June 21, 2008
by Scott Holmes (firstname.lastname@example.org)
When it was announced that Forrest Griffin (Pictures) and Quinton Jackson (Pictures) would be coaching "The Ultimate Fighter 7," even a jaded knucklehead like me got excited.
There aren't too many fighters more television ready than these two light heavies. Both men are genuinely funny and, more often than not, don't take themselves too seriously.
Griffin's self-deprecating sense of humor helped kick off the popularity of TUF in the show's first season, and "Rampage" has been delighting the multitudes since his infamous interviews back in the days of Pride.
Season seven will wrap up Saturday, and Jackson and Griffin will meet July 5. But before we get to see the coaches touch gloves in the Octagon, we might as well find out who won the war of words on the show.
They weren't always funny. Sometimes Griffin and Jackson were very serious, though even then both showed that they know how to deliver a line. Here are the seven best quotes from the season seven coaches:
7. "I'll bet my whole purse on it." - Jackson
Fans might have figured that Jackson and Griffin would be two peas in a pod, but with Jackson's team losing week after week and Griffin being less than sympathetic, tension began to mount. After Jackson's fighter Patrick Schultz took a beating on the ground from Cale Yarbrough, a furious Rampage stormed out of the TUF training center while letting Griffin know that their fight wouldn't be going to a decision. In fact, Jackson was willing to bet on it.
With Rampage rampaging, Griffin also lost his cool and pounded a hole in one of the training room doors. After cooling off, Griffin explained that "this is the getting-mad business" and described his tantrum as a "man period."
6. "There will be absolutely no clapping." - Griffin
After picking his team, Griffin brought his fighters together to discuss training and strategy. Several of the new fighters applauded after the meeting, and an embarrassed Griffin had to shut that down quickly by telling them to stop. Trust me, it was funnier than it sounds.
5. "Forrest looks stupid, but he ain't as stupid as he looks." - Jackson
Jackson knew from the first week that Griffin was going to be crafty. One by one Jackson's team was picked off thanks to the matchmaking that Griffin employed. Sometimes Griffin's genius was almost Belichick-esque, like when he flipped a coin to decide on a matchup.
4. "Like you're in prison, and he's trying to get your booty." - Jackson
Ever the brilliant tactician, Jackson used this line to explain the technical facets of not giving up one's back. I'm sure this line had Sherdog message board aficionados scrambling to change their quote signatures that same night.
3. "I think C.B. is just kind of an arrogant prick. That's my take on him. I could be wrong. I've been wrong before, but I don't think I'm wrong about this one." - Griffin
Griffin delivered this line about Dollaway with his trademark deadpan smirk after having to hear about how good Dollaway is from Dollaway. Here's how Griffin finished the thought: "There's nothing worse than a guy that talks a lot of s--- and then backs it up. That's the worst to me, and that's what he's doing. So God bless him for that, but I'll hate him for it. God bless him and I'll hate him."
2. "I think I'm probably one of the coolest people on planet earth. I'm nonchalant. I can get along with anybody. I could be friends with anybody. Guy, girl, dog, alien -- if they don't try to eat me, I can be friends with them." - Jackson
Rampage gave a simple explanation of himself and how he wouldn't be giving any grief to the fighters on either team. It was funny when he said it, but no doubt it also endeared him to his fighters.
1. "You're the future of this sport, man, and I want you to know that. Go ahead and prove that today." -- Jackson speaking to Dollaway
"You haven't broken once since you've been here. You belong here. It's OK. No matter what happens, you're going to leave it out there. You know that, I know that." -- Griffin speaking to Sadollah
A rare glimpse of the bond between coach and competitor came when both Griffin and Jackson had heartfelt words for their fighters. Jackson's CB Dollaway (Pictures) was a favorite to win out since day one while Amir Sadollah had surprised the entire cast as the low-key fighter who kept rising above his inexperience.
These lines weren't prefight hype. They were spoken in a measured tone, with weight behind them. Sadollah won the bout via a gutsy armbar in the third round, but Dollaway gets a rematch Saturday, when they battle again in the finale.