavior. Some of his attitudes put all the team in a tough situation, like the day he didn’t let anyone sleep. I thought it was a lack of respect with the athletes that needed to recover for the next day of training.”
About the label of being the boring one in the TUF Brazil house, Rodrigo believes that it depends on the type of vision the viewers have of the person and the fighter Rodrigo Damm. The differences are not only cultural, but also behavioral between the 16 participants of the reality show, and that opens the door for much analysis and conclusions. But every fighter entered the house with a mission, and to fulfill it, they go through several provocations, and among those, some sad situations, but as is normal in life – it is impossible to please everyone.
“I went there to fight, train, improve my technique and get a contract with the UFC. What I am is being showed. I’m a coherent Christian and disciplined guy,” he says about his image. “I’ve been an Evangelical for seven years and I have a beautiful family. In all the training sessions I prayed for everyone, and participated in the jokes I thought were funny and appropriate. But I think all differences must be respected.”