Dana White Believes TUF Finalist Uriah Hall 'Mentally Broke' in Defeat
Prior to Saturday night, Ultimate Fighter finalist Uriah Hall was praised as the most devastating and dangerous fighter to ever come off the reality show.
These compliments were paid based on Hall's destruction of three different opponents in the house as he stormed his way to the finale in Las Vegas.
All week long Hall was lauded with praise, and some even believed that a win over former housemate, Kelvin Gastelum, could put him on the fast path to becoming the next Anderson Silva.
Unfortunately for Hall, he joined Phillipe Nover in the esteemed company of fighters that were supposed to be the next Silva and instead ended up as Ultimate Fighter runner-ups.
Back in season 8 of the Ultimate Fighter, Nover felt similar admiration for his performances, but he eventually faced Efrain Escudero in the show's finale and all the hype faded away after 15 minutes.
While Hall definitely had his moments against Gastelum, the end result was exactly the same.
Throughout the fight it had to be noted that Hall seemed apprehensive and unwilling to unleash in his attacks. Gastelum never slowed down, and despite Hall's best efforts to battle back, he could not subdue his former teammate under coach Chael Sonnen.
What was supposed to be Hall's crowning achievement after a phenomenal season ended up as a wilting flower that couldn't survive under the brightest rays of the spotlight.
"I don't think he showboated, I think he mentally broke," UFC President Dana White said after the TUF 17 finale ended. "You saw what he had this season, but when you find out what a guy really has is when he's under pressure."
Pressure typically pushes fighters in one of two directions—either they flourish and become great or they flounder and crumble to nothing. White's not ready to give up on Hall after one bad performance, but he says it's these kinds of big moments that will define a fighter's career.
"When you're under pressure you find out who the Anderson Silva's and the Georges St-Pierre's are, those types of guys. He's got a lot of skills and his wrestling looked good tonight. Everything looked good tonight, he's just got to work on his head," White stated. "You've got to get that head straight man, you've got to get meaner. You're not mean enough."
Whether his head was completely straight going into Saturday night, Hall got a reality check of what the UFC can truly be like for a first-time fighter stepping into the Octagon. He had to watch a season's worth of work fade away and congratulate his former teammate, who now holds the crown as Ultimate Fighter champion.
Hall's trajectory isn't set by any means just because of one setback, but his next fight in the Octagon will be crucial to show he wasn't just a one-trick pony during his time in the Ultimate Fighter house.
Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and all quotes were obtained first hand unless otherwise noted.