Back in what long term fans of the UFC, (Which I whole heartedly admit that I am not) dubbed ‘the glory days of the UFC’, the main way in which new talent was sought after was the, The Ultimate Fighter reality TV series, for those of you who aren’t fans or those who have never watched the series, the premise of the show is as follows: two groups of fighters are separated into teams, the blue team and the orange team, with each team being labelled by the coach of each groups name, e.g Team Bisping, Team McGregor etc…
Anyway these fighters are all crammed together into a big house in Las Vegas and turned against each other and they fight it out for a chance at a professional contract for the UFC. With the show slowly becoming pretty dated, the majority of talent is found by other means, usually DWCS (Dana White’s Contender Series). The whole aspect of the Contender Series makes The Ultimate Fighter a pretty useless thing right now.
When the show debuted in 2004, TV was the mainstream avenue for watching content. Most MMA fans in the day, gathered around shady internet forums like Sherdog and the MMA Underground, it was quite difficult to find other ‘Hardcores’ as the sport was so niche in the entertainment and sports marketplace, but the huge runaway success of TUF helped usher in a new era of fans, as the TV exposure paired with the insane violence reality nature attracted people who otherwise didn’t even know what UFC was.
The whole concept of the show is pretty beaten down at this point, with a lot of the seasons becoming pretty repetitive. However, I can’t speak for the whole show. I have to admit that I love the show. There are a few seasons that have stood out though. If you find yourself in a situation where you feel like giving the show a try, or maybe you just feel like rewatching, remember this. Here are the few gems of seasons that we, as fans have grown to love.
No one ever forgets the original, the season that kick-started it all. Team Liddell Vs Couture, the season had pretty much everything you could ask for, the fights, the drama, it was just an all round excellent season.
This is my personal favourite season, then again this article is coming from a huge Bisping fan. I found this season incredibly entertaining with the drama and the ongoing prank war between Bisping and Mayhem Miller, but my favourite part (& favourite moment as an MMA fan) was seeing Mayhem Miller get evaporated by Bisping. A truly satisfying end to a sick season.
Season 4 – The comback
This season was definitely a breath of fresh air. The concept of this season was quite diffrent from previous ones, this series was based off of bringing in fighters that had previously had little success in their careers and putting them into the same situation as previous contestants. Instead of fighting for a UFC contact, this time they fought for a second chance. With the winner getting a title shot against Anderson Silva.
With Dana White confirming the return of The Ultimate Fighter, we can only hope they miraculously find a way to innovate and change it up for the better. Most just want the show to die off, but hopefully there’s a way to revive it, as some of us still like it.