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An 'Ultimate' challenge for Corona grad

By Jeff Burns

June 10, 2006

For most people, an octagon is a simple shape with eight sides. When Jesse Forbes thinks of an octagon, he sees a lifestyle of fighting.


Forbes, a former all-state wrestler at Corona del Sol High School, now fights in mixed martial arts. Known more commonly as MMA, this level of fighting takes place in an octagon ring and includes styles of wrestling, muay thai, boxing, karate and jiu-jitsu--in other words, almost any tactic necessary to subdue your opponent.


Fighters tend to train so that they are well-rounded in many different styles. No matter which style they use, however, all competitors go through exhaustive conditioning and training.


The results of Forbes' exhaustive workout regimen can be seen these days on The Ultimate Fighter 3, a reality-based show where some of the MMA’s premier amateur fighters compete for a contract into the Ultimate Fighting Championship.


Although the show has been previously recorded in Las Vegas, audiences are about to view the second round of competition, which airs Thursday nights on Spike TV. The winner receives a multi-year, six-figure contract to fight in the UFC.


“A buddy of mine who fights in the UFC thought I had the talent and pushed me to try out for the show,” Forbes said.


Forbes was chosen to be on the show but was eliminated early in the season. However, another competitor quit and Forbes was reinstated.


“I woke up one morning and one of the production guys said, ‘Hey, man, you’re back on the show—get your things together’,” Forbes said.


“Believe me, I wasn’t complaining.”


Forbes says he was glad to rejoin the competition, but finding a way to pass time by was a different story.


Forbes says it's difficult to watch the show and understand how hard it was living in the house where all the competitors lived as roommates. The biggest problem: living with a bunch of guys who were perfectly willing to fight if it meant moving a step closer to a megabuck payoff.


Equally troubling, says Forbes, was that there were no means of entertainment at the house.


“After a while your mind starts to go stir crazy,” Forbes said. “Some fighters didn’t perform to their level because of it.”


Even though the show was previously recorded, Forbes is required to keep the results of the competition confidential. Nevertheless, he credits his new mental toughness to his experience on the show.


“There is no way I’m nervous when I fight in the big show,” Forbes said. “I know what I have to do to be successful in this sport.”


In order to become a fighter—as well as any occupation—people need support, and in this department Forbes credits his parents. As a matter of fact, Forbes says he wouldn’t be fighting today if it weren't for them.


Forbes can be seen fighting his way to a UFC contract on The Ultimate Fighter 3 Thursdays on Spike TV.



Photo by David Stone


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