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Tag: TUF 18

Ronda Rousey: ‘Crazy’ Like a Champion

(Ronda Rousey after successfully defending her UFC bantamweight title against Liz Carmouche in February. | Photo via Getty)

By Elias Cepeda

There seems to be a lot of chatter about Ronda Rousey’s mental state lately. The UFC women’s bantamweight champion has always gotten attention for her intensity and arm-snapping viciousness, but ever since Rousey the TUF 18 Coach began appearing on television a few weeks ago, the notion that the undefeated fighter is mentally unstable has started to pick up steam.

There was Ronda becoming infuriated when Meisha Tate dared to celebrate her own fighter’s win over Team Rousey’s Shayna Baszler. There was Ronda getting in the face of and taunting Tate’s coach/manager/boyfriend Bryan Caraway. There was Ronda kicking open the UFC gym door and screaming Tate’s team out because they’d gone approximately 30 seconds over their scheduled time. In last week’s episode, Ronda launched some of her trademark hostility against UFC vet and Team Tate assistant coach Dennis Hallman.

And then, of course, there’s Ronda crying. A lot. Like, all the time.

Not your normal, boo-hoo type of crying, either. Hers is an angry, motivated and terrifying type of cry. Former Strikeforce champion and would-be Rousey rival Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino called Rousey “mentally sick” after watching her on The Ultimate Fighter. Recently, Hallman did an interview where he recounted a story of an incident he said happened on the TUF set where Rousey told a producer of the show to shut their mouth while she was speaking to her, and then said that he believed that Ronda had mental health issues.

I’ve already written in partial jest that Rousey’s mind is evidently a dark and scary place, but is the two-time Olympian “crazy?” The simple answer is, “no.”

If Ronda Rousey is crazy, it’s the type of crazy that has become familiar to us in great competitors. Rousey isn’t an out-of-control head case, she’s a competitor. She’s not crazy, she’s a champion. And like many champions before her, Ronda is a fiercer competitor than most professional athletes. Her hyper-competitiveness, her apparent need to establish dominance in almost every and any situation, and her ability to used even perceived slights as fuel are traits Rousey shares with the likes of Michael Jordan and Anderson Silva.


TUF 18 Episode 4 Recap: Piss Fits, Toilet Paper Roll Men, And a Gnarly Dive-Bomb KO

(Rakoczy vs. Modafferi highlights, via Fox Sports.)

While the first women’s quarterfinal bout on TUF 18 featured an ego-driven meeting of Team Rousey and Team Tate’s top picks, the second one pitted the female bracket’s #4 seeds against each other. At the end of last week’s episode, we saw coach Miesha Tate select WMMA veteran Roxanne Modafferi (who comes onto the show with a five-fight losing streak) to go in against Team Rousey’s Jessica Rakoczy, a former boxing champ who has only earned one victory in five MMA fights. Once again, we have a meeting of the old school vs. the new school — not to mention a classic matchup between a grappler who’s shaky on her feet vs. a striker who’s still learning this jiu-jitsu stuff. Spoiler alert: The fight ends by stoppage, and it’s ugly.

Ronda Rousey is psyched about the matchup, though. “They’re such predictable little pussies,” she says. “[Modafferi's] not gonna be able to bully in, you’ll be able to pick her apart, it’s perfect.” Rakoczy apparently suffered a shoulder injury during her elimination fight, but she’s ready, and Miesha Tate will pay for every smile she smirked.

Modafferi thanks Tate for the fight-selection — in Japanese, obviously — and says she’s not going to underestimate Rakoczy, even though her team (and guest coach Dennis Hallman) are convinced that Modafferi’s got this one in the bag. Vengeful MMA Gods, that’s your cue to enter.

Edmond Tarverdyan mean-mugs Hallman and tries to pick a fight as soon as he sees him. Hallman calls his bluff and offers to settle it right then in the training center. Rousey holds her coach back, then gets in Hallman’s face and throws a “piss fit.” (Miesha’s words, not mine.) Dana White has to come in and play peacemaker, which is kind of an unexpected role for him. I’m sure it’s just that infamous reality show editing, but man, Tarverdyan and Rousey are really coming off like crazy assholes here.


TUF 18 Episode 3 Recap: Romance, Liquor and Mad-Dogging Are in the Air

(Chicks. Pro fighters. Bar. Fighting. Sweet)

By Elias Cepeda

Last night’s episode of The Ultimate Fighter 18 kicked off with some delicious fatness as Coach Miesha Tate delivers treats to last week’s fighters. Her BFF Julianna Pena gets a milk shake and, remembering that she told her how much she loves cake, Miesha brings Team Rousey’s Shayna Baszler some chocolate cake.

