by Jeff Cain – MMAWeekly.com
Coach’s challenges, a debated decision, and injuries were the theme of “The Ultimate Fighter 11: Team Liddell vs. Team Ortiz” episode 6.
With Team Ortiz morale down after going 1-4 thus far in the competition, Kyacey Uscola continued to question Tito Ortiz’ coaching methods following Kris McCray’s decision loss to Team Liddell’s Josh Bryant in episode 5.
In the van ride back to the fighter house after McCray’s loss, Uscola said, “You need to be chillin’ before fights guys. I’m telling you.
“He couldn’t keep his (expletive) arms up for the simple (expletive) fact that he was busting his (expletive) two days before a (expletive) fight doing plyometrics that he’s never done before. It’s going to shock your (expletive) muscles,” continued Uscola.
“McCray just looked sloppy. It definitely showed, I think, in his fight,” added the Team Ortiz member. “I was scared of this, over (expletive) training.”
Uscola’s teammates didn’t agree.
“I don’t think Tito over trains us,” said McCray.
“Some of the guys are bitching and complaining about the workouts that we’re doing, but I’m here to work. I’m here to learn,” said the outspoken Jamie Yager. “As far as I’m concerned Tito is doing a great job.
“If you can’t hack than get the (expletive) up out of here,” added the one winner thus far on Team Ortiz.
James Hammortree backed up McCray and Yager’s sentiments saying, “I don’t think Tito is overtraining us. I think Tito is trying to push us and push us to the max and some of us haven’t had that before.”
Team Ortiz’s first pick on selection day, Nick Ring, scoffed at the workouts, suggesting they weren’t difficult at all.
“I don’t think the practices are all that hard. They’re short. They’re intense, and then we go home. Like, for me this is kind of like a vacation really.”
Coach Ortiz got wind of Uscola’s criticisms and called a team meeting, effectively squashing the allegations and diverting them from potentially festering into a bigger problem, bringing his team together as a unit for the first time this season.
Ortiz tried to turn the infighting into a positive. “Maybe this was a blessing in disguise,” insisted the coach. “Maybe (Uscola) saying something was a blessing in disguise to bring us a little closer so we can understand what we need to do.”
Uscola defended his stance, commenting, “Tito sort of had a team meeting and sort of called me out on what I still believe I’m still right about.
“I wasn’t being negative towards anybody. I was just saying what needed to be said.”
The coach’s challenge for cold hard cash came next with Ortiz and Liddell facing off in a team dodge ball match.
The rules were laid out that to win a team had to defeat the other three times, and on the line was $10,000 for the coaches and $1,000 to the members of the winning coach’s team.
Liddell showed he not only has punching power in his right hand, but he can throw a dodge ball at an impressive velocity.
Ortiz was the last player on his team to be eliminated each round, and it came down to a Wild West showdown between he and nemesis Liddell to decide rounds two and three.
Team Liddell pulled off a clean sweep, defeating Team Ortiz 3-0 to take home the loot.
“We picked off Tito quite a bit because he couldn’t move. He wasn’t moving,” relished Liddell. “He couldn’t move his feet fast enough. Maybe the same problem he’s got in the ring sometimes.”
Potentially affecting the wild card selections that will take place next week, James Hammortree suffered a back injury in training that had the looks of a serious incident with him complaining of a burning sensation and tingling in his legs. He was removed from the training center on a stretcher wearing a neck brace as a precaution.
Fortunately Hammortree returned with only swelling and soreness.
“I think I just twisted wrong,” said Hammortree. “The injury I had could have been a lot worse. I’m definitely thankful that everything is okay with my back. It’s not 100 percent.
“Being injured this late in the competition is very frustrating,” added the Team Ortiz member. “The doctor said I have a lot of swelling and stuff in there, but it’s something that I can heal from.”
It’s a fight show, so there’s got to be fights.
Liddell regained matchmaking control with Bryant’s win over McCray last week and decided to challenge Team Ortiz’ first pick and top dog Nick Ring by pitting him against the scrappy Court McGee.
“I want to take out who everyone else thinks is the best guy. I want that,” said Liddell about his matchmaking. “I mean you’ve got to beat him sooner or later.”
COURT MCGEE VS. NICK RING
After revealing his background and his achievement overcoming the odds and breaking free from his addictions to drugs and alcohol, McGee came up short in a closely contested, back and forth battle with Ring that UFC president Dana White thought should have gone to a third and final “sudden victory” round.
McGee landed first and quickly secured a takedown just 15 seconds into the fight, but was unable to put up much offense. A minute later Ring was able to get back to his feet where he employed a kick-oriented attack.
With just over two minutes remaining Ring stuffed a McGee takedown attempt, spun to take his opponent’s back, and spent the next 60 seconds inside McGee’s half guard landing the occasional punch. The final half-minute saw McGee work back to full guard, but Ring landing right hands to the side of his head.
In round two, Ring continued his leg kick assault while McGee tried to counter with right hands and uppercuts. It was a razor close round and it looked like there would be a round three.
“We may be doing another one,” said Ortiz as he entered the Octagon. Both coaches were instructing their fighters as if there was going to be an added round.
Liddell debated with Team Ortiz’ Jamie Yager about how they felt the fight should be scored.
The judges tallied their scorecards and awarded Ring the win by majority decision and Liddell was furious.
“How did he win that last round?” questioned Liddell. “Are you guys kidding me?”
Throwing his water bottle, leaving the cage, Liddell continued to protest and directed his complaints at UFC president Dana White.
“Why are you mad dogging me,” White said to Liddell. “I’m not the judge.”
“I was pissed,” said Liddell following the fight. “That was embarrassing. That was an embarrassing decision for them.”
Coach Ortiz felt his fighter had done enough to win and enjoyed seeing his rival angry.
“All of a sudden Liddell is screaming, aw there should have been a third round,” said Ortiz. “I’ve already had two of them so one right back at you.”
“You give the first round to Ring and I don’t know how you don’t give the second round to Court McGee,” said White about the decision. “That’s why I always tell these guys don’t ever let it go to the judges’ scorecards.”
Team Ortiz regains match making control and next week the wild cards will be revealed.