Uriah Hall burst onto the UFC scene with memorable fights on "The Ultimate Fighter." We named his knockout of Adam Cella the best knockout of the first quarter of this year. He scored two more knockouts on his way to the finals of the show.
But all of the TUF fights were held in the gym, with the tightly controlled environment of a television show taping and a small crowd. Once he was put under the UFC lights, Hall fizzled. He lost to Kelvin Gastelum in the TUF finale, then looked equally lost in the cage with John Howard on Saturday. UFC president Dana White had some harsh but fair criticism for Hall.
"I love Uriah Hall," White told reporters after the fights. "I have a great relationship with this kid. He's one of the nicest human beings you can ever meet. He's not a fighter, man."
Remember that one of White's most motivating phrases to fighters is from TUF. "Do you want to be a [expletive] fighter?" When they showed a lack of commitment or determination, White would rally castmembers with this simple question. Some fighters would realize that perhaps getting punched in the face for a living wasn't for them. Most would listen to White's words and try to live up to his expectations.
But with Hall, there isn't a speech. White has looked at Hall's two fights in the UFC, both losses, and he just doesn't see a fighter. It may not be a death knell to Hall's career, but it is a punishing blow.