Face Reading MMA Fighters – Case Study

The Ultimate Fighter Season 5 is one of the best opportunities I’ve seen for watching body language and seeing different genetic types mixing it up. For this season they brought back the 155 lb division, so all the guys are tiny. Something about little guys makes their true personalities bubble right up to the surface for easy viewing. The result is madness.

I’ll go episode by episode, and tell you what I see. I’ll mainly focus on the Thal and Melon guys. Middle of the road dumber Cro Mag guys aren’t as interesting.

I’ll cover a ton of topics, basically everything I can see by looking at people’s faces and watching them interact. Plus, every guy gets tested in the Octagon, so you get to see who has heart. It’s no bullshit – true character outs.

Let’s get started!

Episode 1

Andy Wang (no face pic, he looks like every other Taiwanese guy) is approval/inclusion seeking from the get-go. He accepts Corey Haim’s conversational frame in order to initiate the handshake bro-hug. You’re going to see this behavior from him throughout the season, and yes it does become a major problem.

Gabe Ruediger – psychopathic small-eyed r-selected full melon. The first time we see him, he’s tooling another guy, saying the dude’s gay cuz he’s from Maine. Introduces himself to the camera, saying he, “Definitely likes to get into people’s heads, and push buttons.” Proceeds with more tooling, but in a charismatic likeable haha way. Starts pretending he himself is gay, hugging a guy on his bed and sitting on another dude’s lap. This fuckhead will have one of the most epic implosions in all reality TV. Stay tuned.

Dana White sums it up nicely – everyone on the show, including the coaches, is nutty as hell. Buncha crazy 155lb midgets. Awesome.

Let’s start observing behavioral patterns. I’m going to walk you through events in chronological order, episode by episode, so you can follow along and test your interpreting abilities.

Gabe admits he sandbagged Jens’ evaluation because he wanted to be on BJ’s team. Full melons are always working an angle.

Corey and Gabe are put on different teams. In the van ride home from team picks, Corey is already furious about Gabe’s passive-aggressive amogging. The rest of the guys aren’t turned against Gabe yet. Corey picks up on it early because he has a lot of melon himself. The back of his head is enormous, and his sockets are shallow. But he’s a black dude, so the melon comes out as aggression and intimidation, unlike Gabe’s passive-aggressive gamesmanship. Corey’s eyes are bigger than Gabe’s as well, making him a more decent human being.

Whenever Gabe goes after someone, he walks up friendly and shakes their hand. This disarms straightforward K-types, so that Gabe can go to work with his r-selected undermining. Even meloney Corey submits to this, shifting his rhetoric more from hatred to “honorable contest” type stuff during Gabe’s handshake.

But the psych-out doesn’t last. It’s hilarious to watch Gabe try to run his bitch stuff on Corey, only to get barked at.

Andy Wang reveals that he doesn’t usually go home until 6 am. We can assume it’s not because he’s banging pussy; rather, he’s tripping on the hip-hop bro experience into the wee hours.

Overall, Gabe and Corey come out the most socially dominant in the first episode, because they’re the two biggest melons. Corey tries to be the charismatic big man, whereas Gabe lets others get out in front and then undermines the fuck out of them.

Gabe is badly overweight because he lacks discipline. His shifty ability to manipulate and deceive comes at the price of weak internal character. When another guy tells Gabe he thinks he’ll get picked first because he’s overweight, Gabe shrugs and the corners of his mouth flash down – anger and lack of confidence, even as his words indicate the opposite.

It’s such a comically exaggerated expression, but it only flashes for a fraction of a second. These are facial microexpressions. They reveal true feelings before conscious processing can generate a lie.

Gabe is a very good liar. He comes to believe his lies by the time he’s talking to the camera. So you get very tiny microtells, if any, by then. However the original interactions in the house, where the subject is first broached, and he isn’t fully image conscious, reveal huge tells.

Now he’s proclaiming that he’s “Not concerned. Not concerned at all,” about possibly fighting Corey Hill. This is such a huge lie that he lowers his head in shame and covers his mouth and touches his nose and raises his eyebrows in surprise – just like a little kid would do.

I don’t know what it is about little guys but they just can’t contain their shit. I love it.

People start getting on Gabe about his weight, so he goes to the next move for his genetic type – crying like a bitch. I say ‘like a bitch’ because his type cries for the same reason women cry – to rally the network around them. This is why guys like Gabe cry in public. He’s crying in front of everyone in the van. Any other guy you see cry on the show tries to do it alone (except Andy).

