Photo of Vinc Pichel (left) fighting John Cofer by Al Powers/Zuffa LLC
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was back on cable television last night (Fri., April 20, 2012) with episode seven of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 15 "Live" on FX.
One of the few interesting aspects of these weekly episodes is delving deeper into the contrasting styles of the two coaches. "The California Kid" is just that, a laid back surfer type who believes in the power of positive energy. "The Dominator," meanwhile, subscribes to a far more aggressive line of thinking. He believes in strength achieved through force.
This was on full display when Cruz was shown all but berating Chris Tickle for the manner in which he was defeated last week by Joe Proctor. Upon seeing/hearing this, Faber was quick to throw some praise Tickle's way, telling him he did a good job and to keep his head up. "You should be proud of yourself," he was told.
This sent Cruz into a fit of anger, telling his arch rival that he's hardly qualified to coach his own fighters, let alone the opposite team, the one the UFC bantamweight champion is in charge of.
It was the first bit of real fire we've seen from anyone at the TUF house. It was kind of nice, too.
But it didn't last and before long it was back to the same old, same old. In fact, the producers and editors of the show are very clearly running out of ways to make it interesting.
Last night's episode featured a fight pitting John Cofer vs. Vinc Pichel in what turned out to be a fairly even match-up that Pichel won via submission (arm triangle choke) in the sudden victory round after the two had went to a draw in the opening two frames.
It wasn't exactly an overly exciting affair but it was made worse by the fact that we were hardly given any background on the participants. Pichel is a striker, Cofer a wrestler. They want to win the competition and get their contract with the UFC.
The entire episode showcased the underlying issue with attempting to run a reality television show centered around legitimate competition. Sometimes, these fellows just aren't very interesting. And with cameras rolling all the time, that costs a pretty penny. Which means the executives at FX want to see something worth putting on TV that will pull ratings.
That's what leads to offshoot storylines they're really digging for, like the fact that Andy Ogle and Sam Sicilia are cracking under the pressure, albeit in different ways. Ogle can't handle the isolation and constant attention of the cameras while Sicilia is feeling the tight squeeze of the lofty expectations that come with being a high pick. He was selected number two by Cruz and he feels an added weigh to live up to that selection, which he will attempt to do next week. So there's a nice little storyline.
They're also trying -- and failing -- to remind us that Sicilia is friends with Michael Chiesa. This is important because they're on opposite teams and other members of the house are worried that they'll share training secrets.
The real desperation move came when UFC President Dana White showed up and tried to replicate his infamous "Do you want to be a f*cking fighter" speech from TUF season 1. And he couldn't do it. In fact, I'm not even sure what he said, other than FX bleeped him out about 28 times in the span of 45 seconds.
I don't know about you but that's exactly what I want when I watch television on Friday nights.
Like it or not, though, the show will go on and it continues next Friday night with a match-up pitting Sam Sicilia (mentioned previously) and Chris Saunders, someone we know absolutely nothing about.
I guess we'll find out next week, won't we?
For complete results and the running live blog of last night's TUF 15, episode seven click here.