‘TUF 22’ Recap: Episode 2

By Mike Sloan Sep 16, 2015
Episode two picks up where the season premiere left off, with Team Europe coach Conor McGregor excited, though relaxed, regarding the eight combatants who officially made it onto the show. Rival coach Urijah Faber is nowhere to found at the moment and the cameras are glued to McGregor, as expected.

The feisty Irishman gathers his team for a meeting in the dressing room of the gym. In a somewhat surprising turn, McGregor quickly explains that he is not here to be a friend or a coach, because that’s not what the men need right now. Rather, he sternly tells them that they need to look out for only themselves and to not make friends with anybody in the house. And, he said, forget the team-versus-team blueprint of this season.

“For me, personally, I’m not here to coach any of you,” McGregor explained. “Everyone is here for their own benefit. Forget Team Europe; forget Team USA. Forget friends in this business. You are either here to win or you are simply a filler. They will be next door, touching gloves and pretending to be friends [but] not one of them will truly give a f--- about the other.”

After his fighters get a grasp of McGregor’s wisdom, the camera shifts to the UFC interim featherweight champion in the diary room, with his cool shades stuck to his face.

“This show is ultimately created to create world champions,” McGregor stated. “They’re not doing this to create journeymen.”

The scene shifts to when all of the fighters move into the house. Per the norm, they are all blown away by the magnificence of the house and its luxuries. Some of them quickly dart to find a bedroom while others stroll around, gawking at the enormity of not only the size of the palatial estate, but the reality of finally making it onto “The Ultimate Fighter.”

After some banter between the teams -- with some fighters already plotting whom they want to fight -- the scene shifts to Faber meeting with the Americans in the gym. “The California Kid” is overflowing with excitement before the cut scene with him questioning McGregor’s desire and skill to be a quality coach. Faber says he doesn’t believe Conor is a people person and that he, not the Irishman, is the far better choice to teach and coach the fighters.

After Urijah puts Team USA through a series of ground defense drills, it’s the Europeans’ turn to use the gym. McGregor immediately makes his team remove their shirts and pads. After some collective perplexion, McGregor explains that when people train with gear on, it’s not realistic. Kicks to the pads don’t always land where they are supposed to, the recipient doesn’t check them properly -- these and other methods are the keys to McGregor’s success, he says.

After a while, the Euros are enamored with how hard their coach works and the way he trains. McGregor says his way of training is the best and that his methods allow the fighters to always be “upgrading your software without damaging your hardware.”

UFC President Dana White strolls into the gym and drops the bomb on everybody that there will be nine fighters per squad instead of eight. Because he loved what he saw during all the elimination fights, White wanted to make sure some great fighters didn’t get left out, so he allowed the coaches to pick one fighter each. Naturally, McGregor chooses to bring in teammate Artem Lobov, while Faber opts to take in Johnny Nunez.

Dana explains his rationale in that, even though nine guys will advance to the next round, he will only choose eight who will advance. The fighters, he said, have to perform and not just win. White doesn’t want boring fighters anywhere near the “TUF” house. The least exciting fighter will be kicked to the curb after the first nine fights conclude.

“I’m looking for guys who wanna fight,” White barks. “I’m looking for guys who wanna perform. I looking for guys who wanna be world champions. That’s what this show is all about. We aren’t looking for guys who will hold onto a guy’s leg for three rounds and make it to the finals.”

At the fight announcement, Faber tells McGregor that he looks like orange cotton candy; Conor tells Urijah that he looks like a 50-year old retired skateboarder and a “little, fat, old man.” After a few moments of awkward silence, Faber asks why McGregor isn’t wearing his high heel shoes. Conor tells him they are python skin shoes but his brogue makes it sound like “pie-ton,” which, of course, opens the door for additional ridicule from Faber.

After Faber makes fun of him, McGregor says, “It’s something your little ass couldn’t afford.” From there, the American grits his teeth and stands silently, already bothered by McGregor. Finally, Faber makes the fight announcement and lines up his own Ryan Hall to lock horns with Frantz Slioa.

Hall, who reveals that he suffers from Tourette syndrome, is super relaxed, while Slioa seems antsy and anxious. Slioa briefly chronicles how his family fled war-torn Iraq when he was a child, but that several of his family members were captured and killed.

After both easily making the 155-poud limit, the fight is on. They trade leg kicks and sporadic punches to the head before Hall drops and rolls into a leg lock. Slioa defends it at first, but Hall transitions to the heel hook. The Iraqi-Swede is able to fend off two separate heel hook attempts, but Hall is relentless and eventually locks in the third one deeply, forcing Frantz to tap out. No official time is given, but the fight ended early in the opening round.

Near the end of the show, the two coaches continue the friendly trash talk, but it’s obvious that McGregor is starting to wear on Faber. Since his team won, Faber gets to choose the next fight and he goes with Chris Gruetzemacher to fight Sascha Sharma on next week’s show.

<h2>Fight Finder</h2>