First of all, welcome to the Deanna Bennett Show!
Deanna is always doing stuff like: humping people or things, singing Disney songs, making turkey noises, making fun of herself, dancing, etc. She is the goofiest woman on the planet, and we all loved her.
I had seen Deanna fight a few times and I thought she was more of a striker. I didn’t realize how good of a wrestler she was, or how funny she was, and I was unaware of her cooking skills, which are off the chain.
They didn’t show it here, but Deanna can cook like a mofo. She was always down to make anyone in the house whatever they wanted. She would make elaborate dishes for the other fighters, for their fight days or any celebration, really. She ordered cooking gadgets and cookbooks for the house and was always ready to help out in the kitchen. I hope Deanna gets her own show someday, and I pray it’s a cooking show. I would watch!
This dude right here ain’t got shit on Deanna Bennett ↑
The episode starts with us having a dance off at the house and Deanna being a goofball. Her acting like a monkey in the trees and jumping on people… well, folks, it wasn’t for the cameras. That’s our Deanna, in all her hilarious glory. We were cracking up that night, I remember it being really fun. The Blue team coaches did come over after Roxy won, but I want to add something here: The Green team coaches had actually been to the house already-I remember it being important to Mark Henry to be the first team coaches to go to the house to visit, so Mark, Amanda Leve, Marlon, and Eddie all came over one night very early in the season, and they brought sushi too.
The day Team Gaethje came over to the house, they brought sushi and a bunch of games with them. They played charades, ping pong, and pool. They brought over a corn hole game and a few other lawn games for everyone, which all got used the whole season through.
Karine did struggle with her English, especially in the beginning. The episode shows her loneliness a little. Sometimes she would just lay on the couch, or her bed, and would stare into space. I felt awful for her. It was so hard (for me, at least), to be there at all, and I could communicate. I mean, there were times in that house I felt like I had no one to talk to, but I could at least communicate in the same language. She couldn’t. I can’t imagine. For that, I think Karine is really strong, and brave. I never saw her freak out, but if I were her, I would have. I would have lost it.
Her English did start picking up, though, and with Roxanne’s help, it picked up fast.
So then the brackets came out and there’s a scene where I’m asking Eddie about how to train a takedown for Barb.
People, let me tell you, those brackets fucked my world up for a solid 3 or 4 days. I’m an emotional person, and I like to be in control, and those brackets put my emotions on a roller coaster and took all the control, real or perceived, out of my hands. Also, I am a sliiiiiight bit (read: extremely) obsessive person, as well, so you can imagine what it was like in my head there. Honestly, I appreciate this scene, because it highlights a lot of what TUF was like for me, as an obsessive control freak kind of bumbling my way through things.
Me making my way through TUF
So the brackets were put up on the wall and we all took a look, and we all started thinking about, “Shit, if I win and she wins…we’ll have to fight each other. And if I win that one, I’ll fight one of those girls….”
I worked my way through my side: My plan was to beat Nicco, then the winner of Ariel/Montana, whoever that would be, and then I would be in the semi finals. I figured that would be against Barb. I just didn’t see anyone beating her in her section of the bracket, and I was obviously planning on winning mine.
I’ve been around long enough to know that things don’t always go as planned, and I’ve seen what happens when people overlook opponents. I’ve also seen what happens when dumb motherfuckers fail to prepare for the future, and I wasn’t about to let that be me, either. I was ready to burn that candle from both ends.
To get ready to fight Nicco I worked with Ariel every day because they were both southpaws. The whole time I was thinking, I hope Ariel wins her fight. But then if we both win, I will have to fight her. So I was taking mental notes on how to fight Ariel, while sparring with her, which made me feel like an asshole. Then, assuming I got through Nicco, and the winner of Ariel/Montana, then there was the winner of the top of the bracket to deal with, who I figured would probably be Barb. So of course I wanted to prepare for that as soon as I could, because that’s a tough ass fight, and the more reps I could get in to win it, the better. Again, I felt like an asshole, but I just wasn’t sure how to handle the situation. It was so weird. I felt like a traitor on one hand, and on the other hand, I didn’t care if I was a traitor, because I wanted to win.
