Dissension about the wild card picks, the wild card fight, an altercation between Josh Koscheck and medic Brad Tate, and the quarterfinal match-ups were announced in “The Ultimate Fighter 12: Team GSP vs. Team Koscheck” episode 8.
Dane Sayers and Team GSP voiced disappointment in the wild card selection of Marc Stevens, who was choked unconscious by Cody McKenzie in episode 6 in just 17 seconds.
“I thought I might be a good choice for the wild card,” said Team GSP’s Sayers. “I’m one of the more improved guys around here, and I’ve been trying real hard, and I’ve been showing a lot of heart, and I’m not going to get another shot.”
Teammate Jonathan Brookins also felt Sayers was going to get one of the wild card slots.
“We thought Dane for sure was going to have the wild card. The dude who got tapped out the quickest got the spot that is supposed to be designated for the people who put up the best fight,” said Brookins. “I don’t know. Some people like the cucumber better than the pickle. I don’t know.”
Welterweight titleholder Georges St-Pierre and UFC president Dana White explained why Sayers wasn’t chosen.
“On paper right now Dane doesn’t have the pedigree of the best guy right now,“ stated St-Pierre.
“If you look at Sayers and you look at kid like Stevens, Sayers is one of these kids that if he stays in the game, sticks around, he’s only going to get better,” said White. “But right here, right now, I think that Stevens is the better fighter and the obvious pick.”
Koscheck defended Stevens’ wild card selection, but a couple of Team Koscheck members didn’t agree with the choice.
“Marc Stevens is definitely a guy who has potential,” said Koscheck. “Because he obviously went out and made a mistake in his fight and got submitted kind of early, so I think he has a lot of potential still and just didn’t get to show it.”
Team Koscheck’s Andy Main didn’t agree with Stevens receiving a rebirth back in the competition.
“The wild card decision is definitely bittersweet. I don’t want to talk bad about my teammates,” commented Main. “Marc got choked out cold in a few seconds by a somebody with half the experience. If they were making a decision based on the fights, Marc shouldn’t have been picked.”
Jeff Lentz took a more politically correct stance, but clearly didn’t think Stevens should have gotten a wild card pick.
“Am I pissed? No I’m not pissed,” said Lentz. “Koscheck and St-Pierre and Dana picked two great fighters from out team and put them in there even though Stevens got choked out instantly.”
Stevens happily accepted the invitation back in the mix, as would anyone, but the opportunity also comes with pressure.
“I have a lot to prove to myself, a lot to prove to Dana. Josh and Dana and St-Pierre put me back in to have the wild card spot because they know I’m a lot better fighter than I showed,” said Stevens. “They think I just got caught and haven’t been able to show my skills.
“I don’t think anybody’s going to catch me in a guillotine like Cody did. I know Aaron (Wilkinson) has some wins by guillotine, but I don’t see it happening.”
Team GSP’s first pick, Michael Johnson, complained that teammate Alex Caceres wasn’t training as hard as the rest of the team and accused him of faking being injured.
“Alex, I’m pretty sure he doesn’t really care if we (expletive) train or not,” said Johnson. “He’s just going to lay around, sit and pout.”
Caceres’ side of the story was he has a back injury that’s causing him pain.
“My back’s a little sore,” said “Bruce LeRoy.” “I’m in quite some pain.”
Johnson wasn’t buying it.
“His back excuse, it’s an excuse for him to lay off of training and not train as hard as the other guys on the team,” alleged Johnson.
The two exchanged words in the house and made it known that they’d like to fight each other next.
The jawing back and forth between Koscheck and Brad Tate that began in episode 7 continued and escalated. It started out as a joking rivalry but quickly turned into an altercation during the wild card weigh-ins.
Tate began taunting Koscheck about losing to St-Pierre and allegedly faking getting hit by a knee while downed against Paul Daley at UFC 113.
Koscheck had heard enough and eventually grabbed the Team GSP medic by the throat and chaos ensued.
Koscheck and Tate began shoving each other and Dan Sayers worked his way between them attempting to break it up. Koscheck pushed Sayers in the face making “Red Horse” enraged.
“I don’t remember what happened,” said Koscheck after the altercation. “I just know somebody was pushing me in the face and I kept pushing them back. It was just kind of like you lose it. You know? You snap.
