lived in the Ultimate Fighter
house for six weeks this year, and based on the 12 one-hour TV episodes that came from that footage, he has been described as an "alcoholic psychopath with an anger control problem
" whose presence "made a mockery of the show's credibility
So when I talked to Browning and asked him to explain his behavior, I expected him to offer some kind of excuse, and say that a few isolated incidents were blown out of proportion. Instead, he told me he thinks the show's producers did him a favor with what they let the audience see.
"I think The Ultimate Fighter
made me look a little nicer than I was," Browning said. "I was pretty happy about that. I did other stuff like that that they didn't show -- the usual, me acting like a prick."
And for the most part, Browning thinks the show accurately reflects what life was like in the house for the 16 MMA fighters who were on this season of the show, which will conclude with a live night of fights on Saturday.
"I think it reflects it pretty good," Browning said of the show's portrayal of his behavior. "At least the entertaining parts. There was a lot of down time, sitting around not doing s**t. I'm the kind of person who needs to be doing something all the time. You feel like you're in jail."
I asked Browning whether he thinks he has a drinking problem, and he insists that he doesn't.
"No, I haven't even drank since I was on the show," Browning said. "Maybe once since I was off. Since then I've just been training my ass off."
That training has taken place in Las Vegas, at Randy Couture
's gym, where the 23-year-old Browning is living with the head coach, Shawn Tompkins, and devoting himself to becoming a full-time fighter for the first time in his life.
"I moved out here to Xtreme Couture and I'm using this place as my camp, and I don't believe anyone else from the show is training like I am," Browning said. "I get to see how some of the best lightweights in the world train -- Tyson Griffin, Mac Danzig, Gray Maynard. Those three are just sick. I try to pay attention to everything they're doing. They're some of the best there are, so I try to roll with them as much as possible."
In MMA, only the stars make a lot of money, and Browning says he'll have to scrape by until he makes it in the sport.
"I'm broke, completely," Browning said. "It sucks, but I'm training. If I win I'll keep on fighting full-time, but you can't live broke forever. I'm eating beans and bologna."
Browning says he'll make $16,000 for his fight with Dave Kaplan in the Ultimate Fighter
finale, adding, "But that's more than I've ever made in a year."
Because of his outsized personality, the UFC will take the surprising step of airing Browning's fight with Kaplan live on Spike TV in the Ultimate Fighter
finale, even though both Browning and Kaplan have already lost fights on the show. Browning knows he's there to play the role of villain.
"They'll probably boo me and probably throw rocks at me," Browning said. "They'll probably try to fight me coming out to the cage. But that's OK. Some of the best fighters in the world, everyone hated them starting off. I think people will grow to like me once they see I can fight. Muhammad Ali, people hated him.
"But I want people to pay attention to my next couple fights. Try not to think about the show and look at me more as a fighter and judge me on that. People who saw me on the show are going to be impressed. I'm not like that all the time."