From the outside looking in, most people think Ultimate Fighters are the epitome of dumb jocks, or worse yet, a little crazy.
After all, who would willingly jump into a cage and put themselves in harm’s way unless they didn’t have anything better to do with their life?
One person who chose to do just that is Amir Sadollah, one of the top contenders on the new season of the immensely popular “The Ultimate Fighter” show.
It’s not like Sadollah had no option but to fight, either. He originally did Muy Thai (Thai kickboxing) as a hobby to blow off some steam from his career as a surgical technician.
“I never got started with the intention of being a UFC fighter,” he said. “All I knew was the two hours a day that I was training I was just oblivious to all of the stress, it was just a little vacation.”
But then he fell in love with fighting, and when the chance to try out for “The Ultimate Fighter” came up, he couldn’t pass on the opportunity. He had dominated the amateur ranks, winning all five of his Muy Thai matches and all five of his mixed martial arts matches.
Now, as episodes of the show continue to air on Spike TV, Sadollah is living in Las Vegas, far away from his hometown of Richmond, Virginia. He can’t divulge what place he finished in the TV show’s tournament, which features 16 fighters living in a house together and vying for the championship and a fight contract for the UFC, but he can tell you this much: he is now officially a professional fighter.
And even though making a living in the UFC is going to be difficult considering that the lower-level fighters don’t make a ton of money until they start to win and gain fame, Sadollah is still happy with his decision.
“(Fighting) is definitely my favorite thing to do. As far as why I just kind of give you the same answer, just because. It’s the one thing in life that just lured me as much as it did,” he said. “It’s just the one thing I did that I just wanted to do as best as I can, because it’s hard, too. I’ve always liked going the hard route.”
Thus far on the show, which airs at 10 p.m. on Wednesdays on Spike TV, Sadollah has won his first two matches and looks like one of the strongest fighters in the house. The show will conclude with a live fight night on Spike TV on June 21 as the fighters from the house will take center stage and the final two will go head-to-head for the contract.
While not many people outside of the fighters themselves know who the final two will be right now, Sadollah wants everyone to know that he is training as hard as possible, as many as three times a day to be exact, to get ready for his upcoming fight.
Now that he’s a pro, he knows he needs to compete as hard as possible in order to make a living for himself, even though he doesn’t want to get greedy.
“I’m motivated by money from the perspective of it gives me enough to do this. I was paying money to do this so and now that I have the opportunity to make money from this, it’s definitely a good thing,” he said.
“I never want money to cloud my judgment. I never want to do something motivated by money. So either I’ll succeed or I’ll just try to find some sort of rich wife or girlfriend.”
Even if the latter doesn’t happen, Sadollah is still a good bet to make a few bucks in the UFC on the strength of his sheer talent. His most recent win over Gerald Harris was impressive considering Harris held a 7-2 pro record while Sadollah still hasn’t had an official pro mixed martial arts fight yet.
His kicks in particular are as strong as many of the top fighters in the game, and while the rest of his skills such as wrestling and submissions still need work, his kicking ability gives him a distinct advantage.
Now, it’s up to Sadollah to use everything he has to prove to people that he made the right choice in choosing to become a professional fighter. He fights for his family, which he describes as tight-knit, and he fights because he enjoys the opportunity to prove himself and to compete.
Sadollah would love to become the first big star of Iranian descent in the UFC, but he tries not to think things from that angle too much because he doesn’t want to put too much undue pressure on himself.
While he originally saw himself as a healer with visions of helping people for his career, he makes no apologies about his current career path.
“I never really thought about [Why he chose a career where inflicting pain is one of the goals after starting as a surgeon]. Sometimes I can hurt you and then I could fix you. But there’s always been a balance in my personality. There’s a destructive side of me and a constructive side of me. Sometimes you want to break stuff, sometimes you want to fix it.”
Luckily for Sadollah, he’ll always have the option to go back and fix people for living. But for now, he’s anxious to see how far his destructive side can take him.