TUF Brazil is a refreshing glimpse into a different culture



I've been meaning to write a fanpost about the most underrated, underwatched, under talked about MMA show that's been happening for a while now. But since it just keeps getting better week after week, I wanted to urge you to go out, find the show, download it, and see what you've been missing.

Not only are the fights amazing, the insight into Wanderlei Silva and Vitor Belfort a rare treasure, and the shows entertaining, but we're being offered a glimpse into the mentality of the undiscovered prospects in the treasure trove that is Brazilian MMA. And if you've been denying yourself all of that because you didn't want to read a few subtitles you've made a huge mistake.

First of all, Brazilians aren't the kind of vulgar, crude, aggressive, scary looking guys that they might seem when seen purely on pay-per-view fights. Thiago Silva aggressively ripping a thumb across his throat or "Paul Harris" screaming like a fucking lunatic on the top of a cage might be our viewpoint of the raw, extreme emotions of a few Brazilian fighters, but they do not embody or encompass their spirit by any stretch of the imagination.

The first thing you might notice about these guys in the house is that they genuinely respect and care for one another. There's no pissing in a fruit salad for Ryan Bader to eat. There's no jizzing in a sushi container. There's no stupid alcoholics telling other fighters that they're fatherless bastards and asking where their kids are at [sic].

These guys aren't North Americans. They have class. In fact, most of them would probably know what it means to be a "fatherless bastard" because they talk about how their moms raised them alone in a household after dad left. They talk about growing up on the streets or the roughest neighbourhoods of Brazil where most kids wind up on drugs or dead, never mind winning MMA matches and fighting on television in front of millions of fans.

These guys know they've won the lottery just by getting into a mansion and being able to work out with professionals and learn from one another and share in their experiences. They aren't dumb fucking hicks breaking glass on each other and talking smack and starting fights. No, that shit happens to the American fighters, as recently witnessed by Chris Tickle's imbecilic actions in the last TUF Live episode.

But beyond all that it's interesting to see how different the culture is when it comes to how they care about one another. There's respect shown inside and outside the cage. Who could we forget how emotional it was when Bodao screamed at Massaranduba to get up and fight round 3, not to quit, and to think of his family? Or when Dana White split up Team Belfort and the UFC veteran's lip quivered as he told the room they were going to be separated? The whole room wept when faced with the choice of leaving their closeknit family. It may seem melodramatic to us, but it the emotions were no less real.

All the hype may be behind the mediocre Michael Chiesa and Al Iaquinta finale fight headed into this Friday, but the diamond in the rough is securely hidden in the Sunday night Ultimate Fighter Brazil. I predict several of the fighters from that show will go on to far more successful careers than any of the scrubs dredged from the talent-thin ranks of the English-speaking TUF world. That well's been pretty dry since about 2008, actually.

Yes, there's a lot of silly product placement in the Brazilian show, ridiculous and contrived scenes shot for corporate benefit, and even some scripted dialogue from the "guests", but even for all that it's been a great show. The only real shame is that Vitor Belfort was injured, ruining yet another Ultimate Fighter Finale, but the pairing with Wanderlei Silva had been as much of a mismatch as the team results anyway.

I hope they have a second TUF Brazil or move into some new, untapped market. They could do worse things than look beyond their own backyard.

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