by Jeff Cain – MMAWeekly.com
A fighter quits on the stool, a coach leaves and a new coach arrives on “The Ultimate Fighter 11: Team Liddell vs. Team Ortiz” episode 10.
After the opening montage of fighters kicking bags and fight scenes, we picked up where we left off last week with UFC president Dana White informing Chuck Liddell that Tito Ortiz has pulled out of their scheduled third match up.
“I told you he was going to do this bull(expletive). I told you day (expletive) one,” barked an angry Liddell at White. “I said that’s why I didn’t want to do this with him.”
“I got a text from Tito that said, ‘I’m out of the fight. I’m hurt. My neck is messed up and needs surgery,” explained White.
“Don’t let that guy (expletive) fight anymore man,” said Liddell right before referring to Ortiz as female genitalia. “Unless I get to fight him, and then that’s a different story,” he added with a smile.
“Tito pisses me off. I mean I don’t like the guy and I didn’t want to do the show with him. The only reward to the show was getting to punch him in the head afterwards.”
Liddell then questioned White, “What am I doing? So what do I do now?”
White informed Liddell, “You’re still going to fight at the end of the show.”
Liddell simply replied, “Yeah. Sure. Fine,” and left the room.
“Chuck doesn’t understand. He doesn’t understand (expletive). When I fought Forrest (Griffin), after the fight I had a lot of tingliness in my ear. My legs would go numb. My arms would go numb, “said Ortiz in the confessional. “And now all of a sudden I’m having to go through neck surgery. I guess it’s God seeing what type of person I am.”
It was time for Team Ortiz’ Jamie Yager and Team Liddell’s Josh Bryant to weigh-in for the final quarterfinal bout.
Josh Bryant weighed in first at 186 pounds, and Jamie Yager tipped the scales at 185.
Both coaches were confident their fighter would come away with the win.
“I feel confident right now,” said Yager, predicting a knockout. “I’m facing another guy who is a shorter wrestler guy who is definitely going to try to take me down.”
“I know he’s a tough guy. Everybody is tough at this point, so I’m just going to try to take advantage of what I think I’m better at than him,” stated Bryant in his pre-fight confessional. “Yager’s going to be looking for me to take him down, but that’s not at all my game plan. My game plan is to hit him first, then take him down.”
JAMIE YAGER VS. JOSH BRYANT
Yager came out aggressive but was caught with a counter right hand early in the first round before Bryant quickly closed the distance, putting the taller fighter against the cage. Yager was able to turn Bryant around and separate back to the center of the Octagon.
The Team Ortiz fighter began working kicks from the outside looking a little apprehensive to fully commit to his punches. With two minutes remaining Yager picked up the pace, chasing his opponent at times.
With Yager in control of the round, Bryant rushed in with :20 seconds remaining with a 1-2 combination that sent Yager to the canvas.
In the second round the action escalated with Yager throwing flying knees while Bryant let winging wild punches fly until he was able to get a takedown landing in side control. But after a few forearm strikes and elbows, Yager exploded off the bottom pressing Bryant against the fence before the Team Liddell member worked his way back to his feet.
Yager’s jumping style was winning the round with kicks and knees but with 90 seconds remaining he slipped and found Bryant on top of him again. Bryant would spend the rest of the round in side control landing short elbows and punches.
After the bell, the exhausted Yager was extremely slow getting back to his feet and back to his corner.
Dana White announces that the judges declared it a draw and there would be a third round.
Coach Ortiz pleaded with his fighter, “Don’t you quit. Don’t you quit.”
Yager said, “I can’t see.”
Ortiz tried to motivate his fighter to get off the stool and answer the bell. “You will hate yourself for the rest of your life if you quit this fight now,” said Ortiz.
Yager would remain on his stool and remain silent when asked if he wanted to continue despite Ortiz screaming at him to say ‘yes.’ The fight was called with Bryant declared the winner by TKO.
“I would have never expected that from Yager,” commented White after the fight. “It’s one thing to come in and play the game and everything else. It’s another to quit on the stool.”
Liddell was elated with the win and celebrated telling Yager, “Just like Tito. Just like Tito. He quit just like Tito.”
Ortiz was beside himself calling Yager what Liddell called him earlier.
