Hello and welcome back Bloody Elbow readers, it’s a new year for you and an old one for us as the clocks have changed to 2024 and 2014 respectively. Victor Rodriguez and I have hatched a new plan to finally get some new rubber on the DeLorean so we can get out of here. I can’t really go into details for legal reasons so I’ll just say it involves some cinder blocks and an impact gun.
Last week we saw Miesha Tate fighter Chris Holdsworth tap out Ronda Rousey’s Michael Wootten and this week we’ll see Julianna Pena throwing down with Sarah Moras. The Davey Grant vs. Anthony Gutierrez and Raquel Pennington vs. Jessica Rakoczy bouts will take place over the next two episodes before the season wraps up.
Miesha Tate deals with the drama
DS: Right from the jump the episode addresses the elephant sitting on the couch, the fact that Julia and Sarah are both members of Miesha Tate’s team, which means they also have the same set of coaches trying to help them out. It was just mentioned in passing last week but these two actually have a bit of history. They fought in April of 2012 with Sarah scoring a TKO doctor stoppage after Julie didn’t tap to an armbar and got her limb mangled as a result. There’s also the fact that Miesha Tate and Julie are very good friends outside of the cage.
So Sarah is feeling like she’s the red headed stepchild, she feels she’s been neglected in her training in favor of Pena, and she thinks it’s been like that since the beginning and it’s only gotten worse since the fight was booked. She’s so upset she’s crying her eyes out. Then we have Juliana who really really wants to avenge that loss. And finally there’s Miesha Tate who’s in charge of this whole operation trying to sort through the mess and not come off like the bad guy to either of them. Insert the Spaceballs “EVERYBODY GOT THAT!?” GIF here.
So Miesha Tate makes the best of this bad situation and handles it as diplomatically as she possibly can, she will divorce herself from the entire thing. These coaches will work with Sarah, these coaches will work with Julie, and Miesha Tate herself will stay out of it. Kind of reminds me of when Carlos Condit was going to fight GSP while both guys were friends and training partners at Greg Jackson’s. I also recall AKA fighters like Josh Koscheck and Jon Fitch flat out refusing to fight each other when Dana was kicking around that idea.
VR: Those were also different circumstances. American Top Team guys mostly had an agreement that they wouldn’t fight each other unless it was for a championship. And that made sense, because there were so many of them fighting and winning at a high level across the board. In the examples you mentioned, Georges would train and gameplan at Jackson/Winklejohn, sure. But he was primarily a Tristar guy. Also, that was for a title, as was the case with ATT guys. It’s way less icky than two straight-up in-house guys like Rashad Evans vs Jon Jones.
AKA had a stricter thing where they just wouldn’t fight each other at all, no matter what. That’s why Daniel Cormier never moved up to heavyweight until Cain Velasquez was out of the title picture. And it’s not only a respectable decision, it’s rather admirable in a sense. But this is TUF, and these people have a different relationship. They may have not known each other much or at all before the show, but now they’re training and living together, and bonding through that experience.
But what’s most admirable is Miesha Tate herself stepping aside and not playing favorites. This was filmed a year after Jon Jones fought Rashad Evans, so Miesha clearly learned from that debacle and did the most ethical thing she could do in her situation. Once again, Miesha Tate is being the bigger person here.
This is “reality” tv
DS: The UFC/TUF Production crew actually titled this episode “Mean Girls”, so it’s blatantly obvious what the end goal here was. When Anthony Gutierrez chimes with his two cents about how Pena is so disliked even Bloody Elbow’s own Roxanne Modafferi has been talking trash is the point where I hit my limit. We are barely 7 minutes into the episode and I’ve already had enough of this foolishness. I refuse to waste anymore time writing about it or waste your time having to read about it. And this is why I drink.
VR: The trappings of reality TV, baby. Somebody gotta go the extra mile to play the villain. And I often wonder why, you know? Because if we’re talking about something like Survivor or The Real World, sure. I can see where that gets you moved up with notoriety and all that. But here? You can’t just be the “bad guy”, you gotta win as well. More than that, you have to impress. TJ Dillashaw didn’t win The Ultimate Fighter, but he made it to the finals and looked pretty good in his run with a submission win on the show. Didn’t make him a star, but definitely got him some good will to stick around despite not winning.
So this whole thing of just being… difficult? Is that the word I’m looking for? Perhaps “instigator” suits this best. Being the instigator isn’t going to extend your longevity in the house, and it won’t get you into the UFC proper, either. Sure as ____ didn’t work out for him.
Roxy catches an elbow, but not a Bloody one
DS: Sarah is training with Roxy and she’s in half mount to practice throwing elbows. The first one misses by a mile, as intended since this is training and not a fight, but she accidentally catches the personification of a sunny disposition clean with a quick follow up, which is apparently going to leave her with a bit of a black eye.
Roxy is still all smiles and laughing about it but you can tell she was just a tad legit upset by it. But compare her attitude to how Louis Fisette was acting like a weenie last episode when asked to help train Chris Holdsworth, Roxanne got knocked out of the competition weeks ago but she’s still in there trying to not just help others but improve her own game as well.
VR: Sarah looks like such a goofball, and I mean that as a compliment. I love a goofball, they’re my favorite people. They are my tribe. And Sarah Moras just seems like a fighter that trained hard, kept her head down and stayed humble while also going out of her way to just be nice to people. Accidents happen in training, and Roxy being Roxy… there’s an understanding there, you know? Had the situation been different, I have no doubt Sarah would be helping Roxy with the same enthusiasm and heart.
Also, shout out to Tate’s coaching staff again. That was some solid advice being given in those snippets.
