Michael Chiesa may not win an Oscar anytime soon, but his first stab at the silver screen wasn’t half bad.
By now, nearly every MMA fan in North America has probably seen Chiesa’s acting debut more than a dozen times. His commercial he shot for Tequila sponsor Jose Cuervo alongside former interim lightweight champion Justin Gaethje has been a regular fixture of UFC broadcasts since the summer.
Watching the two UFC contenders stroll around the fighter’s fake home while refusing to break eye contact has made for plenty of laughs over the past few months, certainly more than the average MMA commercial, and Chiesa enjoyed the experience — even if staring down Gaethje for hours became a somewhat terrifying affair in its own right.
“That was a lot of fun,” Chiesa said recently on The MMA Hour.
“It wasn’t super hard to do because, for one, it was a ‘be yourself’ type of commercial. It’s not like I had to act and study this huge long script. And I had a great dance partner. I mean, working with Justin Gaethje that day, we had a lot of fun, man. And I’ve got to say, having to stare down that guy for hours upon hours — every time I had to lock eyes with him, I’m like, ‘I feel bad for these guys that have to fight him,’ because he’s a stone-cold killer, man. He’s a stone-cold killer. But I had a blast working with him.”
Chiesa, 33, recently suffered a close back-and-forth decision loss to Sean Brady at UFC Vegas 43. Nonetheless, he remains a top-10 ranked welterweight on MMA Fighting’s Global Rankings while continuing to sharpen his broadcast skills by working as a desk analyst on numerous UFC events.
Fighting is still paramount to Chiesa and remains his top priority, but he also hopes to have more opportunities like his shoot with Gaethje — even if his first brush with Hollywood wasn’t exactly the glamorous introduction many people would expect.
“The one thing that a lot of people don’t know is, I actually had to take — they put me in a sweater and jeans, and it was like 105 degrees in the valley in California,” Chiesa said.
“And the AC was off in that house — and I was cooking. Literally, we had to keep taking my sweater off because it was gray and throw it in the dryer, because I was just [pouring] sweat.”
As for the one question Chiesa has heard most since his shenanigans with Gaethje first aired, the answer is no — that lovely Los Angeles house does not, in fact, belong to him.
But that doesn’t mean he can’t take inspiration and have some fun with the situation.
“Actually, I have people that are friends of mine that have never been to my house that are like, ‘Is it really your house?’ I wish,” Chiesa said with a laugh.
“I mean, I wish, but I also like my log cabin a lot, so if I had to choose between the two, I’d probably take my log cabin over that house. But I do feel like, after the commercial, it would be funny if I did put a koi pond in, because everybody asks about the koi pond.”