Veteran or no veteran; some fighters belong in the UFC, some don’t. You either have the mind of a fighter or you do not. This week’s middleweight elimination bout showed the difference.
It all began with this image: middleweight Charles McCarthy slumped over an exercise bicycle because he was bummed out over Mikey Burnett’s loss against Din Thomas in the previous week’s welterweight elimination bout. And when Charles tried to explain his emotional behavior, Matt Serra tagged him with, “Easy Drama Queen.” And that set the tone for the episode. Charles, dubbed Captain Miserable by his housemates, was the poster boy for a sucky attitude. His mantra: “It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t make a difference.”
How does a fighter win a fight with that kind of an attitude?
Back at the house, Charles was upset, again, because someone had written some witty remarks on his grocery list. He immediately went after Pete Sell. Pete denied the deed. But the grocery list vandal soon confessed. “I did it. I did it. I did it. Get over it. Mellow out. It’s just a joke,” the vandal declared. Who was it? None other than our favorite prankster house guest, Shonie Carter. It was his only act of mischievousness for the entire show. Pretty good for Shonie.
Contrast Charles moroseness with Pete’s edginess. “Man, I’m ready to fight. I feel like a caged animal. I’m pissed off. I want to fight already man.”
Would Charles and Pete fight? Nobody was telling. And the pressure of not knowing who would fight was getting to Charles and Jorge Rivera, the Team No Love middleweights.
Randy Couture broke the tension with the announcement that Jorge’s expecting girlfriend had given birth to a baby girl.
The next day at the fight announcement the teams saw the addition of Rich Franklin as a coach and the middleweight match-up announced between Charles and Pete. The tension in the house between Charles and Pete would get resolved in the Octagon.
Charles’ only fight in the UFC was against David Loiseau at UFC 53. The outcome? As Dana White put it, Charles became a “human highlight reel” for a crushing spinning back kick to the body from David Loiseau. The referee stopped the fight moments later.
As for Pete, who feels he was born to fight and brought up in a rough neighborhood, he made an impressive debut by submitting veteran MMA fighter Phil Baroni. He lost his second UFC fight to Nate Quarry because of a controversial stoppage.
“I live for this stuff man. This is my heart man,” Pete explained. “It doesn’t make a difference if it’s this fight or if it’s the next fight. I like to fight.”
Charles’ plan for the fight? “I wrote it all on paper. I wrote an equation that I need to follow in order to win the fight. And I just have to follow it.”
Pete’s plan, “I’m going to knock out Captain Miserable.”
The fight went the full two round and then to a sudden victory third. The additional third round gives Charles more credit than I think he was due. Round one was dominated by Pete. Apparently, at one point Charles felt his knee pop. He thought he ripped his ACL at which point Pete teed off. In round two, Charles managed to get dominant position and maintain it, but he couldn’t inflict any damage. At one point Charles was threatening a kimura but couldn’t execute.
In the third, sudden victory round, Pete came out with some strong stand up. He suffered a cut from a combination from Charles, but soon after Pete got the takedown and dominated the rest of the round and won the decision.
Now, you could make a case for dramatic editing of the episode, but it seemed to me that there was clearly one fighter who had his heart into the fight, into the competition, and one who didn’t.
Time for a ride on the exercise bike, Charles?