(Repost) Is Roy Nelson A TUF Ringer?

The more UFC fights I see on The Ultimate Fighter, the more I start thinking about Roy Nelson. Nelson is 17-4, a former champion, former ADCC fighter, and yet he is competing with ex-NFL players and Kimbo Slice for a UFC deal. What is Nelson really doing there? I will tell you what he is doing there…he is a ringer!

I am less impressed with the skills of the fighters on this season’s TUF more than any other season. It becomes obvious quickly that these guys are babies when it comes to the world of MMA fighting. Roy Nelson on the other hand, is in a class all by himself on the show. The only explanation for Nelson being on the show is that Dana White sabotaged his own show to make a point.

For one thing, Roy Nelson is on the show to prove that MMA fighters are better athletes than NFL players. Even a player that looks like Roy Nelson can whip a jacked up NFL player in an MMA fight. Nelson is also there to put a street fighting hype machine like Kimbo Slice in his place. Dana White’s reaction following the Nelson-Slice fight was brilliant. It told me everything that I needed to know and confirmed for me that the fix is in!

Dana White was practically outraged after Nelson beat Slice. White made comments about Nelson’s “weak” punches and Nelson’s physique. When has Dana White ever criticized a winner on The Ultimate Fighter? I don’t ever recall White trashing a TUF fighter like that immediately after a win on the show. I suspect the outrage was purely phony and a bit of reverse psychology from the UFC president. Dana White is the best promoter in the history of MMA and is doing what he does best and that is promote his next heavyweight monster…Roy Nelson.

After White makes those remarks, what are you thinking? Maybe, in the back of your head you are thinking, “So a guy who is fat, throws weak punches, and has a weak ground game beat the monster Kimbo Slice?” The same will be said again the next time Nelson takes down one of the hyped ex-NFL players. The strategy is pure genius out of Dana White. Casual UFC fans would have laughed the second they saw Nelson in a UFC octagon. Now, they know this guy is for real and may even pay to see him fight.

There is no logical reason that Nelson should have to compete for a UFC contract. The guy is a former IFL heavyweight champion who has fought marquee matches. I could understand if the theme of the show was a comeback like past TUF seasons, but that is not what this show is about. I look at former IFL fighter, Ben Rothwell as a guy that supports my theory. Nelson beat Rothwell in the IFL, yet Rothwell is making his UFC debut in two weeks and didn’t have to enter a contest to get a UFC deal. So a guy who Nelson beat and was knocked out by Andrei Arlovski last year is good enough to get a UFC contract and the former IFL champion isn’t?

There is also huge marketing potential in Roy Nelson for the UFC. Matt Hughes has been promoted throughout his career as something of an “every-man.” Hughes’ livelihood as a farmer has made him the blue collar hero to UFC fans. Hughes is wrapping up his career and Dana doesn’t have anyone to fill that role. There is something extremely appealing and marketable about a guy that you can relate to chasing the UFC heavyweight title. There was even a moment on TUF where Rashad Evans and his team talked about Roy booking his own fights and training in his basement. It is all coming together perfectly for Dana White.

I can’t say that I blame Dana White. He has become very protective of his sport over the last few years. White has always blasted his competitors whenever he felt that they were damaging the integrity of the sport. Recently, White has been outspoken about Strikeforce’s signing of Herschel Walker. A few years ago his cause was ironically enough, Kimbo Slice. What better way to send a message than by having a fat, dumpy, fighter who looks he just left his third buffet beat Kimbo Slice and a bunch of ex-NFL players? I say it is actually pretty brilliant.

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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