Episode 1 of The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 came up after the Ultimate Fight Night Live. Luckily, I enjoy watching fights, because this makes for a long night of fights.
Dana White travelled to England for this episode. Sixteen of Britain’s finest MMA guys were fighting for the eight positions which would get them to Las Vegas and The Ultimate Fighter show. The day after White met the guys, they all fought for the eight positions, giving us eight fights in just over an hour. This certainly shows us an immediate and wide range of skillsets and techniques.
A few things occurred to me while watching fight after fight: if your coach is yelling at you to do something or not to something else and you pay no attention, chances are you’ll lose. This happened in at least two matches in which Bisping shouted instructions to his guys and they paid no heed. In the first case, Bisping’s guy was knocked out. (This reminds me of an old Pancrase show in which Frank Shamrock was attempting a manoeuvre and Ken Shamrock shouted instructions to not do that but this, and Frank immediately followed the instructions and won.) Also, if you come in shouting that you’re the “Reidinator”, you really should win, or attempt to. Egomaniacal behaviour is unsightly and irritating at the best of times, but to be on the bottom holding someone in your guard and shouting at him to hit you (as you don’t try to get out from under), well, you’re asking to be hit. He complied with your wishes. In this case, the winner was a guy whom Dana White said was inexperienced and nervous. He won, though.
Two heel hooks ended two different matches. The guys tapped out very quickly. I spoke with Dave about heel hooks: when he’s practicing them, he locks them on and holds the heel securely, but doesn’t apply any pressure. He’s just showing his opponent that it’s there. He then lets go. He never practices heel hooks with a guy new to our class or to martial arts and never lets them get him in a heel hook. New guys tend to have no control and end up hurting us. In order to fight heel hooks, other than being hyper-aware of your body placement, a guy might be able to use his other leg to free the trapped foot or a sweaty guy might be able to roll out of one; if you can’t roll out, tap out. Knees are blasted very easily.
Another thing which occurred to me: Dana White’s language has reached new lows and based on the previews for next week, he uses the same offensive phrase in the next episode.
I sincerely hope that this season of The Ultimate Fighter is less gag-inducing than last season, but I have my doubts. Any bets on how much the guys will be drinking, fighting, destroying the house, etc.? The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 TUF9 is on Wednesdays on Spike.
April 2, 2009