Widely regarded by his fellow cast mates and coaches as “The toughest dude in the house”, George Roop fought through adversity to have a promising showing on Season 8 of “The Ultimate Fighter: Team Nogueira vs. Team Mir.”
FiveOuncesOfPain.com had the chance to speak with George Roop and talk about his time in the TUF8 house, his relationship with Frank Mir, and his future with the UFC.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: How did you make your way onto the show, did you go to the auditions or were you referred by a coach or former cast member?
George Roop: It’s really a good story. I was scheduled for a fight in Denver on a Saturday night, and some of my friends told me that there were auditions on the Thursday before my fight. Not having the money to fly in and stay in a hotel, I had planned on just fighting and not going to the auditions. When I told my friends this, they advised me that I was going to the auditions, and they had already purchased a plane ticket and hotel stay for me,. From there I went through the process, I train at a small gym and I didn’t have the benefit of a coach who could make a call for me. I have some really good friends who looked out for me.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: It was pretty well documented that your hand was in pretty bad shape. How bad was your hand injured, and were you ever concerned you wouldn’t be cleared by the Doctor to fight?
George Roop: Yeah, I was definitely worried. I knew it was broken. Frank Mir brought in a great doctor to help me with my hand, and help me get through.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: With the way the show can be edited, sometimes the time line can be misleading, how long were you battling the issue with your hand.
George Roop: When the show aired it looked like I injured it about 2 days before the John Polakowski fight. It was actually about 2 weeks before that fight when it happened.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: Your season featured many practical jokes and crazy house antics, did that have any effect on you and your performances?
George Roop: No, I was never involved in any of that. But it was hard being away from my family. The lack of communication with the outside world is difficult. No TV , Radio, or literature.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: The show didn’t feature training in many episodes this year, how did you feel about the training you received with Team Mir?
George Roop: It was incredible, in fact Frank Mir has moved me out to Las Vegas right after the show. I’ve been training here for the last three-and-a-half, four months.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: Given all the circumstances surrounding your hand, the house, and your time away from your family, how prepared did you feel going into your fight with Phillipe Nover?
George Roop: I am not one to make excuses, and I don’t want it to sound that way. Phillipe was the better fighter that day. I wasn’t there mentally ready to go, my hand was broke, and honestly I was ready to go home.
EDITORS NOTE FOR CONTEXT: by “ready to go home” Roop later commented that the show wrapped up production just a few short hours after his fight.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: You are scheduled to fight Shane Nelson on December 13, at the finale, what are your thoughts on the match up.
George Roop: I think it’s a great match up, I like Shane Nelson, he’s a great fighter. It has been several months, I have my cast off my hand, and I think that I’m going to expose a lot on him. I am fully healed and I will be able to use my full arsenal.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: It’s no great secret that the UFC has been trimming their roster. Going into your fight with Shane Nelson do you view this as a must win to stay in the UFC?
George Roop: Absolutely! Honestly I love it that way. I think my hard work will show and payoff.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: Now that the TUF8 season is over, would you do it all over again?
George Roop: Let me just say I wouldn’t want to do it again, but yes I’d do it. ( laughs) It was a great experience, but there was nothing at all fun about it.