TUF 9 episodes 7 to 9 ranking

Seventh episode:

Previously on TUF: Pierce and Faulkner bonded. Cameron pulled an upset over Martin Stapleton. Tough as nails Frank Lester lost a fight and his teeth to James Wilks. Putting the Brits ahead 3-2. There are only two welterweights left. Pierce and Faulkner. Will the two friends face off in the octagon? Or will the remaining lightweights get their shot at becoming the Ultimate Fighter?

– Intro time. I’m guessing middleweights must fight if Pierce and Faulkner are getting attention heading into the episode. Santino’s intro clip has changed to him being choked out. He has to re-live it every week. Great.

– We see Stapleton doing the worm on the ground. The most unique opening shot of an episode I have ever seen. Faulkner lifts him up and down. Where is Dana White for the homophobic remark?

– The players on Team UK are dragging or carrying each other. Bisping mugs for the camera. He brags about having the next fight pick. He keeps drilling into Faulkner that his friend Pierce will come at him.

– Stapleton boasts about Faulkner’s striking and wrestling. Therefore his wrestling is only a little bit worse than Faulkner. Lawson reluctantly discusses Faulkner’s talent. Ross says he is awesome. I think Faulner has too much hype. Perhaps he loses? Or he advances but is overthrown by Damarques?

P.S. I’ll be stunned if Damarques loses in the welterweight division this season. He is getting a super duper positive godlike edit.

– Bisping resumes going on about how Faulkner will win the season.

– House time. Pierce teases Richie about a sore on his face. Richie informs us that there is bacteria on his face that is contagious. Gotta love sixteen sexually active men who gather in a house for 40 days and travel to highly contained gymnasiums where sweat, blood, water, and who knows what else is breeding 24/7.

– Pierce tells Richie all of the restrictions he has. Don’t touch it. Wash hands frequently. Don’t put dishes away. Okay, mom.

– PIERCE: Be careful with that herpes.
RICHIE (confessional): For the record, it’s not herpes.

– Pierce says there is no way Richie could fight with the sore on his face. He’d be exempt. The opponent would refuse to fight a guy with a contagious bacteria. No kidding.
Heh.

PIERCE: I’ve never had an infection in my life.

Jason Pierce–World’s Worst Immune System.

– Pierce is spraying everything and is finding it tough to encounter a new environment and the house. He goes on a soliloquy about how it’s not the fighting that is difficult–it’s the house. The day-to-day drag. Discipline. It’s a brand new experience. On top of that, he has to fight one of closest buddies in the MMA world. Lucky Faulkner. During this soliloquy it is safe to say Pierce has sprayed every inch of the House.

– Fight Announcement. Fighters slowly exit the van. Pierce goes inside alone. Henderson talks about the one remaining 170 pound fight. Pierce whines that he killed some blood vessels in his leg by kicking Steve Berger in a prelim match. Ah. Satisfactory excuse for when he loses to Faulkner, I presume. In addition to Faulkner being the kryptonite-like state of ‘short and stocky’.

– Pierce is frustrated during training. He not only has to worry about his partner but about the other partnerships stepping on him from behind. Ask Nate Quarry. He knows all about that scenario.

– Henderson is emotional and commands Pierce not to kick with the injured foot. Pierce grunts and whines that it is not hard to do so. He takes a seat on the bench. Henderson worries about Pierce’s ankle injury against an ankle lock specialist. I think I would be worried too.

– Oh my word. We see Pierce furiously punch himself in the face. This totally needs to be a GIF.

– Team UK is wielding a sledgehammer against a tractor tire. Bisping tells us that it is great for building core strength and explosiveness.

– Andre missed the tire and punctured a hole in the mat. One that is estimated to be worth several thousands of dollars. Bisping wonders how Andre missed a six foot target on multiple occasions. Michael starts to re-think using the sledgehammers as a training tool. Send it back to Tommy Speer’s farm.

– Bisping breaks fourth wall and says to not worry about the mats. He thinks the incident likely made great TV.

– Team USA training session. 5-minute rounds worth of practicing takedowns according to the assistant coach whose name I have forgotten. Pierce, as always, claims he does not have a cup and whines that they have been doing 2 1/2 days straight of practicing. Also note that Pierce has huge volumes of sweat pouring down his face. Now I understand how staph infection spreads.

PIERCE: I’m not used to how they do things here. I’m used to doing things according to my body.

Any fighter in the past nine seasons who has uttered that statement has never come anywhere close to being the winner of TUF or breaking into the UFC. Never.

– Henderson is doing five minutes with Pierce. He orders Pierce to fire back and not be afraid. After the round he goes to the camera to say that Pierce is a mystery. I agree. Pierce is an anti-social and complex guy. I know production typically blocks anyone who would be ‘bad TV’ from being considered for TUF. I’m curious how Pierce broke through this process.

– We see Pierce drink about a litre of water in the space of ten seconds in real time. Assistant coach (who is revealed to be Cyrille Diabate) announces everyone to go at it again.

CYRILLE: Pierce since the beginning has been a pain in the neck. To put it simple, he’s a negative guy.

For once, Cameron Dollar speaks the truth. Nobody likes Pierce’s “old grumpy a–“.

– He gives everyone a pep talk that they need to think about submissions and not worry to take it to the next level. Using negative energy will drift from your ability to fight. Not only does your body need training but so does your mind. I think it’s too late for ‘an earth to Pierce’ wake-up call.

– Cyrille calls for one more round. Right on cue Pierce exits the gym. Damarques yells that Pierce is a baby. Team USA could be the least likable team ever if it weren’t for Damarques’ no nonsense attitude. Pierce may as well quit this moment.

– House time. Damarques, Santino, and Frank discuss the situation. Frank predicts that Pierce does not want to fight and will pass it off to Mark. Why not Frank himself? Because that buddy still looks to be in rough shape. They all assess that Pierce is afraid of Faulkner. Cam is in the room too. Damarques says he stays in his room and writes in his journal because Pierce is such a negative person to be around.

Wow. Does anyone like Pierce? Besides Faulkner?

– Dent enters the room. He kills the mood by mocking everyone for bashing people behind their backs.

DENT: This is the bash room, right? Have at it. Santino, you’re already out of the running.
(DENT walks away.)

Dent and Pierce are truly fringe players on Team USA. Santino is annoyed that the downstairs area is labeled ‘the bash room’.

– Dent reports this new discovery to Pierce.

– Pierce doesn’t like guys who suck up and try to be the cool guys. He understands who his real friends are. Which turn out to indeed be only Faulkner and Dent.

– Dent knows cliques form in a large group of guys. However he doesn’t want to be part of the cliques. Ironically, he has created a clique of his own with Pierce and Faulkner.

PIERCE: I’m not here to make friends.

Reality TV Cliche 101.

– UK training session. Everyone is lifting weights. An assistant coach examines Faulkner’s leg. Turns out there is massive swelling from when he hit himself with a hammer earlier. Those sledgehammers are deadly. The whole team laughs including Faulkner.

BISPING: How do you hit yourself with a sledgehammer?

– There is damage to the tissue of Faulkner’s leg. Bisping calls for an examination. There is an infection. The leg is wrapped up. Faulkner unwraps it. Holy crap that is swollen and infected. Faulkner adds that he has accumulated flu symptoms overnight. Pierce may quit and Faulkner might be med evac’d. Could this be a TUF first where both fighters in a match-up cannot continue? Or would they simply postpone it for a few days and revert back to lightweights?