Ronda Rousey has an Etsy shop
DS: It’s time once again for arts & crafts in the TUF house, and this time it’s Ronda Rousey leading the charge. She’s shown up with bags full of her own branded UFC shirts that she’s going to customize for everyone. How is she going to customize them? By cutting a slice out of the back, tearing it into strips, and then sewing them back on, it’s like a pseudo corset with laces.
VR: It’s bad enough the fighters are bored as hell, now the coaches are as well. She should have done the Macho Man Randy Savage thing of cutting a shirt like it was put in a paper shredder. OOOOOOHHHHH, YEAAAAAH.
DS: If she climbed onto the coffee table to drop a flying elbow, I would forgive her so much. I get what she was trying to do in the abstract, they’ve been locked in the house for the last 6 weeks and have access to less entertainment than your average prisoner, so she wants to break up the monotony and do something special for them. But the way she’s executing it is rather poor, plus it kinda comes off like she’s the messiah who’s come to bestow her blessings upon her loyal followers. Team Green are really really into it while Miesha Tate’s team is rather nonplussed by the whole deal.
Sarah even says she plans to sell hers on ebay when she gets back home so she won’t have to work anymore. For her sake I hope she held onto it for a while to really let the hype train build up steam and then dumped it right before the entire Ronda Rousey brand came crashing down like Enron.
VR: God, imagine she did that? I just know some degenerate out there would have offered good enough money for that. Not like, six figures or anything crazy. But at least a month or two of rent.
They’re Victor and The Bass…
DS: Are you pondering what I’m pondering Victor?
VR: I think so Derek… but if I end up fighting in Japan, what do I do if I can’t dress up like Sekiro for my walkout?
DS: Let me take a shot first… okay. We’ve been here for months, why aren’t we making like Biff Tannen and betting on UFC events? Or at the very least we could slide into the Bloody Elbow Civil War and just dominate everyone. Whatchathink?
VR: I’d be in those comments flexing like crazy while storing up either college or bail money for my son. Jury’s out on what direction that’s going. But I’d also clown extra hard on that !!!!!!!1111111111!!!!!!! business you guys were prattling on about. Shout out to that Zemetov dude, too. Loved that guy, hated his insistence on the half-point system for MMA.
DS: After her training session with Bryan Caraway, he says that Julie’s biggest problem is that she has way too much self doubt, which is just insane to hear when she will go on to not just hand GOAT Amanda Nunes her final loss ever but do it via submission on top of it. That’s a serious scalp to have hanging in your trophy case.
VR: Peña was getting mad that Miesha Tate was walking Sarah through a choke setup at one point, and you know what? I get it. I’d be paranoid, too. Look, you just told everyone you were staying out of it, and I see you giving out pointers over there? Yeah. I totally understand. Maybe she made too much out of it, fine. But I still understand.
DS: DOGGIE! NO WAIT! WE HAVE DOGGIES! We have dogs in the TUF house! This just became the best episode of the season. Less of this interpersonal drama crap and more dogs please.
VR: You watching this on some pirated feed from Bhutan? I’m not seeing any dogs anywhere.
DS: You seriously don’t see any of this? There’s two dogs scampering around, one of them even keeps jumping onto the bed with Miesha Tate and Juliana, then goes over to the camera to give it a good sniff. Either I’ve had too much or you haven’t had nearly enough.
VR: This is a Videodrome-___ play to get me to find something obscure that ruins my life, and I refuse. I’ve ruined it enough, thank you very much.
DS: I’m starting to worry that we’re suffering from some sort of time displacement aphasia disorder, we have got to get back home and we can’t do it by taking the long way.
La Magra is coming
I don’t think that Caraway could have been more wrong about Juliana’s confidence level. She took Sarah down early and has been smothering her ever since, not only that but she stood up and then jumped back into her guard twice while also giving her zero openings to snatch a submission. This is a woman who’s very sure of herself and her skills.
VR: Julianna is just wiry, you know? It’s crazy to me how she’s that slender but deceptively strong. Almost Jon Jones-esque, Joe. She doesn’t look like she should be outmuscling people with her frame, but she managed to do it in a lot of her fights. And she’s suffocating Sarah by not giving her the openings she either wants or needs to get her submission game going.
DS: Beebo, Juliana went in there like a woman possessed and just beat on Sarah like she owed her money. She sliced her open and left her with a nasty golf ball sized hematoma in the center of her forehead.
VR: Gonna need to dunk her whole head in that ice tub for that one. Yeesh. Caraway might’ve been wrong about the confidence stuff, but he proves again he’s got a bit of a mind for this. Julianna stuck to the gameplan and slapped on a lovely guillotine for the win after some savage elbows from the top. Great form and a lovely submission finish.
DS: In a post fight interview clip with Roxanne, we can now clearly see the black eye she got compliments of Sarah’s errant elbow earlier in the episode, but nevertheless she’s still sporting her trademark smile. She’s like a real life version of a Sesame Street character, human or otherwise.
VR: Roxy’s just there for the ride at this point, might as well have a great attitude about it. Good for her.
DS: In more post fight interviews both women are crying, but for one it’s tears of joy and sadness for the other.
VR: This was crushing, man. Moras seems to have felt that she let her team down, or like she did something really bad here. But losses happen. And this loss in particular aged really, really well. But it’s tough to see these people go through so much strife, struggle in this bum-___ McMansion away from all civilization, and watching their dreams and hard work trampled on for the world to see.
DS: We’re almost at the end point for this season with only two more episodes and fights left to go before it’s a wrap. Next week it will be the reverse of what we saw today with Team Green’s Davey Grant vs. Anthony Gutierrez. We’ll see you then.
VR: I’ll secure a tire iron by then to steal us some new tires, get me out of here. Also, Ronda Rousey vs Miesha Tate coaches challenge. Yay.
About the author