Yesterday I took a look back at TUF 1-8, recapping some of the highlights (and lowlights) while hopefully causing a fond memory or two to spring up. Today I’ll give it a go for Seasons 9-15, though of course we have no way of knowing who will emerge with the TUF title this Friday night at the Ultimate Fighter 15 Finale when Al Iaquinta-Michael Chiesa clash.
Season 9 was the first time the show pitted two countries against one another as the US took on the UK. Michael Bisping ran his mouth throughout the show and Dan Henderson did his talking in the cage at UFC 100 when he knocked Bisping out in the second round, spawning countless mock-ups via Photoshop across the internet. James Wilks won the welterweight contract and Ross Pearson took home the lightweight crown as the Brits swept the finale. DaMarques Johnson and Pearson are the only fighters still with the UFC with Wilks recently announcing his retirement for injury-related issues.
Season 10 showcased the heavyweights and internet sensation Kimbo Slice who was apparently the first fighter ever paid to appear on the show. He was quickly exposed by eventual winner Roy Nelson and went 1-1 with the organization. However, one win not noted was that in the ratings department as Slice’s presence brought the show some incredible numbers. Coaches Rashad Evans and Quinton Jackson took most of the focus off of the fighters with their constant bickering. Nelson, Brendan Schaub and Matt Mitrione remain employed by the UFC.
Season 11 was to see coaches Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz fight for a third time after the show ended, but Ortiz was injured and replaced by Rich Franklin who knocked out Liddell in the first round of their UFC 115 bout sending “The Iceman” into retirement. Court McGee defeated Kris McCray in the finale and gave an emotional speech thanking everyone who stood behind him after his problems with drugs and alcohol nearly ended his life. Kyle Noke, Rich Attonito, Brad Tavares, McGee and Nick Ring are all still fighting with the organization.
Season 12 was won by Jonathan Brookins who was part of Team GSP. On the season Josh Koscheck proved how immature and childish he could be, but Georges St-Pierre would not allow his antics to get inside his head as he went on to defeat Koscheck at UFC 124. Michael Johnson, Alex “Bruce Leroy” Caceres, Nam Phan and Cody McKenzie are still active with the UFC. GSP may have had the greatest collection of coaches as he brought in Firas Zahabi, Freddie Roach and Greg Jackson among others.
Season 13 featured Brock Lesnar and Junior Dos Santos as coaches with the two scheduled to meet at UFC 131 to determine the number one heavyweight contender to the title Lesnar lost to Cain Velasquez. Unfortunately Lesnar was forced off the show and out of the fight when his diverticulitis flared up and sent Lesnar to the operating room. Shane Carwin faced JDS and lost via decision. Tony Ferguson defeated Ramsey Nijem in the finale. Both men along with Justin Edwards are the only fighters remaining in the UFC. Lesnar wasn’t the most pleasant coach and JDS showed his English was a lot better than previously thought. The two men showed no animosity towards one another and the season was kind of quiet. Oh, and in case you’d forgotten – chickensh*t to chicken salad, people!
Season 14 saw the return of Bisping as a coach and Jason “Mayhem” Miller join the UFC via the show. The two would meet in the finale with Bisping earning a fairly one sided TKO victory in the third round. Chael Sonnen was the original choice to coach opposite Bisping, but was unable to get a license due to a previous suspension for an elevated level of testosterone. Diego Brandao defeated Dennis Bermudez in the featherweight finale and John Dodson defeated T.J. Dillishaw for the bantamweight contract. Dillishaw, Bermudez, Brandao, Marcus Brimage, Johnny Bedford, Dustin Pague, Bryan Caraway and Steven Siler are with the UFC today.
That leaves us with the both The Ultimate Fighter 15 and The Ultimate Fighter Brazil, the latter of which is still airing and the other which concludes tomorrow night. Will these seasons become memorable or will they be part of our distant memories and what does the show’s future have in store for us? We will have to sit back and trust that White and company know what they are doing and will do whatever is necessary to keep the show fresh.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC