Thursday, April 2, 2009

Mitch the Intern's TUF 9 Recap: Episode 1

*Editor's note: Mitch the Intern is an NYU undergrad whose favorite Wednesday night pastime includes the TV in his dorm room, a green beanbag chair and two hits of acid. Enjoy.*

Close up shot of Dana White, driven down the mean streets of London to the gym where Michael Bisping practices his best Brad-Pitt-in-"Snatch" accent and sips tea and eats crumpets. They hug, long lost friends in a world where friends curse a lot and feign machismo, and they enter the gym where others of various degrees of fighting prowess and incoherent accents all want to be Dana's friend. "There are 16 of you but only eight are flying back to Las Vegas," says Dana, implying that the others must swim. Or stay there, where their accents will remain unfettered by the shackles of grammar and communicative ability.

"Jolly good," says one, a young lightweight with a handlebar moustache and a bowler atop his head. His name could be Gary Kelly or Grace Kelly or something, and he apparently trains with Bisping, as when he gets knocked out by a fighter from Narnia named Andre Winner, Bisping curses, saying "bollocks" like it means something dirty but it makes me think of buttocks. I laugh. Subtitles dance across the screen whenever a UK fighter talks and I laugh some more.

Others fight, one after the other entering the cage to earn a berth on Team UK, which will match up against Team US this season. Cageside, Dana and Bisping laugh and joke and share odd embraces, while Rich Franklin and the Queen of England sit taking notes (the Queen is sometimes referred to as "Dan". It's never explained why.) Within the Octagon, an assortment of fighters hailing from various UK neighborhoods like Nottingham Forest, the Shire, Middle Earth and Earthsea do battle. A shapeshifting referee, sometimes appearing like an over-tanned Mr. Clean, other times appearing like a smaller man who constantly says "lad", oversees the action.

A Pikey bareknuckle boxing champ named James Wilks tries to steal someone named Che Mills' leg. According to Wikipedia, the Pikey are like gypsies and cannot be trusted. Another fighter named Ross or Russ or Right-O-Old-Chap enters the cage and faces a street urchin named Oliver Twist. Oh poor Oliver! Ross or Russ or Right-O-Old-Chap feeds Oliver knees, which, as Oliver is but a sad street urchin, is the most he's eaten in weeks. "Please, sir, may I have some more?" Oliver asks meekly, and then the referee declares he's eaten enough and Ross or Russ or Right-O-Old-Chap is going to Las Vegas, where he will be tricked into eating urine-soaked fruit and man-splooge.

Meanwhile, Dana and Bisping giggle and whisper in each other's ears, then giggle some more.

Someone with a dire need for a plastic surgeon (or a better plastic surgeon than they already have) talks a lot but loses to a British Mr. T of the A-Team. A member of the Sex Pistols fights, another friend of Bisping except this time Bisping declares that he sucks amidst chuckles and snickers as he and Dana poke and tickle each other like friends are oft to do. Despite his suckiness, the Sex Pistol (Sid Vicious? Johnny Rotten?) wins. Then there are no more fights, and the eight remaining competitors are given jerseys by Bisping and Dana says the F-word. Maybe it's gratuitous, maybe it's necessary. I don't know. Just then, the acid kicks in.

A Few Gems From Assemblyman Bob Reilly's Anti-MMA Memo

New York State Assemblyman Bob Reilly, the most vocal and most ill-informed of the opposition to legalizing MMA in New York, sent around a memo called "The Case Against Ultimate Fighting in New York State". In it he asks that people ignore the studies showing that MMA would bring revenue to the state and instead believe his reasoning that it would hurt New York's economy, and he decries the impact more violence would have on our society. It's 24 pages long - all of it drivel - and here are a few gems:
  • "Some 13 deaths have been reported prior to the organization of the sport into the current franchises and the establishment of the present rules".
  • "It is indisputable that according to the rules themselves inflicting injury on an opponent rather than a demonstration of skill is the primary criteria for ultimate fighting."
  • "An example of how violence begets violence are the threats made to the author due to his opposition to the sport. Assembly staff deemed it necessary to report some of the threats to his physical well being to the New York State Police. While legislators routinely receive objectives to various proposed legislation, the reaction from constituents and the general public rarely approaches the vileness of some of the email and blog messages directed at the author in 'support' of ultimate fighting."
  • "Dana White is the President of the UFC and the major force behind attempting to legalize ultimate fighting in New York State. What he predicts for the future of ultimate fighting should be a warning for all who would legalize it: 'I eat, sleep, breathe and live mixed martial arts. I love this shit. It's what I do, but look, at the moment this thing we have is really pure. It's not all fucking dirty like boxing. I know that day is coming."

Observations From My Couch: UFC Fight Night 18

  • I'm not ashamed to say the UFC's tribute to Charles Lewis, aka "Mask", had me teary-eyed. Thank you, Zuffa. Really.
  • Cole Miller may have won, but Junie Browning got the last laugh. His fans found Miller's car in the parking lot and painted Confederate flags all over it.
  • When Rafael dos Anjos caught Tyson Griffin in that heretofore unseen calf-crusher, Helio Gracie turned to Japanese judo legend Masahiko Kimura in Heaven and said, "Dude! Did you see that?"
  • Ryan Bader defeated Carmelo Marrero by... Bader won with... A priest, a rabbi and Ryan Bader walk into a bar... Man, I just don't care enough about Bader to make something up about him. Sorry.
  • Carlos Condit deserves a ton of credit for giving Martin Kampmann such a good fight. I still believe the caliber of WEC fighters pales in comparison to the UFC (by far), but Condit is tough as hell and has a bright future in the Octagon.