Team Carwin (actually yellow on the show, but brown for the purposes of this article)
Team Pearson (actually blue on the show, but red for the purposes of this article)
(TUF: The Smashes – October 3, 2012, TUF 16 – October 5, 2012)
If any of these Smashes guys were competing in the US edition they’d need subtitles. Being someone who watches the occasional BBC program and spends way too much time badly imitating accents, I quite enjoy the way these guys talk, but I can picture people having to rewind their DVRs to decipher the dialogue. Throw in British and Australian slang and you have a recipe for disaster.
Smashes gives us spotlights on Bola Omoyele, Brad Scott, and Xavier Lucas (who lived in South Africa and had to deal with people giving him guff over his stammering; so Kenyon Martin basically).
The stories aren’t thrilling, but it gives us some basic information until it’s their time to fight. Speaking of which, the two contestants picked to fight this week are Luke Newman and Robert Whittaker. Newman looks like the lovechild of John Turturro and Bret from Flight of the Conchords…
Newman seems like an unassuming guy who isn’t looking for a fight, but is more than happy to punch your teeth out should it come to it. He’s another former troublemaker who was deeply affected by the death of his Nan (“grandmother” and yes, I had to look that up). He has a shirt dedicated to her and even though I shouldn’t, I must point out an egregious typo.
Whittaker expresses how he feels he’s been overlooked. The other Aussies confirm that he might be the best welterweight on the team. He certainly thinks so, because when Sotiropoulos tells him he has a good chance of winning the fight, Whittaker says he has a 100% chance and that you “can’t get any more than that.”
While Smashes focuses on a tough morning training session that Pearson springs on Team UK, the Classic cast is taken out to a screening of the new MMA-themed Kevin James’ film “Here Comes The Boom”. The whole segment is reminiscent of American Idol and that’s not something I ever wanted to write about The Ultimate Fighter.
I have to go after Julian Lane for a minute. First, he flat out refuses to do a second round of cardio, uttering the two words every coach loves to hear: I can’t. He admits that his cardio isn’t up to snuff and that he’ll be in trouble if the fight lasts longer than two minutes. Two minutes! Second, he ignores his corner’s instructions to stay away from the cage during the fight, though in his “defence” (for lack of a better term) he gets so blown up in the second round that I’m not sure he can even hear anything beyond a faint buzzing. Thirdly, his whole sob story revolves around getting fired and his girlfriend having to work two jobs to support them and their child. That sounds more like a deadbeat than a sympathetic figure. He also mentions how he loves riding his Harley and wants to use the money to buy a Cruiser.
*spoiler* He loses the fight and then starts crying about how he has nothing back home. Sell your f***ing motorcycle! Sell the jet-ski!
Michael Hill, kind-hearted Canuck that he is, offers some outstanding advice: Take these next four weeks and become a better man. Lane just sobs, saying “I failed my daughter, man.” You failed your daughter when you spent all that time taking care of that pink mohawk instead of holding down a job, motherf***er.
Advantage: 10-9 TUF: The Smashes
Nelson decides to pick the next fight by drawing straws. He clearly could not care less about this show, saying that he chose this method because it was less stressful. He does show some signs of life when his fighters question whether Lane’s opponent, Bristol Marunde, actually made weight. He has no actual evidence so when he asks Dana White about it, White is absolutely dumbfounded.
The Smashes coaches are far more lively this episode. Pearson announces Robert Whittaker as “Richard” during the fight selection which was slightly disrespectful even though it was clearly an accident (he later says, “I can’t believe I f***ed up the first one”). He makes up for it by asking Sotiropoulos “country or teammate?” (Sotiropoulos and Newman train together with American Top Team). He shows a lot of hesitation before declaring that Whittaker is his boy, but I can’t imagine anyone felt good about that. Still, it was a nasty move on par with TUF 5 when BJ Penn told the contestants that if they didn’t want to have anything to do with Jens Pulver to just raise their hands and be honest about it. Now that was nasty.
Sotiropoulos counters during the weigh-in by not acknowledging Colin Fletcher’s victory last week (he claims the score is “1-nil”) and pretending that he doesn’t know who Newman is. I thought that was smart, but then realized what a dick move it was when you consider that they train together. Damn, son!
