Hello and welcome to the newest instalment of the Retro TUF Recap series. Last week after kidnapping Victor Rodriguez and taking him with me back to the year 2013 and reviewing the first episode of TUF 18, we found the DeLorean had four flat tires and there was no lug wrench. So since we’re stuck here we’ve decided to keep watching and reviewing the season. The premier episode was really little more than a two hour long prologue where a collection of 32 fighters got whittled down to 16 and then Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate picked their teams.
The first official Team Ronda Rousey vs Team Miesha Tate match-up will be heavy favorite Shayna Baszler taking on Julianna Peña, but we have a lot to trudge through before we get there.
DS: A long time ago I saw someone theorize that the UFC doesn’t exist to promote fights so much as it exists to promote Dana White. And given the fact that he’s shown third in the intro credits behind coaches Miesha Tate and Ronda Rousey, I think that theory holds water. In fact one could argue it’s only become worse in the last decade as these days he uses his UFC clout to try and prop up and revitalize his Angry Face Slappers promotion that crashed and burned before it even launched.
VR: I still have a copy somewhere of the very first issue of UFC magazine. Who was on the cover? Was it Brock Lesnar? Georges St. Pierre? Anderson Silva? Nope. It was Dana White And it kind of makes sense, you know? Fighters come and go, and he remains the single constant. So… yeah. At this point in time it appears that the approach was to emphasize on the UFC itself by way of making getting into the organization via winning on the show the ultimate goal, and Dana as the looming power figure. It seems like minor nitpicking if you’re not familiar with the era and how promotion looked prior to it.
TUF 18 Week 2 Recap
I got dibs on top bunk
DS: Julia is the first one through the doors of the TUF house and she excitedly shouts “Where’s the upstairs!?”. Hopefully she’ll find it at the top of the nearest staircase, but then again it’s possible this place is like the old Bill Dozier Batcave where the only way up or down is via a set of fire poles. This is the same house (I think) where when Mikey Burnett wanted to go outside he didn’t do it by simply walking through a door or climbing through a window. No, he opted to try and get outside by literally running through the wall… more than once… several times actually. So anything is possible.
VR: Is it even the same house? I legit can’t even tell at this point. If it is, good on them for the renovation work. Because the original TUF house looked the way pickup artists in the early to mid-aughts dressed. And those guys dressed like perverts, but on purpose. But I also can’t really fault them, because everyone’s trying to get their TV moment and I’m guessing these are some of the spontaneous attempts at showing some kind of quirkiness or added excitement and surprise.
DS: I think so but I’m not 100% on that, I think this is the same place they used for TUF 10 because that retaining wall in the backyard looks familiar. I remember Wes Sims dressing up like a 6’10 ninja and creeping along it so he could pounce on Matt Mitrione. The UFC probably goes into every season just expecting to write off the security deposit when filming is over.
Oh hey, good news, she found it!
VR: Was gonna be a loooong month if she didn’t. Alhamdullilah.
The injury bug is getting off to an early start
DS: Gorman is continuing to play into his role as the obnoxious jerkwad by saying no woman could make him tap out, I’d wager his mother would have a thing or two to say about that.
VR: This is bait, and I’ve long held the suspicion that men talking like this have some kind of fetish of being strangled by a woman but want to put up a front. Can’t speak for the man, though. It just makes him come across as clueless. That’s an automatic L on reality shows, because people like their villains to have some level of smarts. At least a level or two above whatever this is.
DS: Oh noes, during training Gorman tells Miesha Tate that he’s torn his hamstring and needs to see a doctor, however we’re not shown how many times he got her confused with Ronda Rousey till he found Tate herself. Boy I sure hope it’s not that major and he’s able to continue… not. Yes my jokes are just as fresh and edgy as his attitude.
VR: See, he should have played it up even further and demanded a man doctor. Because they understand men. How can a woman properly diagnose a man? Maybe the weight of his massive swinging balls led to the undue stress on that hammy, have you thought of that Derek? HAVE YOU?
DS: Yeah, thanks for that Vic. I’m taking a shot just to help purge that mental image from my head.
I’m not going to take the easy way out and say what Ronda Rousey is acting like here, but between her general temperament and the production crew editing things to emphasize just how uncouth she can be, what else am I to think? Especially when Ronda Rousey kicks open the door and loudly starts telling everyone they need to GTFO so she and her team can have the space.
VR: And that’s the rub with these shows: you’re gonna have people doing this to play it up for the cameras. Maybe not stuff they wouldn’t ordinarily want to do, but they get to do it big because there’s a camera on. Ronda Rousey’s also an atrocious actor, so that makes all of this way muddier and much more awkward.
Ronda Rousey introduces her team to Eddie…
DS: And we have our first official named sighting of coach/idiot in search of a village Edmond Tarverdyan, whom I will only refer to as “Eddie The Idiot” or just simply “Idiot” from here on out. So take a shot.
After Ronda Rousey got trounced by Amanda Nunes, I wrote a piece where I said it was my opinion that Idiot was incompetent at best and the wish.com version of an MMA coach at worst, and I still stand by that opinion. Because he didn’t just lure in Ronda Rousey, he managed to fool quite a few different fighters into believing that he was some genius world class coach when he clearly was anything but. Check the records of guys like Travis Browne and Jake Ellenberger and look at how well they did before joining up with him and compare it to how they did while under his tutelage, same goes for the Horsewomen.
I don’t know if having everyone slow jog in a circle while throwing terrible punches and kicks then slapping their feet is a valid training technique or if it’s just something Idiot cooked up. Judging by the faces on everyone but Ronda Rousey, I think it’s fair to say it’s the latter. This looks like a half baked idea your 2nd grade PE teacher thought of after taking an edible the night before.