“You can teach someone how to fight but you can’t teach someone how to have heart,” said Ortiz. “Yager quit. Nothing more than that. He quit. He was fine. He said the back of my head, duh duh duh. No. He (expletive) quit.
“He let me down. He let our coaches down. He let his team down, and he let himself down.”
“If you ain’t got no heart, you’re in the wrong mother(expletive) sport,” Ortiz told his team as Yager was taken to the hospital by ambulance. “No heart don’t work in this sport at all.”
White entered the Ortiz locker room asking to see Ortiz, and everyone knew something was about to happen.
In a closed door meeting with Ortiz, White played his best Donald Trump and ended Ortiz’ stint as coach of “The Ultimate Fighter 11.”
White lined up Ortiz with a world renown surgeon to get a second opinion on his neck and possibly further options to correct the injury, but the catch was his time on the show ended then and there.
“The way that this is going to work now – This has never happened before in any season of The Ultimate Fighter. We never had a coach fall out during the season. So you’re going to leave tomorrow. Tomorrow is your last day,” White told the former face of the organization.
Ortiz was shocked at the decision, but White’s mind was made up and another opponent for Liddell had been lined up.
“He took me out of the show and said you’re fired,” commented the emotional Ortiz. “I’ve never been fired at anything in my life and it’s really hard to swallow it.”
“I love to fight. I fight for my family. I fight for my fans. I go through another surgery, I’ll be back,” said the former light heavyweight titleholder. “I’ll take my medicine like a man and I’ll continue on with my career. I’m not going anywhere anytime soon. I‘ll be competing again, for sure. This is not the last of Tito Ortiz.”
Ortiz left the UFC Training Center without saying a word to anyone while his team waited and wondered what was going on in a transport van. Eventually White called the Team Ortiz members back inside and broke the news to them expecting Ortiz to have already done it.
The Team Ortiz cast questioned the decision and raised concerns that Kris McCray is still in the competition and how Ortiz’ exit would affect his upcoming performance.
“Here’s the thing, somebody else has signed on to fight Chuck,” said the UFC president. “Somebody else is coming in and they’re in route. They’re on their way.”
Specifically addressing McCray, White stated, “I promise you that you’ll have some good coaching. Trust me.”
The team members were in disbelief that Ortiz left without saying goodbyes, but Ortiz showed up at the fighter house a couple of hours later for a final meeting with the athletes he trained up until the semifinal round of the competition.
“It’s hard being pulled away from something I have so much heart into, and I have so much time into,” Ortiz told his team. “I wish things could be different.”
“It’s very hard for me to understand why I have to leave. I guess they have to get the next guy in there to fight Chuck, and good luck to him,” commented Ortiz. “I feel bad for Kris because now all of a sudden he doesn’t have the coaches who got him there.”
“I just want to see you (expletive) win it Savage.”
And with a final toast of drinks with his team, Tito Ortiz exited “The Ultimate Fighter 11″ to have successful neck surgery.
The semifinal match ups came next with the teams gathered in the training center. And the match ups are:
– Brad Tavares vs. Court McGee
– Kris McCray vs. Josh Bryant
“I don’t really care what anybody says, I fight to win and I’ll beat Brad,” said McGee about the match up.
“He’s a real tough guy. He likes to just break guys down and grind them out. It’s the biggest fight of my life right now. After this fight I make it to the finals,” commented Tavares.
Josh Bryant defeated Kris McCray in episode 5 but McCray earned his way back in the competition by winning the reality show’s first wild card position by defeating Kyacey Uscola.
“Fighting Kris twice doesn’t really matter to me. I came here to win four fights. That’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to win that fourth fight,” said Bryant after the rematch announcement.
“Things are going to be different this time around, ” stated McCray.
Now it was time to find out who would be the replacement coach for Kris McCray in the semifinals. We knew who it was by the fight being announced already, but for those who don’t know, Rich Franklin replaced Ortiz and will take on Liddell in the main event of UFC 115 in Vancouver.
The episode ended with and anticipation of who the assistant coach for the former Team Ortiz will be. The preview for next weeks episode gave us clues. He’s a former UFC Champion.
Whether or not new shirts and jerseys had to be printed up remains unknown.
Also next week we find out the first finalist as the winner of Brad Tavares vs. Court McGee advances to the finale.