‘The Ultimate Fighter’: Season 11, Episode 3: Not that there’s anything wrong with that

Two weeks ago, we wondered if Rich Franklin would be replacing Tito Ortiz sometime during this season, and we were all assured otherwise. Chuck Liddell vs. Tito Ortiz, and Chuck is excited!

Last week, we got confirmation from the UFC: Chuck Liddell will be facing … Rich Franklin??!!

We’ll have to watch to find out how.

So let’s run through the teams …

Team Liddell:
Kyle Noke – former Crocodile Hunter bodyguard, won first fight
Rich Attonito – good wrestler, quiet so far
Charles Blanchard – wasn’t he a college football player in the 40s?
Josh Bryant – won close decision to get in
Brad Tavares – helped out Crabman and McCray with the air-horn prank last time
Court McGee – Scott Ian goatee
Joe Henle – looks like Chris “Jesus” Ferguson

Team Ort, er, Punishment, er, Franklin?:
Nick Ring – impressive resume
Kyacey Uscola – Mr. 18-15, didn’t like Crabman’s antics
Kris McCray – wins fights quickly
Jamie Yager – Crabman! On a mission to annoy everyone
James Hammortree – won prelim with ground-and-pound
Clayton McKinney – trains with Tom Lawlor and Seth Petruzelli, and he has the green hair to prove. Lost already to Noke and seemed humiliated when Tito tried to make it a learning experience.
Chris Camozzi – dental problems since prelim fight

On to the show, where we get the theme music this time. Anyone already missing the gag of showing Roy Nelson’s belly fat on the word “fitness”?

Dana calls everyone together. Tavares has a weird feeling that it’s something bad. The background music backs him up. They tell Camozzi he has a broken jaw and he can’t continue. Dana praises him, both coaches hug him and all the fighters from both teams come up. It’s a nice reminder of the camaraderie in this sport.

Tito and his coaches get a choice of four guys who lost their prelim fights.

Then Dana gives some strange message about how easy it is to have to leave the competition. Soooo … don’t break your jaw, OK?

This week, we get a good view of Liddell’s training. It’s a lot of striking. That’s what happens when your ground-game coach is a champion in another promotion. (Psssst … it’s Strikeforce’s Jake Shields.)

Back to the house, we find out that Charles Blanchard is skilled at massage therapy, and he’s seen giving Nick Ring a massage around 2 a.m. McCray has a weird issue with it. Off we go to the uncomfortable, immature attitudes toward sexuality from McCray and Yager. Way to represent Northern Virginia, Kris.

We meet our substitute — Seth Baczynski, who lost in overtime (or, if you prefer less precise terms, “sudden victory”) to McGee in the prelims.

Chuck has control of the matchups, and he brings in Brad Tavares to face James Hammortree in a battle of fifth-round picks.

Off to Tito’s team, and Yager is upset with the way Ring is sparring. Ring is upset that Yager’s calling him names. If this has anything to do with the 3 a.m. post-massage conversation, just kick someone out of the house and start fresh.

Let’s meet Brad Tavares! He’s from Hilo, Hawaii, and he loves to fight because fighting is fun. He’s also young, so we’ll forgive him for having nothing interesting to say. Howard Davis wants him to jab more.

James Hammortree has the nickname “Sledge,” recalling the great show Sledge Hammer! or Peter Gabriel’s knockoff of Superstition. He won his way into the house with ground-and-pound, and Tito seems interested in seeing him use that again. Hammortree also says he once knocked someone out in five seconds, which Sherdog confirms.

We’re already to fight day just 23 minutes into the episode? Either this one’s an epic or Spike has a lot of video game ads to run.

Brief inter-ad interlude before the fight shows Yager telling us he likes Tito’s workouts, which include throwing tires backwards on an empty street overlooking the Strip.

Tale of the Tape tells us that both guys are young — Tavares 22, Hammortree 23. Steve Mazzagatti, whom Dana White hasn’t insulted recently, is the ref.

The last half-hour of the episode is devoted to a strange fight. They don’t stand up much — Tavares looks better in the brief exchanges. Hammortree keeps shooting for takedowns and sometimes getting them, but they trade escapes and reversals constantly.

The first round is especially hard to score. I gave it to Hammortree for getting a little bit of space to throw elbows and for keeping a bodylock. The second round was a little more convincing for Hammortree, who spent much of the round on top while Tavares could do little but keep his arms tied up to prevent a ground-and-pound assault.

The judges disagree with me on one of those rounds, because they call it a draw through two rounds. Off to Round 3, though before that, we get a shocker on Spike — an ad for Saturday’s Strikeforce card?

They touch gloves again. Tavares lands a stiff left jab. Hammortree shoots and wrestles his way into side control, then a half-guard, then mount.

Somehow, Hammortree manages to lose the fight from here. He keeps mount just briefly, and Tavares controls the rest of the round, pressing Hammortree’s head into his chest while alternating kimura attempts with punches to the side of Hammortree’s head.

Tito thinks Hammortree won it. I disagree. So do all three judges. Tavares, unanimous decision.

Hammortree sounds just like Rocky. And in the new “wild card” format, we may not have seen the last of him in the cage.

Tito gripes about the decision, saying he just saw a takedown, side control and mount. Not sure what he did during the last four minutes of the fight.

Preview of next week — we’re getting two fights, more naughtiness from Crabman and a “post-fight riot.” Appears that Josh Rosenthal is our ref for that one. Condolences, Josh.

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Beau Dure

The guy who wrote a bunch of soccer books and now runs a Gen X-themed podcast while substitute teaching and continuing to write freelance stuff.

8 thoughts on “‘The Ultimate Fighter’: Season 11, Episode 3: Not that there’s anything wrong with that”

  1. Whist I agree, almost, totally with your cynicism I still can’t get passed the fact that it went to a 3rd round. This is starting to happen too often in the UFC, where ratings or money seem to be the main focus of a ‘win’. That fight filled an extra 5 minutes air time and the result was flawed.

    The question is not what this is doing in the UFC, but how the UFC can not be considered a sport. There seems to be no regulation but Dana’s cash flow, and to me that seems wrong. It’s all about the money and not the sport. There is no regulation about who fights for what and the ‘judges’ seem hand picked to deliver verdicts.

    MMA is bigger than Dana and Zuffa (?), but they weild titles and money around to fighters who deserve better, yet they seem to be able to influence results for the sake of ratings – go figure (to coin a US saying)…

  2. For the most part, referees and judges are selected by the states, not the UFC. Dana would not have chose to have Mazzagatti as the ref in that fight.

    I certainly don’t think Dana and company manipulated that fight to have it go to a third round. It wasn’t that exciting. If it were being manipulated, it would’ve been decided after two rounds so they could show five more minutes of Yager arguing with people in the house and the gym.

  3. Not entirely true from my viewing. Yes, the fight was not that ‘exiciting’ from a banging point of view, but there was more than enough to stop it going to a third round. And the winner of the third round lost the opening two!!!

    Ask yourself how you scored the first two rounds, then ask yourself if it’s a sport to be proud of at the moment….

  4. Let me explain again, what assurance is there that the ‘officials’ aren’t being paid by Dana et al….

  5. Dana knows how much there is to lose if there were ever a scandal along those lines. I wouldn’t see him doing it at all, especially to extend a so-so fight to a third round on TUF.

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