GLENDALE — [UPDATED: 3:29 p.m.] Whether it’s with Team Hayastan or within the confines of the Main Event Gym or Glendale Fighting Club, Sako Chivichyan and Sevak Magakian have remained training partners, friends and teammates throughout much of their burgeoning mixed martial arts careers.
That didn’t change during their tenure on the 12th season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” as was revealed on Wednesday night’s episode of the Spike TV program.
In the latest chapter of the Glendale MMA fighters’ episodic journey, Magakian and Chivichyan were picked back to back to be a part of Team Koscheck when they were plucked by Coach Josh Koscheck.
“I think that was most of our concern, not so much what coach we were picked by,” said Chivichyan of being on the same team with Magakian, adding that the duo wanted to train and push each other and also assure themselves they would not have to fight each other, at least not in the first round of the tournament. “We wanted to be on the same team.”
Koscheck and reigning Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight titlist Georges St. Pierre, opposing coaches on the current season, picked their respective teams on the second episode of the season, which leads up to a Dec. 4 live finale in Las Vegas that will feature the “TUF” championship, in which two of the 14 lightweights (155 pounds) on the show compete for a six-figure UFC contract.
“Actually, I was hoping for GSP,” admitted Magakian of his hopes going into the draft.
St. Pierre, who has trained at Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Gym along with the likes of Glendale boxer Vanes Martirosyan, is also Chivichyan’s favorite fighter.
“GSP has always been my pound-for-pound favorite fighter,” Chivichyan said.
Nonetheless, Chivichyan added that he didn’t know how that would relate to coaching and Chivichyan’s biggest concern was getting picked by a team that wanted him.
“I was pretty much more open [to either coach],” he said. “I wanted to be on the team that’s gonna believe in me.”
Leading up to the coaches’ draft, a segment showcased Koscheck going over his top choices with him having written down Magakian as his third choice and Chivichyan as his fourth.
As it turned out, both were picked by Koscheck with Magakian being selected second by the welterweight contender and third overall.
“I was second pick and that was huge,” Magakian said. “It means a lot.”
Chivichyan was taken next by Koscheck and fifth overall.
“I was in shape, I beat a tough guy [to get into the house], so I think I think I deserved to be one of the top picks, so I think that’s why that happened,” Chivichyan said. “I would’ve been more disappointed if I wasn’t picked [that high].”
The episode also showcased the fighters moving into the house and getting to know each other before the first fight of the tournament, which saw Team GSP’s Alex Caceres defeat Team Koscheck’s Jeffrey Lentz via second-round submission due to a triangle choke.
Magakian, who could be seen during the episode coaching Lentz from the stands during the fight, said him and Lentz grew particularly close during the show.
“He’s got like an Armenian personality, he’s crazy, I told him that. I like that about him,” Magakian said. “I really wanted him to win so we would have control, but unfortunately, it didn’t happen.”