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The Ultimate Fighter 9.9 Recap: In Your Face

("Back, and to the left…back, and to the left…")

With Jason Pierce pulled from the competition due to a combination of staph infection and bitchassness, Team USA needs to replace him with one of their eliminated welterweights. Mark Miller tells Dana White that he’s down to fight, but he has a broken nose ("It’s just a nose, I’m not getting any prettier"), and privately he wonders if he’s ready, since he hasn’t been able to train since his last fight. Frank Lester wants it bad, but his face is an absolute mess, with two black eyes, an aching nose, and a row of missing teeth.

Santino interrogates Pierce about why he isn’t fighting. Pierce claims that he totally tried to stay in the competition, but Dana looked at his leg and said he couldn’t fight — which is not exactly what happened, and the guys know it. Damarques thinks Pierce should be stripped of his TapouT gear. Lester furiously shadow-boxes.

Lester gets the nod because he’s been medically cleared to fight; Miller’s broken nose means it’s a no-go for him. But the decision also seemed to be influenced by Lester’s attitude. Dana calls Lester a real fighter, and is impressed that fact that he wants to keep fighting despite all the abuse he’s taken. "That’s not how normal people think," Dana says.

Up to this point, Team U.S. has been practicing in the early morning, while Team U.K. has been taking the gym in the afternoon. Worn down by the early hours, Dan Henderson wants to exercise his option of flipping the practice times. He runs it by Bisping, who won’t compromise. Bisping suggests that the team who wins the next fight should decide the practice schedule. Hendo doesn’t really think that’s fair, as Frank Lester is far less than 100%, and he’ll be going against (allegedly) Team U.K.’s best guy. Bisping says he’ll run it by his "associates" and get back to him. After talking shit about Hendo for a while with his guys, Bisping returns with all of Team U.K. at his back, telling Dan he’s out of luck. Damarques wants a battle royal to sort out the practice-time business. Hendo suggests tennis again. Bisping continues to stonewall the Americans.

As the teams go to line up for the fight announcement, Bisping squirts Damarques in the face with water, who understandably freaks the fuck out. Bisping said it was for his "whiter than a band aid" remark during the tennis challenge, which struck Bisping as extremely racist. But it was Cameron (a white guy) who delivered that line, and once that’s explained to Bisping, the Count is apologetic. Damarques doesn’t accept the apologies, and takes a few minutes to settle down in the parking lot. Bisping, obviously, chooses Dave Faulkner to fight Frank Lester.

Eventually, Team U.K. is forced to take the morning practice session due to an order from "the powers that be." Faulkner’s gag reflex is still bothering him, so he goes to see a hypnotist named Alice who doesn’t blink and talks like a robot. Alice tries to reprogram Dave’s subconscious mind with the idea that his mouthpiece represents safety and protection, not something foreign to be gagged on.

Lester has "second doubts" before the fight. He worries that the pain of getting hit in his already-wrecked face will make him want to quit. But he explains to Santino that if he’s strong enough to do this, he’s strong enough to be a good father, and a good husband (even though his marriage is over).

And now, the last quarterfinal fight of TUF 9

Round 1: Faulkner starts out with some leg kicks. He rushes forward and takes a punch. Faulkner gets in a left hook and clinches, and they separate after a knee from Lester. They clinch again, with Lester landing some knees and Faulkner returning punches. Faulkner lands a big left and scores a takedown, but Lester pops right back up. Faulkner punches out of a clinch then rocks Lester with a sharp right. Lester knees out of a clinch and eats a hook. Faulkner already looks gassed. Lester gets in a left and they clinch until the bell. Slight edge to Faulkner for landing the harder shots and scoring a takedown.

Round 2: Exhausted and gagging, Faulkner spits out his mouthpiece, and is berated by Bisping. Lester lands a right hand, and tries a high kick. They clinch, trade some knees, then separate and trade power punches. Lester slugs wildly for a while, then grabs a thai clinch and starts assaulting Lester with knees. Faulkner jumps out, and they clinch again briefly. Both guys are too tired to make much happen. Faulkner tries a knee, punches out of the clinch, then slips in a right. He jogs to the opposite end of the cage so he can rest with his hands on his knees for a moment. Lester starts teeing off when he gets over there, then lands more knees in a clinch. Round over; advantage Lester.

The fighters around the cage howl for a Sudden Victory round, and they get what they wish for. Unfortunately, Faulkner has no desire to continue. Bisping pleads with him to go out and win the fight, but Faulkner is too tired, too psyched out. When Team U.K. can’t convince him to leave the stool, Mazzagatti waves off the fight and Frank Lester is in the semi-finals, after looking terrible in three consecutive fights. Dana marvels at how he’s capitalized on every opportunity. To recap, Lester came in as an alternate and won via Kiel Reid knocking himself out, got all his teeth punched out by James Wilks, then outlasted Faulkner in an ugly gas-fest.

