Soldier marches to 'Ultimate Fighter' title
Staff Sgt. Colton Smith, in the grey shorts, battles Michael Ricci in the welterweight championship bout of the Ultimate Fighter last weekend. Smith won the title and a six-figure salary. (Getty Photo)
December 21st, 2012
05:25 PM ET

Soldier marches to 'Ultimate Fighter' title

By Larry Shaughnessy

It should come as no surprise that U.S. Army soldiers can fight.

But Staff Sgt. Colton Smith can say he's the Army's ultimate fighter.

Smith, who is based at Fort Hood, won the season 16 finale of "The Ultimate Fighter" on national TV last weekend by beating Canadian Mike Ricci in three five-minute rounds of mixed martial arts (MMA).

"It's an amazing feeling of accomplishment," Smith said in a story posted on Fort Hood's website.

Ultimate Fighter is the world's largest promoter of MMA events and Smith's unanimous decision over Ricci in the welterweight division guarantees him a six-figure contract with Ultimate Fighting Championship.

But Smith plans to stay in the Army.

An infantryman while not training for fights, Smith trains other soldiers in mixed martial arts to make them more effective warriors.

For the next month, he has to pass required Army training for senior non-commissioned officers, then he'll be able to focus more time on training for his next UFC bout.

"I'll get that knocked out and then get back to training, and just get ready for the next fight and representing the United States Army and III Corps the best that I can," Smith said.

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Filed under: Army
soundoff (70 Responses)
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  7. Winston Wolf

    I solve problems and Smith is a problem. Total D-bag.

    December 22, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Reply
  8. Zeke

    Colton is also extremely boring and likes to fake touch gloves and go in dirty.

    December 22, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Reply
    • Chris

      Yup, that was a dirty move and the season was pretty boring. Still i couldn't believe be dominated Ricci like that. OH, for the record, the promotion is called The Ultimate Fighting Championship. The Ultimate Fighter is just the name of a TV show the promotion produces. You essentially just said Monday night football is the biggest football league in the world. yay for not researching our story.

      December 22, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Reply
  9. Reggie

    Amen! The man is doing what he can with what he already has. Just cause it's a cake walk for him only means life is easier. I like seeing good use come of our military men and women who went to war for our country that would otherwise be misfits. Spend a few days hanging around VA hospitals in the USA and you will see tears, fears, madness and desire but the bottom line is they are men and women that need a helping hand to get through some tough times.

    December 22, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Reply
    • Winston Wolf

      the misfits end up being cops.

      December 22, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Reply
  10. Thatguy371

    I commend the soldier on winning, but really, if he wants to be a real ultimate fighter he should try boxing. Boxers go to MMA, but very seldom do MMA fighters go to boxing... mainly because of the higher skill level needed in boxing.

    December 22, 2012 at 7:17 am | Reply
    • todd

      you are an idiot to think boxing is a higher skill than mma and yes your name says it all

      December 22, 2012 at 7:54 am | Reply
      • rathjian_henn

        hey todd....i wholeheartyedly agree with a fighting afficianado (sp?), anyone who compares boxing, a highly regimented sport, with the fluidity of mma is an idiot

        December 22, 2012 at 9:59 am |
      • Thatguy371

        Both you and rathjian_henn know zero about boxing obviously. And rathjian_henn even claims boxing isn't fluid. Both of you would be dismantled in no time in a boxing ring with even a halfway decent boxer. And I repeat, hardly ANY MMA guys attempt boxing, but MANY boxers have entered MMA and had success. So THAT is the true litmus test.

        December 22, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • patthepatriot

      Dude you have no clue what you are talking about. MMA requires a lot more skill than boxing ever did. Nowadays you must learn at least 2 MMA styles to be any good. Most learn wrestling and BJJ. Boxing is a sport that is dying. MMA is the new boxing.

      December 22, 2012 at 9:52 am | Reply
      • Thatguy371

        Boxing isn't dying. MMA fighters don't get any huge PPV events or make 100K to 25 mil regularly. Like I said, hardly ANY MMA guys try boxing, because they know they don't have that much talent.

        December 22, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
      • jack

        You can’t compare the two sports. Both have different rules and regulations. If you put a boxer in the octagon with a professional MMA fighter the outcome is simple. If you put gloves on an MMA fighter and put him in the ring with a professional fighter fighting under boxing rules, what do you think the outcome will be?

        December 23, 2012 at 3:29 am |
    • omygurdum

      Lets see boxer stand around and punch each other in the face. MMA combines boxing, kick boxing, wrestling and just about every form of martial arts there are. Its much more physical and requires much more training.

      December 22, 2012 at 10:13 am | Reply
      • Thatguy371

        If MMA guys are so great, why can't they learn the full sport of boxing? And yes, boxers get punched in the face regularly. Next wacked question?

        December 22, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • Joe

      MMA fighters are way tougher than boxers do your research. there has never been a boxing MMA champ. Boxers are terrible fighters

      December 22, 2012 at 11:13 am | Reply
      • Fnordz

        On this, YOU'RE the clueless one. Boxers are excellent fighters; don't think for a moment that just because they don't fight using the same rules that they CAN"T fight.

