The Ultimate Fighter is officially over on Spike TV. It started in January 2005, ran for fourteen seasons, and produced a number of fighters still in the UFC. It had a good run, some might say an improbable run, but now the show moves on to another network and will undergo more format changes and that will have people saying, “BRING BACK THE FIGHTER CHALLENGES!”
Alright, so maybe I’m the only person that enjoyed watching Joe Stevenson rotate around Mike Whitehead 204 times only for Rich Franklin to forfeit the challenge and upset Jorge Gurgel.
Without further ado, I present to you The Ultimate Fighter Awards: SpikeTV Edition. All awards are named after original shows on Spike TV, most of which aren’t very good, so this was much harder than it needed to be.
The “Blue Mountain State” award for “the fighter/coach I disliked the most heading into a season but eventually turned the corner” on goes to…..Rashad Evans.
Ever since UFC 88, I’ve pretty much disliked Rashad Evans for what he did on that night. But during Season 10 of TUF, I turned the corner on him. I found him to be a good coach and a likeable guy. While I’ll never forgive him for what he did on that night in Atlanta, I can honestly say I’m a fan of Rashad.
The “MANswers” award for “the most useless fighter/coach in show history” goes to…..Ken Shamrock and Noah Inhofer.
It’s fitting that both of these men were on the same season because they were equally useless. Shamrock’s coaching highlights consisted of calling opposing coach Tito Ortiz a “bitch monkey,” bringing in a nutritionist as one of his assistant coaches, and holding a training session that included his fighters watching highlight of, you guessed it, Ken Shamrock. He’ll forever go down as the worst coach in TUF history.
As for Inhofer, well, he’s the guy who left the show because his girlfriend of six months accused him of cheating on her. How he cheated on her while he was in the house and how he found out about this since the guys in the house are cut off from the real world, I’ll never know. But he left the house and they either broke up two weeks later or he’s doing her laundry right now.
The “SlamBall” award for “the most awesome coaches challenge” goes to…..BJ Penn vs. Jens Pulver in a Ping Pong contest.
While I wanted to pick Chuck Liddell dominating Ortiz in dodgeball as the winner, not even I can deny how awesome Penn vs. Pulver in Ping Pong was. In fact, I’m not even going to reflect on this moment, I’m going to let undefeated Ping Pong pro Pulver tell you how things went down:
“I’m undefeated and retired. That’s how you stay undefeated. Dana waving that money, it was crazy. Manny Gamburyan was freaking out and then Matt Wiman was across the table finding my faults and telling BJ and I was like, ‘Shut up over there.’ You know when you got those kids in the house and there’s nothing to do it was about the most exciting and entertaining thing they could run into and then you got the animosity we had towards each other and Dana waving the cash around. The whole time I thought we were gonna do something with that swimming pool and grappling. I kept thinking, ‘BJ is gonna drown me and submit me’ so when they said ping pong I was like, ‘Oh Lord, this might be even worse. I’ll take the drowning and submission.’ The pressure was on. Then we went to double overtime. It was crazy. I spanked that ass though.”
The “Pros vs. Joes” award for “the best coach vs. fighter confrontation” goes to…..Quinton Jackson vs. Darrill Schoonover.
Thanks to his altercations with coach “Rampage”, Schoonover will always be known as “Titties.” No matter what he goes on to do in MMA, he’ll never shed that label. At one point during the season, “Titties” was ready to throwdown with Jackson, but given Quinton’s motorboating reputation, I think Jackson would have enjoyed a contest with Schoonover.
The “Robot Wars” award for “the best fight on the show” goes to…..Nate Diaz vs. Gray Maynard.
First off, I didn’t consider any Finale fights, only fights that took place at the UFC gym. Secondly, most of the fights that took place on the show weren’t all that good. Most of them were just sloppy brawls, real quick, or extremely boring. Plus, with almost every fight only lasting two rounds and most of the fighters being relatively unknown, it was tough for the fight to tell a story or pull you in emotionally. Nate Diaz vs. Gray Maynard was an exception. It was a great grappling contest with Maynard using his wrestling and strength to stifle the active ground game of Diaz in the first round. Then, after nearly getting caught in a guillotine in the second round, Diaz turned things around and submitted Maynard with a guillotine of his own. It doesn’t hurt that both men went on to have plenty of UFC success.
The “Jesse James is a Dead Man” award for “something that looked like a good idea on paper but then got screwed up when every turned on the main character” goes to….Brock Lesnar coaching and not fighting.
Having Lesnar be the coach on season 13 of the show seemed like a great idea. Even if you didn’t think Brock was really qualified to coach due to his lack of MMA experience, you couldn’t deny that he would be a huge ratings draw. In fact, some people thought the season would be the highest rated season ever thanks to Lesnar’s presence. They were wrong. SpikeTV and UFC quickly found out that people don’t care about Lesnar unless he’s beating someone up. No one wanted to see the former UFC champ teach guys how to wrestle, they wanted to see him throw those guys around. It didn’t help that there was absolutely no heat between him and opposing coach Junior dos Santos.
The “John Henson Project” award for “the most over hyped story that never went anywhere” goes to…..Kimbo Slice fighting again.
