The Ultimate Fighter Season 11 Recap: Team Liddell Vs Team Ortiz

Posted: June 20, 2010 in UFC

Photo from Yahoo! Sports

For those that did not watch this season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF), you didn’t miss much.   Both Ortiz and Liddell proved once again that they were excellent coaches to young fighters.  Their beef with each other contained the usual outbursts and nothing more for weekly viewers.

In terms of breakout performances there were very few fighters that stood out to me.  It’s unfortunate because I look forward to each TUF season to watch the start of future stars of the MMA world.  The last few seasons however, have not shown me anyone that I would truly latch onto as a ‘favorite’ fighter or ‘marketable’ personality.   The only reason I really tuned in each week was to see if that was the week that Tito would be ousted and Rich Franklin would enter the picture.

The TUF finale which aired last night did have an interesting main event in the finalists Kris “Savage” McCray and Court “Crusher” McGee.  Both fighters lost on the show but received second chances that ultimately led to a tear through the competition and into the finals.  McCray was worth rooting for as he fought five times on the show (every Tuesday during production) and McGee was worth fighting for based on the hard road to he took to TUF. (Read more here.)   McGee would ultimately win via rear naked choke in the first round.

What was of most interest to me was that the branding for the series remained the same Team Liddell vs. Team Ortiz.  Despite Tito’s ‘firing’ from the show and Rich Franklin taking on coaching duty, they did not change the team to Team Franklin for the finals.  What disappointed me in this, was the actual lack of Tito.  Granted, I did not think they would like him corner McCray, but I would have thought he would have made an appearance from the crowd.  Even Chuck Liddell, coming off a vicious defeat only a week ago, made sure he was in the corner of his fighter Court McGee.  Franklin, with a fresh cast on his broken arm, was in the corner of Team Ortiz’s McCray.

In terms of marketability, the finale seemed light in terms of sponsors for a UFC event.  By my count I only saw: Miller Lite, Burger King, DirectTV, The Last Airbender, UFC Undisputed 2010, the Spike TV Guy’s Choice Awards, and the Marines.  This makes me wonder if sponsors were like me, unimpressed with the season, or if their contributions were high enough that it did not require a high number of associated brands.

Co-Main Event: Matt Hamill Vs. Keith Jardine

The co-main event featured two TUF alums Season II’s “The Dean of Mean,” Keith Jardine and Season III’s Matt “The Hammer” Hamill.  Hamill won a hard-fought three round decision over Jardine.  This was a must-win fight for both fighters.   Hamill is another potential UFC poster boy.  He is the sport’s only deaf combatant, he is respectful, hard-working and always appreciative of fan support.  Jardine, unfortunately, has solidified himself as a light heavyweight gatekeeper instead of a legit contender.  Based on this loyalty and work ethic, I don’t think “The Dean” will be released from the UFC but I don’t think he will ever climb back to the top of that division.  For Hamill, I’d love to see him get a rematch against Jon “Bones” Jones in order to truly get a read on where he sits in the LHW division.

What did you think of the Season 11 finale?

  1. […] get me wrong, I love all of these guys as fighters).  Instead of learning from what the UFC continues to do with TUF, which is farm new talent, they keep trying to grow their brand on existing fighters.  The […]

  2. […] and right. He has thrown himself into “catch weight” fights 3 times to help the UFC and saved a flopping TUF season when Tito Ortiz decided to pull himself out of his fight with Liddell.  The result? […]

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