paul bradley and the rest of the story

For Paul Bradley, everything was going along perfectly.

He was invited to compete on the seventh season of "The Ultimate Fighter," he won an elimination bout to earn a spot in the house, and he did it in convincing fashion. He was then drafted by UFC light heavyweight Quinton Jackson to be part of "Team Rampage" -- as a respectable third-round pick.

However, one neck rash later, the two-time All-American wrestler and 8-0 professional MMA fighter was on a flight back home, kicked off "The Ultimate Fighter: Team Rampage vs. Team Jackson" with no job, no money and -- as it turns out -- without even a UFC contract.

During Wednesday's third episode of "The Ultimate Fighter," we saw it all play out. Bradley broke out in a small rash from the"herpes gladiatorum" virus, a condition that's all too common in combat sports (and shouldn't be confused with the sexually transmitted version), and UFC president Dana White sent him home.

Bradley today talked to ( about the series of events that led to his departure, why it came as such a shock, the doctor's visit viewers didn't get to see, why he and Josh Koscheck have a lot in common, and why his decision to sign with EliteXC came as a surprise -- even to the UFC.

MMAJUNKIE.COM: To start off with, do you think Wednesday's episode of "TUF" was an accurate portrayal of everything that happened?
PAUL BRADLEY: Yeah, for the most part. I was expecting the worst since signing with EliteXC after the show. However, it was a fairly accurate portrayal. They only left out a few things that were said in the room when I was in there with Dana.

MMAJUNKIE.COM: Can you explain your condition and what it is? Obviously, people hear the term "herpes" and think the worst.
PAUL BRADLEY: Yeah, definitely. Well, there's type one and type two. Type one is the sexually contracted version, and the second version isn't and is like the cold sores people get. It's actually really common in wrestling. I got it there. I get [breakouts] when I'm stressed, and it's always in the same spot on my neck. The thing about it is that Dana said it was a stressful show and that's why I had to go home. However, once it comes out and you see the rash, you take the medicine, and it's gone in two days, and it'll be six to 12 months before it happens again.

MMAJUNKIE.COM: When you first noticed the rash, was there any concern at all about being kicked off the show?
PAUL BRADLEY: Honestly, right away, in the episode, I was smiling when I told the coaches about it. It's just that it's so common in college wrestling and wrestling as a whole. I coached at the University of Buffalo, and we dealt with it on a monthly basis. If you wrestle competitively, it's hard not to get it. That's why I was so shocked they were sending me out. I mean, you had people getting things like staph infections, which are very contagious, and they never got kicked off the show in the past. It came as a total shock.

MMAJUNKIE.COM: What went through your head when Dana said you were going to have to go home? He seemed to say it rather bluntly.
PAUL BRADLEY: Yeah, like I said, it was total shock. I couldn't believe I went through so much and gave up a job I really loved and made all those sacrifices. I really put myself in a financial hole to get on the show. Then, seven days in, I'm gone and didn't even get a chance to really show what I could do. The shock turned into acceptance, which turned into emotional stuff.

MMAJUNKIE.COM: Did anyone go to bat for you?
PAUL BRADLEY: Zach Light. I talked to him a bit, and he was upset that they were making me go. He was a wrestler and knew it was so common. Honestly, man, I can think of three guys right now who are in the UFC that have the exact same thing. I know that for a fact, and I'm willing to bet 50 percent of the fighters out there have it. You roll so much, and the mats contain it. I was just surprised that Dana said he'd never heard of it before. People have seen the show. You know, fighters and coaches, and they said, "You've got to be kidding me."

MMAJUNKIE.COM: Now that you've had time to reflect on everything, do you still feel it was an unfair decision?
PAUL BRADLEY: I understand where they're coming from, but it wasn't said in the episode, but I actually saw a doctor that morning, and he cleared me to fight. He said two days on meds, and I'd be cleared up and good to go. It's the same thing our college trainers used to say in the wrestling room. Dana calls me in and has his close friend there, looks me over, and then they make up their own mind. Here's the thing. Once it's broken out, it won't be given to anyone. I was told that in two or three days, that it won't be a problem at all. I told them that, and that even if they needed me to fight that Friday, I'd be ready to go. I was sent home, and sure enough on Friday, I was absolutely fine. It sucked. I knew exactly from before that's what would happen. It just sucks because I expected that one doctor to say exactly what he did, and then Dana's doctor says something else. I was just like, "Wow. This can't be happening."

