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Reluctant Roy Nelson stars in busy weekend for ‘The Ultimate Fighter’

Local heavyweight finishes off time on reality show with fight against Matt Mitrione

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Steve Marcus

Roy Nelson of Las Vegas puts on his shirt after knocking out Dave Herman of Temecula, Calif. during UFC 146 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena Saturday, May 26, 2012.

The Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes finale

  • When: Friday Dec. 14, 3-8 p.m.
  • Where: Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
  • How to watch: Preliminary bouts on FUEL TV at 3, main card on FX at 6
  • Main card bouts: George Sotiropoulos vs. Ross Pearson; Robert Whittaker vs. Brad Scott; Colin Fletcher vs. Norman Parke; Hector Lombard vs. Rousimar Palhares

The Ultimate Fighter 16 finale

  • When: Saturday Dec. 15, 3-9 p.m.
  • Where: The Joint at Hard Rock
  • How to watch: Preliminary bouts on Facebook at 2:30, preliminary bouts on FUEL TV at 4, main card on FX at 6
  • Tickets: $100-$250 remaining Ticketmaster
  • Main card bouts: Roy Nelson vs. Matt Mitrione; Colton Smith vs. Mike Ricci; Pat Barry vs. Shane del Rosario; Melvin Guillard vs. Jamie Varner; Dustin Poirier vs. Jonathan Brookins

Roy Nelson found it painful enough to compete on “The Ultimate Fighter” when he won the reality show’s 10th season three-and-a-half years ago.

Coaching on the most recent season was even more difficult.

“When you’re on ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ as a contestant, you’re one goal is to strictly win,” Nelson said. “As a coach, it’s get eight guys to win. It’s really up to them to choose who wants it more. You can’t give them the heart and desire to go out there to do it versus the other way around when you only have to depend on yourself to get the job done.”

UFC President Dana White’s phone won’t blow up with calls and messages from Nelson asking to be involved with “TUF” ever again. It’s safe to bet Nelson’s time as a UFC reality star runs out after Saturday’s “TUF” 16 finale card at the Joint inside the Hard Rock.

Nelson meets Matt Mitrione, who replaced an injured Shane Carwin, in the evening’s main event. Mitrione bowed out of the quarterfinals on “TUF” 10 before ever facing Nelson.

“He’s evolved in the three-and-a-half years since then and so have I,” Mitrione said. “Our careers just happened to match now.”

Nelson’s an ironic figure to headline the busiest weekend in “TUF” history. Before Saturday’s fight card, a finale to wrap up the first ever Australia vs. England season takes place in Queensland, Australia.

FX will air the main card — headlined by coaches George Sotiropoulos and Ross Pearson — Friday night, 24 hours before Nelson vs. Mitrione.

Sotiropoulos and Pearson reportedly came off as a tad too emotional as coaches in their season, but they made out well compared to Nelson.

The weekly episodes painted Nelson as a poor coach, with the majority of his fighters complaining about inconsistent training methods.

Nelson says it’s far from the truth. It wasn’t a fair portrayal.

“The one thing about the UFC is they’re a great marketing machine,” Nelson said. “I think they’re just waiting to sell the DVD.”

Nelson said the show failed to highlight a host of guest coaches he brought in, including UFC 1 champion Royce Gracie, former light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans and the infamous Diaz brothers.

“It would have been like the best DVD set ever,” Nelson cracked.

As expected, Nelson didn’t make any long lasting bonds on the set. He said finalist Colton Smith was the only fighter he kept in contact with after filming concluded.

Nelson had particularly hateful words for his opposing coach. He even insinuated that the torn ligaments in Carwin’s knee that forced him to pull out of Saturday’s fight weren’t legitimate.

“I figured Shane was probably going to pull out of the fight,” Nelson said. “This isn’t the first time he’s done it. I just didn’t know when or where that would actually happen. But in preparation of fighting Matt instead of Shane is no different going into the fight.”

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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