Exclusive: Shane Nelson Talks TUF Elimination, Drunken Craziness, and More

(The glory before the fall. Photo courtesy of UFC.com.)

TUF 8 lightweight Shane Nelson was eliminated from competition on last night’s “Ultimate Fighter,” but not before a night of drinking with Junie Allen Browning turned into a near expulsion for the two. Now Nelson talks with CagePotato.com and reflects on the drunken debauchery, the rivalry with Efrain Escudero, and some of the antics of his blonde friend that he saw for the first time in last night’s episode.

CagePotato: Now that you’ve seen it on TV, what did you think of the way the situation with you and Junie was portrayed? Was that how you remember it?

Nelson: Yeah, it was pretty much what it seems on TV. Basically we were watching the pay-per-view, we decided to have a couple of drinks, we had one too many drinks, and then things got out of control from there. What they didn’t show and which I thought they would show, was the next morning when I woke up I went to Delgado and Efrain and I apologized to them and we all put everything behind us. I’m surprised that they left that part out of the show.

Did Dana White come and talk to you guys the very next night after it happened?

Yeah, Dana White came and talked to us the very next night, but the fight wasn’t the next day after Dana talked to us. The fight was about five days after that whole night. So it wasn’t like the drinking still had an effect on me in the fight.

What was going through your mind when Dana showed up?

Oh, we thought we were gone. Junie and I both thought we were getting kicked off the show, because when we first got there the producers stressed that we weren’t allowed to touch anyone or anything like that, and we both crossed that line. I pushed two people and Junie took a swing at a few people, so we both thought we were going home for sure.

So how did things start between you and Efrain?

Well, we were watching the fights and, I’m from B.J. [Penn]’s school, and they all knew that. So we were watching the pay-per-view and common courtesy, you know, if you make comments about my coach, you know it’s going to bother me. He was cheering for Sean Sherk, which is fine, but some of the comments he made while he was cheering for him got under my skin and that’s how me and him got into it.

So he was saying things about B.J. and that got you upset?

Not directly about B.J., but just saying that he hopes B.J. loses. At that point, I was drunk, so it was just like, ‘Well how about if me and you get into a fight?’ And it kind of went from there. We were actually going at it for a while. They just showed a little glimpse of it. We were going at it for a long time.

Watching this, I think a lot of people wonder, if you’re there to train and fight and win a UFC contract, why drink at all? Isn’t that counter-productive to what you’re trying to do?

Yeah, you know, my plan going on to the show was not to drink the whole time I was there. But I underestimated that house and the effect it has on you. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Being in that house is rough. People have no idea what it’s like. It just changes your whole outlook on everything, and there’s nothing to do so you turn to alcohol. Would it be a lot better if there was no alcohol in the house? Sure. Training would better. But alcohol causes drama and drama boosts the ratings. I guess it’s a little give and take on both sides.

That’s what I wondered when Dana White came in and said they give you guys alcohol because you’re grown men. But at the same time they purposely don’t give you TV or books or magazines or anything else to do.

Yeah, and what’s weird is, after that incident, they removed all the alcohol from the house. They took it all away, for a whole twenty-four hours (laughs). And then they brought it all back. It kind of goes to show that they’re putting it in front of you. They want you to drink. They want that drama. The fighting, that’s what counts, but a lot of people tune in to see the drama and see what goes on in the house and alcohol works for that.

You and Junie seemed to be friends. What did you make of his outbursts, which seemed to go on even after the talk from Dana and even when he wasn’t drinking?

Honestly, I was shocked. I had no idea about that incident after Dana came to the house. I saw it for the first time when I watched the show. I was unaware that that happened. After Dana came and we had just dodged a bullet, I told myself, ‘Man, I’m not going to do anything this dumb again. If I’m going to lose, let me lose in a fight. I don’t want to get kicked off for some nonsense.’

So I was on my best behavior after that day. But Junie was totally sober when he was calling out Efrain again. It just goes to show you that he was being sincere about his problems. When he was crying in front of Dana, there was no alcohol involved in that, and no alcohol involved when he started up with Efrain again. That’s just how he is. That’s just Junie being Junie.

What about when he jumped over the cage after your fight? You must have seen that, right?

At that point I was more focused on having just lost my fight. I was pretty bummed. I saw him jump over the fence and all that but I wasn’t really paying any attention to it. I was just more depressed than anything.

As for the fight, what are your thoughts on that now?

My thoughts on the fight, Efrain fought a good fight, you know. He mixed up the punches and his wrestling. He pushed the pace and controlled the pace of the fight, which led to him catching me in the triangle. On my part, I think I respected his wrestling a little too much. I was too cautious about the takedowns and I didn’t let my hands go and my knees go, but hats off to Efrain. He followed his game plan and fought a good fight and got the win.

What do you think you took away from the experience and from training with Frank Mir?

Training with Frank Mir was awesome. He’s a great guy and we had some good coaches, like Robert Drysdale and Demian Maia. I got along great with those guys and with the whole team. Frank Mir had a lot of confidence in me and he expected me to go far in the show. Frank’s an understanding guy. On top of being a coach he was really there for us as a friend and he really felt for us and the situation we were in. He’s really sincere and his heart went out to all of us. I really appreciated that.

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