During the tenth season, Slice was eliminated on the third episode. In the teaser for every following episode, SpikeTV wondered, “WILL KIMBO FIGHT AGAIN?!?!?!” by the third time, it became pretty clear that Kimbo would not fight again. Still, Spike continued to push the idea that Slice might step back into the cage even though we all knew better.
The “Dudesons” award for “dumbest idea” goes to…..Rich Franklin for suggesting that Matt Serra begin the fight on one knee.
Franklin was a guest coach during the fourth season of the show, which rubbed some people the wrong way since the winner could have ultimately faced him. Franklin really rubbed Matt Serra the wrong way when he told Serra to, “start the fight on one knee” in order to avoid the stand up game of Pete Spratt. It took five years but Jon Jones finally took that advice at UFC 135.
The “Raising The Roofs” award for “being fat on television” goes to…..Jason Guida and Gabe Ruediger.
We all remember Ruediger struggling to make weight, going in for a colonoscopy, and then wanting cake. To this day it haunts Ruediger every time he fights. But there was also Jason Guida, who didn’t even make it into the house because he failed to make weight during the qualifying round. Maybe these guys thought they were on one of the 100 weight loss shows on TV and that “Ultimate Fighting” meant fighting to lose the ultimate amount of weight.
The “Joe Schmo Show” award for “the biggest treatment of someone as a “Joe Schmo” goes to…..Matt Serra verbally destroying Marc Laimon.
Matt Serra delivered plenty of memorable quotes during his time as a fighting and coach on TUF, but no quote was more memorable that him dressing down Marc Laimon. You see, Laimon, who has never fought, criticized Royce Gracie for fighting Matt Hughes. Serra, a Gracie jiu-jitsu student, took exception to those comments and that railed against Laimon for not having the guts to actually fight. It was the second best beatdown of Serra’s career.
The “Roller Jam” award for “the best fight that didn’t take place in the cage” goes to…..Marlon Sims vs. Noah Thomas.
It’s been called “the most technical street fight ever” and while I’m sure 1,000 YouTube video will prove that wrong, it’s definitely the most publicized technical street fight ever. Sims vs. Thomas had mount sweeps, head fighting that Mike Goldberg would have gone crazy for, guillotine and armbar attempts, head kicks, and even some PRIDE soccer kicks. Unfortunately Dana White doesn’t like fighting on a show all about fighting, so these two never settled the score inside the cage.
The “1000 Ways To Die” award for “dumbest way to lose a fight” goes to……Andy Wang.
If you’ve been part of the MMA internet community for the past few years, you’ve probably heard the term “Stand and Wang.” It started because Andy Wang, who is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu expert, decided to stand the entire fight against Brandon Melendez, who is best known for his striking. Wang’s lack of game plan following upset coach BJ Penn so much that he was kicked off the team.
The “Afro Samurai” award for “something that should have been awesome but failed to live up to the hype” goes to…..The Wild Card idea.
I had high hopes for the Wild Card since it allowed a guy who may have been a victim of bad judging or guy who gave it his all but just came up short to get back into the competition. Then, when it was actually put to use, it turned out to be a big joke. Guys got back in the competition simply because they asked or because a coach favored them. The best example of the Wild Card idea being a joke was when Marc Stevens got choked out via guillotine in just 17 seconds but was given the Wild Card spot because he was Josh Koscheck’s buddy. Then, Stevens was once again choked out by a guillotine in the Wild Card fight.
The “TNA iMPACT!” award for “SWERVE!” goes to……Franklin replacing Ortiz as the coach.
It was supposed to be the unnecessary third fight between bitter rivals Liddell andOrtiz. Instead, after spending the entire season as the coach, Ortiz was replaced on the last episode of the show by Franklin, who went on to fight Liddell. It marked the first and only time that a coach was kicked off the show.
The “Kill Point” award for “dumbest storyline” goes to…..Matt Brown: Killer.
Everyone seemed to fear Matt Brown during his time in the TUF house. He was labeled as “a killer” with a relentless style despite his 7-6 record. It says a lot about the Season 7 cast when they all feared this guy. All I know is that if I hire a killer who only gets the job done 50% of the time, I probably shouldn’t be too shocked if it takes him five shots to take out the target and then he ends up getting caught a couple of hours later.
The “Lance Krall Show” award for “the best fighter/coach spin off” goes to…..Amir Sadollah and Forrest Griffin.
Griffin is known as the guy who might not have all the talent in the world but he outworks everybody in the gym. He’s also known as kind of a goof. So it only made sense that he had Sadollah instantly became BFF’s on the show. Sadollah wasn’t the most talented guy in the world either but he worked hard and, like Forrest, ended up winning the entire tournament. Also like Forrest, he’s kind of a goofy guy who likes to joke around a lot.
The “Deadliest Warrior” award for “battle of the badasses” goes to…..Chris Leben vs. Josh Koscheck and Bobby Southworth.
Everyone knows the story between Chris Leben, Josh Koscheck, and Bobby Southworth by now. Leben was constantly harassed by Southworth and Koscheck and torn down mentally by the two, which led him to tear down things down psychically. Things were eventually settled in the octagon when Koscheck defeated Leben by unanimous decision.
There have been countless of memorable, both for good and bad reasons, moments on TUF and I barely scratched the surface with everything that has happened during the 14 seasons on SpikeTV. Feel free to share your favorite TUF moments in the comments section.