The Ultimate Fighter 17, Episode 9: Pores of a champion

The recap: Bubba wanted to fight Kevin, but Kevin fought Collin instead. And he stunk. But he’s happy to get another chance. The stitches in his forehead are frowning.

Bubba has a tearful confessional about wanting to see his daughter more. Then Team Jones’s coaches pump him up, saying he’s one of the best fighters in the house. The bad news: Bubba looks nervous. To drill that home, we get another confessional with an EXTREME CLOSEUP! SEE INSIDE BUBBA’S PORES! HE HAS THE PORES OF A CHAMPION!

The housemates recalled that Bubba’s callout of Kevin was the only callout of the season. Josh Samman can’t cede the spotlight that easily, so he calls out Jimmy Quinlan, mostly on the grounds that he’s … in the room.

But in practice, Uriah wants to fight Josh. And Jimmy, who tends to grapple people rather than knock them unconscious, says he wants to see Uriah beat the piss out of him.

Chael Sonnen then continues his transformation from trash-talking court-maneuvering bad boy to the Guru of Positive Coaching. “If his opponent is better, we can live with that. But we’ve got to see the real Kevin Casey.”

Casey has been practicing with a mask on to protect his cut. It looks like he’s auditioning for an MMA-themed remake of Silence of the Lambs.

Now it’s Thanksgiving dinner, and Sonnen proves himself the toastmaster. “Jon, it is a sheer disappointment, finding out what a nice gentleman you are.”

Some people are griping about not getting enough food. Bubba is cutting weight. Bubba angry. Bubba smash. Someone’s saving some food for after the fight, right?

But after another wholly unnecessary EXTREME CLOSEUP of Josh, Bubba steps up and makes weight. Kevin, on the other hand, needs to drop his drawers and step behind the Towel of Shame. He has trouble putting his pants back on. “I just don’t know what to do right now,” Sonnen says. He thinks maybe he should help, but …

Is it too late to have Chael replace Charlie Sheen on Anger Management? I’d watch that.

Dylan Andrews is afraid that Bubba might go crazy if he loses. Me too. Especially after the third “I should be able to smash this guy” confessional from Bubba in this episode.

Bubba and Kevin talk more. And more. And some ads. And Dana tells us it’s the wild-card fight. Finally, Steve Mazzagatti gets us started.

Kevin immediately gives up a takedown. I’d say he pulled guard, but he didn’t seem happy there, and he wall-walks his way up and out. Then he gets a takedown of his own, bending Bubba in all sorts of uncomfortable ways. Through 2:30 of the fight, it’s hard to recall a single strike.

Bubba eventually stands. Kevin holds him against the fence, but Bubba still manages to land some knees. Unfortunately, Kevin trips him down in the last 30 seconds, and Bubba just looks irritated for the rest of the round.

The second round finds Bubba again unable to remain at optimum kickboxing distance. He’s effective at dirty boxing, though, and he takes down Kevin in side control. Then he remembers the “pound” part of “ground and pound,” which Kevin doesn’t seem to enjoy.

An elbow sends Kevin’s mouthpiece flying, leading to some unusual corner advice: “You want that mouthpiece! Go get it!” Kevin works his way closer to it, but Bubba is effectively beating him up with good fists and elbows. The Sonnen staff is reduced to the Rampage-style corner advice of “Get up!”

So did the judges give a 10-8 in the second round? Of course not. We’re going to a third round. Kevin has to be helped to his corner.

We were promised a big finish, and we don’t have much time for much else. In fact, we have NO time, because Kevin can’t get up off his stool.

Bubba yells to Dana White, “Does that count as a finish?” Dana, smiling: “Good question! Yeah, we’ll give it to you.”

Fight recap: Chael is pleased that Kevin turned it into a grappling match rather than a fight in the first round. Then one of Chael’s team yelled into the cage that Bubba was breaking. Bubba angry. Bubba smash — for real this time. Afterwards, Bubba yelled not to tell him he’s breaking. Point taken.

Kevin’s departure puzzles Chael. “This was new to me,” the coach/philosopher says. Kevin says he once had kidney failure in a fight. He leaves in an ambulance. So we’re supposed to infer that he had kidney failure again?

Quarterfinal time. Dana says he usually brings in the fighters to get their preferences. This time … he also will do that. OK then.

One person (Collin?) actually calls out Uriah. But Uriah calls out Josh. They ask Josh about that, and he says Uriah is ducking Collin. Right.

As with Lesnar and dos Santos, the coaches surprisingly agree on everything. Dylan and Luke called each other out, so that’s easy.

