October 30th, 2008  |  Published in FIGHTER NEWS  |  14 Comments

A record number of applicants turned out at the Crown Plaza in Chicago on Monday to tryout for the 9th season of The Ultimate Fighter. There were nearly 800 applicants which would make for a very long day.

Levon “The Maynman” Maynard

The best unsigned lightweight and welterweight fighters in the country showed up to compete. It was great to see how SuckerPunch fighters stacked up.

Zach “The Groundhog” Davis

Phillip “The Wicked” Wyman

“Antmo” and “Bang Bang”

Mike Stumpf and Patrick “Paddy Mike” Curran with “Big Frog” on the side

All the SP fighters set up camp at Jeff Curran’s state of the art gym a few days before the tryouts. It was like Curran had a TUF house of his own with 6 signed SP fighters and 1 prospect sleeping in the the dorms on the second floor of Curran’s academy. It was interesting to see how the SP fighters from different camps mixed living together in the gym. Curran was extremely excited when he saw the hunger and drive these athletes had. Some had driven 14 hours to be there.

The tryouts were a hurry up and register then sit around and wait game. After registering, the fighters grabbed a nap while they waited for the first elimination round. Grappling was first and each athlete was randomly matched up with another applicant in their weight class for a one minute round of grappling. Talk about a high pace! With only 1 minute to show you can control and dominate at this level, fighters were going for broke!

The second round was stand up/striking. If you made it past the first round, you got wait another several hours for all the rest of the 700+ applicants to have their 1 minute grappling bout. The striking round consisted of fighters hitting pads with a provided pad holder or you could bring your own out on the floor. 4 fighters at a time started working various strikes in the center of the ballroom while the UFC’s Joe Silva walked around with a producer whispering “yes” or “no” into the producers’ ears.

By the time the striking round was over we estimated the nearly 800 applicants was cut down to around 100. All that was left now was the interview process and nobody knows how this went. It was now nearly 1 AM and everone was ready to get out of there including the judges. All in all the UFC did a great job handling the crowd and it looks like it will be a very interesting season.

As for how far the SuckerPunch guys made it at the tryouts, we can’t say… but next season looks like it will be explosive. Stay tuned!



  1. Sarah Curran says:

    October 30th, 2008at 2:17 pm(#)

    I see Jeff doesn’t have his splint on…he is so horrible with that thing. I’m going to superglue it to him!

  2. Rob says:

    October 30th, 2008at 2:45 pm(#)

    Great job everyone! I look forward to hopefully watching you guys on the show.


  3. mmablaster says:

    October 30th, 2008at 3:29 pm(#)

    I could see TUF using Pat Curran. He looked good in his episode of Tapout, I’m sure the TUF guys would like that.

  4. Tyburn says:

    October 30th, 2008at 4:04 pm(#)

    My bet is that they all made it hahahahaha. I know it sounds callous, but I hope only one or two suckerpunch guys get into the house…coz I dont really want to see them forced to fight each other. I hate having to choose who to support. I will go and say perhaps 4 got through, perhaps three will be on TUF next time, hopefully they can avoid fighting other. One lost in prelims, one lost in final rounds

    and one to go into the final and win…huh Levon? 😛

  5. THE KID says:

    October 31st, 2008at 8:51 am(#)

    good job guys that rocks

  6. Phillip "The Wicked" Wyman says:

    October 31st, 2008at 12:40 pm(#)

    I had a great time, thanks for all the support.
    So Brian when are you gonna make the big announcement of me signing with SPE? Can’t wait to mix things up on the 15th of November when I fight Don Bailey at Cagefest Extreme.
    I deffinately want to go back up to the Big Frog’s and train with them.
    Until then….Be Wicked!

  7. Brian Crenshaw says:

    October 31st, 2008at 9:00 pm(#)

    Congrats to all the Sucker Punch fighters…everyone did well and got home safe. All the VA guys are back in the gym and hitting it hard this Saturday with big training session. Keep up the hard work and it will surely pay off….

  8. Angelic Wray says:

    November 1st, 2008at 1:05 am(#)

    I’m so proud of all the Sucker Punch fighter especially Antmo from philly doing his thing out there showing what Philly actually made of. I wish I was there to watch the action in place but hopefully I’ll be there to see my boo from philly Antmo, I just know he made it. Well good luck to everyone else who made it.

  9. big frog says:

    November 1st, 2008at 9:25 am(#)

    I think its important for everyone who reads and has been following Suckerpunch fighters/news to truly understand what these guys are going through to make a name for themselves. When i was a young fighter (11 years ago), we had our own battles/challenges to live with. but, Today, fighters stand in line with 800 other guys for 15 hours long hoping that in the total 3 minutes they have to show their stuff to Joe Silva that they don’t faulter. ALL, suckerpunch guys represented…I am proud of everyone and really enjoyed all my new friends from out of town living in my gym. (eventhough you all smell really bad, lol). Open invite to you and your friends anytime. Way to go guys and i wish you all the best. We should have some news soon to see who is actually moving forward to the next step on TUF. Proud of you all. And special thanks to Brian for helping bring us all together.

  10. LeVon says:

    November 1st, 2008at 5:59 pm(#)

    Thanks for all the support everyone! I had a blast out there even though it was a LONG day. About 17 hours to be exact. But if I had to I would do it all again.

    I want to give a big thanks to “Big Frog” Jeff Curran for allowing us to stay at his super nice training facility and helping everyone get around in his truck. I have a lot of respect for this guy, he was really nice, and did everything he could to help us out throughout the trip. As for the smell in the gym, I think we will have to give a thanks to Zach Davis or should I say Zach “Gas Master” Davis lol.

    Also I want to thank Brian Butler for setting up everything for the trip as well as helping everyone by holding pads so we could warm up for the tryout pad rounds. Brian stuck through all 17 hours of tryout with us and I don’t even think he took a nap! What a trooper!

    I guess we will see what the future holds for the SuckerPunch squad. Great work everyone.


  11. Amir says:

    November 3rd, 2008at 10:59 pm(#)

    Congrats guys! I had no doubt you would have a great showing.

  12. GrandPaSensei says:

    November 4th, 2008at 3:32 pm(#)

    Hey Wicked,

    Congrats on making the team. Good pictures of u. What happened to your hair? Going bald or did Caleb yank it out?

    Be Wicked,


  13. Mike "tango" Batenga says:

    November 5th, 2008at 1:05 pm(#)

    Big props to Jeff Curran and his staff for letting us stay at his state of the art MMA Center. He is one of the most humble and gracious hosts in the world. Thanks “Big Frog” for everything. Also thanks to Chris for his unbeleivable hospitality and support. By the way, your Mags got jacked but I’m sending some through the mail so you should get them soon. Thanks to Brian Butler for making the trip happen and for all the Critical gear. ANTMO, Francois, Levon and Pat Curran. Good luck. Again Thanks Jeff for everything and hope to see you Dec 6 for the show.

  14. ChrisL says:

    November 7th, 2008at 3:58 pm(#)

    Congrats to all the SuckerPunch guys who stayed up here at Hotel Curran. I hear you all put on a hell of showing at the tryouts. You are some of the messiest guys i have ever met, but at least you clean up after yourselves. And next time you guys drive up here i say we should think about getting Brian behind the wheel. What do you guys think?

    Oh, and Mike thanks for the mags, i’ll be waiting for them. I’ll see you when you get up here on Dec. 6th.


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