TIGNISH – A former Tignish resident is taking the mixed martial arts loss he suffered in his Canada versus Australia UFC TUF Nations fight, all in stride. The MMA fight aired Wednesday night on Sportsnet 360.
Matthew DesRoches, 21, has had three months to deal with the loss; the fight was shot in Quebec three months ago.
The show features eight Canadians and eight Australians living together in a house in Quebec. Each week during the quarter-finals a Canadian is paired against an Australian. Canadians won the first three matches, but, following DesRoches’ loss, Canada now clings to a slim 3-2 lead.
“I don’t really hang up too much on the winning or losing aspect,” DesRoches reflected. “It is nice to get the wins, because I know how much your fans and friends appreciate it, because that’s what they really look at. They look at your record and they look at your wins and losses but for me, as a fighter and as a human being, I really just pay attention to how well I perform.”
So, while he is fine with the loss to Richard Walsh, he says it is his own performance that he finds disappointing.
“I just really wish I would’ve performed better. I would have been 100 per cent happy with the outcome, whether I won or lost.”
DesRoches did appear to be the aggressor throughout much of the fight and he admits that’s because he was gunning for the $25,000 bonus that a knockout would have earned him.
But he saw in his fight some positives that he hopes might earn him a spot in the UFC competition coming to Halifax in October.
“For me, I’m just looking forward to getting back in the cage and performing much better than I did in my last fight,” he said, pointing out the judges' decision in the pro exhibition fight does not change his 4-0 professional fight record.
No one on the show is allowed to compete in a fight outside of the house until after the final episode airs.
While a loss on the popular reality sports show would normally put a fighter out of the competition, DesRoches explained fighters can get called back into the cage if a fellow competitor gets disqualified or injured. Citing the show’s confidentiality agreement, he could not reveal whether that actually happens.
He did admit to becoming better friends with the Australians, including Walsh, following his bout against him.
DesRoches couldn’t tell anyone the outcome of his fight until it aired Wednesday. He even kept in suspense the friends he had over to his Fredericton, N.B., residence to watch the show. He chuckles that some of his buddies were upset his match didn’t go a third round.
He draws strength from the support he has from family and friends.
“I’m glad how I accepted the loss,” he said. “I’m not down over it whatsoever. It’s one of those things. It’s the experience for me.”