(Look on the bright side, Joe — you weren’t going to win that fight anyway.)
Last night’s episode of The Ultimate Fighter blessed us with two fights — the Wild Card match between previously eliminated Team Ortiz members Kyacey Uscola and Kris McCray, and the first quarterfinal match, which basically turned out to be a Wild Card match in itself. Allow us to explain…
Kyacey’s son, Charles Champ Uscola, is born. Kyacey is elated, and fired up to capitalize on his second chance after losing by DQ to Rich Attonito. McCray previously Jamie Yager. Dana agrees. Chuck points out that Ring didn’t look so hot against Court McGee, and should have lost that decision. Tito suggests they do an immediate rematch of that fight. ("You wanted a third round? Here’s your chance.") Chuck and Dana don’t respond well to that idea, so Tito throws a tantrum and eventually gets his way.
The quarterfinal matchups are announced, and they are:
– Nick Ring vs. Court McGee II. No sassy face-off antics this time from Ring. But with his dodgy knee situation, he’s being done no favors by having to fight first.
– Kyle Noke vs. Kris McCray
– Brad Tavares vs. Seth Baczynski
– Jamie Yager vs. Josh Bryant. Another much-shorter opponent for Yager. Feels like a gift.
Chuck thinks the blue team can sweep all four fights. "Can you send Tito home if we do that? Please? For me?"
Ring goes to the doctor to get his knee looked at. He’s already had three knee surgeries, and might need another one. He could try to fight again and permanently ruin his leg, or withdraw from the tournament and live to fight another day.
Dana shows up to the house, sober and as hairless as a baby. After talking to the doctor, Dana is under the impression that Ring could fight again if he wanted to. He asks Ring what he wants to do, and points out that he might be the favorite to win the show. But Ring doesn’t want to continue when he doesn’t think he can win; at this point, his only option in a fight is pulling guard. He’s done, and that’s his final answer.
Dana addresses the guys and announces that Nick Ring is out; a replacement will be selected after he and the coaches have another discussion. Joe Henle thinks he’s got this in the bag, since virtually everybody else is injured. As Dana leaves, James Hammortree gets out of his chair, pursues Dana to the driveway, and tells him he wants to fight. (His back is pretty much good to go.) Dana turns right around and tells the guys that Hammortree will be replacing Ring. The look on Henle’s face is absolutely priceless. "Closed mouth don’t get fed," Yager says.
So the first quarterfinal match will actually be Court McGee vs. James Hammortree — two guys who are coming back as injury replacements after losing close decisions in their first fights. Hammortree has a five-inch height advantage, but their reach is the same, thanks to McGee’s orangutan arms.
Round 1: Hammortree backs up Court with punches. McGee shoots, Hammortree stuffs. McGee lands a jab. Hammortree with a 1-2, then a leg kick and a straight right. McGee catches a kick, clinches onto Hammortree’s back, then takes him down. Hammortree gets up and spins out of McGee’s grasp. Leg kick McGee. They get into a brief brawling exchange. They clinch, and McGee flips Hammortree down. He to jump on Hammortree’s back, but is shaken off. Body kick McGee. McGee shoots and tries to pick Hammortree up but can’t. They separate. Hammortree shoots after McGee misses a reverse kick. McGee latches onto Hammortree’s leg on the ground. McGee puts Hammortree on his back as the round ends.
Round 2: Hammortree starts off with punches. He shoots — directly into a guillotine choke. McGee taps Hammortree standing. As Hammortree explains, his strategy of taking Court down and scoring some points with the judges blew up in his face.
On the next episode: More bad news for Tito. Could this be the episode where he leaves the show?