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)
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?