The marketing blitzkrieg that is The Ultimate Fighter caught me off guard last night. I did not realize its season premiere was at 9 p.m. ET and not 10 p.m. ET. Luckily, being a Wed night I wasn’t out raging or anything and still made the show. As I’ve said here before, I’m particularly interested in this season as I actually like both coaches.
I may be optimistic, but this may what I’ve been craving since season 1&2 : two coaches who will legitimately be there for their teams, help them grow and not fall into the trap of just jarring with the opposing coach.
As far as process goes, the stage for the teams is much different from other seasons:
- The participants were already selected. No one had to fight their way into the house.
- Team selection took place behind closed doors. The coin toss and school yard dodgeball game style of team selections did not take place. The coaches picked their teams with Dana White in his office and when he announced the teams, neither coach was present.
- The House is divided by team, not controversy. Usually the participants pick their rooms and are later given their teams which ultimately leads to petty fights and bad reality TV moments. This season it is much cleaner. Team Lesnar is upstairs, Team Dos Santos is downstairs.
In addition to these updates to the format, I also noticed a few new sponsors to the UFC line-up. Edge shaving Gel, Dodge and Stacker energy products now find themselves in the Octagon. Stacker was clever enough to sponsor the locker rooms and will have their logo directly under the Team Lesnar or Team Dos Santos competitor signs. TapouT had a series of strong ads with Ryan Bader that looked promising for “TapouT stories.”
Team Dos Santos has struck first in the competition. In selecting the first fight of the season, Junior placed his top pick against Brock’s last pick. Only time will tell if this season will be the usual blow out or a competitive back and forth.
At the very least, I want to see if this new and improved Brock will keep up with his promise of no drama. (I hate to admit I liked his comment about making chicken salad from chicken Sh*t.)