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Mike Dolce’s “Ultimate Fighter 7″ Blog – Week 4


Down but not out…

So this episode picks up on the tail end of my fight with Jesse.

Jesse fought hard and was an ox in the cage, especially in his comfort zone – on the mat. I should have been able to execute my game plan better, but could not, and paid for that. The opportunity gave me a great reference to pull from in the days and weeks to come in an effort to put myself back into contention, which was my only thought from the second Herb Dean woke me up on the floor of the octagon.

With that fight behind me, I knew I would not be fighting in the foreseeable future. Mine was the first “tournament” fight of “The Ultimate Fighter 7” and there were seven more fights to go in this round before I would be eligible to re-enter the tournament due to default. If I was truly out of the tournament, then I was out for good. But if I had any chance at all to get back in, I was not going to squander it by getting drunk and blowing my diet.

In my mind, someone was going to drop out, and a spot would open up.

My spot.

And I would be ready.

Walking back into the fighter house that afternoon, I was embraced by my peers, who all offered accolades and notions of encouragement. Among most, the consensus was that I fought my heart out to the very last second, opting to pass out rather than tap out. It’s a move respected by true fighters, and not yet understood by casual fans, though I didn’t quite grasp what was being conveyed until later that night while lying alone in my bunk.

I thanked the guys, grabbed a shower and a bite to eat, and took a much needed power nap. Team Rampage was training at 5 p.m. and I’d be damned if they took the mat without me!

Dante and Riddle

Dante Rivera is one of my good friends from back home in NJ. I was his first strength coach nearly five years ago when he was training with Kurt Pellegrino under the legendary Renzo Gracie and Ricardo Almeida. Team Renzo/Almeida is very much a family, and each of the students are bonded as brothers.

Dante and I became very close in those days, and I was excited to see him make the house with me, as well as my other good friend and Team Quest teammate, Gerald “Hurricane” Harris.

It should be of no surprise that the three of us teamed up right away and grabbed the best three-man bedroom in the house. The only room with its own full bathroom!

In the bedroom next to ours, Matthew Riddle, Matt Brown and Amir Sadollah planted their own stakes, sharing a bathroom with Brandon “Mohawk” Sene, Cale Yarbrough and Dan Cramer.

Matthew Riddle is a big, bungling kid. Kind of like a sweet rottweiler puppy that keeps crapping on the floor, but you can’t really get mad because he just doesn’t know any better.

Riddle and I got along right away. We’re both southpaws from the East Coast and the only two guys with knockouts in the 32-man tournament. We argued as to whose KO was better and both agreed that mine was more technical, but his was more memorable. Fair enough (but I still like mine better!)

What you saw of the “Dante and Riddle Show,” as it came to be known, was a pretty accurate depiction of the events as they transpired.

But more about that in the weeks to come…

Jumping to the action, I knew Tim Credeur had his hands full with Riddle. By fight time, both teams had been training together for a full week, and for us that meant 14 hardcore workouts together. I had seen Credeur fight my teammate, Chael Sonnen in Bodog, and I spent the better part of 30 hours battling Riddle in the gym. I remember thinking that this was a good match-up for Team Rampage.

Credeur is a legit Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt and had been tested in international competition. His confidence was pretty high going into a fight with some punk kid who had one more MMA fight than hairs on his chin…exactly two!

But Riddle was a high school national wrestling champion and had been drafted by one of the top wrestling colleges on the East coast. Plus, he’s a Brazilian jiu-jitsu purple belt with numerous submission victories over a few black belts in grappling tournaments. Not too shabby.

I was fortunate to corner Riddle for his fight and was impressed with his composure during the warm-ups. This kid had competed thousands of times in his, and today was just another competition.

Through the thin walls of our locker room we could hear Tim and Team Forrest screaming, yelling and slamming each other around. Not good before a fight. It seemed to me that Tim was activating too soon and starting the adrenaline dump way too early, while we on Team Rampage were keeping things fun but focused on the job at hand.

The fight itself was a battle of attrition – a seesaw of events with both guys left bleeding.

Tim proved to be too grizzled for the newcomer and exploded on a textbook armbar when Riddle lost position while trying to hit an Eddie Bravo “Twister.”

Ya can’t fault a kid for trying!

Afterwards, Riddle kept to his “Chipper” persona, especially after Credeur came into our locker room and promised to buy Riddle a brand new X-Box 360 with the $10 G’s he had just won by tapping Matthew out of the tournament.

Credeur took one step higher in my book for being a true class act.

Tune in next time as the house and the cage explodes!

Mike Dolce is a cast member of “The Ultimate Fighter 7.” He is a professional fighter, strength coach and sports nutritionist. For more information, and to read past blogs, go to www.MikeDolceMMA.com

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This entry was posted on Thursday, April 24th, 2008 at 10:36 am by lvollmer. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
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18 Responses to “Mike Dolce’s “Ultimate Fighter 7″ Blog – Week 4”

  1. john martin

    Wow, I cannot believe you actually blamed the coaches for your loss. Before the fight, you had it in the bag. Blaming people who you’ve just started training with is absurd. I guess skull crackin’ and lip smackin’ go hand in hand. That is, they both get you nowhere at this level. I’m pretty accurate a guaging where Ultimate Fighters end up after a year or so removed from the show and unless you start training harder and taking responsibility for your own actions, i’d put in the same catagory as Josh Haynes. Sorry to sound so prickish but I was a fan until you blamed others for your loss. Good luck and God Bless Mike!


    Mr. Martin…are you reading the same blog all the rest of us are?

    Perhaps you need glasses. Or perhaps you just want to harp on someone’s unfortunate experience that he has turned into a positive one – something a true CHAMPION does.

