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Yes, Ronda Rousey Will Be Coaching the Next (Co-Ed!) Season of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’


(According to the press release, the season will feature 15 talented female MMA prospects, and “one drunken asshole who’s basically like a chick-version of Junie Browning.” / Ronda photo via Getty Images)

By Oliver Chan

When Dana White tweeted that a big announcement will be made at the end of the UFC 158 FX prelims, fans started buzzing with theories ranging from New York MMA legalization to Nick Diaz no-showing the event (although based on his performance, he might as well have). Instead, looking to continue riding the Ronda Rousey Women’s MMA Train, White announced that the two head coaches for the 18th season of The Ultimate Fighter will be Ronda Rousey and the winner of the Meisha Tate/Cat Zingano fight on April 13. TUF 18 will debut sometime this fall, and to add to the intrigue, the season will feature both male and female fighters in the 135 weight class competing for contracts in their respective divisions.

While ratings for this season have seen a slight uptick on FX, the series has failed to match the previous numbers it once enjoyed while on Spike. Now with the rival network preparing to launch two new reality shows featuring a now ousted UFC Hall-of-Famer, the UFC has the added pressure to step up their game in order to keep their MMA/Reality TV market share in point. While to some die-hard MMA fans, this may not seem like a big deal, for the UFC and Bellator, the ratings for their reality TV programs do have a significant impact on how the networks will present their brands to potential television partners in the future.

This current season of TUF has seen a change of direction in terms of how the competition has been portrayed. There is significantly less drunken buffonary, bodily fluid pranks, and even a limited instances of a-holes being a-holes (*Cough*Bubba*Cough*). Hell, even Chael Sonnen has been on his best behavior! (Which I’m kind of disappointed with, but you can’t win them all.) Instead, as Joe Rogan pointed out during last night’s Mike Ricci/Colin Fletcher fight, TUF 17 highlights the challenges faced by contestants being a struggling MMA fighter as well as the added pressure of being on a reality show. Throw in some exciting finishes and we have MMA at its purest with no gimmicks needed. But a fundamental problem remains: Do we really feel that any contestant on this show could have a significant career in the UFC?

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Jared Shaw Is Still an Unbelievable Douchebag


(Props: Fightlinker)

God help you, but what you’re about to see is the trailer for an in-production reality show about Gary Shaw and his family, titled Blood, Sweat -n- Bling. We could care less about what a boxing promoter does and what Shaw has accomplished in that field — the clip seems to leave out his brief and hideous stint with EliteXC altogether — so why not just skip ahead to the 4:51 mark and get a load of the segment on his son Jared. Apparently it’s not an act; $kala really is a deluded, epically entitled leech on his father, with absolutely nothing positive to offer society. (Check the freestyle: "Overseas in Greece, stop in Tel Aviv / Sucky-sucky Hong Kong, gotta love them Chinese.")

I have to admit, this trailer actually made me feel sorry for Gary. Between his incarcerated first son, total failure fourth son, worthless idiot wife, and (one would assume) heart disease and diabetes, I do not envy this man’s life. Getting up every morning must be a struggle, to put it mildly. Not that I’d ever watch this show, and I truly hope it’s never made available for other people to watch. But man, how ’bout this Jared Shaw? Is he The Worst, or what?

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More Tales From the Stank(ie)


(The infamous “he’s going to eat that spit” speech. Inspiring.)

The last time we devoted blog space to Ultimate Fighter coach Al “Stankie” Stankiewicz, some of you complained that we were applying a double-standard by encouraging his drunken antics and denouncing those of Jesse Taylor and Junie Browning. Fair enough, but what you have to remember is this: when a young, strong professional fighter gets drunk and violent, it’s called assault. When a crazy old man who goes by the name “Stankie” does it, it’s hilarious. Why? Because he’s old. The rules are different for old people. The rest of us just have to accept that.

It’s kind of like when you go to a family Thanksgiving and your racist grandfather makes a remark about “those thieving, hot-blooded Latins.” There’s no point in getting upset, and you know he’s just talking about Desi Arnaz anyway. So you do what any minimally functioning family does. You pass the potatoes and pretend it didn’t happen.

