It’s no secret that recent seasons of “The Ultimate Fighter” have been lacking something. While it would be intriguing to pit Kimbo Slice against the welterweights of season twelve of TUF, the UFC is not in the business of freak shows, are maintaining ratings.
A quick fix was to inject Brock Lesnar, the organizations former heavyweight champion and largest pay-per-view draw, into the mix of the TUF series, even he couldn’t help the steady decline. Not since the tenth installment of TUF have ratings–which featured an all heavyweight cast featuring the aforementioned Slice along with former champs Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and arch rival Rashad Evans–has the show peaked the interest of most fans, which is evidence through the marginal numbers it’s pulled since than, with season 13 displaying a mediocre million plus in viewers, with an steady decline nearly every episode after the initial debut, which scored a 1.5–a slip compared to seasons prior.
So where the towering Lesnar fails, who will succeed? Well, pygmy sized fighters, of course.
Season 14 of TUF will now feature a field of both bantamweights and featherweights–two divisions which have since been added to the organization following the merger between the UFC’s sister promotion, the now defunct WEC. In it’s tenure, the WEC showcased some of the best fights in recent MMA history. Why? Because the organization realized the value of smaller combatants. Faster, more dynamic, and full of stamina–lightweights and downward have proven to be a valuable investment, evidence by the recent bantamweight title fight pitting Urijah Faber against Dominick Cruz earlier this month. While the pay-per-view numbers weren’t at their best, like I said, it’s an investment that will begin paying off when people tune in to see the upcoming new crop of fighters for the soon-to-be-aired Spike program.
Now, throw in a little bit of Michael Bisping, who has since picked up a new legion of haters after his disgusting post-fight antics at UFC 127 where he spat in the corner of Jorge Rivera after his second-round throttling of the longtime veteran. Granted, both Rivera and Bisping had a well documented feud of sorts leading up to the bout–but spit? That’s right up there with upper-decking toilets, and that’s already been done, so let’s be original “Count” will ya?
Add a little Jason “Mayhem” Miiller into your life and that’s a sure recipe for gold. The host of the hit MTV series “Bully Beatdown” is no stranger to controversy. The former Strikeforce middleweight contender was embroiled in a very public brawl in April of last year, when he impeded on the post-fight celebration of previous opponent Jake Shields, who had just defended his belt against living legend Dan Henderson. Miller was greeted with a bevvy of Cesar Gracie fighters in his wake, as he was stomped out by the clan–more notably the Diaz brothers, Nick and Nate. The action all took place on CBS to boot, so you can bet that Miller is a well known commodity heading into the show–and if that wasn’t enough, he’s unarguably one of the more colorful and charismatic fighters you will meet, with his own faction of “Mayhem Monkeys” at his disposal.
Plus, the always popular “fight your way into the house” motif is back into effect. No more Keon Caldwell’s for me, please.
So again, little dudes, + “Spitsping” + “Mayhem” = a season of the ultimate fighter that I do not want to miss, and neither should you.