Vintage TUF – The Ultimate Fighter Season 10: Heavyweights – The Finale – Round & Round

Reliving The Season That Cardio Forgot

NewChallenger: We are now officially entering Twilight Zone territory for some people as we head back to December of 2009 where many of the faces look the same and YET…the world was very different.

The Palms Casino Resort was the host of The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights Finale and on paper, this is a heck of a card! In addition to our charming TUF 10 housemates, we have an appearance by Frankie Edgar who was on the verge of stardom and Jon Jones in his first big test at light heavyweight against Matt Hamill.

All that and the old trappings of these Spike TV broadcasts that we are all so fond of. Well…me, anyway.

Young GoldieAstonishingly, the guy in the middle is what I imagine a young Mike Goldberg would look like.

PunisherBass: As we’re shown interview clips of Kimbo Slice and Houston Alexander, which is in black and white and has been run through a very cheesy filter, it dawns on me that Kimbo has a real knack for dragging most of his opponents down to his level. Between his vastly superior experience and the fact that he wouldn’t have to cut any (or at least not nearly as much) weight for this fight, Houston should have taken this easily.

NC: Things that I miss from this era: the opening confessionals (Kimbo: “Houston…you got a problem”), the Zuffa gladiator, the aforementioned Face the Pain, and Logan Stanton.

Logan Stanton

PB: Allow me a moment to pour one out for Natasha Wicks. Her time spent cageside was brief but she’ll never be forgotten.

NC: Before we get to the main card, I’ll touch upon the two preliminary fights that aired on the television broadcast. Yes, this was the dark days when we would only get the highlights of the prelims and not be able to watch every plodding split decision between two regional fighters/TUF rejects/flyweights.

How did we survive?

Lightweight Bout: Mark Bocek (7-2) v. Joe Brammer (7-0-1)

I’m showing my Canadian bias here as I give a shout-out to the pride of Woodbridge, Ontario, Mark Bocek. Bocek retired a couple of years ago after a fine UFC career that saw him go 8-5 inside the Octagon. One of those wins was the curtain jerker of this card against Joe Brammer.

Brammer was an undefeated prospect that never became more than that after getting dominated by Bocek in this fight. He would actually only compete two more times before moving on from MMA. Bocek completely outclasses Brammer here, dictating pace and distance the whole time until he gets it to the mat. Once there, it only takes a couple of minutes to set up a fight ending rear naked choke.

Bocek Choke

Hope retirement is treating you well, Mark.

Heavyweight Bout: James McSweeney (3-4) v. Darrill Schoonover (10-0)

And now, more relevant to the subject at hand, we have Team Rashad favourite James McSweeney and Rampage’s best bud Darrill Schoonover. I remember rooting for Darrill in this one and if you’ve read any of our recaps over the last few weeks you’ll know why.

As much as we’ve dogged McSweeney, this isn’t a bad fight. I’m not saying it’s a good fight, but it’s not bad. That said, there’s still no reason for McSweeney to walk around like he’s King S**t of Kickboxingville. On more than one occasion he lets Schoonover hit him with potentially fight ending punches and Schoonover isn’t exactly Igor Vovchanchyn himself. McSweeney is at least able to stay a step ahead for the most part.

McSweeney TeepIt’s like that dude getting hit by a cannonball.

Credit where credit is due, McSweeney finishes with a nice combination starting with a flying knee. That win would improve his record to a sterling 4-4.

McSweeney Combo

Now onto the main card!

Heavyweight Bout: Marcus Jones (4-1) v. Matt Mitrione (0-0)

PB: Marcus Jones has to be one of the most awkward fighters I’ve ever seen. You know how a baby looks when they first learn to walk? Well picture a 6’6” 265 lb. man doing the exact same thing. It’s like a cross between Frankenstein, The Mummy, and a zombie. Arms out forward and incredibly stiff legged, no fluidity at all.

His basic movement isn’t his only problem here either, it’s his total lack of footwork. Any time he’s going to throw a punch, he plants his feet before leaning far forward and then swinging, sometimes he’ll also lunge in with his whole body. All it does is leave him open and his chin exposed.

On top of his piss poor gas tank, glass jaw, and other obvious flaws in his striking, his supposedly “excellent” grappling looks like anything but when he’s taking on a guy closer to his size. At one point he has Meathead locked in a guillotine for around 30 seconds, which Matt never attempts to push out of, he just stays posted up and lets Marcus burn his arms out and sap what little energy he had left.

Not that Matt is anything to write home about here, but I think the plan was that he could take whatever Marcus threw at him and give it back just as hard, so all he had to do was just wait him out. Let him make mistake after mistake until he hit E, and then go for the kill. Just a few seconds into Round 2, Matt lands a right to Marcus’ jaw and he goes down like a wet bag of s**t.

Mitrione KO

NC: Post-fight, Mitrione breaks out his classic line about having “retard strength”. I know it’s terrible to laugh at that…but I am laughing.

Before we proceed, I should mention there are things I don’t miss from this era: Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff, and Dixie Carter from TNA Wrestling in the crowd, 1000 Ways to Die, and Manswers.

