‘The Ultimate Fighter’ Recap: Meet the Fighters
‘The Ultimate Fighter 17′ premiered Tuesday night on FX. If you tuned in to the UFC reality show hoping to see wacky hijinks, sophomoric pranks and general douchebaggery, you’ll have to until next week, when that begins in earnest. That’s when we’ll get to see all the fighters living together in the same house and steadily losing their minds on a weekly basis.
But episode one of ‘The Ultimate Fighter 17′ focused on separating the men from the boys, so to speak, with 14 elimination fights between 28 middleweight fighters. Winners move into the house and enter the tournament. Losers go home and hit the gym in hopes of rekindling their dream.
What’s it like to live with a bunch of fighters in the same house for weeks on end? “I’ve never been to federal prison, but I think it’s going to be like federal prison,” tourney hopeful Clint Hester said. “I heard you get whatever food you like to eat…but it’s just all dudes in the house.”
Hester will get to find out if it is indeed like a prison. He beat Frasier Opie and caught the eye of UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, who will coach one of the teams. Jones made his Hester his top draft pick.
The other ‘Ultimate Fighter’ coach is the irrepressible Chael Sonnen, who made Australia’s 6’6″ Luke Barnatt his top selection after Barnatt impressively beat Nicholas Kohrning.
Sonnen will not only coach a ‘The Ultimate Fighter 17′ team, but he’ll also be the go-to guy for this season’s comedy. Sonnen, who once famously said that he left public office the only way anyone should — in handcuffs, didn’t have much screen time to crack wise, but he was able to slip in a gem while UFC president Dana White was talking about one of the fighters.
“He’s 9-2, and he’s divorced with two kids,” White remarked on contestant Kito Andrews.
“So he’s used to fighting,” deadpanned Sonnen. Jones and White got a good laugh out of that. But unfortunately for Andrews, he lost his fight to Kelvin Gastelum.
The most interesting match-up of the night was Australia’s Dylan Andrews against Jersey’s Tim Williams. Dana White said that Andrews grew up in a marijuana grow house. Williams’ nickname is “The South Jersey Strangler”, and White noticed that he truly looks the part.
“He looks like he’s got some bodies buried in his f—-ng basement,” White said. Andrews got the win, but Dana White said if they needed to bring someone back that it would be Williams, as he was impressed with his toughness.
Zak Cummings may have had the most impressive performance of the night. He needed just :07 to finish Nik Fekete. He threw a straight right hand that floored Fekete, then followed that up with two hard lefts before the ref jumped in to stop the bout. “I’m ready to win this whole thing and keep on winning past that,” Cummings said.
Josh Samman is my early pick for the fighter that will stir up the most tension in the house. Samman easily took down opponent Leo Bercier early in their fight. He mounted him, looked up and yelled out to Jones and Sonnen, “Are you guys ready?” Samman beat Bercier and at the end of the show was critical of Jones and his coaching staff for not listening to the fighters’ plan for selecting the first bout.
Because Sonnen got the first pick, Jones got to set the first fight match-up. Jones selected Gilbert Smith from his team to fight Team Sonnen’s Luke Barnatt. That fight will take place next Tuesday night on FX. Samman had wanted to fight first for Team Jones.
Here are the teams heading into the tournament:
Check back next week for another ‘The Ultimate Fighter 17′ recap.