"TUF" castoff Gabe Ruediger returns at Shriner's Hospital benefit
by John Morgan on Aug 17, 2008 at 9:00 am ET
Gabe Ruediger"The Ultimate Fighter 5" cast member and oft-maligned Gabe Ruediger (11-4) will return from a nine-month layoff on Aug. 30 for a fight with Justin Wilcox (4-2).
The card, entitled "The Beginning," is a fund-raiser for the Shriner's Hospital in Santa Monica, Calif., and will feature Ruediger, Mike Kyle, Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion Andre Galvao and others.
Ruediger discussed his path back to competition while a guest on a recent edition of TAGG Radio (www.taggradio.com), the official radio partner of MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
"I'm fighting in a new promotion," Ruediger said. "It's for Fighting4kidz.com. It's a benefit for the Shriner's hospital, which is a children's hospital in California. I'm excited to fight and also to work with a charity like that."
The fight will be contested slightly above Ruediger's normal 155-pound weight class.
The California native previously battled weight issues while on "The Ultimate Fighter." Ruediger was shown undergoing a colonic in his weight-cutting attempts for a bout with Corey Hill before finally giving up and pulling out of the fight. That decision led UFC President Dana White to remove Ruediger from the competition.
Ruediger says the circumstances are different this time.
"This fight's at 160 (pounds)," Ruediger said. "I had neck surgery in January. I've been out of the game for a while. It's been kind of a difficult thing getting everything fine-tuned. I didn't want to do the whole extreme weight-cutting thing just quite yet. I'll do that for my next fight."
Ruediger's neck injury required surgery and an intensive rehab program. The Team Quest fighter feels he is now ready to return to action.
"My C7 vertebrae popped out of place," Ruediger said. "So [the doctors] had to fuse my neck together.
"I'm 100 percent prepared or repaired. I spent three or four months not able to do anything. I'm slowly getting back into it. I've got 100 percent recovery as far as my doctor's concerned and as far as I'm concerned. I'm training like two and three times a day."
Ruediger admitted he's less than knowledgeable about his opponent.
"I don't know too much about him," Ruediger admitted. "Apparently he's a tough guy. He's going to look better than me, guaranteed. He used to be an amateur body-builder. I'm suspecting physically he'll look better than me. I guess he's a wrestler from [American Kickboxing Academy]. But beyond that I don't know too much about him to be honest."
Regardless of the challenges that he may face, Ruediger said the decision to fight on the card took little time to make.
"When I was initially contacted about it, I immediately jumped in," Ruediger said. "Because regardless of how I'm portrayed on TV, when it comes to doing something -- especially for kids -- I'm all for it."
"Fighting 4 Kidz: The Beginning" takes place Aug. 30 at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.com and range from $45 to $280.
Ruediger also discussed his training at Team Quest Temecula as well as the advice he gave teammate Jesse Taylor before his ill-fated appearance on "The Ultimate Fighter: Team Rampage vs. Team Forrest." To hear the full interview, download Thursday's edition of "TAGG Radio," available for free in the TAGG Radio Archives. www.fighting4kidz.com