Well, it looks like my educated guess was correct on this one, as Team Hughes dropped another match on last night’s The Ultimate Fighter, putting them in a 5-1 hole and giving all control of the quarterfinal matchups to Team Serra. I just didn’t expect the loss to result from awful coaching, an oversized hand and a demonic possession.
As the episode opened, Serra wisely chose Ben Saunders — the jeet kune do practitioner with an inhumanly long reach for a welterweight — to take on the fireplug-like Dan Barrera. Most of the episode was spent on Barrera, who wakes up at 4:15 every morning, and enjoys painting flowers, and frequently locks himself in the bathroom during practices so he can pose in the front of the mirror with his shorts off. Total psycho, in other words. Barrera also has a habit of getting too rough with his teammates during practices, which compelled Matt Hughes to punish him by grappling with Barrera until his hand swelled up to the size of a football. As one of his teammates put it, “Dan’s hand looks like a third-grader drew it.”
And then there was the subplot with Barrera’s wife, who suddenly became convinced she was going to die, and praying only made it worse. Barrera thought it might have been a seizure (his advice: “Would you please eat something, like some cottage cheese or some cheetos?”), but in my opinion her symptoms pointed more towards demonic possession. Barrera definitely made the right call in staying in the competition — who’d want to go home and face that kind of drama?
Unfortunately, Hughes made no effort to prepare his fighter on how to handle the huge reach disadvantage he’d be facing against Saunders, and Barrera paid for it during the fight, which was characterized by two things: Saunders nailing Barrera with kicks seemingly at will, and Saunders occasionally on his back with Barrera standing over him with no idea of what to do next. The judges called it in Saunders’ favor after two rounds. Like a little bitch, Hughes questioned the judges’ qualifications.
In summary, Matt Hughes should be the next one eliminated off the show. I wouldn’t trust this guy to coach a cockfight. Good-odds prediction: Ben Saunders’ long limbs are going to take him into the finals. Long-shot prediction: It will be revealed that Dan Barrera orchestrated his wife’s crisis/seizure/possession/whatever in a Jonny Fairplay-esque play for sympathy.