SPOKANE - A large crowd of friends, fans and supporters gave Mike Chiesa a rowdy welcome home today at Spokane International Airport, a day after the Shadle Park grad won season 15 of The Ultimate Fighter.
Chiesa defeated Al Iaquinta Friday night in Las Vegas. The former Highlander wrestler used a choke hold to end the bout just 2:47 into the first round. Shadle Park wrestlers were among those waiting for Chiesa, who serves as one of their assistant coaches.
The Ultimate Fighter requires competitors to live together in a house in Las Vegas. Chiesa said the three months away were a long time to be away from home.
Friday's win caps a turbulent Ultimate Fighter season for Chiesa. His father Mark passed away earlier in the season at the age of 53 following a bout with leukemia.
"There's no way I was gonna lose this fight," Chiesa said after his victory.
By beating Iaquinta Chiesa earned a UFC contract, worth $300,000. The Spokane Valley native plans on resting the next couple weeks. He hopes to fight again sometime in the late summer or early fall.