– Faulkner is in possession of antibiotics. The state of the game is unknown.

– Suddenly we’re at a tennis court. Dana White is standing in a hoodie. Seems like a chilly morning. Bisping comments on it being Wimbledon. Episode seven and we already have the Coach’s Challenge? Maybe a fight won’t happen after all. It explains why there won’t be two fights this episode either.

– Dana claims the Coach’s Challenge is the favourite part of each season. If that was the case, then why did challenges stop happening after TUF 2? Oh well. I digress. I prefer challenges versus the chaotic two episodes of sixteen fights.

– Winning coach of the tennis match wins ten thousand dollars. The winning team will receive $1, 500 each. Everyone cheers. Bisping slams down his jacket. Dana explains the modifications. The only one is that the coaches must serve inside the box rather than outside because he knows how little tennis each of them have played. They will play to six games. Winner must be up two games to win.

– Bisping strips on his boxers to put on more comfortable shorts. Faulkner makes fun of Team USA’s cheer and comparing it to a cheesy 80s jock.

– We see Hnederson and Bisping practice. Another reference to tea and crumpets is made. Per usual, both coaches suck at the same sport. Probably why it is picked. Cam heckles him. Bisping wants to incorporate more players because of the whiny American accents.

– Bisping has first serve. Henderson. . .catches the ball? Dana awards the point to Bisping. Henderson is confused and thought Bisping had to serve inside the square. Dana insists that Bisping did so.

– Henderson wins the first game. We see a montage of aces. Players on the sidelines are more excited than the coaches about the match.

– Henderson wins the second game. They swap sides. Bisping can only hear Damarques’ voice. And Cam’s. Easily the two loudest guys on the season.

CAMERON: Hey Bisping, you’re whiter than a band-aid.

BISPING (confessional): I thought it was a bit belittling when it was a black guy who said it to me.

Note: Bisping thought Damarques said it, but it was really Cam. And Damarques looks about 150 to 200 percent more Hispanic than Black.

DANA: Uh, it was Cam who said it. And yes Mike, your legs are as white as a band-aid.

– Henderson is up four games to zero. Suddenly Bisping wins a game. And the next one is close.

(BISPING hits it beyond the fence of the court.)
CAM: That was in too, Mike.
BISPING: F— your girlfriend.

Oddly enough, Cam has claimed to have engaged in sexual intercourse with Cam’s girlfriend as well.

– Somehow Bisping wins a second game. It doesn’t matter as Henderson wins the next one and dominates six games to two. One of the most lopsided victories in the Coach’s Challenge ever. I think Big Nog might’ve crushed Mir moreso at soccer, though.

BISPING: I’ll see you on July 11th where we’ll duke it out like real men.

And the pay-per-view promotion has already begun. As well as McEnroe feeling insulted that he is not a real man according to Bisping.

– Bisping and his team talk about Damarques’ loud mouth. Mike wants to go after Damarques. What else is new? Bisping is really pissed.

– Fight Announcement time. Bisping holds the meeting. Ross Pearson will fight Richie Whitson. The bacteria is still there. Ross is dumb enough to touch Richie’s face. Both will have the bacteria. At least it is an even fight.

– Ross understands Richie is a tough guy. Bisping thinks Richie will be picked off with the correct shots.

– Henderson is concerned that Richie hasn’t been on a mat in over a week and will clear up barely in time for the fight. Richie says if his energy is not 100 percent that he will have to make it a quick fight. See Pierce? Complaining isn’t the way to go. Instead you have to switch up your gameplan so you have a chance to win.

– Frank has fun with the dummy. Henderson asks him to smile. Frank refuses to show his teeth. This is followed by Henderson examining Richie’s face for the bacteria. It looks ridiculous than during the beginning of the episode.

– We get to know the Sean White look-alike. He is from a small fishing village. Trained in Muay Thai in Thailand before transitioning into MMA. Henderson says he has improved very quickly and is a hard worker. I have a feeling he will be losing this battle.

– Richie practices his punches. Assistant Coach Heath Sims had been training with Richie six months prior to the round of 32.

– During sparring with the assistant coach, they pull a Keith Hackney/Emmanuel Yarbrough by falling out of the cage. Richie fell off the steps and on the concrete. He stands back up and re-enters the cage. That is going to hurt in the morning. Heath loves having Richie around.

– House time. Henderson becomes the first coach to visit the house. While Mir and Nog showed up all throughout TUF 8, Henderson slips in and puts Richie’s birthday cake on the table. I wish Henderson would come out to my next birthday. While I had a herpes sore too. Henderson smears the cake on Richie’s face as he blows out the candles. Everyone is having a great time. Except Team UK. The camera films a window that shows the porch.

???: I’m tired of this s—. I want it to be f—ing over with. I’m tired of this f—ing house. I want to win my fight and I wanna go home. I just wanna pay bills.

– Turns out to be a newly mohawked (and intoxicated) Cameron Dollar. One of the assistant coaches convinces Cameron that the best way to pay bills is to stay in the House for a couple more weeks.

BRIT: How do you intend to pay bills?
CAM: Make money.

So how do you make money on a reality show where you are paid money for appearing and awarded 5k per knockout and submission? Hmmmm. Maybe leave it?

CAM: I drank too much man. I miss my family, man. I wish I had a better relationship with my parents.

– Henderson comes onto the porch to comfort Cam.

FRANK: Don’t be sorry. You still got all of your teeth.

Everyone roars with laughter. Cam laughs then cries that he hates Bisping always talking s—. Suddenly Cam is fine and thanks Frank for sticking it out on the show.

– Frank asks the question that is on our minds for next episode: “Who will replace Pierce if he doesn’t fight? Mark?”

Henderson refuses to give an answer. Apparently Pierce has until Monday or Tuesday to decide. We don’t know which day of the week it is, but if they are saying Monday or Tuesday, I assume it is less than seven days away. And if Henderson is acting like Pierce’s doubts are common knowledge, then I assume Pierce quitting seems almost certain.

– The players re-enter the House. Henderson recommends a piece of cake. Sugar rush balances out the intoxication.

– Official Weigh in. Nick says Ross is half-man half-pit bull and will make anyone else in the octagon will look like a choir boy. If I recall correctly, this is the first official weigh-in since the House started. I love all of this character development this episode. Bisping thinks Ross needs to relax and think versus being aggressive. Henderson finds Sean White to be resilient.

– Dana couldn’t be more excited for this fight and does not pick a winner for once.

– Another training session? Love it. Introduction to Ross. Talks about rising from nothing to. . .a reality TV spot. So nothing. He is sucking information from The Count. Ross talked about his past life as a brick-layer. This fight must be short. We’re not even at Fight Day.

– Bisping says that “Ross wants to fight” would be the biggest understatement of the season. He has added a couple more weapons to Ross’ arsenal. We see Ross getting hurt a couple times sparring with Bisping. However, he is still very fragile. Ross tears up thinking about being on the cusp of entering the UFC. This guy could very well win the lightweight division.

– Fight Day. Richie is shadowboxing and aiming to tie up the US-UK score. It’s all about fighting for America. Santino trains with him in the locker room. Both guys get taped up. Ah. Bisping remembered to show up.

ROSS PEARSON
NOTTINGHAM, UK
24
5’8
69″ (tee hee)
9-3

RICHIE WHITSON
TEMECULA, CALIFORNIA
22
5’8
69″ (tee hee)
4-0

– Sponsoured by Mickey’s. Dana rolls the dice and introduces the fight.

