At the end of the fourteenth season of “The Ultimate Fighter”, the UFC will have fulfilled its current contract with Spike TV. Many fans and insiders are currently speculating what the future holds for the UFC once their current contract is through. I think that’s all well and fine, but I’m really excited for TUF Season 14, and that has nothing to do with the rumor that this could be the last TUF on Spike or (and here’s a crazy thought) the last TUF period. Don’t believe me? Here’s five reasons to look forward to “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 14.
5. No “wild card” fights this season could lead to some interesting new dynamics.
The reason this entry starts us out is because I’ve got some conflicting emotions on this. I think a “wild card” fight really livens up the TUF competition, it’s a breath of fresh air that has led to some very entertaining drama and quite a few Cinderella stories. However, with no “wild card” fight comes the added emphasis on each and every fight, because each and every fight can and will be a fighter’s last. With no “wild card” safety net, we could see some great preliminary-round fights.
4. Michael Bisping as a TUF coach.
The last time Michael Bisping was a TUF coach, he followed the grand tradition of all the best “bad boy” TUF coaches: he got on just about everyone’s nerves, but he put together a great team and you honestly felt that he cared about them. Much like Tito Ortiz’s notable runs on “The Ultimate Fighter”, you can hate Bisping all you want, but you can’t argue with results. Overall, I really enjoyed the last time Bisping was a coach and I’m very interested in seeing what he does this season.
3. The return of the “fight to get into the house” rule.
TUF Season 13 was plagued with problems, and the abandonment of the “fight to get into the house” rule stood at the forefront of those problems because the fight quality in the earlier episodes was downright bad. Even some of the episodes later on in the season were barely passable. With this rule, we get to see the weak further cut from the group in addition to the typical TUF casting process that we never really do get a chance to see. Fighting in the TUF house is a high privilege, so I’m all in favor of having fighters jump through more hoops in order to find their way on the show. The great fighters will find their way inside the TUF house no matter what, so this is a great idea that’s not only returning, but becoming a permanent rule from now on.
2. Jason Miller as a TUF coach.
Oh boy… where to start with Jason Miller? The man’s very controversial and highly dividing, so I’ll say this: underneath the spastic craziness and the silly hair and the mannerisms and the hilarious-but-polarizing interviews… underneath all that, Jason Miller is a good fighter. And what little footage I’ve seen leads me to believe that he’s also a good coach. A coaching role is exactly the type of role Miller needs in order to not only shine, but to re-introduce himself to UFC fans that may only remember his first UFC run in passing and/or think of him simply as “that MTV guy”.
And the number-one reason to look forward to “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 14 is…
1. A cast made up solely of Bantamweight and Featherweight fighters.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is going to be one of those big “coming out” moments for the lighter-weight fighters. Even today, a lot of lighter-weight fighters face an unfair stigma that they’re boring or untalented fighters. Nothing could be further from the truth, and it’s that label that motivates many lighter-weight fighters to put on amazing fights. I think we’re going to see great fights from the first episode onward, and if this season lives up to its potential, this could be one of the greatest seasons of TUF ever, based solely on its fight quality. And that’s definitely a big reason to get pumped.