[It's come to our attention that some Beat readers don't like our Ultimate Fighter coverage this year. We will seriously consider moving it somewhere else in the near future but we're kind of enjoying doing it, so please just skip it if you don't like it.]
Yes yes this is way late so we’ll be brief, scroll down for Rafael Kayanan’s commentary:
This episode opens with wrestling coach Tony DeSouza, whose wild beard and hair and intense grappling skills make him look like some kind of savage mountain man you wouldn’t want to tussle with, getting on Noah for laughing and not taking training seriously. Training junkies get their fix with a montage of crazy ass holds and Noah finally admitting that he got beat by a better man. By now BJ is just kind of fed up with his Bad News Bears team — which was his own fault for picking people based on not liking Jens Pulver, remember?
Cut to Gabe’s ongoing weight problems. He soared to 176 and we see why with a montage of cake eating exploits! This man is not going to bed hungry! After beanpole Corey picks him for the fight, Gabe, cap firmly set in sideways spanky mode (JESUS CHRIST THIS GUY IS ANNOYING) keeps saying “I will make weight, oh yes, I can make weight,” while clearly he’s lying through his teeth. I don’t think Gabe believed one thing he said in this entire episode.
DeSouza (who is one of the best character this season) says it is of some concern what kind of conditioning Gabe will be in after cutting 20 lbs. Gray is appalled by Gabe’s talk of cutting weight by TAKING A NAP. Naïve Noah seems to be Gabe’s only pal but even he becomes perplexed by Gabe’s game plan to cut weight by standing around reading mottos on the wall instead of getting into the sauna and sweating, and Noah starts to yawn.
BJ is also skeptical of Gabe’s weight cutting regime – although he’s only got 7 to go by the morning of the weigh in GABE WALKS on the treadmill as opposed to running to everyone’s disgust. Gabe gets a faraway look in his eye as BJ and Tony come back to the house with him to help him cut 6 pounds in two hours. ‘’It’s the hardest cut ever,” Gabe moans.
Aside: You can tell that Dana really, really, really hates Gabe because in all of the camera time he’s gotten they haven’t shown ANY of his in ring exploits, even though he’s one of the more experienced cast members. And after this episode, you know you never will see Gabe in action ever again.
A psychodrama in the sauna ensues with Gabe moaning, falling down and staggering around the pool naked and finally croaking “Put me in BJ…” Everyone is pretty lighthearted about Gabe’s condition, although he passes out and they have to call an ambulance. The rest of the housemates sit around ripping Gabe a new one after this pathetic performance.
Meanwhile Corey is sad that since his fight has been postponed, he will have to cut weight AGAIN for another fight. Brian, the Vulcan observes what is closest to the truth – Gabe didn’t want to fight Corey, he wanted to fight Weems and gave up so he wouldn’t have to fight the fight he didn’t want.
Gabe returns from the hospital to a fine comeuppance as he’s shunned during dinner and everyone, especially Vulcan Brian (above), all but tell him he’s full of shit. “I made a mistake!” he says to the confession cam. Liar!!!! Gabe apologizes to BJ but it’s so obviously phony that BJ admits that this might have been Gabe’s plan all along–not to fight on the show, but just get plenty of camera time.
Pulver nails it as well – Gabe came to get TV time and a sponsorship “Burger Boy, Donut World, who knows.”
Pissed off Dana comes out and gives a “you will never know what you missed out on” speech, while both teams and coaches squirm. Gabe is sent packing and starts sobbing in the booth saying “This is my life.” Okay, Omarosa, enough! You are a fucking weirdo! You never wanted to fight and spent more time getting water squirted up your butt than training.
After Dana’s shit fit Rob Emerson is brought back, a fitting choice, and the Vulcan Brian picks Ferrenghi internerd Joe Lauzon to fight while Corey get his chance against a newly revitalized Rob. Rob is smiling wide as a mile and it’s well deserved as he fought well. No fight this episode – and even I was appalled by the soap operatics – but TWO next week!
And now, here’s Rafael Kayanan’s take on this episode:
The difference between up and coming fighters / wannabees from fighters in the elite levels are their focus and drive in training. Coverage of elite level fighters can be quite boring to the average viewer because it lacks the goofy theatrics. The recent HBO series on Mayweather vs. De la Hoya was fortunate in that they had the flamboyant Floyd Mayweather playing the bad guy for the cameras. However, despite being polar opposites in just about everything else, one attribute that both elite boxers shared were their dedication to training.
Up and comers/wannabees give better drama because at this lower level, some individuals have no idea what it takes to be at the top of any sport. It didn’t take as much training to be the baddest bad ass on their block so why stop now? On TUF these individuals tend to get extra airtime. In an earlier TUF series, Diego Sanchez’s unique training rituals was the anomaly. This week’s episodes focused on Gabe Ruediger’s downward spiral to make weight. Gabe had come from a Olympic wrestling great Dan Henderson’s Team Quest South, he’d also achieved brown belt in Brazilian Jui Jitsu but even after several years of competition he’d never made the elite level as a fighter. The show encapsulates why. Despite being paired up to Corey Hill who has a history of wrestling and striking under his belt, Corey self admittedly lacks Ju Jitsu experience. It seems like a fight that Gabe could win if he could use his BJj skills.
Sometimes, what is on paper does not adequately translate to reality. It seems Gabe had also seen what the TUF audiences were witness to – Corey’s intense drive and dedication in the training. This may have affected Gabe’s own desire to make weight. Corey is now set to fight another fighter and will have the opportunity to show if his game is actually on point. For Gabe, Dana White’s decision to kick him off the show will perhaps be the wake up call he needs to move on.
Elite fighters at their peak will train and train. That can make for boring tv. Even the HBO series had to spice up both fighters training camps by adding Sugar Shane Mosley in Oscar’s camp and Mayweather Sr. to Floyd’s. Training involves thousands and thousands of repetition, trying to install correct responses into a fighter’s muscle memory. Training also involves staying close to competition weight. That requires more creative effort from TUF producers to an audience who find Gabe’s colon clinic visitations more entertaining. It will be interesting to see if TUF’s core audience will remain on board if the focus shifts more and more on the nutjobs and the wannabees.