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Boston Herald: A harsh ‘reality’ for Lauzon
By Herald staff
Sunday, March 25, 2007
Joe Lauzon, a quiet, 22-year-old college graduate, is about to enter a new dimension.
That’s because the Brockton native and East Bridgewater resident will be hitting the Spike TV airwaves, beginning April 5, as a member of the cast of “The Ultimate Fighter 5.”
Lauzon, a lightweight with one huge UFC fight on his resume, joined 15 other lightweights in a Las Vegas house in mid-January for the filming of the program, which runs 13 weeks. Though he is prevented contractually from revealing how he made out, the bottom line is that things won’t be the same for the budding star after the show is done airing.
“It’s going to be pretty insane,” Lauzon said. “I think if you’re coming out of that show, the road is a little easier. The UFC enlists time, money and effort into us.”
Fighters such as Diego Sanchez and Chris Leben have carried the popularity they’ve earned from the show and transferred it into successful careers in the UFC. Though Lauzon is a self-admittedly “low-key” guy, the potential fame would be just another remarkable step on an unorthodox rise.
“It’s ridiculous,” Lauzon said. “All the pieces have fallen into place for us. Every move we make is the perfect move.”
Lauzon was a baseball player at East Bridgewater High, but he and his friends loved to emulate the WWF and practice wrestling moves on each other. “We tried to beat each other up. We had no idea what we were doing.”
A ju jitsu demonstration at his school, by his now-trainer Joe Pomfret, began to turn Lauzon’s role-playing into the real thing. Lauzon started learning mixed martial arts and then began fighting in local shows. A key connection -- a friendof a friend happened to be a college roommate of UFC president Dana White -- led to correspondence with the UFC’s matchmaker.
“I’d e-mail him and say, ’What do you want to see me do?’ He’d e-mail back saying I need to beat a couple of better guys. I traveled around a little. I tried fighting at a lower weight class. I took a couple of fights in a row that were real tough fights.”
Persistence, and a little more luck, worked into the equation. Lauzon’s brother, Dan, who would also become a UFC fighter, was living at the time with UFC fighter Drew Fickett in Arizona. Fickett kept pushing Joe Lauzon to the people at the UFC until the breakthrough finally occurred. Lauzon was tabbed to be the “victim” for former lightweight champ Jens Pulver’s return to the UFC in September of last year.
“When I was offered the fight, we looked at it and said, ’Do I do it or do I back down?’ But looking at it, I had nothing to lose,” Lauzon said. “If I lost, I would have lost to the former lightweight champion in my first UFC fight. And what if I did win, that does everything for me.”
Of course, Lauzon did win the fight, knocking out Pulver in the first round, and changing his life forever.
“It opened up all kinds of doors,” Lauzon said. “Once I won that fight, it cemented me in. Dana told me that night, ’I want you on the (Ultimate Fighter) show. If you want, you’re on. You don’t even have to try out.
“My first reaction was, ‘Take my brother. I’m already in. My brother’s not at this point yet.’ Personality-wise, my brother is more interesting. I’m kind of shy. He’ll do anything to make an impression.”
But Lauzon’s brother’s age, 18, prevented that. The reality show participants must be at least 21, because of potential alcohol consumption at the house.
“They wanted to have a real hands-off approach for the show. They told us that they weren’t going to baby us,” Lauzon said.
As for the show, Lauzon thinks he will come off pretty well to the American public.
“I’m a pretty quiet kid, I’m not going to open my mouth and say stupid stuff. I think what I meant to say is how I said it. Of course, you never know with the editing they do. When they edit, they can change anything. How you come off is up to the editing.”
Ironically, the coaches on the show are B.J. Penn, and none other than, Jens Pulver.
“There were no problems between me and Jens,” Lauzon said. “Overall, it was an excellent crew and a great mixture of guys. There were a half-dozen that were phenomenal, a half-dozen that were pretty good.”
“I think I was in that top group,” he said.
Lauzon blog for Herald
Lauzon’s local roots will pay off for UFC fans in the Boston area as he will be providing an ongoing blog that will run on bostonherald.com.
None of the 16 fighters have seen the final product that will air each week on Spike TV, beginning with the debut episode, April 5, at 10 p.m. The show will subsequently air Thursday nights at 10. Lauzon will be able to view each episode the day before it airs on Spike. He will then provide Herald readers with his reaction to that night’s show, which will be posted online immediately after the show is done airing.
This will give Herald readers an unparalleled inside look at the goings-on of the popular show.
(article continues on the subject of chuck vs rampage)
Last edited by PizDoff; 3/26/2007 2:59pm at . Reason: Article at top moved to bottom of post, formatting, added picture of some stud