While last week’s episode ended up being somewhat of a public relations disaster for coach Michael Bisping, this week we get less of his witticisms (“Mr. Wacky-Zany Character Guy”) and more stuff non-British and non-image damning. Take, for instance, Roland’s foot, which is swollen, pulsating and looking like something out of a Stephen King novel. Will Roland be medically cleared to fight for his upcoming bout against TJ Hooker? Only a nearby doctor who specializes in infectious diseases and exorcisms knows, so Roland exits stage left.
Hey, it’s guest coach time! If you recall, having guest coaches make appearances on the show is a grand tradition, and over the years TUF aspirants have been visited by the likes of Chuck Liddell, Mike Tyson, a drunken French kickboxer, and a dancing bear. This time around, however, it’s someone with actual experience training fighters: Rafael Cordeiro. Cordeiro was one of the masterminds behind the famed Chute Boxe team, and he’s now best buds with Mayhem “That’s just a stage name” Miller, so it’s Team Mayhem he ends up aiding. Not to be outdone, Team Bisping has Tito Ortiz drop in, with the subject matter involving elbow smashes and gigantic heads (Have you seen Ortiz’s head? It’s massive.).
But all is not peachy on Team Bisping, for below the surface of their friendly façade is resentment. You see, team member TJ Hooker asked to face Roland instead of John Dodson last week, and as Roland is considered the path of least resistance to the finals, it’s somehow dishonorable or cowardly or, I don’t know, something bad to want to make it to the finals of a reality show that discards its runners-up like yesterday’s trash. So what does Team Bisping do? They order a Code Red on TJ Hooker during training, which in this instance involves Diego Marlon Brando tying TJ Hooker in knots, the Swede mushing him with takedowns, and Marcus Brimage swinging maybe a little too hard in stand-up sparring. There is a freak out (isn’t there always?), and we see that Bisping is oblivious to the Code Red; his sudden knowledge of it prompts a group jam session that has so much beeped out profanity we have no idea what it is they’re saying exactly. But then they hug it out, so we know it must all be cool now.
Meanwhile, back at Team Infected Foot, Roland returns from the doctor with clearance to fight. No one seems too confident in his chances, sick flipper not withstanding, but whatever. He’s in the TUF House, and someone has to be the easy fight.
Remember a few weeks back when Team Bisping had Mayhem’s pristine white chariot towed from the handicapped parking space outside the TUF Training Center? Well, Mayhem remembers, and while Team Bisping assistant coach Tiki-Tiki Head is inside getting TJ Hooker ready for battle, Mayhem has a bunch of cranes drive up and drop concrete barricades around Tiki-Tiki Head’s parked vehicle. A spray-painted “M” on one of the barricades seals the deal, and when Tiki-Tiki Head sees his entrapped ride, he can only laugh.
We get a little training montage and backstory, and learn that Roland owned a restaurant before he committed to fighting (um, okay). On the flipside, TJ Hooker trains with Urijah Faber and the kids at Team Alpha Male when he’s not sequestered in a mansion in Las Vegas for six weeks at a time.
And then they’re fighting, or, more accurately, TJ Hooker is playing “smashy face” with his overmatched foe. Throughout Round 1 Roland takes a beating, escaping from things like a D’Arce Choke and other bad positions, but never really making TJ Hooker feel pain. Round 2 is even worse, with the Team Bisping-er coming out and dropping Roland with a right hand directly to the kisser. The ensuing ground-and-pound brutality ends only when Roland is caught in a rear naked choke and taps out. TJ Hooker skates into the semifinals.
So, with all the quarterfinals out of the way, it’s time for Dana White to call everyone into his office one by one, and with the coaches looking on, hear who all wants to fight whom (which, usually, is counsel he discards in favor of his own evil machinations). TJ Hooker wants the Reverend Pague, perhaps sensing he’ll be easy prey; John Dodson wants TJ Hooker or Johnny Grunge; Johnny Grunge wants John Dodson because Dodson was a traitor; Dustin Nice wants Dodson; Dennis “You are not the daddy” Bermudez and the Swede both want each other; and, lastly, Bryan Caraway Seed doesn’t want Diego Marlon Brando.
Dana White listens intently, nodding in agreement or asking pointed questions, and when everyone exits the room he makes a show of crumpling up the paper he took notes on and tossing it into a wastepaper basket. Instead, he chooses the following match-ups for the semis: TJ Hooker versus the Reverend Pague, Dodson versus Johnny Grunge, Bermudez versus the Swede, and Bryan Caraway Seed versus Diego Marlon Brando.
As Cosmo Kramer used to say on “Seinfeld”, “Giddyup.”