Posted on: November 9, 2008 7:44 pm

Tom is back....tell a friend...squared

Phew. First I'd like to apologize for the lack of an update for the past few episodes. If I had the opportunity to be at a computer for an elongated period of time, I would have been more than happy to develop such an update. Who would have thought that the life of a "D minus reality show celebrity" could be so taxing? I've spent the past few weeks sitting in a newly leased building in downtown Orlando, ripping out ceilings, painting walls, and inhaling dust. Coupled with traveling to corner fighters this past week and getting back in the groove with training; Thomas has been a busy boy. But my exploits lately have been less than noteworthy, but the exploits of the past few weeks of TUF 8 have garnered some attention! Let's get down to some business...

Vinny Magalhaes made Jules Bruchez look like a novice on the ground.

I've had the opportunity/displeasure of rolling with Vinny from our time spent in Vegas. By the time this episode aired, I had become his main (and sometimes only) training partner. Let me just say that he is amazing on the ground. Is Jules a terrible fighter like many interwebs nerds have claimed? No, he did beat Eric MaGee to punch his ticket in to the TUF house. Vinny is just that good on the ground.

Is Vinny better than Big Nog? In MMA, surely he is not. Vinny has the potential to be one of the best fighters in the world, but Nog's accomplishments stand for themselves. He has one of, if not THE, best BJJ game for MMA. The biggest story of that episode for most was Vinny's comments surrounding whether he was a better grappler than Nog. I never once heard Vinny say that Nog was not high level, and the fact that he said Nog's BJJ was "basic" doesn't mean he was downplaying it. How many champion boxers, wrestlers, etc. have gotten by with the basics? It has been mentioned ad nauseum but Vinny was referring to Nog's style as being basic. The comments were taken a bit out of context and caused some confusion. Vinny's grappling accomplishments speak for themselves much like Nog's do in the world of MMA.

Also Vinny's English is very good, but not to the point where he understands all of the slang translations. For example, I remember staying up late one night with Vinny, Eliot, and Kaplan talking about what cartoons crossed the borders between North and South America. One of Vinny's favorites was "The Muppets Baby". If that isn't proof that sometimes he doesn't know what he is saying, I don't know what is.

Oh yeah and before I forget, on the subject of Vinny, there are often subtle references made to this during the shows (one such is before Team Mir's run in the mountain, Kaplan references to a putrid smell): Vinny farts like no other. The man has a lot of things going for him. Great BJJ, great fighter, good physique, pretty boy.....but boy oh boy, I'm not sure if he wakes up and decides to challenge Cool Hand Luke to a hard boiled egg eating contest every morning, but at least 10 times a day it smelt as if an entire village of dirty goats had crawled up his anus and died. Just thank God that a viable option of Smell-a-vision has not really surfaced yet. Sorry if it ruins your love life a bit Vinny, but this is my small payback for almost passing out on multiple occassions.

Dave Kaplan vs. Phillipe Nover.

Now everyone knows who Dana was referring to as the next GSP. Dana said so himself, I'm not spoiling anything. I'm not sure how it can be seen through a few fights, but I'm not a talent scout...and I didn't even see Nover's next fight. What I did see was Phillipe run through Kaplan.

Much has been said about Mir/Kaplan's comments and them not taking ownership of the fact that Kaplan truly lost. I can tell you without hesitation that Dave is a better fighter than he showed. I mean really, it couldn't have been much worse, but he is a much better fighter than was seen. As you can see, Diamond Dave has a monstrous head. Some people on the show began referring to him as a mongoloid/grouper fish. Let's say that Kaplan was a super-hero, based on appearance his power would undoubtedly be the ability to either swallow whole seas of plankton whole or to run head first through mountain ranges.

I spent more time with Dave than I did with anyone else in the house, and we talked a great deal about fighting, philosophy, our affinity for different cultures, and told a lot of jokes. On the subject of fighting, from day 1 Dave said he wanted to be in "that fight". He wanted to be in a fight that people talked about for years to come. He figured that due to the size of his noggin, he could eat any punch as if it were a sea of plankton, and keep on trucking. This proved to be a fatal mistake as Phillipe has some major power in his hands. If you see Phillipe in person, he looks more like a bodybuilder than a fighter. He has veins popping out of every muscle on his body, as if during some of his night tours in the hospital he was doing curls with the decapitated heads he talked about.

