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Season Premiere of The Ultimate Fighter: Two Thumps Up

If you didn’t enjoy last night’s season premiere for the seventh season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” then chances are you don’t like fighting.

The first episode of TUF 7 was pretty much nothing but fights. UFC president Dana White set the stage with a variation of his infamous “Do you want to be a f—— fighter” speech and informed the cast of 32 fighters that they would have to fight their way into the house.

Most of the fighters were stunned by the development but didn’t have much time to mope around because they had just 48 hours to make weight for their first fight. One fighter, John Clarke had to cut 17 pounds. It never ceases to amaze me when fighters don’t show up on weight because even if there were just 16 fighters, there still is a chance a fighter could fight soon after their arrival.

Despite being bigger and more experienced, Clarke slumped after a quick start and ended up being arm barred by 21-year old Cale Yarbrough.

In addition to the fights, we were also treated to the comedic stylings of Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Forrest Griffin. Both had several one great one liners that really added to the entertainment value of the show. A new innovation for the show which served to be a great utilization of the colorful personalities of White, Griffin, and Jackson were the cut-ins during the fights. I felt the commentary of the three really added something to some of the fights.

With wall-to-wall fighting, a narrative of some kind was needed otherwise there would be very little communication during the course of the full hour since so much time was devoted to the fights. Once the show gets underway I hope they keep the cut-ins so that Griffin and Jackson’s comments are more audible than the typical communication we hear from the corner.

Griffin is already a recognizable star coming off his appearance during the first-ever season of TUF, but if last night was any indication of things to come, he’ll be an even bigger star coming out of this.

As for Jackson, he was made for TUF. Tito Ortiz, Chuck Liddell, and Randy Couture are three of the biggest draws in the history of mixed martial arts. Jackson has the fighting ability and charisma to join them as the fourth biggest but he just needs to get the exposure. I’ve felt for awhile that the UFC really has not done a good enough job of promoting Rampage but TUF is a major step towards rectifying the problem. When the season is all said and done, Jackson will have taken a major step towards reaching the same plateau as Ortiz, Liddell, and Couture.

A lot has been made about the departures of Couture, Mirko Cro Cop, Tim Sylvia and the potential losses of Ortiz and Andrei Arlovski, but if the UFC can build Rampage into the megastar that he has the potential to become, it will help offset some of the defections they are experiencing.

The change in formats was a welcome one for a formula that had become predictable and stagnant. But while we are promised eight more fights next week, what happens after the first two episodes air and everyone is in the house? Change is good but the show needs sustained change. Hopefully some other surprises are planned.

Results from last night’s full-length fights are as follows:

CLICK HERE TO READ THE REMAINDER OF THIS ARTICLE ON SAM CAPLAN’S PROELITE.COM BLOG

10 COMMENTS
  • garth says:

    “If you didn’t enjoy last night’s season premiere for the seventh season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” then chances are you don’t like fighting.”

    Fuck that. You’re telling me what I MUST like to be a fight fan? Mr. “You can’t tell me what to do” Caplan? Take your own advice bub.

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  • Ram Maramba says:

    Sam:

    You think the slights against Bradley were shot later and edited in after the seemingly bad break between the two and his subsequent signing with EliteXC?

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  • Jeremy says:

    Ram, I thought that might have been a little foreshadowing as well, considering what we know now.

    The show was great though and I can’t wait for next weeks. I hope they keep this format at the very least until they find something better. Still got some big names to fight next week in Meisner, Zachrich, Marrello, Brown, Credeur, Taylor and Harris.

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  • Guy Gaduois says:

    Funny stuff with Q and Fo. When Q talked about the one guy stinking, that was hilarious. Apparently he’s not a good speller – “I can’t spell what I want to say.”
    Pictograms, Q: A picture is worth a thousand words, especially if you can’t spell the one you need and it’s the thousandth.

    Prediction: FoGrif will beat Q in July (and get no credit for it – see: Rua, Mauricio) but theirs will become one of the greatest back and forth rematches/grudges in MMA history.

    Also, Q is fun and games until his guy, Dave Roberts got beat. I think he was a little more than sore-loser chippy to that kid. Don’t dish if you can’t take, Q.

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  • seth b says:

    What did you not like about the show Garth? I have heard very little in the way of negative comments about it and would be interested in hearing your insight.

    Personally, I thought it was one of the most entertaining hours of television that I have watched all year. Constant fights, Forrest and Rampage cracking me up (even in their commercials), and Dana really putting the screws to these guys worked well IMHO.

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  • Jiu-Jitsu Guy says:

    I think I finally understand why Dana White did not do a deal with a major network. It is all about him. Why do I care about him being on TV all the time? Why must we see him 50% of the time? Why does he have to sit down with Forrest and Rampage during the fights? The commentary was boring as hell while the guys were fighting.

    I’m also sick and tired of his f*cking cursing on TV. It gets old when he drops the f word every f*cking line after every f*cking comment. Ya, I’m being sarcastic by doing the same thing, but it gets old.

    I’m sick of Dana White and I am confident this piece of sh*t will not reign supreme forever. Something will take away from it eventually, and that will be more realistic fighting where stand up isn’t everything.

    The fighters were SECOND RATE with SECOND RATE records. I could not believe some of them. I would rather watch Jiu-jitsu, Judo, or some other guys with black belts go for it without any MMA training than watch IDIOTS fight with pathetic records. I know guys who would kill these idiots.

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  • Bad Monkey says:

    Take it easy, Garth. Don’t blow chunks!!!

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  • Jay says:

    sam, i think you’re overrating paul bradley. he’s not a top middleweight prospect, he’s a one dimensional blanket when he has to fight decent competition. his first four fights were against fighters who were making their pro debut, his fifth fight against someone who then was 20-19. whoop-dee-do, some easy wins. now against a decent fighter like orr he has to lay & pray his way to victory. i’m not saying he can’t or won’t improve, but he doesn’t seem ready for the ufc – or even elitexc, unless he gets to fight someone with little or no wrestling ability.

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  • Jackyl says:

    Wow. JJG. I think the exact opposite. I love that Dana is involved. How many presidents of a company are that involved? Why shouldn’t he sit down and watch the guys fight. We know that even the guys that don’t win the show still get signed if they show enough promise. He’s getting a first hand look at possible new talent. Also on previous seasons he hasn’t been on every single show. I think almost everyone else agrees that the commentary was fresh and entertaining.

    Sometimes the F-bomb is the best word to use. In my regular conversation I myself drop it about every other word. It’s a powerful word it’s used for emphasis. Did anyone not experience the same frustrations on previous seasons where you see these guys that get a chance and then puss out?

    The guys on the show last night all had varying records from no fights to several fights. Of course a lot of them are going to seem nervous or rusty. Did you predict right out of the gate that Forrest would go on to defeat Shogun Rua a couple years later? Now way. The whole point of this show is to see which fighters evolve and emerge as prospects, and which ones can’t hack it. And if you know some guys that are so good. They are having tryouts for the show all the time…..

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  • jason hughes says:

    can dana talk without saying fuck every other word, id rather not hear him talk at all most of the time.

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