The cracks started to show in last night's episode.
Initially, I was really excited to be a part of Team Whittaker. Even though I wasn't the first pick, like I had hoped for and expected, I was pretty proud of the team that we had assembled.
Unfortunately, it didn't take too long for me to realize that I may not be in the best position possible to win this tournament and get my hands on that UFC contract, which of course was my goal since earning a spot on the show.
I've trained my whole MMA career at a high intensity with UFC fighters. Once we got down to the business of training on the show, I was unfortunately pretty disappointed with the intensity of Team Whittaker's training sessions. I believe he just wanted to ensure nobody was injured during training, which I respect, but I only get better when I'm pushed to the edge, like at home in Milwaukee. On the other hand, it didn't take me long to realize that Team Gastelum's training sessions seemed to be a lot more beneficial for their athletes; you could tell that in how they used most of their recreation time sleeping and refueling because they were so tired from training hard.
After serving overseas, I'm no stranger to somewhat uncomfortable living situations, and the occasional language barrier. This, unfortunately, is how I felt with my teammates, due to several cultural and language differences, after I found myself as essentially the only American on my team. Little things like we saw with the grocery list on last night's episode were happening in most of my interactions with several teammates, which made things a little uncomfortable at times. I have respect for everyone on Team Whittaker, but I found it a lot easier to communicate and get along with members of the opposing team.
It's odd in the TUF house. You're there to win a contract for yourself, but you're also hoping to help your teammates improve. That was something that I grappled with a lot in my head, while also trying to stay focused on the task at hand. I thought I had prepared for everything, but this was very strange to me.