Thursday, May 20, 2010

Life in the Suck Lane

Welcome to the latest edition of Life in the Suck Lane, where we compare the career trajectories of two once-promising fighters and let you decide whose life sucks harder.  On today’s installment it’s Tim Sylvia vs. Matt Lindland.  Here are the ugly facts:

Tim Sylvia

    • Lost his first UFC championship belt when he tested positive for steroids.
    • Returned to the cage to face Frank Mir for the belt and promptly got his arm snapped in half.  Mir kept the arm hanging above his fireplace for two months before giving it back.
    • In his next venture into the Octagon, he lost to Andrei Arlovski so fast fans questioned if Sylvia had actually heard referee John McCarthy yell “Let’s get it on!” and knew the fight had begun.
    • Defeated Arlovski in a rematch, but their third meeting was hailed by Time Magazine as “The Worst Fight in the History of Fighting, But Not a Bad Example of Two Grown Men Dancing”.
    • Lost the belt to Randy Couture at UFC 68 in a bout that had the crowd cheering every time Sylvia took damage.  There’s unpopular, and then there’s Sylvia-level unpopular.  This was an example of the latter multiplied by a thousand.  Even Satan was watching that bout and muttering, “Jeez, go easy on the poor guy.”
    • Put together a string of impressive losses to such MMA legends as Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Fedor Emelianenko and Ray Mercer.  Wait, what?
    • Is headlining an event called Moosin on Friday.

Matt Lindland

    • Defeated anyone who faced him until he was fighting Murilo Bustamante for the UFC middleweight belt, at which point he tapped out, lied about having tapped out, and then quickly tapped out again.
    • Knocked himself out trying to slam Falaniko Vitale at UFC 43.  No, seriously. 
    • Lost by quick and violent knockout to Dave Terrell, but continued to dominate in the Octagon.  However, whatever momentum he had was flushed down the toilet when Lindland let money and banned sponsors cloud his judgment.  His severance package from the UFC included a Hallmark Card from Dana White brimming with curse words and a jockstrap someone had found in the locker room of the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
    • Was a coach for the IFL.  No, seriously. 
    • Lost to Fedor, got knocked out by Vitor Belfort so hard that for two weeks after he thought he was “Joey” from the NBC sitcom “Friends”, and got submitted by Jacare.
    • Ran for a seat in the Oregon House of Representatives and lost to Howard Stern.  Stern was a write-in candidate.
    • Is headlining a Strikeforce Challengers event on Friday.  Seriously.  A Strikeforce Challengers event.

Well, there you have it.  Whose life sucks more?  You make the call.

Mitch the Intern's TUF 11 Recap: Episode 8

*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.*

This week's episode is jam-packed with action!  Drama!  Injuries!  Infomercials!  Yes, folks, this one has it all, so stop your grinnin' and drop your linen', 'cause here we go!

Fade in to RC Cola on the phone.  The phone?  Who does he think he is?  Kimbo Slice?  But someone has allowed him outside contact, so RC Cola gets to talk to his wife, Pepsi, who has just given birth to the fighter's son.  Understandably, this has given RC Cola a sad, as she went ahead and named the kid Sprite.  They had previously agreed on Mr. Pibb.  He suspects that while he's been gone she's been carrying on with Dr. Pepper, and this sort of emotional baggage can make a fighter flat - especially when he has an impending fight to think about.  Which he does in the form of the "wildcard loser-gets-another-chance suckety-suck" bout against British gangster Ronnie Kray.

"I can't lose," says RC Cola.

Sure you can, RC Cola.  We have faith in you.

Just then, erstwhile UFC fighter and seminal TUF alum Forrest Griffin shows up.  With an overgrown beard, an old Led Zeppelin concert t-shirt and faded jeans with holes in the knees, he looks every bit the hobo, and from his pack (one of this sticks with a sack tied at the end) he pulls the new UFC video game.  "Guys, do you like pretending to fight instead of fighting for real?" he says, apparently reduced to hawking goods as an itinerant salesman.  I guess this is what crushing losses to Rashad Evans and Anderson Silva and barely squeaking by Tito Ortiz will do to you.

Cut to the wildsucker fight, and RC Cola and Ronnie Kray take to the cage.  "I'm just going to sit in the bleachers and not coach either one," says Ortiz of his wards.  "The better man will win."  Okay, Mr.Laissez-Faire. 

