In the build up to the premiere of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Nogueira vs. Team Mir, Spike showed a marathon of the first season of the UFC hit reality show on Saturday. I sat down to watch some of it and came away with several impressions.
1. It took about three episodes for Dana White, to become the Dana White we all know and love. The moment was when the cast learned they were fighting without any compensation. I thought it was a reasonable point, what if you get hurt how are you suppose to pay for it? After an afternoon of grumbling Dana White gave his first, "Do you want to be a f*cking fighter!?" speech. Now we get to look forward to it every season.
2. The quality of the production has jumped tremendously over the seasons. While the formula has stayed constant it is easy to forget the little details and polish that gives contemporary TUF its image. A lot of that comes with extra money to build up the stock footage for those montages between scenes.
3. Physical challenges. These were done away with fairly quickly in favor of more fights. At the same time these events show that TUF was really a Survivor clone like so many other reality shows before it found its own footing.
4. Randy Couture is way more charismatic than Chuck Liddell. In fact Chuck Liddell is painful to watch compared to Randy. The more I watched the marathon the more I remembered how popular, well spoken and intelligent Randy is. He really does deserve his nickname of 'Captain America'.
5. Presence of talent. Besides current light heavyweight champ Forrest Griffin, there is Diego Sanchez, Josh Kosscheck, Nate Quarry, Mike Swick, Chris Leben, Kenny Florian and Stephan Bonnar. Not a bad recruiting job for the shows first season especially when compared to other seasons.
6. Reality shows tend to be identical, at least in storylines and plot points. Even in season 1 it is glaringly self evident. The, "I am here to win" line as well as the individuals who just can't cope with the physicality. For MMA this event is defined in cutting weight, and every season there seems to be a cutting weight controversy (last night for instance).
7-a. Sticking with weight, with the exception of Leben, Quarry, Griffin and Bonnar all the fighters mentioned above have dropped down in weight since the show.
7-b. Another weight point, everyone who is a middleweight in the show looks fat and bloated compared to their current weights, especially Kenny Florian.
8.The intro music is the best intro in reality television.
9-a. The Forrest Griffin, Stephan Bonnar fight is still one of the greatest fights in UFC history. I was on the edge of my seat even though it occurred so long ago.
9-b. What happened to Bonnar, the guy had so much promise. True their were steroids, injuries, bad defeats and unimpressive wins. But where did this guy go, can he come back and be good again?
10. Finally I noticed how exhausted I was. True watching a marathon of anything can kill you, but the show did become repetitive and fast. It reminded me how stale the show has become. Now I am so thankful I have DVR so I can just watch the last five minutes and be done with all the bullshit in between.