26 seasons in, and everyone knows that The Ultimate Fighter is not a lot of fun for the fighters that go through the process. Many liken it to being in prison, and then there's the added worry of being made to look like a doink on national TV. That's basically what happened to UFC vet Lauren Murphy, whose squeaky wheel approach to interacting with her coach Eddie Alvarez set her up as a trouble maker on the show.
“I thought it was going to be awesome to introduce myself to the world a little bit," she told Flo Combat in an extended interview. "I was excited about that. I knew there would be someone on the show made to look like a complete dick, but I didn’t think it would be me, so I was pretty jacked up. I thought it would be a good thing to be on camera.”
Overall, the experience "sucked way worse than I thought it would," and that was before seeing how she was portrayed on TV.
“Honestly, it’s pretty s**tty. I hate watching myself on TV and I’m not a fan of the way I was portrayed on there," Murphy said. "It’s weird, and it’s hard not to take it all personally. I’m not a bad person, but I’m not perfect either, and I think TUF went out of its way to show only the bad parts of me because they needed a villain for the season.
"Otherwise, who would watch? People hate a drama queen, but they aren’t watching TV to just watch a bunch of girls cook food for each other and talk about their dogs. People watch TV for the drama, even though they hate the person who causes it, and the TUF producers know that."
There was a decent amount of redemption in store for Murphy during the finale. Not only did she moved up to fight Barb Honchack (a close fight that she edged out on the scorecards), but the upgrade was caused by Sijara Eubanks flubbing her weight cut and ending up in the hospital. No one wants to see someone hurt themselves during a cut, but it was validation for Murphy after The Ultimate Fighter made her look opportunistic when Eubanks nearly missed weight on the show.
“Before the sauna scene, they didn’t show Sijara laying in bed, eating peanut butter with chocolate chips in it, out of a cup, using pretzels as a spoon, every night," Murphy said. "So obviously she was probably going to have a struggle making weight. It wasn’t rocket science to see that happening. But they don’t show that kind of stuff. Maybe people would have felt differently about what I did if they could have seen how undisciplined and irresponsible with her diet she was."
With the show behind her, Lauren Murphy is now in a good spot, sitting near the top of the flyweight division with a win over Barb Honchak. And moving forward, it's what happens in the cage that'll determine her future, not the editing of a reality show.