Thoughts on the new live TUF

The UFC’s production values aren’t great because everything they touch magically turns to gold. They’re great because they stick to a formula and polish it until it sparkles like a diamond. But that diamond wasn’t always a diamond. On Friday night we got to see an ugly chunk of rock. The first 30 minutes were an amusing mess that looked so rough even Strikeforce’s D-level producer was probably snickering a little bit. Everything settled down by halfway through the show and by the end it was pretty fluid, but this was not the standard seamless quality we’re used to with the UFC.

According to Wikipedia, every episode of The Ultimate Fighter has an official title. May I recommend one for S15E01? “Awkward Silence.” TUF fights have always felt a little odd to watch because the gym is nearly whisper quiet, and extending this vibe from 15 minutes to 2.5 hours just made it even weirder. Just like a strip club needs an MC babbling and music like Warrant’s ‘Cherry Pie’ to keep the sound of desperate loneliness at bay, MMA needs more than just occasional golf-whisper commentary from the coaches and Jon Anik yelling us through commercial breaks. The whole thing would have been much cooler if they’d ditched the mausoleum vibe and held the eliminator in the Pearl or something.

Past the uneven production, the event was still enjoyable. The first dozen fights were fast paced and exciting. It seemed to me like the refs were stopping fights on a hair trigger, but unless some of these guys were closet Frankie Edgars I don’t think they would have managed to come back anyways. Most fighters would rather taking the extra blow or three, though. Not to be all Just Bleed or anything.

The unthinkable happened: both Gay Pornstar and Mustache Dude were eliminated, along with several other contestants I really wanted to see in the house: Neck Tattoo Guy, Cross-Eyed Belfast Lad, and Wily Veteran James Krause. It also seemed criminal to let Jeremy Larsen into the house after he ghost tapped his way out of a kneebar from Jeff Smith. There’s still a few guys worth keeping your eyes on though: Black House prospect Justin Lawrence karate kicked his way into my heart and scramblers like Vinc Pichel are always welcome on my war wagon.

All in all a fun night of fights and an interesting experience watching the UFC dive headfirst into live reality television territory. Compared to this event, the ‘live-jive’ shows with 45 minutes of pre-taped house footage and 15 minute fights should be a breeze.

  • SHORT_BUS

    I kind of like the TUF fights with no commentary. I’m sure it will evolve into something unnecessarily complex as the years go by though.

  • iamphoenix

    ^also likes to have the quietest rapings.

  • DJ ThunderElbows

    With the right environmental acoustics, squealing is so beautiful.

    During surprises, that is.

  • glassjawsh

    maybe it’s just cause im oblivious to the obvious but I didn’t hear them
    mention the weight class one during the broadcast. I’m assuming lightweight on account of that’s what Mandingo guy beat Jamie Varner at

  • kvelertak

    I thought it was pretty boring.. but at least they didn’t show any of that house stuff.

  • CAP

    I turned it on to check it out and heard complete silence other than the heavy breathing from the slow action. Not sure if that is the recipe for success. It was kinda strange compared to what we are used to. Maybe it got better but I didn’t stick around to find out. balls.

  • Omomatta

    “I think this guy trains with Ray Longo.” “This dude trains with Ray Longo.” “Doesn’t this guy train hands with Ray Longo? Ray Longo’s a stud.” “Hey, I think Longo Longo Longo Longo.?”

    I’m looking forward to Faber cornering guys so I don’t have to hear his incoherent alphaloompa ramblings.

  • fish tacos

    I like the quiet fights.

    In high school we had wrestle offs for spots on the team and they were stressful, quiet fights. These remind me of them. I actually thought that was the feel they were going for.

    Do other “team” combat sports have things similar to wrestle offs/get in the tuff house fights?

  • frickshun

    Phoeniggz made me super lulz.

  • Grappo

    as i said in chat, a lot of the fights sounded like the soundtrack to one of those MatBattle gifs.  I don’t wanna hear dude on dude moaning and heavy breathing.  At least not that clearly.

  • iamphoenix

    that’s what i’m here for frinskin

  • Letibleu

    i thought you were here as filler

  • Mr Sacky

    It felt like Ultimate Fighter live from a shed, to eerily quiet.

  • SHORT_BUS

    All academic. Get in there, get it done and get out. No need for small talk. Like banging a hooker in a back alley late on a Saturday night. A little grunting, a little flesh slappin and a lot of heavy breathing. Wait, what?

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