Lightweight Bout: Frankie Edgar (12-1) v. Matt Veach (11-0)

NC: Frankie is, like, my favourite fighter ever, you guys. And Veach has all the charisma of a lemming.

This was the fight that earned Frankie a title shot if you can believe it. Keep in mind he had already knocked off most of the other lightweight contenders: Tyson Griffin, Spencer Fisher, Hermes França, and Sean Sherk.

Veach was no push-over, actually slamming Edgar twice in the first round. He couldn’t do much on the ground with Frankie’s ability to get up and Frankie was taking him apart on the feet, but you could argue that Veach got the first round. He was a big guy with big muscles and as you’d expect he experienced gas tank problems in the second round.

Even back then, the announcers were talking about Edgar dropping to 145, which would have relegated him to the WEC. He stuck around anyway, which proved to be a wise choice considering his next opponent would be B.J. Penn. I still thought he was a couple of fights away, but he would win this fight by submission (his first finish in almost two years) and that was enough to make him the mandatory challenger to Penn’s throne.

Edgar Combo

The rest is history.

Catchweight Bout (215 lbs.) Kimbo Slice (3-1) v. Houston Alexander (9-4 [1 NC])

PB: And now it’s time for the “Special catchweight fight” between Kimbo and Alexander. I don’t remember a whole lot about the buildup to this, other than Kimbo almost killed himself while trying to make weight. And I should note that this fight was given higher placement than any other TUF fight save for Nelson/Schaub later on, because f**k those other guys who actually notched at least a single win.

Before I go any further, this will be only the second time I’ve ever watched this fight, when I saw it live I thought it was so terrible that the scores should have been 3-2 instead of 10-9 because so little was actually accomplished. I’m also writing this on a Saturday afternoon, so drinking a whiskey sour right now doesn’t make me look like an alcoholic.

Since the fight itself is deepfried dogs**t on a stick, I’d rather talk about a couple gems from Goldberg.

“So, you wanna be an Ultimate Fighter!? Both of these men do!” The f**k are you talking about? Is Goldie not aware that Houston wasn’t on the show or that when offered a “chance” to be a replacement, Kimbo turned it down?

“We saw on the show that Kimbo’s knee is a little worn out.” If you mean bone on bone due to a total lack of cartilidge and needing a complete replacement, yeah I guess that could be considered “a little worn out” if you compare it to say… needing it amputated. Here in 2015 I don’t think Kimbo ever did go through with that surgery either, far as I know his knee is just as bad if not worse today.

Do you want to guess how many minutes tick by before the crowd gets sick of Alexander just circling counter clockwise around Kimbo? It takes two full minutes until they start booing this bulls**t. There’s a very brief flutter of excitement from them after a short exchange of kicks and punches, and then guess what happens. Nope, there’s no knockout, he just starts circling again. Round and round and round he goes, maybe his plan was to make Kimbo dizzy like he just got off a merry-go-round?

Too bad this foolproof plan has backfired since all he’s done is make himself tired, he continues going in circles but at a much slower pace than before.

Round & RoundLoop this for 15 minutes and you’re good.

Some people still bitch about Carlos Condit “running” from Nick Diaz, but Alexander LITERALLY just spent five minutes playing Ring Around The Rosie with Kimbo, just with a dash of leg kicks thrown in. Only in the UFC can you find this kind of excitement and skill!

Ashes, ashes, nobody’s going down…

If this was a videogame, Kimbo would be an end level boss and his knee would be the glowing red “AIM HERE!” magical weak spot. It’s too bad Houston didn’t manage his ammo very well and since Kimbo isn’t making any drops, all he can do is continue to circle strafe.

With cat like reflexes, Houston actually changes direction at one point and starts circling clockwise for a bit, but he’s soon back to circling to his right. Going out of his comfort zone was just too risky I guess. If you look closely you can actually see a rut starting to form near the edge of the mat. No one is enjoying this fight in the least, Goldberg sounds more enthused to rattle off a 1000 Ways to Die promo than describe any of the non-action taking place in the cage.

NC: I’m pretty sure watching this fight is actually one of the thousand ways to die.

PB: Seven. We had seven minutes of continuous circling before anything significant actually happened, which was a Kimbo jab followed by a takedown. Don’t get too excited because 10 seconds later Houston is back to his feet and goes back to work playing Runaround Sue, it’s paying off because the rut is now a full on ditch, if he keeps this up for another few passes he’ll turn the octagon into a dome, the inverse of the YAMMA pit.

No, I will not talk about these two trying to grapple with each other. F**k. That. Noise.

NC: I’ll just leave this here then.

Kimbo SuplexHow jealous was Fedor when he saw this?

PB: Ah wonderful, they finally decide to try fighting for a change in the third round. Too bad it’s little more than sloppy wild haymakers being thrown by two guys too pooped to s**t. For any aspiring fighters who might be reading this in the future, learn from these two, masturbation is NOT a form of cardio training.

As if the fight itself wasn’t bad enough, the commentary makes it even worse since they do nothing but praise Kimbo and criticize Alexander. I’m sure they had marching orders to make Kimbo sound as good as possible, but they’re in full on shill mode here, stop being so god damn biased!

