Ten TUF questions: Joe Scarola
September 20, 2007
Each week MMAjunkie.com interviews the latest cast member eliminated from “The Ultimate Fighter: Team Hughes vs. Team Serra.” The sixth installment of the popular reality series airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Spike TV. Stop by Yahoo! Sports every Friday for MMAjunkie.com's “Ten TUF questions.”
Joe Scarola has the dubious honor of not only being this season’s first draft pick, but the New Yorker was also the first contestant eliminated from the season six of “The Ultimate Fighter.“
While Scarola tells MMAjunkie.com that reality television just isn’t for him, his time on the show did include some familiar faces. Scarola is a student at Matt Serra’s Serra Jitsu Academy in Long Island, so it was no surprise that his teacher and assistant coaches made him the No. 1 pick this year.
Scarola ultimately suffered a submission via triangle choke in the final seconds of the first round, but the 28-year-old fighter says the loss – the first of his career – won’t shake his desire to compete professionally in MMA.
1. Just to start with, can you tell me how you ended up making it on the show? Were you recruited, or did you go through the application process?
Joe Scarola: I went through audition process. Matt (Serra) got a call from the producers, who wanted to know if he knew anyone, so he gave them my name. They told me about the auditions, so I sent in a tape. I went to Vegas to audition, and I guess they liked me. They called and offered me a spot on the cast.
2. How long before the show taped did you know you’d be there with Serra? Did you guys discuss having him pick you first?
Scarola: We discussed it, but actually, I didn’t know right away that he’d be the coach. In fact, I found out about the announcement just like everyone else did when they announced him during that live event. After that, we probably had a couple weeks. We discussed it, and he said he’d chose me since we had a history together. People thought it might be easier since we knew each other, but it was actually more pressure. You know what I mean? I had the pressure to do well. I didn’t want to let him down.
3. Looking back, do you think Matt Hughes “played” you guys by saying Serra better pick you first? After all, Hughes told you that he might pick you if Serra didn’t – but he later told the cameras he wasn’t going to pick you anyway.
Scarola: I was there to fight, so whatever. I had to fight anyway, and he was just trying to play head games. We didn’t look too much into it. He tried to take a shot at Matt and get the upperhand, but he wasn’t going to get in (Serra’s) head anway. He was going to take me first anyway, so it didn’t matter.
4. Looking back, what’s your biggest regret regarding your fight with Mac Danzig? Was it the decision to tap out?
Scarola: Honestly, watching it – and I watched it for the first time on Wednesday – it just wasn’t met in there. Nothing against Mac – Mac is a tough guy and a great fighter. I was just upset I didn’t fight to my potential. There’s so much pressure in that house, and I hadn’t adjusted well. And then three or four days after being there, I had to fight a UFC fight. My head just wasn’t in it. I regret that I wasn’t my best that day.
5. Just to clarify, if a fighter loses a match, he’s allowed to stay in the house, correct? Were you there the entire time? (Note: Spike TV’s teaser for next week’s episode shows Joe wrestling with the decision whether to stay in the house or go home.)
Scarola: Yeah, everyone stays in the house if they lose. But I can’t say anything else. We’re not allowed to say much.
6. For you personally, what was the toughest part about being in the house? Was there one thing you missed the most?
Scarola: Man, there were so many things. Just adjusting to the camera being on you at all times, all those cameras and lights. And then being secluded and not being allowed to do anything. You have 15 other guys in the house you don’t really know, too. There are just so many things. I missed people back home. And when you fight first, you’re depressed because you can’t really relax.
7. Do you know if you’ll be competing at The Ultimate Fighter 6 Finale in December? Would you be interested?
Scarola: No, I have no idea. I think we get the call in October. I really hope Dana (White) gives me a shot. Absolutely, I’d like to be on the card. My absolute goal is to fight full-time. I feel like I need to prove to everyone what I can do because they didn’t get to see it on the show. I didn’t represent myself the way I should have.
8. Obviously, you know who makes it to the finals. And I know you can’t discuss that, but based on your first few days at the gym, who did you think was the most likely to win the contract?
Scarola: I think there were so many guys, really. So many guys were bringing stuff to the table. Mac (Danzig) had the most experience and fought in PRIDE and was a King of the Cage champ. He had 30 fights or something like that. But everybody else had something going for them. If they didn’t have a lot of fights, they had good wrestling or Jiu-Jitsu or grappling or whatever else. There were a lot of great fighters there. I was impressed by everyone.
9. Who’s the one guy that viewers should keep an eye on this season – maybe not because he’s the best fighter, but because he’s such a funny character?
Scarola: There’s so many. Matt Arroyo and Dan Barrera were very funny. Bro, everybody has their own personality. It’s going to be a cool season to watch. Yeah, there’s lots of crazy stuff that’s going to happen this year.
10. Final question: Given everything you’ve gone through the last couple months, would you go through this whole experience again if you had the choice?
Scarola: Absolutely not (laughs). I don’ think reality TV is for me. I won’t be calling up the “Real World” anytime soon, that’s for sure. I’m just not a reality TV guy. Fighting is fighting. Win or lose, I’ll keep doing it. But I wouldn’t want to do it on a reality show again.
For the latest MMA news and rumors, check out MMAjunkie.com.
Updated on Friday, Sep 21, 2007 12:58 am, EDT