The UFC released two veterans of their Spike TV reality show “The Ultimate Fighter” this past week. Season three middleweight winner Kendall “Da Spyder” Grove and season 13 welterweight semifinalist Chuck “Cold Steel” O’Neil both confirmed they have been cut from the organization.
Grove (12-9, 1 NC) commented on his release via Facebook over the weekend:
“Thank u UFC for a lot of Good memory’s [sic]. Respect to all the staff at zuffa [sic] for always treating me like family.”
Grove, now 28, made his UFC debut in June 2006 when he defeated Ed Herman in the TUF 3 Finale to become the season three “Ultimate Fighter” and win a six-figure multi-year contract with the promotion.
Grove’s UFC career was up-and-down. After the win over Herman in his debut, he won his next two fights, stopping Chris Price via strikes and submitting Alan Belcher.
He then suffered back to back first round knockouts against Patrick Cote and Jorge Rivera respectively. In June 2008 he won a split decision over Evan Tanner in the TUF 7 Finale, then stopped Jason Day via first round TKO at UFC 96.
Grove went 2-1 in 2009, 1-2 in 2010 and 0-1 in 2011. The final straw came on May 28 at UFC 130 when he lost a unanimous decision to Tim Boetsch.
Grove is a Hawaii native, just had his first child (a girl) in April, and runs I & I Training Center in his hometown of Wailuku. He is engaged to his daughter’s mother and plans to wed in July.
O’Neil (8-4) confirmed and commented on his release from the UFC via Facebook on Friday:
“I was officially released by the UFC today. I will continue to work hard to improve myself as a person and a fighter everyday.”
O’Neil (8-4) made a fan out of UFC President Dana White during his stint as part of Team Lesnar on “The Ultimate Fighter: Team Lesnar vs. Team dos Santos” earlier this year.
Playing the role of the proverbial underdog, O’Neil came on the show as an alternate and even lost his first fight via Triangle Choke submission to Zach Davis. However, due to his grit and determination White chose O’Neil to fill one of the two “wild card” slots which allowed him to continue in the competition.
In his wild card fight O’Neil took out Team dos Santos’ Javier Torres with a D’arce Choke submission in the second round. This moved O’Neil into the quarterfinals where he got a rematch with Davis and won via unanimous decision.
The win moved O’Neil into the semifinals where he was forced to fight his teammate Tony Ferguson. Ferguson won via third round TKO then went on to win the whole tournament.
Although eliminated from the competition O’Neil was still picked to fight teammate and fellow semifinalist Chris Cope in the TUF 13 Finale which took place earlier this month.
Unfortunately for O’Neil, “Trash-bag Charlie” showed up instead of “Cold Steel” (his two TUF personas), Cope dominated the fight and took home the unanimous decision.
O’Neil, 25, has been fighting professionally since 2006 and has only lost one of his last four fights. The Massachusetts native promised to keep working hard and plans to make it back to the UFC where he feels he belongs:
“I will continue to work hard to improve myself as a person and a fighter everyday. I WILL make it back there because the UFC is where I belong. Thank you to everyone for your continued support and there will be a fight coming soon with a MUCH improved performance!”