“Do you want to be a fighter?” Mike Swick’s insight to Dana White’s iconic impromptu speech.
With TUF 25 airing tonight, the UFC have been putting together marketing packages for the show. One of their most recently released videos went back to the very beginning and showed the speech that started it all. Luckily for all of us, this is MikeSwick.com and we have the inside info on what exactly went down.
What led to the speech was a lack of communication between the producers of the show and the fighters. Fighters were all confused as to exactly what they were doing there at the time. Apparently, it had been laid out for the fighters that the show would consist of a bunch of challenges. If you remember, at one point all of the contestants were carrying Randy Couture and Chuck Liddell on Lay-Z-Boys’s through lake Mead.
We finally had a reality show with fighters on it and it was all about drama and super lame challenges. Fans were frustrated and the fighters were frustrated. According to Swick,
“We didn’t know what the show was going to be about. When producers pitched it to us, it was a fighting show. We got there and were expecting to fight, but then were told we wouldn’t be fighting until the end of the season.”
In the video, you can see Bobby Southworth say that was their understanding. Forrest Griffin backs him up and gets cut off. Executive producer Craig Piligian says in the video, “I don’t know where the confusion came from…” Maybe he wasn’t hands on enough.. but, whoever worked on the show was telling the fighters these things.
“I went into Dana’s office multiple times and asked if we could fight, because to our knowledge, it was just challenges until the end. Some of us wanted to fight and were sick of these wacky stunts they kept setting up for us. Producers told us all that this was the way it was going to be. (Swick shows his age) I thought, ‘This isn’t Double Dare.’ Dana told me it wasn’t up to him and this was the way into the UFC. For all I know, my pestering of Dana was the reason that we began the fights.”
They nagged Dana to let them fight, Leben was pissing on beds, guys complained about the weight cut and producers seemed to have no direction whatsoever. That’s when Dana snapped. He gave his speech like Samuel L. Jackson being sick of some mother***king snakes on a mother***king plane. Swick remembers vividly,
“I literally remember thinking, Hell yes. Let’s quit doing these stupid challenges and finally fight.”
When it really set in, was when they entered the training center and saw a very telling sight.
“We were walking in one day and we saw a corner stool being painted blue. I was like, “Wait a minute…” We went in and they told us they were changing the structure of the show. We had no clue that we were fighting until we saw the chairs being painted on the lawn outside.”
So, everyone but Jason Thacker indeed wanted to be a f***ing fighter. It’s just that in season one, the format wasn’t nailed down and nobody quite knew what was going on. To cap off the season, Swick told another story that was quite unbelievable.
“It was the last day of shooting when Stephan Bonnar and I fought. After, we went back to the house where Bonnar goes in the shower. He was in there forever and we were worried that he died or something. We were all banging on the door, trying to get at him. An hour and a half later, Bonnar opens the door and he’s covered from head to toe in dirt and mud. How the hell do you get dirty after an hour and a half shower?
It turns out that after our fight, Bonnar just had to get out of the house. He snuck out of one of those small rectangle bathroom windows and ran two miles to the store to get booze. Bonnar was fine and now he’s a Hall of Famer.”