Friday, July 25, 2014
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Mann Talk – Ranking the Ultimate Fighters

While watching the TUF 10 finale this past weekend, I got it into my head that I wanted to write a column saying “The Ultimate Fighter must stop now.” However, then I realized that only the most masochistic and self-flagellating fans would want this show to continue.

At this point, the show is not even entertaining. My girlfriend, the biggest reality show addict east of Los Angeles, only made it through three episodes of this season before getting bored with it. She would watch Real Housewives of Salt Lake City but TUF could not hold her attention. The only thing the show really does is supply the UFC with vast quantities of fighters that have no business is the sport’s biggest show.

So instead of writing the obvious and almost cliché “no more TUF” column, I decided to rank each season by accomplishment from worst to best. 1 through 10 after the jump.

The Worst
1. The Ultimate Fighter: Team Hughes vs. Team Serra
The Good
Ben Saunders appears to have the potential to be a great fighter in the future. For all we know he is kneeing in someone’s skull as I write this.
The Bad
This season was only two years ago. The only fighter that has gone undefeated since the show is George Sotiropoulus. To make matters worse, his 4-0 record has come against all fighters from this or other seasons of TUF. The season’s champion, Mac Danzig, is currently 2-3 since the show and in danger of becoming the first TUF champion not named Travis Lutter to get cut from the UFC.
The Ugly
Four fighters from this season lost on the finale card and NEVER fought again. Another guy, Joe Scarola has not fought at all since the show. Tommy Spear even decided to take an in-ring nap while fighting Anthony Johnson. Since the show, alumni of TUF 6 have a 32% winning percentage in the UFC and only a 56% winning percentage overall. Only five fighters from this season have a winning record since the show – including everyone’s favorite role model Mr. Machine.

2. The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights
The Good
A lot of people will say, “it is too early to judge this season.” It isn’t. If anything, with time, this season might prove to be worse than TUF 6. Roy Nelson belonged in the UFC. Brendan Schaub is an athletic guy who is training with a great camp. Justin Wren is a young guy with a lot of time and room for improvement. That’s about all the good that will come from this season.
The Bad
A lot of people have facebook messaged me to ask about James McSweeney. There isn’t a lot of potential there. Before besting Darrill Schoonover in a sloppy fight last Saturday, he had never beaten a fighter with a winning record. He has also lost to Mostapha Al-Turk and Neil Grove. How have they done in the UFC?
The Ugly
I can hear Dana White saying it now, “we’re going to put on Frank Mir vs. Wes Sims III, the fans have been really clamoring for it.”

3. The Ultimate Fighter: United States vs. United Kingdom
The Good
It actually is a little too early to tell with this cast. I am going to say that the only fighters with real potential to come out this season will be Ross Pearson, Andre Winner and Nick Osipczak. My crystal ball, and the fact that he trains at the Rough House, tells me that Winner will turn out to be the best in the end.
The Bad
One of the season’s stars, DaMarques Johnson already has seven losses. Also, one of the show’s champions, James Wilks, has already lost in the octagon.
The Ugly
Frank Lester. Watching this guy continually say “Cali What!?! Cali What?!?” after Keil Reid knocked himself out was ridiculous. This past weekend he headlined a show against a guy with a 7-22 record. There has been no word on the results…

4. The Ultimate Fighter 3
The Good
Michael Bisping is a contender in the UFC middleweight division. Ed Herman, Matt Hamill and Kendall Grove are still getting fights in the promotion.
The Bad
Only six of the alumni from this season have a winning record since the show.
The Ugly
Kalib Starnes came into TUF 3 as an exciting prospect. He was 6-0-1 with a win over Jason MacDonald. Since the show he is 2-4. His performance against Nate Quarry will be remembered as one of the worst showings in UFC history.