– Various shots of Arianny which means we’re set to begin.

– Herb Dean is our referee. They run to touch gloves. Plenty of feints. Richie fires a body kick but it is blocked. They body lock against the cage. They spin against the cage. Richie knees the shorts. Light elbow from Richie as Ross is against the cage. Another elbow. Body lock is broken. Back to centre. Both miss huge looping head kicks. Ross picks Richie up and drives him to the ground. Richie scrambles as Ross maintains position on Richie’s back. Uppercut from Ross. Henderson calls for Richie to turn into the cage. Richie breaks free. Back to centre. Richie fires a leg kick. Ross storms Richie. He connects with a smashing knee to the face. I replayed it to hear the unedited smattering sound effect. Richie is dazed as he desperately attempts to stagger away. Ross has Richie against the cage. Richie has a neck around Ross’ throat. Ross takes Richie down. Richie works his way to his knees. Ross is standing up.

– Ross delivers another huge knee to Richie. But wait isn’t Richie–

– And that’s why Herb is the best. He intervenes and says it was a knee to a downed opponent. Henderson wants Richie to turn around to talk to him. Herb stops this and says Richie cannot talk to his corner and pulls him aside. Bisping meanwhile yells commands instructions to Ross.

– Herb asks Richie if he is fine to continue. Richie is out of breath but says he can. Herb sighs. USA players yell for Richie to take his time. Personally I would’ve said I couldn’t continue but whatever. Herb takes a point from Richie because Richie was not in transition.

– Because this isn’t a PPV, we don’t know how long Richie rested. Fight resumes. Richie misses some punches and a head kick. Ross comes in but misses. Richie counters and lands strikes of his own. Ross lands a head kick. Richie misses a looping head kick. Ross ducks and works Richie into a huge takedown. They grapple back to their feet as Ross knees Richie’s face. This time it’s legal. Ross is against the cage in the grapple. Richie elbows Ross’ face. Ross uses the elbow to turn the tables and have Richie against the cage. Ross knees Richie’s crotch but it goes unnoticed. Maybe it was a bit above. Who knows. Richie breaks the distance and trades punches with Ross. Ross takes a leg and takes Richie down. He takes Richie’s back. Richie turtles but attempts to escape the back door. Ross still has an arm and Richie taps. End of a messy fight.

– Ross is happy to win decisively (it was anything but decisive mind you) and is looking forward to the next fight.

– Richie is frustrated as Henderson spanks him on the butt in comfort. He self-assesses that his timing was off and it was a tough break. Ross proceeds to thank god.

Next time on TUF: With Team UK in a commanding lead, American morale is at an all-time low. But illness and injuries could add up to defeat for the Brits. And will Pierce get into the octagon and fight? Who will survive and move one step closer to becoming the ultimate fighter?

Rank the Fights

1) Waylon Lowe vs. Santino Defranco (Santino is going to quit. He’ll totally quit at the end of the round. Wait, he’s coming out? Big knee? Rear naked choke? Dang.)

2) Mark Miller vs. Nick Oscipzak (So many reversals. Who was in control? Some good strikes too. Yeah they were slow to work at certain moments, but then the knockout kick came.)

3) James Wilks vs. Frank Lester (It was exciting in the stand-up and exciting on the ground. Wilks landed some impressive strikes and knees during the fight. Frank’s inability to go down was worth the prolonged destruction. Oh, and who can forget one of the most iconic images of TUF 9–the four missing teeth? Is that how a Christmas tune was inspired?)

4) AJ Wenn vs. Ross Pearson (Skillful grappling followed by the biggest beatdown of the premiere. Those knees were vicious. How the heck did AJ answer the bell for the second round?

5) Gary Kelly vs. Andre Winner (Perhaps the best fight in terms of striking. They weren’t afraid to go after each other, and that’s what we love to see in MMA. That brutal knee was the best strike of the episode.)

6) Damarques Johnson vs. Ray Elbe (They squared off in the beginning, but Damarques pounded him, pounded him some more, and created one of the biggest gashes in TUF history. I love blood.)

7) Kiel Reid vs. Frank Lester (Two words: Gray Maynard.)

8) Dean Amasinger vs. Damarques Johnson (Seeing a guy struggle helplessly to escape a triangle choke is disturbingly gratifying.)

9) Richie Whitson vs. Ross Pearson (It was a great stand-up battle. Unfortunately it was sullied by a couple of illegal blows that cannot help one but wonder how this fight would have looked if it was played by the rules.)

10) Che Mills vs. James Wilks (Great rally from James as he grabs a leg and taps Che out from the bottom. Granted it was a quick fight.)

11) Cam Dollar vs. Martin Stapleton (Short fight without any memorable strikes except for the one to the top of the head. Textbook rear naked choke. Should be lower, really.)

12) Richie Whitson vs. Paul Bird (Decent striking by both guys. Paul clearly didn’t know what to do on the ground compared to Richie. There was a fine armbar attempt by Paul, but Richie brushed it off and slapped on a textbook rear naked choke on Paul.)

13) Andre Winner vs. Santino DeFranco (Well. . .uh . . .at least Andre finished it relatively quickly. Did Santino do anything worthwhile?

14) Martin Stapleton vs. Dan James (Only about ten seconds of the whole fight can be considered exciting or engaging to watch.)

15) Jason Dent vs. Rob Browning (Nothing to recommend watching. Except that it features a Browning?)

16) James Bryan vs. Jeff Lawson (I am not impressed by either fighter.)

BISPING

LIGHTWEIGHTS

ANDRE WINNER 0
JEFF LAWSON 1
MARTIN STAPLETON 2x
ROSS PEARSON  7

WELTERWEIGHTS

DAVID FAULKNER 3
DEAN AMASINGER x
JAMES WILKS 0
NICK OSCIPZAK 1

HENDERSON

LIGHTWEIGHTS

CAMERON DOLLAR 0
JASON DENT 1
RICHIE WHITSON 9
SANTINO DEFRANCO 1x

WELTERWEIGHTS

DAMARQUES JOHNSON 1
FRANK LESTER 1
JASON PIERCE  7
MARK MILLER 0x

Eighth episode

Previously on TUF: Pierce’s injured ankle forced his own teammates to question his heart. While his friend David Faulkner got hit with an injury of his own. Then lightweight Ross Pearson submitted Richie Whitson with an armbar extending the Brits’ lead to 4-2. Now four fighters remain. Welterweights Pierce and Faulkner, and lightweights Jeff Lawson and Jason Dent. Who will move one step closer to becoming the Ultimate Fighter?

– Intro time. Pierce’s and Faulkner’s injuries are re-emphasized. I am dang near certain at least one if not both will drop out. I love how this is a nationally-based season but yet there is nothing nationalistic within the American team.

– USA training session. Everyone is wailing on boxing bags. Except Pierce who is sitting on a bench He gets up to do a round but he still complains about his ankle. There is a staph infection on his leg too. His days of only relying on pitiful excuses is over. In addition, this is the first time in Pierce’s life that he has been infected. That’s what happens when you hang out in public.

– Pierce is frightful of the horror stories related to amputations due to staph. He wants it to subside pretty fast and does not want to fight the UK’s “best fighter” in a week unprepared. What is up with both fighters having leg infections?

– UK training session. Bisping mentors and sparrs with Faulkner in all aspects. Faulkner has been wrestling since he was ten or eleven. However Faulkner is having an impossible time keeping his mouthguard in his mouth. It’s a reflex he has. Bisping says dropping the mouthguard can lose him a fight. One of the strangest ways to lose a fight that I have heard. The rule is to stop people from doing it intentionally. Never have I heard it from people doing it constantly beyond their own will.