Why oh why am I wasting my life watching this fight again? I could be doing something more productive like waiting around at the mall while my girlfriend shops or playing Fallout 4.

The end finally comes with the now infamous GIF.

Slice-Alexander

I’d like to think that somewhere, quite possibly in Quinton Jackson’s basement, Tiki was sitting on a couch watching this fight. One of those pink stuffed unicorns clutched in his arms, tears rolling down his face. He finally manages to eke out “Atta boy Kimbo… atta boy”. And then he falls into an eternal slumber due to an undetected gas leak.

Come on, you knew there was no way in hell I was going to let this be our final entry without taking some sort of pot shot at him, and if you didn’t you obviously haven’t been following along for the last couple months.

Light Heavyweight Bout: Matt Hamill (8-2) v. Jon Jones (9-0)

NC: To this day, I bet there are a lot of people who don’t know how Jon Jones got that one loss on his record. Anyone who saw it will never forget it, though I don’t mean that in a good way.

PB: This was the first time I actually saw Jones fight. I had seen that GIF of his spinning elbows and read on Cage Potato that was on the cover of FIGHT magazine, and that he had just made the move to Greg Jackson’s camp, so I was really excited to see him in action. I thought “This guy is going to be the king of 205 in two to three years”, little did I know he’d beat that estimate by a full year.

NC: Make no mistake about it, even back then Jones was being touted as a future champ. This is a short fight, but you can already see his great use of range and footwork, his speed, how he was blending his styles together. It helped that he was matched up with Hamill who he had a massive speed advantage over so he could throw pretty much whatever he wanted.

When Hamill finally got in close, Jones delivered a whip quick trip and then unleashed some of the most vicious ground and pound you’ll ever see. There were several points where Mazzagatti could have called this off, though I’ll play devil’s advocate and say Hamill always showed some signs of intelligent defence and if Jones wanted to end it definitively he could have gone for a submission from the mount. Instead, this happens:

12-6The angle these are thrown from would make Travis Browne flinch.

Now I’m as against the “12-6 elbow” rule as anyone, but the rules are the rules and Jones should have known better. There is a lot of confusion as Steve Mazzagatti initially takes a point away but then calls the match because Hamill says he can’t continue. Goldberg and Rogan say it’s a TKO victory for Jones and that carries on even through the commercial break.

It isn’t until Bruce Buffer makes the official announcement that we find out Jones has been disqualified.

Bones ReactionBuffer: “Ladies and gentlemen, referee Steve Mazzagatti has called a stop to this contest. Due to intentional elbows there’s been a disqualification of Jonny ‘Bones’ Jones. Therefore, the winner is Matt Hamill!”

PB: For those who might not be aware, Hamill was born deaf, but while he can’t hear anything he can read lips and knows sign language. So normally it’s not a problem for him to communicate, but when his face is full of blood and he can’t see jack s**t, it becomes a big big problem. So when Mazzagatti asked him if he was “okay”, he got no response because Hamill had no idea he was even being asked a question, so he took it as a “no I’m not”.

Steve Mazzagatti is an idiot. There’s also the fact that Jones dislocated Hamill’s shoulder with that slam of his, so it should have been ruled a TKO victory for him anyway.

NC: And that’s the 1 in Jones’ 21-1 record.

Hamill DownStill waiting for his shot at the belt.

Heavyweight Bout: Roy Nelson (13-4) v. Brendan Schaub (4-0)

PB: I had totally forgotten that Nelson walked out to Weird Al’s Fat, and it makes me giggle like a little girl.

NC: My friends were like, “Is he coming out to Michael Jackson?” And it took me a second to figure it out and then I just laughed and told them it was Weird Al. Roy is the best.

PB: There’s not a whole lot to say about this fight, Schaub is the faster fighter but Nelson is the harder puncher, and when it hits the ground we see that Roy has a lot more depth than simply smothering people.

Eventually that sledgehammer right hand of his finds it mark, and it’s the start of his reputation as a knockout artist and the first cracking of Schaub’s suspect chin.

Nelson KO

NC: Poor Brendan. He really does have a habit of getting knocked out in awkwardly memorable ways, eh?

And there we have it, our first all-heavyweight season winner, and really the first true heavyweight since it was Rashad Evans won the last time they implemented the big boys. It couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy, though you can tell Dana is almost choking on his smile the whole time. Roy takes the plaque from him and proceeds to press it against his face and his belly.

Did I already mention that Roy is the best?

Nelson TriumphantThe first of many victory rubs.

Before I sign off, I’ll just say that if anyone out there is keen to the idea, I encourage you to give it a shot and do a retro recap series of your own! If you can watch and you can read and you can write, then there’s nothing stopping you from taking a crack at it.

Nobody here is trying to be Hemingway. Write for fun and who knows, you might even find out that people are interested in what you have to say.

PB: Well here we are, we’ve finally reached the end of TUF 10. We really hope you enjoyed following along over the last three months. While we hardly broke new ground with this series, for me personally it was a milestone since I had never had a co-writer or anything even resembling an editor before. And I think the results speak for themselves. So thank you all for reading and thanks for all of the kind words and praise you’ve given us, it made all this hard work worth it.

