Cole Escovedo diving in for the finish on Yoshiro Maeda at DREAM 13. Photo by Daniel Herbertson/Sherdog.com
Veteran MMA fighter Cole Escovedo is making his pitch — he wants to be on "The Ultimate Fighter 14."
The first season to feature featherweights and bantamweights, Escovedo (and his legion of fans) feels he'd be a perfect fit for the show, but as it stands right now, things aren't looking good despite a large Internet campaign designed to get the word out.
"I haven't heard anything back from them," Escovedo said last week on Bloody Elbow Radio. "I've been trying to build an upswell and a following, trying to market myself and get some attention out there so they don't pass up my application. I kinda figured I would've gotten a phone call back by now to go to Vegas for the medicals and follow-up interviews. I'm just starting to hear that other fighters are going. I even heard a guy I just beat in January is going. I'm starting to get frustrated. I'm trying to cause an uproar to get some attention my way."
Escovedo, who holds a career record of 17-6 and has fought in some of the world's biggest promotions, was put a step behind because he couldn't make it to last month's tryouts in New Jersey.
"I couldn't afford the money to fly out to New Jersey," Escovedo said. "I have a family here I have to support and I couldn't really afford the money for a plane ticket and hotel to fly out there, and in this day and age, sponsors are pretty scarce. They sent me an application and I filled it out and sent it back licitly split, pretty much did everything I needed to do on my end. I was kind of hoping to get the fan support and try to really push. Basically bug people until they're tired of getting bugged."
This isn't the first time Escovedo has tried to make it on TUF. He was an alternate for the fifth season, which was won by Nate Diaz, but had to bow out to a severe staph infection that nearly cost him his career.
As a former WEC featherweight champion, Escovedo said it's getting frustrating that he hasn't made it back to the WEC or now the UFC. He said he was at one point offered a fight on short notice but couldn't take it after suffering dislocated ribs in training. He says that might've been his small window and it shut.
On his application video for the show, Escovedo said, "this is it for me if I don't make it in the UFC." We asked him to clear this up. Does it mean he'll retire if he doesn't make it on TUF?
"I don't think not making it into the show is going to be a reason to retire," he said. "I'm just hitting that frustration point to where I feel I should've been back already. I should've already gone in and be brought back in. I hit some speed bumps with the (Michael) McDonald rematch loss and the (Michihiro) Omigawa loss, so that kind of put a speed bump in it, but I don't think it's going to lead to retirement. It's just going to be real frustrating, it's going to be a big wall that I hit. I really felt this was my chance to get into the UFC. I was really, really looking forward to being on the show. I thought if I could just get on the show, I can show them how exciting I can be and how marketable I can be and how much of a good fighter I can be under their roster and their banner. That's where I feel I belong."
Even though it appears he has a long way to go to get on TUF, Escovedo can't be counted out after fighting through a severe staph infection that had doctors telling him he would never walk again. When all is said and done, he feels he has earned a spot on the show.
"People love a comeback story," Escovedo said. "I am the living, breathing embodiment of a comeback story. I'm living proof of never say never. I know it sounds cliché but I am. I had every doctor and his grandma telling me I was never going to fight again, be glad if I could walk, and here I am two years later and I've had seven fights and I've been kicking ass and taking names internationally."
You can hear the entire interview with Escovedo on Friday's edition of Bloody Elbow Radio. We were also joined by Marcus Davis and Brent Weedman. Bloody Elbow Radio returns to the air at 4 p.m. ET today.