The UFC was so damn proud of the Edson Barboza-esque knockout that Uriah Hall laid on Adam Cella during last night’s episode of TUF, that they actually made it available on YouTube along with some extended aftermath footage. And come to think of it, I can’t think of a knockout from the show’s history that was more impressive — or more brutal — than this one, especially considering how long Cella was unconscious. Cella did in fact go to the hospital for a CAT scan when he woke up, but it looks like the black dude in the ambulance that they kept showing in promos was footage from a different fight. (Could be the next one, actually.)
Hall’s win makes him an iron-clad front-runner for the $25,000 Knockout of the Season prize, and puts Team Sonnen up 2-0 in the preliminary round. A couple other notable moments from episode 3…
And tonight’s episode, featuring a showdown between the highly touted Uriah Hall (Team Sonnen) and the all but completely overlooked Adam Cella (Team Jones), promises to deliver not only one of the most violent KO’s in the show’s history, but in the history of the sport. That is according to noted TUF hypeman and occasional UFC president Dana White, of course.
So in order to do a little TUF-hyping of our own (I know right? WHAT YEAR IS THIS?!), we’ve thrown a preview of tonight’s episode above for you all to check out. And indeed, if the audience’s reaction is any indication, then someone is going down in a big way during the night’s main event. Unfortunately for you spoilerphobes, if you freeze frame the video around the 45 second mark, you can see that the fighter strapped to the stretcher appears to be of the African American persuasion. A bit of intentional misleading by the TUF production team, or a massive upset in the making? And more importantly, how many of you Taters will be tuning in to find out?
After the jump: A little more video hype, featuring a sneak peak of Ronda Rousey’s special on Real Sports, which airs February 19th on HBO. Liz Carmouche’s special, on the other hand, will be airing tonight on Lifetime After Dark in the form of a 30-second trailer during the network’s coveted 3 a.m. spot. We kid, we kid; Liz didn’t get a special.
You’d think that Jon Jones would understand the importance of having a tremendous reach advantage, considering it’s one of the key elements of his own success in the UFC. But I’ve already said too much. Read on for our quick breakdown of the best and worst moments from last night’s episode of The Ultimate Fighter 17: Team Jones vs. Team Sonnen, which produced the season’s first middleweight quarterfinalist.
- The sheer glee on the faces of the castmembers as they enter the TUF mansion for the first time, especially the ones who are used to living a much more humble lifestyle. Not a single one of them goes straight to the booze closet and starts breaking shit. Luke Barnatt is just thankful for six weeks of free food. The house is “astronomically extraordinary,” according to Gilbert Smith. Enjoy it guys, because that beautiful house will soon become…YOUR PRISON.
- Sonnen wearing wind-pants to every appearance in the gym — gotta love it — and the familiar faces among the assistant coaching staff, including Frank Mir (Team Jones), Vinny Magalhaes (Team Sonnen) and Mike Dolce (Team Sonnen).
- Uriah Hall telling Sonnen he wants to fight the best guys in the house, after Sonnen makes it known that he’d like Hall to get an easy road to the finals. Hall’s attitude is a refreshing contrast to Bubba McDaniel, who is fixated on getting the matchups that would give him the best chance of advancing in the tournament, and spends the first half of the episode lamenting how the Smith vs. Barnatt selection puts Team Jones at risk for losing control of the picks.
“It could happen,” White said. “If there’s two people who would probably coach, you kick [the idea] around, this could happen, that could happen. If they did, it could be [Rousey] and Miesha. You know, we’ll see. Timing has a lot do with it.”
(I have no joke prepared. I simply wanted another opportunity to remind you that this was a thing that happened.)
Desperate times call for desperate measures, Nation. And since the ratings for The Ultimate Fighter are nose-diving faster than Charlie Sheen into a silica sandbox, old Dana White has had to step up his obligatory pre-TUF hype a notch. You might recall this from last season’s TUF: Smashes, which Dana declared to be the “CRAZIEST SEASON OF TUF EVER!!!!” in the weeks leading up to it; a claim that — although we cannot refute — we are going to go right ahead and call bullshit on.
So perhaps you should take his recent bit of insider info regarding The Ultimate Fighter 17 with a grain (or a 10-pound bag) of salt. The Baldfather recently told MMAFighting that there is apparently one contestant on the upcoming season so dangerous, so terrifying, that he is “scaring the shit out of” his fellow contestants:
I know you guys are going to call bulls— on me and all that (Ed note: Well, at least he’s honest.). I told you guys, last season of The Ultimate Fighter was the worst season in the history of TUF (Again, props DW). This next season is so awesome and so badass. We have a guy on this season of The Ultimate Fighter, every fight he’s in, someone goes to the hospital.
The whole house is terrified of this guy. F– terrified.
*Super Friends announcer voice* MEANWHILE, IN THE DINING ROOM…
If you thought watching the sixteenth season of The Ultimate Fighter was hell, just wait until you hear how bad it was to be one of the show’s participants, and a winning one at that. As finalist Mike Ricci will tell you, TUF 16 wasn’t exactly Dancing With the Stars, where everyone got to take their perfect-bodied Ukranian supermodel partner home and have their way with them (although to be fair, the above video makes the case that there certainly was a lot of banging going on). No, TUF was much, much uglier. In fact, during a recent appearance on The MMA Hour, Ricci admitted that he hated his time on the show so much — despite being a finalist, mind you — that he wished he could sue the show for the “psychological damages” he suffered:
It was an absolute nightmare, I wanted to sue for psychological damage, I wasn’t the same person. I actually thought I had a case, ‘I’m not the same person, I can do this and win.’ But, I felt like don’t get me wrong, I knew what I was getting into I knew how I was going to react. Even some of the producers in the house toward the end were like, ‘Geez, you’re the most institutionalized fighter we’ve ever seen, we’ve done 11 seasons and we’ve never seen anyone like you, you’re like a robot now.