Today’s Stankie story comes yet again from Ryan Bader, who seems way more interested in telling these tales than any other cast member, God bless him. This time, it was our very own blogger, Efrain Escudero, who found himself pulled into the mysterious world that Stankie seems to inhabit all by himself:

Stanky had this thing with Efrian Escudero. He liked Efrian a lot but really wanted to spar him. Stanky always told him that he would kick his ass if they boxed. So one day we told Stanky his dreams were going to come true. Nogueira told him he could spar Efrian in straight boxing if he wore the chest/rib protector. They would spar in the ring, with full walkouts and the whole hooray. I would corner Efrian and the rest of the team would be behind Stanky. This made his day, if not year — well, probably decade.

Kyle overheard Stanky while he was hitting the speed bag warming up talking to himself. Stanky was muttering out loud to himself, “Stanky, one last hoorah. This is it, old chap! You’re back in the game! Back in the fire! Do this and you can finally put down the gloves.”

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After the TUF Fight: Vinny Wants Arianny’s Number, Jules Just Wants to Know What Happened


(Big Nog puts it as gently as he can.)

Watching The Ultimate Fighter, sometimes it’s hard to tell whether it’s all clever editing that makes some people/teams look like the bad guys. But this extra footage from last night’s show has me thinking that no, Team Mir really is the evil team.

After the fight we see Jules Bruchez looking downtrodden while Vinny Magalhaes is asking, with regards to Octagon girl Arianny Celeste, “Can anybody get her number?” No, Vinny. Not anybody. Then we go inside each team’s locker room after the fight. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira tries to help Jules understand what the hell just happened to him, while Frank Mir jokes with Vinny and the gang about breaking Jules’ arm. You know, just for laughs.

I’m not saying that Team Mir are all bad people, but if this were an 80′s teen movie, I think we all know which team would be the mean-spirited bunch who gets their comeuppance in the end, and which would be the lovable losers with the hearts of gold who persevere despite the long odds. And can’t you just imagine Nogueira smiling and laughing his way through the training montage while a Bonnie Tyler song blares?

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Exclusive: Roli Delgado Talks TUF 8


(Photo courtesy of UFC.com)

The Ultimate Fighter’s Rolando Delgado got his moment in the spotlight on last night’s show, taking on Junie Browning in a three-round split decision loss. In this exclusive Cage Potato interview, Delgado tells us what it was like to battle Lexington, Kentucky’s most outspoken representative, weighs in on Frank Mir and “Minotauro” Nogueira, and gives us a glimpse of what’s to come.

Now that you’ve seen the show and your fight, what are your thoughts?

Man, it’s painful to watch Frank Mir try and call me out on the show. I was definitely not looking forward to that, more than any other part of the show. Overall I thought it was a good show, it made for good TV. The fight was a fun fight. I definitely could have done better and Junie could have done better. You always have a lot of regrets when you don’t fight to your full potential. But overall it was a good experience.

So what’s the story with the black belt? How did that come up and how did it get to be such an issue? They just didn’t believe you really had a black belt?

Yeah, but I want to note that these were all guys who weren’t training with me. These were all blue team guys. I never trained with any of them. They didn’t interview anyone from my team. It was a little nerve-wracking. I’m not used to people questioning my integrity like that. It’s one thing if you say, ‘I don’t think you’re a good black belt.’ That’s a matter of opinion. But to say that I don’t have one, I thought that was very disrespectful.

Luckily I actually taped my black belt testing and it’s on Google Videos, so you can see it for yourself. I’m not someone who makes up stories and it’s not like I’ve just popped up on the scene. I’ve competed at every level. I competed as a blue belt in the late nineties, I did it as a purple belt, did it as a brown belt. I’ve done no-gi tournaments since I’ve gotten my black belt. I won NAGA twice. It’s not like I just popped on the scene.

Seeing Frank Mir question you and seeing him tell Junie to take you out, it kind of seemed like Frank had it out for you or thought you didn’t belong there. What did you make of that?

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Exclusive Interview: Junie Allen Browning


(‘Are you not entertained? Is this not why you are here?’ Photo courtesy of UFC.com.)

Some have criticized this season of Spike TV’s The Ultimate Fighter by calling it “The Junie Browning Show.” That doesn’t seem to bother Browning, who says he’s happy as long as people are entertained. And let’s face it, we are.

On tonight’s episode Browning takes on Rolando Delgado, which he promises is “the best fight this season.” He also discusses some of his drunken antics, the response from his co-stars, and living up to the expectations of his hometown of Lexington, Kentucky. It all makes for an interesting conversation and a fitting interview for our one-year anniversary, since Browning says he reads Cage Potato “all the time.” Who the hell can blame him?

