The Ultimate Fighter Heavyweights Episode Recap: Matt Mitrione’s Big Day
This week’s episode of the Ultimate Fighter opens with – you guessed it – more jaw jackin’ between Rashad and Rampage. They reenact each others’ knockout losses but instead of being funny, it’s just tedious because we know that we’re looking at Serra vs. Hughes II, a grudge match that will happen a year after everyone but the two guys in the cage stopped caring.
At fight selection Rashad picks Matt “Matrone” to fight Scott Junk and Dana points to Junk’s UFC experience being an advantage. “I’m always gonna pick the guy with experience,” he says.
The last fight of the first round is Mike “Whistle” versus Marcus “Big Baby” Jones. “This is like David versus Goliath,” Dana says.
It’s hard to tell when it really happened but the next sequence is yet another face off between the coaches, during which Rashad tells Rampage he’s going to make him quit “just like you quit on your fighters.”
Rampage’s retort is “I didn’t quit, my fighters quit in the cage.” Oh, sucks for you, Team Rampage. Both dudes swell up, guys get between them, and it turns into a straight up high school cafeteria beef. You know the kind, where two dudes stand on opposite sides of a crowd of their respective crews and talk a mess but never have any real intention of throwing a punch. Again, the hype just reminds me how long I’ll have to wait to actually see them fight.
In the next scene it’s morning at the TUF house and Matt Mitrione is just doin’ his regular thing, eating breakfast and slipping folded up notes into his waistband. In another room, Junk says that Mitrione showed him a note saying that Wessel was scared to fight Junk. Wessel calls Mitrione “a cocksucker,” and John Madsen says “it’s just low” for Mitrione to throw a teammate under the bus.
Later we get a montage of Mitrione training while Rashad talks about how well-rounded Junk is. Mitrione’s teammate James McSweeney picks against him, and then we see McSweeney tell the coaches about the note. Now, I know I’m biased because Matt Mitrione is one of our TUF bloggers (in fact, you can read his take on this episode here), but isn’t it a little silly for McSweeney to call Mitrione a snitch when the dude is always running off to tell Rashad what his teammates said and did?
The coaches call Mitrione in for a meeting where Mitrione says, “I know what I am doing in my head.” Rashad clearly isn’t convinced and Mitrione clearly doesn’t care. In testimonial clips Mitrione starts talking about voices in his head and says, in reference to Junk, “motherfucker, you’re gonna die.”
Now it’s Junk’s turn and he talks about fighting with his heart and calls Mitrione a scumbag. “I don’t think no one likes Mitrione right now,” Rampage says.
The next morning (or the morning before? A morning sometime during the six week shoot?) Madsen and Mitrione beef over orange juice. It seems that Mitrione is taking liberties with the OJ that Madsen clearly labeled as his and Mitrione says it’s a family size jug and therefore it’s fair game. Madsen disagrees and Mitrione says, “I guess I’m just an asshole.” Mitrione leaves the room and Madsen says something about slapping him. Mitrione didn’t hear it, “so I told him,” McSweeney says. (See what I mean?)
At the gym, Mitrione and Madsen spar and Team Rashad coach Mike VanArsdale tells them to go 60%. Mitrione goes after Madsen hard, Madsen quits, and Mitrione goes apeshit, screaming at Madsen. The coaches push him into the back room and Rashad starts screaming him down. Mitrione flexes on Rashad for a second before thinking better of it. Rashad tells him that “if you don’t fight like this when it’s your turn I’m gonna fuck you up myself.”
Back at the house, McSweeney and Sims start a pool predicting when Mitrione will snap and Sims pretends to be a ninja, stalking Mitrione while he plays basketball by himself. Mitrione goes inside to play pool and Sims keeps pestering him. “Don’t touch me,” Mitrione says, so Sims blows on his neck. Mitrione steps outside and Sims follows. “Why you trying to start shit with me, Sims,” Mitrione asks.
The next thing we hear is McSweeney’s voice asking, “What day will the rat snap?” Based on his sparring session with Madsen, I predict he’ll snap on fight day.
Cut to Mitrione’s fight day confessional interview. “Big day,” he says, “Might go to Home Depot, maybe Bed, Bath & Beyond. Who knows if I’ll have time? Big day.”
Mitrione tells Rashad that his head is quiet, that he talked to his wife. Rashad asks if the fighter got a phone call and Mitrione taps his temple. “That boy’s cheese done fell off his cracker,” says Rashad.
The fight starts and both guys are jumpy. The first real action is a kick from Junk, which Mitrione catches and counters with a right hand not once but twice, sending Junk to the mat. Mitrione lets Junk up and the Team Rampage fighter pursues, winging punches that Mitrione mostly avoids. Junk turns and Mitrione hits him with a right hook that floors Junk for the second time in the first 45 seconds. Mitrione lets him up again and Junk repays the courtesy with a body kick. Mitrione catches another kick from Junk and drops him again. Mitrione lets his opponent up again, presumably to continue beating the brakes off of him. Junk blocks some punches and shoots for a takedown. Mitrione stuffs it and delivers punches and a knee to the body. They separate and Mitrione throws a leg kick. Junk throws a lunging overhand right, Mitrione counters with an inside leg kick, and Junk falls face first to the mat. He turns over, sees that Mitrione isn’t going to follow him to the ground, and gets up. Leg kick Mitrione, leg kick Junk. Mitrione throws punches but Junk covers and circles away from the cage. Junk shoots for a takedown but Mitrione turns and drags Junk on the mat before stepping out. Mitrione backs off again and Junk gets up. Hard left Mitrione – he tries to flurry but he’s punched himself out. Both guys land punches. They clinch against the cage, separate, and Mitrione throws another leg kick. Both guys throw and land punches at the end of the round, with Junk finally getting the better of an exchange. Both guys are toast. “That’s a fucking fight right there,” says Dana. It’s safe to say that there was more action in the last five minutes than there was in every preceding fight combined.
The second round starts with a leg kick from Mitrione. Hard right from Junk. The pace has slowed considerably, probably due to the fact that both fighters are completely exhausted. Junk checks a leg kick. Jabs and a leg kick from Mitrione. Junk scores a take down but can’t do anything with it so referee Josh Rosenthal stands them both up. Push kick from Mitrione, overhand right from Junk. Mitrione lands a couple clean jab-straight combos before Junk clips him. The fighters trade leg kicks and the fight ends a majority decision victory for Matt Mitrione. One of the judges scored it a draw which I can’t make sense of. Dana White is please. Rampage is not and an innocent door must die because of it.
The episode ends abruptly, which can only mean that the first segment of next week’s show will be dedicated to various cast members and coaches saying, “So, uh, this Mitrione guy…he’s, uh, pretty decent, huh?”