(Courtesy of UFC)
Back when The Ultimate Fighter first started, it was a last-ditch effort to save the UFC. The Fertitta Brothers, who then owned the fight promotion, sunk tens of millions of dollars into producing a show that, if it had not taken off, would have spelled the end of the UFC in the Zuffa era.
Believe it or not, we’re now 27 season into what is now the MMA juggernaut’s venerable reality show.
Is it the madness of 26 seasons that got us to this point? The drunken debauchery, the insane weight cuts, the full-on brawls in the fighter house? Sure, to a degree. But at the end of the day, if The Ultimate Fighter didn’t produce new talent for the Octagon, it likely would have disappeared years ago.
So it’s interesting as we enter Season 27, which features UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic and light heavyweight titleholder Daniel Cormier as coaches, that we’re now zeroed in on the talent. Not reality show talent, but in-ring talent.
Miocic and Cormier have no beef between each other. They don’t have anything bad to say in their promos, trying to drum up manufactured interest in TUF, they are simply putting this season down to what is at the heart of mixed martial arts: competition.
“There’s not really a lot of smack talking, which I know people love, but just a bunch of good kids working hard. But let me tell you, there’s some amazing fights,” Miocic said in a recently released promo for Wednesday night’s premiere.
TUF 27 features a roster of eight undefeated lightweights and eight undefeated featherweights battling it out for a spot on the UFC roster. And under the leadership of Miocic and Cormier, two fighters that aren’t really known for starting a lot of trash talk or other friction, it appears the fighters have followed the lead of their coaches.
“Every season of The Ultimate Fighter should not be about the coaches, it should not be about the conflict; it should be about the fighters and the fights,” said Cormier. “And this year, you have some tremendously talented individuals and it shows inside the Octagon.”
Miocic concurred, “The fights on the show were actually very, very good. There were some brawls.”
The Ultimate Fighter: Undefeated premieres Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET on FS1.