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Delorme delivers what UFC's after

City scrapper insults producers, winds up on The Ultimate Fighter

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Shouting insults at your potential employer isn't the recommended way to get a job, but it worked for mixed martial arts fighter Roland Delorme of Winnipeg.

Delorme, 27, was chosen as one of 32 fighters cast in the popular reality television show The Ultimate Fighter, which will begin its 14th and final season on Spike TV on Sept. 21. The winner will earn a $100,000 contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Delorme went to an open casting call on March 21 in Newark, N.J., stood in line for three hours among 600 fighters, earned two callbacks over the next three months and fought a guy he'd never seen before with no notice.

"It was an amazing experience. The producers told me 'out of 1,000 people who applied, we picked you, crazy to be that guy," said the 5-foot-9 Delorme who has won six of his seven MMA fights, including two TKOs and four submissions.

He believes it was his interview with the show's panel of producers that got him this far.

"I figured, 'what do I have to lose?' Besides, the first thing they said when I walked in there was 'I hate Canadians, they're so boring.' So I said, "Yeah? Well, you're a &%@!ing ...,'" Delorme said, laughing. He said the producers made it clear they were looking for good fighters who could also put on a good show.

"I figured I had to do something they didn't expect, something to bring it over the top. So I just walked into the room and started calling the guys names. 'Who the &%@! are you? ... you don't even know who I am. I'm the best guy here.' I just went off and they were loving it. They didn't want the typical polite Canadian, the 'yes sir,' 'excuse me.' They would love me or hate me, but at least they'd remember me."

At the March 21 open casting call, he did some grappling and striking after his long wait in line and earned a callback for late April in Las Vegas.

One of 50 fighters and just four Canadians at that callback, Delorme went through medicals and a preliminary interview. After a month back home in Winnipeg, he got a second callback for June 5 in Las Vegas to try out for the show and be interviewed by the producers.

"I didn't expect anything but I trained my butt off, going to the gym every day, hoping to get that phone call," said Delorme. "They didn't tell me I would have to fight to get on (the show) but I read on the Internet they were bringing back the elimination round. I went there ready to fight, so I wasn't surprised."

His fight will be part of the Sept. 21 show, a two-hour premier in which all 16 preliminary fights will be shown, with the winners making up the 16-man cast featured during the series.

"That was cool. I fought at Mandalay Bay where all the great fighters have fought. There were pictures of them on the wall," he said, "I had Stitch and House (UFC cut men Jacob "Stitch" Duran and Don House) wrap my hands and stuff, it was just surreal. You felt like you made it a little bit when you had the best guys in the world wrapping your hands."

Delorme can't disclose the result of that fight; you have to tune in on Sept. 21 to find out.

The show will conclude Dec. 3 when the two coaches, UFC middleweights Michael Bisping and Jason "Mayhem" Miller, will fight each other on the show's final card.

"There were so many good guys there, it was just a who's who of bantamweights from across North America," Delorme said.

"There were all these guys walking around with their fight shirts on, trying to stare you down and look tough. It was like, "am I really better than all these guys?' But once it started and I watched guys grapple, the more my confidence grew," said Delorme, crediting his coaches Curtis Brigham and Lindsey Hawkes at Winnipeg Academy of Mixed Martial Arts and his boxing coach Kent Brown of United. "That was the hardest part, getting it in my mind that I can compete with these guys and that I'm on this level."

Delorme said the experience made him decide to pursue his dream of being a full-time professional fighter. On May 1, he sold his Niakwa Pizza restaurant in Niverville.

"I'd rather go out there and try and not make it than not have tried," said Delorme. "I can always be 50 and open up a restaurant. I can't be 50 and fight in the UFC."

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 31, 2011 C8

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