The TUFtermath: E3S26, Looking Deep

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The TUF 26 TUFtermath

We’re three episodes into the 26th season of The Ultimate Fighter now. Team Alvarez fighter Ariel Beck takes on Montanna Stewart of Team Gaethje in this week’s bout. The TUF 26 production team also continues to show sensitivity in dealing with potentially difficult issues cropping up among the cast members. So, without further ado, let’s get down to business.

The Big Three

#1) Erasing Stigma – Team Alvarez competitor Ariel Beck suffered a panic attack during one of the training sessions leading up to her fight. She ended up in the locker room, in tears, with a member of the coaching staff giving her an ear. In what was presented, he didn’t judge her. He asked if she had tried seeing a therapist for help with the panic attacks, and asked what she needed. There was no “Suck it up!” or anything like that. It was positive.

Head coach Eddie Alvarez would eventually join them, speaking on how what fighters go through is different than most. He related how he’s dealt with the lowest lows of his own career. Alvarez assured Beck that any emotions she was feeling were normal. In an on-camera aside, “The Underground King” went on to say that maybe it’s better for fighters to discuss their anxieties and fears instead of trying to bottle them up for the sake of appearing tough. To me, this was good, and a positive look at dealing with mental health concerns. Kudos to all involved.

#2) Bowling for Dollars – Justin Gaethje is a man that likes to take care of his team. In the lead-up to the Beck-Stewart fight, he took his team bowling and offered cash prizes to the top three finishers. Montana Stewart bowled both for herself and for the injured Emily Whitmire, earning first place and $250 for herself while netting third place and $100 for Whitmire. Rachael Ostovich came in second, taking home $150.

3) Welcome to Institute – More casual fans got their first look at the UFC Performance Institute as Team Gaethje paid the facility a visit. This gave Emily Whitmire a chance to get high level care and rehabilitation for her rib injury. It’s an impressive facility, and the quality of physiotherapy and rehabilitative care there looks to be world class.

The Stock Report

Stock Up – Eddie Alvarez. The way Eddie interacted with Ariel Beck before, during, and after the fight was impressive. His sensitivity, and his gruff-but-positive manner of speaking with her showed that he was a great choice to help lead TUF 26’s athletes. “Don’t you ever apologize to me! You fought, and that’s what matters,” may end up being one of the stand-out quotes of the season. More fighters going in to coach a season of the Ultimate Fighter would do well to learn from Alvarez’ example.

The Fight

Three fights in this season, with three first round finishes. While Ariel Beck ( had some serious pop on her strikes, Montana Stewart was able to user her jab and reach advantage to set up a takedown. Once it hit the mat, Beck could only try to survive as the former high school wrestler eventually worked her way into side control. From there, Stewart slapped on a d’arce choke that would elicit the fight-ending tap.

Next week, UFC vet Lauren Murphy (#3 seed) steps into the cage for Team Alvarez. Standing across from her will be proud Navajo Tribe and Team Gaethje member Nicco Montano (#14 seed). It looks like both women will be getting in-depth with their histories, as well. Murphy will apparently be opening up about her past struggles with addiction, while Montano will be teaching her teammates about her tribe’s culture. I’m looking forward to this, and to analyzing it for you on next week’s TUFtermath here at MMASucka.com!

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Justin Pierrot is MMASucka.com's resident musicologist and TUF aficionado. When not looking after his family or writing his weekly pieces, he's making music as Stormland or building Gundam models.

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