Episode 3: Red, White and Bruised
There was a lot of hype and anticipation (and worry) before tonight’s show, all seemingly caused by the Spike leak showing Rob Browning in the house before he even fights. Many, myself included, were worried that this meant that Rob made the show. Though I don’t think Spike is dumb enough to leak that kind of info, I still sat on the edge of my seat for the episode, hoping that Season 9 wouldn’t just be a repeat of last season.
Episode 3 begins with a recap of Dana’s trip to the UK and back to Vegas to find the fighters for the show. Dana was truly impressed with the heart of the Brits, whereas the Americans had a really rough start. On tonight’s show, the two remaining Americans, Kiel Reid and Jason Dent, will take on alternates Frank Lester and Rob Browning to determine who makes it into the house.
As the show starts, the guys are welcomed into their new digs. The Americans enter first and they all admire the pretty cool paintings depicting Teams USA and UK (very impressive art, I have to say. Too bad it’ll all get destroyed if history repeats itself). Jason Dent says it best when he admits to feeling a little more territorial, like the Brits are invading and they need to defend their home turf. Then the Brits enter, not knowing what to expect. They arrive expecting hate from their host country, but they are welcomed (though Defranco says he can’t really understand them…another says he’ll just have to smile and nod). Of course, Junie…errr…Rob Browning immediately wants to start doing shots and helps to solidify the American stereotype for the Brits — a bunch of guys that just drink, curse and say “dude” a lot. Several of the guys decide to hit the b-ball court, and sure enough, the Brits are lost. They start kicking it around like a soccer ball. Out of nowhere, little Junie Junior begins launching eggs out onto the courts. Even the other Americans roll their eyes at his antics. One of the Brits gets in Browning’s face and rightfully spits off that he’s (Rob) not even in the house yet and he’s acting like an idiot. He then proceeds to go piss in the other guys’ shower, as opposed to the communal toilet. Pissing off even Americans, Rob tries to get his own teammate to hit him, but thankfully, he doesn’t bite even with all of Rob’s “you can’t fight” trash-talk. And all of this on the first day.
With the Rob-drama put to rest for the night, the guys sit down and make up some ground rules as far as jokes and behavior in the house (you mean they watched and actually learned from previous seasons?!). Touching each others’ food is off limits. Anything involving bodily fluids is a no-no. Basically, if it’s not yours, don’t touch it. They all seem to be in agreement…even on the fact that they all want Jason to win so Rob is gone. Dent is feeling the pressure of being the one to eliminate Browning, but all seem hopeful.
The next morning, the Americans arrive at the gym for their training session. Henderson decides to make things business as usual. The guys that have to fight don’t practice with each other, which makes sense. Hendo comments that MMA in the UK is a few years behind, and wrestling is virtually non-existent (which I have been saying for years!). This gives him a lot of hope for the success of Team USA. When they’re done working out, there is definitely an air of American pride in the room and the guys are trying to pump each other up to beat the Brits. Then Bisping arrives, first coming into the gym’s kitchen where he lights the fire under the Americans with some light-hearted ribbing about the Brits’ future success. The Americans just laugh politely until Bisping is out of the room. Johnson compares him to the “proud-parent from the church basketball game.” Later, he adds that they only thing they could beat them in is soccer.
Bisping is feeling the pressure of being the UK coach, with his entire nation wanting the team to succeed. The fighters arrive at the gym and immediately get to it. While Bisping had intended the first day to be relaxed and light, his sparring partner comes right at him with a jab to the face. It’s on from there. The Brits realize that they are seen as the underdogs, that the Americans think they are just going to breeze right through them, but they are looking to shock everyone. Bisping warns the Americans not to take them lightly (should any fighter take any opponent lightly?).
Back at the house (cue ominous music), Browning actually seems nervous about fighting, particularly because he’s not used to fighting at 155 (he typically fights at 135). He says he’s finally comfortable around the Brits, though the feeling is not mutual. Wilks gives him the nickname “15 minutes” to commemorate the amount of time he’s looking for on TV. Dent doesn’t seem as nervous, but he admits that he just want to get it over with because he’s tired of the hype. Lester, a former soldier, on the other hand, is excited just to “bash his head in.” He knows Reid has more fights under his belt and trains with Pat Militech, but Lester feels that he shouldn’t be underestimated. Kiel Reid seems far more nonchalant about the fight, knowing that this is his ticket. He’s a competitor and an athlete, not a guy with a job to go home to. Basically, all four of them just want to fight, and win, as these fights actually mean the most.
Kiel Reid v. Frank Lester
Round 1: Both look a little tentative at first, but Lester is the first to strike. They dance around the ring some more with very cautious shots. Reid takes Lester down and works to keep him on his back. They posture for position and Lester is completely down. In half guard, Reid isn’t doing very much. He tries to pass his guard, but is not having any luck. Both are told to start doing something. Reid gets Lester’s neck and tries to pull up for a guillotine, but can’t get it in deep enough and they separate. On their feet, they clinch and exchange a couple knees. Reid goes for the takedown again, but no luck. Reid is just holding onto Lester’s leg and is eventually able to slam Lester down. In the process of slamming him, he pile-drives his own head into the mat hard, thereby knocking himself out.
Winner: Frank Lester via TKO
Reid comes to, not understanding why the ref stopped it. What’s really lucky is that Lester didn’t know that Reid was out and was yanking on Reid’s arm for the kimura. If the ref hadn’t stopped it, Lester may have just ripped Reid’s arm off. It’s unfortunate that Reid had to lose that way, but it’s a part of the sport. All the guys feel sorry for Reid and rightfully so.
Reid: You know you can’t beat me.
Lester: I just did.
Reid: I beat myself.
Truer words were never spoken. There’s no way to really know who would’ve won the fight, but you’ve got to feel bad for Reid. I especially didn’t like the way Lester acted after it was all over. Yeah, there’s “no ifs, ands, or buts, Kyle was out.” But he knocked himself out. Seriously, dude, eat some humble pie and count your lucky stars that you’re moving on.
Jason Dent v. Rob Browning
Round 1: The guys dance for a bit, feeling each other out. A good straight leg from Browning. Some good kick exchanges, and jab exchanges, but nothing damaging. Great overhand combo from Browning and he goes for the takedown. Dent holds his own and stays up. More straight legs from Browning followed by jabs. Good head kick from Dent, but it’s blocked. Dent shoots this time and gets Browning down on his stomach. Dent is warned for shots to the back of the head, but he continues his barrage of knees and fists all over Browning’s body. Browning just turtles up and isn’t fighting back. He just rolls and cowers as Dent delivers punch after knee after elbow. Finally Dent mounts Browning and keeps straight-arming him. The ref warns Browning to fight back, but he just covers his face. Finally, the ref stops it.
Winner: Jason Dent via TKO
Even Hendo is happy to see Browning go, because he didn’t want to deal with another Junie. Something tells me he’s not the only one. On his way out, Rob whispers to Dana, “135 here I come.” God, I hope not.
After the final teams are established, the coin is flipped to see who picks the first fight. They will alternate fight picks until everyone in each weight class has fought. The coin is tossed and USA gets the first pick. They are dismissed, and Bisping throws down the gauntlet offering to fight right then and there.
In the preview for next week, the guys are shown preparing for the first fight, though it is not shown who will be fighting. Bisping continues to talk trash, which Hendo says will just add fuel to the fire. Who will be the first to claim victory for their country?
At this point, I’m really worried for Team USA.