It has been a whirlwind summer for Jack Anderson, wrestling coach and teacher at Chiawana High, though not for the usual reasons.
Yes, there have been offseason camps and workouts with his staff, crafting the next Riverhawks wrestling team on the heels of back-to-back league and district titles.
But Anderson also spent nearly six weeks in Las Vegas working on the TV show, The Ultimate Fighter. He was one of the coaches for Team Tate, captained by UFC women’s star Miesha Tate.
The 18th season of the show pitting Tate’s team against one under UFC women’s champ Ronda Rousey premiers Thursday at 7 p.m. on the new Fox Sports 1.
The show’s premise is eight mixed martial arts fighters on each team —four men and four women — are housed together and train under Tate and Rousey and their coaching staffs. They fight each other until they are down to the men’s and women’s finalists, who will square off live on Nov. 30.
Anderson was brought on as the grappling coach for Team Tate along with longtime friend Shaine Jaime. The two were teammates wrestling at Central Washington University, which also is Anderson’s connection to Tate and her boyfriend, Bryan Caraway, who wrestled at Central a few years after Anderson finished in 2000.
Tate grew up in Tacoma, Caraway in Goldendale, but he has family that lives in the Tri-Cities, and the pair trains in the Chiawana wrestling room when they are in town and have been “celebrity coaches” for the Riverhawks.
Tate was a late fill-in for the show and had to put a team together fast. Anderson was at a graduation barbecue on a Saturday early in June when he got the phone call. Three days later, he was in Vegas, climbing out of a car at the practice facility and surrounded by cameras.
Anderson spent the next 5 1/2 weeks working with the eight 135-pounders on Team Tate and came away impressed with the abilities of both sexes.
Now back in the Tri-Cities, Anderson sat down with the Tri-City Herald to talk about his brush with TV fame and living the celebrity life in Vegas (baby).
Tri-City Herald: With the TV show set to debut — Jack Anderson Presents The Ultimate Fighter — what is it like to be a TV star?
Jack Anderson: What? ... I would say it’s skipping lines at the clubs and restaurants, and being treated well was pretty cool.
TCH: Is it true you now pride yourself on teaching people to fight like a girl?
JA: I not only teach how to fight like a girl, I got beat up a bunch of times by girls.
TCH: Have you already begun searching for your next TV project?
JA: I don’t have any offers yet, but I’ll take any that come.
TCH: So, straight to the big screen for you?
JA: Yes ... that’s funny.
TCH: Have people treated you differently now that you’re a big TV star?
JA: My friends make fun of me more so than they did before.
TCH: When your Emmy nomination is announced, where will you be?
JA: Probably in my Chiawana biology classroom.
TCH: Is it true that the new favorite move of Chiawana wrestling is the ‘rear naked choke?’
JA: No comment.
TCH: Ah, of course, they’re high school kids. The ‘rear clothed choke’ then?
JA: No comment.
TCH: How expensive was the gift you gave to your wife Marisa so she would let you go to Vegas with a woman featured in ESPN The Magazine’s Body Issue?
JA: (laughing) Wow, that’s a great question. So you saw that, hunh? Her and Miesha are friends, me and Bryan are friends, so she was pretty confident Miesha wouldn’t be hitting on me. Her gift was to be able to come down and spend time with us.
TCH: What’s been the hardest part of adjusting to small-town life again?
JA: Believe it or not, it was an adjustment. The week I got back was tough. I got used to the fast-paced life. ... There’s a lot less to do here than in Vegas.
TCH: Finally, in the trailer for the TV show, Ronda Rousey says if you say someone fights like a girl, it better be a compliment. If you say someone fights like a girl, are you giving a compliment?
JA: Yes. There’s some tough girls on that show that I would never want to get in a fight with, because they are brutal.