    Maybe you need to take notes on how Dolce conducts himself, as you are obviously someone who loves to live in misery and relishes his own fear of living life to the fullest – something these fighters do…taking chances without fear of failure.

    There’s not one spot in the blog where Dolce blames his coaches. In fact, he writes that he got up, dusted himself off and jumped on the mat again that same night. DAMN! That’s admirable and positive!!! How can anyone not root for this guy?

    You say you WERE a “fan” of Dolce’s before reading his blog.

    That in NO WAY can be true.

    A Dolce fan is a die-hard fan…one who doesn’t jump on the bandwagon during the good times and jump off during the bad. I can’t imagine how you treat your friends … if you actually have any. But you’re the type of person who’d stab your brother in the back to get what you want, aren’t you? That’s OK, don’t bother responding. You’ve already noted the qualities important to a person like you in your fabulously superficial posting.

    I say good riddance to you…you’re one “fan” a positive guy like Dolce can do without. And that’s unfortunate, because he’s so cool to everyone he comes in contact with.

    He’s a go-getter and a living lesson for everyone out there that no matter what happens you keep on going and never take your eyes off the goal.

    DOLCE all the way!!!

    On another topic:

    True fans, check out mikedolcemma.com
    It’s an awesome social networking site with tons of mma, alth and weird news. Plus you can sign up and get your own page. I think this site is the cutting edge of mma web sites. Just a fun thing to check out.

  3. Bad Girl

    The proof is in the pudding, what Mike said about the first thoughts he had when waking up was what can he do next time to make the game plan work and be better.

    As for giving up, anyone who remotely seen Mike at work knows he will be the first one to leave 110 percent of himself in the ring, and he pushes others to do the same.

    Hes keeping his eyes on the goal. Thats an impressive trait.

    Mike: Question for you, do you agree that with a little more training under maybe some of the better teams that Matt can take off, the kid impressed the #@%@#% out of me?

    And, I truley believe, your spot will come, your time will come and your moment to have the title belt you are shooting for is coming.

  4. kesh

    keep it up dolce – you’re a class act and you’ve won over this fan!

    good job!

  5. Mike Dolce

    Thanks everybody, even Mr. Martin for wishing me luck and the blessing of the Lord…I’ll accept that!

    It really does make it all worth while to see the type of support I have. I am honored to fight for you.

    FYI – Riddle just may be heading out to the Pacific Northwest…now if only I knew a great gym out there???


  6. Bad Girl

    Geeze, I wonder where Riddle might be coming to visit.

    See there is this gym, I think it is in Gresham Oregon and it has this guy who has the wonder of all Strength and Conditioning systems and has made athletes better then they ever imagined, and made being a fat bad girls a thing of the past.

    Ever here of it?

    Thanks Mike for posting the update and you know we will be watching because you know, we know and anyone who doesnt know is foolish, that you just started on your way.

  7. Jordan


    You are the MAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Me and my two bro’s met you outside The Marriot in Toronto the Friday before UFC 83 and you were awesome!

    We told you we hope you win the show but whatever happens happens buddy. We just hope you make it because we know you will tear it up in the octagon some day buddy.

    Everybody loses in life but the true Champions are the ones that get back up and never get defeated and use those loses as fuel on their way to victory.

  8. Jordan

    I meant Montreal buddy!

  9. Scarey Mary

    Yo…. Mike’s site is

  10. Kent

    Dolce, quit trying to make yourself out to be a bad ass for not tapping. First rule, you can’t spew about how much respect you deserve, you can only accept it when others offer it.
    Also, last I checked colleges don’t draft athletes, they might recruit them and offer a scholarship, but only the pro leagues have a draft.

  11. MMA Fan

    Kent, you are a douche. stop nitpicking over termonology like draft/recruit. we all knew what Mike meant. Mike does have my respect for not tapping. that takes guts. I’d like to see you in the ring w/Mike, Kent, but I am guessing you would rather fight from behind your computer than in the ring.

    Mike you’re OK in my book.

  12. Mike Dolce

    Thanks guys!

    To quote Mike Tyson, “I can’t hold no explain?”

    20 years later, we’re still trying to figure out what the heck he meant?!


  13. Bad Girl

    I wouldnt call Kent a Douche bag, but I would tend to wonder why hes nitpicking such stupid crap.

    The bottom line is Mike didnt tap. That does take guts. You work untill you cant work anymore to find the perdicment. That in itself is a huge reflection of heart and determination.

  14. Matt

    Dude if you can knock somebody out on tv and america can see it then your pretty damn badass.If jesse would have stood up with you you would have without a dout knocked him on his ass i mean he does the same thing in his fights he isnt that exciting to watch really.Shit im 16 and if i stood up with him id knock him out so i know you for sure would screw up his day if you had the chance.Dont give up on fighting and keep kickin ass Bro.

  15. hobtordreft

    Neat site: Will visit soon.

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Web programmer by day, practicing mixed martial artist at night, Larry Vollmer Jr. brings the latest news from the Ultimate Fighting Championship and the rest of the mixed martial arts world - a fast-spreading obsession on TV and online. These are the bouts - they occur in an octagon-shaped "ring" - that test men's souls.

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Larry Vollmer Jr.Larry Vollmer Jr.
is a Web programmer for LoHud.com, the Web site of The Journal News. He spends his days staring at thousands of lines of code and his nights throwing highkicks and hitting the mat with submission grappling specialists. After work and training, Larry gets the latest news on the world of mixed martial arts from the fighters themselves while watching and rewatching matches on his DVR. READ MORE

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