Tim Gorman waited years for his chance to fight in the UFC, but all it took was one ill-timed hamstring injury for a dream opportunity on The Ultimate Fighter 18 to become a nightmare.
"It scared the s--t out of me. It tore three times leading up to the (elimination) fight," Gorman explained on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour.
"The final time, about four or five days out from the actual fight, it tore all the way off and that's one that was really, really bad, where it bruised up all the way and started bleeding all over the place. It was really discouraging.
"I just kept it covered it up," he continued. "I hate to say it, I hope I don't get in trouble for this, but when the doctors and stuff asked if I had any injuries, I said no. I said that I didn't have any preexisting injuries. They took my word for it."
Despite the injury, which recolored Gorman's leg a nightmarish shade of purple, the 30-year-old still fought at half-strength and crushed his opening round opponent Lee Sandmeier via first-round TKO to gain entry into the TUF 18 house.
"At the time, I truly believed that I could still win it," Gorman said. "I truly believed and truly convinced myself that I was going to go out 100 percent and find a way to win.
"There was too much on the line to believe any different, really."
Gorman's dream, however, came crashing to an abrupt halt, as within days an MRI conducted by UFC physicians revealed the severely torn hamstring. Gorman pleaded for UFC President Dana White to allow him to stay on the show, yet White's hands were tied and Gorman ultimately had to leave.
"At first I was pissed off. I thought that it was f--ked up that they had taken that shot away from me," Gorman explained. "But after thinking about it for a couple days, I was like, ‘You know what? Dana White and The Ultimate Fighter show had my back 100-percent and they're looking out for what's best for me as a fighter. They're looking out for what's best for me and my future.'
"In all reality, they were helping me get ready for my next fight, because if I would've continued to fight, and I would've gotten injured even worse, then I could've never fought again."
Impressed by Gorman's tenacity, White and the UFC elected to pay for the bantamweight's medical bills despite the fact that the injury was preexisting.
White subsequently confirmed that even despite his setbacks, Gorman will fight in the UFC once he heals.
"The kid's a nutball, he's a lunatic," White said on a recent FOXSports Google Hangout. "I like that, that's not a bad thing. He wanted to continue to fight. I respect that. He'll get another shot in the UFC. We'll give him a shot."
Gorman is now rehabbing his mangled hamstring with an eye on a UFC debut in either late-December or early-January. And if he had his way, Gorman already has a specific opponent in mind: TUF 18 assistant coach and boyfriend of Miesha Tate, Bryan Caraway.
Gorman recently issued a half-joking challenge to Caraway -- a duel for the right to take Tate out on a date. Gorman says the whole thing was initially "just for fun," though he's a bit surprised Caraway has yet to respond.
Now, having been ignored by Caraway, Gorman "100-percent" plans to request the embattled bantamweight for his first fight inside the eight-sided cage.
"I think he's scared to be honest with you," Gorman said.
"It's embarrassing that he hasn't said anything. I think he'd say something. Say that I'm a joke or say that I'm not worth his time, or say something. I mean, he won't say anything. I feel like he's kind of hiding. The fact that Miesha Tate, his girlfriend, had to come out and say something first, I feel like he's kind of hiding behind his girlfriend. I think Miesha Tate has more guts than he does."