The other guys don’t take Gabe’s tears well. To his face they’re forced into being somewhat supportive, but behind his back they think he’s a pussy. Nevertheless he gets the attention and encouragement he needs from the coaches, who were previously grinding on him about his weight.

Here we see the fundamental flaw in Gabe’s genetically-dictated strategy. He’s in a house full of guys (no girls), it’s a purely K-selected competitive basis, and it’s a small group that’s constantly together 24/7. Character will out and games won’t play in the long term. He’s screwed.

Gabe’s tears are designed to gather support, punish criticism and isolate enemies. However that’s not going to work in this house.

Cole Miller starts talking about his 10 year plan to get into the UFC. Guy has deep sockets, big eyes and a HUGE melon back of the head. That makes him a driven, ambitious, fiery long-range planner.

“You know, I made plans for it to take me 8-10 years to get into the UFC. Here it is 3 1/2 years of being in the sport, in the training, I’m already in the UFC. Got good real fast, so… I mean I don’t fuck around, I’m here to put people away.”

“I’m in there cuz I love to fight. Whether I’m losing or winning. You could be beatin on my face, I’m lovin every minute of it.” No deception tells on that – he’s serious.

“I wanna be in here with the best. I wanna be in here with a bunch of guys who just want to play the game right. That’s why I fight Allen first. Not because he’s the best guy, because I want to fight the best guys. I want to go ahead and send home the guys who aren’t taking this seriously. I’m taking this seriously, so, go home, bye bye.”

There’s an interesting mix of Melon strategizing with Thal straightforward aggression.

Monster vs. Cole – BJ gives a one-shoulder half-shrug when he says Monster is going to be fine. He knows Monster will lose.

Monster’s just an average dumb guy, nothing interesting about his face, so I’m not focusing on him.

Cole again: “The reason I wanted to fight first was I wanted to set the tone for not just my team but for the whole show and the whole season. When the viewers tune in for that premiere episode, and they see me fighting, I’m gonna put on a show, they’re gonna love every minute of it, and they’re gonna go, ‘Man these lightweights got it. Especially that guy Cole Miller.’”

You can see a lot of Melon strategy going on here, but it’s based around Thal execution rather than Gabe’s Melon-style execution. He’s not trying to win with social games.

More Cole: “I love fight time, I’m so chill.” This is how Thal fronts get before a fight.

Cole: “The only thing Allen can do is lay on top of my, bury his head in my chest, and pray for the judges.”

“He could throw one big lucky punch and knock me out, but I’ve never been knocked out.”

“Something tells me that he’s gonna have people whispering in his ear from the entire, from the time he wakes up until the fight gets started, ‘You can do this, Allen, you can do this. Cuz, he needs it.’”

“I’ll break him. I will break him mentally from the first punch.”

Allen (Monster) is just dumb, as in low IQ. So I’m not quoting him.

“Allen, please, just ask BJ, for your own good, throw in the towel when that clock hits 1 second into the fight.”

This is smart trash talk, and remember Cole has deep sockets and a high melon aptitude for sizing up angles and opponents. So he can not only see the truth, but also is strongly inclined to speak the truth.

Allen pulls a tough guy face in the Octagon before the fight, to which Cole replies, “You ain’t gonna mean mug me, baby. I’m read to go.” To which a chastened Allen nods. I’ve never seen a more lopsided face-off. And Allen isn’t weak – just sort of an average nice but tough guy, very middle of the road. Cole just has an enormous melon back lobe, and it’s constantly showing.

The fight starts, and Cole shows a great game plan. Allen’s only chance is to score a knockout. Cole circles, avoiding the early rush that catches several other lightweights later. Cole scores kicks, going high to invite a takedown because he’s better on the ground. Allen shoots and Cole gets the guillotine. A bit of work and Cole gets the triangle choke from the bottom. Fight lasted about a minute. Allen did no damage.

Cole afterwards: “I just want to say to all the viewers at home that were sittin there thinkin, ‘Oh, look at this cocky motherfucker. I told it like it was, didn’t say any more, didn’t say any less.’”

Episode 2 

After his win, Cole runs out of the ring to cry alone.

