The 18th season of “The Ultimate Fighter” has come and gone and with the show having now concluded, fans of the reality based fight series can now reflect upon it.
Off the top, it’s easy to argue that the addition of female fighters to TUF was a great move.
The ladies brought a different vibe to the house, while at the same time demonstrating heart, toughness and professional dedication. Without exception the women proved themselves to be the equal of their male counterparts in effort, and indeed in two instances (Cody Bollinger & Anthony Guttierez), even proved to be the better.
The two coaches, Ronda Rousey & Miesha Tate, were also great selections for this season. Although the pair may not appreciate it, their rivalry has become one of the best, if not the best, in all of mixed martial arts and as such, they were truly entertaining to watch. They are a hand-and-glove, yin and yang act, which has proven to be marketable; something TUF desperately needed.
Both coaches should be applauded for what they brought to TUF and particularly Coach Rousey. “Rowdy” was easily the star of the show and although she may hate how she’s come across on it, she was nonetheless, the real reason people were tuning in. She was awesome in her role as the show’s villain and she wore her “black hat” with true gusto. Ronda should be proud of the work that she did on the show and she deserves a pat on the back for all of the (fans) buttons that she pushed; good for her.
Regarding the fights that TUF put on this year, they were good, but it’s difficult to really identify any one great fight. That said, I thought the women’s matches were (overall) more entertaining than the men’s and that they delivered more excitement. It also doesn’t hurt that the ladies didn’t have any scratched fights, where the men had two; based on that alone, the women should get the nod for having the better bouts.
All things considered, most fans would probably agree that TUF 18 was one of the better versions of the show and that the two female coaches, along with the addition of female fighters to the house, was a much needed improvement to the production.
As a final positive in the season, the show managed to go all 13 episodes without any drunken stupidity, fights or acts of indecency; good for the cast.
As to the shows negatives, they’re pretty much what they’ve always been, which is that the show itself can be very boring when there is neither a fight to focus on or drama to follow.
As such, many fans would probably tell the show’s producers that they should focus more on the training and the fights, rather than any antics in the house or hoping that a rivalry between coaches might compel fans to watch. As the show cannot count on nor artificially create any drama, they’d be well served by focusing on what they can easily provide, which would be a show that’s whole core was about the fighting and training for a fight.
As a final criticism of the show, many fans might suggest dumping the format for episode one; getting into the house. The first show wastes a great deal of time introducing fans to fighters that never make it into the house, as well as a great deal of time meeting their family members, and hearing their stories. The show should simply kickoff by introducing us to the 16 competitors that made it in to the house and move forward from that point.
All things considered the show was better this year than it has been in the past number of years and much, if not all of that success, goes to Ronda Rousey, her nemesis Miesha Tate and the eight female fighters that made it onto the show. And of those, one in particular stands out; Roxanne Modafferi. “The Happy Warrior” was brilliant in her presence on the show and although she was eliminated by Jessica Rakoczy (TKO) in her first (elimination) bout, she nonetheless, through the strength of her amazing personality, won the hearts of MMA fans around the world. She is a remarkably nice girl and one with an indomitable spirit and an ever present smile. She sees the best in everyone and everything, and demonstrated friendship and loyalty to all, on the show. It’s a safe bet to say that fans would like to see more of this fighter and will hope that she eventually makes her way into the UFC.