Disclaimer: I am not a reality T.V. fan, and that includes The Ultimate Fighter.

When everyone was watching the early seasons, I tuned in to the third Shamrock vs. Ortiz bout. I skipped the show itself. It didn’t have anything that interested me, because I already hated the idea of reality television — mainly because “reality T.V.” was anything but. At worst it was staged, at best, those on it knew the cameras were there, and were hamming it up for them.

The Ultimate Fighter was no different. While it has had seasons that have produced solid results, despite various format tweaks (TUF: Live, TUF: Nations), it has pretty much remained the same over the years: put a bunch of guys in a house. Let testosterone run rampant. Wait for the inevitable conflict. Hope for some good fights. Rinse, repeat.

So maybe I’m not the most objective critic of the show. However, with the release of Eddie Gordan — the second TUF champion to go winless after the finale and then be cut — perhaps it is time to admit defeat. The show, frankly, is not what it once was. And by that, what is really being said is that the show is no longer a collection of the best talent outside the UFC fighting for a way into the promotion.

That might have been the case, once, in the early seasons. Yet the years have not been kind to TUF, because the UFC has allowed the best fighters to bypass it. To be fair, they have little choice. You didn’t see Conor McGregor on TUF, or Sage Northcutt. What you see is the fighters the UFC is not worried about losing out on to Bellator MMA and WSOF. That’s the reality of the MMA game. Don’t sign the top guys, and they’ll go elsewhere.

So you wind up with the Colton Smiths and Eddie Gordans of the world as TUF champs. Neither are bad guys, neither are bad fighters, but they’re not fighters that are about the break out in the best promotion in the world. Not yet, and possibly not ever. It was a case of too much, too soon for both, which is why they have now both been cut from the promotion. Gordan, the most recent release, was champion in season nineteen. That season culminated just over a year ago. That’s how quick a TUF champion has now washed out of the promotion.

If you don’t want to put a stake in it, admit that it is no longer what it once was. Admit that it’s simply a bunch of struggling fighters trying to make it, not the best of the best. Position it as such. Maybe it’s time for another season like The Comeback. At least then, you could find some notable names, and kickstart a career or two.

Otherwise, let the show either evolve, or die.

About The Author

Senior Staff Writer

Covering the sport of MMA from Ontario, Canada, Jay Anderson has been writing for various publications covering sports, technology, and pop culture since 2001. Jay holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Guelph, and a Certificate in Leadership Skills from Humber College under the Ontario Management Development Program. When not slaving at the keyboard, he can be found in the company of his dog, a good book, or getting lost in the woods.