A funny thing happened on the fourth episode of this, the thirteenth season of the Ultimate Fighter. It seems that all the innuendo that comes with a bunch of dudes living together in a house – all the jokes and things implied and maybe even suggested – congealed into one living, breathing human being. His name: Ramsey Nijem.
You see, like a select few who have come before, Nijem has no problem parading around the TUF House in his birthday suit. No problem painting his toenails in garish colors. No problem gyrating as a SpikeTV editor skillfully blurs out his exposed private parts. No problem asking roommate (and “chocolate friend”) Shamar Bailey to rub his back with lotion. And, most disturbing of all, no problem dry-humping coach Junior dos Santos during a lull in training. Nijem’s teammates admit that they wonder if he knows he’s actually there to fight. You know what? It’s hard to argue against that question’s legitimacy.
Thankfully, dos Santos wants that question answered as soon as possible, and as his team has this week’s pick of the match-up, he chooses Team Lesnar representative Charlie Rader to take on his boy. Who will come out on top? Time will tell, but at the weigh-ins Lesnar notices Nijem’s painted toenails and informs Rader that losing to such a character would “be a disgrace”. That’s good coaching right there.
Speaking of which, in the grand tradition of Georges St. Pierre bringing in Mike Tyson and a drunken French kickboxer during his stint as head cheese, and Ken Shamrock bringing in a giant steak and a giant chicken, Lesnar calls up former welterweight champ Matt Hughes and has him roll with his surviving hopefuls. Oddly, we don’t get to see Hughes pick up and slam any of the Lesnar-ites, nor do we see him crush them like insolent bugs. Instead, Hughes grapples with them lightly, giving them pointers throughout. Okay, maybe bringing in the farm boy wasn’t such a bad idea after all.
There’s more insight given of the fighters with impending bouts. We see Rader eating spinach. Nijem, meanwhile, loves the television show “Glee”. To accentuate his love, he dances. Yeesh.
And then it’s fight time. The respective game plans are hammered home to us before the cage door even shuts. For Rader, it’s going to be all about finding that one magical punch that somehow puts his foe to sleep and proves once and for all that you can get by in an MMA bout without knowing how to grapple. For Nijem, it’s all about wrestling and… nope, just wrestling. That’s all that it’s about.
Round 1 begins and for the first four minutes they hug against the cage so profusely, referee Herb Dean gets uncomfortable and strikes up a conversation with Nevada State Athletic Commission grand poobah Keith Kizer, clearly trying to ignore the display in the Octagon. But then Nijem finally gets a pair of takedowns, and when Round 2 commences he does it again – this time taking back-control and slipping on a choke. Rader, who very likely does not appreciate Nijem on his back like that, quickly taps out. Too quickly, it seems, for Dana White and Lesnar’s tastes.
“Usually people try to fight the choke before tapping out,” says White. “But, uh, I can understand it this time.”
Says Lesnar: “Er, here, have this stool!” and he throws his stool into the cage. Again, that’s good coaching right there.
Back in the Team Lesnar locker room and the coach is voicing his unhappiness at the effort (or lack thereof) he sees his boys putting forth. “You know what you guys are? I’ll give you a hint: it involves chicken, but it doesn’t involve salad.”
Now what could that be?