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LAS VEGAS – After leaving “The Ultimate Fighter 26” house, Ariel Beck told her boyfriend he could “never, ever, ever” be on the show.
The reason? Six weeks apart was just too much.
And yet, two weeks after her own UFC debut, there she was on Tuesday in the tryouts room, supporting him.
“It was just kind of destiny,” Beck told MMAjunkie at Palace Station Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. “We’ve already been through this entire process. We already know how tryouts are going to work. I’ve been in the house. He was at home. We already know all the ins and outs of what’s going to happen. He’s an amazing fighter. I’ve already told you guys (how much) he’s helped me, just unconditionally.
“He’s 10-0 as an amateur. He was 3-0 as a pro. And then they said 145 weight class. We were like, ‘It’s destiny, now he has to go.’ I couldn’t even tell him he couldn’t anymore.”
Before even joining the “TUF 26” cast, Beck talked to MMAjunkie about sharing UFC dreams with boyfriend Shea O’Neill (3-0). And if he makes it into the 27th installment of the show, which this time will feature undefeated fighters only, it certainly won’t hurt to count on some first-hand tips.
But, before even making it that far, Beck had some words of advice for O’Neill to get picked among an unbeaten crowd.
“Just to act yourself,” Beck said. “Shine. Shine like you know how. You’ve got to stand out here.”
Beck (4-5 MMA, 0-1 UFC) lost her first bout in the house, to Montana Stewart, but got a chance to have her octagon debut. She met fellow Team Alvarez flyweight contestant Shana Dobson (3-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) at the TUF 26 Finale earlier this month but was stopped by Dobson’s powerful right hand in the second round.
The upbeat Beck is all compliments for the hard-hitting Dobson, who was also her roommate. And while it’s rough to come up short after what was essentially a six-month road between “TUF 26” tryouts to the octagon, the flyweight is keeping her head high.
“Especially the first time being in the octagon, that’s an emotional rollercoaster on its own,” Beck said. “Then just being in the UFC for the first time, having your little kit of Beck stuff in the locker room. It’s amazing. Seeing on TV and just the fact that it was my stuff, it was my corner. It was just unreal.
“And just to come up short was super frustrating, super unfortunate. But that’s the fight game. It’s not a matter if you lose, it’s a matter of when.”
On that same night, Nicco Montano beat last-minute replacement Roxanne Modafferi to be crowned the season’s victor and inaugural UFC women’s flyweight champion.
The first season of “TUF” has been largely credited for giving the UFC a much-needed popularity boost at a time when things looked dire. But, despite the show’s pursuit for different angles with every season, the declining levels of interest have raised questions as to what the show still has to offer after so many years.
Speaking from a fighter’s standpoint, though, the 27-year-old Beck believes the reality show is still a golden opportunity to those looking for their big break.
“It can literally change an entire fighter’s career,” Beck said. “I probably wasn’t even getting thought about for the UFC. Then we made it on the show, got to do some great training and some great learning. Now we had a fight in the UFC. So It can literally be life-changing for a fighter.”
To hear Beck, check out the video above.
And for more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.
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