TUF 19 Rewind Episode 8: Full Metal Dana
JUN 05, 2014 11:00a ET
Before every, single event usually after the weigh-ins, UFC president Dana White has a 'fighters only' meeting where he gathers all of the participants of that particular card in a room to help motivate them to put on an exciting night of fights while also offering up the extra incentive of bonuses that we all know so well.
These are the times where White screams a little louder and maybe uses language above something you'd see in a PG-13 movie, but what he's trying to do is instill in every fighter sitting before him that this the moment for them to go out and shine. Go out and be a show stealer. Go out and earn a $50,000 bonus. Go out and entertain.
Now does the speech work each and every time? Of course not.
Like any motivational speech, it's a tool that can be taken in and used as kindling for a slowly churning fire ready to erupt like a volcano or let's be honest, it can go in one ear and out the other especially if a fighter is starving and just wants to throw down some pasta after cutting 20 pounds earlier that day.
“I saw nothing from either guy that made me think they wanted to be here”
On The Ultimate Fighter, White will routinely fire up the troops as the season begins, but it appeared with the preliminary fights to get into the house that it wouldn't even be necessary. Out of 15 elimination round fights, 10 of them ended by TKO or submission (one was an injury TKO) and one of the other five fights was the three round battle between Mike King and Nordine Taleb that could have easily won a 'Fight of the Night' bonus on almost any full UFC fight card.
But as the quarterfinal round matchups started to unfold, the decisions started to pile up and if not for Dhiego Lima's come from behind victory to submit Tim Williams, we'd be seven fights into the season without a single finish. This week's episode was no exception as Eddie Gordon out pointed Mike King in a three round fight in the light heavyweight division, and following the conclusion of the bout, White went from motivator to straight up Gunnery Sergeant Hartman.
"I saw nothing from either guy that made me think they wanted to be here," White said with vitriol in his voice when speaking about Gordon and King.
Is that a fair assessment on the fight that happened on Wednesday night?
Well one could easily argue that the eye poke in the second round that robbed King of his sight for four days after the fight could have played a big part in the ultimate outcome, but then again neither guy seemed overly committed to any particular strike or combination in the first six or seven minutes of the fight. The goal is to get to the next round of the tournament, but when it comes to The Ultimate Fighter, that's not always good enough.
The thing to remember is this is a breeding ground for new, young talent. Not everybody is guaranteed a future with the UFC. Look at the season 16 cast under the guidance of coaches Roy Nelson and Shane Carwin -- the fights were so abysmal that when the season was over White kept the show winner, the runner up and one additional fighter who was unable to fight on the finale due to injury. You have to wonder if he would have even gotten the shot if he was healthy?
There's no easy answer to fix this problem, but White will do his best to get the message to the fighters that performance pays. The preview for next week already showcased that and it looks like the cast of The Ultimate Fighter 19 might be in danger of landing on Dana's 'Private Pyle' list if they're not careful.
Elsewhere in the house this week prior to Gordon's win over King, the teams stayed at odds once again, this time revolving around a dirty kitchen and a whole lot of nasty dishes being left all over the place.
As King explained to me on this week's TUF Talk podcast (go listen here), the Ultimate Fighter house was provided a maid that would come in during the day while the teams were out training to clean the house, do dishes, and basically keep everything nice and tidy. King said that Team Edgar had the early practice and Team Penn had the late practice, so in between is when the maid would arrive to clean everything up. He stated that Team Edgar was so messy that by the time Team Penn made it back from the evening practice, the dishes were already piled back up again and the trash was everywhere.
Now in his defense, Matt Van Buren aka Gutter says he did all of his dishes, although he seemed to be the only Team Edgar fighter willing to admit to that. Following King's attempt to get a cleaner house, Gordon responded by saying he wasn't doing another dish the entire time he lived in the house. He kind of sounded like me growing up when my parents tried to put dishes on my weekly chore list. The only difference here is Gordon is one part of 16 guys trying to co-exist in a house together and let's be honest -- who wants to live in a house with disgusting dirty dishes laying everywhere?
The coach's challenge also went down this episode with Frankie Edgar and B.J. Penn squaring off in a kayak race. Penn won the competition and chances are if he lost, he would have been voted off Hawaii so it's a good thing he came away with the victory. I'm always curious how the coach's challenges are chosen every season because it seems year after year they have to come up with newer and different ideas. I liked the TUF Nations challenge where coaches Patrick Cote and Kyle Noke had to throw axes, shoot crossbows and compete in a log sawing competition.
At some point, I'm hoping Dana and Lorenzo Fertitta make a deal to buy the property for 'American Gladiators' and The Eliminator becomes the coach's challenge every year moving forward. I mean who wouldn't want to watch that?!?