The Ultimate Fighter
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Sixteen men from across the Americas travel to Las Vegas with one dream, one goal – to become The Ultimate Fighter.

Determination. Discipline. Excellence.

Recaps by Joe Van Ginkel, GSNN


Willa Ford
Coaches: Randy "The Natural" Couture and Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell
Packager: Zuffa, LLC; Spike TV
Airs: Mondays at 11:05pm ET on Spike TV

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Episode 3 - January 31

As the show opens, coaches Randy Couture and Chuck Liddell enter the office of UFC president Dana White who expresses concerns that, since the fighters will actually have to start fighting soon, they will have to start cutting weight.  He especially mentions light heavyweights Sam Hogar and Bobby Southworth as overweight.  He then says that the light heavyweights are up for elimination that week, and if they don't make weight, they can't fight and they will be eliminated.  He also reminds them that the fighters are not being paid for these fights.

Later that day, Team Couture resumes their training.  Middleweight Nathan Quarry says in confessional that his team is "a team of fighters."  The challenges are seemingly no longer important to the contestants; the fights are what matter.  Light heavyweight Lodune Sincaid further notes that "it's like Christmas right now that we're fighting…" Team Liddell is next to train.  Chuck Liddell has little trouble telling his man Sam Hogar to start cutting weight, but he has problems with Southworth, who is coming off a hiatus and has put on a lot of weight.

Unfortunately, Lodune Sincaid, engaging in a bit of psychological warfare, has suggested that they obtain two chocolate cakes and two pies to tempt their opponents.  But Southworth manages to avoid temptation, and sits quietly at the table reading a magazine.

Later, the other fighters sit around and debate not getting paid for their fights.  They are clearly not happy about it.  Middleweight Alex Karalexis is particularly not happy about it.  He says in confessional that since they are risking their health every time they fight, that not getting paid to fight is "an issue."

The fighters whining about not getting paid angers White, who drags the entire collection of fighters down to the gym at 10 at night.  He informs the fighters that he's been angry for most of the day - he believes that the fighters don't really want to fight. He even asks them, "Does anybody here not wanna fight?"  When no one speaks up (although Southworth voices his assumption that no one would fight until the finals) White goes on an expletive laden tirade, reminding the fighters that this is a huge opportunity they've been given, and this is a job like any other. After his "pep talk," White sends the fighters home to sleep.

Team Challenge
This week the Light Heavyweights are up for elimination.  They compete individually in a land-kayak/weight-carrying race.  The race starts with the fighters pulling themselves along in a land kayak, then at the halfway point must get out, pick up two buckets, into which they must put a series of ten-pounds weights, then carry to the finish line. The winner of the race is safe from fighting, but the loser must choose a member of the opposing team to challenge in the first elimination bout.

Southworth gets into trouble early.  His teammate Alex Schoenauer wins the race (Mike Swick indicates that he thinks that means Schoenauer doesn't want to fight, because "no one has seen him move like that the whole time we've been here"), but Southworth, huffing and puffing the whole way, comes in last, and must choose an opponent to fight. He has a day to cut his weight down to the limit in order to fight; if he does not, he can't fight, and he is automatically eliminated. (Dana White: "Can he cut the weight? Absolutely. He can do it.  It's not gonna be easy, but he can do it.") Southworth knows that he will have trouble making weight, and begins complaining.  Southworth's behavior sets Liddell off on a tirade of his own, which is directed at White who echoes Liddell's disdain for Southworth's weak-minded actions.

Team Liddell is seen in a meeting discussing whom Southworth will fight.  Liddell wants Southworth to choose one of the better contestants from Team Couture, so that if he wins it will be easier for Team Liddell to win the Team Challenges.  But he also acknowledges the risk of losing Southworth to a better fighter.

The fighters assemble in the living room of the house, and White calls Southworth forward to choose his opponent.  He chooses Sincaid.  The two men then begin preparing for their fight.

