Injuries and illness are a part of the game. Unfortunately for Roland Delorme, “The Ultimate Fighter 14” bantamweight contestant had to find out the hard way heading into his quarterfinals scrap against TJ Dillashaw.
In addition to battling the talented wrestler, who regularly trains with the likes of Urijah Faber, Joseph Benavidez and Chad Mendes, Delorme was also fighting off a nasty staph infection in his right foot.
Here’s Delorme’s take on what went down in Episode 7:
“Originally, I was supposed to be the second bantamweight fight but a few days before the announcement Dustin Pague had come up to me and ask if he could fight instead. I really didn’t have a problem with it considering that the more I trained, the more my confidence grew.
Man, would that decision come back to haunt me in ways I never imagined. I had never had a staph infection before in all my years of training, so the thought of getting sick never even crossed my mind. The day I started feeling ill was strange because that day in the gym I was on fire subbing everyone and feeling great.
I knew that I had to fight TJ Dillashaw in two days and felt ready, physically and mentally. Then later that night, my foot started to throb and I started feeling very sick and I felt very cold, which was odd considering I usually slept with no blankets and that night I couldn’t get warm no matter how many I had on. I didn’t sleep at all that night.
My foot was in a lot of pain and I was tossing and turning all night. I remember thinking maybe I bumped it in training or twisted it somehow without realizing it, but in the morning when I tried to get out of bed and couldn’t even walk on it and it was three times its normal size, I knew something was seriously wrong.
They took me to the hospital and told me it was a infection and I knew I wouldn’t be able to fight in two days. It made me really depressed thinking they would send me home without even fighting – it was a nightmare come to life. I didn’t know what to think and didn’t know what would happen.
Luckily, Dana White called and told them to push my fight back a week cause the doctor said he could probably get the swelling down enough so that I could fight and move on it without limping. Hearing that made me happy because I knew I would at least get a opportunity to try, but still being under the weather so to speak I knew it was an uphill battle.
A week went by and I wasn’t even able to train until the doctor cleared me, which he did on Monday. That gave me one day to train before I started cutting weight, so I hit pads and felt like a bag of [expletive] – no speed, no stamina, no power, but I was determined to give it my all.
I cut the weight by running for an hour and then sitting in the sauna. My foot felt like someone lit it on fire when I was in the sauna, but what choice did I have? There’s no pulling out. I’d rather get knocked out than not fight at all.
I made weight the next day and was ready to go. I came to fight and that’s what I was gonna do. Jason ‘Mayhem’ Miller had told me he didn’t want me to warm up too much knowing how sick I was earlier in the week. He didn’t want me to waste all the energy I had left warming up, so I got a light sweat going and just went for it.
The fight started and it went the way I thought it would at first, him taking me down and me getting back up. I wanted to make him work hard hoping he would slow down a bit and I would speed up in the second. I ended the first stuffing one of his takedowns and I started to feel like I could win this. I can beat this guy on my worst day.
I remember sitting on the stool looking over and seeing how tired was. I felt like this was gonna be my round, now I’m gonna put the hurt on him. Then the second started and bam, i get caught with a punch I didn’t even see and I just couldn’t recover. At first, I though he just took me down. I didn’t even know he hit me. I wondered why I was even on my back, but he stayed on me and did what he had to. Sometimes you’re the hammer, sometimes you’re the nail. Anything can happen in a fight and that’s life.
The fight picks with Dana afterward went the way I thought they would. John Dodson got Johnny Bedford and TJ got Dustin Pague. I wasn’t surprised TJ was ducking Dodson the whole season, so why would it change now? Maybe I should have tried harder for all the easy fights, but that’s not my style.
I’m not scared to go out on my shield. As for the featherweights, Akira Corassani got Dennis Bermudez and Diego Brandao got Bryan Caraway. I couldn’t wait to see the semis.”