For today’s topic, we go all the way back to 2005 when MMA fans were first introduced to The Ultimate Fighter franchise. Fans, both hardcore and those unfamiliar with the sport, were treated to a stellar bout between the finalists Stephan Bonnar and Forrest Griffin. Looking at the bout, the moment in focus comes the final seconds of the closing round where the two fighters, who have already spent the better part of 15 minutes doing nothing but exchanging strikes,are still slugging it out, despite exhaustion.
The bell sounds and the two men raise their hands and awaiting the decision.
Moments later, the scorecard is read; 29-28 Bonnar, 29-28 Griffin, 29-28 Bonner. Griffin collapses with fatigue and determination. Bonnar’s hand is raised in victory, and the crowd wildly applauds both men. UFC President Dana White reacts with equal enthusiasm, awarding both men contracts starting the UFC’s rise to prominence.
As we know, it didn’t play out that way. However, it doesn’t stretch the imagination too far to see Bonnar taking a decision in the first meeting between the beloved brawlers (two men that perhaps in a lot of fans minds have exemplified what type of fights/fighters the UFC should showcase).
But would the victory have mattered?
It could be argued that had Forrest lost the fight to Stephan it would’ve been Bonnar that received the bigger promotional push, and went on to fight the likes of Mauricio Rua and Quinton Jackson.
There’s an additional point to ponder in this one as well. Had Bonnar beat Griffin the first time around, and Griffin secured a victory in the pair’s second meeting, would there be cause to have Griffin and Bonnar compete against one another in coaching spots on a fresh season of TUF before going after it in a third and deciding fight?
Though the sport’s history may not have changed much, it seems logical to think the career paths of both men ultimately took.
What do you think? Let me know in the Comments section below…
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC