Please conduct ALL of your discussion in regards to Court McGee facing Kris McCray in this thread. All threads made in regards to this fight will be merged into this one.
Link"The Ultimate Fighter 11" featured a new format in which the coaches picked two "wild-card" fighters who deserved a second shot in the reality-show tournament. And true to the anything-can-happen nature of MMA, one wild card and an injury replacement made both it to the finals.
Court McGee (8-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC), who was defeated in the tournament's first round by Nick Ring, struck gold when he replaced an injured Rich Attonito in the show's quarterfinals. He took on fellow injury replacement James Hammortree and picked up a second-round submission victory. He then choked out semifinalist Brad Tavares to earn his spot in the finals.
Meanwhile, McCray (5-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) defeated Cleburn Walker during the elimination round and fell short against Josh Bryant in the opening round. But Tito Ortiz, his coach at the time, gave him a second shot as a wild-card pick, and he put it to good use. In what undoubtedly would be considered an upset victory on the professional circuit, he submitted veteran Kyacey Uscola in another first-round tournament bout and went on to grind down Kyle Noke and avenge his loss to Bryant in the semifinals, both via decision.
Both fighters are gracious for the second chance.
"To redeem myself would be to win the whole thing," said McCray, a former U.S. Army Reserve soldier. "I had a tough road, as Court did. I came back from a loss. My team was all arguing. The coaches quit, and I had to fight my teammates and friends.
"It's good to be here."
McGee, who lost a split decision to Ring, said the experience taught him a lesson never to leave a fight in the hands of judges.
"I was given an opportunity, and McCray was given an opportunity, and we both took advantage of it and didn't sit and dwell on it," McGee said. "I think it shows [McCray and me] have heart and skill."
McGee, a former alcoholic and drug addict, saw the show as another way to prove he could turn his life around and succeed. He approached it as he did in recovery: one day at a time.
"It's a victory that I'm here today in my hotel room with the opportunity to fight someone like Kris McCray," he told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) earlier this week. "That's winning regardless if I win or lose (tonight). I've done everything I can do to show up in shape and healthy."
Both agree that the gap between the show's production end and the live finale will make for a better fight because they aren't fighting hurt, which they were during taping.
There is not an ounce of bad blood between them going into the fight.
"I remember the last day when everybody went out; I gave Court my wallet because I was like, 'I know me, and I know you,'" McCray said. "He's a strong-willed guy, and he has my back. Even though we're fighting each other, I feel like I could call him up for anything."
That should make you like him less.I can't stand McCray, 'cause he was arguably the most boring fighter in the house. However, I do respect him for fighting 5-times during 6-weeks.
That said, I'm rooting for Court.
However, it's funny that two people that originally lost in the house are now fighting in the finale.
Edit: I didn't know McCray was fighting out of Virginia. I may have to change my stance, and support my fellow Virginian.