The Ultimate Fighter 16, Episode 8: Lots of bark, a little bite

We recap last week’s fight, and Dana is still mad about the decision. But he’s also mad about the fights. If the judges suck, he says in roughly so many words, don’t let the fight go to a decision. And these fights have been d-u-l-l.

Last week’s winner, Michael Hill, and his coach, Roy Nelson, aren’t impressed with Dana’s bonus money of $5,000 for a finish. Hill says he didn’t come here to win $5,000 and break his hand.

Dana stops by the house to reinforce his message: “I’m here to tell you what you need to do to get in the UFC. You need to start fighting.” He warns that these guys won’t make the finale.

I’m giving this argument to Dana. The number of people who’ve gotten a few good UFC fights (including the finale) after an exciting run (winning or not) on The Ultimate Fighter is higher than the number of people who’ve snoozed their way through the show and won. Stephan Bonnar parlayed an exciting fight into a long UFC career and commentary gigs.

Mike Ricci, one of four guys who hasn’t fought yet, tells everyone not to let Dana ruin their focus. But Hill gets upset with himself and decides to hit the bottle. Several bottles, to be precise.

Hill starts telling Neil Magny he’s going to beat him in the next round. Magny finds that funny because Hill can’t beat him on the ground. Or standing. Or, presumably, suspended from wires. Or in zero gravity.

Dom Waters steps in to calm Hill down. But then Julian Lane, Hill’s drinking buddy, gets mad at Dom.

Just as Dom starts to remove his microphone, the sure sign of an impending fight in the house, we abruptly cut to commercial. And it’s the one in which the guy with a Mohawk — a bit more pronounced than Julian’s — struts around as he enters the cage before getting KO’d by the no-nonsense, NOS-drinking guy who vaguely resembles Georges St. Pierre.

Somebody — looks like Jon Manley? — gets in the middle trying to calm things down. “Won’t somebody help me?” he pleads. Colton Smith takes him up on it. Dom finally storms away, not saying a word but throwing and kicking things.

Colton tells Julian: “I’m not letting you do it.” Julian bangs the back of his head against the door and screams like he’s in an afterschool special about PCP.

Julian continues into an epic meltdown. Somewhere, Junie Browning is watching this and thinking, “Whoa, this dude makes me look like Nate Quarry.”

We check in with Julian the next morning. “I kind of feel like a jackass.” Dom is forgiving, figuring Julian will leave him alone the rest of the season.

But look at it this way: Dana White said he wanted to see more aggressive fights. Well, Lane is out of the tournament. So maybe he was trying to impress Dana with an aggressive fight against his own team’s top pick? Would that help?

But first, it’s the coaches’ challenge. Clearly, Dana picked this one specifically to embarrass the pudgy Roy Nelson. It’s track and field. And there may be nothing uglier in TUF history than Roy Nelson attempting to do the long jump.

Carwin isn’t bad at all. His shot put effort goes 46-3. He hits 120 feet with the javelin, which would rank third among Nevada high school athletes.

Nelson basically quit in the backstretch of the 400. Some Carwin fighters think it’s a big deal. So does Nelson fighter Nic Herron-Webb, the early agitator of the season who has been pretty quiet in recent weeks.

And … oh wait, we have a fight! James Chaney wears all black before a fight. Including a leather jacket. Even if it’s 120 degrees. Must be fun to do the day after a weight cut.

The fight stirs up an awesome irony. To Dana’s surprise and obvious delight, Chaney and Jon Manley come out swinging from the start. And it’s Carwin’s corner yelling that they don’t want that. Nelson, Mr. “Win First, Be Exciting Later,” is quieter.

Chaney pulls guard and gets a strong triangle attempt. Manley needs a minute and change to get out. But when he does, he lands in a great position and immediately gets a guillotine. He holds on for the brilliant finish, taking the bonus money for the finish and putting himself in position for Submission of the Season by default. So far, it might even be the Fight of the Season.

