11 crazy/awesome things I learned from watching TUF Brazil:
1. Brazilian masculinity is an insane contrast of extremes. These guys cry and cry and cry to the camera about how their upcoming fight is their chance to prove their manhood to their wives and children, and then if they lose they cry and cry and cry to the camera about how they've failed their wives and children. And if they win? Cry cry cry to the TUF coach, cry to Jesus, screaming and crying, crying and screaming. And when they're not crying? "GET UP AND FIGHT LIKE A MAN! GET UP!!!!!!!! FIGHT FOR YOUR FAMILY! FIGHT FOR YOUR DIGNITY! GET UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
2. Brazilians sure do love them some Jesus. I guess I knew that Brazil was a heavily religious country, what with that big Jesus statue on that mountain in Rio, but man did I not understand just how much. While you certainly hear American athletes give props to Jesus after a touchdown or whatever, on TUF Brazil you'd have the athletes literally SCREAMING IN A HYSTERICAL FRENZY after a victory about Christ and the virgin Mary and Job and a bunch of other bible stuff.
3. Wanderlei Silva is a big dork. Yes, the man commonly known as "The Axe Murderer," for years literally the most feared fighter in the world, has the personality of a dweeb. He whines a lot, cracks lame jokes, and genuinely seemed afraid at the prospect of fighting Vitor. But the greatest indignity came when his team lost so many fights that he literally had to be stripped of his fighters. And then pretend like it never happened! Which brings up another point:
4. The episode where the teams had to be split up was insane! Here you have this wholly manufactured "team" concept for television, where fighters are basically arbitrarily placed with a "coach" for, what, two months? For these two months, they get to wear snazzy basketball jerseys with that coach's name on the front, and get to receive instruction from an all-star team of assistants. Yet when told that they'd have to (get to?) train with the other manufactured "team" for like three weeks guys were crying (big shock I know) like they were fat people ten minutes late to the buffet.
5. Everybody in Brazil has a nickname, whether you are a badass or just some dude. Not only that, but people call you by your nickname like somebody would call you "Steve" or "Mike." Even the annoying little baby who sucks at fighting (Gasparzhino) gets a nickname. I know the culture's different, but do guys at Joey Beltran's gym say "hey Mexicutioner, you have a booger on your shirt" when Joey Beltran has a booger on his shirt?
6. The Pe De Chumbo-Serghino fight was sad. For some reason, this fight stood out to me above all others on the season. You had Wanderlei's last and maybe best guy, who was supposedly this jiu-jitsu grand wizard, fighting one of Vitor's guys who we learn is also pretty good at jiu-jitsu. But this Pe De Chumbo guy, we learn, is supposed to be a jiu-jitsu legend in Brazil, and seems pretty confident that he's going to get the win. Wanderlei, clearly nervous about the impending manufactured team armageddon, even notes that they "really need" this victory. So what happens? Pe De Chumbo come out like a white belt, gets sloppy, and gets submitted in like two minutes after he gives up his back.
7. Fabricio Werdum seems like a hell of a guy, Though barely shown and, like most TUF assistants, inexplicably getting no recognition or speaking parts unless he's drunk (like that striking coach GSP brought in) or crazy (like the wrestling coach who got fired by Junior Dos Santos), every time you'd see Fabricio he looked like he'd just been caught cracking wise. From his physical comedy routine in the Alistair Overeem fight, to that video of him making dirty jokes in the elevator to Fedor's posse, he just seems like the kind of guy who's great to have around.
8. The serial killer guy on Wanderlei's team. So there's one guy on Wanderlei's team who doesn't speak or even smile the whole episode. Fittingly, I can't remember the guy's name, but he struck me as the best of all the losers in the quartefinals, and I was pretty surprised when they chose that skinny, funny-looking guy instead of him to be the injury replacement.
9. Dana White's video conferencing godfather routine. Damn, how I wish there were more of these hilariously staged events throughout the series. The premise: Wanderlei and Vitor have a serious dilemma they don't know how to deal with. The solution, dial up Dr. Claw, er, Dana White, who sits at his desk, takes a moment to remember who they are and that there is an episode of TUF being filmed in Brazil, tells them what to do in uncomfortably clear HD. Great stuff.
10. Brittany Palmer's whereabouts. While watching the episodes, I often would briefly wonder whether Brittany was in Brazil for the entire run, or whether the producers were just showing the same ass shot over and over. It seemed obvious to me that it was the same shot, that it would be foolish to actually fly her out to Brazil for every fight. Still, I entertained the belief simply because it struck me as funny to imagine her sitting on these thousand dollar transcontintental flights just so that she could walk around for a few seconds in skimpy clothes while holding a piece of cardboard.
11. The first episode is an all-time classic. I'm sure a lot of people had the same reaction as me when they watched this episode: HOLY CRAP! So many classic fights, and all crammed into one episode. So many, in fact, that several of the truncated fights (the ones where the coaches summarize what happened) seemed better than the ones that were shown. In a great many ways, especially considering the lackluster finale, this one episode made the rest of the series a bit of a letdown, at least as far as fight quality.
So much more, so little time: the hilarious commercials integrated into the show, the awkward english translations, the rony jason/gasparzhino fight, vitor's blatant favoritism toward his protege cezar mutante