– Bisping doesn’t understand it. Faulkner says doctors and dentists don’t understand it. Bisping says he needs to work on not repeatedly putting his mouthpiece back in. Faulkner creates a sob story out of it that it has been a major black hole for him. Bisping reminds him to keep his eye on the prize.

– USA training session is a morning session of Ultimate Frisbee. Henderson thinks it is great cardio training. Frank says it was great for team morale to get out of the training centre. Everyone is having fun.

– Pierce didn’t play because he has too many meds in him. He visited the doctor’s yesterday. Complaints of feeling too weak and cannot put on his socks. Pierce reports he doesn’t know if the doctor will clear him because it is extremely sensitive to touch and is sore. Heath interrupts and thought a doctor cannot clear you for a fight with an infection as long as it is not contagious.

– Pierce says the doctor might not allow it if it’s too sore. Heath proposes that he fights through the pain. Pierce responds that he hasn’t trained since Friday. Then Heath says to work out. Pierce says the doctor told him not to train because it weakens his immune system.

– Heath and Henderson launch into the speech about how there is never a perfect training camp. The only tough part will be making weight. Henderson hates the negative energy and thinks Pierce needs to cheer up and follow through with taking advantage of the opportunity. Nobody ever fights one hundred percent. Look at Richie.

– Pierce says he has never fought less than 100 percent but has a confessional that he will never miss a fight. That could change seeing how miserable he looks. Hoodie, glasses, and the trademark Pierce frown.

– Another Team USA cheer to end the day.

– House time. The eliminated players are cooking up food. Santino observes that Dent and Pierce have no problem eating his food. Santino makes fun of them that if you say their names in a British accent that they will respond. He says Pierce is grumpy eighty percent of the time. They eat Santino’s food without asking.

– Frank talks to Santino about how Dent and Pierce don’t talk to anybody but wait on the food like dogs. He expresses a wish to punch Pierce in the face and wants him to die. Santino laughs and consoles him. Pierce is spared. His negativity shall be the end of him.

– Fight Announcement. Not many decisions left. It’s Jason Dent versus Jeff Lawson. They square off. Dent has a bummed knee but Dent will fight through it. Pierce could learn something from him. Henderson expects a chess match because these two are tacticians.

– Bisping defends Lawson’s quiet and reserved attitude as someone who will take Dent down and submit him.

– Dent announces to everyone that he wanted to get away from everyone and breathe for an hour. He says the biggest problem has been sharing a house with 16 guys 24/7 with absolutely no privacy. Santino likes Dent despite being out of his mind and being anxious.

– We’re told Dent is very jittery and makes everyone nervous because of how anxious he sounds when he speaks. Damarques thinks Dent will watch the episodes at home and understand he did not make the best of the situation because of his failure to learn to interact with people in a social environment.

– Dent is excited to be in the cage. Henderson finds Dent to be surprisingly capable.

Translation: Dent is weak but improving.

– Henderson defines Dent as doing things his way but won’t push to get better at his weaknesses. The assistant coach cusses out Dent for brawling during the spar sessions. Henderson is irritated that Dent fails to improve upon his weaknesses. It’s an amateur move.

– Henderson goes on to say he has never had anybody mad at him for yelling at them to improve like Jason Dent did. So Dent is a huge question mark.

DENT: I’ll only do it in training but not in the fight.

Because it’s not like anyone has been frustrated in the octagon and change their game plan.

– House time for Brits. Jeff Lawson is putting a balloon on his head in the form of a mask. There are odd expressive facial drawings on it. He manages to pop it simply by exhaling. He thinks his personality is coming out. And then he says his personality is coming out.

– We see the Brits laughing as his pants get pulled off as he hangs from the ceiling. Flexing ensues. Lawson believes it boosts morale. The UK team wears masks.

– Faulkner and Lawson wear odd masks and prepare to have a wrestling match. Lawson thinks Faulkner has dragged out his fifteen minutes of fame into hours. Boy oh boy he has not seen the edit for this season. Andre Winner is in a mask as well.

– Some of the dumbest wrestling acting I have ever seen. Lawson has on monkey ears like he is Forrest Griffin or a member of the Bloodhound Gang. Twisted arms. Garbage cans. Faulkner suplexes Amasinger into the swimming pool. One of the wildest stunts I have ever seen.

– Lawson wakes up and pretends to urinate on Amasinger. Everyone is finding it hysterical. This is the jollyest team I have seen in TUF. Lawson brags he has won 21 fights by armbar. It’s all in the Judo training like a UFC Armenian in North Hollywood.

– Lawson intends to use his armbar. No unique gameplan to see here.

– Training session. Bisping tells us that Lawson was out for the first ten days due to chest infection and did not do any training. Lawson and Faulkner feel like they are helping each other become better. Dean and Faulkner praise his skills. Amasinger must be one of the better narrators on Team UK.

– Lawson is on the scale and gives the goofiest and childish flex I have ever seen. It’s like a five year old boy who just finished watching his dad weight train. He goes on to say everyone underestimates gingers. Regardless, he will not lose this fight.

– Frank says he weighs 203 as he consumes yogurt. Amasinger is impressed. He wants Frank to get to 205 by the end of the day. Why are two eliminated fighters being shown?

– Dent and Lawson get inside their respective vans. Dent thinks anyone who is not nervous before a fight is a liar.

LAWSON: I fight because I’m crap at football (soccer),  and rubbish at tennis. This is my rush.

You mean a desk job doesn’t give you a rush? Should’ve been that dude who goes up 100, 000 feet into space and then jumps out without a parachute.

PEARSON: On the count of three– one, two, three–
EVERYONE: We’re not gay!

Ah. There’s the UFC homophobia I have been waiting for all season. That sums it up right there. Thank you for playing. Carson Daly will be all over your a–. And not in a homosexual way. That’s fer sure. As Rudy Boesch would say.

– Hands are getting taped up. Dana enters the room casually and asks for Pierce. Also known as Sad Face McGrumpy Pants who sits in the locker room.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Team USA’s locker room reads “RICHIE WHITSON” on the front door. Why is that important? Because whoever is the fighter at the time has his name displayed. Thus, the clip we are watching right now is taken from the seventh episode.

MY CONCLUSION: Whatever is about to happen doesn’t fit with the suspense, logistics, or the storylines of last episode heading into this week. Therefore Pierce’s storyline really ended last week but must throw the whole rhythm of editing in disarray that they waited until this round to reveal the outcome.

In other words, Pierce will probably quit. Otherwise why not show this segment last week?

– So Pierce walks in his hoodie, hat, and sweatshirt as he slowly motors into Dana’s office.

– Dana informs us that Pierce’s cellulitis has turned into staph infection. However the doctor is confident that Pierce can fight. This contradicts what Pierce told the assistant coach.

– Henderson whispers Pierce to look alive as they enter the kitchen.

DANA: What’s up man?
PIERCE (whispers): Hiiii.
DANA: You’ve had a rough week, huh?
PIERCE (sighs): A little bit.
DANA: So what? You think you’re gonna be able to fight?
PIERCE (confident): Doctor says the cellulitis has cleared up. The staph is still pretty bad. Ummm, a second doctor came in and said if there is an injury to the leg that it could get into the bone and worse things could happen.
DANA: Right.
PIERCE (sighs and drops in tone): In terms of fighting mentally, yeah I can fight. I feel weak. I’ve got the shivers. Cold as f—. Mentally I’m in it. I’m not mentally beat up.

