By Jonathan Marr
Mohawks, tattoos, metal and blood. Sounds like the description of what someone would see at the Sturgis biker rally mid-August. Actually, it’s what one of Fargo’s mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters will experience at the open casting call for The Ultimate Fighter 14 on March 21.
Requirements? Flashy hair, tattoos, nicknames and “moxie” are what Spike and the UFC are looking for in a fighter. Add a dash of Mua Tai, Boxing, Ju Jitsu and American wrestling and now we have the Ultimate Fighter recipe.
What is TUF? The show is a reality television series and MMA competition featuring unknown, professional MMA fighters living together and following them as they train and compete against each other for a contract with the UFC.
One of those hopefuls is Tyler Larson from the FM Academy of Mixed Martial Arts. At age 25, Larson is active locally with MMA as an instructor and competitor. Five to six days a week, Larson participates alongside Dylan Spicer at the FM Academy of Mixed Martial Arts training pro and amateur fighters.
When news broke that this season’s Ultimate Fighter 14 would feature the lighter weight classes, the FM Academy of Mixed Martial Arts knew that this could be the opportunity to showcase some immediate contenders in those weight classes. And Larson got the call.
The problem? Leaving his two-year-old son, wife, the other job Larson holds to provide for his family and the added costs to compete in Newark, New Jersey.
With outpouring requests from his friends and family, Larson’s dream to become an Ultimate Fighter has come true.
One of Larson’s students raised the sponsorship money to send him to Newark and his little brother Nick will be helping out with his wife around the home.
“It’s amazing how people have come together to help me on my way to get on the show,” Larson said. “My wife, my instructor, my training partners, all have helped out so much. And I am very thankful for that.”
Nine and six is currently Tyler Larson’s pro MMA record. In 2003 Larson practiced mixed martial arts in his Ada, MN hometown. With his mother’s permission, Larson fought his first MMA fight at age 17. After high school, he earned an auto body and refinishing degree at NDSCS. That’s where Larson met Marshall Martin, Zach Schroeder and Joe Keaveny. All three trained MMA, driving to Brainerd, MN to learn from former UFC fighter Brock Larson. In 2008, Tyler and friends opened FM Mixed Martial Arts. They’d been open for about two years when they teamed with Dylan Spicer and his academy: FM Academy of Combat Arts.
Tyler, his wife Darcy and two year old son Cayden will celebrate their one year anniversary this May. When not instructing or practicing MMA, Tyler works weekends welding wind towers at DMI, working three, twelve-hour shifts. Darcy is a third-year nursing student at NDSU, a National Guardsman and works as a part-time CNA.
TUF 8 experience:
This isn’t the first time Tyler Larson has participated in an Ultimate Fighter casting call. Larson and his father made the 2008 trip to Boston together.The Ultimate Fighter: Team Nogueira vs. Team Mir was the eighth installment of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) produced reality television series The Ultimate Fighter, which premiered in September 2008 on Spike TV. The season featured the fighters at the Lightweight class (146-155 lb), ten pounds more than Larson’s natural weight class, Featherweight (145-136).
About the show:
Airing at the end of March, the 13th season will feature the Welterweight class (156-170) with heavyweight coaches Junior dos Santos and former UFC champion Brock Lesnar a Webster, South Dakota native. Tryouts for season 14 take place a week earlier, so we will have to wait until The Ultimate Fighter 14 airs on March 21 to see if Larson can make it to the Octagon.
What: The Ultimate Fighter 14 reality television series on Spike TV
When: Undetermined, usually Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET.
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