The Ultimate Fighter 3: Episode 9 – Golden Boy

Previously On & Show Opening

Matt was yelling support during Danny’s fight. He was, apparently, crushed when Danny lost. Tito says it’s team support and friendship. Matt says that he’s disappointed that Danny is gone, but that’s the “way the game works.” This week is the last Light Heavyweight fight before the Semi Finals, so we know it’s Matt Hamill (Team Ortiz) vs. Mike Nickels (Team Shamrock).

Team Ortiz Training

Tito says that Matt’s been having physical problems but the doctors are saying he’s fine. Tito re-iterates that Matt will not only succeed in the UFC, but he feels that Matt is a future world champion. Matt says he’s won four gold medals in the Deaf World Games and he’s currently training for the 2008 Olympic Games. He tells us he’s won two MMA bouts, one by KO in the first round, and one by submission.

Team Shamrock Training

Mike is training. His red tattoos look like bloodstains all down his shoulders when he’s in motion. If you’ll forgive my pro-wrestling segue here, it reminds me of when Chris Jericho dyed the ends of his hair red and it looked like he was perpetually bleeding. I really liked that. Granted, I hated Chris Jericho a lot. His blood was good for wrestling. Or, at least, it was good for me.

At Home

The guys in the house say Matt is opening up a lot now that Danny is gone. He’s telling his stories and they’re getting to know him. He says he likes IHOP or Waffle House and blueberry pancakes. He tells this story about cow tipping and they all think it’s hilarious. Mike says that Matt’s been coddled, perhaps because of his deafness, because he doesn’t know how to cook. I have no idea what being deaf has to do with cooking. I’m not deaf and I can’t cook. My sister is deaf and she cooks well. Anecdotal evidence, I know, but it’s compelling, by God. A funny exchange happens:

Kalib: Why do you want those cows on their backs so bad, Matt? You can tell us.
Matt: (dismissingly) Go work out.

There’s a commercial here. It’s that Matt Hughes Xyience breakfast bar one. Every time I see it, I wonder if Matt Hughes would in fact ever eat that country breakfast that he supposedly doesn’t have time for. Maybe on a cheat day. I can tell you that I don’t really care about what I eat, I’m from rural southern Kentucky, and I still wouldn’t eat whatever was on that plate in one sitting. Anecdotal evidence, but compelling.

Team Ortiz Training

Bisping wants Mike to win because he thinks it’d be easier to fight a BJJ guy than a wrestler like Matt. Training between Bisping and Matt gets pretty intense, and whenever Bisping gets serious, he tells Matt’s interpreter to “Tell him that.” Bisping says that, during the training, Matt keeps grinning at him and looking like a crazy person, and “looking at me as though I was nothing,” which is when the “bad feelings” started.

They do some armbar escape drills. Bisping and Matt work together. As Matt escapes the armbar, his elbow pops twice. Bisping is concerned, like, “Was that my fault?” Tito tells him it wasn’t, but in the video interview, Tito says that Bisping did go hard on Matt, but that it’s expected in a competition. Matt’s elbow was apparently hyperextended, and Tito tries to tell Matt that he shouldn’t be ashamed to tap.

At Home

Josh says that Matt is feeling stress and doubt and is realizing that he’s human. Mike Nickels makes fun of Matt’s deaf accent with the other guys. He says that it’s “not because Matt’s deaf” but because “it’s his personality” and that Matt talks smack around the house, too.

Matt’s video interview reveals that he’s the only deaf member of his family and that without them he wouldn’t be able to speak as well as he does. He says he lied to his family and friends and told them that he went to a wrestling camp in Oklahoma, and that he can talk to them after he wins the contract.

Team Ortiz Training

Matt’s arm is in a sling. The assistant trainer, Saul Soliz, says that the guys have been getting into all kinds of bullshit in training for no reason at all. He gives them a lecture and tells them that if anyone is happy to see Matt hurt, then they’re a piece of shit and they know it. Saul’s video interview says that he does believe the other guys are happy to see Matt hurt because it means that he’s not unstoppable. He says the guys need to be respectful.

At Home

Bisping respects Saul and has been thinking about what he said. Walking around the pool area, he says to the other guys, “Saul’s right, we’re all a buncha bastards. I’m the worst. I’m a wanker.” There’s a scene where Matt and Bisping chat in the kitchen and apologize to each other for the antics that have been going on during their training. It’s very classy. Bisping says that he feels that his dignity on the show has suffered and he wishes Matt the best and hopes to fight him in the semi finals or the finals. I hope he fights him, too. It was pretty exciting to speculate on their fighting when they were all at each other’s throats, but now that their relationship has progressed into mutual respect and classy sportsmanship, it’s even more interesting to see how it will play out.

