Reliving The Season That Cardio Forgot
Punisher Bass: Do you know why NewChallenger and I decided to get a backlog of these done and in the can before it started running? Yeah, partly is was so we wouldn’t miss a week if we tried to do it in real time, but also for when we ran into episodes like the last one. It’s actually been three weeks since I’ve sat down to write my end of a recap. Episode six pissed me off that badly I had to just walk away for a while.
Maybe this week it will be better?
PB: Well… it was a nice thought while it lasted, but since the first few seconds of the episode is a pullout shot of Quinton Jackson, Tiki, and Kimbo Slice sitting on a bench, it’s already been shot to hell. While normally the cream filling would be the best part, I can grantee you the exact opposite is true when it comes to this Little Debbie cookie. I wish Tiki had to go through the Klingon Rite Of Ascension every single morning on his way to the bathroom before he could take a piss.
Rashad Evans is giving his impression of how Jackson looked when Wandy knocked him out the first time back in Pride. Quinton responds in kind with his own impression of how Evans looked in his (then) recent loss to Lyoto Machida. Credit where it’s due, his is the better of the two since Evans just kind of twitched while Jackson did the full on stanky leg.
NC: Ah yes, the now infamous “stanky leg”. As you said, this is one of the few times where Rampage got the better of an exchange with Rashad. I laughed. Then again, that Machida loss always makes for good material.
PB: Even though we’re not 30 seconds into it, crack the bottle open and take a shot, because Tiki shouldn’t be allowed to get any sort of pleasure at Evans’ expense.
“I can’t take losing no more to Rashad’s cocky ass”, maybe if he tried teaching… oh f**k it.
Before Rashad makes the next fight announcement, Quinton starts up with more homophobic bulls**t by calling him “Gayshad Evans”. Seriously, what the f**k is it with him? This is far from the first time he’s done something like this on the show and I have doubts it will be the last. Jackson has the mentality of a 7th grader. I wonder how he would have reacted if Evans called him “Queerton” instead of “Whaaampage”?
NC: “Gayshad”. Be A Star, people! Oh wait, I’m criticizing the wrong sports entertainment company. Carry on.
PB: They then argue about who’s been knocked out more, with Jackson showing how much brain damage he’s suffered by insisting it’s Evans and not himself. This show is destroying my will to live.
NC: I would say this has more to do with Rampage’s ability to count than his cognitive shortcomings.
PB: The next couple seconds are actually hilarious as Evans says he’s picking Matt Mitrione to fight… Scott Junk. The funny part comes when as soon as he finishes the word “versus”, Marcus Jones takes a step forward with a big smile on his face, only for it to vanish and turn into a look of shock and disappointment as he’s forced to step back in line as Junk’s name is spoken. You can even hear someone giggle in the background.
NC: If Marcus weren’t so annoying, I would have spared him the gif. But he’s getting exactly what he deserves. When will he learn?
It always surprises me when Dana acknowledges right off the bat that a TUF contestant has already fought in the UFC (as Junk has). That information kind of takes the shine off of winning the six figure contract, making it look more like a quick payday than a life changing career opportunity. This would prove even truer in the seasons to come when a few winners wouldn’t make it past three bookings before being cut.
PB: So with that fight booked, the eighth and final one by default becomes Jones vs. Mike Wessel. In the previous six episodes, we’ve seen and heard so little from Mike that I had to look his name up for proper spelling.
NC: Those are seconds of your life that you’ll never get back.
PB: I admit I have a lot of trouble when it comes to remembering names and faces, but Mike has been like a ghost so far, or a random extra in a crowd scene in a movie. We know literally nothing about him except his name.
“Marcus is so big and Wessel is so small… I absolutely have no idea what to think about this fight” Dana White says. The look on his face and his eyes tell me these are the truest words I’ve ever seen him speak.
“I’m going to make you quit, just like you quit on this competition and you quit on your fighters, I’m going to make you quit.” Rashad tells Quinton right to his face. Jackson responds with “I ain’t quittin’ nothin’, my fighters is the ones who is quittin’.”
NC: Um…good comeback?
PB: The argument continues to escalate and quickly turns into the worst version of Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s on first?” routine, with Evans saying “You came here to coach” while Quinton says “But I’m not a coach” over and over again.
“I brought my coaches with me, and we doing a good job, we doin’ a great job!” Jackson says, with a dump truck full of irony I hope.
NC: They also go to a shot of his fighters standing idly by, not backing up his statements in anyway. It’s an edited shot, but I doubt it’s far from the truth.
PB: Quinton then asks him why he’s only wearing one shoe, and Evan’s reason is “Because I was ready to break one off in your mother f**king ass!” That gave me a good hearty laugh, thanks Rashad.
NC: Okay. I think I’ve reached the point where I’ve had enough of the Rashad-Rampage back and forth. It’s crazy to remember how highly anticipated this fight was at the time though.
