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The TUF Diaries: Season 8

This was, if I recall correctly, the most 'marmite' of all the TUF seasons in that you either loved it or hated it. Spotted a 2013 anachronism in here also, sorry. Obviously the list of fighters from the season still with UFC is a little different and Uncle Dana would probably be horrified at the name of Kyle Kingsbury at this point, but yeah. We've also gained Phillipe Nover back which is pretty awesome.

TUF 8. This one took place in 2008 right before Lesnar-mania broke out in the UFC, as the coaches were Frank Mir and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, in a classic heel vs. face scenario, building to their Interim HW title fight in December. We went back to the dual weight classes for the first time since TUF 4, with 155lbs and 205lbs being the featured ones, but the season also kept the entry fight system that was introduced in Season 7.

Episode 1 - You'd expect just a bunch of fights but nah, there's plenty of crazy shit. First off Phillipe Nover faints as Fucking Dana White gives his opening speech. Apparently he didn't realize Vegas was so hot. Well, duh. One of the dudes somehow assumes Dana's pumping in nerve gas or something, seriously. Anyway the weight classes are 155lbs and 205lbs. Jason Guida is on the show. Dana's introduction tells it all. "Jason's brother, Clay, fights at 155lbs in the UFC. Jason weighs 205lbs. Or so we thought....". Of course we have our NEW GABE as Guida fails to make weight and even tries chewing out Keith Kizer of the NSAC as if that'll fucking help. The DVD set is "uncensored" but thankfully they still blur out the shots of Guida's balls as he cramps up while wearing a towel. Guida is GONE and his replacement gets KOd in seconds by Kryzystof Soszynski. Other big fights you say? Faintin' Phillipe wins the best one on this show by choking out future StrikeForce fighter Joe Duarte in a tough outing. Vinny Magalhaes forces Rashad Evans' brother Lance to quit by breaking his ribs with some kicks. And I TOTALLY forgot that Ryan Jimmo was on this show and actually lost in this round to a dude called Antwain Britt. Then we get our first glimpse of JUNIE THE LUNATIC BROWNING as he fights Jose Aguilar, the guy who mentioned nerve gas earlier. His pre-fight promo sees him claim he's "up there with Hitler and Napoleon, dawg". Junie thinks Jose's got more chance of getting him pregnant than beating him. Junie's right and it's a one-sided beating. A foreboding beginning for the crazy shit Junie would bring.

Episode 2 - More fights with the most memorable being Ryan Bader catching Kyle Kingsbury in an arm triangle choke in the 2nd round. Bader at this point was the main hot prospect on the show as anyone with his calibre of wrestling tends to be. I'd personally been following him for about six months at this point so I was loving seeing him on TUF. Main fight is Eliot Marshall vs. Karen Grigoryan in a terrible decision that goes to Grigoryan. Eliot gets into the house anyway as Antwain Britt broke his hand on Ryan Jimmo's skull. Low-key stuff after the first episode.

Episode 3 - Bit of early drama as Grigoryan and Lightweight Brian McLaughlin get sent home due to broken noses. Well, fuck. Looking back, Grigoryan could've been the token Crazy Armenian which would've added MORE INSANITY. Kyle Kingsbury is back to replace him, but they keep McLaughlin's replacement a secret for a while before revealing it's ROLANDO DELGADO who lost a decision to George Roop. Don't get the secrecy; it's not like they brought in BJ fucking Penn. Anyway we get a slight taster of Junie Browning's insanity as he gets hammered, aggressive and then emotional, but nothing kicks off. WAIT FOR IT. Fight sees Nog's first pick Bader knock the FUCK out of Tom Lawlor with a ridiculous overhand right from above while Lawlor's in guard. Sick power and still tends to appear on Bader's intro which says a lot.