“Georges is trying to make me look bad by bringing this guy in and yapping in my ear and trying to get at me,” continued Koscheck. “I don’t know if Georges hired this guy to come around. I don’t know who he is, but apparently Georges likes this guy and he associates with those type of people. Not me. I don’t associate with guys like that.”
Sayers ended up storming out.
“I was trying to (expletive) help him and he put his hands on me. He just stiff-armed my face,” said Sayers. “Who wouldn’t get pissed off?”
Koscheck came to his senses and went to apologize to the irate Sayers with St-Pierre in tow.
Sayers accepted Koscheck’s apology and eventually re-entered the gym for the wild card weigh-in while Koscheck blamed St-Pierre for the incident.
“It’s definitely Georges St-Pierre’s fault,” claimed Koscheck. “I believe that Georges didn’t want the pressure of talking (expletive), so he hired this guy Brad Tate to come in, run his mouth and pretty much get under my skin. Smart move Georges because it worked.”
St-Pierre was not happy with what occurred or Tate’s constant verbal exchanges with Koscheck.
“I told Tate three times to not trash talk. I told all my (guys) to not trash talk,” said the UFC welterweight champ. “I felt like I was in kindergarten. It was crazy.”
Wild cards Aaron Wilkinson and Marc Stevens each made weight with Wilkinson tipping the scales at 156 pounds and Stevens weighing the same.
Coach St-Pierre, knowing at least two of his team members would have to fight, asked his team to anonymously write down the teammate they’d like to fight. If two fighters picked each other, St-Pierre would push for that match-up.
Virtually everyone wanted to fight Alex Caceres resulting in Caceres basically getting the choice of who he wanted to go up against. “Bruce LeRoy” wrote down Michael Johnson.
Prior to his wild card bout with Marc Stevens with a birth back in the competition and the opportunity to be re-enter the semi finals, Aaron Wilkinson received a call from home with bad news. His grandmother had passed away.
Wilkinson was close with his “nana” and took the loss in stride, but not without shedding a few tears over the loss.
Coach Koscheck opted to not corner either of his Team Koscheck fighters and to stay neutral. He reminded both contestants that it’s not often you get a second chance.
THE WILD CARD BOUT: AARON WILKINSON VS. MARC STEVENS
Stevens worked outside leg kicks before taking Wilkinson down and landing in side control, quickly advancing to the mount position. It wasn’t looking good for the Englishman early.
Stevens opened up a cut below Wilkinson’s right eye with an elbow and Wilkinson gave up his back in defense, but was unable to shake Stevens out of the mount. Wilkinson gave up his back again and controlled one of Stevens’ wrists preventing a rear naked choke.
Stevens went for an arm bar and Wilkinson gained top position. The Brit escaped the arm bar and Stevens worked to set up a triangle choke. That’s how the round would play out with Wilkinson peppering Stevens’ body with punches and Stevens working for the triangle. MMAWeekly.com scored the round 10-9 for Stevens.
Wilkinson came out in the second round landing leg kicks and throwing combinations. After landing a knee to the body, Wilkinson was taken down. He immediately applied a guillotine choke that forced Stevens to tap out, losing back-to-back fights by the same submission.
“Apparently I need to work on my guillotine defense,” said Stevens following the loss.
Lentz and Main were left wondering what would have happened if they were picked as the wild card instead of Stevens.
“My honest opinion on how I would have done had they picked me instead of Marc; I love Aaron, but I would have murdered him,” predicted Lentz.
“I know I could have put on a better performance,” said Main. “I know I wouldn’t have gassed out.”
The coaches and White got together and asked the fighters who they wanted to fight and decided the quarterfinal bouts.
The fighters were brought into the gym for the announcement. Dana White read off the match ups.
- Jonathan Brookins vs. Sako Chivitchian
- Cody McKenzie vs. Nam Phan
- Kyle Watson vs. Aaron Wilkinson
- Michael Johnson vs. Alex Caceres
The match-ups left St-Pierre smiling and Koscheck theorizing Dana White gave the welterweight titleholder the bouts he wanted.
Next week consists of two quarterfinal bouts: Brookins vs. Chivitchian and McKenzie vs. Phan.