The Weigh In

Dana anticipates Matt’s fight, as he wants to see if he’s as good as Tito believes he is. Ed thinks Mike will pull an upset. In a very important segment, Matt converses with Saul and tells him that it’ll be difficult for him to get a takedown when his arm is hurting so bad, and that he’d like to keep the fight standing. Saul doesn’t think it’s a good idea, but believes that Matt has to fight whatever fight he thinks is best.

Team Shamrock Training

Mike talks about his tattoos. He’s a tattoo artist, etc. I think they’re ugly tattoos. This season is bad tattoo season. I haven’t seen hide nor hair of one good tattoo this season. Have you?

Mike: My tattoos are my life.
Shelly: Your life sucks.

Ken says that Mike was tailor-made to beat Matt.

Fight Day

This segment at home consists of Kalib and Mike lying on the couches being hilarious.

Mike: Why don’t they just put me in there with a wild bear?
Kalib: It’s like the Christians being fed to the lions.
Mike: Maybe I’ll turn into a butterfly and just fly away to a sunny hill…
Kalib: Maybe you’ll turn into a unicorn and fly right out of the ring.

They talk about how Matt eats bologna and PB&J sandwiches on white bread and is still strong. They’re amazed.

In the van, Ed says the fight is like “The All-American good guy versus the… tattooed… bad guy from… Denver.”

Mike’s video interview says that, with regard to fighting MMA, Matt isn’t disabled by any means.

The Fight!

They come out striking. Mike tries stupid shit like spinning backfists, which get nowhere. Matt grabs Mike, takes him down, and starts cranking his neck while Tito shouts “YES YES YES GET THAT COBRA CHOKE!” in the most disturbing, giddy way possible.

They stand back up. In the beginning, every punch Matt throws hits Mike square in the face. Ken is angry and shouts repeatedly for Mike to try some hard high knees, since Matt apparently doesn’t intend to take him down. Mike doesn’t do anything but become a bloody mess. He just gets mauled. There’s a timeout because Mike has lost his mouthguard. During the timeout, they sign to Matt to instruct him. They restart with 1:13 left in the first round. Matt continues to maul Mike with punches. It’s about this point that the entire fight degenerates into a slugfest, lacking any sort of technique on the part of either fighter, and they’re completely exhausted.

The round ends.

Ken: “Throw that knee!”
Tito: “Pound the f*ck out of him when you’re on top.”

Round 2

Team Ortiz wonders why Matt isn’t wrestling Mike. They apparently didn’t get the memo on the no-takey-down situation that was discussed with Saul.

Mike is desperate and throwing all kinds of windmill punches in addition to turning his back and running away like a Canadian. No offense, of course, but after Loiseau’s substellar performance against Franklin and Alessio’s chickenshit “defense” against Diego Sanchez, turning one’s back and running away will henceforth be known as a Canadian tactic.

Matt continually takes Mike down anyway and tries to pound him into submission, but he can’t seem to. He’s got his back several times and still never even tries to work a choke. Matt stands back up and Mike grabs his leg from below. Ken, to no one’s surprise, shouts “HEEL HOOK HEEL HOOK!” to no avail. Mike just refuses to listen to anything Ken’s got to say. Team Shamrock keeps shouting “TSL!” which no one on the internet can figure out. My personal favorite guess is “Try Shitty Leglock!”

There’s another timeout, as Mike’s mouthpiece is out again. He’s told that if it happens again he’ll be docked a point. Mike is a bloody mess. Matt gets on top of him again and starts punching him, and Mike’s mouthpiece comes out again. Mike grabs Matt’s arm and looks like he almost maybe quite possibly try a submission but he does absolutely nothing and the round ends.

Tito says that “All of a sudden, Matt became a boxer.” Too bad he wasn’t a very good one. Ken gave good advice to Mike throughout the fight, but Mike heeded none of it. Dana said the fight was sloppy but both competitors had a lot of heart.

All judges scored the fight 20-18 in favor of Matt Hamill.

After the fight, Matt had some trouble walking, and his arm is bothering him. The footage they show has him looking pretty ill. They take him to the hospital for evaluation.

Mike says “My face is sore here and there. In the chin, nose, cheek, forehead area.” His whole face is bruised up and looks pretty painful. He’s sniffling in his exit interview. He also goes to the hospital for evaluation.

So the fight was pretty terrible and amateur. While Nickels looked absolutely horrendous, I don’t think we can discount Matt all together. If he starts wrestling his opponents and at least working on his GNP and certainly some submissions (he had Mike’s back several times), he could probably do better. We have to remember that he’s been training less than a year. I’m glad to see him win. I hope his hospital trip doesn’t reveal anything serious.

The Teams

Team Ortiz
Middleweights: Rory Singer, Kendall Grove
Light Heavyweights: Matt Hamill, Michael Bisping, Josh Haynes

Team Shamrock
Middleweights: Kalib Starnes, Ed Herman
Light Heavyweights: Jesse Forbes

UFC 60

Reverend Sick put up his UFC 60 recap. You should check it out. Personally, I was most pleased with the preliminary fights they showed.