*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.*
Are you ready for some thrilling, edge-of-your-seat action? Are you primed for some raucous and rowdy mixed martial arts? Well, hold onto your TapOut beanies and prepare to be disappointed, 'cause it's time for the thirteenth season of "The Ultimate Fighter" - the only place where men can sweat, jizz on each other's food and fight and it not be prison!
The season features a fresh crop of welterweights, and as they arrive - wide-eyed and excited - El Presidente Dana White greets them with the news that there will be no fight to get into the house, there will still be a wildcard, their coaches are Brock Lesnar and Junior dos Santos, and there will be even more artificial drama injected into the show than ever before. Why? Because everything that could be done on the show - every permutation of combat and interpersonal relations, every scenario of conflict and human interaction - has already been done a million times over. "So don't be surprised when we set the TUF House on fire while you're all sleeping," warns White. "Or if we murder one of you and force the survivors to solve the mystery."
And with that, the two coaches enter. The Brockster, we learn, is all about cardio (ha!), so in evaluating his potential team members, he has them strut their cardiovascular stuff. "You are all going to eat either chicken salad or chicken shit for lunch," he exclaims. "Does anyone have any preferences or dietary restrictions in regards to which?" The massive wrestler then takes their lunch orders. Dos Santos, however, takes the time to address the camera and admit that his command of the English language may not be the best. Dude, you're about as comprehensible as Michael Bisping, who is British, and your words are a thousand times more understandable than the gibberish that issued forth from Canadian Georges St. Pierre's mouth. Don't sweat it.
We get a brief glimpse at the individual fighters, and the camera focuses on a few. There's Shalamar, the 1980s R&B group; there's Miles Running, who hurts his knee by simply walking through the door to the TUF Center; there's… someone else; and there's… someone else. As for assistant coaches, Brock-oli has a frighteningly overweight Erik Paulson, while the Brazilian has Gruff English-Speaking Wrestler.
When the coaches have seen enough, White beckons for the two to join him in his Den of Sin.
"Okay, guys," he says, "we're going to flip a coin and choose teams now, so try to make this as contentious as possible. Brock, we're paying you by the ratings point, so you know what you have to do."
The ex-champ nods, and in typical go-his-own-way fashion, acts like a saint. A kind, friendly saint who doesn't actually care who's on what team.
Afterwards, when White has finished weeping at the ratings turd he knows this season will be, the UFC boss steps out to confront the troops. There is zero fanfare as White calls out the names from a clipboard and tosses the fighters their appropriate Team Lesnar and Team dos Santos t-shirts. (It's at this point where you have to wonder if the fighters themselves are starting to feel like they're getting the discount-version of the TUF experience.)
Then, bad news strikes. Dr. Doom shows up, and after having examined Miles Running's MRI, has this to say: "Your ACL is torn. Also, your hamstring. Also, your MCL. Also, your PCL. Also, your meniscus. Also, all the muscles in your thigh. Basically, we're going to have to amputate and replace your limb with a pogo stick."
Miles Running stares in the face of this adversity and proclaims that it doesn't matter, he can still compete. Brockadockadoo nods. White, though, shakes his head. Says, "nuh-uh. You're done." Signals for the Anonymous Alternate to take Miles Running's place.
But then it's time to pick the first fight, and as Mr. Minnesota got to pick the first fighter, the big, goofy Brazilian gets to choose the first fight. His choice: Shalamar, the 1980s R&B group (his first pick) against the German Kid, (Lesnar's last pick).
What we learn of the two fighters includes the German Kid's Muslim-ness, and we get to watch him pray towards Mecca, and Shalamar's Christian-ness, and we get to watch him reading a Bible. Plus, the German Kid's a striker and Shalamar's a wrestler - and after watching them fight, it's clear that's all they know.
The fight goes as you'd expect if you've ever watched a UFC, like, ever. Shalamar takes the German Kid down repeatedly and holds him there, waiting for the referee to call out the points and pins and perplexed when, after two rounds, those calls never come. Still, Shalamar takes the decision.
White, meanwhile, looks at the camera and shakes his head. "Okay, that fight sucked. But man, when the bantamweights and featherweights compete next season, it's going to be awesome." And while he's saying this, Brockilicious and dos Santos can be seen in background, plugged into each other's iPods and comparing music tastes. "Really," says White, "next season's going to be so awesome."