Thursday, September 16, 2010

Mitch the Intern's TUF 12 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.*

Fade in to a salon on Rodeo Drive in sunny Beverly Hills.  A SpikeTV producer is being tended to by an impossibly skinny young man dressed like he was assaulted by the Fashion Police.  The producer is sporting a well-coiffed bouffant.  There's a blur of skinny arms and the producer now has long, luxurious locks of gold and amber.  In the next chair over sits Dana White.  A young girl who looks like she gave up food two months ago and switched completely over to heroin is blow-drying the UFC president's bald head.

"So what's in store for this season?" says the producer to Dana White.  "More Kimbo?  Please say there's more Kimbo."

Dana White takes a sip from a glass bottle of chilled mineral water.  Shakes his head and smiles.  "Nope," he says.  "Better.  The theme for this season is…"  And the man at the center of the MMA universe pauses.  A second passes.  Then another.  The blow-dryer goes quiet.  The hair clipper in the background ceases buzzing.  The sudden silence of a half dozen scissors abruptly halting in their work.  The oversized clock on the wall stops ticking.  All eyes are on the bald man in charge of the Superbowl of Mixed Martial Arts.  All ears are straining to hear his words.  "The theme for this season is… hair!"

Cut to the TUF Training Center deep within the lurid bowels of Las Vegas.  Season 12 of the greatest thing to ever happen to fans of jizzed on fruit and busted doors is upon us, and at the vanguard of this attack on our morality is a slew of lightweights, guided by the loving embrace of coaches Georges St. Pierre and Josh Kosh B'Gosh and the profanity of Dana White.  The lightweights assemble before their master, a sea of colored hair, an afro with a pick in it, long hair in a ponytail, spiked hair, shaved hair and mohawks.  There's braids, cornrows, the little curly hairs that Hasidic Jews have - someone even boasts a perm.  Dana White surveys his army of garish  soldiers, grins, and begins tirade number one.

"F*%^&E$*$ @%$&^$^* @#$%$#^ fighter?" he asks them.  "@#$&&^*( ($%^&#{}@# hair ##$&$^** fight!  @$&^^ !@&^(+) giraffe!  @?<>!(%&@#* UFC %&$^* cage #$%^#& fractional geometry!"  Of course, at this point, no one can understand what he says anymore.  But they all nod.  Their futures rest within the Octagon, and this man before them is the gatekeeper.  Georges St. Pierre and Josh Kosh B'Gosh nod as well, because, well, we're not quite sure Georges speaks English that well and Josh will go along with just about anything Dana White says.

And then it's time for battle, and like last season, everyone must fight and win to earn their berth within the TUF House.  Like some grand buffet of violence and poor choices at the barbershop, fifty or so match-ups are played out in abbreviated form before our very eyes.

Marky-Marc and the Funky Bunch enters the cage.  He and Josh Kosh B'Gosh used to date, once, years ago, during a summer abroad when one was backpacking across Europe and the other was washing dishes at a small cafĂ© in Marseilles, but that was then, they're older now, wiser, and Josh Kosh B'Gosh pretends he can't remember those nights spent drinking cheap red wine and reading dog-eared copies of Tintin and Asterix the Gaul.

"Is that your boy?" asks Dana White.

"I don't remember him," says Josh Kosh B'Gosh, listlessly, a piece of his heart aching harshly before it dies.

Marky-Marc wields a looping overhand right and what looks like a mohawk that changed its mind and decided it wanted to be a cautionary tale against getting haircuts whilst drunk.  Thirteen seconds after the referee says go, Marky-Marc is standing over his unconscious opponent, punching him with that right hand.  It's the fastest knockout in TUF history, and Marky-Marc strides over to the side of the cage where Dana White, Georges St. Pierre and Josh Kosh B'Gosh sit and shouts through the fence.  "Remember me now?"  Close up on the tears in his eyes.

A new set of hairstyles, then another, then another.  The action is a blur of fists and kicks and submission attempts.  Spencer the Page displays imposing striking and the kind of ground game most associate with paraplegics, but he ekes out the win when his foe sucks even more.

"Oh, my dearest Matilda," says Georges St. Pierre to no one in particular.

Josh Kosh B'Gosh gives Dana White a curious look.

