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TUF 18 blog with Julianna Pena, episode 3: Shattered glasses and screaming coaches

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The ruckus from episode two's titanic upset may have settled down, but the same pattern continued on, as Team Tate's Chris Holdsworth submitted Team Rousey's first male pick, Chris Beal, with a quickness to seize a commanding 2-0 lead in the early stages of The Ultimate Fighter 18.

Along the way, coaches Miesha Tate and Ronda Rousey reignited their rivalry in an obscenity laced hotel fracas, while the first flirtatious sparks of the season flew between Julianna Pena and Holdsworth. Now Pena returns for her weekly Q&A to describe the explosive scene inside the Red Rock, quell rumblings of her relationship with Holdsworth, explain what exactly is so great about that elusive butterfat milkshake, and answer your questions in a TUF reader mega-mailbag.

If you have anything you'd like to ask the "Venezuelan Vixen," please write it in the comments below and she'll be sure to answer you next week. Rec'd comments will get first priority. Now let's hear from our girl.


Al-Shatti: Okay, just because I have to ask, what the heck is a butterfat milkshake and why did you want one so badly?

Pena: Okay, so when I first came to Vegas for TUF tryouts, Colleen Schneider told me about this butterfat milkshake. It's this restaurant out in old Vegas called the Heart Attack Grill, they're famous for super greasy, nasty foods. Me and Colleen got one and it was seriously the best milkshake I've ever had in my entire life.

If I won my fight, Miesha said that I could have a butterfat milkshake. I won my fight and I wouldn't let up on it. By the time Miesha brought it to me, I'd already finished my fight with Shayna (Baszler), and me and Shayna were taking shots together. So when Miesha arrived with it, I was so drunk that I was like, screaming so loud, so ecstatic over the milkshake. I'm so embarrassed. Seriously, I feel so embarrassed for myself.

Al-Shatii: (Laughs.) It wasn't that bad. Anyway, last week was crazy. I know you said you and Shayna were taking shots, but what was it like in the days after the fight? Was there animosity between you two?

Tour the new TUF house, pt. 1

Pena: We sat down after taking those shots and we had some conversations and got to know each other as people. I just know how upset she was and it's normal after a loss like that. I wasn't upset over it, I was just upset that she wasn't giving me credit where credit was due.

Al-Shatti: Did your opinion of Rousey change following that fight?

Pena: My opinions about her definitely changed. I wasn't expecting her to be such a poor sport. Even her dynamics in the house when she'd come over, or when she would talk to her team, it was like a total sabotage on me. Everybody join in the ‘Hate on Julianna' party.

Al-Shatti: Last week Dana White mentioned during his Google Hangout that there were some moments where he had to talk to you out of going home. Was that kind of what he meant?

Pena: I was just kind of stressing from being in the house, and just being out of my comfort zone. Dana said that it was going to be the toughest six weeks of my life and I didn't believe him. Soon after, I realized that actually was the case and it was a pressure cooker environment. Dana pulled me aside and was like, listen, I don't need you to be focused on this and that. I need you to be right here in the present, in this moment, focusing on this competition only. Whatever it is you've got going on, being a headcase, forget about it. So after he said that, I was like, ‘You're right. I need to be focusing on this competition only.'

Al-Shatti: Cody Bollinger said something the other day that I thought was interesting. He said you guys had a sort of list, where you could write down anything you wanted and every morning it'd be waiting for you. What did you ask for and what were some of the weirder things others asked for?

Pena: I didn't ask for anything in particular. I think the only thing I wanted was that butterfat milkshake, and they weren't givin' it to me, so I was pretty upset. (Laughs.) But it was strange. Cody asked for these cowboy boots, Raquel asked for these Nikes. Everybody got a bunch of shoes. That was sort of the thing, see how many free pairs of shoes you could get.

But one time Bryan (Caraway) came over to the house with Miesha and they wrote condoms next to my name. I got upset because I didn't know who wrote it. Later on I think Bryan got told on and he had to admit that he wrote it.

