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The Contender 1 - Episode 4 Summary

'An American Tragedy' By ARnutz
Original Airdate: March 20, 2005

The winner returns…

The episode opens with Ishe celebrating his victory over Ahmed in the ring and then spending the evening with his family. Upon his return to the loft, he is given congratulations for his win from many of the guys. This week, he will be given the golden glove (otherwise known as the “bling-bling immunity necklace”) and congratulated on his trip to the final 8. The reward for the West this week is dinner with Sugar Ray!

Team “Westsiiiide” goes with Sugar Ray and Jackie to dine on the roof of a very tall building at a fancy schmancy restaurant. Surprisingly, most of them do not wear the brand new suits that they earned last week!

The unexpected development…

In the meantime, Jeff is shown going to visit his 7 year old son and girlfriend of 10 years in Contender Family housing. He is sick and is weak. Later on, he’ll go to Jackie: the Contender Den Mother (What is this? Cub Scouts?) and tell her he is sick. She tells him that he should see a doctor. When the doctor comes in, Jeff is told he has to be taken out of the competition because he has chicken pox.

Since Jeff is out, the guys are told they must vote for one of the previously losing fighters to come back and be given a second chance. Rocky Sly tells them to vote for the most deserving one and they are given the night to decide.

The votes are cast and it goes like this: Jonathan, Peter, Peter, Jonathan, Peter, Peter, Peter, Peter, Jonathan, Peter, Jonathan and Peter. Hmmm… not a single vote for Ahmed? I wonder why? Peter is voted back into the competition by a vote of 8 to 4 over Jonathan.

Peter returns to the gym and takes his gloves off of the losers wall of shame. He is welcomed back by the other guys and they discuss his “second chance”. Anthony says, “Bringing Peter back may come back to haunt the West. To beat a guy's going to be hard.” Ummm… hmmm… perhaps… ya think? Gee, some guy gets a second chance and you think he could be a problem for the other team? Boy… that’s a good assessment!

The challenge…

This challenge is brought to you by Toyota and Everlast!

The teams must pull a 5000 lb. Toyota Tundra pick-up down a dry riverbed with a rope and pick up 15 punching bags, some of which have letters on them, along the way. The bags must be put into the Toyota Tundra pick-up truck’s bed. When they have collected all of the bags and reached the end of the riverbed, they must spell out a nine letter word. Hold on… are you sure this riverbed is safe from flash floods at this time? What if water starts gushing and washes all of the contenders away? … and whoa! A nine letter word? That’s a big word! Do you think they can handle that?

The East has Sugar Ray as their cheerleader for this challenge and he will stand in the cab with his body sticking up out of the sunroof to inspire them to move! The West has Tommy the trainer in their truck. Wait! No fair! Tommy weighs more than Sugar Ray, doesn’t he? I say the East have an unfair advantage!

The teams begin and the East is out first. The teams are moving along at a pretty good pace at the beginning and it seems like it will be another close event, but wait… the West is in a little trouble… they can’t get the bags in fast enough and the guys are still pushing the truck Yes, I know, they were supposed to pull the truck, but somehow, they ended up pushing it… hey it’s Mark Burnett land, rules are made to be broken! Anyway… The West team pushes the truck over the rope and gets stuck on a speed bump. The guys in the back are still pushing and almost run over Miguel as he tries to get the rope untangled from under the truck! Tommy is yelling! … and with that, the East finally wins their first challenge and they are in control of who fights whom!

The fighters…

On the East side, Najai Turpin is chosen (or chooses) to fight. We are never shown the usual team deliberations which would allow us to see how the decision came about. He is asked to toe the line and call out his opponent from the West side. After glancing back at Peter, who gives him the nod, he calls out Sergio Mora.

So we have our guys! Let’s take a closer look at them:


He enters this fight with a record of 13-1-0, including 9 knockouts. Raised in the projects of Philadelphia, he had a tough time trying to make it in the world of boxing when his mother died and he had to become the man of the house. He worked 3 jobs and continued his training while supporting 2 brothers and a sister. When he was carjacked and robbed at gunpoint and stripped of $900 cash, he wanted nothing but revenge, soon after the acceptance package for The Contender arrived and he looked at it as a chance to prove himself and make a better life for his daughter.

We can see that this poor soul is a haunted one as we progress through the episode. Early on, he is shown with Jackie and his hoodie covers his head as they have a conversation. Jackie tells us that Najai is distrustful of anyone and that, “He’s like a little animal that was mistreated.” The impression we get of Najai is one of mystery. He is always on his guard. He speaks of never holding anybody close because they’ll cross you. He trusts only his daughter. He says, “If I die today or tomorrow, my family has nothing.”

As far as his fighting style, he is known as being “very slippery” and the others are a little afraid to fight him because, as Alfonso says, “He throws like 1000 punches!” Sergio says, “No one wanted to fight Najai. Simple reason don't know him, you can't crack him. He's a nut. So I didn't want to fight Najai. But now I do. And now that I do, I've got to win. And that's that.”

Najai says of his opponent Sergio, “I choose to fight the best. I come here to make them feel the way I feel. Inside of me, I got a whole lot of pain, and I'm going to bring it to whoever I fight.”

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