“I’m depressed. Sad. Everything hurts. Really hurts. I refuse to practice. I refuse to talk to my team. I refuse to listen. But mentally, I’m totally there. I am the definition of mental toughness.”

Pierce may have given the least convincing plea to fight in front of a MMA executive ever. Dana immediately gives a confessional that the last thing Pierce wants to do is fight. He ends the conversation without giving an official ruling until Tuesday. Whenever that may be.

– Henderson thinks Pierce could have been more convincing. No kidding. He wouldn’t have talked about the leg or feeling drained.

– Back to practicing. There’s Dent and Jeff Lawson.

JEFF LAWSON
BOURNEMOUTH, UK
30
5’7
70″
13-2

JASON DENT
MENTOR, OHIO
28
5’9
70″
18-9

– Dana bids everyone good luck. Herby is our referee. They touch gloves. Both dance around. Terminator Salvation is the sponsour of the fight clock. Twenty seconds in and no strikes. Jeff misses an enormous looping head kick. Jason Dent accidentally kicks the cup. Gives Jeff time to back away. They grapple but break of their own accord. Jeff misses a front body kick. Some feints. Jeff is circling. Dent closes distance. Jeff connects with a leg kick. Jeff misses a couple huge uppercuts. Dent connects with a leg kick. He takes Jeff’s back and tackles him to the ground. Jeff rotates and looks for a toehold as he sits on Dent. It’s doggystyle. Lawson stands up and crashes into Dent’s full guard.Lawson slightly stands as he lets go of Dent’s wrists and proceeds to punch. Then lowers back into full guard. Dent closes the distance. Lawson stands up. Very prone to triangle choke. He picks up Dent and slams him down. Herby warns Dent about punches to the back of the head from the bottom. And another warning. Lawson elbows the face. Dent is doing plenty of striking from the bottom. Lawson is standing again but goes back on his knees. Full guard is maintained. Herby calls for action. Lawson nearly puts a thumb into Dent’s eyes. Dent is striking non-stop from the bottom. Impressive cardio. Lawson stands up as he uses wide looping punches against Dent before going into the full guard. He is in full mount. This could be over quick. He starts clubbing Dent but resorts to holding Dent’s left arm. Dent is elbowing from the bottom. Dent pushes Lawson away with his feet. Back to a standing full guard. Now on his knees. Dent knees the belly as Lawson is knocked back. Dent goes into Lawson’s guard. End of round.

Is it possible for Dent to win a round despite being on the bottom for four minutes? Lawson did nothing offensively after the takedown.

– They hesitate to touch gloves. Lawson misses a head kick again. He charges Dent and pushes him against the cage. The cameraman hops off the cage. Dent turns Lawson into the cage. They break the grapple and Lawson looks exhausted. Dent defends another takedown attempt and holds a turtling Lawson as he punches his head and body repeatedly. Lawson lands an upkick. Dent gets away which forces Lawson to stand up. Lawson lands a leg kick.  Lawson uses the worst kick I have seen as Dent takes him down. Both are on the ground and both going for leg locks. Holy crap. I can’t tell who is closer. Might be Lawson. Both are stretching. Both escape and get up! Lawson misses huge uppercuts. Jeff lands an enormous knee to the chest. And retreats. Dent misses a punch. Lawson shoots in but Dent defends the takedown and Lawson turtles. Herby warns Dent about punches to the back of the head yet again. Henderson calls for a choke. Dent flips over Lawson and uses a reverse darth choke. Lawson taps. End of the best fight thus far.

– We see a fight recap. Lawson dominated the first round. Then Jeff claims his lungs escaped prior to the start of the second round. Dana is disappointed that Dent didn’t chase after a clearly exhausted Lawson.

DANA: He is far, far, FAR, from impressive.

– Dent is unaware of this as he smiles and is happy to represent the US for the first time in anything and feels good to be successful. A sullen Dana is saying it’s 4-3.

– Lawson hates that he can’t support his family. He wants the gloves to literally come off. His tears are visible. Bisping tells Jeff that there is nothing to be ashamed of. He loved the attempt at the big knee.

– Kitchen again. Dana and Pierce meet. He says after hearing Pierce talk, and how he looks, and how he described his feelings, Dana makes the call to prevent Pierce from fighting.

– Dana defends the decision. He says he would NEVER take a fight away from a fighter. But Pierce is nowhere near the state to fight. Dana doesn’t think Pierce has what it takes to be a fighter and believes Pierce has no desire to continue this. Pierce cries when he hears this news and is devastated to be put on the bench. Henderson wants Pierce to stay training and mentally positive and finish out the last two weeks. Sad Face McGrumpy Pants hears nothing of it.

– At the end we see Pierce rip his hat off in the parking lot. The most aggressive act all season.

Rank the Fights

1) Waylon Lowe vs. Santino Defranco (Santino is going to quit. He’ll totally quit at the end of the round. Wait, he’s coming out? Big knee? Rear naked choke? Dang.)

2) Jason Dent vs. Jeff Lawson (The energy in the gym was electrifying. Nothing was ever consistent in this fight. Both were frequently aiming for submissions. Sure it wasn’t an emphasized brawling fest but enough big strikes were landed to keep you on your toes. A couple of Lawson’s fakeouts were great. I would also add that Dent’ unorthodox  submission is a welcome relief from the abuse of rear naked chokes.)

3) Mark Miller vs. Nick Oscipzak (So many reversals. Who was in control? Some good strikes too. Yeah they were slow to work at certain moments, but then the knockout kick came.)

4) James Wilks vs. Frank Lester (It was exciting in the stand-up and exciting on the ground. Wilks landed some impressive strikes and knees during the fight. Frank’s inability to go down was worth the prolonged destruction. Oh, and who can forget one of the most iconic images of TUF 9–the four missing teeth? Is that how a Christmas tune was inspired?)

5) AJ Wenn vs. Ross Pearson (Skillful grappling followed by the biggest beatdown of the premiere. Those knees were vicious. How the heck did AJ answer the bell for the second round?

6) Gary Kelly vs. Andre Winner (Perhaps the best fight in terms of striking. They weren’t afraid to go after each other, and that’s what we love to see in MMA. That brutal knee was the best strike of the episode.)

7) Damarques Johnson vs. Ray Elbe (They squared off in the beginning, but Damarques pounded him, pounded him some more, and created one of the biggest gashes in TUF history. I love blood.)

8) Kiel Reid vs. Frank Lester (Two words: Gray Maynard.)

9) Dean Amasinger vs. Damarques Johnson (Seeing a guy struggle helplessly to escape a triangle choke is disturbingly gratifying.)

10) Richie Whitson vs. Ross Pearson (It was a great stand-up battle. Unfortunately it was sullied by a couple of illegal blows that cannot help one but wonder how this fight would have looked if it was played by the rules.)

11) Che Mills vs. James Wilks (Great rally from James as he grabs a leg and taps Che out from the bottom. Granted it was a quick fight.)

12) Cam Dollar vs. Martin Stapleton (Short fight without any memorable strikes except for the one to the top of the head. Textbook rear naked choke. Should be lower, really.)

13) Richie Whitson vs. Paul Bird (Decent striking by both guys. Paul clearly didn’t know what to do on the ground compared to Richie. There was a fine armbar attempt by Paul, but Richie brushed it off and slapped on a textbook rear naked choke on Paul.)

