mma

The Ultimate Fighter 16, Episode 9: Friends and fighting

In life and The Ultimate Fighter, stepping up and apologizing is a Good Thing. From a utilitarian perspective, apologies add much to the greater good. They free society of the need to do excessive policing, allowing that society to focus on more positive efforts. They also establish norms of decency that reduce the risk of society members being victimized.

Dana White might not be a utilitarian philosophy student, but he appreciates a good solid apology. So when he brought in James Chaney to confront him about potentially biting Jon Manley in the previous fight, he was impressed that Chaney immediately confessed and said he was sorry. White reiterated that there’s no place for biting in fighting, but with Chaney showing nothing but remorse, White accepted the apology.

In the house, things aren’t resolved in such a civil utilitarian fashion. Julian Lane says something about the military that his buddy Colton Smith doesn’t like. Colton says he’s doing something positive with his life. Julian says he is, too. Colton is surprised to hear that acting “a fool” on television is “positive,” and he piles on. “OK, Junie Browning.”

Oh, it’s on. Maybe you can call a TUF castmate “Chris Leben,” after the show’s original meltdown artist. Maybe even “Jamie Yager.” But “Junie Browning”? Oh, Julian doesn’t like that one bit.

Dom Waters steps in “Junie”/Julian’s way but says in confessional he was tempted to let ’em go.

Colton actually handles everything himself. He repeats “Chill, man” about 15 times. He then tells Julian, “We started this together, we’ll finish this together.”

We do see a bit of friendship in the house. Fellow Canadians Mike Ricci and Michael Hill like each other. This is what we in the media business call “foreshadowing.”

Moving on to meet this week’s fighters: Dom learned MMA late in his military career. Ricci learned it from a Renzo Gracie book, practicing moves with his buddies, then from Georges St. Pierre.

Carwin thinks Ricci is the most technically sound fighter in the house and just needs to watch for Dom’s power … zzzzzzz … huh? Hey, Carwin said something funny! He jokingly says Mike’s kind of a pretty boy! That’s a joke, right?

At no time in the prefight buildup or the first round did Dom look like he was going to win this fight. He spends most of the first round refusing to throw his fists. Mike does a little bit more but doesn’t do anything huge. The only thing that happened — Mike landed a good kick to the liver.

Second round: Dom presses Mike face-first to the cage. Finally gets takedown. Roy Nelson yells, “Use your bony elbows, Dom!” But Mike easily drags himself to the cage and wall-walks his way up.

But Dom wears him down along the cage, drags him down and briefly has his back. Unfortunately, Dom’s grappling is just a little sloppy, so even after pressing him to the cage again and dragging him down, he lets him back up.

Again Dom pushes Mike down onto all fours and makes a bit of an effort for the choke. As time runs down, Nelson yells at him to give up on the choke and pound him, which Dom does.

We’ve got a third round, to no one’s shock. Dom looks passive again but suddenly shoots for a single-leg takedown. Mike tries to defend by grabbing a guillotine, but Dom picks him up and slams him, landing in side control. Somehow, he gives up that position, and Mike ends up on top in Dom’s guard. From there, Dom just fades away.

So Ricci advances. Meanwhile, half of the UFC’s welterweights are calling Dana White asking to matched up with either of these guys.

Dana White brings in all the fighters to ask them which castmates they want to fight. This is usually an exercise in predictability. If a couple of guys hate each other, they’ll say so. Otherwise, they all want to prove to Dana that they’ll fight anyone.

But we get one shocker. Mike Ricci wants to fight Michael Hill. And Hill is dumbfounded when he comes in to say he’ll fight anyone except his best buddy and fellow Canadian, only to hear from Roy Nelson that Ricci picked him.

This is so un-Canadian. Rush has had the same lineup since 1975. Loverboy is still touring with its debut-album lineup except for late bass player Scott Smith. Ricci and Hill’s split is the worst Canadian in-fighting since Bob and Doug McKenzie last told each other to take off.

The quarterfinal matchups are interesting in another sense:

Bristol Marunde vs. Neil Magny. Team Carwin’s most impressive fighters in the first round. Neil isn’t happy.

Igor Araujo vs. Colton Smith. They hate each other for reasons I can’t quite remember.

Joey Rivera vs. Jon Manley. Teammates and buddies, a little puzzled to be matched up.

Ricci vs. Hill. Ricci says he beat the top pick on Team Nelson, so let’s fight the second. But Hill was also the least impressive winner.

Next week: More people hate each other and fight each other. They have to plow through six fights (four quarterfinals, two semis) in the remaining episodes, so the drama in the house won’t have much time to play out.

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