No one would have been upset with Michael Chiesa if he had left The Ultimate Fighter after news of his father’s death. Instead, Chiesa used it as more motivation, securing the crown with a submission victory over Al Iaquinta in the finals Friday night.
Chiesa locked in a choke at the 2:40 mark of the opening round, disposing of Iaquinta and earning the TUF contract, an endorsement deal with Tapout and a Harley-Davidson.
“This is exactly what I wanted,” Chiesa said. “This has been such a journey and there was no way I was going to see myself short.”
Chiesa learned of his father’s passing days after entering the TUF house. He left for a few days to attend the funeral, but returned and provided the show with many emotional moments. None, however, were bigger than this one.
Chiesa defeated Jeremy Larsen, Justin Lawrence and James Vick to reach the finals. He is now 8-0 in his MMA career, while Iaquinta falls to 5-2-1. Both were part of Urijah Faber’s team on the show.