Faulkner explains that he couldn’t breathe and his throat went dry, but hey, at least he enjoyed the fight. He tells us he now wants to pursue a career in horror movies or pro wrestling. And this is supposed to be the U.K.’s "best guy"? Something tells me that was just a line invented for the drama of the show, particularly when you look at his record.

The fact that Faulkner had fun doesn’t mean dick to Bisping, who is super pissed, and gives his Final Four a pep talk about how pathetic Faulkner is. They vow that they’ll never go out like he did. And here are your TUF 9 semi-finalists:

Damarques Johnson (WW)
Frank Lester (WW)
Cameron Dollar (LW)
Jason Dent (LW)

Nick Osipczak (WW)
James Wilks (WW)
Ross Pearson (LW)
Andre Winner (LW)

On the scenes from the next episode, the Americans completely turn on Pierce, and Dana decides to dispense with this whole "Team U.S. vs. Team U.K." gimmick. WTF?

Cagepotato Comments

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BringLebron2NY2010- May 29, 2009 at 9:44 am
Anyone else find the whole faulkner-gag-reflex bit just a little bizarre? This is a guy who has probably been training for years (at least 1/2 of training requires wearing a mouthpiece) and has 3 documented fights under his belt -- and NOW, when he gets to the level of fighting on TUF, he suddenly has a gag reflex to his mouthpiece? Really??

And how is he considered their "best fighter" when one of his losses is to his purple mohawk'd teammate? Definitely BS to drive viewer numbers....
halfbreed23- May 28, 2009 at 9:23 pm
Bisping is trying to take Matt Hughes crown for biggest asshole TUF coach of all time. I usually want Hughes to lose but I'm pulling for him in this contest.
karate is back- May 28, 2009 at 7:49 pm
there's something about Damarques that I just don't like. And Bisping is a better coach, but I hope Hendo beats Bisping.
BackbaconBilly- May 28, 2009 at 5:57 pm
Bisping is an even BIGGER whiney ass bitch than that Pierce fruit. I am truley looking forward to Hendo smashing his face in.
831 Son- May 28, 2009 at 4:06 pm
If the UK still fights the U.S., I see the two light weights on the UK team winning and the two welterweights on the U.S. side winning.
HereForTheBooze- May 28, 2009 at 1:34 pm
UFC 100 isn't in Britain?

Oh yeah, Bisping is fucked.
just some dong- May 28, 2009 at 11:44 am
Editing plays a big role in this show, of course, but I doubt Bisping is acting like a douche for the sake of ratings. Why would he give a fuck about that? That's Dana's world, man. I believe Bisping is just a sore loser and is really taking this whole "UK vs. US" think personally - he's really proud of his country and wants to win every fight for his guys. I can totally respect that, but unfortunately, Bisping is being a fucking prick about it, and just taking it waaay too far. At first I was impressed by his fervor, especially when viewed in contrast with Dan "heavily-medicated" Henderson. I guess I still am, but now it seems that Dan's the professional and Bisping will just say and do anything to give his team an advantage, even if it comes to undermining the opposing team. I guess that silly tennis match really got to him.

After watching last night's episode, I've never wanted to see a guy get beat down so badly as I do Bisping... so nice editing, guys. It's just a shame that he's probably gonna outpoint Hendo like he did Leben. I just don't see old man Dan winning, and watching Bisping win - and then celebrate like he actually fought a comparable opponent - is gonna put a damper on 100 for me.

'Course, the boos and jeers from the fans directed at Bisping will brighten things up a bit. That guy lost SO many fans last night, including me. Poor fucking form.
Judo Im Right- May 28, 2009 at 10:31 am
usually they play the new ones back to back - i didn't get the 10pm cause i was running then I turned on the episode at 11pm and it was last week's shitty ass fight / worst episode ever. I'm so mad i missed it and ruined the episode for myself by reading this blog!
TUFGuy- May 28, 2009 at 10:30 am
I am back bitches. Who elese laughed their asses off when 'I like to wear my hat at an angle because it makes me look tough' got sprayed in the face with water? That was a classic. Demarques was running around like a bitch in the parking lot looking for a towel.

