It was all cheers and tears at the Quad City International Airport late Thursday evening, as Galesburg native and mixed martial artist, Eric “Showtime” Shelton returned home from Las Vegas.
For the past six weeks, Shelton was cut off from all contact from friends and family as he was a contestant on the UFC’s reality show, The Ultimate Fighter. “I didn’t know my family from Texas was going to be here,” said Shelton. “This really surprised me.”
For the first time in the show’s history, the Ultimate Fighter went a different direction in its twenty-fourth season. Usually, the contestants are broken up into two teams and compete for a UFC contract. But this time around, all the contestants are already champions from organizations around the world and the winner will receive a title shot against current UFC Flyweight Champion, Demetrious Johnson later this year. “It was an amazing experience,” said Shelton. “I learned a lot about myself but it was bittersweet being away from my family and friends.”
So now and until the season is over, Shelton will have to keep the results a secret. “It’s part of the deal,” said Shelton. “People just have to tune in on Aug 31st and watch the show to see what happens.”
The Ultimate Fighter 24: A Tournament of Champions airs on Wednesday, August 31st on Fox Sports 1.