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Some takeaways from The Ultimate Fighter 12 season debut

By Zach Arnold | September 15, 2010

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I’ll combine my thoughts on the Fight Night show from Austin and the TUF 12 debut.

But first, I have to bring up something that I got phone calls about when it aired tonight on television and the comments said to me by others was exactly of the same tenor as my initial reaction to it and that was the Tapout commercial. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a commercial with two small kids called The Ruffo Brothers who were punching and kicking and doing sparring in the cage. The first word to come to mind when I saw it was disturbing and then I was quickly reminded of how the commercial reinforced the stereotypes in that horribly unfunny CBC Radio parody about 6 and 7 year old kids getting into MMA because Ontario province is now allowing MMA events to take place in the area. The reaction I got from people in and out of the business who saw the commercial was one of disgust, if not creeped out a bit by it.

And then it hit me like a ton of bricks that ABG, the company partnering/owning Tapout now, wants to expand the Tapout brand to schools and school-aged kids. Never underestimate what parents will allow their kids to choose to associate with these days, but even in today’s climate I would have to think that there will be more than a few parents who draw a line when it comes to allowing their kids to watch MMA, let alone wear MMA-branded clothing. Of course, as noted in last week’s Tapout semi-conference call, the remaining founders of Tapout would like to expand their brand beyond just being affiliated with MMA.

It’s all really… something.

UFC action on Spike

As for the Fight Night show, I thought Cole Miller got a good, not great win over Ross Pearson and the Pearson express got derailed. Everyone is now on the Charles Oliveira bandwagon for good, although he got lucky in that he had an opponent whose head just didn’t seem in the game at all. I thought it was kind of bizarre when Efrain Escudero was trying to get the fans to cheer during a low blow timeout break.

Which leads me to yet more awful officiating from the Texas officials tonight. Thank God Herb Dean was around. One of the Texas referees tried to talk to the Portuguese-speaking Oliveira in Spanish and then tried to hurry him back into action after getting a low blow. Between the quality of officiating and the recent controversies (like Keith Jardine claiming he fought at Shark Fights with a migraine, only for Texas to suspend him indefinitely after pushing an inspector who he thought was a fan tugging on his shirt, to the oxygen spray dealio at the Strikeforce event), you knew something goofy was going to happen. … And it did when Rousimar Palhares, who had been suspended by the New Jersey ACB for holding onto a heel hold for too long after winning a fight, ended up claiming Sakuraba-style that his opponent Nate Marquardt had a greased-up leg. This gave Marquardt the chance to just blast the crap out of Palhares and the fans were eating this up big. I don’t care if I suffer the wrath of Luke Thomas, but between Palhares holding onto a heel hook for too long and then complaining about Marquardt being greased up, this guy is like a classic pro-wrestling heel. There, I said it.

For a contrarian point of view, here’s Steve Te Tai:

What is it that NFL’s Roger Goodell said? Once is an incident, twice is not good, and three times is a pattern? This Team Jackson greasing thing needs to be investigated somehow. While they didn’t find any “grease” on him, I honestly don’t think Palhares was so offended that Nate slipped out of his mighty leglock that he just assumed “grease”. He must’ve felt something. Maybe there are other tactics to get the same effect of “grease” that can’t be detected out in the ring. Funny how Nate’s reaction wasn’t “I don’t grease or anything like that” it was “they checked me and didn’t find anything.” I also didn’t like how Rogan and Goldberg were so quick to dismiss any possibility of the Jackson Camp cheating even though there’s precedence. I guess they want to downplay any accusations of that in general on their shows. This is the third big accusation towards a Jackson fighter about “greasing”, and if Nate was with any other camp it wouldn’t mean anything.

As for The Ultimate Fighter 12, I thought it was a decent show. They crammed 12 matches in a 60-minute time frame. Josh Gross said that “Crazy” Bob Cook had some good coaching advice during the fights, so I used closed caption and Josh was right. (CC is great to use on Zuffa taped broadcasts).

