clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Ultimate Fighter's Ramsey Nijem Loses Respect for Teammate Who Quit

Ramsey Nijem is a contestant on this season of the Ultimate Fighter.The big storyline on this week's episode of The Ultimate Fighter was that one fighter, Keon Caldwell, quit just days after the show started. Caldwell's teammate, Ramsey Nijem, says in his weekly interview with that it's hard to respect a teammate who quit on the chance of a lifetime.

Nijem says he was surprised that Caldwell decided he couldn't keep going, and although Caldwell said he quit the show to spend time with his daughter, Nijem wonders whether it wasn't just that Caldwell realized he wasn't good enough.

The full interview also touches on the fight in this week's episode, in which Chris Cope of Team Lesnar beat Javier Torres of Team Dos Santos.

Michael David Smith: Your coach, Junior dos Santos, said at the beginning of the show that he was thinking of putting you in a fight. You told us last week that at the start of the show you were suffering from bronchitis. Would you have been ready to fight?
Ramsey Nijem: I knew he wanted me to fight because he felt like I was in good shape and would have a good chance to win, but I was still trying to get over being sick and I didn't want to fight that early. I was hoping I could wait at least a couple days so I felt better. He asked me, and I told him I'd rather wait.

The down side of waiting is that you'll probably get a tougher opponent: Junior's strategy was to match up his best guys against Brock Lesnar's weakest guys, so the longer you waited the tougher opponent you'd get. Were you concerned that waiting would mean you'd have a harder time winning your first fight?
That's one of the things that crossed my mind, was that I'd get a better pick if I fought earlier, but I actually felt confident against anyone there. I wasn't really worried about that. I just wanted to feel healthy. I was still feeling pretty sick, coughing up all kinds of gross stuff, so that wasn't a great time for me to fight.

Another guy who looked sick was Keon Caldwell -- he was throwing up during practice, and then he quit the show. What was your reaction to his quitting?
We heard that it was something about wanting to be with his daughter, but we didn't know what was going on because no one was telling us much. Honestly, I think he wasn't in shape, he wasn't ready for this and he felt like he wasn't going to do well on the show. Once practice started going everyone was out-working him, and I think it was more a mental thing for him, that he thought, "These guys are going to kick my ass." I think that got to him. I think it's an awful decision but in the long run I'm glad because I think our team was better off without him.

Did you lose respect for him?
Well, it's just hard to see why he'd say it was his dream to be on The Ultimate Fighter, and then give up his dream so quickly. It's got to be tough for the thousands of guys who are sitting at home watching and thinking they'd do anything to be on that show to see him quit like that. He had the opportunity of a lifetime and he threw it away because he was scared, is what I think. It's hard to respect a guy who says his dream is to be a UFC fighter but when he had a chance he threw it away.

The practices did look tough. Who were Junior's assistant coaches and what were the practices like?
Lew Polley is kind of an old-school wrestling coach who liked to beat us down and mentally break us. Junior also had his boxing coach, Luiz Dorea, and he would put us through these really intense workouts with no rest. That was probably the hardest thing I've ever done. So I can understand why Keon was throwing up, but we had to push through it.

When it was time to pick a fight Junior chose Javier Torres from your team to take on Chris Cope from Team Lesnar, and Chris ended up winning a three-round decision. What did you think of that fight?
I think all of us underestimated Chris Cope, and it turned out he was really good at fighting with his back on the fence. He wore out Javier and ended up beating him because Javier got tired. Javier is a great boxer and a great grappler but he just doesn't put it all together in the cage, for whatever reason. If you want to be an MMA fighter, you have to put it all together.
(Editor's note: Ramsey Nijem will join us each week during Season 13 of The Ultimate Fighter to share his thoughts on that week's episode. Follow Ramsey on Twitter @RamseyNijem.)

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Fighting Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Fighting