“If it was complicated last year, this season is even more complicated,” said Matt Lauria about the story picking up six months after the last season’s finale.
His character Ryan Wheeler along with fellow gym fighters Jay and Nate Kulina won their respective fights at the end of last season, but showrunner Byron Balasco said that the celebration won’t last long. He assured Variety that the characters will still struggle outside of the ring despite finding professional success in the world of MMA.
“I don’t think the two are hand in hand,” said Balasco. “That’s what we’re really trying to show… that the sacrifice that it takes to win in the ring comes at a cost to your personal life and it doesn’t change your circumstances necessarily; or it can, but not in ways that you anticipate it.”
New addition Mark Consuelos teased that his character, Sean Chapas, might add more dysfunction in the coming season.
“He’s an ex-fighter that comes back. He’s an old friend of Alvey. They used to run together back in the early days of the UFC circuit and he’s a business man,” said Consuelo. “He seems to have his s— together, but you find out quickly that it’s very much a house of cards.”
Nick Jonas described his character, Nate, as still battling with insecurities regarding his sexual preference in the coming season.
“It’s more complicated than is he or isn’t he,” said Jonas. “It’s about pulling back the layers and seeing what’s underneath and for him discovering what’s important to him besides fighting… and a big part of that is his sexuality.”
Jonathan Tucker shed 30 pounds for his character, Jay, to compete in a lower weight class and described the transition as “a step down physically in order to take a step forward spiritually.”
At the after-party, producer Jason Blum was relaxing in Frank Grillo‘s section on the patio. He attended the event with his daughter to support his longtime friend and star of his upcoming horror sequel “The Purge 3.”
Tucker hung out inside near the photo booth, where guests could take action shots in a full MMA get-up. The DJ’s playlist included a selection of pop hits, including Jonas’ protective boyfriend ballad, “Jealous.”