And, of course, there was the usual trash talk:

Except, it seems that the lines are going to be blurred a bit in regards to what roles both St. Pierre and Koscheck fill on the show.

And Dana White was his usual self. I had to laugh when he said, “You’re not UFC fighters yet” in the same way that Vince McMahon/WWE looks at independent wrestlers who weren’t 100% developed in the WWE mold from the ground-up. “I don’t think there’s any [expletive] secret what we’re looking for here,” which Mr. White said while pitching the concept that they want to find guys who can become ‘world champions.’ Of course, let’s flashback to three months ago when Jordan Breen completely demolished this premise in excellent fashion.

If you thought the Tapout kids commercial was a bit over-the-top, so was TUF showing one of the contests (Sako) vomiting repeatedly on camera after winning.

Of course, at the end of the first show was the obligatory trailer promising drunken hi-jinx and fights in the house for the rest of the season. In other words, the same protocol as usual.

Topics: Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 16 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

16 Responses to “Some takeaways from The Ultimate Fighter 12 season debut”

  1. robthom says:

    The ole braz cry and whine!

    As classic and predictable as BJJ and scat porn.

    Especially off of a rule bender I’m sure.

  2. 45 Huddle says:

    I saw that Tapout Kid commercial a few weeks ago and thought it was cringe worthy bad. Then again I’m the same guy who thinks parents are trash for letting their 10 year olds watch MMA.

    The grease thing is a 100% non issue. Anybody can make a claim. Everybody there debunked it. Even Marquardt knew the reason why he a little slippery which was sweat.

    And Palhares was not a heel. He is a mental case.

    • Bryan says:

      I googled the Tapout commercial when I read this article ans saw it for the first time. I’m not sure what the problem is. I saw two kids who look to be about 9-10 years old shadowboxing, hitting mits, rolling and doing some light sparring to get some looks in. How is that different than the kids BJJ classes or any kids kickboxing matches that have been going on for years and completely sanctioned by various state commissions? Is it because one has a mohawk and some boardshorts?

      I don’t see any issue with grease also. I think a more likely situation is since it was on Marquart’s ankle, it was some sore of pain relieving cream such a Tiger Balm that became slippery when mixed with sweat. I know that happens to me when I use it.

  3. Norm says:

    I am fairly certain that Tapout commercial ran during the last season of The Ultimate Fighter and it was just an unusual then.

  4. Lordschroeder says:

    I may be in a minority, but I loves the Tapout kids commercial. The 10 mi ite video is even better. As a parent, I’d love to have my kids train in mma at a young age.

  5. LAS says:

    To be fair to the UFC, most top prospects these days would rather take their chances with a 3-fight deal than get locked into the standard 9-fight TUF contract which guarantees you won’t make shit for your first 3 years. This is especially true given the depth in most divisions, where it can take 4-5 wins minimum before somone earns a PPV main card spot against an established contender. How much more money do you think Jon Jones is making right now than he would have coming through TUF? My guess is quite a bit.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      First, let me start off by saying I’, not a fan of watching TUF.

      With that said, I disagree with your statement. I still think it’s a better route to go the TUF way.

      1) No matter what, it’s hard to make it into the UFC with any sort of impact. TUF guys are competing against around 30 other fighters. If you sign a contract to go straight into the UFC, you will still be stuck on the undercard for at least a year.

      2) TUF guys get much better exposure. TUF winners are constantly either placed on PPV’s or put on the UFC Prelim shows. That means much more sponsorship money.

      3) Jon Jones is the exception not the rule. Most guys don’t get pushed like he does.

      • Most guys aren’t as good as Jon Jones either.

        Personally, I think a smart fighter takes the route of fighting internationally/for Strikeforce and making solid money those routes. Jake Shields made a helluva lot more money by fighting for EXC and Strikeforce than he would have going through TUF and risking a loss or injury over the span in which he theoretically could have made similar bucks.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          Jake Shield’s win streak started in 2005. If he was on TUF 1 and continued that same win streak…. He would be a much more profitable man then he is now.

