The Throwaway Quote That Lost TUF

By Garth Hansen (garthhansen@mmaratings.net)

While watching the most recent episode of The Ultimate Fighter tonight they showed the full video, which was teased last week, of Junie Browning jumping the cage and doing whatever dim action had invaded his idiot hillbilly head. After the hullabaloo had died down, as his boy Junie exited behind him, Dana White mentioned how lucky Junie was that the Nevada State Athletic Commissioner Keith Kizer wasn’t in attendance, as his license would have been “pulled”. That comment pulled away any lingering respect I’ve held for Dana White.

You see, Keith Kizer didn’t need to be there. There was a moral authority already in place, one who’d beaten the ideal of the UFC into the fighters who’d spent a night in the TUF house through re-ran speeches, live interviews, and a harsh, sometimes idiotic (and always calculating, we now see) adherence to a code. Ask Jesse Taylor, Alan Berube, Marlon Sims, and Noahs Inhofer & Thomas.

And yet, in as clear-cut a situation as we’ve seen in the brief history of The Ultimate Fighter, Dana White showed up with a scratchy voice, a forgiving nature, and allowed Junie Browning and Shane Nelson to stay in the house. For no reason other than he felt like it. Despite his ejection of at least one fighter for refereeing a fight, Dana White, President of the UFC, was A-OK with Junie getting hammered and all his other idiocy, and Nelson for his own moronic actions. Thus we have the selectively edited montage of Junie saying “I’ll never do that again” and doing it again within seconds. While that’s not exactly how things went down…who cares? “Never” doesn’t mean five days later, it means “NEVER”. And Junie “The Raging Inbred” Browning…did it again immediately. And repeated that performance the next show. I’ll put placeholders in for the curses most people of sound mind and body want to holler: What. The. ****?

Part of the stupidity that people loved about The Ultimate Fighter, and what people have always loved about any fictional universe, is the Code. The Code lets you suspend your disbelief, knowing you’d be able to suss out the moments when an actor in a situation was straying from acceptable behavior. What White did in allowing Junie to stay violated, in a big old Random Task sort of way, the Code he himself had forcefully and notably put in place. The unspoken part of the TUF world was, “Don’t Make Dana Look Like A Chump”. And the UFC/Spike’s own editing did just that, to the extent that they put a banana peel in front of him during tonight’s show and let him do a hilarious stumble on it. “We’re lucky Keith Kizer isn’t here! Hur hur hur! We can keep getting away with our high-jinks! Hur hur hur!” Dana, you just got chumped, in a big way.

Let’s forget the factual stupidity of this Browning character Spike and the UFC have allowed to take center stage on their mainstream golden goose. The man actually yelled “You just laid on him” at a guy who’d spent most of two rounds dynamically fighting his opponent standing and on the ground. That’s like me yelling “You just sang this site!” after you read it. You didn’t sing…why would I yell that? Either I’m insane or an idiot, right? Thankfully, Junie Browning takes both medals. Factual stupidity aside, Browning is now the albatross Dana White and the UFC must wear around their necks. Whatever glory the moron achieves, he’ll still be that simpleton who pulled Bader down into the pool at the TUF house.

Chris Leben, Josh Koscheck…they did some stupid stuff. But they had no idea what they were getting into. Junie Browning did. That makes his stupidity…that much greater, that much more amazing, in a way. He knew, as he showed, even in his drunken stupor, what he was throwing away. Dana White tossed aside his integrity to save him. And he did it again. There’s a genius in Browning’s stupidity, and a tragedy in Dana White’s acceptance of it. Dana sat there in the gym, his mantle as dispenser of justice waiting to be taken up, and wondered about the presence of a bureaucrat. Because of this, Junie will forever be the squawking parrot on Dana’s shoulder…”I’m in it for the money!” “I’m in it for the money!” “I’m in it for the money!”


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