January 15, 2009
He's not the first guy to pass on an opportunity to try out for the UFC's reality show but it is interesting to hear why Irishman Thomas Egan wanted no part of the UFC's highly successful reality show. It's a show that has launched dozens of fighters to new heights in their mixed martial arts career. The Ultimate Fighter 9 is pitting a team of U.S. fighters against a group from the U.K. Technically Egan isn't from the U.K. but he was considering trying out for the show and would've been welcomed with open arms by the organization who lack any sort of Irish presence on its roster.
Egan will make his UFC debut Saturday in Dublin just 45 minutes from his hometown of Newbridge against fellow UFC newcomer John Hathaway. Egan simply didn't think the risk of passing on an official UFC fight was worth the potential reward of reality television exposure:
"You never know what could happen. You never know what injuries you could pick up there," Egan told Cage Writer this week from his home in Ireland. "Things could go smoothly in your UFC debut, things might not go smoothly in the house. It could go either way."
Click below to hear Egan discuss his concerns about TUF 9 (ESPNRadio 1100 w/Cofield):
The bigger issue for Egan may have been what the show is truly looking for. Many believe TUF is now more about acting like a jackass and providing good "reality show" material versus showcasing the fighter's skills:
"I read in a magazine that apparently John Hathaway didn't go into the house because his coach felt it wouldn't be a proper atmosphere for him to be in."
Hathaway, 20, does not drink and he thought it may put him in an uncomfortable position with the TUF house pushing binge drinking so strongly:
"It's a huge opportunity but I do think some of this drunken antics and some of this drama that goes on could be shaped up a little bit."
Egan is taking a big risk. We may find out on Saturday that he belongs at the prospect level and that TUF was the better option. He only has three official MMA pro fights under his belt. He is clearly being given an early shot at the bigtime because of his Irish heritage.
Neil Davidson points out that the kid is about as Irish it gets.
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