It was Hamid Corassani’s time in the cage again this week. | Photo: Ryan O’Leary
Louis Gaudinot begins this week by explaining that several cliques have developed in the “TUF” house. Louis has his own crew which consists of himself, Diego Brandao, John Dodson and Josh Ferguson. There’s the “Bible Study” group comprised of frequent prayer warriors Dennis Bermudez, Johnny Bedford and Dustin Pague. Finally, there’s “The Casino” group including card-playing members Dustin Neace, T.J. Dillashaw, John Albert, Bryan Caraway and Stephen Bass.
Gaudinot says that the groups are basically “sick and tired of everybody’s b-------” causing the house to become more and more divided. On cue, Hamid “Akira” Corassani appears on camera to announce that he’s not a fan of “The Casino,” especially member Caraway.
“He’s like a little girl,” says Akira. “He wakes up in the morning, he takes 25 minutes to make his hair.”
Akira vows to take care of that, sneaking into Bryan’s room and buzzing his hair with some clippers as he slumbers. Bryan races after Akira, finding him outside on the patio with his cronies. Caraway throws no expected punches, choosing instead to politely confront Akira using words. Dude’s missing a whole patch of hair and he opts to give Akira a stern lecture.
“What we do in life echoes in eternity,” says Akira, borrowing a line from “Gladiator” and then promises to laugh for the rest of his life about this prank. Caraway calls Akira a classic bully and warns that his kindness shouldn’t be taken for weakness.
The next day at practice, Jason “Mayhem” Miller rolls up on a tiny, BMX-type bike and barrel rolls over the handle bars to a complete stop. He’s heard through the grapevine that rival assistant coach Tiki Ghosn was planning on attack on his vehicle, so he showed up without it. No matter, as rival coaches Ghosn and Michael Bisping devise a way to prank Miller anyhow. Out come the fire extinguishers, filling the room with smoke-colored chemicals and forcing the fighters to scurry out like roaches in a bomb. The TUF gym hallways are all gray too and then struggle to find the outer doors which feeds to the front lawn, where a mariachi band is busy playing.
Bisping added a clever finish to Tiki’s plan, figuring that the comic mariachi finish would keep the two parties from breaking out into a fistfight. It worked magically.
“I haven’t laughed so hard in a long time,” says Bisping. “Their faces were worth a million dollars.”
“I knew going into this that Tiki was a master prankologist, but bravo. Bravo, Tiki, bravo,” says Miller, applauding.
“I got the biggest fight of my life coming up so the last thing I want to be doing is breathing crazy stuff into my lungs,” says Johnny Bedford. Bisping assures us that they did their homework and made sure the spray was non-toxic.
Afterwards, Diego, Josh and Akira find themselves jogging around the building, since no training can be done due to the layer of chalky film covering every inch of the rooms. With his fight quickly approaching, they also give us some more background on Dennis Bermudez, who according to his teammates isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed.
“Yeah, Dennis is a genius... not,” laughs Ferguson. Akira posts a picture of Bermudez as a wise old owl on the fridge to poke fun at his brain power.
“I don’t think he’s very smart. I’m also a very intelligent guy,” says Akira “I’ll outsmart anybody in this house.”
The next day at training, Corassani flings some water on his coach as Bisping is walking by the bathroom door. Not knowing his attacker’s identity, Bisping tries the door handle, but it’s locked.
“The Count” gives the door a swift kick and blows right through it; there stands Akira, “terrified, like a little lamb at the slaughterhouse” in the words of Bisping.
Bisping puts Akira through a grueling workout, rotating partners while having to get back up as they try to keep him down. Akira, easily the biggest character on TUF this season, was born and raised in the mean streets of Sweden. Laugh all you want, but you can get put in a headlock anywhere and he says having to stand up for himself made him tough.
Bisping puts him through the rigors and praises him afterward, saying that Akira “didn’t bitch or whinge” and is happy with the effort. Bisping doesn’t get much time to enjoy his charge’s efforts, as Marcus Brimage comes running by with a wet jock strap, slapping it on Bisping’s face. As Brimage retreats, Akira tries to relish the moment, but Bisping knees him and tosses him onto his back, hard. He then rubs the jock strap on his face, positive that Akira knew all about the plan.
“I had to taste his salty balls,” Akira laments.
At Team Miller’s practice, vaunted European fighter Siyar Bahadurzada arrives. The Golden Glory product has trained before with Akira and is able to mimic Corassani’s style to help Bermudez in his preparation. After their respective workouts, Akira brings the war to Dennis at home in the form of a song. While Dennis grins, Akira serenades him with an impromptu ballad about beating him up and winning the show. The lyrics could use some punching up but the voice is angelic.
Time for their weigh-in and for a second week in a row, a tiny weenie dog is in Miller’s arms. Bisping takes Miller to task for bringing an “unhygienic animal” into the training area. After some back-and-forth, Jason agrees to leave the long-torsoed beast at home, giving the illusion that the two can be agreeable. After the exchange, Miller tells the camera he respects Bisping as a fighter, but cautions “I really respect my father and that never stopped me from whipping his ass.”
Going into the fight, everything that leaves Akira’s mouth is entertaining. The dude is a maniac, like some sort of European Ron Artest: Metta World Unrest. While he wants to showcase all his skills, Bermudez is focusing on just one, his takedowns.
Any thought that Bermudez will walk through Akira is out the window after the Swede connects with a solid left and stuffs his first shot attempt. Akira has a little bit of a size advantage and right away it shows, as he won’t let Dennis push him around, reversing him off the cage and meeting all of his takedown attempts with flush punches. Bermudez gets rocked by a number of shots from Akira, even getting completely spun around to the floor by one left hook.
Akira looks to be in full control until Bermudez finally gets a hold of one of his legs, forcing him up against the fence. Now that he’s stationary and not punching, Bermudez picks him up for a slam. When Akira tries to get to his feet, he leaves his neck exposed and Bermudez slaps on a guillotine.
Akira gives a thumbs up to referee Herb Dean, but with Miller just inches away giving sound advice to his fighter, it doesn’t last long. Bermudez tightens up his hold until Akira is forced to tap, just before crumpling to the floor as he is checking out of the consciousness hotel.
Once Akira recovers -- well, sort of -- he makes his way back towards Bermudez, only to be stopped by his coach, who tells him that the fight is over. Akira can’t handle the news; he embraces his coach, leaning on him and begging him to give him another answer, desperately wanting the truth to change. Akira can’t stomach what he’s hearing, as his team informs him that he was guillotined.
What an interesting juxtaposition afterwards, as Bermudez tells the camera that a fortune cookie he opened just before starting the show foretold him of his continuing success. The loser wants to control his destiny so badly that he’ll bury his face in his coach’s chest and publicly beg for it, while the winner chalks it all up to the contents of a cookie.
Such is life. After calming down, Akira tells the camera that he would love to go home and have a beer but admits, “the loser’s beer doesn’t taste as good as the winner’s beer.”