VR: I’mma meet you halfway on that assessment, and declare him to be both incompetent and a phony. You know why? Because I’m cursed with a good memory for a lot of this stuff, and I remember his depositions under oath during his bankruptcy case. He claimed he could have fought and beat Jose Aldo.
DS: He WHAT!? I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, I mean this is a man who had a giant terrible mural of himself and Mohamed Ali together painted on the wall in his gym, that’s the kind of ego we’re dealing with here. What did Ronda Rousey ever see in this guy?
VR: He lured in Jake Ellenberger and to no one’s surprise, that went horribly. Travis Browne went from Alliance in San Diego to Jackson/Winklejohn to Glendale Fight Club. It’s like he was playing the MMA game but moving the difficulty slider higher and higher for himself. We’ve all seen and heard what his training is like, and the more I think of it the sadder I am for these fighters trying to chase this dream of being in the biggest organization and on a unique stage with the reality show and the utter disservice that it is to have this guy of all people coaching them.
This is called foreshadowing
DS: Shayna is in bed talking to Duke saying she’s better than Juliana both on the feet and on the ground, and with more than 10 years of experience, she sees no way she could possibly lose to the likes of Peña. Clearly in all that time she never learned to not tempt the MMA Gods like that, because they will smite you for it.
VR: I don’t fault Shayna. It’s not like she thought she was hot stuff, she was legit good. And with her grappling background, she probably saw herself as a better submission grappler overall (valid) and a better striker (sorta). Problem is Shayna was not quite as strong, plus Peña was really good at muscling takedowns.
DS: Idiot sighting, take a shot.
VR: I dunno, I just see the guy and it’s a bizarre reminder of something that was once there and just isn’t anymore, you know? It’s amusing to see how he’s been memory-holed for the greater part and most people probably forgot about him until we started talking about what a goof he made himself out to be. Fun times.
DS: This has to be a major HIPAA violation for this doc to be telling Gorman just how bad his injury is with Miesha and Dana sitting right there. Either way he’s out of TUF and it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. Now lets see if Dana teases replacing him with Kimbo Slice… nope, it’s Louis Fisette.
VR: Gonna guess that this sort of disclosure is either agreed upon beforehand prior to the disclosure on camera or contractually permitted as a condition to be on the show.
DS: During the staredown Shayna places a queen of spades playing card on Julia’s chest like a low rent magician and it’s promptly thrown away. You know the thing about card tricks? They’re exactly that, they’re an illusion, a slight of hand, a lie. They can be figured out with a dash of critical thinking and some keen observation.
VR: I’m still capable of being easily distracted by a lava lamp, I have no room to be talking smack on this one.
DS: Dear TUF Production Crew, we got the narrative ok? Shayna is overconfident and Pena is much more level headed. It’s hat on hat at this point, just show us the fight already please.
After many montages, it’s fight time
DS: Aren’t those 12-6 elbows she’s landing on Shayna’s head illegal? Or does it not count because she’s throwing them while on her back?
VR: First one looked accidental, second hit the side. I’d let this slide.
DS: Idiot sighting saying Idiot things, take two shots.
VR: Wow, this fight was way better than I remember. Lots of clever reversals and shifts in the grappling department. They went for broke in the second and Juilianna’s punches were ugly. But she sat on them and you saw them adding up. The final takedown Shayna tried got reversed and it looks like she ran out of gas after being on her back for a bit. She turtles up, and Julianna takes the back, flattens her out…
DS: And that’s all she wrote and Ronda Rousey ain’t happy…
After watching her friend tap out to an RNC, Ronda Rousey screams “Are you ______ kidding me!?” while Idiot sits there looking like an idiot. Either way, take another shot.
VR: I get Ronda Rousey’s reaction, though. Shayna fought on Showtime, she probably should have been signed by the UFC outright if they were bringing in 125ers and washouts like Sheila Gaff when they opened the division. And this ends with a massive upset against a prospect most people had never heard of in a fight that they were sure they were gonna win. Them’s the breaks.
DS: Don’t feel too bad for Shayna, despite coming into TUF off a loss and now being submitted by Peña and being the first eliminated, she’ll still get a UFC contract next year. I’d say this is a case of it’s who you know and not who you are. Ronda Rousey being this seriously upset at Miesha Tate and vowing revenge doesn’t make a lick of sense, I know I know “reality tv”, but what exactly did she do that Ronda Rousey herself wouldn’t have if things went the other way? At least Ronda Rousey cares more about her team than Quinton Jackson did during TUF 10.
VR: Unfortunate that things didn’t go great for Shayna, she really seems like she’s super cool. I guess I’m glad she got her shot in the UFC proper even if it wasn’t the run she would have wanted and it took some time to get there, you know? Also, why be mad at Tate? Her fighter won fair and square. Looking back, it’s even weirder seeing as Julianna is still a top contender and literally beat the greatest of all time in Amanda Nunes via finish. It’s not like Shayna lost to some fraud by some odd technicality or a faked foul.
DS: For our fight next week Miesha Tate selects Chris Holdsworth to take on Ronda Rousey’s Chris Beal, and unless we find a way back home we’ll still be here to recap it.
VR: I’ll keep doing these sober, but I can’t promise that’ll hold up for too long.
DS: Vic, I asked you to do these with me because I thought you’d make for a good drinkin’ buddy, if I wanted another teetotaler I would have asked Alexander K. Lee about working together again. Anyway, that’s it from us, we’ll see you next time.
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