And then they're fighting, a tentative, cautious stand-up affair that looks like junior sparring night at Hong T. Kim's Tae Kwon Do and Laundromat, and though Ronnie Kray's kicks have all the force and confidence of a someone who learned those techniques maybe 20 minutes ago, RC Cola's kicks do damage, with one sidekick to the knee actually causing Ronnie Kray to cry out.  But that's about it in terms of RC Cola's offense.  In the latter half of Round 1 the British gangster dominates with his wrestling and ground and pound, and in Round 2 he seals the deal with a slam and a kimura.  An elated Ronnie Kray parades around the Octagon.  He sucks, but at least someone else sucks more.

Dana White beckons the coaches to join him in his lair, and Ortiz and Chuck Liddell follow.  You see, it's time to pick the next round's match-ups.  "Forget who's on who's team," says White.  "Let's just make the best fights."

Liddell scratches his mohawk, then blurts out, "Godzilla versus Mecha-Godzilla.  The Hamburglar versus the Tidy Bowl Man.  My left shoe versus my right shoe.  And 42."

Ortiz and White exchange confused looks.

"I mean it," says Liddell firmly.  "Those are my picks.  Also, tugboat."

White shakes his head in disgust.  "Just get the *^W$&*#$&* out of here.  I'll do this myself."

And he does, pairing Cypress Hill with some heretofore unknown kid named Josh (did he fight already?  Where'd he come from?  Is he the producers kid?), Seth Bacitracin against Hawaii Five-O, Ronnie Kray versus Crocodile Dundee and Joe Feminine with the Amish Kid.  Upon hearing this, the Amish Kid begins weeping quietly, his tears the tears of the molested.  "Bad touch, bad touch…" he mutters, his words barely audible but full of fear.

"Hey, do you guys hate doing crunches?" says the hobo salesman Forrest Griffin, and from his tattered Army surplus dufflebag he produces a plastic and metal contraption that looks like the framework of the Hunchback of Notre Dame's chair.  "Well, the Abdominator™ will solve all of your problems!"

Cut to the doctor's office, and Joe Feminine is in a gown and bent over an examination table with a grin on his face.

"Um, I'm just looking at your knee today," says the doctor with a grimace.  And he does, examining the joint and taking x-rays and MRIs and then consulting tea leaves and chicken gizzards.  "You have a torn ACL," he says.

And that's it for him, the man with questionable sexual preferences who most felt could've won the whole competition.  White shows up later at the TUF House to hear it from Joe Feminine's own mouth, the two out back and standing alone by the pool.  "Are you quitting?" says the UFC honcho.

"My ACL is torn.  I can't continue."  But then Joe Feminine smiles coyly, and runs a finger slowly along White's collar.  "However, maybe I could be convinced…"

White sprints, moving faster than he's ever moved before, fleeing the awkward situation until he's standing in the TUF House, breathless before the other contestants.  "Okay," he says breathlessly.  "Uh, Joe Feminine is out."

And everybody's eyebrows raise.

"Of the closet?" asks Hawaii Five-O.

"I mean out of the competition."

And everyone lets out a collective "Oh."

"So another one of you losers gets a chance," says White, and he leaves, passing hobo salesman Forrest Griffin on his way out the front door.

"Hey, do you guys like healthy food?" says Griffin, and from a shopping cart packed with soda cans he produces a thick, flat appliance with a dangling cord.  "I certainly do.  That's why I cook with the George Foreman's Grill ™."

Dumb as a Bag of Hammers bolts out the door, following White into the driveway.  "I'm your man, I want that fight."

And I guess that's all it takes, for White goes back into the house and announces that Bag of Hammers is going to face the Amish Kid.  Like, tomorrow.

Then they're fighting.  Round 1 is extremely back-and-forth, Bag of Hammers' wrestling facilitating his ability to get back to his feet and whatnot.  But the Amish Kid - relieved that he doesn't have to worry about getting his oil checked or getting back-mounted with disconcerting sweet nothings whispered lovingly into his ear - has the edge in boxing.  Round 2 begins and Bag of Hammers shoots with his head down, and soon after he's tapping to a guillotine.

"I like this Amish Kid," says White afterwards.  "He could be the darkhorse to win this whole season."

"Hey, do you like seasoned horsemeat?" says Griffin, who steps out of the shadows of the TUF center.  In his hands is a battered styrofoam cooler.  "I sure do.  That's why I eat Overeem Brand Horsemeant™.  It's yummy!"

Fade to black.