It’s agreed everywhere that the formula of the Ultimate Fighter has grown stale. However, when the aim of the show is to unearth a new superstar and at the same time provide adequate training for other fighters, you can’t really tinker with show and throw in Survivor like twists that affect the quality of training.
The trick is to try and create a show that is both helpful to the fighters and entertaining and engaging to the viewer. Spike and the UFC have tried a number of different ideas like putting coaches on the show who hate each other (TUF 3), filling the house with UFC veterans (TUF 4), and then there most recent tactic seems to be throwing in fighters with little experience who can just add personality and conflict to the show (TUF 5 and 6).
So the question is what can the UFC do to bring back the intrigue without subtracting from the quality of training the fighters are meant to recieve. I have a couple of ideas that could accomplish both of these goals.
1. Bring in Rampage – Let’s face it he was made for TV. The UFC hasn’t used their light heavyweight champ to his full potential…well they haven’t even really used him at all actually, but this would be the perfect place to do so.
However if Rampage is a coach, I don’t believe he should have a rival for his division he is meant to fight at the end. It’ll put the division on hold for too long, and the constant sniping between Serra and Hughes has got old quick. If there’s just another coach from another division, or an actual trainer that Rampage can poke fun at the whole time, it would work well and there wouldn’t be this cloud of negativity that was evident in season 6. Seriously the constant blame game Hughes and Serra kept playing just got tiresome.
An older, “wiser” trainer would work well with my second idea.
2. Work the Underdog angle – Yes I know it sounds a bit stupid, but as long as they don’t keep saying the word “underdog” I think this idea could work out.
If you had two seperate houses, one with tried and tested UFC veterans and the other with a bunch of undiscovered, promising new guys. I have a feeling that the UFC may be working in old UFC fighters like in TUF 4, possibly Evan Tanner? But if you were to seperate the two houses, and eventually have the winner of one house fight the other, or just make them fight all the way through the season, it would be both interesting and compelling to see how good the actual new guys are.
With Rampage as coach of the “newbies” and the older more accomplished UFC veterans coached by some well accomplished trainer, it would really enhance the us versus them feeling and at the same time establishing Rampage as the face of the new generation of fighters, while also plugging the older fighters as having a second chance.
3. Just make sure its Middleweights – The final one is a very simple one and pretty much a given anyway. They have to make it middleweights, because the division is in serious need. Besides for the hardcore MMA fan they would want to check out the show just to see who are potential middleweight prospects.
Just to reinforce it… that means ACTUAL middleweights, not TUF 1 middleweights where the winner dropped to welterweight, the runner up dropped to lightweight and half the rest of them dropped as well.
So that is it. Hopefully Dana White is serious about a shakeup of the show, and not just a half arsed one where he actually allows Bibles or something.
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