PB: As I said way back in week one, I don’t remember exactly when it was announced there would be no fight since Jackson was “retiring” to go film The A-Team remake, but it had to be around this point. Which makes all this trash talk and confrontation completely pointless.
In a previous recap, I said that I write all this out in real time, and I just paused so I could check Wessel’s wiki page. Turns out he actually fought at UFC 92 in December of 2008 against Antoni Hardonk (fun fact, Antoni is still listed on the UFC roster as of this writing). This has not been mentioned by the show at all, they said Junk was a UFC vet, but nothing about Mike. I just put more time and effort into telling you about him than the TUF production crew has.
NC: Who has time for Mike Wessel when you’ve got more Meathead drama? You can tell they were struggling to make something of this episode since they lean heavily on the “Matt the Rat” angle while sprinkling in some Zak Jensen-esque mind games.
Apparently his teammates are upset that he slipped a note to the other team saying that Mike was afraid to fight Junk. When confronted by Rashad, Mitrione admits that he thinks Mike is “scared to death” and Rashad tells him straight-up that it isn’t Matt’s place to say those things.
Say what you want about Mitrione, but like Rampage, he made the most of his camera time this season.
PB: Matt says “What brings me to MMA is that I enjoy the mental aspect of competition”. The ground aspect though? Not so much.
Outside he tells Schaub that the voices in his head only quiet down when he’s doing something violent, and the look on Schaub’s face says “This guy is totally full of s**t.”
Tiki tells Junk “This guy has nothing for ya, I’m tellin’ ya!”. Yeah… just like he told everyone else on the team how they would CRUSH the other guy, only to be DEAD F**KING WRONG every single time. Many. Take. Of. Shots. Whiskey.
NC: It pains me to think that Tiki Ghosn of all people will prove to be your undoing.
PB: I’m German/Irish, it’s going to take more than a bottle of Jonnie Walker and Tiki’s stupid facial hair to be a nail in my coffin. Jones asks if he’s allowed to say “assh**e” on TV, making him a politer guy than me.
There’s apparently some static between Meathead and Jon Madsen, and it was sparked over a glass of orange juice. And that’s all I’m going to write about it because I need to get through this episode.
NC: This tension between them really comes out of nowhere too. It’s one thing to have feuds on the show, but to spring one up out of nowhere and then use this orange juice tiff as a justification for it? Lame.
At some point, Jon goes as far as to say that he’s going to slap Matt, which leads to a tense training situation, to put it gently.
“He’s like ‘I’m done, I’m done.’ And I was like, ‘You…p**sy bitch!’ How dare you call me out and say you’re going to slap me in the face and then quit when we’re starting to work? It made me so mad and I just completely blew up.
PB: After he goes full force during a brief sparring session with Madsen, Rashad goes into the back to call him on all crazed alpha male bulls**t and tells him to knock it the f**k off. Thank you Rashad.
NC: Specifically, Rashad asks him how he can freak out so badly when he hasn’t even fought yet. He brings up Mitrione’s wonky shoulder and you can see that for better or for worse, the speech is really getting to Mitrione. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that the tough love he received on this show was beneficial to his career in the long run.
PB: Oh thank god for Wes Sims (did I really just type that) for he’s providing this episode with some MUCH needed levity. He dons a black gi (thus destroying my excuse to Benten20 that they don’t come in my size), a little grease paint, and begins stalking Mitrione while he’s outside shooting hoops.
NC: The fact that you find this amusing makes me worry about what this show has done to your mind.
PB: Hey, if you sat through the “titties” episode twice like I did, you’d take anything you could get. We see him continue to stalk his prey, and as he’s leaving the basketball court, Sims decides to strike like the biggest and most arthritic panther you’ve ever seen.
Back inside the house, Meathead is having none of Sims’ s**t and tries warning him to never touch him again in his best serial killer voice. The key with guys like Wes is to never show emotion, act upset, or tell them exactly what will piss you off, because it just gives them the perfect ammunition to do exactly that. While shooting a little pool, Wes just continues to needle and just dick with him as much as possible.
Back outside, Matt delivers more serial killer type warnings, which are just laughed off.
NC: Just like they did for Zak, they start a calendar for when Matt will snap. This joke was worth half a laugh the first time around and it’s essentially dead now.
I don’t think I’ve ever been happier to see that “Fight Day” title card come up.
PB: Meathead tells Rashad that he’s all good now, because he talked to his wife… in his head. I’m guessing he either snuck some peyote into the house or he’s into astral projection.
NC: At breakfast, Scott Junk says “I can see myself banging him. And after the fight banging him again in the house just for f**king being a bitch.”
