The episode opens up revisiting the Matt Secor/Michael Hill decision debacle of last week. Dana bashes both the judges for terrible decision making and the fighters themselves for their poor performances. On the bright side, he does admit that he’ll save a bunch of money this season due to the lack of finishes.
Michael Hill tells us that he could care less about a $5000 bonus -- he’s here to get to the finals. Coach Roy Nelson echoes these sentiments and says that he doesn’t really appreciate Dana’s attitude. This is no surprise, as TUF 10 fans may recall Nelson sagely ignoring his coaches and lay-and-praying his way to the finals, inspiring spoken word poet and opposing coach Rampage Jackson to ask "That's like havin' the moon on you/how you gonna get the moon off you?" Anyway, Big Country's view is that there’s a bigger picture here and the TUF contestants shouldn’t jeopardize that for a few thousand dollars.
We cut to the TUF house where Dana decides to visit the fighters personally. After making an entrance that reminds me of this scene in Zoolander, the UFC president lays down the law. He tells the guys that if they thought they were guaranteed spots at the TUF Finale, they were sorely mistaken. There were more expletives, but that was the gist of it. Mike Ricci doesn’t have any interest in Dana’s speech. He tells everyone, “Don’t let Dana ruin your focus.” Michael Hill, though, takes the words a bit more personally and decides “to hit the bottle.”
Last season I often commented on the lack of booze- and testosterone-fueled antics. Well, this episode makes up for it spades. Michael Hill gets in Neil Magny’s face and delivers the usual drunken, “Let’s fight bro." Julian Lane, however, takes it to a whole new level. In his drunken stupor, he picks a fight with Dom Waters and will not let it go.
Alternating between crying, yelling and bashing his head against inanimate objects, he delivers one of the all-time greatest TUF drunken belligerent freakouts, which is saying something. Since I always see the silver lining, I think he found his new T-shirt slogan:
It don’t matter that I’m out, MAN! Don’t mean that I ain’t in!
No doubt a tribute to the lyrics of Coldplay's "Lost!" this line sums up so much about TUF, the sport of mixed martial arts and the everyday struggle of man. As the dust settles the next day, Dom Waters doesn’t hold any hard feelings, Julian admits that he was a jackass and Matt Secor “thought it was [expletive] hilarious.”
From drunken revelry we transition to the fight announcement. Roy awkwardly delivers the next preliminary contest, which will feature James Chaney and Jon Manley. Coach Carwin informs us that Chaney’s nickname is “The Snake” because he slithers up behind you and chokes you out. Sure it’s kind of a reach, but we’ve also been subjected to "Nap-Time jiu-jitsu" this season, so it could be worse.
At the Team Nelson training session, we learn more about Jon Manley. He’s given up everything for a shot at MMA glory. While it may be admirable from a sporting point of view, I hope he doesn’t use this video explaining how he doesn’t have a job and he sold his car on his eHarmony account. Manley goes on to say that he’ll use his “never say die’ attitude to get the victory, which never ever sounds like a sound strategy. He’s also, “Ready for war!” which is a refreshingly new perspective.
At the Team Carwin sessions, we hear how everyone thinks that James Chaney might be a serial killer. Not necessarily a compliment, but I don’t think they mean it as an insult, either. Whilst holding a coffee cup that screams morning talk show, Chaney tells us that he hears the crazy thing a lot and blames his face. He also informs us that since he sleeps on a mattress in his friends' garage that he’s in no hurry for the season to end. I wonder how long he needs to stick around the TUF house to earn squatters' rights....
Next up we have the coaches' challenge. This time it is a track and field competition that involves shot put, javelin, discus, long jump and a 400 meter run. Roy speaks what’s on everyone’s mind and says that this clearly favors Shane Carwin. Shane tries to play it off like he’s not qualified, but come on. Track and field against the mascot for Bog Boy donuts? Let’s be real. To no one’s surprise, Carwin sweeps all the events and wins the run easily with an unnecessary head start. While a few of the guys try to extrapolate a larger meaning from a guy with a belly losing a footrace, I have to agree with Roy Nelson -- it has no impact on their future match.
Right before the fight we learn a couple quick things:
1) Manley actually likes James Chaney.
2) Chaney likes to dress like Johnny Cash on fight day and gives us some weird ZZen stuff
3) Dom Waters prefers cliched animal analogies
The first round begins as the antithesis of last week’s fight. Both guys come out swinging and stand right in front of one another trading blows. Manley gets the better end of the exchanges, though, and Chaney’s corner tells him to quit standing there. Chaney ties up, but Manley winds up getting the takedown. Chaney throws a triangle attempt up and locks it in. Manley picks Chaney up and carries him over to the cage. Chaney keeps his cool and slowly brings Manley down to the ground with the submission locked in tight. Jon keeps fighting, though, kneels on Chaney's face and angles off to alleviate some of the pressure. After a few short punches, Chaney relinquishes the hold and Manley gets side mount. He soon moves to full mount and locks in a guillotine. Chaney’s face starts to turn purple and he taps out.
Dana is ecstatic at having a finish, Shane Carwin admonishes his fighter’s strategy, but that pales in comparison to the other results. Manley utters two sentences rarely, if ever, heard before in the Octagon: "He bit me. He #&(*@ bit me!" and shows the two fresh puncture wounds that prove it. Now, Manley's first reaction is the same as mine -- Chaney lost his mouthguard and while he was getting choked, his teeth were pinched against Manley’s skin, right? Nope. James Chaney readily admits that he bit Jon Manley on purpose, in the hopes of getting Manley to loosen up on the guillotine. Manley sees the poetic justice in the fact that a guy called the Snake bites, but I doubt many others will be that forgiving.
On a somber note we get a sneak peek into next week’s fights. Who will win between Mike Ricci and Dom Waters? Why is Coach Carwin so upset? Does James Chaney reveal that he’s part vampire? Find out this and more next week on The Ultimate Fighter!
Team Carwin (3-4)
Sam Alvey (0-1, lost to Joey Rivera by decision in episode 3)
Bristol Marunde (1-0, defeated Julian Lane by decision in episode 4)
Neil Magny (1-0, defeated Cameron Diffley by decision in episode 2)
James Chaney (0-1, submitted by Jon Manley in episode 8)
Eddy Ellis (0-1, lost to Colton Smith by majority decision in epsiode 6)
Igor Araujo (1-0, defeated Nic Herron-Webb by majority decision in episode 5)
Matt Secor (0-1, lost to Michael Hill by split decision in episode 7)
Team Nelson (4-3)
Michael Hill (1-0, defeated Matt Secor by split decision in episode 7)
Cameron Diffley (0-1, lost to Neil Magny by decision in episode 2)
Colton Smith (1-0, defeated Eddy Ellis by majority decision in episode 6)
Jon Manley (1-0, submitted James Chaney is episode 8)
Nic Herron-Webb (0-1, lost to Igor Araujo by majority decision in episode 5
Joey Rivera (1-0, defeated Sam Alvey by decision in episode 3)
Julian Lane (0-1, lost to Bristol Marunde by decision in episode 4)