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The Ultimate Fighter: A Champion Will Be Crowned
UFC mixed martial arts television series and event in 2014
The series was officially announced by the UFC in December 2013. The coaches were announced in February 2014 after Gilbert Melendez re-signed with the UFC and stated he would coach opposite the current UFC Lightweight Champion, Anthony Pettis. This move drew criticism from MMA critics and fans, as some felt it was establishing a significant delay in Pettis' first title defense.
Eleven fighters were initially announced as already having been cast for the show in December 2013; however, Cláudia Gadelha, Juliana Lima, and Paige VanZant were eventually removed from the cast due to being unable to stay on weight throughout the program, not speaking English, and being too young, respectively. They got a direct contract with the UFC despite their removal from The Ultimate Fighter. Auditions were held in April 2014 to find the remaining eight contestants. The eight remaining fighters were announced on July 3, 2014.
All 16 female fighters prepare to compete for the UFC's new 115-pound Strawweight division title and will be crowned the champion.
Both coaches split the women into two groups of eight to see what their strengths and weaknesses are during practice. Also, Melendez and Pettis will rank the women according to how well they train with them.
The coaches had different evaluation styles: Melendez preferred to get to know the women one-on-one by asking them questions and asked them to do some striking drills in the cage. While Pettis straight out asked the women what team they wanted to be on and then ran them through fitness drills and aggressive grappling on the mat.
The fighters are divided in two teams and are individually seeded or ranked and a coin was flipped (purple for Melendez, teal for Pettis). Pettis won the coin toss and chose to pick the first fighter and Melendez will pick the first fight.
Since the fighters have been seeded by the UFC for the tournament (which was unknown to the coaches), as a coach makes a pick, the corresponding fighter based on seed will go to the other coach (e.g., if the #1 seeded fighter is picked by a coach, the #16 seeded fighter will go to the other coach).
The eight coaches' picks (and corresponding seed sent to the other team):
Carla Esparza - Ranked #1 (Team Pettis - first pick)
Angela Hill - Ranked #16 (Team Melendez)
Tecia Torres - Ranked #3 (Team Melendez - second pick)
Randa Markos - Ranked #14 (Team Pettis)
Joanne Calderwood - Ranked #2 (Team Pettis - third pick)
Emily Kagan - Ranked #15 (Team Melendez)
After this pick, an onscreen bracket graphic shows Randa Markos in a quarterfinal spot, prematurely revealing the first fight result.
Rose Namajunas - Ranked #7 (Team Melendez - fourth pick)
White explains that there are two performance bonuses of $25,000 each and the two fighters who are involved in the best fight of the season will also get $25,000 apiece. The fighter who wins this season of TUF will not only become the world champion, but will win a brand new Harley Davidson motorcycle.
Melendez announces the first fight: #3 Tecia Torres vs. #14 Randa Markos.
The fighters move into the TUF house and pick their rooms. Later, they start their first team practices.
Some of the fighters, especially Torres and Markos, share their personal stories.
Randa Markos defeated Tecia Torres via unanimous decision after three rounds.
Pettis picked the next match up and matched Calderwood against Kagan.
Episode 2: We All Came Here to Fight! (September 17, 2014)
Pettis and his assistant coaches pay a visit to the TUF house to celebrate Randa Markos' win with fast food. Herrig makes a friendship bracelet for Pettis' younger brother, UFC fighter Sergio Pettis, as the ladies tease her for having a small crush on him.
Jessica Penne gets frustrated for being stopped in the middle of training to be critiqued and brings it to Pettis' attention. The rest of the teal team also feels like they are getting "over-coached" by the assistant coaches as they are nitpicking their techniques way too much.
Heather Jo Clark's constant whining and complaining is getting on the nerves of Team Melendez, who see her as wanting to be the "ringleader" of the group. Rose Namajunas does not see eye-to-eye with Clark's demands and during grappling practice, they accidentally butted heads while rolling on the mat, leaving Namajunas' eye bruised and Clark needing stitches.
Felice Herrig calls a team meeting with Pettis and the assistant coaches and speaks for the ladies about them feeling overwhelmed and stopping their drills to run another drill; it is an "information overload." Pettis assures he and his staff are passionate about training them and have their best interests at heart.
