In The Ultimate Fighter, there's the competition and there's the drama. If you ask me, I prefer the competition. But this is still a reality TV show, and well, drama usually ensues.
As for the competition, as one of this week's elimination bout fighters puts it, it's about a test. I think that's a correct assessment. When you think about it, so is the drama, because the drama usually revolves around the behavior of one or more fighters in the house. And for the serious fighter, the fighter who wants to win, the disciplined behavior of showing up for training sessions each and every day, doing whatever needs to get done to improve, is what will make the difference in whether they'll see a title shot.
TV show or not, that's the reality of it.
At the end of the TV day, these fighters still have to ask themselves whether or not they want to pass the test. Do they just want to goof off thinking that a television appearance will somehow change their status as a fighter, or do they want to get down to work and prepare for the final test, a shot at the title?
We got a taste of that this week. We're beginning to see who has a legitimate chance to pass the test.
But first the drama, which this week revolved around three themes: drunkeness, distrust, and dumbness.
The drunkenness theme was owned by Pete Sell, who spent the better part of the beginning of the show throwing back whiskey and cokes, walking around in a stupor, barely coherent, celebrating his win over Charles McCarthy. Yeah, he was blowing off steam. And Matt Serra explained this was usual behavior for Pete, and that he would fall back in line with his training. Despite the fact that he seemed surprisingly alert the next day (the wonders of TV editing?), we'll have to wait and see which fighter shows up for the semi-finals.
The distrust theme belongs to the middleweight fighters, who felt Rich Franklin's true mission at the UFC training center was not to give advice but to scout out his competition. And perhaps there's some truth to the sentiment. I'm not sure how truly helpful Rich could have been to a potential competitor, and the advice he gave to Matt Serra to open his fight with Pete Spratt by touching gloves and dropping on one knee to avoid a kick and prepare for a takedown, was probably more a commentary on the ground vs. stand-up styles of the fighters than genuine advice.
Now while Rich's advice did seem dubious, it took Charles McCarthy to take it to the next level by mentioning that it was the talk of the house to Rich Franklin. This upset his housemates, and they got back at him by posting a "Captain Miserable" cartoon drawing, courtesy of resident artist Patrick Cote, on the refrigerator. To which Charles pouts out to the camera, contrary to his weekly depressive behavior, that he's really a happy guy. Charles is not doing himself any favours by his performances on the show. It just keeps getting dumber and dumber each week. Can't they make an exception and send Charles home early? Maybe the show needs him for the drama. From his behavior on the show, he seems to be a better dramatist than a pugilist.