Team Rampage’s Scott Junk (6-2-1) v. Team Rashad’s Matt Mitrione (0-0)*
(* Records according to Sherdog, not the records listed on the show)
(** Yup, Mitrione had zero amateur or pro fights prior to filming)
Oddly, the fight info graphic lists Mitrione as having a 2-0 record. Again, we could find no evidence that he had any actual fights before TUF so I guess we’re just making s**t up now?
PB: Maybe they counted him schooling Slice on the ground back in episode one along with his Madsen tiff as wins?
Within the first minute, Junk gets dropped twice, and instead of pouncing on him like one of the more skilled fighters would, he instead backs off and lets Scott get to his feet. I don’t know if it’s just because he’s so green or because he’s just that terrified of being on the ground.
NC: One thing I noticed is how light on his feet Mitrione is, at least in the early going. You can see how his agility would give him a clear advantage over a lot of the guys in the house. It’s also obvious that Junk’s eye gets busted up, a plot point to be revived in a later episode.
PB: Why are the drawstrings on Junk’s shorts coming out above his ass crack? Please tell me that’s normal and that he didn’t simply put them on backwards.
Matt keeps tagging Scott with shots that knock him to the ground, including one with a delayed fuse, but he refuses to follow him and allowing a reset. The one time he does leap in he nails Junk in the back of the head several times in clear view of the ref, but nothing is done about it.
I think Quinton must have been gone on this day because we haven’t seen or heard from him in a while now. I don’t care what the reason for his absence is. Never look a gift horse in the mouth.
NC: They probably just shut his microphone off.
PB: Alright, it’s obvious that Meathead is just terrified of being on the ground with anyone, even if he’s the much bigger guy and he’s on top.
This fight is just really really ugly. Junk just keeps getting dropped over and over again while Meathead acts like Overeem in the Werdum rematch the moment it could hit the ground.
The last two fights really spoiled us, because they ended before any of them could really hit E on their gas tank, here we’re not so lucky as things pass the half way point both guys have slowed way way down.
NC: As the round comes to a close, you can see that both guys are losing steam in their punches
PB: And looking at how much time is left for this episode, we’re going to have to sit through another 5 minutes of this slopfest. Dana is giddy like a schoolgirl because they’re playing Stand N Bang, it doesn’t matter how terrible they are, he just wants to see leather getting thrown.
Ah s**t, there’s Quinton.
Round two is a reminder why we subtitled this season as the one cardio forgot, it looks more and more like a brawl you’d see outside a dive bar at 3AM. Both guys shot their load 20 seconds in and now they’re just praying the other guy drops dead of a heart attack before they do.
NC: Junk manages to drag the action to the mat where he should have a clear advantage. “Should” being the operative word here. He stays on top but isn’t able to do much of anything so Josh Rosenthal stands them up. It’s a shame because they both seemed to be enjoying the opportunity to lie down and do nothing.
I think Junk was actually ahead heading into the middle of the second round, but he becomes a stationary target and Matt lands one clean shot after another.
PB: After Meathead gets the majority decision, Quinton (surprise surprise) walks off once again. Instead of checking on his fighter, he’s going to throw a full on f**king temper tantrum and show us just how pissed off he is. And he’ll do it by infamously destroying the cardboard door that separates the back rooms from the gym itself.
Ever heard the saying “A bad mechanic blames his tools”?
NC: In this case, the mechanic himself is a tool.
PB: Try as he and his lapdog might, the only person Rampage should be mad at is himself. He was an idiot while picking fighters and then he hired even bigger idiots to work with them. This is like the blind leading the blind, and the idea that Jackson should shoulder even an ounce of responsibility is seen as ludicrous.
NC: After this episode aired, Rampage had a 2-13 TUF coaching record in his two combined seasons.
PB: You know what really irks me about Quinton and his coaches? None of them seem to give a s**t about actually helping anyone grow or improve as a fighter. If you’ve already lost, then f**k off with you, Tiki’s words of stupidity need to go to someone else. Unless you’re Kimbo, you just suck and you always will suck, there is no helping you so why even bother trying, you’re just a drain on resources.
That’s the message they’ve been sending loud and clear.
NC: It’s one of the reasons I’ve always wanted the show to move towards having coaches who are good coaches rather than picking it based on potential match-ups. Admittedly, it helped to add a lot of heat to the Rampage-Rashad collision that would go on to do about a million buys, but I’d say this was the last time this ploy worked (you could make an argument for Rousey-Tate II, but at that point Ronda was generating so much heat all the show did was delay the inevitable).
Bring Matt Serra back. Chael Sonnen. Big Nog. Heck, bring back Rashad! Give me coaches who care and form relationships with the fighters (even if it’s just for show) over pushing feuds that are usually already manufactured.
Then maybe we can get guys like Punisher Bass back into TUF.
PB: That’s going to be a tall order, because not even Shane Carwin’s coaching gig was enough.