|Ultimate Fighter interview with Rory Singer
By: Jason Milloff on June 16, 2006
Question: What process did you have to go through in order to be selected for this season of ďThe Ultimate Fighter?Ē
Rory Singer: I was lucky enough to have met one of the showís executive producers. We hit it off real well and she thought my personality would be a perfect fit for the show. We met when Spike TV sent a crew down to my gym in order to tape footage of Forest Griffin training for the Season 1 finale. The recommendation helped get my name noticed but I still had to turn in a resume and go through the tryouts.
Question: Can you give a brief summary of your relationship and history with Forest Griffin?
Rory Singer: Forest discovered me and my brother, Adam, working out at the University of Georgia around six years ago. He didnít have any prior fighting experience but he was already in real good shape because he was training for a triathlon at that time. His body fat was around 12% while weighing 240 lbs. Forest fell in love with fighting right away. After a few months of training with us, he had his first amateur fight. He had about six amateur fights before making his pro debut against Dan Severn. Forest lived at my house and slept in my living room for about two years while we trained together. He continued to train with us all the way up to the Elvis Sinosic fight. Shortly thereafter, he decided moving to Las Vegas would benefit to his career. His sponsor, Xyience, has a training facility out there. Thatís where he mainly trains now. Forest is still one of my closest friends. He still comes back to Georgia to visit his family in Augusta and all of us here in Athens.
Question: While the show was being taped, Tito Ortiz used some of that time to prepare for his fight against Forest Griffin. Were you uncomfortable being coached by Tito due to your friendship with Forest?
Rory Singer: No, not at all. I wanted to be on Titoís team. I wanted the opportunity to train alongside Dean Lister and Saul Soliz. I donít want this to come out wrong but I had to make this opportunity all about me. It wasnít about Tito fighting Forest. It wasnít about Tito fighting Ken Shamrock. I focused all my attention on improving as a fighter and competing for a UFC contract. A few days after Tito selected me I felt that I should bring the subject up and let him know where I stood. I let him know that I wasnít there to spy or get involved in his business. I was there strictly for me and the opportunity to advance my career as a fighter. Tito was an excellent coach. He did a good job preparing us for our fights. We had our differences afterwards but I canít complain about the training I received while I was there.
Question: How did you score the fight between Tito Ortiz and Forest Griffin?
Rory Singer: It was very close. I had the 1st round scored 10/8 for Tito. I think Forest did enough in the 2nd and 3rd rounds to win both 10/9. I had it as a draw but I canít really argue with anyone who scored it for Tito. Forest will be the first one to tell you that he did just enough to lose that fight. I know he wishes that he let his hands go more during that fight. When youíre up against a legendary fighter like Tito Ortiz in his own backyard, you have to pretty much stop the fight in order to win. If they ever have a rematch, I think Forest wins hands down.
Question: What are your thoughts concerning the comments Tito Ortiz made after your semifinal fight against Ed Herman?
Rory Singer: Tito made reference to me having a lot of tools but thought I could mentally defeat myself. I canít fault him for making those comments because thatís something I already knew. I did feel like he abandoned me after I loss the fight. It made me question some of his motives for winning. Was it about us winning as fighters or him beating Ken Shamrock as a coach? I fought hard and felt like I was left out to dry afterwards.
After the fight was over he gathered the team together and told them not be like me. Thatís adding insult to injury. If anyone felt like they failed and let someone down it was me feeling like I let myself down. I felt terrible afterwards. He didnít need to reprimand me in front of everyone. Tito was lecturing me before I even got to the dressing room. I hadnít even been checked out by the doctor yet. Maybe he didnít care about me as much as he was letting on. It just didnít seem like the appropriate way to handle things and it left a real bad taste in my mouth.
Question: What concerns did you have leading up to your fights against Solomon Hutcherson and Ed Herman?
Rory Singer: The editing made me look real nervous before each of my fights. I had my concerns but I was mentally and physically ready before each of those fights. I was real confident going into my fight with Solomon. The only thing that worried me was the possibility of getting stuck on the bottom. I didnít want him laying on me the whole fight and picking up the decision.
I have real strong Jui Jitsu and standup skills. Wrestling would be the area I need the most work on. Iíve lost some fights in the past but I donít feel like I have ever been beaten up. I started to panic when Ed got on top of me and started working his ground & pound. I definitely didnít want to be in that position. Looking back on the situation, I realize it wasnít a big deal. If I would have just worked from the bottom like I am capable of doing, everything would have been fine. It bothers me that I let him break me down like that. What I anticipated was a lot worse than what was actually inflicted. It made me aware that I am more than capable of defending myself against a strong wrestler without taking too much punishment. Ed is a great fighter. He beat me on that particular day but I definitely feel like Iím in the same league as him.
Question: Was there anything misleading about the way you were portrayed during the show?
