BJPenn.Com Exclusive: Joey Rivera Final TUF 16 Blog

December 14, 2012 9:57 am by Bryan Levick

Welterweight Champion Joey “Boom Boom” Rivera (7-1) is currently a competitor on this season of The Ultimate Fighter™ Team Carwin vs. Team Neslon, where he recently shocked the world by defeating Carwin’s #1 pick, Sam Alvey. Rivera resides in Tucson, AZ where he is the owner and head coach of APEX MMA. The 4X Judo State Champion also coaches wrestling at Flowing Wells High School in Tucson and instructs MMA at the University of Arizona (U of A).

Fans can follow Rivera on Facebook at and on Twitter @Joeyboomboom.

Most people want to know what happened in my third TUF fight against Jon Manley. I had a really hard time turning on the switch for a few reasons. Since I trained with him all the time, subconsciously, it felt like just another day at sparring practice. Also, fighting 3 times in 5 weeks makes you lose your hunger to fight. It didn’t have me amped up or scared like I normally am for a fight. Being in the house took a toll on me mentally, because the closer we got to going home, the more I wanted to go home. I basically self-sabotaged myself. I don’t take anything away from my opponent. He did exactly what he needed to do to win, and I didn’t.

I have been really stressed out ever since after the Sam Alvey fight aired on FX because I couldn’t tell people how far I got in the tournament. This whole time since I have been home, I couldn’t talk about the loss and get it off my chest. So, it’s been pretty emotionally difficult since people have been saying “I know you won!” or “you better have won!”  Basically, this whole time I have been going through the loss over and over again.

I am a full-time business owner of APEX MMA in Tucson, and I am a part time fighter; being at the TUF house was the first time I had to dedicate my time just to training. I gave up 7 weeks of my time to get world-class training and I was not fair to give us Roy Nelson as a coach. I like Roy, and it’s not Roy’s fault. It’s their fault for hiring him. He is a fighter, not a coach. If they chose him to create beef on the show, well, that’s putting a lot of professional athletes at a major disadvantage for the wrong reasons. You shouldn’t mess with peoples’ livelihood and future. Shane Carwin came with a team and a game-plan to give his guys the best opportunity as possible to get into the UFC. Shane and his coaching team even contacted us several times after extending offers of help and advice, so you can tell he took the coaching job seriously. I am a little mad about the whole situation, because like many of my fans thought, I also think, I could have won with the right mental preparation. Props to Colton from Team Nelson. He is a very mentally strong dude.

Some good things also came out of me being on the show. I didn’t win the 100K contract but made “multi-million dollar relationships” all over the world. I talk to Igor from Switzerland and Mike from Canada on a regular basis. It’s also brought me closer to my family and God.

I am still unfulfilled because I have so much left to show myself and the world. Before I leave this world I will have another opportunity and I will take it, and leave it all out there in the cage. I am still not even at my fighting peak yet. I have everything that I need to be a world champion of a very large organization and it’s just a matter of time before the right opportunity comes.

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