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The Ultimate Follow-Up: Episode 4

By on March 31, 2012

Urijah Faber’s squad finally caught a break in the fourth episode of The Ultimate Fighter, as Al Iaquinta won a decision victory over Team Cruz’s Myles Jury. Of course, with Faber having already lost two of this top three picks, one has to wonder how his charges will fare throughout the rest of the show.

Our First Nagging Injury Emerges

Every season on the show, it seems we get a fighter who sustains an injury that takes upon that middle-ground where the fighter could either compete through it or bow out without too many people second-guessing him, either way. This season, it appears our unfortunate participant is Mike Rio, who tweaked his knee while sparring.

Rio put on a brave face, saying he will “be here for three months and push hard, bum knee or not.” However, the injury clearly bothered him in the footage we saw throughout the show, and Team Faber noticed that he was hurt. Daron Cruickshank even brought up how they should pick Rio to fight if they were able to win back control, yet when Faber had a chance to pick the next fight, he allowed Rio to rest. Why? I’m still confused about why he’d give Rio a pass.

Lighten Up, Chris Tickle

In the absence of any real pranksters or volatile personalities in this season of The Ultimate Fighter, we’re instead left with the role of the prickly, defensive party pooper with issues to work out- a role that Chris Tickle has filled perfectly.

Tickle strangely said in the previous episode that “since I was eight years old, I don’t put up with shit from anybody,” after his housemates committed the unforgivable sin of making fun of the way he walks. In the fourth episode, he apparently took offense to Faber’s having brought in a “life coach” to talk to the guys at the house about things.

“A life coach is probably just for someone who is mentally weak. I never had a damn mentor or a life coach in my life,” Tickle said. Footage showed him as he grumpily did front kicks in the back yard while his teammates listened to the speaker. Now, I may be crazy, but I thought it was a cool gesture for Faber, especially because he brought the guy to the house and included fighters from both teams, not just his own. While I agree that the whole life coach or “mind coach” thing is a bit corny, if I was holed up in a house with pretty much nothing to do for 13 weeks, I’d sit and listen to that guy talk about whatever he wanted for awhile just for a break in the monotony.

But wait! Tickle has a softer side. He’s having a tough time sleeping without “his girl”, y’all. Yeah, and I’m sure she’s missing having him around to poo-poo about everything and bring his childhood issues into every topic that comes up, too.

And Then…There’s the Fight

Jury-Iaquinta was a really good fight for two rounds, and then it went to sudden victory. Then, the fighters apparently decided to slow things down several notches, with Jury fighting a particularly inexplicable fight in the last five minutes.

If you have one round that you have to win in order to move on in the competition, why would you spend the majority of that round backing away and throwing strikes that have no hope whatsoever of landing? Yet, that’s what Jury did through much of the third round. It didn’t bother me that he was missing strikes, but that he was throwing strikes that had no chance of landing. It’s over ten minutes into the fight, you know your range and where you need to be to hit your opponent. There’s no real reason to be leaving your strikes a half-foot short or more on a regular basis, unless, of course, you’re just trying to look busy.

What’s even crazier is that Adalaide Byrd gave the third round to Jury. Long disliked in the boxing world, she is the same judge who was the only person alive not named “Rocha” to give Carlos Rocha three rounds against Jake Ellenberger at UFC 126. She was also one of the offending parties in the Leonard Garcia-Nam Phan robbery on the TUF 12 Finale. However, I don’t think there was much on her MMA resume to indicate that she could be capable of such a screw-up as giving Jury the sudden death round on Friday night. What’s worse, she made the clear unanimous decision into a split decision, giving Team Cruz an excuse to complain about how Jury should have won.

Best Moment of the Night

When Rio first hurt his knee in sparring, Cruz talked to him as he laid there and told Rio that he could just finish the round from his back, since his knee was hurt.

In other words, even if you get a knee injury, Dominick Cruz expects you to at least finish the round of sparring before worrying too much about it. I’m not criticizing him; I actually think it’s hilarious and a fairly revealing view of the almost-obnoxious level of dedication that has helped him to get to where he is today. “Oh, you might have torn up your knee? Well, we’ll take a look at it, but first, you need to finish the round.” “What’s that? You think you broke your arm? Well, that sucks. Tape it to your ribs so we can finish this drill one-handed, and we’ll get it looked at afterwards.”

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