Except for one thing: Chaney sunk his teeth into his escape attempt. Literally. He bit Manley in an effort to get him to let go of the guillotine. I’d guess Dana won’t reward that. And the Colton Smith-Eddy Ellis bout wasn’t bad at all.

Next week, Shane Carwin hates the quarterfinal matchups so much that he almost shows emotion. Almost.

The Ultimate Fighter 16: 16 random facts about the show

The Ultimate Fighter Friday: Team Carwin vs. Team Nelson Yes We’re Still on Fridays on FX But No We’re Not Live Any More debuts on … well, Friday.

Sixteen things you might not know about the cast of the show’s 16th domestic season (not counting TUF Brazil or the new international seasons in various stages of planning/production — UK vs. Australia, India):

1. Two fighters have big red or pink Mohawks. (Julian Lane, Ricky Legere Jr.)

2. Fighters include one from North Dakota (Leo Kuntz) and one from South Dakota (David Michaud). Michaud is representing his reservation, as this remarkable video shows.

3. Colton Smith is an Army Ranger with a political chip on his shoulder. “The only thing that Colton has a hard time not choking out is the plethora of liberal tree-huggers he tends to run into in the greater DC area,” says his bio at sponsor Ranger Up. I don’t know — most of the liberal tree-huggers I know in the D.C. area could probably take this guy. They work out a lot.

4. Jason South is 34. He addresses his age in his TUF bio: “Well most people are giving me shit because of my age but I think it’s going to play a big role in keeping my head in the right place.”

5. Kevin Nowaczyk’s nickname is “Give Me Your Lunch Money.” Most nicknames aren’t commands. And yet he’s so humble that he answers the TUF bio question “Why you think you will be the next Ultimate Fighter champion” with “I don’t know if I will be …” (Matthew Secor’s answer starts “I don’t think I will be” but continues “I know I will be.”)

6. Best answer to the “Why you’ll win” bio question goes to Sam Alvey: “Because the force is with me.” (He elaborates.) He also was a “big time band participant” in high school.

7. Most of Lev Magen’s fight experience is in Israel.

8. Cameron Diffley was Forrest Griffin’s assistant coach, specializing in jiu-jitsu, when the former UFC light heavyweight champion was a TUF coach.

9. Igor Araujo helps develop the jiu-jitsu of the current UFC light heavyweight champ, Jon Jones.

10. Bristol Marunde is an IFL and Strikeforce veteran who chased down a rape suspect and stopped him with a head kick.

11. Alaskan Nic Herron-Webb is nicknamed “Naptime.” His MMA specialty is “Nap-jitsu.”

12. Dom Waters’ nickname is “Sho Nuff,” not to be confused with Rodney “Sho Nuff The Master” Wallace.

13. Frank “The Crank” Camacho made his pro debut at age 16 and says he has been training to win The Ultimate Fighter since age 14. Most of his fights were on Pacific islands, but he has moved to Maryland to work with Lloyd Irvin.

14. James Chaney, one of only three cast members with a Wikipedia entry (the others are Marunde and Diffley), has fought in Russia and lists his MMA specialty as “sambo.”

15. Several cast members have fought in Zuffa’s sibling promotion Strikeforce, including Bristol Marunde, Saad Awad, Ricky Legere Jr., and Cortez Coleman. Legere and Coleman have Strikeforce wins.

16. This season had no open auditions.

Last season didn’t have a lot of drama in the house. You’d think 13 weeks in the house would make people crazier than usual, but it seems to have a sedating effect. Producers seemed to think bringing Ronda Rousey into the house would spark … something. No. What are they going to do — hit on her on camera, knowing they’ll be released into the real world in another six weeks or so?

Also, by going live each week, producers and editors only had a short time to see what had happened in the house. Storylines couldn’t really be built.

This season? Looks dramatic.

Hard-core fans might not be happy. But will the ratings be better? As Shaun Al-Shatti said at MMA Fighting — you’re either pumped or vowing not to watch a single second.