Since people ask us each week if we’re going to do another retro season after this, and the answer is “maybe”. Neither of us have any qualms about continuing this partnership, we’re both totally down for it. The problem is time and our schedules.

We started planning this out way back in July, well before the series started running on BE, so there was a good amount of time invested just in the lead up. And that’s something we can’t put together right now, the time. Hopefully there will be a follow up in the future, but it could be six months, 12 months, or possibly never. We just have to say how the stars align.

So I want to thank everyone once again for joining us on this pain train, but all good things must come to an end. And in honor of the Alexander/Slice fight…

Vintage TUF – The Ultimate Fighter Season 10: Heavyweights – Week 11 + Week 12 – It’s Last Call

NOTE: Sorry to everyone that we’re a little late this week. This is a MONSTER of an episode so it needed a bit more time in the oven to cook before it was ready for your reading enjoyment.

Reliving The Season That Cardio Forgot

PunisherBass: Well people, this is (almost) the end of the road for TUF 10. This final episode was two hours long instead of just one and features a whopping four fights.

NewChallenger: A FOUR FIGHT EPISODE?!? WHY?!?

I completely forgot this was a four fight episode. Why would they do something like this? Two fight episodes are already death, but four? Even spread across what is essentially two episodes, this one is not going to go down easy.

PB: I have a box full of whiskey stones that are chilled, the glasses are clean, and there’s still almost half a cask of Jack Daniels to get through before we can put a bow on this series. And knowing how much I’ve suffered up to now, there is no way in hell I’m ending this thing sober.

NC: For some reason we flashback to Dana White all but begging for someone (someone who’s name possibly rhymes with “bimbo”) to step up and take Mitrione’s spot. He even says he was expecting someone to lobby to become a replacement, which makes everyone look like absolute s**t. Though they were doing a decent job of that by their lonesome anyway.

PB: All the guys are sitting on the mats like a bunch of children while Dana gives one of his infamous “Do you wanna be a f**king fighter!?” speeches. I can’t help but think this is at least partly a psychological tactic, they take a position below White and look up while he stands above them preaching from on high.

NC: I just assumed all the fighters were super lazy.

PB: Since I ran out of f**ks to give several weeks ago, I now just get angry every time they throw another Kimbo Kard at me, so here’s the short version of what goes down. Dana obviously wants Kimbo to get back in the tournament, even if he has to pump him full of steroids (cortisone) and pain killers himself to do it.

Remember how it’s been weeks of nothing but Kimbo saying “I want back in! I need another chance to prove myself! Let me back in! Give me another shot!”? Well now that there’s a pretend chance of him replacing Meathead, he says that his knee hurts him too much to fight again and he’s refusing to get a shot or do anything that could help him.

NC: You can almost hear Dana’s testicles shriveling when Kimbo gives him the bad news.

What I find even funnier is that whenever Mitrione complains about his head, everyone is quick to mock him or question his dedication. Kimbo mentions a knee problem and suddenly everyone is doing everything they can to help him and motivate him.

In the end, Kimbo is just not in the right condition to face James McSweeney. I repeat: there was once a time where someone said they weren’t ready to fight James McSweeney.

Kimbo removes himself from consideration and I say good bloody riddance.

Bye KimboAnd take all your Kimbo Kards with you.

PB: As McSweeney is getting ready to take on Meathead, he tells the camera that Matt has no ground game (still holds true all these years later) and that his own striking is far superior to his. He also says that he’s going to be looking to land a head kick knockout. Either that’s a brilliant bit of misdirection on his part or he’s extremely overconfident in his own abilities as a fighter. In fact, I think he’d have trouble even kicking an 8 year old in the head, and I have proof to back that up.

Veteran SkillsNC: They really tried to portray McSweeney as a killer on this show, which is bizarre. He’s about as much of a killer as Che Mills.

PB: As I listen to Meathead bulls**t us about his phantom injury and playing mind games with James, I wonder if I should just jab a tap into the barrel instead of scooping out shots one by one.

Later on back at the house, Scott Junk walks in wearing a pair of wrap around disposable sunglasses, and I instantly know what’s up even before his voiceover explains it. How? Because Mama Punisher Bass had the retina in her right eye detach twice and has had over a dozen surgeries in attempt to fix it. Junk says the doc told him he’s done as a fighter, because when this kind of thing happens you can easily lose your sight. Again, ask me how I know.

NC: The fact that Junk has a legitimate career threatening injury only makes all the non-stop fussing about Kimbo and Mitrione even more insulting.

PB: In the van before they head to the gym, Zak Jensen gives the rest of the team the news on Junk and his eye. Marcus Jones asks if it was the eye Matt poked him in during their fight, and Zak tells him yes it is… wait a f**king minute. Eye poke? There wasn’t an eye poke in their fight, was there?

I look through my notes for that week and waste time skimming over the fight to find no mention or evidence of any eye poke taking place.

NC, do you remember an eye poke happening in that fight? I sure as hell don’t.

PB: I don’t need to go back and watch anything to know that there wasn’t a significant eye poke in there. Marcus is an emotionally unstable man child who has no grasp on reality outside of the one that is most convenient to him at any given time.