5. The Ultimate Fighter: Team Nogueira vs. Team Mir
The Good
Ryan Bader and Efrain Escudero both appear to be the real deal. Surprisingly Krzyzstof Soszynski also seems at home in the octagon going 3-1 since the show.
The Bad
Both of the show’s runner ups followed up their loss in the finals with another loss. Vinny Magalhaes was even cut by the UFC.
The Ugly
The fact that Dave Kaplan vs. Junie Browning happened in the UFC is ridiculous. This is the type of match making that makes me think Kimbo Slice vs. Sean Gannon II is a real possibility.

6. The Ultimate Fighter: Team Rampage vs. Team Forrest
The Good
C.B. Dollaway might become a solid fighter. Gerald Harris and Jesse Taylor have found life outside of the UFC. Amir Sadollah does Burger King commercials. Matt Brown thinks he is immortal.
The Bad
Since the show Patrick Schultz, Jeremy May, Brandon Sene and Nick Klein have a combined record of 0-2. I think they need a “So, you want to be an f-ing fighter?” speech.
The Ugly
Mike Dolce came into TUF with a 3-4 record. Since the show he is 1-4. That is just ugly, but he looks like a fighter. That is all that matters.

7. The Ultimate Fighter 4: The Comeback
The Good
Matt Serra shocked the world and won the UFC welterweight title. Patrick Cote fought for the UFC middleweight title. Scott Smith routinely headlines Strikeforce cards. Jorge Rivera and Rich Clementi both turned their careers around after appearing on the show.
The Bad
Gideon Ray went 3-7 since the show. The three fighters that he has beaten have a combined record of 15-16.
The Ugly
On the show, Mikey Burnett lost to a wall. He tried to run through it, but it was a wall. In the process he seriously injured his neck. Now, he is trying to sue the UFC.

8. The Ultimate Fighter 2
The Good
Rashad Evans turned out to be a UFC light heavyweight champion. Joe Stevenson fought for the lightweight title. Marcus Davis is 13-4 since the show and the most overrated fighter in the UFC. Mike Whitehead might be 0-1 in the UFC, but since TUF 2 he is 15-2.
The Bad
Remember when people said that Jorge Gurgel was the favorite to win the season? He might not be a top-level fighter, but he is still getting main event fights with Strikeforce.
The Ugly
When Sammy Morgan signed with Elite XC, he probably thought “this will be good for my career.” Elite XC and Strikeforce combined to match him against Cung Le, Paul Daley, Fabricio Camoes and Duane Ludwig consecutively. Needless to say, he went 0-4

9. The Ultimate Fighter 5
The Good
Seven fighters from this show are still in the UFC. The number can be bumped up a little more, if you considered that Manny Gamburyan and Noah Thomas are in the WEC. Nate Diaz, Gray Maynard and Joe Lauzon have all proved they are top level lightweights. Alumni have gone 29-17 (62 percent) in the UFC and 52-29 (64 percent) overall since the show.
The Bad
Marlon Sims, Wayne Weems and Allen Berube really had no business being on the show. I saw a forum post once that said most of Weems’ wins on his record were actually professional wrestling matches.
The Ugly
Andy Wang, the ronin of TUF 5, is actually 2-0-1 since the show. However, he is Andy Wang, and his fight against Atsuhiro Tsuboi in Art of War was so painful to watch. Therefore, he finds himself in the ugly section.

10. The Ultimate Fighter
The Good
The original class is by far the best. The show gave us a light heavyweight champion, Forrest Griffin, multiple title challengers and a variety of high level fighters. TUF 1 alumni have gone 71-38 (65 percent) in the octagon and 103-61 (63 percent) overall in MMA since the show aired.
The Bad
Alex Schoenauer is only one of two fighters from the season with a losing record, 8-10. The fact that he is in the bad section, only underscores how good this season really was. Since the show he has wins over Travis Wiuff and Allan Goes.
The Ugly
Jason Thacker never fought after the finale. Sadly, he will always be remembered for sleeping with his face in Chris Leben’s urine.

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