“I made plans for it to take 8-10 years for me to get into the UFC. Here it is 3 1/2 yeras of being in the sport, in the training, I’m already in the UFC. I’m not gonna say it’s been a long road cuz it really hasn’t, but that’s the thing that made me get emotional, was that y’know I did all this in a short period of time when i know a lot of people will put a lot more time and effort into this than I have.”

This is a classic MT emotion burst. All that fire and drive to achieve and conquer results in an aftermath of tears in victory.

Now let’s get back to that bitch Gabe.

Matt Wyman is a serious Thal guy with high testosterone. Not a big joker. Dedicated and tough. Contrast that with Joe Lozone, a serious Thal guy with lower testosterone who has a nerdy sense of humor to him. Both are tough of course. The difference is that Gabe perceives Wyman as a social dominance threat. Wyman isn’t afraid to make his opinions and criticisms about others known, whereas Joe keeps to himself. Here’s Wyman’s face

and here’s Joe

(Joe usually looks a lot nerdier than this glamour shot.)

The conflict starts around 5:20. The first time I watched this, I wasn’t paying attention, and it seemed like Wyman was starting the conflict. On closer inspection, it’s Gabe who instigates everything, but does so passive-aggressively. That’s how Gabe fights. Wyman, on the other hand, just bulls straight in, so it’s very easy to see what he’s doing.

Some guy: “Matt went out of the room, and then Gabe just went on a spiel of how much he hated Matt, and how Matt’s a piece of crap, and this and that.”

Gabe: “Something about the kid just drives me insane.” Yep, like the fact that Wyman’s a Thal with social rank and no respect for your games.

Wyman calls Gabe out on his behavior, like you’d expect.

Wyman: “You’re talking about me when I leave the room, and it makes me look stupid, and it makes our team look stupid.”
Gabe: “Really”
Wyman: “Sure”
Gabe: “How”
Wyman: “How?? I just explained it to you.”
Gabe: “Ok, there’s one person who can make you look stupid. And that’s you. So if you’re looking stupid, it has nothing to do with me.”

Gabe, still playing the passive aggressive little mind games.

Wyman: “We’ll fight, we’ll see who’s better, we’ll see. We’ll get that out. Who cares.”

Wyman gives the a classic K response to r-style conflict. “Ok, let’s fight then.” Normally that doesn’t work in anti-violence society, but here it does.

Moving on. BJ tries to get Emerson to influence yellow’s pick for the next fight. He wants Emerson to call out Corey. Unfortunately, Emerson has big eyes and a smooth-lined face, and is terrible at beefing. He’s a nice guy at heart. The midget factory is so nutty that Emerson’s pot-stirring nearly succeeds anyway, despite his hesitant insecure delivery.

BJ doesn’t get the pick he wants; it’s Noah vs. Cole. BJ shakes his head at 10:00 when he says “I feel really good with Noah.” Then he narrows his eyes and says, “I like this match-up.” Squinting is a reduced form of blinking and looking away from something you don’t like, or of trying to see better to find a way to narrowly phrase something so it’s true. BJ knows Noah is in trouble. Meanwhile, Noah’s opponent is 100% confident when he says Noah’s the “weakest link.”

Noah has some good externally-imposed socialization from “growing up in the Marine Corps,” and good testosterone levels as you can see from his face. But he’s a pretty deep Thal, as you can see from his large deep-set eyes.

He’s also got a big square MT head, which gives him some fire.

The horse saga around minute 13:00 – Gabe shows his skill with the ladies, bringing them around to the front. Noah shows the Thal facility with animals, immediately calming the horse and working in closest with it.

14:20 Gabe and Wyman again, Gabe being a bitch.

Some guy: “Gabe, you’re out. Wyman’s in.” (probably about weight)
Wyman: “Oh, I’ve always been in.”
Gabe: “You know what, Wyman, don’t talk to me anymore.” (Wyman wasn’t talking to him.)
Wyman: “You promise you won’t talk to me?”
Gabe: “Oh guaranteed.”
Wyman: “Alright perfect.”
Gabe: “Unless you say something really really stupid, and then…”
Wyman: (pause) “Why don’t we just fight.”

Gabe later on camera: “I can’t get away from him, I have to ride in the car with that guy. He’s so disrespectful. His mouth is just filthy. He’s a scumbag idiot that I can’t escape.”

Pity the Thal, always.

