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The Ultimate Fighter 10 spotlight: Scott Junk – PROMMA.INFO exclusive interview

Scott Junk is a TUF 10 heavyweight.

The tenth season of Spike TV’s reality show The Ultimate Fighter debuts on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2009. This season entitled “Heavyweights” features 16 of the biggest and toughest men not only in MMA but on the planet. One of these men is 30-year-old Scott Junk from Kailua, Hawaii.

PROMMA.INFO recently spoke with Scott to learn more about his story. Scott talked to us about how he got involved with MMA, his first pro fight which just happened to be against a former UFC champion, how he ended up on The Ultimate Fighter, and what makes this season special. I even tried to trick him into revealing if he made it to the finals. However, he explains just how hefty a fine a fighter would be hit with if they revealed the show’s outcome before it aired.

SCOTT JUNK interview:
[podcast]http://promma.info/audio/scottjunk.mp3[/podcast]
PRO MMA: Who is you manager, Scott?
SCOTT JUNK: I don’t have one right now.

PRO MMA: How did you end up on The Ultimate Fighter and what made you want to do the show?
SCOTT JUNK: I talked to Joe Silva about getting a fight and he told me that I should try The Ultimate Fighter show and I said alright. My friend was on the Internet and saw that everything was going down and said The Ultimate Fighter is having a heavyweight season and you should apply. So I applied and went to the tryout in Seattle and they saw me and told me everything looked good. They brought me back for a couple of different interviews and I got picked up on the show.

You sure you want to fight this man?

PRO MMA: What were the tryouts like?
SCOTT JUNK: The tryouts were just basic, you rolled around and did jiu-jitsu for like two minutes and then did mitt work with a mitt guy and then did some interviews on personality and then they picked you up.

PRO MMA: What did you get the feeling they were looking for this time?
SCOTT JUNK: Real fighters this time and guys with credibility. I’m pretty sure they went after looks too with some of the guys. Some of the guys are just monsters in the house. They didn’t want to go with guys with crummy records and just on looks. They wanted to go with guys with legit records and talent.

PRO MMA: Spike recently released the video of Kimbo walking out and made it look like that was the first time you guys knew he was on the show. When did you first realize he was going to be on the show or was it just like we saw?
SCOTT JUNK: That was the first time. That was it. That was the first time we saw him and from then on everything just started going.

PRO MMA: What did you think when you realized Kimbo would be on the show?
SCOTT JUNK: Once Dana White started talking… I didn’t realize there was only 15 of us, I thought everyone was already there and then Dana White said “We’ve got one more guy coming in and this guy can fight.” I already knew right then and there it must be Kimbo. And then when he walked in the door, I would love to fight him cause he’s such a big name.

PRO MMA: I know you are from Hawaii. Who do you train with out there?
SCOTT JUNK: MMA Development. Brandon Wolff – he’s fought in the UFC a bunch of times already. Steve Burns – he’s fought in the UFC. Anthony Torres – he was on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter. There’s other guys that drop in and out like Niko Vitale, Randy Lueder, Rob Hesia, all up-and-coming guys.

Scott Junk wins.

Scott Junk wins.

PRO MMA: Can you tell us a little bit about your sports background and how you made the decision to pursue MMA as a career.
SCOTT JUNK: I’ve played football, basketball, and baseball. Baseball was my main sport my whole life growing up. I went to college on a full ride scholarship to Southwestern Oklahoma State and played ball over there and made first team all-American. I was the only offensive player from my school to make first team all-American. I was like the first offensive lineman to make player of the week in the history of the school by myself. I had a couple of pro looks and a couple of tryouts but nothing happened. When I came home a bunch of my buddies were like, “Let’s go check out the fights this weekend.” I was like, “Who’s boxing?” They said, “Boxing? Boxing is out already.” I was like, “What do you mean?” We went down and saw it and I said, “Hey, this is that Ultimate Fighting stuff.” I remember seeing The Ultimate Fighter one, the first show ever with Royce Gracie and all that and I was like that’s pretty cool. In Oklahoma I didn’t hear anything about it but in Hawaii, Hawaii is all about fighting. So when I came home, I was like, I’ll try it out. I’m athletic, I’m tough. I’ll try it out. And sure enough I started getting into it and my first fight was against Ricco Rodriguez, the ex-UFC heavyweight champion. I beat him up the whole first round and I beat him up the second round and I got caught in a guillotine and he put me to sleep. And then after that I was like, I gotta learn some jiu-jitsu and stuff cause I didn’t really know anything yet. And then B.J. Penn picked me up and put me on his team and took care of me. I was there for a couple of months but the only thing bad about B.J.’s gym is it was all smaller guys. There was no big guys there. So I had to come back home and when I came back home that’s when I met my team MMA Development with Brandon Wolff and Kaipo Kalama. They picked me up and there’s a team of all kinds of big guys out there. So I started training and learning my wrestling and jiu-jitsu and all my striking from them. And then I went on that seven fight win streak. Then I blew out my ACL the day before Joe Silva called me. He called me and said, “You wanna fight?” I said, “Yeah.” He said, “OK I got you a fight lined up” – and this and that and boom – “You’re going to fight Mirko Cro Cop.” And then two days after that they called me and said, “No sorry, Cheick Kongo took the fight. He was supposed to be injured but he took the fight. We’ll keep you on stand-by.” A couple of weeks later they called back and said, “We got you a fight. You’re going to fight at UFC 76 against Christian Wellisch.” I was like, “Alright, sounds good.” So I went in there, I was definitely more athletic, but my knee kept giving out. He takes me down and does a heel hook on that exact same leg and he blew out my ankle and the rest of my knee. So then I was out for a whole year. That whole year of ’08 I didn’t fight at all. When I came back I fought a K-1 kickboxing match against Min Soo Kim. My leg was getting better but still weak. So I didn’t have good movement in that fight. I didn’t have the power in my punches cause my legs weren’t under me. But it went the distance and I lost a close decision. Mentally it got me more prepared, where I got to work on this and work on that. I had an MMA match right after that with Lolohea Mahe, he’s the number two ranked heavyweight in Hawaii and I was the number one. It went to decision and they gave us a draw. Anyone who watched that fight knew I won that fight but it was in his hometown and on his island. I was like whatever. And then after that is when all the interviews and stuff happened for the show. So we jumped on that. It was funny because me an Lolohea both got picked up for it but I ended up getting the final call for it. Even on the show I wasn’t a hundred percent but it was awesome! Everything that I learned was awesome.

