Since The Ultimate Fighter 9 will be hitting us in the head with it's premier tonight. My neighbor Zak Woods over at WatchKalibRun(along with Ryan from Fightlinker) have a little draft going where they rank the past seasons of The Ultimate Fighter. I was supposed to participate, but simply didn't have the time to lay the smack down. So here's how the first round went:
First Pick by Zak Woods: The Ultimate Fighter season one, was hands down the best season and it is nearly impossible to argue against it. Eight of the shows sixteen fighters are still in the UFC, one has won a title, and one is fighting for a title this August. That is an unbelievable success rate for what is essentially amounts to a draft.
No season of the show has ever come close to over all talent and impact on the UFC. Let's just recap some of the fighters that this season produced. Forrest Griffin of course he won the LHW title, Kenny Florian is the number one contender at lightweight, Josh Koscheck is a top-5 welterweight. Diego Sanchez was a legit welterweight and has now moved down to lightweight and will most likely compete for the title with one more win. Nate Quarry and Chris Leben (when he is not taking steroids) have also become staples at middleweight. Mike Swick competed at middleweight and now looks close to becoming a top-ten welterweight. Oh yeah I forgot Stephan Bonnar. Listing these guys reminds me of the Steelers '74 draft, where they drafted four hall-of-famers with their first four picks (for football buffs that would be Lynn Swan, Jack Lambert, Mike Webster and John Stallworth).
Of course I would be remise if I didn't mention the macro-impact this season had. Besides bringing MMA to cable television, the epic three round bout between Griffin and Bonnar is cited as the single reason for the explosion of the UFC and MMA. I know I was one of those idiots running through my dorm screaming, "Holy Shit! You have to watch this, it is fucking amazing!"
The show also introduce new fans to two legends of the sport in Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture. The finale was aired on April 9th, 2005 and Liddell-Couture II occurred a week later. One could argue that if TUF-1 catapulted the sport, it also created the legends Couture and Liddell for the newly created fan base."
Ryan Harkness: Yep, I can't disagree with Zak here on choice number one. It's a no brainer: everyone watching reality television wanted to see half the contestants get their ass kicked, and the Ultimate Fighter built that into the show. As a foot in the door to get people interested in MMA, there was no better formula.
There could have been 1000 ways the first season could have sucked a thousand dicks, but the UFC managed to put together a surprisingly slick product and save their own asses in the process. Add in Forrest Griffin vs. Stephan Bonnar turning into a historic meme that changed the course of mixed martial arts forever, and how can you deny Season 1 as the undisputed champ of Ultimate Fighter seasons?
If I had to rank all of the seasons of TUF based on how good the show was and impact...in a nutshell it would look like this:
- TUF 1
- TUF 2
- TUF 3
- TUF 5
- TUF 7
- TUF 8
- TUF 6
- TUF 4
As much as I like Din Thomas and all those other kats, TUF 4 was the most boring season ever. How would you rank the past 8 seasons of TUF from best to worst?