          There is a ceiling for what most fighters can make outside of the UFC. Go on a big win streak inside the UFC and start headlining PPV’s…. That ceiling is like 4 stories higher.

          This idea that fighting for another organization and then making the leap into the UFC doesn’t pay off. Right now, if you fight for Strikeforce or Bellator and you win enough, you will become their champion rather easily. And once you are their champion, you have to lose in order to get out of their champion’s clause contracts. And if you lose, your value goes down. So it’s one big giant trap. They aren’t letting you go and yet they can’t match even close to what a UFC Champion makes. Heck, they can’t even come close to what a UFC Challenger makes for their own challengers. Sonnen made close to 7-figures for fighting Silva.

          The only reason Shields got out of that was because he had an old contract from EliteXC.

          If you think you are the best and think you will be #1…. Going the UFC route pays the most money in the long run without question. And it logically makes sense. If you are going to get stuck in an organization for being their best fighter, you should get stuck in the one that has the highest potential pay. SF or Bellator are just traps for top tier fighters like Gilbert Melendez or top prospects like Ben Askren.

        • If the UFC wanted Jake Shields in 2005, they probably could have signed him. They didn’t and he wasn’t. You can point at other examples too – look at Shane Del Rosario. He’s made decent money crushing total cans. Compare that to making decent money fighting tough competition.

          Who knows what Sonnen made? I doubt he gets a percentage. I can tell you he made a lot of money outside the UFC though. There’s a lot of guys who ignored TUF for deals outside the company, and most of those guys are geniuses for it. Mayhem Miller was offered a slot on TUF 4, instead he signed a endless, open deal with Icon Sport. He could easily have been bounced out of the UFC already with a ton of losses on his ledger and not much money to show for it.

  6. edub says:

    Hopefully someone can clarify: Since this is the third accusation of greasing; were the first two GSP. Or are you also talking about the Diego sanchez/Nick Diaz fight?

    I do find it interesting when a guy who has some of the best leg locks in the world, and a vice like grip has a leg completely slip out of his grasp. Palhares is not a heel. The New Jersey commision f’d up when they suspended him. He didn’t hold the lock after the ref intervened. As for what happened last night I am still 50/50 on the “greasing”.

    My pick for FOTS on TUF: Koscheck vs. the big black dude.

  7. Steve4192 says:

    Regarding the Marquardt greasing accusation, both Palhares and his camp have issued retractions/apologies. Bustamante was particularly pointed in his criticism of Rousimar for not continuing to fight.

  8. David M says:

    I thought the Tapout kids commercial was great. They are really doing a good job with that ad of increasing the age scope of their product and making mma look less brutal and more about learning and training and pushing yourself. Why would anyone cringe at that?

  9. Brad Wharton says:

    I don’t see the big deal with getting the TapouT brand into schools.

    I’m not sure about the US, but Lonsdale of London (THE British boxing brand) have been making kids sizes for years. Everlast too. I got my god-daughter a pair of Lonsdale trainers and a hoody for her birthday recently; I don’t expect her to start punching other kids in the head because of it.

    Again, I don’t know how it works in the states, but boxing used to be part of the school sporting curriculum here in the UK. It’s not any more thanks to our ‘Nanny State’ and health and safety rules. Some would argue that learning the discipline and respect that comes with boxing and martial arts at a young age would do a lot of kids these days more good than harm, regardless of whether they have mohawks and TapouT shirts.

  10. Vox says:

    Uhm…one of my first memories sport memories is of watching Ali-Foreman (Rumble in the Jungle) while I was sitting on my dad’s leg cast after he broke it playing baseball…according to my mom and pics, that was when I was about 4yo.

    I turned out all right, even tho I’ve watched boxing all of my life, and even boxed amateur for a couple of years…when my kid grows up, he’ll be invited to watch boxing and MMA with me, and I’ll be happy if he becomes a fan (tho his mom doesn’t want him to fight, even amateur 🙂

    Ah! and my dad says that I watched my first fight when I was 2 days old, while still at the hospital 🙂

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