Ok, back to my weight training with Tito and Jenna.
C-Bus Allstar- May 28, 2009 at 10:08 am
That's the best part about this show, after Bisping spends weeks and weeks making an ass of himself, we get to watch Hendo make him look like a child in the cage. That's the difference between Hendo and Leben, Hendo has the same kind of power Leben does, with the mental fortitude of Anderson Silva.
NECROPHYTE- May 28, 2009 at 9:46 am
Bisping is like a Matt Hughes style bully. Kind of an asshole to tell you the truth.
T1- May 28, 2009 at 9:40 am
He lost to Hammil, he'll lose to Hendo.

(I hope).

Man he acts like a spoiled brat ...
NateGetsIrate- May 28, 2009 at 9:37 am
I think Bisbing (i don't hear no "p's" in his name) is playing into how much of an asshole he can be for ratings sake. The show is definitly more interesting with The Man You Love To Hate.
Meohfumado- May 28, 2009 at 8:55 am
Hate Bisping. Hate, hate, hate!

Hated him after the Hammil fight (which he STILL hasn't won in my book). Hate him even more after watching his childish antics on this show.

Love kicking his ass in Undisputed, and I'm gonna love watching Hendo pound him into a pulp.
Anonymous- May 28, 2009 at 8:39 am
I don't think any of the Brits ever actually claimed Faulkner was their best guy, that was just a spin-off from Faulkner bullshitting Pierce about how he won from suplexes and fought in K-1 and shit and everyone buying it.

Coming into the series everyone knew Ross and Andre (and Che Mills) were their best guys.

If Dana makes Dre fight Ross in the semis I'm gonna...well...send a load of angry messages to his Twitter.
Crap Factory- May 28, 2009 at 8:28 am
Disappointed in Bisping this week. He really started to show his true color by acting like a child. It's too bad Damarques didn't get his hands on him when the water incident took place. To see a coach get knocked around would have been hilarious.

Who want's to bet Pierce runs away crying and leaves the show all together next week? He's such an idiot for tossing away an opportunity like he did. Lester made him look even worse by winning the fight injured too.

mayhem- May 28, 2009 at 8:22 am
I cant stand Bisping and never will like him. He was a douche when he was fighting on the show, a douche after his fight with Hammil and is a bigger douche now. I cant wait got Hendo to kick his ass... that is if he can catch him...
You KNOW he is just going to run around the cage like he did vs. Leben.
Geriatric Peon- May 28, 2009 at 8:16 am
Props to Hendo for not getting pulled into Bisping's bullshit.

Bisping in regards to the water bottle incident "it was an accident"...... what? How do you expect anyone to believe that?
Uncle Sams Misguided Child USMC- May 28, 2009 at 8:10 am
I cant wait to see Hendo put a damn beating on Bisping. I hate that pasty bitch!!! How are you going to cry racism over that comment if that was said to me Id laugh it off. Obviously the Count cant roll with the punches I think this will be even more evident when he gets knocked around by Hendo.

Swedish- May 28, 2009 at 8:06 am
My hatred for BisBing is growing each episode. He act's as a spoiled little bully with low self esteem.

He can dish out plenty of gloating but when the US team chants USA he rushes out crying. WTF

Hendo, please beat him into a bloody pulp.
VegasBJJ- May 28, 2009 at 7:50 am
Great episode! I have to admit, I'm starting to really like Lester. I thought he was a total douchebag in the first couple of episodes, but he's changed his attitude. I guess a broken nose and missing teeth can do that to a guy.
Oh yeah, Bisping is a complete bitch!
Bare Grappler- May 28, 2009 at 7:49 am
I have to agree with Polish (which doesn't sound right to the voice in my head). Dana White sees the significant advantage the UK has in the Lightweights and the US's advantage in the welterweights. I disagree though because at the finale the show is already over for 6 weeks and no one really cares which team wins. For the first time in a while you have 4-4 with 2-2 in each weight. Roll with it for shit sakes.
TrouserSnout- May 28, 2009 at 7:46 am
I do not like Bisping....never have....never will.....All I want to see is him take a beating...
Canadian Chronic- May 28, 2009 at 7:12 am
Bisping is such a whiny little punk ass bitch. Hendo said it perfectly, when he commented on how his own LITTLE kids act like Bisping when they dont get their way. My respect for Hendo as a person has gone through the roof, as he conducts himself with dignity and repect.

Its too bad that again, Dana is manipulating the tournament to supply the much needed "drama". I cant believe this is the winning formula for a show. I dont know about the other viewers, but, I tune in for the fights. I even watch it on my PVR so I can fast forward most of the bullshit and see the fights.
headcase- May 28, 2009 at 6:57 am
No doubt that is what Dana wants, they will frame it as putting the best fights together for the next round, but it is really about making sure that there is a US vs UK finale.