It was the craziest episode of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 16 to date and it was no coincidence.
The lack of ratings and excitement over this current season of TUF has been well documented. The numbers are down. The fans have jumped off the bandwagon. Even Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White himself has been openly critical of TUF 16.
He's criticized the coaches (focusing mainly on Roy Nelson). He's criticized the quality of the judging. And in this episode, White made his frustration over the quality of the fights known to the fighters themselves, hoping to light a fire under them and possibly to turn things around for the season, in general.
So, what do you do to save a fledgling reality TV series?
The scathing review from the bossman who writes the paychecks is a good start. Throw in a ridiculous amount of booze and give it to fighters who are on the emotionally level of children. Then, add in a track-and-field competition between two Heavyweights, and you've got yourself a formula for a successful episode.
"Successful" might be a strong word. It was watchable -- much more watchable than any other episode has been, thus far.
Julian Lane is on the wrong reality TV show. He needs to be starring on a rehab show with Dr. Drew, so he can work out his issues with alcohol, his temper, whatever happened to him when he was child, and getting terrible haircuts.
Roy Nelson is fortunate that he found mixed martial arts (MMA), because he seems unqualified for any other type of athletics, which will come as a shock to no one who has ever seen him. He also seems to have no business coaching, and the guys on his team are growing more and more restless with the way he goes about his business.
James Chaney is a psycho, and I feel like it's not that big of a stretch to predict we're going to hear about him getting into some shenanigans that involve bath salts and eating people. (No offense if someone you love has been eaten by another person. Cannibalism is funny never percent of the time.)
Enough about the drama. Let's talk about the fight.
From the opening air horn, Manley and Chaney met in the middle and lived up to the title of the episode, looking every bit the part of "Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em Robots."
Manley definitely got the better of the exchanges, walloping Chaney with a bevy of strikes, but Chaney isn't human, so he walked right through them, tied Manley up and pulled guard.
Chaney immediately threw up a triangle that Manley sought to shake free of by standing, but he was unable to pry him loose.
After the fight went back to the mat, Manley was able to patiently work his way out of the choke, acquire dominant top position and promptly sink in a mounted guillotine to end the fight.
But the victory didn't come without casualty.
Afterwards, it was discovered that Chaney spit out his mouthpiece, while being choked, and purposely bit a chunk out of Manley's ribs.
In the post-fight interview, Chaney stated:
"I bit him on purpose. I wanted to find a way out of there. I thought maybe it'd loosen it up. Maybe I'm kind of a piece of shit, but I did not want to lose that fight."
Somewhere, Mike Tyson is nodding in approval.
How about you Maniacs? Were you nodding in approval after TUF 16 episode 8? Any chance this episode saved the season?
If you missed it, and my recap just wasn't vivid enough for you, be sure and check out Geno Mrosko's LIVE blog of episode 8, from top to bottom, right here.