This season of The Ultimate Fighter has surprised me, so far. I didn't even think that was possible. I haven't bothered to watch a season for the last couple years, because it seemed stale and recycled, and mainly focused on the drama rather than the fighting. After watching the first two episodes of this season, I am left with that familiar anxious feeling I get when I've just watched a Game of Thrones episode and have to wait an entire week to get my my next fix. The makeover TUF received is a nice change, and it seems that they've got a solid line-up of very talented athletes. I spoke with one of those athletes, Uriah Hall, and got his thoughts on a variety of TUF topics.
Mass Recognition via TUF
Well, I'm very excited, but at the same time, I'm nervous. You know, I've lost a couple times in my career, and I'm kind of overwhelmed a little bit, too. The whole experience is so new to me. I've got to get used to it. I try to have fun when I go out there to fight. It's been something that I've forgotten in the past. The whole experience of being on the show, especially with great coaches like Chael Sonnen and Jon Jones, made me better, style-wise.
Initial thoughts on first epsisode
The show is exciting for me to watch, because even though I was there, I didn't really know what was going on and what they were actually using, so to see it from different angles was pretty cool. I like the way they brought it out. I like the different takes and different touches they added in. I've watched seasons before this one, and it was very different. This one seems like it's more of a documentary. I'm not gonna lie, I liked the slow motion editing they did in the first episode. I thought it was pretty cool. I just liked the way they did it.
Being in the house was an overwhelming experience. I had said to myself in the beginning, 'Oh, this should be nothing', but the whole thing was just so new and so different. The training, the facility, they were so amazing. There was also so much food. All you really had to do was focus on eating, sleeping and training. That was it. At a certain point, reality starts to sink in, and you start to question if you really have what it takes to do this. I think a lot of guys would question themselves, because you're living with the person you have to fight. It was grueling, physically, but at the same time, it was a mental test to see who could fight through those doubts, and still have their head on top of their body at the end, and have their hand raised. The biggest test isn't being on the show. It's when you come off the show, and how you take what you learned there and apply it. Being in that house has it's ups and downs, but if I had the opportunity, I would probably do it again [laughs]. I'm not gonna lie.
The way they're promoting the show is so much better than previous seasons. I hate to see guys come on the show and just make a complete fool of themselves, and act stupid, just to get that publicity and recognition. I think it's just dumb. Now they don't focus on that stuff so much. They focus on the guys' struggles and sacrifices, the things they had to do to get to this opportunity in the house. It used a nicer, more human approach to the fighters. For someone new to the sport, they might look at it as, 'Those guys are animals', but they forget we're regular people, too. We just chose to take a different route. I really enjoyed it, and I hope if they have another season, that fighters coming on board can learn from it, and not come on the show and just be stupid.
I love Chuck. He's one of the pioneers of modern martial arts. When I made the comment about his hair not moving, it was because I remembered his hair was so perfectly still when I saw him. I only met him briefly, but I'm big on first impressions, and anyone can leave a really good impression when they're a celebrity, but he was a great guy, and I saw him around at the events quite a bit. I don't really have any jokes or stories about Chuck. I've read a lot of them [laughs], but at the time of the World Combat League, I was just happy to be there, and it was a great learning experience for me. It helped me to cross over into MMA a lot more smoothly.
Let me tell you a quick story. For the TUF premiere, I had a party, and the place was just packed. My friends brought their friends, and they brought theirs. There was pictures and videos and all this stuff. It was so overwhelming. I had to talk and entertain, and at one point, I had to run into the bathroom and lock myself in. I was like, 'Holy shit! I can't do this', but again, everything is still brand new to me, so I guess I'll just have to learn to deal with that.
Uriah is a very friendly and engaging guy, and judging by his fight to get into the house, he's got the talent to go far in the sport. He seems to have a good head on his shoulders and his modesty and humility is a refreshing change from past egos that have been exhibited on The Ultimate Fighter show. His first fight in the house is set for this coming Tuesday, and win or lose, I'm sure it will be exciting.
You can follow Uriah via his Twitter account, @UriahHallMMA