TUF 19 Rewind Episode 4: A boy named Gutter
MAY 08, 2014 12:30a ET
Part of the charm of the long running history of The Ultimate Fighter is getting to know the competitors on the show. Unlike any kind of access we as journalists may get to a fighter, rarely do their personalities come out like they do during that six week period when they are trapped in a house, forced to interact with each other without so much as a cell phone, TV or computer to keep them occupied. I mean I can barely sit through a two hour movie without checking my phone, so imagine doing that for six weeks.
Six weeks! That's 45 days. That's more than half the season on 'Game of Thrones'!
So what we usually get on the reality show are fighters turned up to 11. It's what I like to call 'fighters amplified'. For instance take season one of The Ultimate Fighter and a guy named Josh Koscheck. On the show, you could not meet (forgive me for the harsh language) but douchebag. The douche factor was exponential. From his attitude to his demeanor to his ongoing war of words with Chris Leben, there was almost nothing likable about him during the show.
Then I got the chance to meet Koscheck after the series filmed, and since that time I've interviewed him dozens of times. Can he be a bit prickly at points? Sure, what fighter isn't, especially if you catch them at the tail end of a media session or during weight cutting, but for the most part I always found Koscheck to be engaging, funny and just an all around good dude.
Something tells me this season's 'Koscheck' is going to be light heavyweight contender Matt Van Buren aka 'Gutter'. Given his nickname because he started out in the lowly depths in MMA, 'Gutter' just made sense as he worked his way higher and higher before eventually making it to The Ultimate Fighter. Some will say that's not really 'making it' but considering how many competitors try out for TUF or don't even get the chance to be on the show, it is an accomplishment.
This week's episode put Gutter right in the center of everyone's crosshairs. Let's run down a few of his best quotes.
“They're just going to have to catch that asswhooping”
"Dan (Spohn) was fighting more not to lose than to win. He had dominant positions and he wasn't doing anything with it. It kind of made it a boring fight I felt like. Definitely not a fight that's going to put butts in seats."
"If I were to break my hand in a fight, I'm just going to keep my mouth shut and stick it out till the end. I'll go out there Urijah Faber style and just throw elbows."
"They're just going to have to catch that asswhooping."
"(Chris) Fields, man, that dude's just a turd."
"Old lady reminiscing over getting nailed in the backseat of a car. Right before the ship sank. Oh that Jack Dawson. (This was Gutter's interpretation of 'Titanic')
I can't be the only one that wants to hear future movie reviews and analysis from Gutter this season.
It's clear his personality clashes with a few of the fighters in the house as he eggs on his agenda for Team Edgar poking at Roger Zapata and taking shots at Chris Fields. Whether you love it or hate it, the kind of brashness that Van Buren bristles the other fighters in the house with is the exact kind of attitude needed to win The Ultimate Fighter and be successful in and out of the cage off the show. There are a laundry list of fighters who appeared on the show, maybe they won, maybe they didn't, but because they stood out we always remember who they were. Let's just hope 'Gutter' doesn't go full Junie Browning this season.
From Gutter's antics, we shift into learning more about our TUF 19 fighters this week. Tim Williams talks about a brain aneurysm that stopped his first pro fight that was supposed to be against future UFC champion Chris Weidman (side note, during the show and my subsequent interview, I thought he said Chris Leben. I re-listened to our chat and the confusion came from him calling the middleweight champ Chris Weed-man. So used to hearing it Wide-man, it didn't even occur to me). Anyways, the pre-fight CAT scan saved Williams from possibly being seriously injured or even losing his life, and it forced him to re-evaluate his future.
Several months away and two surgeries later, Williams was able to compete again and while he came up short in his last bid to make it on The Ultimate Fighter (he lost on the season 17 elimination round fights to Dylan Andrews), he came into this episode as a potential favorite to win the show.
His opponent Dhiego Lima should be a name all hardcore fans already knew about before this show started. Dhiego's brother, Douglas Lima, is one of the top welterweights competing outside the UFC currently and he's an absolute beast. Add to that, Lima trains out of American Top Team in Atlanta alongside former UFC fighter Roan Carneiro as well as current UFC commentator and retired middleweight Brian Stann.
The fight ended up being the best of the few first round matchups we've had so far with Williams putting on a dominant, one-sided performance in the first round. The second started with Williams looking a little bit tired, although he still snatched a takedown and it looked like he was cruising his way towards a decision win. That's when his gas tank started to deplete even more and Lima was able to get up.
It was a stuffed takedown attempt that brought the end of the fight when Lima sprawled out of Williams' reach, spun around his back and sunk in a rear naked choke. The submission was locked on so fast, it was the equivalent of a one punch knockout and Williams was so caught off guard he had no choice but to tap out.
Lima gets the win and celebrates with his team, but here's hoping Williams gets another shot in the UFC. So close to winning that fight and moving on, but instead he's sitting on the sidelines for the rest of the season. He's talented enough that I believe he'll get one more chance to prove himself in the Octagon, and huge kudos to Lima for sticking out a tough round and a half to come back and get the win.
Next week the light heavyweights are on deck again with Corey Anderson from Team Edgar taking on Josh Clark from Team Penn. If you missed it, go back to the TUF Talk podcast with the season preview for TUF 19 and hear Corey Anderson's interview. There's a 'Gutter' living inside of that guy because he's candid, brutally honest and a really funny guy. Not funny like a clown, but just funny the way he tells stories. Should be a fun fight to crown the next semifinalist on TUF 19.