Episode 4 - And the shit REALLY begins. The fighters watch UFC 84 and Junie and Shane Nelson get SLAUGHTERED on alcohol. Junie is the first to get aggressive as he throws peanuts at guys before launching a glass at Kyle Kingsbury and cutting his arm. Shane then decides to pick a fight with Team Nogueira's Efrain Escudero, who refuses to bite even when he's shoved. Kryzystof says Shane has the "alcohol tolerance of a twelve-year old girl" which sums it up. Junie continues drinking and goes on a rampage outside, smashing stuff up and threatening to bottle (!) anyone that gets in his way. Bader and Soszynski throw his clothes into the pool. Junie snaps and pulls Bader into the water and Bader then tells him to "get (his) hands off me, boy" in a threatening voice that most would back down from. Not Junie as he swings for Bader and then drops poor Tom Lawlor with a front kick to the stomach. To be fair to Tom it looks like he slipped on some water too. Infamous, infamous stuff but a TUF classic. Somehow Fucking Dana White (complete with illness-induced RASPY VOICE) doesn't throw the fucker out of the house. Fight is naturally Efrain vs. Shane and it's back-and-forth before Efrain takes him out with a sick mounted triangle. Justice is served.....until Junie accuses him, from outside the cage, of lay-and-pray. What fight this dude watched I don't know. Whatever. Junie then LEAPS OVER THE FUCKING CAGE to confront him and the show ends there. Seriously. It's pure fucking entertainment in my eyes.

Episode 5 - The aftermath of the last fight sees Nogueira bear-hug Junie before he can get to Efrain. Dana claims Junie is lucky Keith Kizer wasn't there because he might've had his licence revoked and would've been kicked out. Well surely the hint there is to KICK THE GUY OUT but nah. Cool moment on this episode? Anderson FUCKING Silva training with Team Nog and sparring HARD with Bader. Seriously, he's taking flush punches to the head with his hands by his waist and waving Bader on. Dude is ridiculous. He then throws some spin kicks and stuff which dazzle Bader and John Polakowski, who has the character of Mr. Nice Guy With Serious ADHD. Stuff that isn't good? Soszynski plays some shitty pranks on Team Nog with some itching powder, which is not good shit. Team Nog returns the favour by rubbing fish onto some of Team Mir's beds, and then Vinny Magalhaes takes it too far and pisses on Efrain Escudero's bed, Leben-style. Nogueira notices his fighters aren't training well and it turns out they didn't sleep because of the itching powder. He talks to Mir about it and in a shitty, unprofessional move Mir brushes him off. HEEL. Fight is one-sided as Mir's Eliot Marshall chokes the fuck out of Nog's Shane Primm in like two minutes.

Episode 6 - Fight is announced right away as Junie Browning vs. Rolando Delgado. So we'll finally get to see whether Junie's bite can match his bark. Frank Mir then questions where Rolando got his BJJ black belt from, which to me seems like a shitty thing to do, but then I'm not a martial artist so I could be off there. Junie takes it a step further, throwing a black belt with 'McDojo' written on it at Roli during the weigh-ins and then spitting on it. We don't see it but apparently Anderson Silva was furious with this. Junie also weighs in two pounds over and has to cut the weight in an hour, and he almost doesn't make it. This guy is a fucking tool. He just about makes it and the fight ends up being back-and-forth and Junie takes a split decision, hardly setting the world alight. Post-fight he does apologise to Nog about the black belt stunt, but that doesn't really make it okay.

Episode 7 - This one apparently caused a ton of controversy in Brazil, as Vinny Magalhaes basically says to Mir that Nogueira's BJJ isn't that high-level. Nog finds out somehow and confronts him about it and there's a lot of nasty atmosphere between the two. I actually think Vinny got misconstrued here - what he was saying is that Nog has a really simple BJJ game, which he does - when did you last see him go for a gogoplata or a flying armbar? - but it's a phenomenally effective one too. I don't think he meant that Nog's BJJ sucks or anything like that. Vinny's certainly doesn't suck as he hits an armbar on Jules Bruchez to tap him out in the first. Seriously, this looks like the easiest armbar in MMA history and that's more down to the sick skills of Vinny than anything else.

