I’m a huge UFC fan. That being said, while I’ll of course be placing reactions to most things about the current UFC events and about mixed martial arts in general, I’ll be mostly publishing them late. Like, a day or two late, which is like an eternity in Internet Time. This is because I like to think about them for a bit after I view them so I can organize my thoughts somewhat.
Alright, now on with the review! Long story short, I loved it, suprisingly so. Why surprising? Well, to tell you the truth, I wasn’t excited about this new season AT ALL.
First of all, it’s the freakin’ eleventh season. And while literally all the seasons had their moments they’re mostly the same. Up and coming fighters train, generally maniacal behavior in the house, arguing coaches, flared tempers all around, and lots of bleeped swear words from Dana White. And after ten straight seasons, I wasn’t really confident that they’d keep ANYTHING about the show fresh.
Especially since, second of all, both of the coaches this season have already served on the show before! Granted, it’s been a while (Chuck was in the first season, while Tito was in the third), and that the coaches have never appeared simultaneously on the show before (as far as I can recall), but I really would have liked some brand spankin’ new coaches this time around. This has actually been my general attitude towards upcoming seasons for some time now. Case in point, TUF 9: US vs. UK. Back in UFC 93, the winner of the main event bought, Rich Franklin vs. Dan Henderson, would be the one to coach TUF 9, against Michael Bisping. Now, during the days leading up to the match, I was really conflicted about who I wanted to win. No offense to Hendo, but I really wanted Ace to pull it off since I’m a big Rich Franklin fan. But, since I knew that the winner of the bout would be the new coach in TUF, I also wanted Hendo to walk away with the W as well. We all know that (spoilers!) Hendo wins via decision, and, frankly I was okay with that. Because of my inate Rich Franklin fanboyism, I was initially crushed by the loss, but immediately rebounded when I realized that I’d get to see brand new coaches in the new TUF season. That eventually led to Hendo fighting “The Count”, which was a helluva great fight.
That brings up another piece of negativity for me towards Tito and Chuck as coaches. They’ve already fought! Twice! That pretty much takes a lot of the expectation away from the coaches’ matchup after the season. Sure, there’s the argument that it’s been years since they’ve fought and that they’re (probably) different fighters now, but still. They’ve already fought. Twice. And with wanting brand new coaches for new seasons of TUF, I’d also want brand new matches to go alongside them. Both of these expectations were blown away, which added to my negativity going into the show.
Okay, so enough about me and my fanboyism. So, why, despite all of the ranting, did I ultimately love the episode? Well, simply put, the fighters were great, the matches were great, Dana’s reactions were great (as always), and there were a lot of memorable moments in there.
Okay, now first of all, I’m not going to put specific fighters’ name here for now. I’m not in the mood to revisit the episode while I type this, but maybe I’ll be more studious for my review of the next episode. I’ll definitely be more specific as the show goes on and I’m more familiar with these guys, but please bear with me for now. I’ll just mention a few highlights since a lot of the action was just plain awesome.
I love what happened with that French Dude. Heart-wrenching for him, I know, but damn entertaining during the initial viewing. Yes, I do feel a bit guilty about writing that, but come on, I gotta be honest with my review, right? There was also that one with the head gusher. Both fighters were literally covered in blood near the end of their match. It looked like a literal horror movie scene. That kind of thing is a bit rare even in actual UFC main events. Sure, getting cut and bleeding profusely is nothing new, but bleeding THAT profusely and in such dramatic fashion? Yeah, that’d definitely be one for the books, especially since the fight was a PRELIMINARY TUF match. Damn! Now that’s a preview!
I also very much appreciated how the editing team cut down all the fights and showed mostly highlights. Even if some of the fights ran long, you could tell that they were still cut tremendously since the didn’t show the clock. It made everything run quicker and more smoothly and, what do you know? Made TUF look fresh, even after eleven straight seasons.
Dana, Tito, and Chuck were also pretty great during the episode. I always love Dana’s reactions when fights get good, and this was no exception. But the icing on the cake had to be Chuck’s comment about Tito tapping to strikes. That one was a definite winner, primarily because you kind of expect Tito to be stereotypically labeled the villain like always, but they seem to be mixing it up rather interestingly this time.
We’ll see as the episodes progress.
So, what did I learn after viewing the first episode? That it’s not about the format, but the fights. It’s ALWAYS been about the fights. Sure, back story, editing, and hype are all important parts of promoting such events, but in the end, it’s all about the game. And the game is fighting. If the fights are good, the episodes are good. And this first one, in my humble opinion, was downright brilliant. Can’t wait for more!
Check out my reviews of the other episodes of The Ultimate Fighter season 11 here!