Sherdog’s Guide to ‘The Ultimate Fighter’

By Scott Holmes Apr 13, 2011
Will Brock Lesnar's chicken salad philosophies continue to shine on 'TUF 13?' |

If we’ve learned anything so far from this season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” it’s that Brock Lesnar has a favorite saying.

Perhaps it’s a shift in Lesnar’s diet leaking into his vocabulary, but the hulking ex-UFC heavyweight champ has used “making chicken salad out of chicken s--t” (or some variation thereof) as his go-to phrase.

In week one, he and his coaches were going to make the salad out of their team. Week two, he was convinced that he could not make the salad. Then he was wrong, and the fighter who hadn’t “wowed” him during the first-day workouts actually won. That gave Lesnar good reason -- or so he thought -- to tell his boys that they once again could make this salad, despite the fact that they were all still “chicken s--t.”

Shockingly, Lesnar’s comments were not well-received by his team, bringing us to week three: the fallout.

“Did he just call me chicken s--t?” asks Chuck O'Neil, one of several fighters less than pleased with the most recent salad statement. “What the hell?”

While grousing about his team’s attitude, Lesnar finds out from coach Erik Paulson that the remark has rubbed the boys the wrong way. Brock is forced to attempt some damage control and tells his team that he “just [wants] to clarify this ‘chicken s--t, chicken salad’ issue, alright?”

Brock begins a cumbersome explanation that takes a wide turn before arriving at his destination: believing in oneself. His fighters exchange blank stares that convey plenty of mutual eye-rolling.

Last week, Keon Caldwell told coach Junior dos Santos that he was leaving the show and returning home to his family. This week, Caldwell is replaced by Justin Edwards, who is welcomed by his new teammates just before another brutal session with assistant coach Lew Polley.

“I want to start to training these guys how I was trained and how I know Junior was trained,” says Polley. “Junior is being way too nice, because he’s looking at them like kids and not like men in a gladiator sport about to fight other men in the UFC.”

Polley is passionate about these kids -- perhaps too passionate. Dos Santos finds his assistant coach’s methods to be a tad severe for his taste and pulls Polley aside to discuss the issue. Dos Santos folds his arms and gives Polley a talk about how the coaches need to chat with one another before laying such strenuous workouts on their charges.

Polley has no problem with any of this and readily admits to being “overzealous” in his methods. The coaches walk out in unison and in full agreement, making this event not nearly as confrontational as the Mike Rowe-voiced promos led us to believe.

Over at the other camp, Lesnar thinks that one of his fighters, Len Bentley, looks a little “edgy” and needs to be thrown into the pit next. When the time comes, Lesnar selects his wrestler Bentley to take on Team Dos Santos’ heavy-handed Ryan McGillivray in a bout announcement that yields no drama between the two fighters.

Back at the house, Team Lesnar’s Chris Cope talks about “creating bonds” with all of his housemates, a fact that has O’Neil concerned that Cope might be working both sides of the fence. Cope doesn’t help his case the next day, when he watches in earnest while teammate Bentley shadow-boxes in preparation for his fight. Unnerved and annoyed, Bentley informs Lesnar of his own suspicions about Cope, but the coach is none too keen on involving himself in personal drama just yet.

“Don’t get caught up in the B.S.,” says Lesnar. “You just fight, alright, Lenny?”

Meanwhile, McGillivray is 10 pounds heavy for his fight with Bentley and has to do some weight cutting. Coach Polley rattles off a list of the necessary ingredients.

“You’re going to need a sauna suit, Albolene, six bottles of rubbing alcohol, three bags of Epsom salt, blankets and yourself,” says Polley.

It sounds hellish, and soon thereafter, McGillivray is sweating in the tub, awash in a green pool of torture. Surrounded by supportive coaches, he asks to have his daughter’s photo in the corner for his fight.

The following day, before the fighters head to the scale, Brock announces that he wants to see some chicken salad. He just can’t help himself.

Both Bentley and McGillivray hit their marks at the weigh-ins, after which Lesnar gives Bentley some encouraging words -- then tells his fighter that he has to split and will miss the bout.

“My personal life comes first and everyone knows that,” Brock asserts.

This week’s competitors each prepare for battle in their own ways. Bentley gets in some last-minute training, while Ryan scores himself a pie. It’s his daughter’s second birthday and he plans on celebrating after the fight.

Mauricio “Shogun” Rua arrives at the training facility and leans into each training room for a quick “hello.” Missing coach Lesnar delivers a “give ‘em hell, Lenny” shout-out over the phone.

The fight begins spectacularly, with McGillivray being dropped early by a left hook. Bentley does the right things, gets in the right spots and delivers the right blows, but McGillivray stays alive and has just enough of a guard game to slow Bentley’s ground assault. Later, back on their feet, McGillivray fells Bentley with a left of his own. The final minute of a wild first round begins with an arm bar attempt by Bentley and ends with his neck stuck in a McGillivray guillotine.

“What one won that round?” Rua asks UFC President Dana White, who has no answer.

Round two is more of a slugfest, as the two trade shots for the bulk of the period and spend some time fighting for position on the fence. Knees are exchanged here and there, and Bentley tosses out the occasional spinning back fist. A possible third round looms.

“Show him the picture,” we hear, as a big hand puts the photo of McGillivray’s daughter in front of him. The fighter’s face changes in an instant from battered to inspired, but as it turns out, he won’t need the inspiration after all. The best fight on “TUF 13” thus far is won by Ryan McGillivray via majority decision.

Dana White makes a point to find Bentley after the fight, telling the fighter that he has “nothing to be bummed out about.” Bentley, still emotional, nods as White tells him to “get the family around to watch it, because it’s something to be proud of.”

Back at Team Dos Santos, the mood is joyous.

“You just took out their best guy!” McGillivray’s teammates shout at him. Coach Dos Santos excitedly tells McGillivray’s how proud his daughter will be of him, making Ryan’s tears flow.

“Sitting there with my daughter when this airs, it’s going to mean a lot,” says McGillivray, bringing to a close the most emotional episode of “TUF” since Quinton Jackson ripped off the training room door.
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