What's going on America?!? My name is Frank Lester, and I am a professional Mixed Martial Artist. A few facts about me: I am 24 years old, 5 ft 11 inches and fight at 170lbs; I am the proud father of Jordan Marie Lester, a beautiful 20 month old baby girl who is the love of my life; I have been working as a personal trainer and training MMA for about the last 2.5 years; prior to that I served as a US Army Infantryman for 3 years which included service in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
I am the guy who comes in at the very end of episode 2 as an alternate. I got the call for the welterweight division when Christian Fulguim was not able to make weight. Yes, I am an alternate. NO I am not Lil' f---in Junie Browning!! Me & Rob may both have been alternates, but that's as far as any similarities go. What should be known about Rob Browning is that he isn't the way he was acting. Everything he did in the house was an act! He told me himself that he was going to do as much crazy, retarded, attention grabbing stunts he could think of while he was in the house. His brother told him that was the best way to get noticed. I think the saying goes "Any publicity is good publicity" and he did enough stupid stuff to get his desired 15 minutes of fame on The Ultimate Fighter. That's the last time I will mention his name. As far as I was concerned, I was there for one reason, and that was to "Fight".
I got the call from TUF on Friday asking me what my weight was and if I could make 170 by Sunday would I like to try and fight my way into the house as an alternate. I told them that I would love the opportunity to fight on The Ultimate Fighter and that I was about 10 pounds over on weight. I "stretched the truth on that one" and was walking around at 186 at that exact moment. I was told that I would be leaving San Diego the very next morning at 6am. I immediately began cutting weight. I threw on my sweat suit and headed over to the gym down the street from my house and began running on the treadmill. I ran 8 miles in 2 hours at a relatively slow pace and managed to drop 6 lbs. I knew after I weighed myself following that run that I was going to make weight with no problem.
I then went home and with the help of a close friend began packing up everything I thought I would need over the next 6 weeks. I truly believed that I was gonna make it into the house. I had no idea who my opponent would be, but I felt as if it was my time. My marriage had recently ended and I missed my daughter immensely. This was the big break I had always wanted and I got it at the time I needed it the most.
When I got in to Las Vegas nobody from the show would tell me exactly what was going on. They just took all my old clothes and provided me with what was allowed to be worn on the show. I was taken to the ultimate fighting training center, put in a room and told to wait This room ended up being Team USA's locker room of sorts. The room was completely empty except for the overwhelming smell of sweat and numerous pairs of cut-off bloody hand wraps on the floor. There was also a large hole in the wall where somebody had obviously punched right through a picture of Chuck Liddell that was hanging up. I'll be honest and admit that I was somewhat overwhelmed by the experience that was unfolding.
Shortly after my arrival, I was told that it was time and that they wanted me to walk through a certain set of doors. I had no idea what was waiting for me behind those doors. My heart started to race as soon as I walked in the room and saw Dana White, Dan Henderson and his coaching staff, and a group of guys already in Team USA jerseys. Dana, quickly explained what was going on and called me out to face off with Kiel Reed, who was to be my opponent to earn my spot in the house. I was not there for any of the other American fights to get into the house. All I witnessed was the aftermath of those fights on the faces of the guys that had won and earned their place on Team USA. I wanted to feel the same pride I saw in their faces.
After Kiel and I faced off, we were all bussed to the house. It sucked being in the house for 3 days and not having earned my spot yet. I was constantly around Kiel Reed. It seemed like no matter where I went in the house he was always around. It was an uncomfortable situation for all four of us who had not yet won our spot on the team. I heard Kiel was telling people that there was no way I was gonna win the fight because I was from California and I lived the easy life in the sun. Whereas he was from Iowa where it's cold and had lived a harder life. After the fight when I looked into the camera and started saying "Cali baby.. what?!" that's what I referencing. Kiel came off as arrogant as hell to me and I hate guys who act like that.
Warming up before the fight , I felt a little nervous. However, once I got in the cage I calmed down a bit. Kiel came out tough and hit me with a big right hook right on the button that dropped me. His ground and pound wasn't very good and gave me enough time to recover. To be honest, he wasn't nearly as strong as I thought he would be. Once I felt I had fully recovered from the right hand, I started to make my way back to my feet. Kiel must have thought I wasn't very tough and decided that going for a standing guillotine choke was a good idea. In reality, all he did was help me to fully stand back up and take over the thai clinch, so that I could start my own attack. I took over the clinch, hit him with a knee in the forehead, and then a big left hook which I could tell hurt him.
He immediately tried to take me down again. As he went for the takedown, I began to crossface and sprawl. Kiel drove me into the fence, which actually helped me re-gain my base. He then switched from double to an outside single, so I reached for the kimura looking to sweep. Instead of him letting go of the single leg knowing I had the Kimura locked in, Kiel decided to try and muscle through it. He did not know the deal! My former coach and training partner used to drill this Kimura sweep from the single leg with me every week!! I knew exactly what I was going to do when he continued to hold that single and power through it. Did I know he was gonna get knocked out as I scissor swept him with the Kimura, No. However, I did know that Kiel was either gonna tap from the pressure I put on his shoulder and elbow joints, or that I was gonna roll him, end up in top position and ground pound him until the ref stopped it!
I tried to shake Kiel's hand after the fight, but he refused. That type of poor sportsman is rarely seen in MMA. We all talk smack before a fight, so I do not hold it against him that he said in interviews Lester will be heading to the hospital after the fight. Remember, after the fight was stopped Dan Henderson says Kiel was lucky he didn't break his arm. Maybe Kiel wasn't so lucky?! One of us did go to the hospital after the fight. It wasn't me. I got my USA Team jersey and moved into the house. For the next 6 weeks I represented my country while Kiel was recuperating.