Michael “The Marine” Richman lost to UK fighter Aaron Wilkinson by decision after three rounds in the first elimination round of Spike TVs “The Ulimate Fighter” Season 12.
About the first loss in his two year mixed martial arts career Mike Richman says, “I feel like I did as good as I could. I would do it again. Over and over again.”
“Don’t count me out, it’s not over. I’m a very passionate fighter, I’ll be back.”
From The Rosemount Townpages
Just two years into his career as a mixed martial arts fighter, Mike Richman is getting the ultimate opportunity to prove he was born to brawl.
Richman, a Rosemount resident and a 2003 graduate of Rosemount High School, was one of 28 lightweight fighters on screen Sept. 15 as Spike TV kicked off the 12th season of The Ultimate Fighter. The reality competition show sets the MMA hopefuls up to live together and train together and asks them to square off week after week for a chance at a six-figure Ultimate Fighting contract.
Richman and the other fighters had to win an opening-round fight in the show’s first episode Wednesday to progress to the rest of the series.
Richman lost that first fight, but he’s still satisfied with what he has accomplished.
“I feel like I did as good as I could,” said the 24-year-old, who has an 8-0 record in matches outside The Ultimate Fighter. “I would do it again. Over and over again.”
For someone so early in his fighting career, even landing a spot on the show was a major accomplishment. Richman said he was thrilled just to have the opportunity to meet George St. Pierre and Josh Koschcheck, the MMA fighters who serve as coaches of the show’s two teams, and Dana White, the president of the UFC.
Richman hasn’t had a lot of formal training, but he’s always believed he was a natural fighter. He was a wrestler growing up, and he loved watching boxing and mixed martial arts competitions. He grew up with heavy bags in the garage of his family’s house.
Some people are born to fight, he said. They just know how to throw a punch.
“I’ve always had that feeling that I had what it took to be a fighter,” he said. “It’s more of a mental attitude. I never really was the kind of guy to get into a lot of fights. Me and my brother always scrapped and were fighting at home, but it’s more of a mentality.”
That fighter’s mentality led Richman to the Marines after he graduated from RHS. He served three combat tours as an infantryman in Iraq.
When he left the Marines in 2008 Richman jumped right into MMA training. He had his first bout just 2 1/2 months in and won, he said, largely on natural talent and determination.
Richman said his time in the Marines helped prepare him for his fighting career.
“It’s different, but the mentality is kind of the same. The toughness,” he said. “The mental toughness is the same. Being a badass in the Marine Corps. and infantry is going to help you be a badass through the tough parts in mixed martial arts.”
Richman tried out for The Ultimate Fighter on a whim. His manager told him the show would focus on lightweights for its upcoming season, so they flew to Charlotte, N.C., where the tryouts were being held. Richman was one of about 300 people who showed up to compete.
The hopefuls went through a number of competitions and evaluations.
“They kind of weed people out,” Richman said. “They want to see how you look on your feet. They’re looking for a mixture of talent and personality.”
The tryouts continued, and Richman kept getting called back for more.
“It was a little surreal after phone calls to come back and do this and do that,” Richman said. “When it all started to come together, it was crazy. It felt good. It felt really good to get where I am after a short time.”
MMA in Minnesota
Mixed martial arts fighting is growing in popularity on the local level. There are two prominent gyms in the Twin Cities that train fighters and promote fights.
There have been fights held at the Myth Nightclub in Maplewood, at the Hyatt in Minneapolis and at the Cedar Street Armory in St. Paul, where most fights are currently held.
“Every fight I’ve done, we’re talking about a 1,500-plus crowd,” Richman said “Having your fans there cheering for you, that’s the best thing. Hearing your name and then having the fans go crazy, it just fires you up.” If things go well on TV, Richman could soon have a whole lot more people cheering.