"His moose," Dana White whispers.

Then Mike Sucknik enters the cage, his voiceover letting viewers know that he was some kind of champion skater in a past life, and that now it's MMA's turn to experience his athletic talent.  Unfortunately, his opponent is Banh Mi, a nerdy-looking Vietnamese dude who dropped out of the School of Visual Arts to sell Ecstasy, and Banh Mi will not be denied.  Boom! goes the fist in Mike Sucknik's floating rib.  Crash! goes the tricked-out Nissan hatchback that Banh Mi uses to run Mike Sucknik down.  "Oooowie," says the fallen former skater who should've stuck to fringe sports.

In the editing room, a technician is force-fed a six-pack of Red Bull; the fights are sped up even more.  Andy My Main Man triangles some dude with green hair, then jives his way out of the cage, getting a high-five from the janitor.  "My main man!" says the janitor.  Two men wrestle in the Octagon and one of them wins, a hairy judoka with what could be an Armenian accent wins, someone vomits profusely behind the TUF Center, and someone with Kool-Aid-colored hair named Jeffrey Lentz beats some no-name kid to a bloody pulp.

"Hair!" screams Dana White.  "I need more hair!"

It's then that we're introduced to Bruce Leroy.  No, really, that's his own nickname - I didn't have to make that up.  You see, Bruce Leroy was a cat from the timeless classic "The Last Dragon", which came out when the world actually believed martial artists had superpowers and Bruce Lee was the closest thing we in modern times would ever get to meeting Jesus Christ.  Donning a yellow jumpsuit like Bruce Lee wore in "Game of Death", Bruce Leroy enters the Octagon with the aforementioned afro (you thought I was joking, right?) and a grin, and never loses that grin throughout his fight.  He defeats someone named "Wheelbarrow" with a choke, then dances around like the '70s were something we shouldn't be ashamed of.

"I love this guy," says Dana White.

"Oh my Matilda…" says Georges St. Pierre.

Then there's a long-haired Alaskan fisherman named Spuds McKenzie, who snags his fish with a vicious guillotine.  Joe Native American with no cardio but a ton of heart.  Someone from Matt Hughes' camp named Dr. Watson.  Someone with a Jheri-Curl, someone with a Nike logo shaved into his head, someone with a bowl cut.  By now, we've seen so much condensed violence we've lost track of who's won and who's lost, it's all just a mish-mash of blood and body parts, like a busload of old people on their way to the casino has overturned on the highway and a tractor trailer came along behind it and made human organ salad.

Thankfully, it's over.  The survivors gather before Dana White, their entrance into the TUF House now secure.  Flanked by his two star coaches on either side, Dana White nods slowly and smirks.  "Gentleman, @!#^%#$&$%*."  And TUF 12 has officially begun.

Cut to that same salon in Beverly Hills.  Other than the impossibly skinny young man transforming his hair into a Marge Simpson-beehive, the SpikeTV producer is alone.  In his hand is an IPod, and on the tiny screen the credits are rolling on the first episode of this season's Ultimate Fighter.  The producer wrinkles his brow.  Says to no one in particular, "Okay.  How is this better than Kimbo?"

The end.

Observations from My Couch: UFC Fight Night 22 "Ultimate TUFers Go Down"

  • Ross Pearson won TUF 9 and like his fellow reality show brethren, was being brought along slowly and being fed guys he could beat.  Too bad Cole Miller had other ideas.
  • Jim Miller makes me want to grow a beard and kill what I eat.
  • Gleison Tibau makes me want to avoid hair products at all costs.
  • Efrain Escudero won TUF 8 and was fed newcomer Charles Oliveira.  By the end, Escudero was choking so bad the referee had to stop the fight so he could perform the Heimlich Maneuver.
  • If you thought Oliveira was badass, wait until you see fellow Brazilian UFC newcomer Edson Barbosa.  Barbosa is to Muay Thai what Oliveira is to jiu-jitsu.
  • The funny thing about Rousimar Palhares losing is that he had a better chance of defeating Chael Sonnen than Nate Marquardt does.
  • Also, the other funny thing about Palhares losing is that HE STOPPED FIGHTING BEFORE THE FIGHT WAS OVER.