CagePotato.com: Now that you’ve seen a few episodes of the show, what do you think of how they’ve portrayed you?

I think it’s pretty much correct. They didn’t really edit me to look like an asshole. I did that myself. I think I would have liked if they played some of the clips of me goofing around with the guys, but it’s 100% asshole on the show.

What do you think was the correct percentage of asshole? 50%? 80%?

I’d say about 90% asshole. A lot of the stuff I was doing started off as playing around and went from there. Like me throwing peanuts at the guys and stuff, that started as just playing around, but people might not realize that and think I was just always being an asshole.

Is that how you are all the time, or was that just in that house and on that show?

I think it was the house and the combination of tequila and vodka. I’m not like that all the time. Back at home I’m not like that. I’ve never had to be carried out of a bar or anything like that. I think it’s just that place that turns you crazy.

Well what about when we see you getting drunk and out of control, then Dana White comes and gives you a talk and you’re almost kicked out, then a couple days later you’re sober and getting into it again with Efrain Escudero?

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Dana White Defends TUF, Drops More Hints About the “Next Anderson Silva”

Dana White
(‘You guys want something to drink? A dozen shots of tequila, maybe? It’s how I test people’s ethical fiber. Just a thing I do.’)

UFC president Dana White appeared on the Carmichael Dave sports talk radio show to talk about the UFC’s global expansion, this season of The Ultimate Fighter, and of course do a little EliteXC/Kimbo Slice bashing. You know, a normal day. He also found himself defending the decision not to kick Junie Browning off the show, and followed it up with a justification for the plentiful alcohol in the TUF mansion:

A lot of people are horrified that I didn’t kick Junie off the show. …I’ll tell you exactly how this thing works. I never know what’s going on at the house unless something bad happens. I see what happened at the house when you guys see. The way it works is something bad happens, they call me, and they say, ‘Something bad happened. We need you.’ I go to the gym, they have a tape queued up and ready for me, I watch what happened. Then I drive over to the house and I deal with it.

So this happened, I drive over to the house…I get out of my car, I walk in, and [TUF producer] Andrea [Richter] is like, ‘Okay, we got it all set up, we got his flight home,’ and I’m like, ‘Andrea, I don’t know if I’m going to kick him off.’ She was like, ‘What!?’ I mean, everybody was ready. Everybody knew I was kicking him off.

I said, ‘I don’t know what’s up with me. But I’m going to walk in there and I’m going to wing it. I’m going to see how this kid acts and then I’ll make a decision. …I thought he was going to be a punk. But he wasn’t. …You’ll see what happens later in the season.

Naturally, White also claims that this is the best season they’ve ever done, repeating the claim, “we came off with a kid at 155 pounds who could be the next Anderson Silva.”

Asked whether that might be Junie, since he seems to be the most talented guy in the house, White responded, “But he’s not. He’s not the most talented guy. See, that’s the thing, everybody thought I was talking about Junie.”

Then White went on the offensive against those who criticize the UFC’s policy of providing copious amounts of free alcohol to pro athletes locked up in a house with no distractions.

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Exclusive: Shane Nelson Talks TUF Elimination, Drunken Craziness, and More


(The glory before the fall. Photo courtesy of UFC.com.)

TUF 8 lightweight Shane Nelson was eliminated from competition on last night’s “Ultimate Fighter,” but not before a night of drinking with Junie Allen Browning turned into a near expulsion for the two. Now Nelson talks with CagePotato.com and reflects on the drunken debauchery, the rivalry with Efrain Escudero, and some of the antics of his blonde friend that he saw for the first time in last night’s episode.

CagePotato: Now that you’ve seen it on TV, what did you think of the way the situation with you and Junie was portrayed? Was that how you remember it?

Nelson: Yeah, it was pretty much what it seems on TV. Basically we were watching the pay-per-view, we decided to have a couple of drinks, we had one too many drinks, and then things got out of control from there. What they didn’t show and which I thought they would show, was the next morning when I woke up I went to Delgado and Efrain and I apologized to them and we all put everything behind us. I’m surprised that they left that part out of the show.

Did Dana White come and talk to you guys the very next night after it happened?

