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TUF S18:E9 Rewind – A tale of two weight cuts



Wow, and of course we did not get two fights during this episode. Instead we got a whole lot of drama and it did not start with the coaches this time. There has been a lot of weight talk this season and Cody and Anthony were featured during early episodes as two of the bigger and heavier guys in the house. There was also the previews of Dana going off on one of the fighters so we knew something was coming. It was shocking that it was Cody who could not make weight. As a wrestler he has been cutting weight since high school – he made no excuses and it was unfortunate for him that it happened on the show. It cost him his fight and his shot at the UFC for the near future. Dana is very clear about how much he hates guys not making weight. Cody is a talented fighter and will bounce back from this and get better.

It is easy to criticize from the safe bubble of television. There is no doubt that Cody fucked up but he did commit a crime or hurt anybody else. He may have let his coaches and teammates down as well as his opponent Anthony, but he was the one who suffered the most from this incident. It was great to see Raquel step up to really try and help Cody. The same for Josh who was with him in the sauna with the marks on his swollen face from his recent fight. Also a lot of credit should go to Miesha and her coaches trying to help him as much as they could to make the weight. Seeing them in the sauna with him and trying to push him indicates how much they did care about Cody. You could tell he felt horrible about breaking and not making weight.

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Living in the house is such a unique experience. In one aspect you are isolated, you are cutoff from TV, the internet, and your phone. You are away from your family and friends living and training with other fighters who are competing with you for the same thing. As mentioned in other articles about the show –  the people who seem to suffer the most are the parents on the show. Cody has struggled with being away from them on some earlier episodes and being away from them had to make this that much harder to deal with mentally and emotionally. Winning TUF is not just about being the best fighter but it also about dealing with all the pressures that go with the show and the living situation. It will push you in ways you are not used to being pushed. It will drain you mentally, physically and emotionally. Fighting is hard enough when you can control your environment and routine. For some it is extremely difficult to deal with disruption of that routine and environment.

As Cody is starting to shut it down they cut to Chris Holdsworth informing us that all of Cody’s fights before the house had been at featherweight or bigger. You have to wonder how many times he has made bantamweight before the show. I personally have never had to cut weight but I have known many wrestlers at the college level and know what they went through to make weight. It often sounds like something you would do to torture someone only they are choosing to do it to themselves. When Bryan Caraway calls it one of the worst things to go through I believe him. You are dehydrated, starved, your brain and body are shutting down and it can break you. It is also dangerous to do to yourself.

When Cat Zingano was asked about her children going into MMA during an interview after her fight against Miesha, the one concern she voiced was over the dangers of cutting weight. She was not worried about them getting punched or kicked in the head, getting choked out or a limb broken. Instead it was putting their bodies through the stress and dangers of cutting weight.

Over the last ten years it has become a bigger part of MMA. GSP used to be considered a big welterweight and now is average size at best. You have fighters moving down in weight because they are too small for their current one. You have to wonder what is so wrong about weighing in on the day of the fight. What is wrong with two people being the same size when they fight. It should be about the skills and will they have inside of the octagon, not who can cut the most weight. As people cut more and more weight it will only get more dangerous and hopefully something is done before it becomes a tragedy.

There have been a lot of people piling on Anthony for not taking a fight and accepting the forfeit. Again, it is easy to sit at home watching what other people are doing on TV and then go to social media to criticize that person. It is hard to blame Anthony in this situation. He didn’t create it or manipulate it for his benefit. He was given two options and he chose the best for himself. It is easy to sit at home and talk about how if you were a fighter you would fight. It is a lot more difficult to go to your local gym, train and then go out and fight. Moving on to the next round without damage is a key to winning this show and Anthony is there to win it, not help someone else in the house out. He did not back out of a fight he just chose the better option for himself.

Surprisingly, Ronda found a way to blame Miesha for Cody not making weight. Again this was Cody’s responsibility and Miesha and her coaches did what they could with him. When it comes to Miesha and Ronda they are not going to have anything good to say about each other. Apparently they do not like each other very much and do not bring out the best in each other.

Oh yeah, there was also a fight. The UFC and TUF did not do Sarah and The Big Ass Bantam Peggy any favors by combining this into one episode. Personally the weight cut drama would have been better served during last week’s episode. Instead, much of that noise will overshadow this episode. It should be noted that virtually no time was devoted during this episode to Peggy making weight. It has been acknowledged by other fighters in the house that she has the most weight to cut and she did it. As did every other fighter on the show this season. For Peggy it was obvious that she had to stay disciplined with her diet during the season to make weight. She was also away from her son so she was dealing with many of the same issues as Cody and she fought through them and prevailed. Too often we focus on the negative of a situation instead of giving credit to the people who do the right thing on a daily basis.