PB: Marcus is getting himself more and more worked up over this and he does it for no particular reason. While I’ve defended Jones before, I will not do it here and regret my support of him in the past, because what he does here is f**king insane. He’s basically pulled a Cartman and rewritten history in his own mind. According to him, Junk is now in serious danger of actually losing his eye because the damage is so bad, and it’s all because Matt deliberately poked/gouged Junk’s eye with the sole intent of blinding him.

I should note that Jensen never said anything like that, at least not that we’re shown, after he delivers the news Abe Wagner chimes in with “he might lose his eye”. And that’s what partly gets this giant s**t snowball rolling. This is like a crazy ass one man version of the telephone game.

I don’t have the best memory in the world, so I was figuring that I must have missed something. I actually stopped writing here so I could go back and re-watch the fight AGAIN start to finish, no skimming. So I want to make this crystal f**king clear.

There. Was. No. Eye. Poke. It didn’t happen, someone made it up, the only thing that f**ked up Junk’s eye was a punch that landed about 30 seconds into the first round.

NC: You spent way too much time looking for something based on the suspicions of Marcus Jones. You have nobody to blame but yourself.

PB: Hey, I wanted to make sure I wasn’t the one at fault here. Since he’s worked himself into full on HULK SMASH mode, Marcus storms into the gym and goes right for Meathead. He gets chest to chest and face to face with him, yelling at him to take swing and screaming “I’ll kill you mother f**ker! I’ll kill you!”

NC: I’m pretty sure it’s illegal to say things like that to someone, isn’t it? Good thing he’s not being filmed or anything.

Mitrione has no idea what’s going on and he doesn’t seem all that concerned. When you’ve been living in the manufactured world of TUF for six weeks, these kinds of things just slide off the skin.

Rashad hears the commotion and assumes Mitrione did something wrong. They end up leaving the situation on Rampage’s hands, which is never a good way to solve anything.

A completely psychotic Marcus confesses that he wants to choke Mitrione to an inch of his life, then bring him back so he can pound on him, and then break his arm. Keep in mind, a few episodes ago this guy was having a s**t fit because someone drew a picture of him and put a dirty word on it because he was worried what his kids might think if they were watching.

Marcus Loses ItYou’re too close, man!

PB: Oh great, now even Brendan Schaub is perpetuating this god damn eye poke myth. Is this just a form of mass hysteria or did the producers just pull this storyline out of their ass because they’re fresh out of Kimbo Kards? Right now I really do regret praising Jones in the previous weeks, I feel like an a**hole.

NC: Don’t feel bad. He used his “big loveable oaf” routine to fool Rampage, to fool Rashad, to fool America…I mean, he didn’t fool me, but I had the misfortune of remembering how his story arc went on this show before we started these recaps.

PB: Junk comes back from surgery and tells everyone he’s fine, and that the doc said he shouldn’t keep fighting but he can go back to training in a few months. This makes Jones’ epic meltdown look even crazier and more pointless than it was before.

This is the point where I was so f**king enervated, I had to turn the episode off and step away for a full day before I could come back. Writing these recaps has actually had that much of an effect on me, it’s been draining my ability to be creative.

NC: And you actually want to continue doing these in the future!

PB: Dana says that if Matt fights like he did against Junk, the fight is easily his. But if James has his way, he’ll be running circles around him. Uh… did you forget what he looked like fighting a guy with the mobility of a tree? Even if you let him ride a Segway around the cage, he’s still going to be all out of gas by the third or fourth lap.

NC: The weigh-ins get tense and McSweeney actually shoves Mitrione. This guy really thought he was the baddest motherf**ker on the planet, eh? Mitrione responds to James’ threats by…licking his own fingers?

PB: Unless he had just been eating a bucket of KFC, there’s no good reason for Meathead to be continuously licking his finger tips after they separate. Maybe it’s meant as some form of insult, I don’t know, but it just makes him come off like a sex predator.

James says that Matt doesn’t deserve any success in MMA and he’s going to make sure of that. Yeah, you can take that to the bank, since in 2015 Mitirone is still with the UFC and has a 9-4 record, while James was fired after getting knocked out in back to back fights. He’s now sporting a 15-13 record and will never be able to scrub that knockout loss to Gracie from it.

No, I’ll never pass up a chance to remind people of that fact.

Apparently Matt is like that smelly kid no one wanted to sit next to on your school bus, because he’s riding to the gym all by himself.

Mitrione AloneTeamwork.

I didn’t think McSweeney could make himself look like an even bigger tool, but I was wrong, since he psychs himself up for the fight by marching back and forth yelling to himself “Don’t come to my house! NEVER come to my house! He’s dead! He’s DEAD!” That wouldn’t work on a pack of Girl Scouts so I don’t think it’s going to work here either.

Quarterfinal Bout: Matt Mitrione (0-0) v. James McSweeney (3-4)*

(* Records according to Sherdog, not the records listed on the show)

NC: When McSweeney sticks to his game plan, he’s actually not horrible. He throws a ton of kicks, though nothing significant lands thanks to Mitrione’s unorthodox movement. I forgot how much fun it can be to watch Meathead move sometimes.

