It's funny how people in the United States hates The Ultimate Fighter reality show and don't even want to see it anymore. I may sympathize with some of the critics that are made, but this show represents something really big and it's great that it's happening, specially here in Brazil.
On the first show, I had two friends take part. One became the champion, the other had the bad luck of facing him and although he had the chance of fighting for a spot in the UFC, he wasn't luck as well and people now see him past the fighter he really is.
But it changed both of their lifes in a positive way. They both had their ups and downs, but their life got to a level it wouldn't get if it wasn't for TUF Brazil. One of them will always be in history as the first TUF champion and although he got a recent setback, his history is just beginning. The other one became a father, got his career on track and is coming from his second consecutive win in three fights and aiming for a return to the place he shouldn't have left in the first place - and if he keeps wanting it, I firmly believe he'll do it.
On TUF Brazil two, I had another friend take part. He didn't win it and didn't have a chance to fight for his place in the UFC like the ones on TUF Brazil 1 had. But he's made the most of it, changed his stance as a fighter and may very well make his way there pretty soon - that is, if he's not on the way already.
Why am I saying all this? Because in a few hours hundreds of Brazilian fighters will be gathering together at the Hotel Windsor at Rio de Janeiro for a chance to change their lives. Several of them are spending more then 4 times the minimum wage of Brazil in order to try for the next The Ultimate Fighter Brazil show. Try to guess how many of them makes even the minimum wage every month.
The amount of effort they put to gather the money, the help they received from people who believed in them, their thoughts, their souls all set in this goal, you can't look into it and not be affected.
Guys whose talent goes beyond the sky, but due to bad decisions or management tarnished their records. Guys who fought everyone that was put in front of them in their region, but never got a chance to showcase their skills elsewhere. Guys who do everything right, but the opportunities just don't appear. Guys who had their big chances and made the most of it, yet nothing changed for them.
If you look at the sport side by itself you already see a lot of variables. And when you start to get into all the effort, all the talent, all the difficulties those guys have gone or go through and you see an opportunity like this that could give them what they need... everytime you hear about TUF, you have to thank for it's existence.
Some of Brazil's finest jewels will be present on TUF tomorrow. Some of Brazil's journeymen too. And some of Brazil's journeymen who could shine like the jewels if the opportunity presents.
Some of the guys who will be there in a few hours have the potential to become UFC champions. And lots of them wouldn't even have an opportunity to show it if not for TUF.
May there be several more TUF editions, may there be opportunities like these presented by other organizations as well, and may there always be quality and improvement on the show after each season.