Bristol Marunde

Bristol Marunde Q&A: Reality TV Stardom, MMA Trailblazing and Professional Cuddling

Tony Reid – You are a reality TV star now on your show Flip or Flop Vegas on HGTV. This isn’t your first go-round on reality TV as you appeared on The Ultimate Fighter season Carwin vs. Nelson. Looking back at that experience what was your experience on TUF?

Bristol Marunde – “I am so used to cameras and doing on camera interviews and speaking in front of people that I wish I could go back in time and go on TUF again. I would be a lot more comfortable. It’s difficult for a quiet, pretty shy fighter to be thrust into the situation with so many cameras and interviews and suddenly your life is exposed and you are on camera all the time. It was not easy for me. Now, after so many years of doing it, I am comfortable. I like speaking in front of people. It is a skill I has to learn over time.”

Tony Reid – Being a shy guy, was there a moment where you had a breakthrough where it became comfortable or was it just the repetition of it all?

Bristol Marunde – “It really is the repetitions. There are so many interviews and so much time in front of the camera for filming our Flip or Flop Vegas. There is so much time spent in front of groups of people and crowds for speaking engagements. Its hundreds of hours and the time when I finally got over the apprehension of it and now I really enjoy it.”

Tony Reid – How did this all become a show?

Bristol Marunde – “That’s a good question. The production company messaged me on Instagram. A private message that I thought was some scam or some marketing company trying to get me to subscribe. I told them to piss off but they persisted. We ended up doing a Skype call with the executives. They really liked our energy and how we worked together. And who doesn’t love Las Vegas? They wanted a show here really bad. That led to a sizzle, a seven minute introduction that the production company sells to the network in order to pick us up for a pilot. We went against about seventy other sizzles. We were the only one chosen for a pilot. They will run a pilot episode that they air and they will test the numbers and determine whether it’s good enough to go to an actual season. We made it through all that and made it to season one. We made it to season two and it did really good. Now we are in the airing of season three. That was a three and a half to four year process to get to where we are today.”

Tony Reid – You met your wife Aubrey at a UFC event back in 2009. Can you share the story of your meeting and that night of fights?

Bristol Marunde – “John Gunderson was a mutual friend of ours. He was sitting in front of us at the fights. Our first conversation was about real estate. I was buying a house at the time and I found out she was in real estate sales. I approached her and started talking to her about real estate. I thought that would be an easy conversation to have. I got her business card. I waited a day to call her. I showed her the house I wanted to buy. I was really proud of it. It was going to be my first house. We pulled up to the house and she said that house was a piece of shit. I was crushed. I definitely did not impress her with that first house. I listened to her and backed out of the sale. She told me later that she liked me and had a good feeling about me and she didn’t want to see me get stuck with this house.”

Tony Reid – You have 30 plus pro fights on your record. You fight Jacare and some of the best fighters on the planet. You came up as a pioneer of the sport in the greater northwest. What has been the fight of your career?

Bristol Marunde – “I would have to say my first amateur fight stands out in my mind. I had no ideas what I was getting into. I was training and hoping for the best. I remember that moment of going to the cage and my opponent had a lot more experience than me at the time. I traveled across the state, I was going to school at Washington State University. My trainer looked me in the eyes and he said ‘This is a fight. I want you to go knock his effing teeth out.’ I was thinking ‘Oh my God. This is real!’ I went out there and that’s what I did. I stopped a takedown and I stood him up and threw punches until I knocked him down and I threw a few more on the ground and that was it. I looked over and I saw my family and people at the edge of the ring screaming for me. It was a night I will never forget.”

Tony Reid – Is it true you had your jaw wired shut and you had the wires removed just prior to the pilot of your TV show?

Bristol Marunde – “MMA is such a great and terrible sport. Anybody that fights can attest to that. There are so many ups and downs. I got my wires off the morning of our first film day. I had these half inch screws in my jaw. I had one in each corner of my jaw. I got my jaw wired shut for six weeks. It was clamped. They took the wires off and I couldn’t even open my mouth. I was in excruciating pain. I got home and the surgeon accidentally left one of the bolts still drilled into my gums. I wanted this thing off. I took a pair of pliers and unscrewed it myself. I did it in a mirror and in a mirror everything is backwards, so I sunk it in a little deeper at first. I had to back it out little by little until I got that last bolt out. We went to film. I tried to eat some food but it was too difficult. I had to basically mumble my way through the first week of filming. Nobody knew but I was in so much pain. I was sweating and still bleeding. I just smiled and showed up and filmed and life went on. The network actually made me sign a document that I wouldn’t fight again because they were scared it would happen again.”

Tony Reid – I saw a post from you recently where you said you might be in the line to be a professional cuddler. How would that career play out?

Bristol Marunde – “I am your typical, crazy UFC fighter. We will go in there and fight it out until we die but we are also soft and sensitive guys. We love our children. We love our family. We love our females. We are lovers and fighters. You look at MMA fighters and it is such a common theme. We are lovers and fighters.”