Pramit Mohapatra thinks it's different than SpikeTV's "The Ultimate Fighter", but that may be the value-added characteristic it needs:
Let's be clear at the outset -- Iron Rings is absolutely nothing like TUF. Whether its the format of the competition, the way Iron Rings is filmed or the fact that each show is only 30 minutes long, no one will confuse BET's approach with that of Spike TV. And, that may be a good thing.
Iron Rings feels more accessible. Tryouts are held in gyms that are a far cry from the palatial digs of UFC headquarters. The tryouts themselves seem the farthest thing from scripted -- in fact, there is a certain level of confusion and disorder captured on film that one would naturally expect from a real-life tryout.
And there's the way the show is shot. It's grittier, more dynamic, and more familiar to viewers who are used to short clips that keep things moving.
Am I actually getting curious now?