Sarah might be one of the driest and most sarcastic people on TUF. She is also very confident in her abilities. It was fitting that the woman whose nickname is “Cheesecake” because of her love for the food has her fight on the episode that is about cutting weight, against the biggest fighter in the house. Sarah is not a small bantamweight herself and Miesha called her the second biggest woman in the house. Sarah has the best jiu-jitsu left in the women’s bracket and this was another classic grappler versus standup fighter matchup.

They both knew what they needed to do to win the fight. Peggy wanted to keep in standing and Sarah wanted to go to the ground and the fight would come down to who could implement their game plan the best. Peggy had the reach and size advantage but Sarah held the quickness edge and that was one of the difference makers in this fight.

They came out throwing jabs right away. Sarah was coming up a little short but she was making contact. She also started using leg kicks in the opening moments. Peggy landed a couple of jabs early but Sarah was using leg and body kicks effectively. Sarah did not have to worry about Peggy catching a leg to take her down so she could effectively use her kicks to offset some of Peggy’s reach. She also was throwing the kicks in combination with punches so they were harder to read. Peggy was able to land the jab consistently but was not finding the range with her right hand. Meanwhile, Sarah seemed to be timing Peggy’s jab countering with leg kicks. Then at the 3:40 mark Peggy threw a lead right hand left cross combo that Sarah ducked under and shot for the takedown. Peggy sprawled effectively and fought it off. Sarah drove her against the cage and Peggy almost spun around but Sarah was able to control the position. They fought in the clinch against the cage for twenty seconds with Sarah landing a couple of short shots. Peggy got off the cage and they separated in the center of the octagon.

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Peggy landed a couple of decent shots but nothing that stunned or hurt Sarah. She seemed to have a read on Peggy’s jab and instead of countering with a leg kick, this time she ducked under it and again shot for the takedown. She got them to the ground and pushed Peggy against the cage in a sitting position. Peggy fought back but Sarah was methodical. She did not sacrifice her position but instead patiently worked her way to the mounted position. From there she unleashed some wicked ground and pound. At first a couple of punches and then some punctuating elbows. Peggy fought back valiantly and received some serious damage from Sarah but did not quit. As she struggled to try to get out from under the mount Sarah seized her left arm and dropped a couple of hammer fists. Then in Ronda like fashion she hugged the arm to her chest and used her whole body to pull back on the arm and Peggy had to tap. Sarah showed a very vicious and strong top game in this fight. Her standup was also better than expected especially her leg kicks.

The semi-final deliberation was one of the biggest shocks of the season in that it was one of the easiest in TUF history. It was to be expected that the women from Team Tate would call out Jessica before one of their teammates. Also no big shock that Jessica is down to fight any of them. Chris H wants Anthony who has been eating his food. Davey and Anthony think the other three are tough and would fight whoever. Michael wants Anthony because he will probably be the easiest. Then Ronda gave her opinion on the women’s match ups and Miesha agreed and fortunately no one was struck by lightning and the world did not end. Some would say Dana stared at their asses when they left the room others would write that he just watched them leave and their asses where conveniently/inconveniently at eye level. Others who really want to kiss Dana’s ass would say that he was staring off already thinking about the fighter match ups.

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The semi-finals will feature Chris and Michael in the first one and Davey and Anthony in the other. For the women the first fight is Sarah versus Juliana leaving Raquel and Jessica to battle. These are all very interesting fights. Michael will need to make the fight ugly against the slick Chris and avoid the submission. If he can catch Chris he has a chance to advance, but Chris is the favorite going into this fight. He has crisp standup to go with world-class submissions. Davey and Anthony will be another intriguing fight. We know the least about Anthony because he did not fight but Davey has looked impressive so far. I like him to advance setting up a great finale between him and Chris.

On the women’s side Sarah and Juliana may come down to who has the best standup. Both of these fighters like to fight and have good ground games. Juliana is a little more ground and pound with submissions. While Sarah is submissions with ground and pound. This should be a war and could rival the Jessamyn and Raquel fight. All of them could be out perform by the Raquel versus Jessica fight. These two have some of the best pure standup in the house. This could turn into an MMA boxing clinic and will be another battle as they are both beyond tough and highly skilled.

Part of the reason I think the coaches did not have much disagreement in the match ups is how evenly matched the remaining fighters are for this season. Dana put together four very intriguing fights and it should be a fun second half of the season. starting next week with Chris versus Michael.

An avid lifetime fight fan who loves to write about it. So kick back, get comfortable and let's have some fun! "Wants me to tell him something pretty." Al Sweargen "Going wrong is not the end of fucking things, Johnny. Fuck no! I have comeback from plenty of shit that looked like it was going wrong." Dan Dority "Deserve's got nothin' to do with it." Bill Munny

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