Fighting for a dream: GJ’s Brenton wants to work way onto ‘The Ultimate Fighter 12’

Grand Junction mixed martial artist Jason Brenton screams encouragement Saturday night to local fighter Angelo Archuleta before the start of Archuleta’s bout with Glenwood Springs’ Dan Hudak during CageRaiser at Two Rivers Convention Center. Brenton has a dream of fighting his way onto Spike TV’s The Ultimate Fighter 12.

Jason Brenton is on the way to fulfilling his dream.

Brenton, a 23-year-old mixed martial arts fighter from Grand Junction, is trying to fight his way onto the Spike TV reality show, “The Ultimate Fighter 12,” which will air in September.

The fighters on the show spend several filmed weeks training with contracted Ultimate Fighting Championship fighters, taking on other hopefuls. The field is narrowed to two fighters who will compete for a UFC contract.

Brenton doesn’t know yet if he’ll be in the house, but said he’s leaving for Las Vegas in June to try to make his way onto the show.

“I’m still pretty new to the sport, so I’ve been living here training full time for four months,” Brenton said. “This has been the best experience of my life, so now I’m going to try to ride this out for all it’s worth.”

Brenton got to this point by working his way through a tryout at the Omni Hotel in Charlotte, N.C., in early April. Brenton flew to the tryout with fellow local fighter Angelo Archuleta, and said he was surprised by the amount of people looking for a shot.

“As soon as we got there, there were like 1,000 people in line to try out,” Brenton said. “It took us 14 hours to go through that day.”

The tryout started with two minutes of grappling, where UFC owner Dana White would call out two random names. At 5 feet 11, 155 pounds, Brenton is tall for his weight class and said he drew a fighter who made things interesting for him.

“I got a stocky Japanese guy and I was able to take his back and had the choke in,” Brenton said. “I didn’t get to choke him out, but I made it past that cut.”

Next was work with high pads so fighters could show off their stand-up skills. After those two cuts, Brenton said, they narrowed the field to 100 fighters for interviews with producers of Spike TV.

“They asked us some questions to try and get under our skin to see if we had any humor or personality,” Brenton said. “After that they said we’ll call you in two weeks and if not, better luck next time.”

Brenton said it was hard to wait for the callback, but once he finally got called, he was sent to Las Vegas for a variety of tests.

“You name it, we had it done,” Brenton said. “MRI, CT scan, blood work, drug test, eye exam, but they told me I passed all my physicals, so now I’m trying to get into the house.”

Making it to this point has given the Rangely High School graduate a massive amount of confidence in the cage.

“My work ethic has been boosted and I’m so much more hungry,” Brenton said. “I have a lot of motivation behind me, and this has been a crazy experience.”


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