PB: After the first minute is filled with mostly awkward circling, James is already starting to lose steam, even though all he’s done is throw maybe a half dozen kicks so far. Minute two is more of the same circling with a single punch being thrown here and there and occasionally one will find its intended target.

NC: Even back then, Mitrione was the heavier hitter. At one point, he catches a sloppy kick from McSweeney and blasts the Brit with a hard right.

The McSweeney SpecialNow where have I seen that kick before?

Veteran SkillsMitrione ends up on his back and he fights for a leg lock. In McSweeney’s corner is Schaub who tells him that Mitrione wouldn’t know a knee bar if it hit him in the face. Interesting visual.

PB: When Matt gets to his knees, he grabs hold of James for all he’s worth and starts praying for a standup, which isn’t coming anytime soon. After he shifts position, James gets an arm around his neck and wraps his legs around Matt’s left knee so he can go for a guillotine. It sure doesn’t look very tight or deep to me, but Matt is panicked enough to where he taps out just a few (and I do mean a few) seconds later. He didn’t try to fight James off or push out of it, you can see him just think for a moment and then start tapping.

Mitrione TapsNC: Wow…I totally forgot that McSweeney actually won this fight. That’s disappointing.

PB: After the fight, Rashad Evans echoes my thoughts, saying “Fight it! Black out…a little bit, don’t tap out so easy!”

NC: That’s bad pro wrestling stuff right there, with the hand raising up before tapping out. No attempt to fight the choke or anything.

Dana has effusive praise for James: “The reality is McSweeney has what it takes to be a fighter. He saw what Mitrione did to Scott Junk and he still went in there, fought his fight, got hit with some big shots from Mitrione, and imposed his will and beat him.”

PB: Yeah… he sure does.

Low hanging fruit? Yeah, but that’s what this show has done to me.

Matt says “I tapped like a bitch” like when he said “I’m just an a**hole, that’s what I am”, he’s not wrong. And this is STILL a problem for him here in 2015, the man has zero ground game (still more than enough to beat Kimbo though) and goes into panic mode when it hits the floor.

NC: At least Mitrione and McSweeney bury the hatchet after.

PB: While we’re shown some prefight interviews with Jones and Darrill Schoonover, I’m thankful that while parts of this episode have really upset me, at least there’s been no sign of Tiki yet. And I’m sure that by writing that I’ve just gone and jinxed myself.

SON OF A BITCH!

Sure as s**t, like the stain on a cushion that will never come clean that he is, he’s sitting on the couch asking Marcus if he’s going to tear another arm off.

NC: Marcus says he’s just an average guy who decided to fight. You know, just your average 6’6” damn near 300-pound guy.

This is a good ol’ fashioned freak show fight…and who doesn’t love that?

Quarterfinal Bout: Marcus Jones (4-1) v. Darrill Schoonover (10-0)*

PB: Things begin with a brief exchange that eventually leads to a trip that has Jones landing in side control. He spends the next minute or so hitting Darrill in the head as much as he can while also doing his best to throw his leg over Darrill’s head. It looks like he’s going for a modified crucifix of some sort. I know it’s not a triangle.

NC: Marcus starts playing around with Darrill’s arm, but I’m not sure he actually knows what hold he is going for.

PB: There have been a few mentions of how Jones has great jiu-jitsu, but I just don’t see it. I think it’s really just size and strength mixed with a drop of knowledge, but against guys this green that’s enough to get the job done.

NC: All of this ground action eventually leads to Darrill getting Marcus into full guard, which is good. He then decides to close that guard, which is bad. His legs hug Marcus’s body and essentially help him to balance himself so he can start throwing some anvil like fists down at Darrill’s head. It doesn’t take too many shots to leave Darrill senseless.

Darkness PoundingPB: This gives Quinton Jackson his second win of the season and he’s over the moon about it.

NC: That was the first KO loss of Darrill’s career and a traumatic one at that. As for Marcus, the hype train around him was very real around the time this show aired. He had a distinct personality and as you mentioned, he looked great going against low-level competition.

And now we have our semifinals: Roy versus James and Marcus versus Brendan.

PB: Just how badly does White hate Roy Nelson? He really thinks that McSweeney is going to easily outwork him despite being the smaller guy. I should note that he’s actually several inches taller than Roy. I don’t care if we’re at the end of this journey, I will not let the UFC’s bulls**t distort simple facts.

NC: He loved James McSweeney and he hated Roy Nelson. This is a man who promotes fights for a living!

In a scene that’s sure to delight my partner, Rashad addresses Tiki’s sycophantic behaviour.

PB: This is why I still like Evans to this day, he reaffirms my love for him by ripping into Tiki once again, something we haven’t seen nearly enough of this season. “Tiki, why you always next to Rampage? Everywhere he goes, you’re right there with him. I went on your MySpace page (instantly dating this season) and it was nothing but pictures of Rampage or Rampage hitting you in the nuts.”

While it’s sad that we’ll never get that spinoff, a man can still dream…

Oh f**k me running…I don’t know what’s about to happen, but I do know I’m not going to like it. Alex, my friend, your teetotaling ways end here. You’re not leaving until this barrel is empty, so you either grab a glass and start helping, or else you’re going to have a very drunk and very angry giant on your hands.

