UFC 20th Anniversary Free Fight Game Changer: Forrest Griffin vs. Stephan Bonnar TUF 1

November 13, 2013
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Forrest Griffin vs. Stephan BonnarThe first season of The Ultimate Fighter was a pivotal point for the Ultimate Fighting Championship.  Take a look back at the most significant fight in UFC history, the TUF 1 Finale between Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar.

Watch the fight in its entirety below.

Courtesy of UFC.com

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  • Jari Jokelainen


    • Corey Hutton

      You must not have seen many fights.

  • dgs

    Oh God, enough with this “The fight that changed everything” crap, as if this was the only great fight in MMA up that point. I understand for for those who started watching MMA because of TUF (TUF noobs as they’re called on MMA boards, a fitting title I think), this fight seems like the cat’s ass, but there were many AMAZING fights in the UFC and other organizations, way before Dana “F&cking” White and his billionaire buddies took over the UFC.

    You want to talk about game changing moments in MMA, then you need to talk about the early dominance of a little frail dude by the name of Royce Gracie, who looked more like an Accountant than a bad ass fighter who dominated real bad asses who outweighed him by hundreds of pounds. Or how about when Maurice Smith, a kick boxer with barely any ground experience KO’d the big bad Brazilian fighter Conan Silveria, with a head kick in Extreme Fighting 3 (and then did the same to the big scary wrestler of the time, Mark Coleman in UFC 14 just a year later), proving that when executed with perfect technique and timing, high kicks were very valid in MMA. Or how about the epic five round fight between Frank Shamrock and Tito Ortiz in 1999. Or how about Shamrock’s utter destruction of Igor Zinoviev (with one of the best slams in MMA to this day) in UFC 16, a fighter at the time who seemed just as unbeatable as Ortiz seemed.

    I could keep going on, but I won’t. There were many ground breaking fights in MMA before this one, and it’s a shame this fight as billed as the “real” birth of MMA. For people who started with TUF, I guess this is the start of MMA, for the rest of us around since day one (I still remember ordering UFC 1 on Pay-Per-View with all my buds at the time, and remember our jaws dropping when Gerad Gordeau knocked Teila Tuli’s tooth into the first row with a face kick, that was when MMA really arrived!) it was just another great fight.

    • Gary Fredericks

      on the flip side dgs, MMA would have gone the way of the DoDo bird had this fight not had the success it did and by default, about 50 people in the world would even be mentioning the fights you listed….as GREAT as they were. I am not arguing they were not or that the Griffin-Bonnar fight was any better or worse.

      The fact is, this fight DID change everything. It was the genisys of MMA as a sanctioned and mainstream sport.

      • dgs

        I will have to respectfully disagree with you. The only thing that saved MMA was the deep (very deep) pockets of Dana’s billionaire buddies. This fight was big, no doubt about it, and will go down in history as one of the best ever. But to say it “saved MMA” is simply not accurate in my opinion.

        I honestly think the Tito vs Ken Shamrock 1 fight was really the moment MMA became “mainstream,” and that fight was three years before Griffin and Bonnar fought.

        • Gary Fredericks

          As a fan from the beginning of UFC 1 myself, I totally see what you are saying dgs. Too bad we couldn’t have this discussion over a beer. I think TUF1 and eventually Bonnar-Griffin rode the momentum of Tito-Shamrock UFC 40 PPV (MMA’s most recognizable stars at that time to Joe and Mary Public) but during that fight alone the UFC was just coming out of the dark ages. Remember when Sherdog was one of the very few places to read about MMA? The PPV’s were unavailable out here in my neck of the woods. The success of TUF 1 pulled them all the way out and gave them something to build on, which they voraciously did, and it took boatloads of money to do. That PPV in no way physically possible could have reached the audience that the TUF 1 finals did because it was on TV simply by broadcasting logistics. It was popular with non/future-MMA fans, and it was FREE. Tito-Shamrock had audience numbers compared to Griffin-Bonnar like a local local access or PBS channel compared to CBS or NBC or ABC. UFC 40, which Tito-Shamrock was on was pivotal indeed, but the UFC still only had 150,000 PPV buys (by far the best selling UFC PPV at that time) compared to Spike TV’s massive ratings in the millions for the Bonnar-Griffin fight. In other words, it introduced a plethora of NEW fans to MMA and all of the money that follows that. I believe that is far more of an impact than Tito-Ken watched by the people viewing each of the 150,000 PPV’s for UFC 40 (by far the best selling UFC PPV at that point in time). I remember seeing articles in my local newspapers reporting on the Griffin Bonnar fight. There was no mention of Shamrock Ortiz hardly anywhere outside of the small, loyal faithful MMA following.

          I am not saying Griffin-Bonnar was the greatest fight ever, I am saying it was the moment the world seen the UFC/MMA as a legitimate sport and was the birth of mainstream media following and reporting on MMA.