Lightweight fighter Cameron Dollar is certain his mohawk, piercings and tattoos increased his chances of being on “The Ultimate Fighter” reality show. He was right—one season too late.
Dollar excelled in grappling tryouts, mitt work and interviews for season eight. He was even asked to submit his medical clearances and return for a second interview, which he also nailed. With no doubt he would be selected, he sold his car, vacated his apartment and liquidated anything else he had.
He wasn’t picked.
Crushed, he got by with the help of friends and 10-hour days installing sewer pipes and gas lines for an underground utilities company.
Then “The Ultimate Fighter” switched its season nine tryouts to include lightweights. Dollar returned to face potential rejection again. But the UFC and Spike TV producers remembered him which he believes worked to his advantage.
The show cast him in the role of young punk. But Dollar has paid his dues. The Colorado-based fighter started living on couches just to be able to train and compete—something he still does to this day.
“I’m actually more broke now than I ever have been,” said Dollar as prepares to fight against cast mate Jason Dent at the season finale Saturday night from the Pearl at the Palms in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Poverty isn’t his main worry, though. He feels more pressure going into his first official fight than he did when vying for the show’s six-figure contract prize. Dollar came up short the first time and he refuses to let it slip by him again. The lessons he learned during filming will ensure it.
“Before I fought a lot off of emotion, you know? Hatred,” he said.
Hating sleeping on couches, his nine-to-five job, and an endless array of young angst has been put aside for a Dan Henderson-inspired philosophy: “I’m not afraid to get hit. I’m not afraid of a broken nose, a broken bone. Its not gonna kill me,” said Dollar, having suffered torn cartilage in his foot and ribs before his semi-finals loss to Andre Winner.
Defeating Dent is about making it to the UFC, sure, but it’s mostly about living a better life—getting off the couch.