Roy Nelson found it easy to shrug off. The task was not quite as simple for his wife.
The native Las Vegan was portrayed in a less-than-positive manner throughout his stint on the 10th season of the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s reality show, “The Ultimate Fighter.”
Despite criticism of his style, his physique and his attitude by fellow castmates, coaches and, perhaps most notably, UFC president Dana White, Nelson finds himself fighting for the season title against Brendan Schaub tonight at the Palms.
“I felt I did great. I mean, I won. As far as being criticized, it really didn’t matter because the main objective in the house is just to finish fights and (advance in the tournament),” said Nelson, a 1994 graduate of Cimarron-Memorial High School, who added that White’s insults meant at least he was making an impression. “As long as he’s talking about me, I’m OK with it. He was impressed with my last fight, and, to me, I think that was my worst fight in the house.”
Nelson said he cares little about what most people think of him.
“As long as the fans are here to support me or even hate me, I don’t care. I’m just coming out to get the ‘W’ and get my hand raised,” he said.
The episodes were a bit tougher for his wife, Jessy, who also serves as Nelson’s manager, to take.
She said the way the show was put together made her husband out to be a villain.
“It’s actually been very, very stressful the last couple of months. It frustrated me because Roy’s such a good person,” she said. “People don’t realize that he worked for the city with children for 10 years, and he’s a really, really good guy. For him to come off as such a douche bag, it’s been a little rough for me.”
Nelson said he didn’t have a huge problem with the show but does have a bit of an explanation for how he came across.
“(I have a) sarcastic (sense of) humor, and they would cut it right there and not show the other side of it,” he said.
Nelson is a veteran fighter who has had a great deal of success in mixed martial arts, including a run as the champion of the defunct International Fight League. His time on the reality show, including his relatively easy win over Kimbo Slice in the first round, has lifted him closer to stardom.
“Everybody comes up to me at Wal-Mart or whatever now, and they’re like, ‘Oh, you’re the guy that beat Kimbo’ or ‘You’re the guy who did this’ or ‘Dana hates you,’ but that’s how fans recognize me,” Nelson said. “They don’t know what my name is, but hopefully after (tonight) they’ll know who I am.”
Schaub is a former University of Colorado fullback who spent time in the Arena Football League and on the Buffalo Bills practice squad. Nelson doesn’t expect the fight to be easy despite his considerable edge in MMA experience.
“Brendan’s a tough gamer. He’s a pro athlete, so he’s not going to get flustered,” Nelson said. “My biggest thing is don’t give him openings and don’t make mistakes. If I do what I’m supposed to do, I should come out victorious.”
The bout is part of a card that also features Slice taking on Houston Alexander in a matchup of fighters with similar styles. Both like to stand and trade punches, which should produce a quick resolution.
Former NFL players Marcus Jones and Matt Mitrione will square off after they nearly came to blows on the reality show when Jones was angered by an unintentional Mitrione eye poke that threatened the career of competitor Scott Junk.
Jon Jones will meet Matt Hamill in a light heavyweight bout and lightweight Frankie Edgar faces Matt Veach in a pair of matchups with fighters that were not part of the reality show.
The first fight is set for 3:45 p.m. at the Palms, and the main card will air tape delayed on Spike (Cable 29) at 9.
Contact reporter Adam Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-224-5509.