14) Andre Winner vs. Santino DeFranco (Well. . .uh . . .at least Andre finished it relatively quickly. Did Santino do anything worthwhile?

15) Martin Stapleton vs. Dan James (Only about ten seconds of the whole fight can be considered exciting or engaging to watch.)

16) Jason Dent vs. Rob Browning (Nothing to recommend watching. Except that it features a Browning?)

17) James Bryan vs. Jeff Lawson (I am not impressed by either fighter.)

BISPING

LIGHTWEIGHTS

ANDRE WINNER 0
JEFF LAWSON 11
MARTIN STAPLETON 0x
ROSS PEARSON 1

WELTERWEIGHTS

DAVID FAULKNER 2
DEAN AMASINGER 2x
JAMES WILKS 0
NICK OSCIPZAK 0

HENDERSON

LIGHTWEIGHTS

CAMERON DOLLAR 0
JASON DENT 5
RICHIE WHITSON 0x
SANTINO DEFRANCO 2x

WELTERWEIGHTS

DAMARQUES JOHNSON 1
FRANK LESTER 1
JASON PIERCE 4
MARK MILLER 0x

Ninth episode:

Previously on TUF: Dana bounced Pierce from the competition. David Faulkner started gagging on his mouthguard. American lightweight Jason Dent defeated Jeff Lawson. With one preliminary fight left, Team USA trails 3 to 4. Who will replace Pierce to take on Bisping’s favourite: David Faulkner and become one step closer to becoming the ultimate fighter?

Isn’t there one choice for who can be Pierce’s replacement? Frank is beat up, lost four teeth, and 30 points overweight. Damarques is already in the next round. That leaves only Mark. I’m curious what the heck happens if Mark is unable to fight. We haven’t heard from him in five episodes.

– Henderson congratulates Dent, but announces that Pierce isn’t allowed to fight. He defends it saying it is a good thing because Pierce would not have been one hundred percent. Dana interviews both beat up players. Mark has a broken nose.

DANA: So? You think you can fight? With a broken nose?
MARK: Eh, whatever. A broken nose. It’s just a nose. I’m not getting any prettier.

In the words of the Family Feud audience, “good answer”.

– Mark is fine as long as he has time to train and cut weight. He knows he won’t be ready to fight 100 percent but is more than willing to do it.

– Frank is interviewed. He says losing four teeth is fine because David fights toothless all the time. Heh. Dana has a tough decision ahead of him. Frank says it is nothing but smiles and sunshine.

– USA Van. Santino asks Pierce what transpired.

SANTINO: Did he say he wouldn’t allow you to fight?
PIERCE: Yeah. He took one look at it and thought it was nasty looking.

Lie. Unless it was edited out of the episode.

SANTINO: Did you tell him you would be alright to fight?
PIERCE: Yeah, I did actually.

Half truth, I s’pose.

– Santino finds it to be Lord of the Flies esque and that Pierce is Piggy and will get the knife.

– Frank, Santino, and Cameron all trash talk Pierce’s whiny and wimpy behaviour. This is going to become a sport for the remaining two weeks–who can come up with the best insults for Pierce. Frank thinks he deserves to have another chance and will win. He thinks God will want him to win if he is allowed back.

– Everyone ostracizes Pierce. Mark is ready for another shot too despite performing poorly. Frank is ready to continue with his dream. It’s a USA training session. Henderson tells Frank he is cleared to fight on Tuesday. Mark isn’t because of the broken nose. How heartbreaking.

Nose > Four lost teeth.

– Frank looks really emotional. Dana loves Frank because he is not a normal human being.

DANA: Normal people don’t think like that. When you or I lose teeth, we say ‘oh my f—ing god, my teeth hurt’. This kid is begging me for the opportunity all day long every day of the week.

It’s true. These fighters are never given enough credit. Even Pierce is ten times tougher than me. Heck, Pierce was the guy who fainted on the first day from severe dehydration due to weight cutting. He pressed on, won his fight, got into the House. Sure, after that he lost motivation, but most of us wouldn’t sweat ourselves until we are skin and bones to fight. Pierce doesn’t deserve that much hatred.

– Frank tries to put his mouthguard in. He spits it out in disgust. We see blood and some of his teeth are still in the mouthguard. That image is burned into my memory forever. One of the most disgusting sights in my life.

Note: Frank has tied a TUF record with Rashad Evans of fighting three times in seven episodes. The first two seasons had the format where you could fight repeatedly until the semi-finals, and thus people like Rashad Evans and Diego Sanchez could get two fights in before the semi-finals.

Another note: Frank is the first fighter to have three fights before the semi-finals in a season where there are two weight classes.

– USA training session. Henderson instructs Frank to not be aggressive against Faulkner and to wait until the takedowns to make him pay. A Craig Jackson plan it seems. Frank’s nose is really sore. Even Henderson expresses concern.

FRANK: I’m still a bit banged up since my last fight a couple days ago.

A COUPLE DAYS AGO?! How the heck do you lose four teeth 48 to 96 hours earlier and prepare to fight a man of the highest calibre on Team UK? This guy is out of his mind.

– Henderson calls for Frank to punch harder in the striking practice. I feel bad for Frank. He must be re-questioning his decision to throw his hat into the ring.

– Damarques weighs in on it. He agrees that sending in a weak, badly bruised fighter against the best athlete and the most rested fighter in the entire cast is a lop-sided affair.

– Pierce coaches Frank from the corner. He tells us that he wants Frank to do well, but Faulkner is a really good and awesome fighter. Geez. His lack of faith is clear. What is he still doing at the house?

PIERCE: I hope he gets out without any real pain or injury.

. . .Like losing four teeth?

– HENDERSON: Regulators, mount up.

Since when did he become Warren G?

– Henderson says he isn’t a morning guy and that their practices have always been in the morning. Apparently he has had the option to switch their practices to the afternoon since the start of the season. He consults his team and agrees to make the switch.

– Team UK shows up as Bisping has coffee in hand. Henderson tells him that Frank Lester is the opponent. And the time switch. Bisping whines that he cannot do it. Henderson brushes him off as Bisping keeps rambling. So Bisping changes his approach as any good fighter would.

BISPING: Whoever wins this next fight gets to have the afternoon training session.
(HENDERSON scoffs.)

I suppose a wager that involves a toothless and bruised man against the best fighter in the British Isles besides Bisping is not exactly a fair wager.

HENDERSON: We’ve woken up early for four weeks. You only have to do it for a week.

– Bisping hates listening to Henderson and insists they don’t have to switch. Henderson didn’t think it would be a big issue.

HENDERSON: Bisping was a huge b—- about it.

Heh.

– Of course UK doesn’t want to wake up early. They enter the gym with Team USA. Henderson playfully touches Frank’s nose.

– Bisping says the team has declined to change. Henderson says it’s not up to him and he exercised the option that was awarded to him.

DAMARQUES: I say we battle royale in the ring for it.

Nevada State Athletic Commission may have an issue with that. Two versus two MMA is barely legal as it is.

DAMARQUES: Gangs of New York style.
BISPING: Yeah, believe you me. And I’d go for you first.
DAMARQUES: Somehow I’m not surprised.

Is this still over the incorrectly attributed ‘white band-aid’ comment from weeks ago?

HENDERSON: Should we play tennis again?
BISPING: That’s a low blow.

Heh. Bisping is being owned left and right in this conversation.

BISPING: Do you not have faith in your fighter?
HENDERSON: . .That’s not the point.
DAMARQUES: That’s definitely a low blow.
BISPING: I don’t care what you think.

