“I say to my mates if I won the lottery tomorrow I wouldn’t stop fighting, I fight because I love to fight, you know what I mean?”
Stoke-on-Trent to Las Vegas and back again. It’s been a whirlwind of extremes for Ultimate Fighter Series 3 star Ross Pointon. The former barman has had a look at the big time, and he liked what he saw.
Pointon followed a classic progression into MMA starting out at local halls doing martial arts at 5 years old. These arts led to boxing, boxing led to kickboxing, and well, you know the rest…. But it wasn’t just the style of fighting that got Pointon into the game.
“MMA was a business opportunity in my area, nobody had heard of it, I realised I could open a gym”. Being on a nationally aired reality TV show and having your own gym is a definite mark of success. The progression has come as a surprise even to Pointon who started teaching privates in his living room.
“I started teaching guys privates just for a tenner (£10) at my house, transformed the front room (of a) terraced house into a matted area with a speed ball, standing bob and a punch bag, I was there teaching privates to my friends (and) before I knew it I had too many guys coming my house and I could afford to rent somewhere”. As for his notoriety as a fighter since The Ultimate Fighter TV show? “I’ve gone from being just the average fighter in a country that was pretty (well) known, to 6 times that. Now every fucker knows me, people stop me in the street, when I’m out up town, yeah its cool man”.
The Ultimate Fighter Series 3 has been one of the most entertaining Series of the show so far. Two Brits were on board and the two coaches, Ken Shamrock and Tito Ortiz, both brought their handbags with arguments and ‘smack talk’ between them littering the show. The UK trials for the show were hard fought. A s Pointon recalls “I’d just fought Bisping for the Cage Warriors Light Heavyweight Title – the audition was a week after. I went down with Mike (Bisping) to the audition (and) I got picked out of 300 guys. They picked me!”
Those that still follow the show will have seen Matt Serra’s student and team member Joe Scarola leave the most recent series due to “girl problems”. On Pointon’s show Noah Inhofer also left due to a letter from his girlfriend. His views on the guys who don’t last the course? “Them guys are pricks man, the biggest opportunity of a life time. Like Matt Serra said, I’d be pissed off as well, give me the opportunity again I’d do it tomorrow”.
Pointon’s sentiment seems to be shared by most that care to comment on the departures but he did admit at times it was difficult. “Yeah at first it was you know, I had to get in the swing of things. I’m used to having my own space and doing my own thing when I want to do my own thing, but there you’re told what to do, what time… you’re not allowed to go out, you’re not allowed to do anything. You gotta share a toilet, you gotta share a shower. It’s hard!”
Pointon’s performances on the show didn’t go to plan from his point of view, but it was his warrior spirit in taking a fight with Michael Bisping that gained him many fans. After an injury to Matt Hamill, Dana White was left with a problem. He couldn’t simply let Bisping progress so an alternate fight had to be arranged. Amazingly both of the Light Heavyweights offered a chance to step back into the competition declined. Pointon, competing on the show as a Middleweight, was then offered the opportunity to fight Bisping, the man who had beaten him only a few months prior, by UFC head honcho Dana White. His response? “Let’s do it man!”
Pointon recalls on the experience simply “I showed what fighting’s about, that’s why they call me the gladiator.” Whilst he never suffered a lack of spirit in the endeavour his fighting experiences on the show were unsuccessful. “The ultimate fighter came at the wrong time for me. I wasn’t experienced enough. I never had a coach in MMA, always from the start I just got in there and I learned from my mistakes”.
The period after the ultimate fighter was an interesting time for Pointon. For a year after the show he stayed in the States, and got the opportunity to train with no less than 8 Champions “I trained with Randy (Couture), with Bas (Rutten), trained in Texas, I trained with Chuck (Liddell) – I was living at his for 3 months training with John Hackleman. I trained and worked at (Big) John McCarthy’s place, trained at Legends…yeah it was good”. Various pictures surfaced on the internet of Pointon and Liddell enjoying some of the delights that Vegas has to offer as Pointon recalls, “I partied hard while I was out there as well as trained hard you know? The ladies haha… we won’t go into that! I’m definitely gonna go back to America, the world’s still my oyster”.
Bizarrely Pointon also lived for awhile with Wes Sims and Mark Coleman (there’s another reality show in there somewhere) “I was actually living with Mark Coleman and Wes Sims in their apartment, training, eating and having a laugh. It was cool man, the guys were fucking funny, really cool guys. I learnt a lot in training on the fence with Coleman, it was good”.
Since the Ultimate Fighter show Pointon dropped down to the Welterweight division. Consecutive losses to Rory Singer and Rich Clementi in the UFC, and a loss to Cage Rage Lightweight Champion Abdul Mohammed were then followed by Pointon getting back on track beating Dean Bray at Cage Rage 22. “My last fight in the UFC was Rich Clementi who was 26-11 when I fought him, a very experienced fighter. I held my own against him even though I had an arm injury. I could only train stand up… I’d already lost that fight before I went into it, you know psychologically. I just didn’t want the fight to go to the floor, I’d done no groundwork; I was very cagey on the ground.”
“(When) I fought Abdul Mohamed and I was so sure I was gonna win that fight. He got lucky you know, I’d love to have a rematch with him. The spinning back fist came from nowhere, whoever was standing in front of that would have got tagged. The Dean Bray fight there was no doubt about it – I was gonna win that fight.”
“I struggled with my weight, I cut 7 kilos in the sauna. I went on a bit of a downer because I lost to Abdul. You know I trained so hard, I kept to my diet and I performed so well, just for it all to be taken away from me from by one punch. It can be quite a depressing moment when you lose a fight and you’ve worked so hard for months. But now my diets right, my training’s right, I’ve got good coaches, and this is it man. I’m not losing ever again, I’ve had my time of losing. I’ve learnt from all my mistakes that’s it, I’m fucking winning and I’m getting there, I’ve got bills to pay!”
Next up for Pointon is a challenging match up against stand up specialist Marios Zaromskis (6-1) at Cage Rage 24 on the 1st December at Wembley Arena. “I’ve just signed a three fight contract with Pro Elite and Cage Rage. Let’s see what happens, I’m gonna beat Marius Zaromskis, it’s gonna be a tough fight, but I’m really looking forward to this fight to Show off my new found skills. I want to say thanks to all my fans and go check out my new sponsors Tao sports”
Report and Photo by David Lethaby