        December 22, 2012 at 11:30 am |
      • hans

        Way tougher? Now that's just stupid, stupid talk. Does it combine more fighting skills? Yes. But tougher? Good God, man, get a grip! Boxing is a skill. It is called BOXING.

        December 22, 2012 at 11:50 am |
      • Thatguy371

        Any MMA fighter would get annihilated in the boxing ring with even the average pro boxers in their weight division, let alone any of the top ten guys. Stay safe, keep doing that limp wristed MMA stuff.

        December 22, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
      • Sean

        Ever heard of rashad evans? Boxer & mma champion. Who does GSP train with? Oh ya, manny pacquiao. GSP even admitted how tough & challenging boxing is & that pacquiao whooped him on the regular. Ever heard of rampage jackson? Boxer & champion. Ever heard of anderson silva? Boxer & champion... I rest my case

        December 27, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • dakattack

      stupid comment! MMA fighters are the ultimate warrior! A boxer gets rocked, standing 8 count, MMA gets rocked, he protects until he can clear the cobwebs, a boxer gets cut, the bout is stopped, an MMA fighter gets cut, he fights harder

      December 22, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Reply
      • Thatguy371

        Like I said, you MMA guys come on over to boxing. See how that goes for you. Guaranteed you'll get KOd in no time.

        December 22, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • Zeke

      Yes, because THAT worked so well for James 'Marbles in Mouth' Toney

      December 22, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Reply
      • Thatguy371

        James Toney is a lousy example. He was way past his prime in boxing before he tried MMA. And you should know that.

        December 22, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • JOHN

      Um, you are an idiot. UFC fighters make huge paychecks. There hasn't been a good boxing match worth watching in a while.

      December 28, 2012 at 12:51 am | Reply
  11. Oscar Pitchfork

    C'mon! A REAL man would have taken his AR-15 out and DRILLED him good!

    December 22, 2012 at 6:13 am | Reply
    • Charles

      Its idiots like you that make us competent gun owners look like morons. No wonder people want more gun control.

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        December 22, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
  12. lubby

    I commend him,but truly there is a little old lady with purse, that could knock him out. Did you ever hear a little old lady say something, which just puts fear in you. Suddenly you are in mental upheaval, scared, whmmmm.

    December 22, 2012 at 5:10 am | Reply
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  14. PaulieJ

    To those claiming poor sportsmanship due to the no-call low blow, these fighters are trained to go until the ref stops you. Period. Claim what you want, from any example fight in the UFC's past of "Well, this guy did this when ..." etc. ... sorry but, no. Like any professional sport ... NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL (when not locked out), the refs miss calls and you keep playing.
    Does it suck that it happened and potentially affected the outcome? Sure. But, Colton did nothing different than the vast majority of fighters are going to do. He didn't cheat. He didn't game the system. He played by the rules as they are laid out.

    December 22, 2012 at 12:03 am | Reply
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      December 22, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Reply
  15. john

    i watched the series and the fight and the canadian (ricci) thinks he is WAY better than he actually is~ i am glad colton was able to take him down a notch and now make a living~which,by the way, is almost IMPOSSIBLE in today's armed forces.

    December 21, 2012 at 10:02 pm | Reply
  16. Not a fan

    Anyone who actually watched this saw Colton Smith, already proven earlier in the show to be a cheap shot artist by faking a glove touch and shooting in for a takedown, try to capitalize on an illegal low blow quickly after the referee ignored it and essentially spent the whole fight laying on his opponent with weak submission attempts. Then after the fight basicaly disrespected the Harley Davidson sponsor. Just because he is in the Army does not make him a role model, and i'm looking forward to seeing him take on a good striker with better wrestling in the Welterweight Division like Jake Ellenberger, Mike Pierce, Johny Hendricks, or Josh Koscheck so he can be knocked out and put in his place.

    December 21, 2012 at 9:34 pm | Reply
    • patthepatriot

      Yeah I saw that too. He's a punkl. Gives the Army a bad name. No class, no sportsmanship.

      December 22, 2012 at 9:53 am | Reply
  17. Army Vet

    He also isn't a "senior non-commissioned officer" that would be Soldiers in the pay grades of E-7 and above, not E-6. Good job CNN.

    December 21, 2012 at 8:46 pm | Reply
    • vahellbilly

      mmmm.... There's such a thing in the USA called the Senior Leaders Course (SLC) which is open to SSG and SFC ranks... I think he fits the bill as a SSG, unless he has a non-rec in his file by his CO...

      December 21, 2012 at 9:00 pm | Reply
      • vahellbilly

        I think that is the "training" they were attemtping to ID

        December 21, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
  18. Colin

    @Just a thought – Pretty ignorant comment to make.
    @Buck1911 – That was the Marines. No more endorsement deal.

    December 21, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Reply
  19. vdanker

    Mike Ricci deserved a better match than this. Smith pretty much stalled for 15 minutes, made a few unsuccessful attempts at submissions, all of which made me believe he knew he couldn't match Ricci's skills. It was a disappointing display of poor sportmanship, recognized by the announcers and by the audience.