And no, I’m not really giving you a choice here.

NC: There will never come a day that I’ll let Tiki-f**king-Ghosn affect how I live my life. You’ll just have to share with our lovely comment section.

PB: See, that’s where you’re wrong. THE DOORS ARE LOCKED FROM THE OUTSIDE! Misery loves company, and you’re my company, you’ll thank me for this one day.

Just like herpes, here comes Tiki once again. This time he’s driving a Cadillac Escalade complete with gaudy custom paint, chrome 22s (I half expected them to be spinners), and more peel-n-stick AutoZone trim than you can shake a double ended dildo at. He’s hauling a load (literally and metaphorically) of giant pink stuffed animals like bears and unicorns. Quinton says that Tiki came up with “a great idea” for a prank. No. No he did not. The only way I’d agree with that statement is if it somehow ends with him doing a recreation of the ending to Thelma & Louise.

NC: I can’t believe I’m saying this but…this might be Rampage’s most homophobic stunt yet.

Pink PrankA perfect example of a prank that takes way more effort than it’s worth.

PB: They insist that Team Gold HAS to get mad at this one, because if they don’t they’re obviously a bunch of homos. Though Quinton doesn’t actually come out and say that, instead he makes a bunch of effeminate gestures and faces. He hasn’t been shy about slinging all of his hateful bulls**t this whole season, so why pretend to stop short of the line now?

As they bring the toys into Team Gold’s back room, they also have pink party decorations, a male blow up sex doll, pink paint, and a disco ball. Their end goal is that by turning this room into a pink nightmare, the other team will be so upset and rattled that they will be off their game when they step into the ring.

I really hope that two things happened: 1) all these stuffed animals went to a good home after filming, like to an orphanage or some sort of charity; 2) calls were made to the police by concerned citizens who saw a very skeezy looking guy adding sex toys to the mountain of children’s toys in the back of his SUV.

I know I shouldn’t let an old TV show get to me like this, but this s**t really pisses me off to no end. Quinton has spent the last six weeks (in their time) constantly saying that a fighter on the show has “titties”, in fact he would only refer to him as that instead of by his actual name. And he went so far as to cop a feel on him. Does he not realize that he’s the only one who’s shown any homosexual tendencies this season, or is the irony simply lost on him?

And just when I thought I was done having to rant about homophobia on TUF, here’s McSweeney drawing “LINDAGAY” on Zak Jensen’s head instead of “LINDERMAN”. When Zak looks in the mirror and sees what he did, he calls James a “complete douche”. That’s putting it mildly Zak.

NC: I don’t have much sympathy for Zak in this situation. He says that he couldn’t care less for McSweeney and yet he lets him write on his head?

Fool me once, shame on you.
Fool me twice, well f**k me.

Zak later tells the others that he might leave the country to avoid watching the show when it airs. That might be the wisest decision he’s made all season.

PB: The next day when Team Gold discovers the transformation their room has undergone, instead of reacting with hate, anger, and rage as hoped, they’ll all either slightly amused or just nonplussed with it. For reasons unknown, Evans picks up a pacifier that’s been left there and gives it a few sucks. I find myself screaming at the TV “Oh for f**k sake Rashad! DON’T DO THAT! There’s no telling where Tiki might have had that!”

NC: I can’t explain exactly why, but I’m not surprised at all that Mike Van Arsdale ends up loving the whole arrangement.

PB: “Roy’s never been knocked out before (wrong), but he’s never faced someone with my level of standup before.” Oh James McSweeney, how I hate him. He’s dead wrong on the first count, and only right on the second if he’s counting anyone Roy might have fought back in school. Also, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

While he’s in the bathroom, James decides it’s time to pull a prank on Zak, he’s going to pull some drawers out that will block the door from opening when he’s done doing his business.

NC: I’m not entirely sure I understood the bathroom set-up here as far as the door’s placement relative to the drawers.

Odd BathroomPB: The problem is that Zak is claustrophobic and as soon as the door refuses to open, he starts to panic and attempts to knock the door off its hinges. While James thinks this is hysterical, Zak finds it to be anything but, and he’s pissed off enough to go right after him once he’s free. And I don’t mean just getting in his face, he comes out ready to brawl by shoving and throwing punches.

They push each other back and forth a bit with neither landing with their fists, then James tries cheap shotting Zak by kicking him in the nuts (it goes about as well as you’d expect) and then tries to get him in a choke. Zak tells him to let him go and James says he’ll only do it if he calms down. James eventually relents but continues to act like the big swinging dick on campus while Zak tells him to just get the f**k away.

NC: This is one of those situations where the brawl had no effect on me because I was too fixated on the fact that Zak was fresh off dropping a vicious deuce in the washroom and he didn’t wash his hands before tangling with McSweeney. *shudder*

PB: Karma’s a bitch, and she’s packing cinder block fists with a chin made of solid kryptonite. All the affirmations, visualizations, positive thinking, hopes, dreams, prayers, and blood sacrifices in the world aren’t going to prevent what’s about to happen to McSweeney. He says “Do not turn off your TV sets, this is going to be good”.

Oh I know it is. I know it is.

