Last night’s episode of this season’s “The Ultimate Fighter” was certainly an interesting affair, and more because of what didn’t happen, than what did.
First let’s deal with the perennial coach’s challenge.
In it, Coaches Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate were put head-to-head in a rock climbing contest; first to the top and to ring the bell won 10K and an additional $1,500 for each of the team’s members.
The challenge began and the two went up the wall, with Rousey racing to the top near the end, ringing the bell, and claiming both victory and the cash; good for her.
However and sadly, Ronda then began to demonstrate poor sportsmanship, and in forgetting the old adage that one should say little in defeat and even less in victory, Rousey began to taunt Tate; saying “F-you b***h”.
With it, Rousey began to throw Tate the (double) “middle finger salute” and telling her to get “used” to it; referencing their upcoming December 28th fight.
To all of it, Tate simply remarked “classy”.
To that, Rousey stated, “at least I’m honest about it”.
Given that Tate’s remark was sarcastic in its nature and that Rousey acceded to the comment, fans can only conclude that indeed, Coach Rousey demonstrated no class. Sadly, it’s been a bit of an ongoing theme throughout the season.
As to the meat of the show, there wasn’t any or perhaps, there was too much of it in Anthony Guttierez’s diet.
As UFC President Dana White stated in the lead-up promo to the show “this has never happened in the history of the Ultimate Fighter”, because for the second time this season / ever a fighter (Anthony Guttierez) failed to make weight.
The night before having to hit his 135 pound weight limit, Guttierez was hanging out in the hot tub drinking water and unconcerned about his weight cut. A good guess would be that he was north for 145, which is the weight he woke up at the next morning. That aside and try as he may, Guttierez was unable to cut the weight and after considerable effort, inclusive of treadmill, sauna and positive encouragement from his coaches, Guttierez eventually threw in the towel. For the record, he never cracked 140 on the scale.
The outcome of it was that Guttierez was thrown off the show and a tearful Coach Rousey felt compelled to apologize to Dana White, for having failed in her coaching duties. Of course, the interesting thing about Rousey’s apology is that she had harangued Coach Tate a few weeks back (episode 9) for the very same issue; a fighter (Cody Bollinger) missing weight. Rousey made a big ta do about it, blaming Tate for the failure; that as coach it was her responsibility to ensure the fighter made weight. Ironically, it turns out that Rousey was guilty of the same mismanagement and to the point, ended up with egg on her face for her previous remarks on the subject.
As to Anthony Guttierez directly, what can be said?
He originally made weight for a fight that his opponent couldn’t make weight for, and was subsequently given a pass to the semifinals. He had more than enough time and reason to hit weight again, but he didn’t. And to be honest, when everyone else in the house is struggling, starving and denying themselves (readily available) food, to make their weights, to not do the same is not only unprofessional, but it’s disrespectful on many different levels.
If there’s a lesson to learn from all of this it’s that failure is always an option, as is quitting, and a fighter that doesn’t take his weight (and cardio) seriously, will go nowhere in the sport of mixed martial arts. As Dana White said, he had “no heart”.
The truly regrettable part of all this is that it’s the second of two “lottery tickets” that have been wasted during this season, and that’s hard for fans to accept, when here are so many young, talented fighters with drive, that would’ve loved to have made it onto the show and sacrificed, to keep what Guttierez was handed and then threw away.
As a final note regarding this issue, it’s sad commentary on the male fighters that the two blowouts / fails from this season are both men. Where the ladies have carried themselves with complete professionalism, making weight and putting on great fights, the men have failed to do so, and have been a disappointment in the two fights that they dropped.
Up next in the house will be Raquel Pennington (team Tate) vs. Jessica Rakoczy (Team Rousey). This should be a very good fight and pits a well-rounded brawler with power (Pennington), as up against a disciplined and technical boxer / striker (Rakoczy). If Pennington can cull the win, it means that team Tate will have placed three fighters out of four available slots for the two TUF finale bouts, and will guarantee herself no less than a draw with Rousey for her coaching efforts.
One thing is guaranteed about this match, and that is that both fighters will have the professionalism, heart and determination to make weight.
On a bookkeeping note, Anthony Guttierez's opponent, David Grant, advances to the finals via "bye" and will face Chris Holdsworth (team Tate) for the men's finale, November 30, as broadcast on FOX.
Coach's challenge video courtesy of the UFC