TUF 27’s Luis Pena, a.k.a. ‘Violent Bob Ross’ Talks Joining the Show, and a Near-Death Experience

Luis Pena, appearing on TUF 27 this week
Luis Pena - Post-Fight Credit: Youtube/FightHardMMA

Soon enough it’ll be hump day, and for MMA fans Wednesdays can only mean one thing; The Ultimate Fighter season 27 ‘Undefeated’ airing on FS1. This week, the show will feature Luis Pena, otherwise known as ‘Violent Bob Ross.’

A staple in regular UFC programing regardless of the network, The Ultimate Fighter has had one hell of a run, but many prognosticators believe the reality show has run its course. Yet  each and every season produces a handful of highlights that allow fans to still enjoy the show from time to time, and this season is no different.

In the early days of TUF, far less fluff was needed to help promote the show. Deciding each season’s “gimmick” however has become an increasingly difficult task, and a task we don’t envy. Be that as it may, the UFC brass hit a home run with season 27, albeit we’re just a couple of episodes in.

TUF ‘Undefeated’s first episode aired to mixed reviews. Regardless of your personal feelings toward the show, you can’t deny the charisma and talent pouring out of one of the cast members this season, Luis Pena, otherwise known as ‘Violent Bob Ross’.

Cageside Press had a chance to speak with Pena about how he found out about this season of TUF, how he stays so calm in the cage, and more.

Prior to trying out for the series, it was business as usual for Pena. He was training for a professional boxing match when he saw a flyer for the new season of The Ultimate Fighter entitled ‘Undefeated.’ “I saw the flyer the Thursday before I was supposed to weigh in,” said Pena.

“I was getting ready to cut weight and I saw this flyer on Instagram for the new season of The Ultimate Fighter ‘Undefeated’. I just knew at that moment, when I saw the word undefeated, I knew that this right here was my ticket to the UFC.”

Whether or not you’re a world class athlete, we have all had that feeling of Divine intervention, that moment when hard work intersects with opportunity. Some call it fate, some call it God in the machine, Pena believes it’s his destiny.

“Quite literally, I was sitting in the sauna and my eyes lit up when I saw the word Undefeated,” he said, “because I knew right then, as soon as I saw that word, this was the opportunity I needed to make my career.”

To qualify for this season of TUF, fighters obviously needed to have an unblemished record. Pena fits the bill. However, he has had some close calls. His most recent opponent, Kobe Wall, boasted a perfect record before the fight. The same could not be said after the fight for Wall, but Pena definitely took some damage.

Pena recalled that “when I fought Kobe Wall, I fractured the orbital bone on the left side [of my face] in the first round, and sustained a really, really bad concussion.”

Yet ‘Violent Bob Ross’ had no problem dealing with the adversity. “It wasn’t a thing for me,” Pena said. “I didn’t even know it happened.”

That kind of toughness is hard to come by, however, Pena has grit in spades. Moreover, the level of maturity that Pena has for such a young fighter is flat out impressive, quite frankly he is the calm eye of the storm.

How does this 24-year-old fighter from St. Charles, MO have ice water running through his veins? “It’s a story that not too many people know about yet,” says Pena.

“Two years ago I was training in Miami at American Top Team, I was late for practice, so I’m rushing down the highway. I was merging from the center lane to the far left [lane]. As I merged, my back-left tire popped, it sent me into the air, [the car] did a bunch of rolls, the car hit both guard rails and got so stuck in one that they had to cut the guard rail with the jaws-of-life.”

And if that didn’t give you an insight to this man’s resolve, try this.

“I never lost consciousness, I remember, I landed but I was upside down, and I was feeling myself thinking, am I alive? There was 30 seconds where I was rolling in the air, and I remember I just excepted that I was probably going to die at some point, that was it.”

Pena would sum his whole motto up with these words: “The moment I excepted I was going to die, this fighting thing became no big deal.”

Pena has that special DNA makeup, the kind of fighter that goes out on his shield. And he’s living up to his rather clever moniker of ‘Violent Bob Ross’, as although he’s not an artist in the traditional sense, Pena very much is a martial artist.

“A lot of people don’t know that I wrestled for 10 years before I ever trained MMA,” ‘Violent Bob Ross’ said. “Four years ago, I walked into Westside MMA in Littlerock, AR and started my MMA journey.” Now, he’s an artist in the cage.

Luis Pena a.k.a. ‘Violent Bob Ross’ continues his journey this week on TUF 27: ‘Undefeated’ on FS1. The talented lightweight, part of Team Cormier, will take on Team Miocic’s Jose Martinez.