Miesha keeps it classy and magnanimous, boys and girls. Though she doesn’t look too happy when Shayna, her former roommate, tells her that Ronda Rousey has won her over a bit.

Julianna doesn’t seem to be making many friends in the house. The underdog won big last week and helped her team, but almost everyone interviewed seems to say that she annoys them.

Maybe it’s the fake British accent she’s adopted and refuses to drop. This week, Julianna’s teammate Chris Holdsworth is taking on Chris Beal, who was chosen by Tate to fight next because he has an injured hand.

Ronda is still furious at the pussy-ass bullshit move and insists that Beal will beat Holdsworth with one hand. Before that can happen, however, Cody meets with Coach Tate and her mascot/assistant coach/boyfriend/manager/suitcase pimp/fellow UFC bantamweight Bryan Caraway to tell them that he believes there’s a mole on their team.

He thinks that it is Julianna. Bryan seems to agree.

Apparently Team Rousey’s Jessamyn Duke guessed all the matchups that Team Tate had laid out as their number one choices. Of course, this means that Julianna, who is friends with Tate and trains with her, told Team Rousey the plan.

Why? Well, she’s already fought so she doesn’t care about what happens to the rest of the team, according to Cody.

When he confronts Julianna with the accusation, which he somehow says isn’t an accusation, she denies it but when others pile on, she suggests that perhaps Roxanne Modafferi, who rooms with Team Rousey ladies, shared the top secret info.

Roxanne flatly denies it and her team jumps to her aid, one of them calling her “a fucking Samurai” who would never stoop so low.

The Part Where We Learn Chris Holdsworth is a Smooth Operator


UFC Benevolent Act of the Day: Dana White Pays for Injured TUF 18 Tim Gorman’s Hamstring Surgery, Offers ‘Shot’ in Promotion

(No, that is not a lady’s hind quarters. It is Tim Gorman’s injured leg. And, some really fancy shorts. | Photo via @TimmyGormanMMA)

This week we learned that in addition to being a cocky loud mouth, The Ultimate Fighter Season 18 (TUF 18) cast member Tim Gorman, is also a committed, tough s.o.b. The male bantamweight tore a hamstring clear off before getting his chance to fight his way into the TUF house, still fought, won and looked to move through the season.

Meisha Tate and her coaching staff noticed that Gorman was hobbling around during early practices and asked him to explain, at which point he showed the results of his nasty injury (also photographed up top). Gorman was forced to get an M.R.I. scan, which confirmed that his hamstring was royally screwed and Dana White made him leave the TUF House over the fighter’s protests. Which, of course, led to this freeloading no goodnik getting another chance.

During a google hangout Thursday White told fans that Gorman will also get another chance in the UFC, however. “The kid’s a nutball, he’s a lunatic,” Uncle Dana said. “I like that, that’s not a bad thing. He wanted to continue to fight, I respect that. He’ll get another shot in the UFC, we’ll give him a shot.”

Great news for Gorman. Even better, Timmy went on The Underground forum and wrote that White personally paid for his much-needed hamstring surgery. The UFC’s health insurance policy didn’t cover Gorman’s medical procedures because they were treatment for a “pre-existing” condition, ie. he hurt himself before he stepped into the Octagon or UFC Training Center.

Gorman’s UG post below:


What Sorcery is This? ‘TUF 18, Episode 2′ Ratings *Up* 14% From Season Premiere

(“Quick, someone get a trampoline and Adam Carolla before everyone stops watching!” Photo via Getty.) 

It looks like a few more of us were finally able to find the Fox Sports 1 network on our deluxe digital cable television packages (#whitepeopleproblems). According to MMAFighting’s Dave Meltzer, viewership for the second episode of The Ultimate Fighter 18 jumped up 14% from the season’s premiere last week. It’s not incredible news given how abysmal said premiere’s ratings were, but it’s something gosh darn it:

It was the largest increase of a first episode of the season to a second episode in the 18-season history of the show. Only four previous seasons has the second episode had more viewers than the first, almost all in the early days of the show. Some of the gain was due to significant promotion of the show during FOX’s NFL telecasts on Sunday. Other was likely positive word-of-mouth coming from the first episode.