    December 21, 2012 at 8:30 pm | Reply
    • Mike Ockizard

      If the guy was such a great fighter, why did he lose? Maybe Smith was stalling for 15 minutes, but at no point in 15 minutes could Ricci put together a few blows or a good takedown? That is like a baseball player blaming his poor hitting performance on the pitcher not giving him good pitches. Make something happen!!!

      December 21, 2012 at 8:48 pm | Reply
    • lawdog1521

      Stalling would imply he just laid in the top position hoping to out point is opponent, that's not what happened. He tried to finish, he just lacked the skill. And that's what I see as Smith's biggest problem. Until he leaves the military and trains at a real camp, he'll never have the skill set to be successful against high level fighters.

      December 21, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Reply
    • Dennis

      what fight were you watching???? Ricci was barely there

      December 21, 2012 at 11:52 pm | Reply
    • Julie

      Neither one can hang with top level fighters. Ricci can't even stop a wrestler from holding him down and thats all Smith knows how to do. They'll both be pounded at the elite level.

      December 22, 2012 at 8:52 am | Reply
  20. utcw201

    What a poorly researched and written article. Come on CNN, you can do better. "Ultimate Fighter is the world's largest promoter of MMA events" Ummm, no. The UFC is the promoter in question.

    December 21, 2012 at 8:21 pm | Reply
    • Frank

      You can't extrapolate that to understand that we all get that the UFC and the Ultimate Fighter are the same thing? Same company, same multi-millionaires owning it. You just needed something to validate your intelligence, didn't you? Try again, little feller.

      December 22, 2012 at 3:28 am | Reply
  21. dewed

    From the few stories I've heard of soldiers and Marines getting into fisticuffs with insurgents, the insurgents get rag-dolled. LOL...this guy would dismember them.

    December 21, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Reply
  22. mario

    army strong?

    December 21, 2012 at 7:53 pm | Reply
  23. Xorply

    What a poorly researched and written article. Come on CNN, you can do better. "Ultimate Fighter is the world's largest promoter of MMA events" Ummm, no. The UFC is the promoter in question.

    December 21, 2012 at 7:23 pm | Reply
    • Buck1911

      Didn't the army just drop their endorsement/support of MMA and the UFC?

      December 21, 2012 at 8:21 pm | Reply
      • Thatguy371

        Actually, you're thinking M&Ms and KFC.

        December 22, 2012 at 7:21 am |
      • Arina

        The very heart of your writing whlist sounding agreeable at first, did not work very well with me personally after some time. Somewhere throughout the sentences you were able to make me a believer unfortunately only for a very short while. I however have a problem with your leaps in assumptions and you would do well to fill in those breaks. In the event that you actually can accomplish that, I would certainly end up being fascinated.

        May 4, 2014 at 12:57 am |
    • Frank

      Same thing. One's the company, one's the show that the company owns. Nitpicker, it's the same organization.

      December 22, 2012 at 3:29 am | Reply
  24. Just a thought

    Put the talents to use in Afghanistan, not make 6 figures fighting for fun. Why are you in the Army to begin with, just wondering.

    December 21, 2012 at 7:21 pm | Reply
    • James

      Easy to make demands of somebody else, isn't it? Give up your 6 figure salary and put your life on the line so I can judge you in safety!

      December 21, 2012 at 8:21 pm | Reply
    • jg

      just a tought, why don't you follow him to Afghanistan or send your children?

      December 21, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Reply
  25. zombie kid

    i like turtles.

    December 21, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Reply
    • jimmymacd123

      And bacon!

      December 21, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Reply
  26. Love ufc

    UFC is the best fight sport in the world. Boxing sucks and is always bought off.

    December 21, 2012 at 7:08 pm | Reply
    • Thatguy371

      Wonder why almost no MMA go to boxing, but boxers go to MMA? Answer: MMA takes less skill. And as for boxing being a paid off sport, yeah it happens every once in a while. Always? No, you're thinking WWF.

      December 22, 2012 at 7:20 am | Reply
      • patthepatriot

        You are a moron. Stop posting such idiotic garbage.

        December 22, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • todd

      @love ufc thatguy is an idiot he thinks boxing is the the higher skill when most mma fighters actually bring in boxing trainers for training for a fight oh yeah as well as jujitsu trainers grappling trainers and wrestling trainers. but yet he thinks boxing is the higher skill idiot

      December 22, 2012 at 8:03 am | Reply
      • Thatguy371

        Again, if MMA guys are so great, why don't they go for the REAL money in boxing? Answer: Lack of talent.

        December 22, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
      • steve

        maybe its because its not about the money? maybe they like the challenge mma offers. I would like to ask, what skills do you need for boxing? seems like any skill a boxer needs is on the list an mma fighter needs, i know a guy who was a pretty damn good boxer, his current record wins was 12 i think?or 13, i dont remember exactly, ill have to ask again, any ways he started training for mma, just as hard as he did for his boxing, and beleive me, that was some tough training, but still, his first fight he got his ass handed to him

        December 26, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
  27. old soldier

    Army training. Something tells me he's level III certified...

    December 21, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Reply

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