Joanne Calderwood defeated Emily Kagan via majority decision after two rounds.
Pettis picked the next match up: #4 Jessica Penne vs. #13 Lisa Ellis. Dana White stated that Jessica "beat the living shit" out of Lisa when they previously fought. Pettis noted that it was one of the bloodiest fights in women's MMA history.
Episode 3: Don't Fight Fate (September 24, 2014)
Bec Rawlings gets called in to Dana White's office and receives the news that her stepfather died from Parkinson's disease. Angela Magana leads the rest of the team in a prayer for Rawlings.
Melendez and his assistant coaches (especially Jake Shields, who can relate since he lost his own father leading up to a fight) bring flowers to Rawlings at the TUF house to comfort her.
Heather Jo Clark is feeling more like an outcast when her team ignores her annoying ways while playing a trivia game.
Team Melendez is worried that Ellis' heart is not confident going into her rematch with Penne since it was her first fight in two years since her pregnancy. Plus, she misses her 1-year-old daughter back at home.
In answer to Team Pettis' "panty wall" in their locker room, the ladies on the purple team pull their first prank when they take a pair of oversize "granny panties" to add to the collection. Penne and the rest of the team do not take kindly to the new addition and stretch the panties on Melendez's portrait, which he takes lightly and is amused by.
Jessica Penne defeated Lisa Ellis via submission (rear naked choke) at 1:14 in round 1.
White commented that Penne had her back, and there was no doubt, in his mind, that Ellis gave up that choke because she wanted out of the fight.
Still in control of the picks, Pettis chose the next match up: #1 Carla Esparza vs. #16 Angela Hill.
Episode 4: Make A Big Strike (October 1, 2014)
Former World Extreme Cagefighting featherweight champion, Urijah Faber, steps in as Team Pettis' temporary coach for the day due to Pettis having a prior engagement, making the ladies "crush" on him during wrestling practice.
Angela Hill's comedic actions are heightened when she "gas attacks" her teammates at the TUF house.
Justine Kish, who only fought in the strawweight division once before, struggles with her weight and hopes her team keeps on winning to help lose the weight, giving her more time.
After Heather Jo Clark hyperextends her knee during practice, she complains about it so much her teammates lash out, especially Angela Magana who has had it with her attitude.
Having not fought in a year and a half, former Invicta Strawweight Champion, Carla Esparza, is worried about "ring rust" against her upcoming fight with Hill.
Carla Esparza defeated Angela Hill via submission (standing rear naked choke) at 1:18 in round 1.
Winning four fights in a row and still in control, Pettis matches #6 Felice Herrig against #11 Clark.
Episode 5: Coming To Get You (October 22, 2014)
When Melendez calls a team meeting, his team turns on Clark after she constantly complains about her injuries, and how she only wants to train with the coaches and not with them.
After hurting her knee in a previous practice, Justine Kish receives some bad news from the doctor--she has a torn ACLinjury, and she is advised to have reconstructive surgery. She won't be able to continue to compete for the Strawweight title.
White gives #3 ranked Tecia Torres, who lost her match with Randa Markos, a second chance and has her change to Team Pettis to fight former teammate Bec Rawlings. Melendez disagreed with White because he spent time coaching her and thought a "bye" was in order for Rawlings.
The switch is much to the disappointment of Team Pettis who doubt that Torres deserved another chance since she lost her fight unanimously, and they refuse to train with her.
Two days before her fight, Herrig feels the pressure to win because her team is 4-0, since nobody from Team Melendez likes Clark, and does not want to let everyone down. Yet, she has no idea where all the "bad blood" came from with her and Clark in the first place.
Felice Herrig defeated Heather Jo Clark via unanimous decision in 2 rounds.
After the fight, Clark said she did some "soul-searching" and apologized to Herrig, saying she was not going to judge her anymore, squashing their feud.
With his team winning five fights in a row and maintaining control, Pettis picked the next match up: #5 Aisling Daly vs. #12 Angela Magana.
Episode 6: Give It All You Have (October 29, 2014)
Angela Magana shares details about her difficult childhood with Rose Namajunas, saying "I was born addicted to heroin, and I had to fight just to survive my first few weeks of life. My parents were drug addicts; my mom was a drug addict. I was grazed by the same bullet that shot my mother in the neck. She was so high I had to tell her she was high. I've eaten out of trash cans. I was there when my mom had to prostitute just to make money."
