Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was back on cable television last night (Fri., April 6, 2012) with episode five of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 15 "Live" on FX.
And wouldn't you know it, we've finally got a few storylines developing and playing themselves out.
Last night's episode featured Michael Chiesa taking on Jeremy Larsen in the live fight portion of the broadcast. It was the first bout of Chiesa's life since the passing of his father, which took place just a few weeks ago.
In fact, he found out about it shortly after he punched his ticket to the house in the very first episode.
Naturally, this led to quite the emotional ride for Chiesa and, in turn, we the fans. Instantly, we were given a reason to feel emotionally invested in the fight, and not just because of some alcohol fueled shenanigans. Real life had happened while Chiesa was chasing his dream in the odd reality world that is TUF and it was rewarding to watch him battle through his suffering to continue chasing said dream.
Even if the fight was a tad ho-hum.
Continuing the "family first" theme, a training partner and close personal friend of Chiesa's, Sam Sicilia, was commissioned by his team captain, Dominick Cruz, to spill a few secrets on Chiesa's body of work and training methods in an attempt to give Larsen an edge.
Sicilia, though it looked as though he might crack, held fast in his belief that he didn't want to sacrifice the integrity of what he calls his family in favor of helping a team that he will only be bound to for the duration of his time in the TUF house.
It was almost noble and made even more impressive due to the issues Chiesa was already facing with his father's death.
This was also an interesting storyline because it gave viewers a peek inside the mind of the UFC's Bantamweight Champion, Cruz. We knew from previous episodes that he trains hard and fights harder but his mental fortitude was on full display in this episode.
"The Dominator" didn't get to be one of the pound-for-pound best in the business today without the kill or be killed attitude we were introduced to in a far more visceral way last night. "If you want to be champion, you're going to have to take out your boys," he said.
The cold-blooded heart of a champion.
This attitude bled into the next -- and perhaps most -- interesting storyline of the season. Chris Tickle, the troublemaker from earlier episodes, absolutely drives his coach up the wall. His constant complaining and lackadaisical approach to training goes against everything Cruz believes in.
So it's a sight to behold when the two engage in a tug-of-war in the gym with Tickle coming up with a new excuse to quit and Cruz telling him to shut his trap and keep on working.
For the first time, real intrigue. My cynical self is even looking forward to it. You should be too.
For complete results and the running live blog of last night's TUF 15, episode five click here.