Rory Singer: I am definitely not the neat freak that everyone made me out to be. It was just a matter of not wanting to live in complete filth. There was food being left out and bugs were crawling all over the place. People were actually getting sick because of it. After three or four weeks of nothing changing, I just gave up on commenting about it.
Question: Is there bad blood between you and any of the other cast members from this season?
Rory Singer: I maintained good friendships with Ed Herman and Josh Haynes. I talk to Mike Stine and Noah Inhafer on occasion. I really didnít care for a lot of the guys on the show. Maybe it was just the situation we were all put in. We were placed in an environment where we had to live with and compete against each other for six weeks. I try to keep things cordial when we run into each other. Iím just glad to be home where I am surrounded by positive people that care about me.
Question: You have an upcoming fight against Ross Pointon on the TUF 3 finale card. How are you preparing for this matchup?
Rory Singer: Iím not doing anything too different. I want to make sure my cardio is strong. Iím lifting weights and working on my standup, wrestling, and Jui Jitsu. Ross is going to come out looking to strike. I know he has been training in Dallas with Saul Soliz for the last 6 weeks. I have a lot of respect for Ross as a fighter but I do feel he is one dimensional. I plan on dictating the pace of the action and want to control where the fight takes place within the Octagon.
Question: Several fighters from this season of TUF will be competing on the 6/24/06 finale card. You spent about six weeks living and training alongside these men. Can I get your predictions for the matchups involving this seasonís cast?
Rory Singer: Sure.
Question: Danny Abaddi vs. Kalib Starnes?
Rory Singer: I obviously have to choose Kalib. He has more experience and is an all around great fighter. He was one the best middleweights on the show this season. Kalib is just too big and strong for Danny to handle and he pretty much outmatches him in every area.
Question: Solomon Hutcherson vs. Luigi Fioravanti?
Rory Singer: Luigi trains with the American Top Team which is a very tough school. Iím friends with Charles McCarthy and a lot of the other fighters on that team. Ricardo Liborio is an excellent coach. Luigi is a game fighter who has taken fights on short notice before. He was able to hang in there with Chris Leben not that long ago. Because of his affiliation with ATT, Iím going to have to pick him over Solomon.
Question: Matt Hamill vs. Jesse Forbes?
Rory Singer: Matt is definitely the stronger wrestler. I know he has been training with Tito Ortiz up at Big Bear. Iím sure he has been working on his standup and ground & pound. I have to give the edge to Matt.
Question: Mike Nickels vs. Wes Combs?
Rory Singer: I donít know too much about Wes Combs. I know he has had some success fighting for the ďKing of the CageĒ promotion. I wouldnít be able to give an educated prediction on that fight.
Question: Mike Bisping vs. Josh Haynes?
Rory Singer: Josh is one of my good friends to this day. I know he has his hands full with this fight. Over the past four months, Team Quest has been getting him ready and fixing any holes he might have in his game. My heart is telling me to pick Josh.
Question: Ed Herman vs. Kendall Groves?
Rory Singer: That is going to be a really good fight. Kendall has a lot of heart and has really gotten himself into great shape. He is well-rounded and always comes to fight. Ed is back to his normal routine training with Team Quest so he will be prepared. I think Ed is going to be able to take Kendall down and strike from the top. The only way I see Kendall winning is if he can keep the fight standing. Kendall might be able to stand back up but Ed will probably keep working his takedowns and win by ground & pound.
Question: Before the show began, you were pursuing a degree in Nursing. A lot of the fighters who have appeared on TUF have gone on to compete full-time for the UFC. Do you plan on continuing your education or will you focus more on your MMA career?
Rory Singer: Iím definitely going to finish my education at some point. School will always be there for me but the opportunity to compete in the UFC has a limited window. Some doors have been opened for me and I want to see where they lead. In two months from now, if everything is going well, I might decide to take another year off from school. The plan right now is to continue fighting full-time.
Question: You and your brother Adam co-own and operate ďThe Hardcore GymĒ, located in Athens, Georgia. Are there any fighters affiliated with the gym that we should keep an eye out for?
Rory Singer: David Mewborn is a new member of our fight team that I have very high hopes for. He is currently at 205 lbs. but we are going to get him down to 185 lbs. I think he has all the tools needed to be a champion. Brian Bowles and Stephan Ledbetter are two top prospects that I think you will be hearing about in the future as well.
Question: Thank you for your time. Do you have anything you would like to say in closing?
Rory Singer: I want to thank all the fans who have stood by me. After I lost in the semifinals, it really meant a lot when I saw there were fans out there who continued supporting me. Iíll be fighting Ross Pointon at ďThe JointĒ in Las Vegas, Nevada on 6/24/06. Hopefully, I will be picking up my first UFC victory that night.
*Rory Singer would like to thank ďiFight AthleticsĒ (ifight.tv) and FightResource.com for their support and sponsorship.