Liddell and Koscheck take Southworth to the sauna to cut weight: that is, to sweat off the excess water he's retaining in order to make the 205 pound weight limit.  He has to sweat off 20 pounds in 18 hours.  (Koscheck says it best about Southworth's dilemma: "If you can lose 20 pounds in 24 hours, you're a man.")  And so Southworth goes into the sauna and begins to work off the 20 pounds.  However, on many occasions, he leaves the sauna to try and recover, but each time, Koscheck and Liddell push him back into the sauna to continue to work off the weight, even holding the door shut to make him stay inside.

In the meantime, Sincaid, thinking he has an easy fight coming up resumes his antics, generally freaking out the house.  He thinks Southworth will be drained from the sauna, and that his opponent will not have anything left for the fight. 

The next day, Southworth is still four pounds too heavy, and yet, he is laying around the facility, whining and complaining, much to the chagrin of Liddell, Koscheck and White, who all try to rouse him into cutting the remaining weight.  At the weigh-in, Sincaid makes weight, but Southworth is told what he already knows: he has two hours to cut the weight, or forfeit the fight, and his spot in the contest.  He decides to continue on, and with Koscheck and Liddell's help (including at one point literally dragging him feet first back into the sauna), he manages to cut enough weight to qualify for the fight.

The night before the fight, the two opponents pass each other in the house, but generally ignore one another, mentally steeling themselves for the bout the next day.

On fight day, the two competitors pack up their belongings in the house (as will their teammates in the fights to come) and go to the gym for the fight.  They make their final preparations in their respective dressing rooms: wrapping their hands, warming up, having Vaseline applied to their faces to protect against cuts, putting on their fighting gloves, etc.  When their preparations are complete, White appears in their dressing room and surprises them: if a fighter win their fight by knockout or submission, they will win $5,000.

After this, the two men walk to the ring for their confrontation.  The preliminary bouts will be two five-minute rounds each.  If at the end of the two rounds, the fight is declared a draw by the judges, a third round, known as "Sudden Victory," will take place.  Then, famed UFC referee "Big John" McCarthy asks the two men if they're ready, and when the signal they are, he says those legendary words…"LET'S GET IT ON!"

Elimination Bout 1: Lt. Heavyweights - Lodune Sincaid vs. Bobby Southworth

The first round sees both men fight very conservatively.  Southworth manages to take Sincaid down, and both mean fight on the mat, trying to score a submission.  But Sincaid works to his feet, and the two men clinch against the barrier, trying to land strikes.  Sincaid is in control of most of the exchange on the fence, trading knee strikes with Southworth. But eventually Southworth works his way out, and back to the center of the Octagon.  Sincaid tries to take him down, but Southworth dodges out of the way.  They trade blows, and Sincaid tries to pin him against the fence again, but Southworth escapes.  They circle each other again, and eventually, Sincaid manages to pin Southworth against the fence once again.  Sincaid lands head punches and knee strikes while in the clinch while Southworth works to get free.  Then Southworth rolls him over and pins Sincaid against the face and strikes, but eventually Sincaid gets free, and the round ends with the two men fighting in the middle of the ring.

Between rounds, Sincaid's cutman works on a nasty gash over his left eye, while Couture coaches him.  Liddell advises Southworth to try a boxing combination, as he sees a hole in Sincaid's defense.

The second round starts…and ends abruptly ten seconds in, as Southworth, taking Liddell's advice fires a right-left-right punch combination which floors Sincaid, and when Southworth tries to follow up, McCarthy promptly throws him off…literally…and waves his hands in the air, signaling that Sincaid has been K.O.ed and eliminated from the contest.  Southworth, even after all his whining and complaining, has somehow managed to win the fight (and the $5,000) and stay in the contest.  Sincaid, on the other hand, is out.

Next week, the middleweights are up for elimination.

For GSNN, this is the "Game Show Man" Joe Van Ginkel, saying Godspeed and spread the love.

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