Episode 2 started out exactly like I expected: a bit of speculation about the mixed living arrangements and some male posturing about not wanting to roll full out with female training partners. As Tim Gorman so eloquently put it, “not gonna go 100% with some girl. They’ll get hurt.” Needless to say, the women were in complete, offended disagreement and explained how the men could believe that all they wanted, but they were going to tap just the same; eliciting this additional Gorman gem, “A girl is not going to submit me.” I was hopeful of seeing him eat those words during an upcoming training session, but unfortunately Tim Gorman was the first house
casualty. An MRI of his injured leg showed that the semi-membranous muscle (one of the three muscles that make up the Hamstring and is used to extend the thigh, flex the knee, and rotate the tibia medially when the knee is flexed) was divulsed or as the doctor described, “Torn off.” While he was extremely disappointed and willing to train and fight even with the severe injury, Tim did in the end accept the Baldfather’s decision and left the house graciously with only words of kindness to the rest of his team. Tim’s exit left an opening on Team Tate that Dana White immediately filled with the return of Louis Fisette. I looked back on my notes from Episode 1 and saw that I had written, “great fighter, really good chance of coming to the house if someone leaves early.” Apparently, for once, the Baldfather and I were on the same page.
Before Tim Gorman’s exit, we saw some training and heard a little more sexist chatter at the house; this time from Anthony Gutierrez. The TUF house’s self appointed hound dog, Anthony is under the delusion that he is both clever and a chick magnet; unfortunately, he’s wrong on both accounts. I’m hoping, but skeptical, that a few XX armbars will tame his not-so-witty repartee. Unfortunately, the TUF house does not have a reputation for reducing the bravado or stupidity of its residents. After Anthony’s sexist delusions, we were privy to a bit MMA psyops, Ronda Rousey style. She waited outside until 6pm exactly and then stormed in demanding Team Tate (who was on the way out) vacate the premises immediately. It was a little overbearing, but Miesha Tate essentially ignored it and went on about her exit at her own pace. Rousey explained it was all about getting Team Tate used to being in a subservient position to Team Rousey, or as she puts it, she wants them to “get used to us ******** them around.”
At this point, we got some training shots of both teams and what I suppose was intended to be insight into the fighters’ psyches, but it came across dull and flat, if not outright contrived. On one side we have Julianna Pena talking about how critical she is of herself and insecure and how she is, “her own worst enemy.” On the other side, we have Shayna Baszler saying, repeatedly, “She doesn’t deserve to be in the ring with me.” I was starting to feel a little manipulated by the Baldfather’s editing crew. It was impossible to miss the many references to Shayna Baszler’s long (11+ year) career or the “I’m very feminine” commentaries by the inexperience Pena. It was a very ham-handed attempt to set the scene for an upset and quite frankly it offended me. I don’t need the set up. I am an intelligent viewer. I understood the significance that a Shayna Baszler loss would have here. It really took the fun out of the upcoming fight. By the time it started, I was already annoyed and knew, no matter how much I wanted Shayna Baszler to win, she was going to fall prey to one of the classic sports blunders: underestimating your opponent. To be honest, I really like Shayna Baszler the fighter, but I was really disappointed in her repeated statements about Pena not deserving to be in the ring with her. That’s pretty much a load of crap. They both fought their way into the house and had every right to stand toe to toe and let the octagon determine the winner…and it surely did.
Julianna Pena looked good in the first round, except for the superhero diaper ensemble she was wearing…and of course the fact that Shayna Baszler pretty much owned the round. But despite losing the round, Pena never quit. She kept shifting and turning and fighting and despite several hairy moments, she never let Shayna finish her. Round 2 was a different story. Shayna looked tired and missed her first couple of takedown attempts and then Julianna owned the round, and the fight, ending it on Shayna’s back with Shayna tapping while stretched out and in a rear naked choke. I’m not sure who was more shocked; Shayna or Ronda or Julianna.
I wanted Shayna to win, not because I have anything against Julianna Pena, but because Shayna has fought long and hard to have a successful career and I really wanted to see her succeed. But Julianna showed heart and drive and that is what I love about this sport. Skill alone can only get you so far. You have to have the heart to back it up and Julianna proved she has that. The skills will come and I think that in a year or two, Julianna Pena will truly be a force to be reckoned with.
Ronda appeared to take the loss hard. She blamed herself as a coach for failing Shayna, but at the end of the day, Shayna has to own that alone. It’s important to believe in yourself, but it’s dangerous to believe your own press. You put your brain in the mindset that an opponent doesn’t deserve to be in the cage with you and you are handing over the biggest advantage of the fight. I’m sad, but I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Shayna Baszler.
The Julianna Pena win for Team Tate means that Miesha now controls the fight pick and she has chosen Chris Holdsworth to fight Chris Beal. It’s a smart match up for Team Tate, since Chris Beal is nursing an injured hand and that may just provide the edge that Chris Holdsworth needs to win. Ronda Rousey thinks it’s a *********** move and that Beal will win anyway. The Baszler loss and the Tate fight pick have combined to make the very competitive Rousey angry…and a little crazy. Rousey’s statement to the cameras that Tate was smiling at Shayna’s pain seemed a little far-fetched and more than a little childish, as did her little confrontation about it with Tate at the end of the episode. It was either really bad acting or really bad sportsmanship, but either way, Ronda Rousey just came out looking bad.