Tecia Torres continues to struggle to get along with her new teammates, however a few come around, including Alex Chambers.
After throwing up the night before, possibly due to heat exhaustion, Daly took the day off of training due to sickness and ability of adjusting to the Las Vegas heat, but is not looking for a way out of her fight. Daly also mentions that she was recently diagnosed with anxiety and depression. She expresses difficulties with depression and the fact that she takes medication to deal with it.
White later calls Daly into his office at the gym to let her know that she has support if needed.
Magana shares more about her rough past, saying that before she became a fighter, she had fallen three and a half stories off an apartment balcony and broke her back in two places. Soon after, she had recovered from her accident, she met her soul mate who died unexpectedly one day after they were engaged. Then, Magana was in a brief coma after an accident that nearly ended her fighting career.
Aisling Daly defeated Angela Magana via TKO (punches) at 2:34 in round 3.
There was a bit of controversy due to the fact that in the first round, the referee Chris Tognoni stood Magana up after two warnings of inactivity while she had Daly's back.
Team Pettis improves to 6-0 and retains control of the fight pick, and selects the next match up: #10 Alex Chambers vs. #7 Rose Namajunas.
Episode 7: Risk It All (November 5, 2014)
Team Melendez's losing streak is creating some tension with the women coming together as a team and it creates a total divide. So, Angela Magana and Bec Rawlings start talking behind Lisa Ellis' back because she and Heather Jo Clark have been hanging out with Team Pettis, who Rawlings calls "The Foreigners" at the TUF house.
Along with Namajunas, Angela Hill and Emily Kagan, Magana and Rawlings start calling themselves "The Skrapettes" because they have been trained by the "Skrap Pack" since day one, unlike Ellis and Clark who have been hurt after their fights and Tecia Torres gone to Team Pettis. Magana calls them "The Chumpettes."
Melendez invited Kron Gracie to help Rose with her jiu-jitsu. After her training session with Gracie, Rose feels the pressure of getting Team Melendez their first win and breaks down in front of Gracie, but she gets her much needed frustration out.
Chambers opens up about her life in Australia and how her parents do not share her mixed martial arts dream, and says she has a background in astrophysics and engineering.
Meanwhile, Namajunas shares her secret of how she grew up with violence and sexual abuse, which goes with earning her nickname "Thug", but her fiancée, former UFC heavyweight and K-1 kickboxer Pat Barry has helped her through her past problems.
Since Team Pettis is 6-0, the women know they have to fight each other soon and some don't want to train with their future opponents, including Carla Esparza who has shunned certain teammates to train with.
The test results of Heather's MRI on her knee is back and the diagnosis is a full ACL tear, making her teammates quickly realize she wasn't "faking" her injury after her fight. Even Magana gets Clark aside to apologize for her harsh comments.
Rose Namajunas defeated Alex Chambers via submission (rear-naked choke) at 4:38 in round 1.
After the fight, Melendez said that this fight was the "most dominating and most professional victory, maybe next to Esparza's, who had a good fight, but nothing pretty like Rose's."
With Team Melendez in control for the first time, there was only one match up left: #3 Tecia Torres vs. #8 Bec Rawlings.
Episode 8: Skrapettes (November 12, 2014)
The "Skrapettes" call the first official team meeting to discuss how to kick the "Chumpettes" (Tecia Torres and Heather Jo Clark) out of Team Melendez's room and move into "Chumpette" Lisa Ellis' room. They designate Emily Kagan as the messenger.
With weight cuts beginning, Torres gets defensive when Kagan confronts her about moving rooms. She does not want to think about unnecessary stress before her fight and stands her ground not to move.
The fighters relax at a pool party at "The Pond" in Green Valley Ranch Resort, but the claws come out when the Skrappettes unexpectedly leave early, saying Rawlings had no need to be out in the sun before her weight cut. Ellis then comments that the Skrapettes are a "little five-some clan under the leadership of Magana with their bullying and they're a bunch of mean girls."
