Ultimate Fighter Episode Recap: Mike VanArsdale Feels the Need…the Need For Speed

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This week’s episode opens with a Team Rashad practice and the head coach explains that he likes his team because “we all vibe together so well.” Maybe he means that everyone vibes together so well when Mitrione isn’t around and McSweeney isn’t bagging on his teammates behind closed doors. Mitrione explains his condition to the coaches, basically saying he doesn’t feel right but he’ll fight if the doctor clears him. It seems like a simple scenario but simple scenarios don’t play well on TV so the coaches get up in arms again. Dr. McSweeney weighs in with his opinion: “There’s no way he’s concussed.” Later we see McSweeney ranting in the house at length about Mitrione’s antics and it’s clear that if Mitrione is trying to get into McSweeney’s head, it’s working. “He’s keeping James on his toes,” says Brendan Schaub.

At Team Rampage practice, Jackson is more or less planning for Kimbo to fight McSweeney. The only problem is that Slice goofed his knee while rolling with Demico Rogers and everyone knows that if Kimbo fights McSweeney it’s going to be a leg kick extravaganza. At Team Rashad practice Schaub calls on Evans to help him with takedown defense in advance of his bout with Jon Madsen but the coach begs off because he wants to stay neutral. Roy Nelson steps in instead to give Schaub pointers. Adding to the awkwardness is the fact that the other guy in the cage helping Schaub is Justin Wren, who Roy fought on the same day as the Schaub vs. Madsen scrap. “I’m not worried about his hands in the least bit,” says Schaub.

Kimbo’s knee pain is more serious than expected when orthopedic surgeon Dr. Steven Sanders shows up to tell Slice that he has a “kissing lesion” in his knee, meaning that cartilage has been worn away and the only thing to do is manage the pain, drain the fluid, or inject cortisone, none of which excite Kimbo.

Next up is this season’s coaches challenge, a game of beach volleyball played at the Palms Casino Resort, which is, coincidentally, the site of the TUF Finale on Dec. 5. The highlight of challenge is when Dana White calls out Mike VanArsdale for “acting like he’s Maverick from ‘Top Gun,’” spinning the ball around, flipping it in the air, etc. That night, or another night, or some night during the taping, Kimbo gets acquainted with the ice bath. McSweeney seems very concerned with getting Kimbo into fighting shape – maybe Mitrione isn’t the only one in the house with a personal agenda?

Back at the gym Schaub is irritated because Rashad is working out with Madsen after he told Schaub he couldn’t coach him. Mitrione has another sit-down with the coaches who tell him that they don’t think he wants to fight. Rashad goes as far as to say that he’s going to call Dana and tell him that Mitrione isn’t going to fight. Mitrione wonders why they can’t wait for the doctor to give a thumbs up or thumbs down and in a confessional interview admits that he’s tired of the drama and just wants to go home. Dana arrives at the gym to give a “Do you want to be a fuckin’ fighter” speech to the whole cast that Mitrione feels is “at least 90% directed towards me.”

I know TUF has a tight schedule of fights but if they couldn’t wait a day or two to find out if Mitrione was going to be medically cleared, why the drama? Just tell him he’s not fighting and put Kimbo in, which it seems like everyone, including McSweeney, wants to have happen. Anyway, it’s fight day and McSweeney slaps Schaub around a bit to get him ready.

Round One. Madsen shoots, gets stuffed, and they circle for a full minute. Madsen shoots again and gets a single leg which he turns into a slam and lands in half guard. Madsen has good top control but does nothing with it besides some short elbows. Referee Josh Rosenthal stands them up and Madsen shoots again. Schaub stuffs it, they clinch, and Schaub delivers a knee to Madsen’s midsection. Knees and body shots from Schaub. Madsen gets the leg again and executes an identical slam only this time he lands in side control. Again, he does nothing with the position. 10-9 round for Madsen.

Round Two. Schaub fights off two takedowns but Madsen keeps moving forward. Schaub needs to do something and there it is. Schaub catches Madsen with the second half of a jab-cross and puts the wrestler down. Rosenthal waves him off and Schaub is the winner by knockout. The third and final quarterfinal matches will be broadcast next week – will FIGHT! blogger Mitrione step up or will Kimbo make a comeback?

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