Reliving The Season That Cardio Forgot
NewChallenger: Oh boy…it’s that time of the season again when everything slows to a crawl. We’re not at the dreaded two-fight episode yet, but we’ve reached the point where all the storylines have already been drug through the mud and there’s not much new to be said. Of course, that’s not going to save us from another week of Matt Mitrione is a dummy, the Rampage and Tiki comedy hour, and “BUT WILL KIMBO FIGHT AGAIN?!?”
PunisherBass: Picking up where we did at the end of last week, Team Gold coach Rashad Evans is in a rather odd position. On the upside he has seven fighters in the quarterfinals compared to Quinton Jackson’s one. And on the downside… he has seven fighters in the quarterfinals, so he’s trying to figure out how in the hell he’s going to train seven guys to fight against each other.
NC: I remember watching this thinking there was no way Rashad would be able to avoid favouring his buddies Schaub and McSweeney.
PB: So he’s deciding to be as diplomatic as possible by keeping those who will be facing each other apart, and not really “coaching” them along. Just striking, grappling, and cardio training basically. The camera focuses on Justin Wren and Roy Nelson who will be fighting next, and Roy jokingly offers to help him work on anything he needs to shore up. I have to say, kudos to Roy for showing off his flexibility here with that kick, I don’t think 95% of the rest of the cast could throw one higher.
NC: You’d think that in the 20+ seasons of TUF’s existence, someone had come up with a way to handle this dilemma of teammates having to train and then fight each other. That would require them actually put time and thought into this product though so why do I even bring it up?
PB: Matt Mitrione is either in time out or he’s just taking a breather, but we hear in his voiceover that his “brain still hurts” after his fight with Scott Junk. Welcome to my world. Like I’ve said before, it’s really tough to get a read on Meathead, you never know for sure if he’s crying wolf or not. I’ve never taken a good shot to the noggin, let alone as many as a pro fighter does, so I’ve no idea if he’s just milking it like Wren says or if he’s showing signs of actually being f**ked up here.
NC: What’s weird to me is that the rest of the cast is so quick to be skeptical. Mitrione says the after effects of the fight with Junk had him feeling “stupid” and that he was experiencing sensitivity to lights. What did he do to not get the benefit of the doubt in this situation?
PB: While Matt sits in the van holding his head and not saying anything, the rest of his team talk about what they want to have for dinner. As an aside, Brendan Schaub said years later that they will get you whatever kind of food you want, like if you want some nice steaks, just put in a request for it and they’ll arrive in a few days. But the alcohol is literally on demand, if you ask for a bottle of tequila that was made with the tears of PRIDE fans, it will be there within an hour.
NC: Whenever I hear that TUF is the most difficult tournament in martial arts, I always giggle.
Meanwhile, Schaub perfectly reads this week’s “Kimbo will be back” lines.
PB: NO! BAD HYBRID! BAD! NO! You do NOT play the Kimbo Kard! Instead of Meathead sitting in a dark room, maybe you should be the one thinking about what you just said.
Here comes James McSweeney to tell Kimbo the “good” news, that Meathead is probably concussed and that he’s back in the tournament. I’d like to take a moment to gleefully remind you that James was knocked out by Roger Gracie less than a year ago, not submitted, but knocked out.
I have a feeling they’re about to strap a supercharger onto the Kimbo hype train, but they go to commercial with a Kard and they come back with one as well. Jackson actually says that Kimbo is the most improved out of everyone on his team…
NC: While my compatriot puts his skull back together, I want to say that if I was Demico or Wes Shivers or Zak I’d be ridiculously annoyed that they aren’t even up for consideration. Demico actually looked good, he just had the misfortune of running into Schaub who was one of the most seasoned guys in the house.
Wes Shivers and Zak…both suck. But still.
PB: I think this is the first time we’ve seen/heard Tiki talk directly to the camera this season, and with very good reason. I’m pouring two shots for myself, two for my partner in crime here, and then I’m asking Santa to bring me a dartboard with Tiki’s mug printed on it for Christmas. I’ve been a good boy this year and I deserve it after… how many weeks are we up to now? Nine? Yeah nine weeks of this crap.
NC: I think after that you’ll need all four shots.
