The 2-hour live premier episode of Season 15 of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) is less than 24 hours away, and I feel like writing about UFC’s reality show. The previous fourteen seasons of TUF have had its shares of ups and downs, and being the pessimist that I am, I wanted to touch on some of the downs that have occurred. So without further ado, here are some of the biggest disappointments in TUF history.
Phillipe Nover (Season 8)
The real culprit for Nover being a disappointment is the UFC hype machine. Most of the previews leading up to the debut of Season 8 foreshadowed an elite fighter that would set the MMA world on fire. Once the show started it was apparent that Phillipe Nover was the man that received such high praise as Dana White compared Nover to a “young GSP”. While Nover did do fine in the tournament making it to the finals, but he went on to lose three consecutive UFC bouts en route to his departure from the UFC. Needless to say, Nover didn’t live up to the hype.
Chris Leben and Josh Koscheck were easily the two most polarizing fighters on TUF’s original season, and it was clear that at one point their flamboyant characters would clash. They did and what developed was one of the best feuds in TUF history. Both men nearly came to blows at the house after a drunken Josh Koscheck along with a drunken Bobby Southworth antagonized a drunken Chris Leben into a drunken rage. The feud would be settled in the cage as both men were slated to fight one another. Unfortunately, the climax was lacking as Koscheck took down Leben for two lackluster rounds that disappointed the viewer’s tuning in for a slobberknocker.
Team US (Season 9)
Once the format of Team US vs Team UK was announced for TUF’s 9th season, everyone was anticipating a good ol’ fashion USA beat-down. Unfortunately for Americans the UK fighters were ready to fight. The show’s format backfired with UK taking home the 170 and 155 pound tournaments. To make the matter worse only one US fighter was represented in the finals after the semi-final match-ups were clearly favored to put multiple US fighters into the finale. The only consolation was Team US Coach, Dan Henderson’s highlight reel KO over Team UK’s coach, Michael Bisping at UFC 100.
Micah Miller (Season 14)
Going into Season 14, Micah Miller was the clear favorite to win the featherweight tournament. On the first episode of Season 14, Miller made it known that he was aware of that citing that there was no way he would lose to Steven Siler, who looked like anything but a fighter. Apparently there was a way as Siler upset the early tournament favorite with 3rd round guillotine submission in what was one of the biggest upsets in TUF history. The story doesn’t end for Siler there as he went on to beat Micah’s brother Cole at UFC on FX 2 to earn the nickname “Miller Killer”. Watch out Jim and Dan.
Gabe Ruedigar’s Weight Cutting Ability (Season 5)
It may have been the colonic that really brought the ire of MMA fans everywhere to despise Gabe Ruedigar, but it was likely his negative attitude. In the early episodes of Season 5, Ruedigar was quite a brash fighter always talking a big game, yet always citing questionable excuses as to why he couldn’t get his weight under control. Ruedigar became quite the character that would likely draw a big audience to see his potential beat-down. Unfortunately, that beat-down never happened as Ruedigar was unable to make weight for his fight which led to his departure from the show.
Brock Lesnar (Season 13)
The announcement of Brock Lesnar as a head coach on Season 13 brought high expectations as Lesnar was one of the UFC’s biggest superstars at the time. He was one of the most polarizing fighters, and a reality show based around him almost guaranteed fantastic ratings and great television. Lesnar’s personality that made him a fighter that you either loved or loved to hate didn’t really translate to the reality show and it’s safe to say he was a disappointment from an entertainment standpoint. To be fair, his antagonist was Junior Dos Santos who is one of the nicest fighters in the game.
So there are some of the biggest disappointments thus far in TUF history, and I’m sure that there are much more that I missed. Feel free to me let me know on some of the big misses I made. Nonetheless, I still have a good feeling about this season being a success.