– It’s time for the final fight announcement. They prepare to line up. As Bisping walks past Damarques he sprays him in the face with water.

He sprays him in the face with water.

HE SPRAYS HIM IN THE FACE WITH WATER.

Bisping may have exercised the biggest “b—-” move in the history of the show. He went after a guy for making a comment that he didn’t even utter in the first place.

– Damarques tosses his hat at Bisping. Snaps. As anyone would. Bisping explains it was for a racist comment. Damarques insists it wasn’t him who made the band-aid comment. Bisping like a four year old says it was him.

DAMARQUES: This goes all the way back to the. . .tennis match? Cameron made a comment how Bisping is whiter than a band-aid? I don’t know how it’s racist. Maybe they don’t like band-aids in the UK.

Did I mention how much I love Damarques? He perfectly lays out how Bisping was being absurd in about three different ways.

1) Bisping accused the wrong guy of making a racist comment
2) He acts abusively towards the wrong guy as a response while the guilty party gets off clean
3) The comment was something said in passing about band-aids. Nothing racial.
4) The comparison to a band-aid is the only reason why he’s mad.

– Bisping cowers and apologizes and that he was wrong. Damarques leaves the room. Bisping chases Damarques down to apologize but Damarques essentially tells him to “f— off” and needs a minute.

BISPING: He went off crying. It was a bottle of water, let’s be honest. Rains every day in England.

And it was just a band-aid and a training schedule. Let’s be honest.

– Everyone awkwardly stands around as Bisping stands in the centre for the fight announcement. Henderson casually states that Bisping wouldn’t like water being squirted in his face. Knowing how much he freaked out from a band-aid, I couldn’t imagine what would happen if water was squirted in his face.

– Damarques is in the parking lot. He wants to fight Bisping in a parking lot before returning to the gym.

– The forced fight is announced. Faulkner and Lester. Bisping offers to put the training time on the line. You think Henderson will be put on the line after squirting his guy in the face with water? Henderson flatly declines it.

BISPING: It’s still to be discussed.

Wow. And for the past six TUF seasons I was a big fan of Bisping. His attitude is worse than Pierce’s.

– House time finally. Everyone is sleeping and tired. UK groggily enters the gym for their training session at 900am. Suddenly we move on as Faulkner’s confidence is the only thing getting in the way of beating Frank Lester. Like UK’s best man can’t beat the thirty-fourth man on the TUF 9 roster. Rob Browning was ranked higher than him for crying out loud.

– Faulkner is still having troubles with his gag reflex. Bisping thinks it is just because of a poor mouthpiece. I agree. Mouthpieces should never trigger a gag reflex. I have a pretty bad gag reflex myself. Or “meself,” as those pasty white British guys who are whiter than a band-aid would say.

– A hypnotherapist is being brought in for Faulkner. Bisping think it might work because Faulkner is crazy enough to believe in that stuff. The scene ends with Faulkner’s mouthpiece falling out in the middle of a submission.

– Not since Gabe Ruediger’s Colonic have I seen such a bizarre outside-of-house clip on TUF. Faulkner sits in the hypnotist’s chair. Playful pixie dust music plays. Faulkner never saw her blink.

– Alice Nasife, the hypnotherapist, is attempting to reprogram his mind to stop his gag reflex. She reads the script like a robot. Faulkner thinks it might have worked.

– Frank tried to sleep but was worried about his face hurting. He intends to give it his one hundred percent and knows he is strong enough to survive this if he is strong to be a husband and father.

– Fight Day. Faulkner and Frank are in their respective locker rooms.

HENDERSON: Don’t worry. Nothing can be worse than what happened in the last fight.

I’ll be impressed if something worse happens than losing four teeth and clawing up your face.

DAVID FAULKNER
LIVERPOOL, UK
28
5’8
69″
2-1

FRANK LESTER
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA
24
5’11
71″
3-2

– Mazzagatti is our referee. They touch gloves. Circling. Circling. Feints. Circling. Faulkner fires a leg kick. Feints. Circling. Leg kick again from Faulkner. Circling. Frank Lester fires a leg kick of his own. Circling. Faulkner lands a leg kick. Faulkner charges but Frank stuffs it circling. Missed leg kick from Faulkner. Circling. Henderson calls for ‘jabs’ twenty times in a row. Faulkner grapples and has Frank against the cage. Frank knees Faulkner’s body. Henderson says to circle but Frank isn’t listening. They’re still grappling with Frank against the cage. Frank finally turns Faulkner into the cage. Faulkner reverses it. They break up. Faulkner leg kicks. Faulkner attempts to grapple but Lester breaks it up. They clinch. Frank is kneeing the body. Faulkner is punching the face. Faulkner lands a huge punch after the clinch is broken. Faulkner takes down Frank. Frank scrambles back to his feet. Faulkner holds Frank against the cage on his feet. Faulkner lands a hook as he backs away from Frank. He runs into Frank and pushes him against the cage. Then the clinch is broken again. They circle in the centre of octagon. Frank closes the distance. Faulkner is wobbly on one foot. Faulkner lands some jabs and knees in the clinch. Henderson still calls for jab. Frank brawls but Faulkner blocks. Frank attempts to clinch but Faulkner breaks it. Faulkner misses an enormous uppercut as him and Frank grapple against the cage. End of round. It was an alright round.

– The TapOut Crew shows up for the fight. Dana explains what happened to Frank in the previous fight. Such a random exchange. Assistant coach tells Frank to jab. Henderson claims Faulkner is drained.

– They touch gloves. Circling. Feints. Faulkner lazily throws leg kicks. More nothing. More circling. Frank backs away completely. Faulkner loses his mouthpiece. They rinse it off and back in it goes. They circle. Faulkner lands a leg kick. Frank throws some overhands.  Frank misses a headkick. Throws some more overhands. Faulkner clinches Frank and pushes him into the cage. Frank knees Faulkner in the belly. Clinch is broken Frank misses some punches. But then connects with some to the body and face. Faulkner is back pedaling and blocking. Faulkner goes for clinch. Frank knees Faulkner’s face and body. Faulkner lands some uppercuts. Frank connects with more knees. Frank’s Muay Thai clinch is super effective. Faulkner misses a jump knee. Clinch is broken. Faulkner is gasping. Frank lands some more punches. They clinch again against the cage. Frank knees the body. Frank is against the cage. Faulkner lands a brutal knee to the body. Frank still has the Muay Thai clinch. Faulkner breaks it and lands a HUGE uppercut. Frank’s head moves in response to that, let me tell you. Faulkner is swinging for the fences. Another Muay Thai clinch by Frank. Faulkner breaks it and jogs away.  Frank closes the distance and lands some punches. He misses a hook as Faulkner ducks to clinch. Frank is against the cage. He tries to work Faulkner. Frank’s nose is bleeding. Nothing much is happening. Faulkner lands a knee. Both throw punches. Not the most finesse. End of round.

– Both squat in the same spot. Everyone is projecting a third round. Faulkner and Frank are in their corners. Both teams are going CRAZY. TapOut Crew is loving it. Before that one dude dies weeks later, unfortunately.

– Henderson tells Frank that if it goes one more round, Faulkner is done. All Frank has to do is throw straight jabs. Frank is bloodied up. Faulkner looks better but is breathing heavy. Faulkner refuses to go again if it goes to a third round.

DANA: It’s a draw. We’re going to sudden victory!
(Both teams go CRAAAAZY.)