But before we get to the fight, there’s a commercial bumper that shows Jensen painting himself head to toe in green, and then walking up on Kimbo in the laundry room. Slice has his back to him at first, so when he turns around and see this mini Incredible Hulk before him, he actually jumps in surprise. It’s not much but I’ll take any moment of levity I can get at this point.

Semi-final Bout: Roy Nelson Roy Nelson (13-4) v. James McSweeney (3-4)*

NC: Just like in the Mitrione fight, there’s a lot of activity on the part of McSweeney. However, Nelson is able to keep sneaking in jabs and he has McSweeney flailing on more than one occasion. McSweeney manages to string together some shots and he starts feeling himself, dropping his hands and smirking.

PB: A few seconds after openly inviting Roy to hit him on the jaw with a taunt, Nelson happily gives him exactly what he wants by cracking James right on the chin with a right straight. You can actually see James’ body go “WAIT! What the f**k was THAT!?”

That Right HandRoy shoots in and easily scores the takedown, and despite trying to escape even with the help of several fence grabs, James’ fate is already signed sealed and delivered. Nelson gets him into a crucifix and starts dropping the hammer on his bald head. Only these aren’t the light taps that Kimbo got in the same situation, Roy is putting some bad intentions behind these.

After about 20 of them go unanswered, the ref finally calls it off, and it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.

NC: Congratulations James, you failed to last as long as Kimbo did.

Big Country CrucifixAt this point, you could have talked me into Nelson taking the title from Brock Lesnar with his signature move.

PB: Once he’s up, it’s clear that McSweeney got caught in Nelson’s strawberry patch and paid a heavy price for it. Roy now advances to the finals and even gets some faint praise from White while he’s at it.

Roy FinalsRashad calls Tiki out on being such a lap dog to Quinton once again, saying he’s Jackson’s man-slave, and I think that’s putting it mildly. You couldn’t even really call him a sidekick, at least Robin has his own identity and can function without Batman there, meanwhile Tiki probably wouldn’t remember to feed himself without Quinton’s say so.

NC: I could make a juvenile homophobic joke here about what kind of meat Rampage might feed Tiki, but I won’t sink down to their level.

Eventually, Rashad and Rampage get way too close again for the hundredth time this season and I’m starting to think these guys have a Dominic Toretto/Luke Hobbs thing going. But that’s a whole other blog post.

PB: Quinton doesn’t like anyone talking down to Boo Boo, except himself.

Semi-final Bout: Marcus Jones (4-1) v. Brendan Schaub (4-0)*

NC: Marcus uses his preferred takedown method of “throw my whole body at the other guy and fall on top of him” to great effect. Say what you want about him, I don’t think anyone in the cast was able to stop it.

There are some hairy moments for The Hybrid and you can see he’s legitimately shook for a few seconds when Big Baby manages to advance to mount. But Brendan keeps scrambling and scrambling and scrambling…

PB: Schaub’s time spent with Shane Carwin pays off in spades as he’s able to avoid getting locked up and eventually makes it back to his feet.

As soon as they’re both vertical, it’s obvious that Marcus’ gas tank is just as good (read: f**kterrible) as pretty much everyone else on his team. He’s already shot his load and when Schaub begins throwing punches, Jones shows the absolute worst striking defense I have ever seen. He just holds his arms up in front of him leaving all sorts of openings, which Schaub takes full advantage of to tag Jones over and over and over again.

NC: Marcus leaves himself open to an overhand right that drops him on his ass. Brutal ground and pound follows and even though I dislike Marcus I find it difficult to watch him getting straight wasted like this.

Darkness VanquishedBrendan celebrates by doing snow angels in the middle of the Octagon

Brendan FinalsPB: Just like that, the last glimmer of hope in Jackson’s eye flickers for a few seconds before fading out. After the fight, Jones contemplates retirement because of the loss.

NC: This is going to sound harsh, but I hate Marcus wanting to quit after getting knocked out like that. He’s been talking non-stop about how much he loves the sport and one major setback makes him want to bail?

We have our finalists, two of the favourites from the beginning of the season even if you weren’t watching this with the benefit of time travel. Future top ten heavyweights Brendan Schaub and Roy Nelson.

The FinalistsPB: Well gang… it’s taken us a long time to get here, but we’ve finally crossed to Rubicon. The Season That Cardio Forgot has reached its conclusion. We hope everyone has enjoyed reading and following us along on the journey as much as we enjoyed (or hated at times) writing it. But while TUF itself might be over, NewChallenger and I aren’t checking out on you just yet. Come back next week when we’ll be putting all of TUF 10 to bed for good by reviewing the TUF 10 Finale card itself..

NC: I don’t want to give too much away, but the historical significance of this one is actually staggering: Frankie Edgar and Jon Jones are on the undercard!

That’s not even mentioning the classic Kimbo Slice-Houston Alexander match of which a single gif cannot possibly do it justice.

PB: And finally, at some point after that, I’ll be doing a special “Where Are They Now?” as my own little P.S. on this season. I don’t know if it will be out before the New Year or after, but be on the lookout for it. So until next time, adios amigos!

NC: Don’t miss Kimbo getting his chance to bang again!