Right Dave, “promotion during NFL telecasts” and “word-of-mouth” were responsible for the increase in TUF 18 viewership. Please, explain to me again what exactly this “NFL” is that you speak of (*shakes head*). The ONLY reasoning behind these numbers is that the audience who tuned in the first week, like myself, instantly fell in love with Miesha Tate and had to come back for more. That being the case, I’d just like to let you all know right here and now that I CALL DIBS (after she leaves Bryan Caraway, which she totally told me she was doing this one time on Twitter).

Previously: Comparing/Contrasting/GIF-capping Shayna Baszler and Julianna Pena’s TUF 18, Week 2 blogs.

-J. Jones


Comparing and Contrasting Shayna Baszler and Julianna Pena’s TUF 18, Week 2 Blogs

(Photo via Getty.)

By now, you probably know (or have heard from an outside, spoilery source) that Julianna Pena scored a massive upset over Shayna Baszler in yesterday’s episode of The Ultimate Fighter 18, choking out the WMMA pioneer in the second round of their scrap. The shocking victory was made all the more impressive by the fact that everyone in the TUF house, every assistant coach, Ronda Rousey, Miesha Tate, Dana White, cameramen 1-3, the Mayor of Television, 4 out of 5 dentists, Bono and the Duke of Lacrosse Team knew that Baszler was all but a lock to win the season, let alone some preliminary fight against a 4-2 nobody.

But no one believed that Shayna Baszler was fighting a certified tomato can more than Shayna Baszler. If that sounds like an insult, it isn’t. The fact is, Baszler was only setting herself up for disappointment with her weigh-in card tricks and chest-puffing statements like “[Pena] doesn’t deserve to be in the same ring with me. She should be coming to my seminars and learning.” Well it looks like THE THUDENT HATH BECOME THE TEACHER, THAYNA. (Ed note: Apologies, I sometime write with a lisp.) 

In any case, other MMA websites who aren’t CagePotato were able to secure exclusive access to both Pena’s and Baszler’s TUF 18 blogs (or at least, that’s what we keep telling ourselves) and have passed along their thoughts on what was surely an emotional week on the show for both fighters. Which is where we come in: To highlight the most interesting blurbs from said blogs and punctuate them with the occasional fart joke. God I love my job.

We shall begin with Ms. Baszler’s blog, the somewhat pretentiously titled “Queen’s Manifesto” (courtesy of TheMMACorner). Not only is it the more personal blog of the two, but it also showcases the delusional and often contradictory lengths at which a fighter must sometimes go to justify a loss.


TUF 18 Episode 2 Recap: Some Pussy-Ass Bullsh*t

(The front of the card says, “You will die, bitch.” The back of the card says, “But I’ll be in the hot tub tonight around 10 p.m. if you want to hang out, no pressure, I just think you’re cool and you look like you could use a backrub.”)

It’s been a long time since we’ve had a good ringer on The Ultimate Fighter. I’m talking about guys like Roy Nelson or Mac Danzig, who entered the TUF house with literally ten times more experience than some of their cast-mates, and performed like men among boys, cruising to the glass-trophy with shocking ease.

In recent seasons, the talent pool on TUF has dried up to the point where you simply don’t see that kind of fighter anymore; every hot prospect or free agent that’s not immediately snatched up by the UFC gets poached by Bellator or World Series of Fighting, and they don’t have to beat the hell out of near-amateurs on a reality show between sessions of binge-drinking and furniture-abuse.

Of course, since this is the first time that The Ultimate Fighter has featured women, the range of experience in the female bracket is stunning. You’ve got Peggy “Daywalker” Morgan, the 2-0 rookie. Jessamyn Duke, Sarah Moras, and Jessica Rakoczy each have just four pro fights under their belts (and Rakoczy has a losing record). Somehow, these girls are supposed to compete with Shayna Baszler (15-8), who carries over a decade of professional experience with her, and a history of gnarly submissions that include two (two!) wins by twister.

Shayna Baszler was supposed to be the first female ringer in TUF history*. Unfortunately, she knew it just as much as we did, and became convinced that winning the show was a foregone conclusion. She got cocky. She got really cocky. She got really, really, embarrassingly cocky. And she paid for it.

