On October 29th, the UFC returns with UFC 137 at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. The main event is the welterweight title fight between Carlos Condit and Champion Georges St Pierre, and the co headliner features BJ Penn taking on the controversial Nick Diaz. Until the end of the month, UFC junkies have only the UFC’s ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ reality series to get by on. And I must say 3 episodes in, this season is as flat as Roy Nelson is round.
The concept, the pranks, the whole idea of the show have really become stale and I hope the switch for Season 15 to FOX leads to a complete overhaul. Doing it the way it is being done is to provide some control and efficiency for the TV production, but it isn’t the way the sport is conducted under normal circumstances at all.
The main thing to me is that taking all the fighters to a house and forcing a coach on them, well that really is artificial and goes against the fundemental concept of the sport. For this season, every fighter was asked to have at least 3 pro fights and to be at least 21 years old. It means, good or bad, they have some coaching and preparation in place.
What if you happen to think Jason Miller is a complete tool, and he picks you for his team?
The coaching is quite sophisticated in this sport now. Greg Jackson has achieved near legendary status. Cesar Gracie and his team are as loyal a group to each other as you are ever going to see. Team AKA has monsters that include UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez and the fast rising Daniel Cormier among a bevy of others. Extreme Couture. There are so many fine institutions to pull talent from and show the sport and preparation at it’s highest level.
And frankly, it makes a compelling story to show the true reality, even of the ‘B’ class. Hey what if a kid has to train from 7 pm to 11 pm in a dingy gym after leaving his job at Walmart, with his ugly kid and wife waiting for him at home? Does he have what it takes? The truth is probably not, but at least it’s reality, and not people hiding tires in each others rooms. Make it a true reality show.
Until the end of the month where the best welterweights in the world step into the PPV spotlight, we are left with the stale reality show. At least there is the solace that the expanding lower weight classes will be hit with an influx of talent. I just can’t wait for them to earn there contracts and go back to the flow of their training and preparation, and not to be trapped in an artificial working environment.