Al-Shatti: The whole match-up snitching thing, did everyone make it out to be as big of a deal as it seemed, or was that just a few people?

Pena: It was a weirdly big deal. It kind of set the tone for the rest of the season. I regret the way I handled it in the van, because I was getting accused of something and then I threw in Roxanne's name and accused her, and it escalated into a bigger thing.

Cody said it doesn't matter if it's true because he's just going to use it as ammunition to blow up on Julianna anyways. And that's exactly what happened. He sat there tattle-tailing like a three-year-old to Miesha and Bryan. It was just ridiculous. To watch it back was disappointing. It just shows Cody's age. It's him having a problem just to have a problem. Obviously he didn't like me and had something against me. That's fine, but it just looks super immature. It's not my style, so whatever.

Al-Shatti: Okay, I have to ask this because people will get on me if I don't: a few weeks ago you said you weren't here for boys. Now you and Chris Holdsworth seem to have this thing. What's the deal?

Pena: Okay, so, I didn't come on The Ultimate Fighter for a boyfriend. But after Tim Gorman left, Chris Holdsworth was the only one that was nice to me on my team. Holdsworth was the only one that kind of stuck up for me. It's not to say I was there because I wanted to flirt with him, he was just the only one that talked to me besides Roxanne. I just stuck by the people who treated me like a normal person.

But the editing does look terrible. I'm just sitting there like, ‘Well, what's your longest relationship? Whoop, whoop, whoop.' It makes it look like I'm digging and pawing out there, looking for information. But I was just happy that somebody on my team was being cool to me.

Al-Shatti: Before watching it, did you know he read your letter to a room full of dudes?

Pena: I didn't! I was completely mortified. It makes it look completely worse than it was! Like I said, he was one of the only guys that was nice to me. I just wanted my team to keep control so I was just trying to give him some encouraging words. I think he took that as a total, ‘I want you.' It couldn't have been further from the truth, but I'm just so embarrassed. (Laughs.) I was being nice! Seriously!

Al-Shatti: At the Red Rock, how bad did things really get between Miesha, Bryan and Ronda?

Pena: I think they both had a couple drinks. That's not to say that they were both intoxicated, but things definitely got bad right after. Ronda took her wine glass and slammed it behind the bar. Glass shattered everywhere. That's when people in the house started to realize that something was going. Things got escalated. When (Rousey's coach) Edmond freaked out, I thought the Armenian mafia were going to come shoot up the place for sure because he was so riled up. (Laughs.) I was kind of like, ‘Bryan, stand up! Say something!' He was just cool, calm and collected about it, so he handled himself well. But yeah, it was pretty dramatic. Everyone was flipping out.

Even after that, when we sat down, me and Miesha were sitting on the couch and Edmond came up to us, sat down on the couch, and just got right in Miesha's face and started talking about things that'd happened before their title fight. Then Ronda's over there on the other side of the room, just screaming obscenities across the room about Miesha. All this stuff. ‘I'm going to break her arm again!' They just kept it going.

Al-Shatti: Holdsworth made quick work of Chris Beal, running Team Tate's record up to 2-0. Did Ronda take the loss better than last week?

Pena: Ronda definitely handled herself more professionally during the second loss. I expected her to flip a lid again, but she didn't go crazy like she did before, so that was good.



Rivan asks: Did you read Shayna's blog? It was posted after the episode aired of her losing to you. You made some comments during your interview with SB Nation on how she needs to change her attitude. By the blog post she put up, it seems that's not going to happen anytime soon. What's you're reaction to her blog, if you have any?

Tour the new TUF house, pt. 2

Pena: I did. She's just a sore loser. That win was life changing for me. Everyone wants to say they took down goliath, and I actually did. Now that it's come and gone, it's taught me that the way Shayna has acted from start to finish isn't the type of fighter that I ever want to become. For her to still be on her high horse, go ahead girl. Do your thing. It just shows her character and how full of excuses she is. (She beats me) 99 times out of 100? I don't think so. Maybe I should play the lottery since my odds are so good, apparently.


babyeater asks: Hey Julianna -- I'm a competitive powerlifter, and when you talked about being your own worst enemy in clips leading up to the fight in last night's episode, it really resonated with me. I find I hold myself back with my own self-criticism and perfectionism when it comes to practicing my sport, and I was wondering how you've combatted the part of you that functions as your biggest foe. How have you worked with yourself on this mentally, and what tips do you have for athletes who struggle with things like perfectionism and getting in their own way on a mental level?