Episode 8 - Another really infamous episode. This is the one where Tom Lawlor gets pissed off with people stealing his fruit salad, so he and the rest of Team Mir piss in it, and Bader, Kingsbury and Nover end up eating the piss-covered fruit. Nover throws up but Bader and Kyle don't seem to care. Things then get worse as Phillipe Nover is pissed that Dave Kaplan keeps stealing his sushi, so well, Kyle Kingsbury jizzes into it and Kaplan eats it. Real disgusting stuff and while I was howling with laughter watching it last night I know a ton of people got turned off TUF for good by this episode. Kaplan promises that his shit will come into contact with Kyle but thankfully it doesn't happen. And then Phillipe cooks some awful-looking Filipino delicacy that had me heaving more than the thought of the cum-filled sushi. Fight sees Nover absolutely destroy Kaplan, knocking him down with a combo before choking him out. This was the fight that earned him the "new GSP/Silva" label that didn't come off in the end. Shit though I enjoyed this episode.

Episode 9 - Another comical moment as Kaplan hits the bottle following his loss and then tells Tom Lawlor he can't be KOd, encouraging him to take a free punch to see if he can do it. Well, Lawlor (at this point) is 205lbs and Kaplan is 155lbs. You do the math. Lawlor KOs him with a short right and Kaplan STILL denies that he was out. Really funny stuff that you should track down if you haven't seen it. Not much else of note in this episode really aside from a soccer penalty shootout as the coaches' challenge. Nogueira wins despite claiming he's never played soccer before. And then Soszynski armbars Kingsbury to take him out of the competition. If you're into ridiculous house antics this is the season for you.

Episode 10 - This one is centered around John Polakowski and his odd, odd ways. Basically he LOVES to hug people and he's very hyperactive and is basically struck by serious ADHD. So to celebrate this he "commissions" Phillipe Nover to draw a picture saying FIRE THE CANNONS. Dude is loveable and even Junie thinks he's cool as fuck. Until he snaps....because some fucker stole the marshmallows from his Lucky Charms. REALLY. This is possibly the funniest bunch of segments I've seen on TUF just because of how bizarre this guy is. At one point he's wearing a fucking pirate's hat and everything. Opponent George Roop is a bit more dull, but he's a tough bastard as they show him catching his hand in the cage during training and the thing looks fucked. Dude can barely use it in the fight but somehow he manages to outwork Polakowski for the two-round decision. Fun fight. Episode gets even better when after the semi-finals are picked, some guys throw food out of the window and Junie snaps momentarily after being hit by a pork chop (!). For Junie though this is only a short meltdown. More to come, naturally.

Episode 11 - It's a low-drama one for this season as Bader grinds out a three-round decision over Eliot Marshall in the first semi, pissing Mir off as he felt it was lay-and-pray. It sort-of was, but you can't really blame Bader for doing what he had to to pick up the win. Second semi is at LW and has Phillipe Nover absolutely fucking DESTROY George Roop, decking him before catching a really nasty kimura for the win. It's very easy to see, watching back, why there was so much hype around Nover, as he did look awesome in his three fights on the show. Not quite Uriah Hall levels, but I mean, the dude was looking pretty awesome and he ran through everyone he faced in the house.

Episode 12 - Second LHW semi has Vinny Magalhaes beat Krzysztof Soszynski via armbar in the first round. Krzysztof was actually winning this fight until Vinny managed to pull guard and from there it was literally seconds before the armbar got locked up. Looking back with hindsight, Vinny vs. Bader was an AWESOME TUF final as both guys had looked tremendous on the show. And then all hell breaks loose again as after a seemingly innocuous comment from Shane Primm on how he thinks Bader can beat Vinny, Junie snaps AGAIN and throws a glass at him before punching him. This is after Junie considered quitting due to thinking Mir's training was crap compared to whatever he was getting at home in Kentucky (!). So yeah, Fucking Dana White shows up and talks to Junie and then says rather than kick him off, he'll talk to the other fighters. Basically the feeling is that Junie would rather be kicked off than actually fight Efrain Escudero for fear of losing. So Dana lets him fight and sure enough, Junie doesn't listen to his corner, causing Mir to totally give up on him, and Efrain chokes him out with a D'Arce for the win and some sweet, sweet redemption.

Overall this is one of my favourite TUF seasons just because literally all the episodes have shit going on and really there's like one or two slower fights and that's it. I can get why some people would hate it as it's more reality show bullshit than any of the other seasons, but I mean, you can't deny that it's memorable and with a number of the fighters (Bader, Vinny, Kingsbury, Lawlor, Soszynski) still under Zuffa employment it was a stronger crop than a lot of the other ones too. Fuck the haters, damnit.

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