In watching last night’s episode of The Ultimate Fighter I was torn between the potential of Junie Browning finally getting thrown off the show and truly wanting to see him on the losing end of an assault at the hands of Efrain Escudero.
When Dana arrived to the house, it was immediately clear that he was once again going to give Junie a free pass and allow him to fight. On one level this bothered me, especially since Marlon Sims and Noah Thomas were expelled from the house after fighting with each other!
I sat wondering how it was possible that two grown men can get eliminated for willfully fighting each other while another commits an act that is essentially aggravated assault and suffers no consequences.
Thankfully, before I got too wrapped up in my thoughts, White pulled out some psycho babble and called Junie out for being a coward. He explained to Junie that he has “come to the conclusion that Junie would rather not fight and get kicked off the show and tell his friends at home that he would have won it if he hadn’t gotten kicked off.”
That’s when it dawned on me...We had just witnessed Dana White pull a Teddy Atlas on Junie Browning.
Teddy Atlas, for those who do not know, was best known as the trainer of a young Mike Tyson. Atlas was assigned to train Tyson by Cus D’amato but was summarily dismissed by the Tyson camp for angrily confronting Tyson by putting a gun to his head because Tyson had groped Atlas' teenage niece. It seems the Tyson camp did not appreciate anyone making him accountable for his actions!
It was well known throughout the camp that Mike had a fragile psyche and Teddy, more than anyone, was a capable of putting him in the right frame of mind for a fight. At 15, Tyson had quickly taken care of his first opponent at the Jr. Olympics but was crying outside the facility until Teddy Atlas coaxed him back in to continue with his next fight. Again, Teddy knew how to handle Mike and knew what was going through Mike’s mind.
Fast forward to 1997 as Tyson-Holyfield 2 approached, Teddy Atlas went on the record only days before the fight and said, “Tyson would discover that he could not beat Holyfield right away and before too long he would foul—he would butt or bite Holyfield, anything to end it with a disqualification.”
Days later he went on to say, "I called this one right. Not that I'm no freakin' genius, but I know human nature. I know fighters. I know this particular guy."
Again in 2002, leading up to the Tyson-Lewis fight, (a fight that was ten years too late), Teddy again went on record.
"I don't think he really wants to fight Lennox Lewis," Atlas said. "Mike has no idea who he is. He hates himself. He wins fights by intimidating the other guy, but I think he suspects he can't intimidate Lewis.
"I think Mike feels trapped. I have a hunch he will do something to get out of the fight while still looking like a tough guy."
Within 12 hours of those comments, the boxing world witnessed the melee at the press conference, where Tyson allegedly bit the leg of Lennox Lewis, putting the fight at serious risk.
Teddy Atlas was twice correct in predicting Tyson’s ploy to back from, rather than face a challenge. Last night Junie Browning tried to do the same and I for one, am glad that Dana did not allow it to happen.