Anderson Silva, Matt Serra, And More Unforgettable MMA Stories

The Ultimate Fighter

The Ultimate Fighter: My Ultimate Turning Point

I’ve shared this story a few times amongst my friends, but I can’t remember if I ever shared it with the world at large, so here goes: “The Ultimate Fighter” turned me into an MMA fan.

I know, I know: not very original, right? Well, hear me out.

Before TUF, I was bordering the line between “fair-weather” or “casual” fan and outright fandom. I was still very absorbed with pro wrestling, having been a pro wrestling fan since I was five years old and saw “The Undertaker” squash a jobber (just using pro wrestling slang makes me feel weird now) while I was sitting glued to my TV screen in my underwear.

But two distinct things forever changed me from a pro wrestling fan into an MMA fan, and one of them was this show.

The other, for those who want to know, was the sad fact that many tragedies hit wrestling in a short amount of time. Two of my favorite wrestlers, Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit, both died in a relatively close period of time. Benoit, of course, would become one of pro wrestling’s darkest stories.

At the time, I was reeling as a pro wrestling fan. I needed a break from all this destruction and death and sadness. I simply couldn’t stand it.

So rather than occasionally watching an episode of “The Ultimate Fighter” after Monday Night Raw ended, I started tuning into the series regularly. What I saw immediately held my interest: not just “real” fighters, but real people. Not just “real” fights, but real struggles.

Eventually, it got to the point where my interest in MMA expanded past the constraints of being a casual watcher, and it extended past the scope of “The Ultimate Fighter”.

To this day, I’m not fully certain which event played more of an impact on my switch from pro wrestling to MMA: the shocking deaths of the wrestlers I once admired and adored, or the raw originality and unpredictability seen in the first few seasons of TUF. But I do know those two events mixed together and became the catalyst for why I’m currently writing for the MMA section of Bleacher Report and not the WWE section.

I also know this: I don’t regret making the switch, and I’ll always remember that TUF was a big turning point for me.

Next: The WEC: Shattering The Stereotypes I Once Believed

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