Lean to the left . . .

Total Bull star Western Wishes, plus Ultimate Fighter 5 , Fight Girls , and Last Comic Standing
By JAMES PARKER  |  June 27, 2007

FIGHT GIRLS: So, uh, where’s the fight?

Western Wishes — what an animal. When he was a chunky three-year-old, strutting around on the ranch back in Ardmore, Oklahoma, this bull got a horn infection so deep, it necessitated the amputation of his right horn. And now his one maneuver, when he gets a professional bull rider on his back, is to spin wickedly to the left. “He goes out there and really gets it on,” explained veteran rider Gilbert Carrillo last Saturday on the Versus show TOTAL BULL, “like real electric. And he don’t throw no belly rolls, either, he don’t throw no tricks, he just goes out there and spins.” Leftward he twists and prances, this heavyweight unicorn, this lopsided vortex of bullhood; lariats of phlegm lash back from his muzzle, and the proud cowboys are flung away like dolls. In the course of a study of the D+H Cattle Company (whose other notable performers include Mossy Oak Mudslinger, and Crossfire Hurricane), Total Bull delved into the lineage and background of Western Wishes. Fascinating stuff, but I couldn’t help feeling that a real biography of the bull would have taken a more psychological approach to his lack of a right horn. Was it his dæmon, the guardian of his genius, that rotted out the horn root — thereby making him turn forever to the left, to the left in a wild act of compensation? Did that missing prong in some sense make Western Wishes? I think it’s very likely.

Other beasts clashed on the Saturday-night finale of ULTIMATE FIGHTER 5, over on Spike. Having thrashed and pummeled their way through weeks of group-house living, Manny Gamburyan and Nate Diaz gave each other a perfunctory mauling at the Palms in Las Vegas. As a fight it was a bust: Gamburyan’s shoulder popped out of its socket moments into round two, and that was that. But the main event was still to come: the much-hyped rematch between the two coaches on Ultimate Fighter 5, BJ “The Prodigy” Penn and Jens “Little Evil” Pulver. In their last bout, five years ago, Pulver scored a surprise win. Penn — according to the UFC scriptwriters — had been pacing the cell of his anger ever since, raw with indignation: the pre-fight prattle was all needle, vengeance, grudge, and bad blood. So having choked out Pulver in the second round and then embraced him with every sign of fraternal love, Penn was approached by a confused Joe Rogan: “It’s great to see you guys finally squash this! How do you feel?!” Penn, coolly victorious, gazed into the electric Vegas darkness and narrowed his eyes. “If you want to know what BJ Penn feels like . . . ,” he said, “go to BJPenn.com right now!” And then he was gone, this futuristic non-statement hanging in the air behind him. Rogan floundered briefly before being rescued by meaty-voiced fellow commentator Mike Goldberg: “You know what? We do know what he feels like! He feels like the heaviest weight that could ever be placed upon him has been lifted!” Sure, Mike, sure.

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