Advantage: TUF: The Smashes 10-8
The pranks this week revolve around the coaches…or at least they would if the fighters even realized that the TUF 16 coaches were alive.
The Aussies look to get back at Team UK for making a mockery of Sotiropoulos’ picture by taking an Arianny Celeste poster from the house and sticking Pearson’s face on it. This leads to awkward out-of-context comments:
Benny Alloway: I guess we’re going to see Ross Pearson in some UFC ring girl clothes tomorrow.
Sotiropoulos: I thought a bikini would look great on Ross.
The whole procedure takes the Australian team many hours to set up and the end result is…kind of crappy. Team UK doesn’t pretend to be amused or offended, noting that the other team must have spent way too much time on it.
Smashes star “Freakshow” Fletcher continues to carry the comedic load, first constructing some weird, kind of phallic helmet to try and scare his mates…
…then engaging in a juvenile contest with last week’s opponent, Ben Wall. Wall says that “anything Fletcher can do, he can do better”, which I’m sure will be resolved in a mature and educational fashion. They decide to snort lines of wasabi and Piri-piri sauce. Wall throws up, so I guess…Fletcher wins? He compares the experience to having “dirt smeared in me eyes…and kicked in the nuts…and me nose pulled nine inches off me face.”
Of all things, this is what unites the two nations.
Advantage: 10-9 TUF: The Smashes
You might have noticed that I didn’t mention Classic in the “Shenanigans” section. I could easily have put Lane’s story there because hell, it made me laugh, but other than that there wasn’t much comedy. As funny as these guys can be sometimes, this has to be the most boring cast since TUF 11 (Liddell/Ortiz).
However, both series’ decide to treat us to some weigh-in drama! I know that it’s down to a science at this point, but the whole process still fascinates me. Newman is dealing with the fact that he’s been sipping coconut water on the side (the sodium content retains water in the body) and Marunde is just dealing with being a large welterweight. The Smashes ordeal is slightly more interesting, but only because he lies to his coaches about his diet. Marunde, not the most electrifying character anyway, simply says how hard it will be to make weight and then…does it.
Advantage: 10-9 TUF: The Smashes
TUF 16 Welterweight Bout: Bristol Marunde d. Julian Lane via UD (20-18 x3)
Marunde is far more experienced than Lane and almost everyone was disappointed that he didn’t finish Lane off. Lane shows some power, but his bad cardio was obvious to everyone and he was nearly defenceless in the second round. Marunde could have been more aggressive with the leg kicks but he was controlling the fight and I can understand why he didn’t want to risk getting caught by a lucky punch especially in this tournament format. Seriously though, Lane looked terrible, blinking a lot and taking deep breaths through his mouth. If I saw someone like that at a club, I’d call a cab for him.
TUF: The Smashes Welterweight Bout: Robert Whittaker d. Luke Newman via KO (:19, R1)
Newman comes out throwing some scary hooks and he connects solidly at least once. Whittaker has a good chin and he escapes. When they get off the cage, Whittaker ducks under and connects with a lightning right directly on Newman’s chin that drops him. The ref can’t get in there fast enough to call this one.
This fight comparison is actually closer than you might expect. Marunde and Lane fought hard and even though Lane was tired, I never felt like he quit mentally. Whittaker and Newman showed a lot in less than 20 seconds and it would have been great to get a couple of rounds out of them.
Advantage: 10-10 Draw
Final Score: 50-45 TUF: The Smashes
…and another thing! Nelson’s straw drawing method looks doubly stupid right now because Lane could have used the extra time to get his cardio up to snuff. I’m sorry, I can’t stop complaining about how much the US coaches suck.
Smashes gets the clear cut win, but both series showed a lot of improvement this week. Even the ratings bounced back, with Classic cracking a million viewers again after plummeting below 800,000 the week before (an all-time low). The TUF 16 preview promises to throw down the gauntlet with a Lane freak out next week so Smashes is going to need something special to extend their lead.
The Smashes victory means the attending ring girl gets the love. Take us out, Kristie!