– Faulkner keeps saying he can’t. Bisping is shouting at him as well as his assistant coaches. They say it will be the biggest regret of his life. Frank is standing ready to fight. Mazzagatti waves his arms to call the fight.

End. Of. Fight.

– Audio crew must have had a heck of a time. Team USA is ecstatic. Frank has enough energy to hop the cage. Oh my god. This is like the Minor Leagues version of Sakuraba versus Gracie.

– Dana recaps Frank’s journey. He misses out on a few crucial details.

1) Frank wasn’t in the original cast of 32. The first six seasons had sixteen fighters. So you must be at the bottom of the barrel to not qualify for the show.
2) Frank was not even the first alternate. He was the second alternate. In other words, he was cast member #34 of the season. How often do you see a 34th place ranked player make a deep run in any sport?
3) Frank’s first fight is won because the opposing fighter suffers from a self-induced knockout a la Gray Maynard.
4) Frank loses his second fight being submitted after losing four teeth and a destroyed face.
5) Jason Pierce suffering from Pussyitis and Mark Miller’s broken nose gives Frank a third chance.
6) Rather than win the fight, Frank’s opponent withdraws after two rounds.
7) He is the first fighter in TUF history to replace an injured fighter/quitter midway through a season following a loss and come back to win.

All in a space of seven episodes. I doubt we will ever see anything like this again in all of TUF. In fact, Frank has only officially won one round out of six rounds in TUF. Biggest underdog story ever.

– Faulkner and Frank hug in the ring. David Faulkner is all smiles and couldn’t be happier. Bisping is pissed and angry.

BISPING: They kept chanting ‘Team USA, Team USA’. I couldn’t take it. I can’t take the other team gloating.

Oh the irony.

– Bisping stormed off into the locker room and orders his team to join him. Bisping is disappointed. The lead is gone. It’s tied 4-4. A very rare feat in TUF. Lopsided teams are the name of the game. Faulkner repeats that he enjoyed the fight. Didn’t want to do a third round for the sake of being macho. He has changed his mind to being a pro wrestler. Bisping is pissed that Faulkner blew such a big opportunity. Faulkner attempts to apologize to Bisping but Bisping insists to not apologize.

– Bisping rounds up his four victorious fighters in the main gym area. He immediately breaks it to them that Faulkner was pathetic. Bisping drills into them that they can win but they must go after it and never give up. Faulkner’s carefree attitude is not exactly an ideal role model for such a competitive and brutal sport.

– Frank’s locker room is all smiles. I can’t remember a time where a fighter returns after a loss but manages to win his next fight. Emerson, Kolosci, Dollaway, Jesse, and Leben all lost when they replaced an injured fighter or a quitter.

Next time on TUF: Richie goes off on Team USA dropout Pierce. And it’s time for the semifinal picks. Will Dana switch it up and force teammate to fight teammate? And prepare yourself for a rumble in the cage when two welterweights battle to keep their dream alive. Who will secure their spot in the finale and move one step closer to becoming the next ultimate fighter?

P.S. Frank will become the first fighter to fight FOUR times during his time at the House. So the players in single-bracket casts, Rashad Evans, and Diego Sanchez all have their records broken.

P.P.S. Remember before how I said Pierce and Faulkner were getting really bad edits and that they were viewed as the closest friends in the House? Well, both of these guys go down as quitters. My joke of it being the match-up of the Quitters and Excuse Machines came to fruition. I am finally understanding how TUF edits their episodes.

1) Frank Lester vs. David Faulkner (You know that scene in Matilda where Bruce Bogtrotter raises the cake in triumph but suffers a strike to the head in the process while the audience cheers? The same thing happens in this fight. The conclusion is reminiscent of Sakuraba versus Gracie and when the heavily favoured Gracie when the corner throws the towel into the ring.)

2) Waylon Lowe vs. Santino Defranco (Santino is going to quit. He’ll totally quit at the end of the round. Wait, he’s coming out? Big knee? Rear naked choke? Dang.)

3) Jason Dent vs. Jeff Lawson (The energy in the gym was electrifying. Nothing was ever consistent in this fight. Both were frequently aiming for submissions. Sure it wasn’t an emphasized brawling fest but enough big strikes were landed to keep you on your toes. A couple of Lawson’s fakeouts were great. I would also add that Dent’ unorthodox  submission is a welcome relief from the abuse of rear naked chokes.)

4) Mark Miller vs. Nick Oscipzak (So many reversals. Who was in control? Some good strikes too. Yeah they were slow to work at certain moments, but then the knockout kick came.)

5) James Wilks vs. Frank Lester (It was exciting in the stand-up and exciting on the ground. Wilks landed some impressive strikes and knees during the fight. Frank’s inability to go down was worth the prolonged destruction. Oh, and who can forget one of the most iconic images of TUF 9–the four missing teeth? Is that how a Christmas tune was inspired?)

6) AJ Wenn vs. Ross Pearson (Skillful grappling followed by the biggest beatdown of the premiere. Those knees were vicious. How the heck did AJ answer the bell for the second round?

7) Gary Kelly vs. Andre Winner (Perhaps the best fight in terms of striking. They weren’t afraid to go after each other, and that’s what we love to see in MMA. That brutal knee was the best strike of the episode.)

8) Damarques Johnson vs. Ray Elbe (They squared off in the beginning, but Damarques pounded him, pounded him some more, and created one of the biggest gashes in TUF history. I love blood.)

9) Kiel Reid vs. Frank Lester (Two words: Gray Maynard.)

10) Dean Amasinger vs. Damarques Johnson (Seeing a guy struggle helplessly to escape a triangle choke is disturbingly gratifying.)

11) Richie Whitson vs. Ross Pearson (It was a great stand-up battle. Unfortunately it was sullied by a couple of illegal blows that cannot help one but wonder how this fight would have looked if it was played by the rules.)

12) Che Mills vs. James Wilks (Great rally from James as he grabs a leg and taps Che out from the bottom. Granted it was a quick fight.)

13) Cam Dollar vs. Martin Stapleton (Short fight without any memorable strikes except for the one to the top of the head. Textbook rear naked choke. Should be lower, really.)

14) Richie Whitson vs. Paul Bird (Decent striking by both guys. Paul clearly didn’t know what to do on the ground compared to Richie. There was a fine armbar attempt by Paul, but Richie brushed it off and slapped on a textbook rear naked choke on Paul.)

15) Andre Winner vs. Santino DeFranco (Well. . .uh . . .at least Andre finished it relatively quickly. Did Santino do anything worthwhile?

16) Martin Stapleton vs. Dan James (Only about ten seconds of the whole fight can be considered exciting or engaging to watch.)

17) Jason Dent vs. Rob Browning (Nothing to recommend watching. Except that it features a Browning?)

18) James Bryan vs. Jeff Lawson (I am not impressed by either fighter.)

BISPING

LIGHTWEIGHTS

ANDRE WINNER 0
JEFF LAWSON 0x
MARTIN STAPLETON 0x
ROSS PEARSON 0

WELTERWEIGHTS

DAVID FAULKNER 5
DEAN AMASINGER 0x
JAMES WILKS 0
NICK OSCIPZAK 0

HENDERSON

LIGHTWEIGHTS

CAMERON DOLLAR 0
JASON DENT 0
RICHIE WHITSON 0x
SANTINO DEFRANCO 1x

WELTERWEIGHTS

DAMARQUES JOHNSON 4
FRANK LESTER 7
JASON PIERCE 1x
MARK MILLER 2x

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