Kendall “Da Spyder” Grove recently sat down with us at BuddyTV for an exclusive interview. Kendall is a world class Mixed Martial Artist, who recently won SpikeTV’s The Ultimate Fighter. As winner, Kendall received a six-figure contract with the UFC. We talked about how he started his career in the Octagon, his time on The Ultimate Fighter, and his plans for the near future. How did you get involved in the sport? What made you interested in mixed martial arts and fighting and specifically, how did you earn a spot on The Ultimate Fighter Reality TV show? I first started training to fight from my freshman year in high school. I did Jujitsu for about a year and then my parents couldn’t pay for it anymore because it was a little bit expensive. Two of my real good friends wrestled in high school, so from Jujitsu , I just loved the one-on-one competition, you know what I mean – it’s only you and the other guy.
So, I just started wrestling and I wrestled for three years and then after high school I started doing Jujitsu with one of my boys, he was a blue belt and he was teaching us some stuff in the garage, and one day one of my friends was like, “Hey, let’s move to Vegas!” So I moved to Vegas and started training with John Lewis, Mark Laimon, and Phil Baroni and it opened my mind to what we now call the UFC. I really wasn’t fully knowledgeable about fighting, especially caged fighting, at that time. I knew of it, but I didn’t know what really went down, and [one day] I was helping Phil Berroni train for one of his fights, and after his session he told me, “Hey man, you fight?” And I was like “Nah.” And he said, “You got potential, you should start fighting. You got all the timing in the world.” Then two months later I was fighting. Who was your first fight against and what was that like getting ready for your first fight? My first fight…from the beginning I hung around like…I don’t mean to name drop, but a bunch of the guys that I kicked it with had been there, like Phil, Rico; I knew all those guys before I started fighting. So I’ve been with those guys and they told me all about it so I wasn’t that nervous. My first fight I fought this guy name Marvelous Stefago from Maui, it was his first fight and he was training for about year consistently at a kick boxing, wrestling, and all-around Jujitsu kind of gym in Maui, Lahaina and it was his first fight, my first fight, and we were the same weight, so it was a go and it was a two round fight. They stopped it because in the second round I kneed him in the face and his teeth came out. [laughs] So, what a first win under my belt for a TKO Stoppage – Loss of Tooth. [laughs] Before you moved to Vegas and started working with all these UFC figure heads, what did you do before that? Well, basically, right after high school I started working. Directly after high school, I put learning how to fight and the whole martial arts thing on hold for a year. I was going to live with my dad and then all that shit blew over and then I moved back to Hawaii and started working to pay the bills. I was a roofer for like three years…off and on from fighting and working. I had a full time job and then fighting, but every job I had was hard. It would be like roofing, water-proofing, tiling, dry wall…you name it, I did it. So, I was more known on the construction sites than in the ring in Hawaii, if you know what I mean. [laughs] How has this changed your life from the sense of doing some pretty hard manual labor on the job to a sport that requires you to invest a considerable amount of time on training and your body? Maybe you can talk about the difference and how your life has evolved and how your work ethic is now. Well, first of all, big time, is I can wake up whenever I want. [chuckles] I don’t need to wake up early, try on boots, and go bust my ass all day. But, yeah, then again, I gotta throw on gloves and bust my ass. But, it’s less taxing, plus I love what I do. I love fighting, and it makes my job a lot easier. This is my dream job. I’m living it and not too many people on earth can say they died doing their dream job. You’ve had a couple of tough losses, against Hector Ramirez, for instance. But I know you also had some incredible wins against Ed “Short Fuse” Herman and Chris Price, most recently. What’s your next big challenge and what’s motivating you in the sport right now and where do you want to see Kendall Grove in the next year? I want to see myself in the next year evolving and just getting better at what I do. I’m young, I just turned 24 and I got a lot of time left. My body’s good and I’m just taking my time, paying my dues, like all the other great fighters in the past have. In this sport, you pay your dues, and then at the end, you get your reward. And, hopefully, in the end, after I pay all my dues, I’ll get a title shot, and hopefully bring back that belt to Hawaii. Part 1 / Part 2 Over the past few months, BuddyTV has interviewed a number of different people from all over the television industry. Thus far, we’ve featured an interview with CariDee English (winner of America’s Next Top Model),an interview with Josh Schwartz (creator of The OC), an interview with Alfred Gough (creator of Smallville), an interview with John Shiban (executive producer of Supernatural), an interview with Mark Schwahn (creator of One Tree Hill) an interview with Hank Steinberg (creator of The Nine), an interview with David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik (the creators of The Class), and an interview with David S. Rosenthal (new Head Writer/Executive Producer of Gilmore Girls).

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