At 16:00, the dudes are fed up and let BJ know about the conflict. So BJ brings it up with Wyman. Gabe walks up to them while they’re talking, and his face shows he feels incredibly threatened that he’s being outmaneuvered with the coach / authority figure by Wyman. Wyman invites him to sit down with them, a K-selected overture of conflict resolution. Gabe interprets this as a power play and responds snippily with “Don’t ever tell me what to do.” His body language is actually furious for the first time, because this is what he perceives as a true threat – social outmaneuvering.

Wyman wants none of this and starts awalking off, while BJ walks up to Gabe to try to get him under control. Gabe immediately relaxes when he gets BJ’s attention again. As BJ’s body language positioning shifts more to favor him, Gabe’s shoulders go down and he starts smirking at Wyman, who now appears outflanked. But BJ is just trying to keep things under control; it’s not real favor. Hilarious.

Gabe: “I consider BJ a friend, and if he’s taking Matt Wyman’s side in this, that’s very unfortunate.”

Gabe doesn’t realize himself that all of his relationships and emotions are pure manipulation. His existence is a tragedy.

The team sits down in a circle to talk about the conflict. Wyman drops some more Thal gems:

Wyman: “Can I say something? When this television show airs, I don’t have nothing to do with you (Gabe). I don’t want this to be a cool feud that the cameras zoom in on because you’re talking crap when I leave the room. My vision is way beyond a freakin argument with you bro. You need to worry about yourself and your freakin weight problem, not your feudin with me, saying something mouthy every time somebody says something, y’know.
I mean, if BJ thinks it’s a good idea, I don’t care. We can bang right now, I’d smash you in a stand up war, anywhere.”

After this inconclusive circle, BJ tells them to shake. Wyman goes 90% of the way before Gabe fakes an “ah I noticed you” move and gives a quick handshake. Wyman is already gone though and doesn’t care.

Ultimately BJ doesn’t have a clue who’s at the root of it, because Gabe is good at what he does. Gabe’s agreeing and sucking up to BJ the whole time. So BJ figures both guys are to blame. Under different circumstances, Gabe would have a good shot at undermining, isolating and driving out a Wyman. Be warned.

End of that bit. Some more random stuff:

Noah: “Noah didn’t try out for the [football] team, because Noah knows he can’t catch or throw.”

Neanderthal shoulders suck at projectiles.

Gabe is a dick even when complimenting teammates, in this case Noah: “…40 fights, I don’t care if you fought 40 schleps, 40 fights is a lot of fights.” Always the insult buried in the compliment. High five afterwards from the straightforward Noah. Noah then goes on placidly eating his food while Gabe gives him an amogging shoulder rub. He’s too deep Thal for either of them to bother each other.

Manny, Noah’s opponent, is a small-eyed guy who’s 10x meaner. The difference in aggression will wind up costing Noah the fight.

Gabe tries to organize an event where he throws a javelin at Emerson holding a shield. It gets derailed at the last moment, but shows Gabe’s lack of concern for his pawns.

Emerson (big eyes) gets bored, starts doodling, and writes “Suck it team pulver” on the wall. Team yellow gets back, Nick Diaz (small eyes) sees the writing, and he goes ballistic. He challenges Emerson to a fight in the living room.

Dudes with big eyes can joke with each other that way, and it’s funny, not fighting words. Dudes with small eyes take it seriously. The message sent was not the message received.

Emerson to camera: “I didn’t expect it to get out of hand the way it did. I thought it was kinda funny when I wrote it, kinda bored, doodling on the walls.”

Emerson to guys: “You know, I didn’t expect to get a rise out of you guys like that.”

Emerson: “I’ll take it off the walls, guys, I didn’t mean anything disrespectful.”

Diaz: “Somebody writes that shit towards me, I’m fucking socking somebody on sight. I don’t give a fuck.”

Diaz: “They all turned into little bitches, like it’s a game. Ha ha ha it’s a joke. Y’know, that shit ain’t funny to me.”

Then Manny (small eyes) finds out what’s going on. Armenian guy. He goes 10x crazier than Nick did. He doesn’t really say anything worth quoting except “fuck” and “I’ll fight anybody.” But it’s hilarious to watch the little Armenian bounce around, shouting he’s leaving, demanding the coaches be called in.

It’s one of the best meltdowns ever, particularly when he bumps into Greg (blue team, small eyes), who’s standing there calmly eating a cookie, and tells him, “Except for you… you’re a true man. True man.”

Greg: “I was like, alright, sweet. … Man I knew Manny was nuts, but I didn’t know he was this nuts.”