Scott Junk has ground and pound.

Scott Junk has ground and pound.

PRO MMA: You’ve been fighting professionally since 2005. You won the MFC Heavyweight Championship. What achievement are you most proud of so far in your MMA career?
SCOTT JUNK: My best moment most definitely is the show. You’ll see, when they show my fight, it just shows what kind of person I am. Everybody will be happy. That’s the kind of fight Dana White told me afterward, he told me that’s the kind of fight people love to watch. That was my biggest moment hearing that, the president of the biggest organization in the world telling me that to my face. That was the highest moment.

PRO MMA: How hard is it to keep what happened on the show a secret?
SCOTT JUNK: It’s so hard (laughs). It’s just the simple little questions too people ask you like, “What is you proudest moment?” I almost slipped right now and told you the whole thing. Aw man I always got to bite my tongue. And there’s so many funny moments too in the house. The guys that were in the house were all cool guys I thought. Everybody was pretty solid. There was no really young guys in the house. I thought we all got what we wanted out of it and I made a couple of real tight friends. Everything is going to work out for the best.

PRO MMA: What do they say will happen to you if they find out you revealed the outcome of the show?
SCOTT JUNK: There’s penalties. There’s a five million dollar lawsuit if you let anything out. Plus it ruins the show if everybody knows what happened before it happens, it’s going to take away from the show. I just watched the first eight minutes of the show and I was laughing. It’s cool. The Spike team did a damn good job.

PRO MMA: So how did you feel when you made it to the finals?
SCOTT JUNK: (Silence)

PRO MMA: (Laughs) Just playing, just playing.
SCOTT JUNK: (Laughs) You’re funny. I just left it alone.

The complete cast of The Ultimate Fighter 10 "Heavyweights." - Scott Junk is in the front on the far right end.

The complete cast of The Ultimate Fighter 10 - Scot Junk is on the far right end in the front.

PRO MMA: I know people seemed to be more hyped about this season than any season in a very long time, maybe ever. What can you tell us about this season, what can we expect to see – why should people watch?
SCOTT JUNK: It’s the heavyweights. There’s characters in the house, there’s good personalities, there’s bad personalities, there’s something for everybody. The best thing about it is it’s the heavyweight division. It’s monstrous men. It’s men that if somebody gets hit with a stiff jab they can go down because of the power behind it. All these weight classes, every single weight class in the world always talks about how they are the best pound for pound fighter in the world. But OK, if you’re pound for pound, then why not fight at the weight that you walk around at? Why do you always cut weight to go to a smaller weight class? I don’t get that. We’re heavyweights. I mean I was eating constantly just to keep up with some of these guys in the house. I was walking around at 255 lbs. and these guys were cutting down from 285 lbs. I never felt so small in my entire life walking around in that house where the average height was 6’4″ and I’m only 6’1″. There’s guys that are 6’10, 6’7, 6’6″. I was like, “Holy cow, these guys are monsters.” My wife was like, “You need to drop to light heavy.” I was like, “Nah, I enjoy being a heavy.” I enjoy my food and training hard. I don’t ever see myself going to 205 lbs. – There was more comedy I think in this season than anything. Other season always had drama and guys getting stupid but this one is just comedy.

PRO MMA: Thank you for your time Scott, is there anyone you want to thank?
SCOTT JUNK: Just thank everybody for watching, thank all the supporters. Thank the whole state of Hawaii for always supporting the local fighters.

By: Jack Bratcher

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