MMAJUNKIE.COM: Did you try to argue your case? After all, it seems odd that they wouldn't give you at least a day or two to see if it cleared up.
PAUL BRADLEY: I put up a pretty big fight for a while, but knowing Dana and having heard everything, when his mind is set, you know that not many people are going to change it. I eventually accepted it, and then that's when the emotions of it all got to me.

MMAJUNKIE.COM: You mentioned you gave up your job to be on the show. Did you get it back when you got back home?
PAUL BRADLEY: Nope. I had a wrestling job at the University of Buffalo. You remember Josh Koscheck from the first season of "The Ultimate Fighter?" He had the same exact job, and he had to leave in the middle of the wrestling season for the show. So the head coach was already not happy about me fighting, and when the show presented itself, they gave me an ultimatum and said I wouldn't have a job when I came back if I left. I had to take it, though. I didn't want to think about it the rest of my life and wonder what if. I took a chance. It didn't work out, but good things are finally coming my way.

MMAJUNKIE.COM: Speaking of, you have since signed a deal with EliteXC. Did the UFC sever all ties with you?
PAUL BRADLEY: This is what I've been wanting to talk about. People keep talking about it and asking why I'm not with the UFC. The fact of the matter is that I waited around for them. I called a producer a month or month and a half later... They told me they cut my contract just like they did with the 16 guys who lost in that first round of fights. I called the head producer and asked if there was a chance of coming back for the finale, and they said it honestly didn't sound good at all. Well, I told them EliteXC was interested. And she's like, "Well, you've got to do what you go to do" I had a fight in Florida (last month) and then signed the contract with EliteXC after that.

MMAJUNKIE.COM: I had heard that it came as a surprise to some people at the UFC.
PAUL BRADLEY: Mike Camp, my manager, sent out an email about having a fighter, which was me, and that he needed to sign somewhere. I didn't have a job. I came back to no job and no money, and I was just lucky to have a family. Thank God they were there to help out. Well, I had to get a fight. It was one of those things where if I didn't fight, I wasn't going to eat. We kept looking for a contract, and (UFC matchmaker) Joe Silva was one of the guys Camp emailed. Silva fired back and asked, "How's he even able to do it? He's going to be in trouble." Camp said they cut my contract and they I needed a place to fight. I think they just didn't inform Joe Silva of what happened.

MMAJUNKIE.COM: Yeah, I know a lot of people were confused when we heard you signed with EliteXC before "The Ultimate Fighter" even aired.
PAUL BRADLEY: I guess a lot of people didn't know I was cut, even in the UFC. It was a little confusing.

MMAJUNKIE.COM: So, you're pleased with the EliteXC deal?
PAUL BRADLEY: Oh yeah. They took a chance on me and signed me. They've been nothing but great. All of their articles on [] have been great. It's not like I'm taking a step down in competition. Frank Shamrock, (Robbie) Lawler and all these great middleweights they have. I have my hands full just as much as I would have with the UFC, except for maybe Anderson Silva, who seems to be at a peak where no one can get him. But I'm very happy with EliteXC and looking forward to showing them they made a good choice.

MMAJUNKIE.COM: What were the terms of the deal?
PAUL BRADLEY: I want to say it's three fights, but I'm not completely sure. I do know that it's non-exclusive, so I can fight in smaller shows or other organizations if I want to.

MMAJUNKIE.COM: Any idea when you might debut with them?
PAUL BRADLEY: Right now, we're trying to get on the undercard of the June 14 card in Hawaii. One of my best friends should be on the card -- the part that is televised. I'm scheduled to go to Hawaii in the next few weeks to train with B.J. Penn, so it'd be great to have a fight there right after that.

I haven't been watching this season, but to read that someone got sent home because of mat herpes is an absolute joke. If you have wrestled through college or internationally and don't have it, you are very lucky. It is so common and treatable and basically harmless.