Gabe gets quoted an awful lot for the camera interview recaps. He’s good at summarizing the social dynamics in an amusing and contemptuous way. Wyman gets in good shots too, though: “It’s a sad day for humans.”

Finally Corey plays the good alpha and calms Manny down.

Onwards. We hear Noah and Manny talking pre-fight. Very different language. Big eyes don’t fight angry, so Noah talks about what a bad idea that is. Small eyes often do, and don’t see it as a problem.

Manny: “I just hate the kid, that’s the bottom line”
Noah: “I don’t hate anybody, I don’t think. I don’t like some guys, but hate’s a pretty strong word. It’s not very nice.”

Noah’s really showing his Thal roots, despite his Marine Corps background.

Unfortunately in the fight, Manny just rolls over Noah. Noah was too calm and defensive, and Manny had way more ground game, passing Noah’s guard at will. Manny had better standup too. Noah showed heart, but his only chance was to land an early flurry, which his temperament caused him not to attempt.

Noah: “I worked hard to get to the UFC, and now that I’m here, I’ve been sent back. I don’t know where to go now.”

Thal grief is poignant.

Episode 3 

Instead of working off his weight, Gabe talks BJ and Dana White into letting him get a colonic. Nobody’s impressed by this move.

Nate Diaz vs Emerson is another small eyes vs big eyes matchup, respectively. It was a great fight, but Nate eventually overwhelmed Emerson and got the submission. Afterwards, Emerson said the same thing as Noah – that he’d respected the other guy too much, fought defensively, and that you can’t win that way. I think this is a common rookie mistake for big eyes fighting small eyes. At lower skill levels, small eyes will win due to higher innate aggression overwhelming the technical aspects and making defense not viable.

Jens is now up 3-0 on BJ. Partly that’s due to getting the hammer and having better info for picking his fighters, but partly it’s because Jens is a better motivator and team alpha than BJ. Although BJ is unquestionably better as a technical teacher, and that should show later on.

Episode 4 

Wayne Weems has an MT head, and he’s clearly dedicated. But his face is just soft. His voice and verbal patterns reveal low testosterone. He’s a gamma through and through. If he didn’t have smallish eyes he wouldn’t be fighting at all. He’s got no skill or endurance. He’s not particularly smart, and his Thal front is not pronounced, so lets move on.

Gabe tells BJ he wants to fight Weems, another self-serving action that disgusts everyone. When Emerson calls out Gabe on this back at the house, Gabe lies about it, putting his own words in BJ’s mouth. The reason Emerson’s upset is because Gabe went behind everyone’s back to BJ and tried to grab the easiest fight. So Gabe tries to make it look like the whole thing was BJ’s idea:

The real conversation:
Gabe: “I wanna fight Weems. Someone’s gotta do it. Someone’s gotta do it.”
BJ: “Hahahaha, someone’s gotta do it, I might as well be the guy. … You’re not just trying to get an easy fight, are you?”

Gabe’s version to the guys:
Gabe: “What do you think about me fighting Weems?”
BJ: “Someone’s gotta fight him.”
Gabe: “Yeah.”

This is how skilled psychopaths lie: by altering the meaning while leaving the words mostly untouched. It’s very hard to catch… unless there happen to be cameras rolling.

Notice also that while everyone around him is loathe to engage in conflict, Gabe is completely comfortable in the pocket. It’s his place of business. He acts like he’s far more reasonable and right than people who actually are. In a less tight-knit situation, this would earn him a lot of undeserved deference.

Marlon Sims tells everyone he’s a massive street fighter. Dude is telling the truth, as unbelievable as it is. Maybe it wasn’t 200 fights, but he admittedly lost count. Gabe doesn’t believe him, because Gabe’s a liar, so he projects that onto everyone else.

But yep, Marlon’s dead serious. The microtells don’t lie, nor does his socket depth. At 13:55 and repeatedly thereafter he defends his honesty without flinching. From the specific way that he acted it out and defended it, I believe he’s really fought 5 guys in a street fight. Here’s Marlon’s face. He’s sneering because Gabe is in his face:

Gabe tooling Marlon: “If that was the case, you are the fucking man.”
Marlon: “Thank you. Thank you.”

He’s very high testosterone, as you can see in his face. He’s got small eyes for constantly getting into trouble, and deep sockets not to lie or back down.

Unfortunately Marlon’s also unsophisticated as a manipulator and basically has no answer to Gabe’s mockery, choosing to swallow it.

