"We were all in a different country and we were all proud to represent the UK. We stuck together and had a real bond. We did everything together."
"It definitely mattered to us during the fights. We didn't want to lose to the Americans. We all agreed that if we couldn't win the show ourselves, we'd want another member of the UK team to win it. We didn't want an American to come out on top and were very proud to represent our country."
"America are at the forefront of MMA and we had a lot to prove on the show. We had to prove that we couldn't only hang with Americans but actually get the better of them. We Brits are always getting badmouthed on MMA forums and it was about time we were given the opportunity to show we're not as bad as people make out. Even Mike Bisping gets a hard time from a lot of American fans and he's been nothing but good for the sport."
-- Dean Amasinger, member of Team UK on this season of "The Ultimate Fighter". The theme of the season was always designed to gin up and exacerbate identity-based conflict, but not in the way it's actually unfolding. The rivalry actually tapped into the insecurities and ambitions among the British MMA fighters regarding the status and quality of the UK MMA scene. By any measure, the sport in the UK is well behind what's going on in the states, but there have been notable improvements in the UK from the creation of British-based stars to the quality and number of fight camps. And that feeling of upswing is helping to seemingly drive the British toward their goals of properly representing - and debunking what they see as old memes - their country and their ability to compete with the Americans.
It's something of an accident that SpikeTV would be able to home in on what hardcore fans discuss as prevalent issues and turn them into themes for the reality show, but it seems to have happened nonetheless. Or maybe it wasn't accidental at all.