Torres prepares for her second chance in the strawweight tournament with her new team and Pettis feels that if he had her from the start, Torres would be in a better position than she currently is, style-wise. While Rawlings is "pissed" that Clark is helping Torres cut weight, but later opens up about being in an abusive relationship in her past.
Tecia Torres defeated Bec Rawlings via unanimous decision after 2 rounds.
After the fight, guest assistant coach Nate Diaz and some of the Skrapettes started booing the decision, causing Joanne Calderwood to reprimand them.
The coaches call out the quarterfinal match ups: #6 Felice Herrig vs. #14 Randa Markos, #5 Aisling Daly vs. #4 Jessica Penne, #1 Carla Esparza vs. #3 Tecia Torres, and #7 Rose Namajunas vs. # 2 Joanne Calderwood (who both get in an intense stare down that their coaches had to break up).
Episode 9: Don't Talk to Me (November 19, 2014)
Team Pettis is excited about the number of fighters they advanced into the next round and along with Team Melendez, decide to celebrate with a night of drinking. However, Tecia Torres does not like their decision and becomes frustrated with the rowdiness of her teammates and decides to move into a different room.
At the teal team's next training session, Pettis in conflicted with how to divide his attention between his team's seven quarterfinalists. He opts to remove himself from the situation and spreads the assistant coaching staff between the fighters.
But, Pettis' decision does not sit well with the team, and they all meet to work out a solution, and they then decide to split into two groups. One group will train in the morning while the other group trains at night. Fighters like Joanne Calderwood and Alex Chambers are not affected by this.
It was time for the season's coaches challenge: Pettis and Melendez go head-to-head in a different kind of competition. This year's TUF Coaches Challenge is a UFC trivia contest hosted by UFC fight announcer Bruce Buffer for a chance to win their team $10,000 cash. In past seasons, the coaches typically faced-off in a physical challenge, but Pettis' lingering knee injury prevents him from doing so. The trivia categories were divided into "The Ultimate Fighter History", "UFC History" and "UFC's Famous Finishes". It was a tie after two rounds, but Melendez won the third, and a surprise sudden-victory round gave Pettis a final opportunity to take the lead. But he answered the final question incorrectly and waged all of his points, making Melendez the winner. Melendez received $10,000 as a prize, as well as, $1,500 for each member of his team.
Focus shifts to Markos, who faces teammate Herrig in the first quarterfinal match up of the season. Markos was the lowest seed to advance past the first round; she upset No. 3 Torres in the first contest of the season. Markos' wrestling led her to the victory over Torres, and she believes the same asset will be key in defeating Herrig.
Controversy ignites again within Team Pettis because several fighters now want to train two sessions per day, not just one as previously agreed upon. The next morning, Markos decides to attend the morning session, much to the chagrin of Carla Esparza. A confrontation takes place in the van on the way to the gym, but Markos refuses to leave.
Once the van arrives at the TUF gym, Esparza and Herrig bring the situation to Pettis' attention. While he would like to stick to the original agreement of split training sessions, he says that MMA is an individual, not a team sport, and he is unable to make any decisions on Markos' behalf.
At the official weigh ins, an intense stare down takes place. Herrig is chewing gum and blows a bubble in Markos' face. An intense Markos slaps the bubble away.
Randa Markos defeated Felice Herrig via submission (modified armbar) at 2:46 in round 1.
After the fight, Markos says that maybe the result will shut Herrig's mouth and she gets confronted by Esparza, with both fighters threatening each other over a possible future fight.
The next quarter final match up is Team Pettis' teammates: #5 Aisling Daly vs. #4 Jessica Penne.
Episode 10: Fighting For Themselves (November 26, 2014)
Justine Kish thinks that her teammate and roommate Daly dislikes her and vents her frustration out with her best friend Jessica Penne who does not want to waste energy on unnecessary drama.
The fighters and coaches visit the Red Rock Harley-Davidson dealer to test out their possible winning rides and try-on outfits in the H-D Motorcycle Boot Camp.
Daly gets a surprise visit from UFC featherweight fighter Conor McGregor who is in town for a few media sessions for his next fight against Dustin Poirier (UFC 178). He stopped by the TUF gym to give moral support to his fellow Irish training partner.
Jessica Penne defeated Aisling Daly via unanimous decision after three rounds.