Phillipe claimed he was the toughest registered nurse on the planet. He is pretty good, but I'm willing to bet there is a disgruntled 40 something woman wielding a syringe somewhere that has something to say about those comments.

Now that the fights have been mentioned, let me comment on my delicious fruit platter. I like fruit, Team Nogueira liked fruit. I ordered fruit trays every night. Team Nog didn't order fruit trays every night. I didn't eat fruit trays the next day. Team Nog did eat fruit trays the next day.

I don't see how anyone can have a problem with me urinating in my own food. Pee is sterile, and Luke Cummo is my idol. I'll never have another shot at making the TUF finals....Ryan Bader ended that dream, but that doesn't mean I can't try to emulate someone who did make the finals. I peed in my fruit with every intention of eating it if it were there for me to, unfortunately for Team Nog they didn't have the foresight to order enough food for their post-practice parties. But guess what guys?

If you are hungry, urine luck! Literally....my urine......

I'll now write random things I remember from the past few weeks of the show:

Dave Kaplan really knows every capitol of every country in the world.

Jules Bruchez: "He lived, he died, who cares?" may be my favorite written quote ever.

Phillipe's "balut" egg was something else. It tasted very odd, but smelled like something that would emanate from Vinny.

Junie trains at Xtreme Couture now. Dave trains at Xtreme Couture. Must make for some interesting sparring after what Junie told Phillipe.

Although maybe it isn't that awkward, right before Junie's training outburst Dave told him "You are hot." Perhaps a lover's quarrel more than anything?

On a side note, I had the opportunity to train at Team Nogueira Miami this past weekend with Daniel Valverde, Efrain, Bader, and Kingsbury. Daniel was amazing on the ground and anyone who is in the MIA area would be wise to check out his gym in Downtown. Asides from being a knowledgeable and hospitable coach, Team Nog also cleaned house at a night of fights in the 305 on Thursday night. Also, thanks to Efrain,Bader, Kingsbury, and Edgar for training with me. You guys will all go far in MMA..........let's just hope that I go a bit farther=)

I'll do my best to stay up to date with my blog, but if I don't? You can't do anything about it because it is my blog!! muahahahhahahahaha.....ehh sorry, I'm abusing my power and I'll see you guys next week for another installment!!!
Posted on: October 17, 2008 11:10 am

I got 5 on it....

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Boy, after this episode I've really gone ahead and reevaluated my life and decided that no matter what has happened in my life, I'm pretty fortunate.

What made me go ahead and have this quarter life moment of clarity?

“I didn't have any friends in high school. Maybe one”- Eliot Marshall

Heck, I am in an airport in Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati right now, awaiting a connection to Milwaukee, and I'm pretty sure I have more friends in here than one. Eliot is a good guy, so I feel kind of blessed at the way my life has turned out.....

Speaking of Kentucky, once again on TUF this week, the state's favorite son Junie Browning narrowly escaped being kicked out of the house. After last week's submission victory over “Sugar” Shane Nelson, F Ray Ahn and Junie engaged in a war of English insults in the UFC training center. What makes this remarkable is the fact that neither Efrain or Junie speak English as a first language (Efrain was born in Mexico, and Junie was born in Kentucky).

During this battle of wits, Junie saw fit to leap the cage and storm the ring as if he were an invading army and the cage wall was the French military. But Sacre Bleu! Junie gets to stay on the show because Keith Kizer was not in attendance. Had he been, Dana is positive that Junie would have had his Athletic Commission license taken away. I'm not sure how he got one in the first place, because I succintly remember taking a drug test prior to the taping of the show.

Boredom sets in easy during time in the TUF house, as one can imagine, and much has been said about the pranks that Krystof devises. I can be seen in the background of most of these, as Krystof's accomplice. Some people think that the pranks are lame, some people think they are funny, some think they are harmless, and some (like Big Nog) think that they are detrimental to the training process. Let me explain something to those of you who have never lived in seclusion from society, with 15 other dudes; you will do ANYTHING to offset boredom. I mean, you can only escape the cameras by hiding in the shower with a bottle of lotion for so long.

Freezing someone's underwear is like the holy grail of entertainment when TV isn't available. Putting sardine juice in peoples beds? All in great fun. But I side with “Diamond” Dave Kaplan when I say that in the scheme of things it was pretty lame in execution. I'm sure some of the other guys were a bit more upset, as evidenced by Vinny's reactions, but I've had enough members of the opposite sex who emitted a similar smell in the bars I've worked at that it didn't bother me.