Pena: Man, it's just something you do. If there's one thing I can say that helps me, it's just, actually believing in yourself and believing what you're capable of doing. That's not to say that I sit there and talk to myself all day about how I'm the best and I'm the cat's meow. But it's just a feeling you have within yourself. It's like when you walk into a room that you're not supposed to walk into, but you walk into the room like you own the room. That confidence that you have is going to make the difference. Once you have that confidence, you can do anything.

What also helps is putting in the work. Nobody is going to give you anything in this life. You have to go out and take it. If you put in the work, and you pay your dues, then things are going to come easier to you. You can be confident. You can believe in yourself. It's a true, honest gut feeling.


Jamesglory asks: Please could you describe, what were the 3 biggest shocks/surprises, in your first couple of days on set and in the house?

Other than fights and things mentioned in your interview. Thank you.

Pena: Three biggest shocks? I think the first shock was that we could write down whatever we wanted and have it waiting for us on the table the next morning. That was really nice. The other shocker would've been that we weren't staying in the Ultimate Fighter mansion that the previous 17 seasons were staying before us. And the third shocker was how poorly I was treated. Everybody was against me, so I wasn't expecting that at all. I'm a very easy person to get along with.


Omar Little asks: Do you think that other fighters appreciated you shutting Shayna up? It seems like she was still talking after the fight and she decisively lost. Given her behavior, do you feel that other fighters, the women especially, secretly liked the fact that the Wicked Witch of the West was slayed?

Pena: I think my team was happy we still had control. I don't know if they were happy for me. Yeah, we got control and she lost her fight, but it didn't shut her up. That's for sure. That was one thing that annoyed me, having to hear her be loud and obnoxious everyday.


John Duck Kim asks: What did you really think of Bryan Caraway, knowing what you knew about him prior to TUF, then getting to know him as one of Miesha's coaches. Did he seem like the "douche bag" that Ronda and many others characterize him to be, or was he just a regular dude who happens to be a great coach?

Pena: I've worked with Bryan in the past before. My coach has worked with him in the past before, so I know Bryan's style of coaching. He was definitely not a douchebag to me. His douchier moment was probably when he was sitting there agreeing with Cody Bollinger, but he apologized for that, so I'm not holding it against him.


Bigs- asks: On the show Baszler said that she is ranked higher than some of the women in the UFC and has beaten many of them already. You have little experience in comparison to her yet you finished her. Tara LaRosa is a legend in WMMA and she couldn't even get in the house also losing to somebody with little experience. This leaves me to believe that newer generation women fighters may have something that the pioneers lack. I do not think Baszler and LaRosa losing was a coincidence. What might young WMMA fighters be doing in training that the vets aren't?

Pena: I think Shayna is hung up on having been hungry in the past. Maybe she lost her hunger a little bit. Maybe she feels hung up on talking about being hungry as opposed to really being hungry. Where as, me and the other upcoming fighters truly are hungry and we show that. I was on a team with girls who took out every vet. Raquel (Pennington) took out Tonya (Evinger), Sarah (Moras) took out Tara, I took out Shayna. There were all supposedly supposed to be fighting in the UFC. I'm not worried about them. It's better Shayna crying than me crying.

These girls are trying to take my dream away from me, take my unborn baby, and it's not going to happen. I'm not going to just stand by and let people rip my dreams out of my hands. Maybe they lost sight of the bigger picture and what their dreams really were, but I did not, and I have not, and I'm not going to.


Do you have a question for Julianna Pena? Ask it in the comments below and she'll answer you next week. The Ultimate Fighter 18 airs every Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1. Portions of this interview have been edited for concision.