UFC and FX officials have yet to make an official announcement, however representatives from both companies have since confirmed the change with MMAjunkie.com. UFC President Dana White was a little more coy.
“That day sounds good to me,” White told MMAjunkie.com.
TUF 17, which began filming in October, will feature a cast of middleweight fighters to be named shortly. The question is: Will you start watching it again? Before you answer, keep in mind that these guys will no longer be on the show.
(Taffer my good man, you finally have some competition.)
In its seven-season history, Bellator’s events have bounced from Friday nights to Thursdays, to Saturdays, and back to Fridays again. That, coupled with the promotion’s changes in cable partners (anybody remember the ESPN Deportes days?) and its traveling-circus approach to event scheduling, may have worked against the organization gaining a foothold in the market over the years.
Luckily, Bellator’s impending Spike TV deal will give its events a sharp boost in exposure — and they’ll no longer be shown on a night that translates into guaranteed death for viewership numbers. MMAJunkie is reporting that Bellator’s first event of the Spike era is slated for Thursday, January 10th, in Atlantic City, New Jersey. As Junkie wrote, the event will serve as Bellator 85, and will air on Spike TV following TNA Impact Wrestling.
Switching to Thursday nights can only be a good thing for Bellator, which has averaged just 168,700 viewers per broadcast this season on MTV2. Coincidentally, the UFC may be moving their own Friday-night cable show — The Ultimate Fighter — to a different night as well. Although Jon Jones’s manager Malki Kawa and UFC president Dana White both claimed recently that TUF was moving back to Wednesdays, FX’s Vice President of Media Relations told MMAFighting that such a move was “highly unlikely,” adding: “FX has not announced the official date or night that the next installment of TUF will air…The official announcement will be coming in the next two or three weeks.”
Update: The story just took a weird turn — now an unnamed Spike TV exec is saying that Bellator’s Thursday-night move isn’t official yet: “We are still deciding a few options, still looking at staying on Fridays or moving to the old TUF slot on Wednesdays.” Basically, the cable networks are playing a game of scheduling chicken. MMAFighting’s Dave Meltzer explains after the jump…
(Let’s just say that their Chat Roulette session with fans quickly took a turn for the worse.)
When it was first announced that Jon Jones would be coaching the next season of The Ultimate Fighter opposite Chael Sonnen, then beating him into dust defending his light heavyweight strap against him at the season’s end, the general public reaction seemed to be that of bewilderment. Even those who were quick to defend the pairing didn’t have the cojones to claim that Sonnen had earned a title shot (because how could you), but rather that he stepped up when no one else would and it would make for great television so we should just all STFU. We have officially entered the Rollerballphase of the UFC, people. And although Sonnen made sure to break out the WWE trash-talk in the days following the announcement, if you are expecting all-out verbal warfare on next season’s TUF, you might want to start preparing yourself for disappointment.
Last night, Dana White, Jones, and Sonnen sat down for a 40 minute video chat with fans to answer questions about ranging from the upcoming season of the reality show to what Dana White thinks of Fedor, which was apparently asked by a fan who had been living underground for the past 3 years. After Dana was done berating anyone who had the gall to ask him anything other than how he would describe his perfect Sunday, he called in an uncharacteristically laid back and terrorist beard-free Jones, who was immediately asked how he viewed Sonnen now that the show had begun shooting. His response was surprising to say the least.
TUF 17 coachesJon Jones and Chael Sonnen, along with UFC president Dana White and FX exec Chuck Saftler, hosted a media conference call yesterday in which they promoted the upcoming season and fielded questions from baffled reporters. It was a lively affair, marked by an unusually aggressive Jon Jones — Chael tends to bring that out of people — and some interesting revelations about the future of The Ultimate Fighter. Here are some highlights…
FX is moving TUF off Friday nights, and preparing for a war with Spike: “The show is going to move off of Friday nights,” Saftler said. “I can’t confirm the day right now, but it’s definitely moving off of Friday, it’s definitely moving to a weekday. There will be an announcement on that somewhere in the next 30 to 45 days. But I will say that Spike should watch their ass. Spike clearly has been dogging us for most of this year…by trying to create viewer confusion and scheduling old episodes against ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ and trying to pass them off as new content. They’ll be off of the UFC game effective in January. They’re going to try to launch a new product, there’s going to try to launch their own reality show that competes with ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ or does a very similar thing with their Bellator product. We watched how they behaved, and we’re well aware of their behavior and how they’ve acted competitively…I’m not ready to commit to (scheduling TUF directly against the Bellator show on Spike), but we’re certainly going to be watching how they schedule, what they schedule and where they schedule.”
Jones vs. Sonnen “made sense,” according to Dana White: “Basically, we got the word when Jon went out and got his elbow checked, that he was out and couldn’t come back until April,” White explained. “So it made sense* for him to do The Ultimate Fighter. Why block up [the division]? Machida can fight. Dan Henderson can fight. Gustafsson and Shogun are going to fight in December. Everything will keep right on moving…These guys will both coach The Ultimate Fighter. They’ll fight when the season’s over, and then whoever’s next in line at 205 pounds can fight Jon Jones** next for the title.”