PB: Here comes McSweeney to play Chatty Kathy, telling everyone who’ll listen that Mitrione went to the hospital last night and didn’t come back, meaning that Kimbo is now back in the tournament. This is like the UFC production crew trying to pull off the worst magic trick ever, instead of pulling a rabbit out of a hat they’re just ripping off its head and throwing it us while screaming “F**K YOU!”
NC: They’ve moved on from teasing a Kimbo return to flat out lying to the viewers. I stand by this season being a good one, but everything involving Kimbo after he lost his fight is worthless.
These conversations are phonier than Big Country’s chin-ups.
PB: Remember how Wren was drawn like a chicken on that mural a couple weeks ago? Here’s where that came from, at least I think so. And it’s not only unfunny, but it’s animal cruelty as well. In case you were not aware, TUF is shot in Las Vegas, which is in the middle of a f**king desert. This season was also shot during the summer, which means blistering heat and lots of it. Keep that in mind.
NC: Rampage decides to resort to another dumb prank because he can’t get back at Rashad by doing silly stuff like, you know, winning fights. Admittedly, as far as pranks go this is a pretty good one especially if you have the sensibilities of a f**king a**hole.
PB: Jackson and you know who, are going to pull a “prank” on Rashad and his coaches, because they’re so “cocky” after winning so many fights. They’ve apparently bought, borrowed, or stolen some live chickens which are going to be left in their cars so they can s**t all over the inside.
I’m going to assume that this was all setup by the production crew. How else were they going to get inside the cars without smashing a window or stealing the keys?
NC: That’s a safe bet because I wouldn’t trust Rampage or Tiki to figure out which direction to turn a car key if you gave them two tries.
PB: And I’d like to think that the cars were parked there with the AC’s running on full blast, not that the chickens were just thrown into 120 degree oven to slowly be cooked alive. I’m sure the poor teenager working at Hertz didn’t care he had to clean a bunch of nasty bird s**t out of a couple Chevy Malibu’s either.
NC: Just like they’ve done with everything this year, Team Rashad makes the most of the situation and turns into an impromptu training exercise. Straight from the Vince McMahon training regimen. Make the Colonel proud!
Rampage is once again confused by Team Rashad not being devastated by he and Tiki’s wicked burns. It’s like he doesn’t understand why Rashad doesn’t have a s**t fit and go bananas on an inanimate object like he would if the situations were reversed.
PB: I’m done with this segment. NEXT!
Matt arrives back at the house, and isn’t telling anyone anything really other than saying his head hurts. Kimbo feeling very salty about not getting a second chance to play beached whale says that Meathead just has sand in his vagina.
NC: Dana pays Matt a visit. I’ve never seen him less enthused about a saying he’s going to fight through an injury. The Kimbo Kard really looms over this episode as they show Mitrione telling Dana that he might have undiagnosed concussions in the past from his football career. They even insert a clip of Mitrione stumbling over some names during a confessional just to keep the audience thinking that he’ll bow out. Appalling.
PB: During the bumper we’re lead to believe that Rashad and his team “freed” the chickens after they were caught. Yeah ok…
NC: I’m not an expert on the ecology of the chicken, but I’d bet they’re probably as good as dead anyway being released into some random environment.
PB: Alright, I have no idea how much longer the show intends to drag out this “will he/won’t he” storyline with Matt’s apparent concussion, but I’m not going to sit here six years in the future and play along. We know he didn’t pull out and we know Kimbo didn’t take his place, so as of now, I’m done with it. At this pace I’d be here all f**king night writing about it each time it came up otherwise.
Kimbo compliments Roy’s skills before s**tting all over Wren, calling him a fat kid stuffing his face at the refrigerator.
NC: I actually thought the analogy was meant to be endearing. He says Justin is like a young kid who gets scolded by his mom for eating too many jelly donuts. I’m not entirely sure what that means, but it fits somehow!
PB: Let me remind you what Kimbo looked like trying to cut to 215lbs so he could face a guy who normally fights at 205.
NC: In another bumper, we see Nelson teaching Kimbo the best way to get past a fighter’s guard.