We get to watch Andy Wang do more ridiculously beta approval seeking when he gets picked to fight at 15:40. I can’t even quote the shit he says.

Andy, Gabe and BJ have a big discussion about whether Wang is going to refuse to shoot for the takedown like in previous fights, and ignore his corner’s instructions.

Andy Wang: “Don’t worry coach, I’m gonna listen.”

Famous last words. Kid’s an idiot. We’ll unpack the psychology of why in a minute.

Here’s some stuff Wang says: Fighting is a way to honor his family. Win lose or draw, he’s just happy to be with you guys right here right now. “Gotta roll the dice, we’ve got one life to live, so let’s rock and roll Brandon. Let’s rock and roll.” Seriously gay stuff. He’s all about group inclusion. His individual ego is so weak it’s nonexistent. And yet paradoxically this makes him a tremendous egotist, as he places his feeling of inclusion above everything else.

Wang: “It’s not so much the winning or losing that motivates me, but the myths of battle. You know, being in there, the punches are flying, the kicks are flying, your heart’s racing a million miles per hour.” He’s a total solipsistic subectivist hedonist.

“I wanna earn my respect inside the cage, and I’m not leaving until I get it.” That’s the key quote. Insecurity.

Look at his subservient head tilt and beta happy grin at the face-off. He’s basically cringing:

Matt Hughes shows up as a guest coach and immediately starts ripping on head coach Jens. Matt’s a straight jock dick, but also a hard worker, extremely competitive, honest and honor-bound. He’s got deep sockets, tiny eyes, and is an MT. You can see the high testosterone in his face.

Andy Wang again: “My goal in every fight is to show warrior spirit. I’m not here for the money, I’m not here for the fame, I’m here to get respect on the battle field. Live like a man, die like a man, then you become a man. … I’m gonna find out today where my destiny is.”

Couldn’t be a starker contrast between Andy Wang’s constant insecurity and passiveness and Matt Hughes, whose obsession with winning at everthing borders on pathological.

The fight itself is a joke. Andy’s better on the ground. BJ’s screaming himself hoarse the entire fight, “Andy take him down!” Andy doesn’t listen ONCE, instead standing up like he repeatedly promised not to do. When Andy sits down between rounds, BJ orders him to go for the takedown. Andy responds, “Yes sir.” Andy the little shit still won’t listen, stands there trading punches, and gets dominated by Brandon’s reach advantage. The fight goes the distance, but it’s a clear win for Brandon.

Andy explains afterwards: “Early in the first round Brandon hit me with a really good left, knocked me down. I was like, ‘Aw man,’ it felt like someone was trying to take my lunch money. And uh y’know, that became my mentality, and I was like, ‘Alright he knocked me down, the only way I can win this fight now is if I can knock him out.’”

Retarded. Insecure and lacking confidence, and it cost him the fight.

BJ: “Andy was supposed to go out, punch a few times, and take him down. But to me it was just like a lie what he told us. He should of just come out and said, ‘I’m not gonna take him down guys, I don’t care what you say.’”

Brandon: “I don’t know why he didn’t shoot in. He should’ve, he’s a blackbelt.”

After the fight, Andy cried like a complete bitch right in the Octagon.

BJ: “It’s unreal.”

Andy: “I lost, but honestly I don’t feel like a loser. I don’t think when people look at me they say, ‘He’s a punk.’ I think they say, ‘Andy Wang, hey man, he’s a warrior.’”

What a moron. One would hope that’s the last of Andy Wang, but unfortunately it won’t be.

Episode 5 

Now let’s get into some Thal suffering.

BJ: “Well, I think Noah jokes around too much. Tony can’t take it. Tony’s like a really straight-forward guy.”

Basically, big-eyed ex-Marine Thal Noah has the puckish Thal attitude. He’d never trash talk when he’s dominating somebody, EVER. But when he’s getting dominated, as he is by the grappling coach Tony, he’ll crack jokes all day. You haven’t broken his spirit, it’s just play, and that’s how deep Thals do it. Here’s his face again:

However, Tony has smaller, close-set eyes and is basically humorless. You can see some Cro Mag in his face, the bone flanges around the edges of his eyes.

Tony’s on top of Noah in a dominant position, and suddenly starts bullying him with pain holds. It stops being a game. Noah says ‘stop’ repeatedly, and taps repeatedly, but Tony keeps going.