When I talked to Eddie, I specifically asked about training for Barb, but I actually had a whole list of questions for him. I wanted to ask about all of us fighting each other while we were training together, because he’s done tournaments and stuff before-but I didn’t get to those questions because Eddie immediately told me that he wouldn’t coach us against each other. I wasn’t even asking him to coach me against Barb, I just wanted to figure out how to train for her in the likely event I fought her, and he started talking about him coaching us. I actually hadn’t even considered that part of it yet, so to hear him say it, I was actually kind of glad, like, Oh damn, dude, I didn’t even consider that, so I’m glad to hear you won’t be doing that. We didn’t get much further than that, I think Eddie thought the conversation was done. They didn’t show the last thing Eddie told me, which was, “Worry about Nicco, just fight Nicco, and then we’ll worry about the rest.” Which was solid advice. So I tried to forget the brackets and just stay in the moment. But “staying in the moment” is not exactly my strong suit, guys, just putting that out there.
To top it off, I was well aware that things could change at any minute, and instead of that relaxing me and giving me the space to work on anything, it just made me even more tense and worried. Y’all, I was on the struggle to try and prep for anything, everything, and every one. It wasn’t going well in my mind, haha.
actual footage of my brain working on TUF
The brackets had another effect on me that I didn’t expect: I stopped giving much of a fuck about the team dynamic. I know, I know, you’re not supposed to admit that kind of shit, but, it’s TRUE. I quit really being invested in my TUF team and got 110% invested in me. Odds were, we were going to fight a team mate at some point, and if we didn’t, we were most likely going to fight each other in the UFC down the road. It just put a damper on me being in love with everyone there.
Yes, I respected all the women there. I even liked all the women there. But I didn’t feel love for them the way I love my team mates back home. They weren’t my sisters. They were my competition, and seeing the brackets up that day, and every day after, drove that home for me more than anything else. These people weren’t my friends. They were my competitors.
I know, it’s like, Duh, Lauren, welcome to the Ultimate Fighter. What did you think was going to happen? And, I knew coming in that that would be the scenario-but to actually be in it, living it, looking at it… I really realized the weirdness of it all. It was like the realness of being on The Ultimate Fighter and what we were all doing finally hit me the day they posted the brackets outside the locker room. It didn’t feel like real life to me.
Next you see Emily getting hurt during a grappling practice.
Emily and I were fast friends from the first day or two there. We had a similar background, liked a bunch of the same shit, had similar senses of humor. We were bummed we didn’t end up on the same team but we still talked quite a bit in the house.
She popped her rib early in the competition. It was seriously only a few days in. You can hear someone say when it happens (I think Vinny Magalhaes) in the background “Dude, I heard it pop,” which means it was super loud, gross, and really, really painful. She went to the hospital and got x-rayed, and then returned to the house without any of us on the Green team catching on to what had happened. Emily didn’t tell anyone on team Alvarez what happened that day, and no one from the blue team did, either. I think if she could have, she would have kept it a secret from everyone, even her own team. She was slated to fight Christina Marks, and she didn’t want Christina or any of the Alvarez coaches to find out about her injury and use it against her in the fight somehow. You gotta play your cards close to your chest on TUF, and Emily knew it.
Rib injuries are terrible, because it hurts to do ANYTHING, and they take forever to heal. They’re easy to re-aggravate and are generally just a huge pain in the… ass (or rib, whatevs) to deal with.
The episode ends with Karine vs. Deanna. As you can see, many of us didn’t know anything about Karine. No one on Team Alvarez really knew what to expect. Maybe that’s an advantage of being a lesser known fighter on the show, there’s less footage to scout.
Anyway, they did have a few striking exchanges, and Karine showed some of her skills. Deanna is game and throws good combinations, but Karine wasn’t afraid to exchange, and she popped Deanna in the face a few times before Deanna could score the takedown that led to the end of the fight.
Justin was doing his best to coach and Karine’s translator (also named Karine, by the way), was doing her best to translate his instruction, but like I said before… I can’t imagine. All I can say is that I had a hard enough time on TUF, and I have some experience and can speak some English. I cannot imagine how difficult it would be to have my corner translated to me, to have my whole fight camp translated to me. No thank you.
I think that about covers everything in this episode and everything from this week in the TUF hizzle. The journey is just getting started, so stay with me! Next week, Montana from Montana, and Ariel, also from Montana, go at it in the third fight of the season. I’m so excited to see it you guys, I hope you are too! So make sure you tune in 🙂