I think Dana hyped it as if he was saving the cast from AIDS....seriously over dramatic and the kid probably could have stayed..

glad attention is being paid to herpes now, thanks but I'll pass on having something like that for the rest of my life. Maybe the fact that so many people say "oh it's nothing" is WHY it is such a problem?

wouldnt roll with him ever

ttt, felt pretty bad for Paul. He got the shit end of the stick.

But everything happens for a reason, and I hope to see him do well in Elite XC.

PAUL BRADLEY: Honestly, right away, in the episode, I was smiling when I told the coaches about it. It's just that it's so common in college wrestling and wrestling as a whole. I coached at the University of Buffalo, and we dealt with it on a monthly basis. If you wrestle competitively, it's hard not to get it.

lol @ this logic.  maybe someday other grapplers will be open minded enough to openly spread nasty looking incurable contagious skin diseases to each other.

Herpes can spread to your freaking brain by way of your sinus cavity. I'm not saying it's a regular occurance, but the herp is some serious shit.

Is he the guy that had the shitty dry hump win in the round of 32? You know, the turtle fucking comparison fight.

"Is he the guy that had the shitty dry hump win in the round of 32? You know, the turtle fucking comparison fight."

Yes, I believe he is.

Here's the thing maybe someone can answer - Dana said he was legally not allowed to permit him to stay on the show and compete. Is this true? If so, why do athletic commissions allow him to fight? How are the rules different for TUF?

I agree w/ those saying regardless of whether or not some college wrestlers have this, it's nasty. And from the way it looked NONE of the other guys in the house had it.

lol, show up with herps to fight and see if they stop it!!!!

"show up with herps to fight and see if they stop it!!!"

I'm not sure if you're referring to my post or not.

Since his situation is known by the MMA community now, and IF it's true that legally he couldn't continue on TUF, why would he be allowed to fight elsewhere? Or, did Dana just blow the situation out of proportion?

"I actually saw a doctor that morning, and he cleared me to fight"

Yeah when I read that part I was a little confused. It'd be great to get someone like Keith Kizer on here to talk about his views on fighters in Paul's situation fighting on cards. But I guess it's possible TUF show has different rules for being on the show.

that is not correct

"that is not correct"

are you referring to Bradley saying another Dr. cleared him?

 Rampage and some of the cast members didn't act like "it was nothing." A couple of the guys said they wouldn't roll with him. If this condition is "no big deal" then why did the guys (Rampage and teammates) feel it presented a problem?

I feel bad for Paul but when you assemble a group of guys to compete for a contract as well as put them in a once-in-a-lifetime scenario that could potentially open doors and make it possible for them to live their dreams to fight professionally, is it fair to knowingly expose them to something that can be a lifelong condition they will have to be treated for? I don't think it is.

Is this a condition something that should have been revealed beforehand when going thru the medicals? Perhaps this was something Paul was used to happening but that doesn't necessarily mean the others were.

From a business standpoint, I seriously doubt Craig Piligian and Spike TV were too thrilled with the possibility of having someone on the show with something contagious that could cause the other castmates to break out and need medical attention. Talk about screwing up a production schedule for a reality show.

Bonnar was quarantined for almost two weeks during season one for a staph infection.

KenFlo and (IIRC) every other fighter on TUF 1 caught something that had spread throughout the gym. A lot of the season 2 kids did, too. The gym was closed and DW had it disinfected from top to bottom. Franklin paid the training center a visit as a guest coach on one of the seasons following his and he refused to roll on the mats because he had an upcoming fight. All of these guys on the show have upcoming fights.

TUF 2 had something spread and Marcus Davis caught it. He got very ill and finally went to the hospital. He was a few days away from death and required surgery and hospitalization.

I think this was probably handled the way it was because there were so many others that stood to lose (other fighters, coaches, trainers, Spike TV, Pilgrim Films, Zuffa, TUF Productions, etc.) should something go wrong. Had it been in a typical gym where training and performance was optional then it might not have mattered. Every hour of every day mattered in this situation, though, and nothing was optional.




"He said two days on meds, and I'd be cleared up" is incorrect if it was in fact Herpes. Maybe the "infection" is cleared up (not oozing etc) but you can never be "free" of it.

His Wife - oh OK, I see, thanks.

"how do Colleges and high schools avoid liability when letting students with herp 1 compete?"

This is what I was getting at when I asked how is it that he will be allowed to fight anywhere now.