Noah: “Tony decided that he wanted a grappling match, and he totally dominated me.
I don’t know. I don’t know if he wanted to break me, I don’t know if he wanted to hurt me.
He’s bigger. He’s better. He proved it. He won. Cool.”

Tony afterwards: “You’re getting your fuckin ass kicked and you’re fuckin talkin shit.”

Noah: “I wasn’t talkin shit on you dude.”
Tony: “You always do. All day. All day.”
Noah: “Yeah but, it wasn’t personal man.”
Tony: “All day you do” (3x)
Noah: (Yelling, walking away in anger) “I lost, there’s nothing I can do. I got beat by somebody better. Get off my fucking back.” (Kicks bag in anger.)

Noah to the camera: “Ain’t nobody gonna tell me how I learn or don’t learn. I’m 25 years old, I know how I learn by now.”

Noah is in the right here. Thals have a harmless joking style. Humor and fun is how they learn. If someone dominates someone else, it’s taken as a joke, because there’s no hierarchy between a small tribe of equals.

Cro Mags, on the other hand, are humorless dicks who take stuff personally. You look at Tony, you listen to him talk, and basically he’s dumb as a post. The Cro Mag simply tried to break the Thal by bullying him.

A lower testosterone Thal like Joe did fine in that situation, because he didn’t do any of that chivvying. But Noah, an ex-marine with higher T and bigger Thal eyes, got literally ground down.

Back to Gabe. He’s knows he’s gonna get picked next, and has to make weight. Yet he still goes for a huge piece of ice cream cake, even though he’s 20 pounds overweight with a gut.

As he reaches for it, he says, “Alright, I’m gonna have one small piece.”
Someone: “That’s a big fuckin piece of cake.”
Gabe: “You know what, I would’ve said no if it was just cake. But I didn’t know it was ice cream cake, so I’m just” (stuffs face)

Wyman to camera: “We’ve been here three weeks. All we see him eating is bowls of cereal, cookies, ice cream… Any fighter knows that’s not stuff you eat when you cut weight.”

Gabe talks a good game when BJ asks him what he’s been eating: chicken, almonds and spinach. It’s a lie though.

So why isn’t Gabe cutting weight properly, when he knows how and has always made weight before? It’s stress. He’s in an extremely difficult environment for an r-selected psychopathic melon. He’s trying to be ‘on’ all the time, constantly managing the social dynamics of the same tight-knit group of people, and gradually losing his grip. He’s eating comfort food to compensate, and because his willpower is drained by the energy exertion.

Gabe after eating the cake, to everyone: “I’m gonna go puke now. I’m really mad at myself. I’m really, really mad at myself.”

Ha very ha. Down to the mannerisms, super chick like. Food as comfort.

Sure enough, Corey picks Gabe for the next fight. Gabe uses a stool to stand over Corey for the staredown. That rocks Corey back a bit – he’s not the super alpha MMA guy he’s pretending to be. He actually has zero fights and is definitely not used to looking up at people. Another good game by Gabe.

Gabe to camera: “I saw it coming, obviously, I had my prop prepared so I could look him straight in the eyes. I could see fear. I could see him not 100% sure. That boastful guy who was barking the first day wasn’t there when I looked in his eyes. And that was a good thing for me.”

This is what Gabe’s about, what he lives for.

I give Corey credit, you would never believe he was rocked if you didn’t know how to read facial micro-expressions. But here it is, Corey Hill scared shitless:

Corey flashes that face right after this speech: “Gabe’s a veteran of the sport, so to speak. Y’know, he’s already been in and fought in the UFC. Not too many people know me right now. But hopefully after this fight, oh they gonna know me after this fight, they gonna know who Corey Hill is.”

Back to Gabe. He’s managing the fight announcement fallout with his team, steering the conversation to his fight gameplan, trying to cut short weight discussion with reassurances. He’s in the pocket, managing face. Everyone goes in for the team cheer, and you can see Gabe’s face in the pocket:

His facial muscles are relaxed; he’s not into the team spirit at all. It’s just alert, patient, poised predation. Then he’ll flick out of that position with a move. It’s a common pattern, and not so much a slipping of the mask as subliminal intimidation, quickly papered over by a niceguy routine.

Here he is again doing an uncomfortable passive aggressive freeze while Gray awkwardly tries to bring up the question of Gabe’s weight cutting plan. Gabe holds it a beat after the question is done.

