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Orem • One of the biggest moments in Steven Siler's life came when someone else returned from a trip to Brazil.

The friend had visited South America to train at the famed Chute Box Academy — a holy land for mixed martial artists.

When he returned, Siler was given a rude introduction to the sport.

"He started beating me up," Siler said, "and I thought, 'If I can take this kind of punishment from him, maybe I should take this more seriously.' "

Siler, a 2005 graduate of Weber High School who now lives and trains in Orem, became hooked.

He is an emerging mixed martial arts professional who is currently among those participating in the Ultimate Fighting Championship's "The Ultimate Fighter" reality series.

The next episode airs Wednesday night on Spike TV.

The show features 32 mixed martial arts professionals who lived and trained together in Las Vegas.

It chronicles the competition among them during an elimination-type tournament that follows six weeks of training.

The winner receives a coveted contract with the UFC.

"It would be like a basketball player getting to the NBA or a hockey player getting to the NHL," Siler said.

Siler trains with Court McGee, who won "The Ultimate Fighter" on a previous season, and Ramsey Nijem, who was a runner-up on the show last season. Training for "The Ultimate Fighter" was difficult, and so was the isolated lifestyle that accompanied it, according to Siler.

"We lived in a hotel and had cars taking us back and forth [to the gym] every morning," he said.

"We couldn't talk to anyone and, at the hotel, we couldn't leave. If you wanted anything, you'd have to call so somebody could go get it for you."

Laughing at the idea of being "secluded" in the middle of glitzy Las Vegas, Siler said, "It really was a long, long process."

In his first match on "The Ultimate Fighter," Siler battled highly regarded mixed martial arts veteran Micah Miller.

"When I drew him, somebody told me I said something like, 'Oh, [expletive],' " Siler recalled.

"I don't remember saying anything, though. Actually, I liked the idea of fighting him."

Not that he expected an easy match.

"Micah is one of the best," Siler said. "He was definitely the favorite against me. He's fought in some of the biggest shows and is well-known throughout the MMA world."

Siler started well against Miller and dominated the first round. Miller countered in the second round and "was able to make a couple of submission attempts."

Siler survived, however, and won the match in the third round by getting Miller to submit on a choke hold.

"After 6½ years of training," he said, "it was a dream come true." —

Steven Siler file

Birthday • Feb. 15, 1987

Hometown • Anaheim, Calif.

High school • Weber

Residence • Orem

MMA record • 18-9-0 including 12 submissions

Height • 5-foot-11

Weight • 145 pounds

Nickname • Super

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