There has never been a more exciting time for the UFC’s reality series, The Ultimate Fighter.

In its 15th season, the show debuted on FX live with 16 one-round fights Friday night, and it was exciting, dramatic and has me counting down the minutes until next week.

UFC president Dana White told MMAjunkie.com that the debut “couldn’t have gone any better,” and while I don’t agree that it was perfect, the show can easily be deemed a success.

When it was first announced that the fights were only going to be one round long, my initial thought was having all 16 fights live was a huge mistake because there’s no way you can separate the best fighters when you’re only giving them five minutes to display their skills.

Boy, was I wrong. The show began with stoppage after stoppage, and I was blown away by how successful the event was turning out to be.

I don’t know what White told the fighters before the fight, but most of them went in there and went for the finish immediately.

Maybe the incentive of a $5,000 bonus for finishing their opponent fired them up, or maybe it was the fact that the fights were live on national television, but whatever the case was, these fighters were throwing hay-makers.

From Sam Sicilia’s eight-second KO to Chris Tickle’s 24-second TKO, the fighters opened the fights immediately throwing heavy leather, and that allowed the UFC enough time to show more video packages and get some feedback from White and the coaches during breaks.

Not only was I blown away by how smoothly the UFC was able to transition from one fight to another, but I liked what I saw from the talent.

After watching all 16 fights, it wasn’t hard to realize that there’s some good talent on this show and that’s going to make for a very exciting season. With fighters like Team Blackhouse’s 23-year-old Justin Lawrence and 8-1 Mike Rio in the house, we could very well be witnessing the future of the lightweight division right before our eyes this season.

But with the good comes the bad, and the very few gripes I have about The Ultimate Fighter’s debut on FX was that the talking between Jon Anik, White and the coaches wasn’t as clean and crisp as it should have been.

At times, Anik and White were talking over one another, and the coaches Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber simply didn’t talk as much as I’d hoped. I look forward to hearing insight from the coaches and having a little back-and-forth banter during the fights on the first episode, and we really didn’t get that this season.

However, the “holy (silence)” from White on FX was absolutely hilarious, and I had to rewind to hear him doing that a good five to six times. That’s vintage White, and I loved the fact that the UFC wasn’t changing who they are for this platform.

After they polish up the commentary during the fights and make the dialog between Anik and White smoother moving forward, the one-round live fight format as the season opener is something that the UFC should build on for years to come.

It adds a whole new exciting element to the reality series, and if I were giving the UFC a grade for the first episode, I would definitely give them an A for pulling it off as well as they did.

Come to think about it, I haven’t been this excited about a reality show since HBO’s Hard Knocks with Rex Ryan and the New York Jets, and if you have the slightest clue of how entertaining Ryan and Mark Sanchez can be, you know that’s saying something.

Photo: Sam Sicilia was one of the fighters who delivered in the single five-minute round format (CageSport)

About The Author

Jake Martin

Jake attends Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, La., where he studies Mass Communication in print and public relations. He is also the sports editor of his school newspaper, The Nicholls Worth. Jake works at the Concordia Sentinel in Ferriday, La. during the summer.