Quarterfinal Bout: Justin Wren (7-1) v. Roy Nelson (13-4)*
(* Records according to Sherdog, not the records listed on the show)
PB: Looking at this tale of the tape, I’m willing to bet everyone is now hearing Goldberg say “VIRTUALLY IDENTICAL!” in their heads.
After a quick glove tap, Wren does some head hunting while Roy keeps his distance, but he does get tagged with some good shots over the first minute.
NC: Wren gets after Nelson! He lands some heavy hands and we get a glimpse of Big Country’s soon-to-be-legendary chin.
Nelson wisely clinches up. It’s a position that he is comfortable with and I don’t think anyone in the house knows it as well as him. Whenever there’s separation, Justin continues to find success in the striking department.
PB: Wren lands more often looking for a knockout, but he might as well be punching a bank vault. With two minutes left, his gas tank starts to empty and he slows down, which allows Roy to start circling around him instead of backing up. The round finishes with Roy taking over by throwing (and landing) the harder shots and doing it more often.
NC: Justin started turning real red real fast. Those big swings took a lot out of him. This is experience versus exuberance playing out right in front of our eyes.
PB: I know Rashad recused himself from this, which is understandable, but I wish Wren had someone more competent than a 3-4 McSweeney barking orders at him.
NC: It was a good round, one that I would actually score for Wren. He just took a round from Roy Nelson!
Between rounds, Rampage calls Arianny Celeste “his girlfriend”. Normally I’d roll my eyes, but this is one of the rare times in any TUF season where the coaches or contestants are shown acknowledging the ring girls. Considering they’re trapped in a house with nothing but dudes for months, you’d think this would come up more often.
PB: In round two, Wren keeps lunging forward with his head facing down while throwing wild punches, something he did near the end of round one, which allows Roy to continuously step out of the way and tag him with a counter shot. 90 seconds in and Justin is starting to turn a bit Pudzi (purple) while Roy’s cardio is holding up just fine.
James should be yelling something more helpful than just “DO YOU WANT IT OR NOT!?” to Justin. Wren is doing his best, but Roy is just better conditioned, far more seasoned, and just too crafty for him. Roy scores a knockdown but opts not to follow him to the mat, the rest of the round plays out with him either dodging anything Wren throws or just eating the few shots that do land, while peppering him with 1-2’s.
Everyone thinks there’s going to be a third round, but they’re all wrong, Roy gets the MD.
NC: I scored it one apiece. I certainly don’t think that Nelson was “destroyed” in the first round as Dana declares. His clinch work kept the opening period close and then he pulled away in the second. Everyone was rooting for a third though, even Rampage.
PB: Dana s**ts on Nelson by saying he was very close to getting knocked out in the first round and would have if he didn’t go for the clinch, then says he just squeaked by with that decision. Man, talk about having horse blinders on. If you didn’t want Kimbo to be humiliated, then you shouldn’t have put him in a tournament with 15 other guys who could still beat him after taking a fistful of Ambien.
NC: Let’s not forget that Dana hated Kimbo for a long time before he realized how much money he could make off of him.
Wren is in tears, telling himself that he should have just gone for the takedown. I’m not sure that would have been a great strategy either. He’s really beating himself up over it. It’s the sort of reaction you like to see from an up-and-coming fighter. Such a shame (?) that he had greater interests in life than the UFC.
PB: The episode ends with Dana saying “The day we see Roy Nelson in an exciting fight that he made exciting is the day I will give him his props”, with a little shake of his head when he’s done.
NC: Roy has had plenty of exciting fights since and he’s still waiting for those props.
PB: The promo for next week is of course a Kimbo Kard, there’s only a few weeks left so it’s time to hit the nitrous button on them.
Epilogue: In the post episode show the UFC did after it aired, they had Roy and Justin on and asked them what really became of the chickens when the cameras stopped rolling. This was their response. Note: There was video of this but it’s long gone (thanks Spike!) so still pictures have to do.
Also, Wren said that he picked McSweeney to be in his corner because he thought that would be the path to victory and James’ “experience” would help him. This is something he deeply regretted. And before I go, in the promo we see James slapping Schaub to get him ready, something he also did to Wren, only Brendan nearly shoves him through the wall in response. This makes me smile.