If you missed last night’s episode of The Ultimate Fighter 18, then you missed a great show.
Whether you’re watching the show for the fights or the drama it really doesn’t matter, because it’s all there in spades. One thing is most definitely true of this season so far, it’ populated by good guys and bad guys.
For one, Miesha Tate continues to come across as a sweet, loveable, professional and considerate coach. To the point, as the show kicked off Tate arrived at the fighter’s house bearing chocolate cake for last week’s bout loser, Shayna Baszler (team Rousey). With a quick quip to Baszler of “I know it’s not your fault you had to be on team Rousey”, she handed Baszler the cake and then began to explain how she (Tate) has always looked up to Baszler, and how it was difficult to corner against someone that she’s idolized for years. For her part, Shayna said it was all okay and that it was just “business” they’re in; nothing personal.
The real drama of the week stemmed from a nasty rumor regarding Julianna Pena and whether or not she had given away team Tate’s fight picks, for the upcoming weeks. Pena denied the allegations and it was later confirmed by Jessamyn Duke (team Rousey) that it was all a rouse, and that she (Duke) was the one who started it. As Duke stated, “I didn’t know anything. I was just trying to give Raquel (Pennington / team Tate) a hard time…there was no conspiracy.”
However, Cody Bollinger (team Tate) and for some unknown reason, chose to take the allegation to coach Tate and the other team members, and attempted to stir the pot against Pena. Of course, the odd thing about it is, that Duke had told Bollinger that Pena had nothing to do with the rumor and that it was all a joke, however, Bollinger said “I don’t even care. I’m going to use it as an excuse to go off on Julianna.” In acting in the manner that he did and particularly given that he knew he didn’t have the story right, Cody Bollinger came across as a teammate you wouldn’t want to have on your side; certainly not if you’re Julianna Pena.
Sadly, however, that was not the only slight offered Pena this week.
Beyond the allegations of team disloyalty, Pena suffered the humiliation of having her personal feelings mocked, by her fellow teammates, as egged on by Pena’s house crush, Chris Holdsworth.
As it turns out, Pena seems to have developed a fondness for Holdsworth (a feeling that is apparently reciprocal) and in doing so, wrote him a “comforting letter” of encouragement for his fight. For some reason, Holdsworth opted to share the letter with his teammates, at which point the letter was passed to one of them and it was read aloud, and in a mocking tone. After the letter was read, Holdsworth commented that he wanted to stay on Pena’s “good side” and that he was hoping to “give her the best two minutes of her life.”
Regrettably for Holdsworth, the incident and his conduct in it, sullied what should have been a shining moment for him on the show. Instead of last night being a great victory and one that should have garnered him fans, and made people want to root for him, Holdsworth, instead, came across as a self-serving, egotistical dirt-bag, and did himself only disservice.
However, dirt-bags are not the sole proprietorship of team Tate, as team Rousey has thier own one man band on the subject, in the person of head coach Edmond Traverdyan. In last night’s episode Traverdyan came across as a bully with a chip on his shoulder and a guy that needs to get his *** kicked.
On this subject and regarding the incident, Bryan Caraway deserves a great deal of credit for putting up with Traverdyan and for putting up with Rousey egging him on.
For her part, Rousey once again came across as a spoiled child. As we all saw, she went to the bar where Tate and Caraway were sitting and got right between the two. She and Tate began to have words and the moment she didn’t like what she was hearing, she called over Traverdyan, saying, “She says I don’t know how to hit pads”. With that he came over and began acting in a manner that, to a lot of guys, would have been cause to start a fight; very unprofessional, very aggressive and very immature.
Of course, the sad and ironic part about all of this is that Rousey had just given her team a speech about being emotionless and not bringing emotion into a fight. Yet, there she and her coach stood, yelling threats across a room at Tate and Caraway. On this fight stratagem, Rousey may need a refresher course.
To the episode’s bout, Holdsworth / Beal, it was all Holdsworth. The taller and longer Holdsworth used his reach advantage well, and worked Beal over. Beal, with a damaged right hand curtailing his performance, did his best to hold his own, but Holdsworth simply lit him up with repeated straight rights, finally knocking Beal to the ground with one, Holdsworth then caught him in a guillotine choke and the fight was over. With victory his at the 4:19 mark of round 1, Holdsworth advanced to the semi-finals and took home five grand for his efforts.
In all, it was a great episode and the teaser for next week suggests that the drama and Rousey’s unhinging, are set to continue; up next, another women’s bout featuring Jessica Rakoczy vs. Roxanne Modafferi. If Modafferi can win and force team Rousey down three losses to none, then we as fans, might get to see the champ simply lose it; can’t wait for next week.