Anderson “The Spider” Silva came to visit Team Nog. I don't have much to say on the subject, other than I'm jealous. I'm not a big Anderson Silva fan really, but he is the best in the world at 185 currently and it looked like he really got in there with Bader and some of the other guys. With a plan to drop to 185 in my immediate future, it would have been nice to see how far away from the upper echelon I am.

A small tidbit as well. If you look closely, at last week's episode (either that or it was this week's I forget) you can see Demian Maia in the corner of Team Mir. Demian was the coolest guy I've ever met. Literally, I would be him if I could. I'm not sure if he will get a proper introduction on the show or not, as one of the themes so far seems to be the cohesion on Team Big Nog, along with the seemingly vagabond nature of Team Mir.

Eliot Marshall and Shane Primm train. They will fight. Eliot is a BJJ Black Belt (under Amal Easton), Shane is a purple under Rob Kahn (Gracie Tampa). Rob Kahn is amazing on the ground, his guard is simply amazing. Shane Primm is good, I've fought him. He is young and has a pitbull tattoo, which automatically adds toughness as soon as the ink dries.

Much has been made already of the interaction between Big Nog/Mir/Team Mir regarding the pranks and the fact that Nog wanted them to stop. Let me try to remember as much about this situation as possible. Yes, we at Team Mir began the pranks with saran wrapping the underwear, freezing it, etc. Team Nog replied with putting fish in our beds. Vinny replied by peeing on Efrain's pillow. I don't recall a concerte effort by Team Nog members to get us to stop the pranks. It was always a “we will retaliate, don't worry” attitude from te majority of the team.

If Team Nog themselves would have come to us and really asked us to stop, I'm sure that we would have been receptive. But that didn't happen before Big Nog came to us first. And really, It wasn't a situation where I remember Nog asking us all to sit down for a serious meeting. It was more like, we get home from training, start to cook and eat, and when everyone was around Nog started addressing it. You can see from the video that Team Mir isn't concentrated in one area. We are spread around the kitchen, dinner table, dining room, etc. At this point, Stankie and Big Nog started addressing the situation kind of informally.

This might be due to the fact that there is a language barrier with Nog, and sometimes us non-cultured Americans have a hard time understanding and concentrating when we can't fully understand someone. Also, and I'm not saying this disrespectfully as he was one of my favorite people to be around, but Al Stankie doesn't really lend himself to a conversation where he is trying to get something done. He talks a mile a minute, with lots of cliches, and other antecdotes, and to be honest I didn't even know what he was saying for a good portion of the time.

People can complain about Eliot, Krystof, and whoever else disrespecting Big Nog, and how if he talks everyone should listen...honestly, if you are trying to get in to the UFC and are on the cusp, one of the worst things you can do is go ahead and “idolize” someone. It is detrimental as it psychogically implies that you are not on that person's level. A good portion of the internet talk about the situation is that Nog is a legend in the sport. I agree wholeheartedly. Nog seems to be a great coach, a good, caring individual and has been through highlight reel wars for the majority of his career. I would LOVE to emulate half the success that he has had.

Does that mean that I, (and the rest of Team Mir)can't have my own opinion? Hell no. It was a conversation that occured, which implies that more than one person has the right to talk. It wasn't a formal meeting where Nog was pleading with us to stop pulling pranks, instead it seemed like being chastised by someone else's father while you are in your own home. Had the Team Nog coaching staff approached it in a different manner, the outcome may have been different.

And by the way, you can see me eating and listening intently while he talks=)

My thoughts on the fight? It sucked. Eliot dominated Shane and it made me feel bad inside. I've trained with Shane and fought him. Part of me wanted him to do good because I consider him a friend, another part of me wanted him to do good because he holds a DQ win over me, and another part of me wanted him to lose so that Team Mir could gain control.

Shane did his best Frankenstein impression right into a bodylock and did his best to re-enact the film career of [insert name of random “adult” movie actress] by giving up his back, being mounted, and getting choked before getting Eliot to finish prematurely.

Wait, I've got to go really quickly. I'm still in the airport and I've already made 7 friends who want me to hang out.

Most of them are asking me through their 4 teeth (combined) about Junie's fight next week, since we are in Northern KY, and I'll tell you what I told them all....

TUNE IN NEXT WEEK to see Junie “The Lunatik” Browning battle against Rolando “The Emaciated Beaver” in a battle of epic proportions!!

Who will be the TUFest of the two?

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com