But Dana has final say:

– Collin vs. Kelvin
– Dylan vs. Luke (New Zealand vs. UK)
– Josh vs. Jimmy
– Uriah vs. Bubba

Aw, come on. That’s not fair. Uriah: We all had this Scooby-Doo look on our faces. He does a good sound effect to illustrate — ah, the limitations of print render it impossible for me to replicate it.

So Josh and Jimmy get the fight that one of them really wanted and one sort of wanted. Dylan and Luke get their Battle of the Accents. The other four are going back to the house wondering what they did to piss off Dana.

On the next episode, we get an overhead shot of Brittney Palmer’s cleavage. Then two fights. And Ronda Rousey visits. Never say the producers don’t understand their demographic.

The Ultimate Fighter 17, Episode 4: Rap, rap, rippety rap …

Maybe we shouldn’t pick on Kevin Casey, the fighter/rapper who finagles an easy matchup in which he’ll take no damage and then proceeds to spend most of the fight on his back doing nothing of interest. He’s clearly quick-witted and thoughtful. He easily wins the rap battle in the house, and his video isn’t that bad:

But if you keep chanting “Never surrender, no retreat, God, way of life, etc.” in your video, shouldn’t you … back it up? With something?

Here’s how the episode unfolded …

Adam Cella returns from his KO in a hospital gown and seeks out Uriah Hall. The fact that he’s in the shower doesn’t keep him from stepping in to mess around with Hall, who seems relieved and genuinely happy that Cella’s up and joking around. Though maybe a little nervous to be standing naked behind a shower curtain.

Moving ahead: Kevin Casey rationalizes his decision to take Collin Hart instead of Bubba or someone else, saying he came in with an eye injury and wants to avoid taking more damage. Meanwhile, Bubba pumps up Collin with some confident talk.

Hart’s backstory is typical: Fought a lot in elementary school, got suspended a lot. If we improve public education in the USA, will our pool of MMA fighters decline?

Casey apparently has rap videos online. See above.

Gilbert Smith throws it down, and we have a rap battle in the house. It’s not bad. More rappers need a sense of humor like this. The housemates enjoy it, too.

Before you start to think Casey is just a funny rap dude ducking Bubba, we get his backstory. Casey studied with some Gracies and vowed to keep going in MMA after Rockson Gracie’s death.

Now a TUF first: The power went out! But all the camera crews still have power, so we get a little toilet paper prank from Team Sonnen. It doesn’t go well, by Team Sonnen’s admission. Hart is still angry because they had set a rule of not messing with each other’s sleep. Hart’s weight cut may also be making him a bit irritable.

Josh Samman says he would bet his house on Hart. Then Hart flips off Casey at the weigh-in. Hall: “Nobody saw that coming.”

Back at the house, Collin struggles at first to explain the middle finger. He then pegs it to his interrupted sleep. Casey gives a little bit of a lecture on professionalism, saying older fighters (Casey’s 31) sometimes need to remind younger fighters (Hart’s 22) of their responsibilities. Hart doesn’t reply, except in confessional, where he’s still mad about his interrupted sleep.

Fight time: Hart immediately rushes Casey and takes him down, landing in half-guard. Casey improves to full guard and ties him up. Casey stands and clinches, and the fighters demonstrate why the IOC got bored with Greco-Roman wrestling. Yell “knees” all you want — this is still boring as hell.

Round 2: Casey comes out swinging. Hard. Hart clinches, and somehow, Casey’s face starts spurting blood. Head butt? After a struggle, Hart takes him down in half-guard, then briefly gets side control. Then nothing. What does a guy have to do to get Herb Dean to stand ’em up?

Decision time: Hart wins unanimously.

Jones says the fight went perfectly. Sonnen says Casey settled into a position and waited for a mistake that never came. Dana White noticed that Casey did very little after his two offensive flurries, like “he didn’t even try to win this fight.” Sonnen is blunt, too: “Kevin Casey never showed up.”

Hart apologizes to Sonnen for the finger, saying he meant no disrespect. Sonnen doesn’t really care.

Then Hart gets on a treadmill. They weren’t kidding about his cardio. Dude’s a serious athlete.

Fight announcement. Jones has regained control. Will he blunder again, as he did in Episode 1?

He picks Bubba, as hinted earlier, against Kelvin. Who? Has this dude been on camera at any point this season? Let’s check the Episode 1 recap … he didn’t even say much in that one.

Ah … Sonnen reminds us he’s the youngest fighter in the history of the tournament. Sonnen says Bubba’s the favorite but that Kelvin can push the pace. Let’s hope so.