The Ultimate Fighter: Team Rousey vs. Team Tate is heading toward the end of what has been a season of hits and misses for the UFC’s storied reality show.

The cornerstone of intrigue heading into this season was the mixing up of male and female fighters within the same house. Although viewers were given some insight into the lives of everyone in the house, it is still one of the areas of the show that needs to be focused on more in order for us to get emotionally involved with each character.

When TUF first began, one of the complaints was that there was too much airtime devoted to the shenanigans of the house. Going forward, though, the show should renew its focus on what takes place inside the house. The current format is stale and needs to be revived a bit. Week in and week out, we are greeted with the same type of show, and the creativity of how to present the show appears to be lost at the moment.

TUF is a reality show, obviously, so there isn’t too much that can be done as far as a script is concerned. The editors do a fairly good job in editing the show around fighters that they know have gone on to be successful during the taping of the show. We just need to get more invested with these fighters, and that can be accomplished by devoting more of the show to what goes on inside the fighter house, therefore attaching a stronger personality to the fighter’s public persona.

Training sessions are no doubt an integral part of the show, but after the first couple of episodes, the training portion of the show has become an absolute bore to watch. TUF doesn’t capture the blood, sweat and tears of what goes on in a training camp. Instead, we are left with watching these fighters hit bags, spar a bit, and complete other tasks that the average fan would already envision them doing. We know they train, but we don’t need 10 to 15 minutes of each show dedicated to that aspect of the game.

Most of what went on inside the house has been described to us through fighter blogs, such as the one Shayna Baszler does right here on The MMA Corner. It’s remarkable to read about some of the things the editors left out. These are things ranging from fighters crying on each other’s shoulders, to, more recently, Ronda Rousey losing 17 pounds within 24 hours to prove that cutting weight is a mental game. With cameras on the fighters 24/7, why wasn’t there more time spent to show the participants talk about Cody Bollinger missing his weight cut? How about the conversations with the “late night crew” alluded to in Baszler’s blog? These are just a few examples of where the direction of TUF needs to go in order to create more of a show and less of a barebones documentary.

For TUF to get to the next level of viewership, it’s going to take more than the names of the coaches. Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen didn’t catapult TUF to the next level, and Rousey and Miesha Tate haven’t either. There needs to be more story-building, and more of an effort to show fans what’s going on inside the house.

The fights this season, especially on the women’s side, have been some of the best we’ve seen in a TUF series for quite some time. Unfortunately, The Ultimate Fighter has become a tired format that needs to take some risks to generate a refreshing buzz for the franchise.

Photo: TUF 18 Cast (Zuffa, LLC)

About The Author

Joe Chacon
Staff Writer

Joe Chacon is a Southern California writer that has also spent time as a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report, as well as a Staff Writer for Operation Sports. Joe has a passion for the sport of MMA, as well as most other sports.