The next quarterfinal match ups are: #1 Carla Esparza vs. #3 Tecia Torres, and #7 Rose Namajunas vs. # 2 Joanne Calderwood.
Episode 11: Best Job in the World (December 3, 2014)
Tecia Torres faces former Invicta Strawweight Champion Carla Esparza, who she was supposed to fight next in their last promotion after Esparza called Torres out.
Carla Esparza defeated Tecia Torres via majority decision after two rounds.
After not perfecting a technique in training, Namajunas breaks down and gets emotional with her nerves before her fight.
Meanwhile, Calderwood remains calm and relaxed, staying positive because, she says, "At the end of the day, this is what I love doing and it's the best job in the world."
Rose Namajunas defeated Joanne Calderwood via submission (kimura) at 2:55 in round 2.
The semifinal match ups are announced: #1 Carla Esparza vs. #4 Jessica Penne, and #7 Rose Namajunas vs. #14 Randa Markos.
Episode 12: It's About to Get Real (December 10, 2014)
As they near their fight, good friends Esparza and Penne prepare to face each other as opponents for the first time. They train at opposite sides of the gym, not wanting to know the other's game plan.
Carla Esparza defeated Jessica Penne via unanimous decision after three rounds.
White surprises Markos for her birthday with a phone call from her sister, Reva Hermiz and the two share an emotional conversation.
Rose Namajunas defeated Randa Markos via submission (kimura) at 2:16 in round 1.
Esparza and Namajunas both make history as they move on to fight for the world title in the first-ever 115-pound UFC Women's Championship in the TUF season 20 live finale in Las Vegas.
1 Carla Esparza
16 Angela Hill
1 Carla Esparza
3 Tecia Torres
8 Bec Rawlings
3 Tecia Torres*
1 Carla Esparza
4 Jessica Penne
5 Aisling Daly
12 Angela Magana
5 Aisling Daly
4 Jessica Penne
4 Jessica Penne
13 Lisa Ellis
1 Carla Esparza
7 Rose Namajunas
6 Felice Herrig
11 Heather Jo Clark
6 Felice Herrig
14 Randa Markos
3 Tecia Torres
14 Randa Markos
14 Randa Markos
7 Rose Namajunas
7 Rose Namajunas
10 Alex Chambers
7 Rose Namajunas
2 Joanne Calderwood
2 Joanne Calderwood
15 Emily Kagan
* 9th seed Justine Kish had to leave the competition due to an injured knee and was replaced by Torres who had previously lost her first round fight. Torres moved from Team Melendez to Team Pettis as Kish had been on Team Pettis.
Fans voted to award the following $25,000 bonus awards to fights that took place during the TUF 20 season:
Fight of the Season: Rose Namajunas vs. Joanne Calderwood
Performance of the Season: Randa Markos and Rose Namajunas
The event featured the finals of the Women's Strawweight tournament between finalists Carla Esparza and Rose Namajunas, which crowned the inaugural UFC Women's Strawweight champion.
The rest of the contestants from the show, with the exception of an injured Justine Kish, filled out the remainder of the card. Filling in for Kish was Seohee Ham, the first Korean female fighter in the promotion.
Oliveira came in at 147 pounds at the weigh ins and was given one hour to cut an extra pound to make the featherweight limit, but he could not make the weight and weighted in at 146.5 pounds. He forfeited 10 percent of his purse to Stephens. Also, Daly originally came in at 118 pounds and did not elect to cut the remaining weight. She forfeited 20 percent of her purse to Chambers.
The following fighters were awarded $50,000 bonuses:
Fight of the Night: Jessica Penne vs. Randa Markos
Performance of the Night: Carla Esparza and Yancy Medeiros
The following is the reported payout to the fighters as reported to the Nevada State Athletic Commission. It does not include sponsor money and also does not include the UFC's traditional "fight night" bonuses.
^ Although not recognized on the official pay sheet, Oliveira was fined $5,400, or 10% of his pay for missing weight for the fight. That money was issued to Stephens, an NSAC official confirmed.
< Both fighters earned show money; bout declared No Contest.
> Although not recognized on the official pay sheet, Daly was fined $3,200, or 20% of her pay for missing weight for the fight. That money was issued to Chambers, an NSAC official confirmed.