Here’s how last night’s episode played out…


‘TUF 18′ Debut Averages 762,000 Viewers for Smallest Premiere-Audience in Series History

(Okay, new strategy: We just turn this show into an offshoot of Naked and Afraid. / Image via Fox Sports 1)

Blame the new channel. Blame the new night. Blame viewer fatigue from the five hours of UFC fights on FOX Sports 1 that preceeded it. Blame it on the a, a-a-a, a-al, co-hol. Whatever the explanation is, Wednesday’s The Ultimate Fighter 18: Team Rousey vs. Team Tate premiere didn’t exactly blow up the airwaves, averaging 762,000 viewers, the smallest audience for a season premiere in the show’s history. The number is less than half of the 1.51 million viewers who tuned in to episode 1 of TUF 17: Team Jones vs. Team Sonnen, which aired Tuesday nights on FX earlier this year.

The current-record holder for lowest-rated Ultimate Fighter season is TUF 16, which debuted with 947k viewers but went as low as 624k viewers in its fifth episode, and introduced the world to Julian Lane. It seems likely that TUF 18 will sink below TUF 16‘s low-water mark, given the audience drop-off that generally happens after the season premiere. (In a related story, UFC Fight Night 28 brought in just 539,000 viewers on FOX Sports 1 earlier that night — down 35% from the previous week’s Fight Night: Condit vs. Kampmann show in Indianapolis — but I guess that shouldn’t surprise anybody.)

Of course, there’s always a way to spin stories like these, and UFC president Dana White defended the numbers on a UG post last night:


TUF 18 Episode 1 Recap: Welcome to Co-Ed Sleepaway Camp Fight Club

By Elias Cepeda

The first episode of The Ultimate Fighter season 18 begins with Ronda Rousey finding out that she will be coaching against Meisha Tate instead of Cat Zingano. She isn’t very happy. In fact, she loses her shit, storms around the TUF gym after Meisha walks in and surprises her, looking for Dana White so he can explain.

When he does, Rousey looks relieved. For some reason, she thought that seeing Tate there meant that she herself was being kicked off as a coach. Not sure why she’d assume that, but it just reaffirms that Rousey’s mind is a dark, scary place built to use everything it encounters as anger-inducing motivation. She’s a terrifying, awesome chick.

The reality sets in — Ronda will coach against Mr. and Mrs. Tate on TUF and will rematch Meisha when it’s all over. Rousey seems cool with it, finally, talking of destiny and broken limbs. This season, of course, will feature both men and women bantamweights vying for a UFC contract.

Thirty-two fighters, sixteen of each gender, have been invited to Vegas and will fight their way into the TUF house. First up, is the obligatory former female model turned fighter Jessamyn Duke out of Kentucky winning by triangle choke. The Invicta vet is 5’11 and somehow makes 135 pounds. Nuts.

Next up, David Grant from Britain faces Dominick Cruz’s teammate Danny Martinez. Martinez is desperate for the take down from the get-go. While defending a takedown against the fence, Grant throws a downward elbow to Martinez’ spine and has a point deducted.

Martinez finally gets a takedown near the end of the round but Grant immediately works a triangle choke. Time runs out and Martinez is saved by the bell. The second round starts and Martinez looks gassed.

Grant knocks Martinez down with a punch, then transitions to his back and, as Martinez gets up, Grant knees him to what he believes is the shoulder but what referee Herb Dean calls as an illegal knee to the head. Another point is deducted.


The TUF 18 Cast List Features a Who’s Who of Female Bantamweights and a Who’s That of Male Bantamweights

(Well if there’s one thing we know about Tonya Evinger, it’s that she can generate a lot of power even off her back.) 

The cast list for TUF 18: Rousey vs. Zingano Tate Again was released earlier today, and among the female bantamweights competing for that glass plaque and a contract worth almost $10,000 a year for the next 10 years are such familiar faces as Shayna Baszler, Tonya Evinger (the power bottom pictured above), Tara Larosa and Roxanne Modafferi to name a few. There’s also Valerie Letourneau, a 4-3 Canadian slugger who should not be confused with Mary Kay Letourneau, the schoolteacher who diddled a “lil slugger” back in 1996.

Among the male participants, however, you will not find nearly as many recognizable names. Or any. The lone exception to the argument we just presented would be Cody “Bam Bam” Bollinger, a 14-3 KOTC and Bellator veteran who you might have seen get TKO’d by season 8 featherweight tournament winner Shahbulat Shamhalaev (no joke, I spelled that correctly on my first try) back at Bellator 76. Despite the lack of familiar faces, there are a lot of (albeit modest) undefeated records on the men’s side of the equation, which calls to question why the 1-3 Jessica Rakoczy would be selected given her-oh now I see why.

Check out the full cast list after the jump, then give us your predictions as to who the early favorite should be in our newly-upgraded comments section.