With a midsection like rising dough, Roy Nelson is among the unlikeliest of finalists in the history of the nearly-five-year-old “Ultimate Fighter” television tournament. Despite burning an incredible number of calories in camps, he manages to recoup them and maintain an impressive bulk. If he ever stops training, the Learning Channel will be paying to cut him out of his home.
This is not intended to disparage Nelson, a good fighter, but it is intended to address how casual UFC viewers will feel about a heavyweight contender who looks like the Michelin Man with a bad case of fluid retention. While Nelson was the favorite heading into the season in September, he took a lethargic approach to the finals: against Justin Wren, he actually appeared to have lost. If Nelson is not endearing himself to fans through his charisma or through his fighting, that doesn’t leave a lot left.
He’s still the favorite against Brendan Schaub, an athletic Greg Jackson student who knocked out Marcus Jones in the semifinals. Should Nelson win, the “six-figure” contract will come in handy: he’s not getting any supplement company money.
What: “The Ultimate Fighter 10” Live Finale, a 10-bout card from the Pearl at the Palms in Las Vegas, Nevada.
When: Saturday, Dec. 5, at 9 p.m. ET on Spike TV.
Why You Should Care: Because tired, homesick, stressed athletes fighting frequently on a reality show isn’t a very good indication of their real abilities; because Kimbo Slice brushing his teeth would draw a high quarter-hour rating, and a fight with Houston Alexander will be significantly more interesting; because Jon Jones won’t necessarily have his wrestling to fall back on against Matt Hamill; and because Frankie Edgar is flirting with a 155-pound title shot and beating undefeated Matt Veach impressively might help expedite it.
Fight of the Night: Hamill vs. Jones, two talented guys who never, ever stop moving forward.
Hype Quote of the Show: “I kinda like the guy to be honest with you…I’m a fan of him, so to fight him would be a damn good thing. It’s kinda like how I feel about Mike Tyson. I like him so much to the point to where, win or lose, I wanted to fight him. Regardless of reputation or anything, I’m sure of my game and now I’m being trained by some of the best trainers out there, so I’m confident with what I’m coming with.” -- Slice, not getting the disparage-your-opponent memo, to UFC.com