Yeah, Dana White came and talked to us the very next night, but the fight wasn’t the next day after Dana talked to us. The fight was about five days after that whole night. So it wasn’t like the drinking still had an effect on me in the fight.

What was going through your mind when Dana showed up?

Oh, we thought we were gone. Junie and I both thought we were getting kicked off the show, because when we first got there the producers stressed that we weren’t allowed to touch anyone or anything like that, and we both crossed that line. I pushed two people and Junie took a swing at a few people, so we both thought we were going home for sure.

So how did things start between you and Efrain?

Well, we were watching the fights and, I’m from B.J. [Penn]’s school, and they all knew that. So we were watching the pay-per-view and common courtesy, you know, if you make comments about my coach, you know it’s going to bother me. He was cheering for Sean Sherk, which is fine, but some of the comments he made while he was cheering for him got under my skin and that’s how me and him got into it.

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Casting Call for “Ultimate Fighter”: USA vs. UK


(‘Come on, you pussies and posers!’)

Listen up middleweights and welterweights. Have you always wanted to be on reality TV, but you keep getting rejected from Rock of Love? Do you possess awesome MMA skillz or, failing that, a willingness to take a beating from those who do? Do you have an inspiring personal story? How about a drinking problem? If you answered yes to at least a couple of these questions, and you can pass for either an American or a Brit, you could be on the next season of Spike TV’s “The Ultimate Fighter.”

Two open casting calls will help determine next season’s participants, Spike TV announced today. The first is in London on October 20 at the Earls Court Exhibition Centre, and the other is in Chicago at the Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare Hotel on October 27.

Since this season will be all about the across-the-pond rivalry, it might be a good idea to come up with a story about how much you hate Americans/Brits. It shouldn’t be too difficult to think of a reason, no matter which one you happen to be.

One thing to keep in mind, contestants will once more be forced to fight their way onto the show. That should come as no surprise at this point, but we’re betting there will still be at least one joker who shows up twenty pounds overweight anyway. If you play your cards right, this season that joker could be you!

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Exclusive Interview: Frank Mir

Former UFC champ Frank Mir was once sitting atop the heavyweight division before a motorcycle accident nearly ended his career. His road back has been a rocky one. A couple tough losses had him questioning his decision to keep fighting, but he has since rededicated himself to the sport and has found new life after a high-profile victory over Brock Lesnar.

Now he’s coaching opposite Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in season eight of “The Ultimate Fighter,” premiering Wednesday night on Spike TV. In this exclusive interview with CagePotato.com, Mir talks about his impending fight with Nogueira, Randy Couture’s return, and just how much he hates cardio training.

CagePotato.com: Frank, we’ve heard past coaches say they don’t like how long the show keeps them out of action, how they’re fighters and not coaches. What was your experience like coaching “The Ultimate Fighter?”

I found it quite enjoyable. I really didn’t think it was all that difficult to be honest with you. Obviously nothing’s easy in the fight game, but it wasn’t like I resented the position at all. It opened my eyes up to a lot of new things as a fighter, seeing other people and how they react to different situations, how they deal with things, and helped me understand how to help them out by thinking about what I would need in that situation. It was kind of nice to jump back that way because it gave me a better understanding of myself.

What does it do to your climactic fight with Nogueira now that Randy Couture is back in the UFC and they’re hyping his match with Brock Lesnar, a man you beat, for the heavyweight title?

I definitely think it takes some of the wind out of the sails. That’s for sure. But I love the fact that Randy’s back. I think he’s a great representative of the sport and I thought it was a travesty that he might have ended his career in a courtroom.

The fact that he’s back, I think that’s great. I’m not upset with that at all, but I think that Nogueira obviously should have been his first fight back, since he’s holding the interim belt. But since Nogueira and I are already slated to fight each other I thought that with him coming back he would wait to fight the winner of Nogueira and myself. I think that would have worked out perfectly. But with contract negotiations and all that I don’t know what the deal was.

The only thing I’m at odds with is that he’s fighting a month before Nogueira and I fight, and that brings up the question of what we’re fighting for. Now he’s fighting Lesnar and he’s getting a shot at the heavyweight title while I’m getting a shot at the interim title. Since I just beat Lesnar, that’s kind of interesting.

Interesting is one word for it. Obviously you’re focused on fighting Nogueira now, so how do you think you stack up against him? What do you do better than him?

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