The freeze technique works and Gray’s microtell shows he’s ashamed for bringing it up:

Gabe instantly capitalizes on the opportunity, exaggeratedly turning to full engagement body language (something Gray isn’t comfortable with). He jumps on Gray while he’s weak and gets him to agree to his half-assed lazy plan just to reestablish rapport. Check out the deer in the headlights look on Gray:

When Gabe proclaims he’s going to start by taking a nap, Gray weakly tries again. Gabe’s got hand now and just changes the subject to how he’s intimidating Corey; a logical non-sequiter since that won’t be relevant if he doesn’t make weight. But it works and Gabe has carried the day.

Next we see Gabe doing a lengthy set of positive motivational affirmations, which he’s stuck all over his wall, in front of the Thal Noah, who pays attention but is genuinely completely noncommittal and non-judgmental in a hilarious Thal way. Noah’s just loyally following Gabe around until he makes weight, but Gabe thinks he can milk the opportunity to create a follower. None of it is penetrating Noah’s soul in the slightest, whereas a Cro Mag would be snowed by the genius.

Here’s a sample of Gabe’s brilliance: “Think positive thoughts daily / Believe in yourself!”

Noah: “Yup.”
Gabe: (giving amog shoulder massage) “Either way, we’re ready to going to war, y’know?”
Noah: (yawning) “Yup. I’m ready, I’m down for whatever dude.” (talking about cutting weight)

The funny thing is that Noah isn’t disagreeing or contemptuous in the slightest. He’s agreeing and thinks it’s good, but it’s just not making any impact. You can often find this kind of Thal-Melon friendship pairing, because the Thal supplies stability for the insecure Melon, and the Melon supplies persistent initiation to keep the friendship alive, which Thals aren’t good at.

Gabe makes good progress on his weight the day before the weigh-in. It’s doable. But then gives up mentally the day of, and turns into a huge drama queen. After three enemas in the previous days, he gives up with 3 pounds to go. He winds up crying and going to the hospital. Everyone has lost all respect for him. “It’s his own fault, he had all this time.” “He had titties and a stomach.”

Gabe’s emotional nature cries only in response to peer rejection. Not for anything that a normal human being would cry for. Here’s him walking in the front door after a couple hours at the hospital, with a smile on his face, even though he just failed to make weight:

Some guy: “I think we need to be compassionate for Gabe Ruediger. He went through hell, he almost killed himself.”
Wyman: “You’re joking right?”
Guy: “Hahahaha”

Gabe to camera: “To walk back in and know that I’d be facing people that I respect [he means ‘need approval of’] was one of the hardest moments. [voice cracking].”

At first Gabe boldly attempts to reassert his face. He grabs Andy’s approval with a handshake, then tries to discomfort stare-down a critic. It fails. Everyone’s against him, despite Andy’s weak defending. His self justification, “It wasn’t like I had an option,” is rejected with disgust.

Gabe to camera: “I was expecting some backlash, but I got [voice crack] considerably more than I was anticipating.”

This is what breaks him up; loss of face. Not shame at failing to meet an internal code of expectations.

Gabe changes tactics from self justification to shotgun apologizing. But nobody on his team wants to hear that either.

So he’s sitting off by himself, at dinner, directly facing people with their backs to him, all pathetic.

Gabe to camera: “I just wanted a chance to explain to my teammates that, look, I made a mistake. I hurt myself the most, but I know I hurt everyone else as well.”

I’m the victim. Forgive me, take me back!

He tells BJ: “Letting everyone else down is bad, but knowing that I let myself down is the worst.” BJ looks away in disgust.

BJ to camera: “Was this his whole plan to deliberately not fight on the show? Who knows, I honestly question it.”

Dana comes in, man I love it.

Gray: “Dana was pissed. Just standing there pissed. And everybody’s like, ‘Aw man, what’s gonna happen, what’s gonna happen, why did Gabe put us in this spot?’”

Dana sends Gabe home. Then Gabe finally cries, for the camera. Public shaming and massive rejection does him in. His last line is perfect: “This is my life!”

A decent human being would’ve been crying far earlier. He would’ve gone off alone when he came back to the house, rather than walking in with a smirk on his face and trying to reassert status. Guys like Gabe are a genetic scourge on the Earth.


That’s it for today. It was an amusing way to waste time while I waited for the UDCA to arrive. It’s here now and I’ve come back to life.

If you guys want more of this, let me know. There’s a street fight and some more drama deeper in.