While we’re still a long way from knowing which nation will boast The Ultimate Fighter, one thing is quite clear-the Americans are the ultimate in entertainment value.
Last night’s episode of TUF began with the story of UK Coach Michael Bisping’s mysterious absence for Dean Amasinger’s fight in the previous episode. Surely, this was destined to be a major controversy and gripping story line. Perhaps this would tear apart team UK and leave them a shattered mess. Had Bisping betrayed the trust placed in him by his men, never again to lead his team?
Bisping overslept. That’s it. Bisping called his behavior “inexcusable” and apologized to Amasinger and it was time to move on. Is there one “r” in boring?
If the Brits had one glorious opportunity to shock and entertain us, this was it and they had blown it. The Americans, however, would not be denied. The night’s first fight featured American Cameron Dollar taking on UK’s Martin Stapleton in a lightweight bout. Dollar has been portrayed as a brash and obnoxious young man, who seems able to annoy his teammates at will. His tone changed dramatically though when it was announced he would be facing the heavily favored Stapleton. Dollar described himself as “scared” and “nervous” and even admitted that although he “loves to fight, he hates to fight”. After such a surprising show of under confidence, we were shocked when Dollar choked out Stapleton in Round 1 for the win.
In the second fight we met American Frank Lester who would face the UK’s James Wilks. Lester makes Dollar seem well rounded by comparison and within minutes of listening to his pre-fight preparation we wonder if TUF should employ a psychologist. Lester is so filled with rage and hatred for his opponent that he can barely contain himself. After watching his odd behavior inside the octagon during a practice session, Coach Dan Henderson seemed genuinely concerned about his fighter and told him that perhaps he would be better served if he could tone down his insanity.
If TUF hoped for a sound bite from Lester, they were likely disappointed by such gems as “I just want to beep his beep, beep, beep, beep. I mean I really want to beep, beep, beep, beepedy, beep, beep his beep-beep. You know when you beep, beep, beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep?” Something tells me Lester will be a hit on the uncensored DVD version of the show.
Perhaps blinded by his rage, Lester took a knee to the mouth from Wilks in the first round and lost his four front teeth. The fight was momentarily delayed between Round 1 and 2 while the ring side doctor removed the teeth from his mouth piece (and you thought this wasn’t a violent sport). Wilks would catch Lester in an arm bar in Round 2 and win by tap out.
A preview of next week’s episode reveals that a fighter from the UK will somehow hit himself with a sledge hammer. I can think of better ways to get attention, but at least they’re not content to be boring for another week.